Sound
Brixton as Genre

Brixton as Genre

“Drum and bass, dub, roots and culture.” To anyone used to shopping in Brixton Market, the loop is as familiar as a Jamaican patty. Recited for hours on end by a street rep equivalent for London’s University of Dub, the promoter has a lock on the genres the locals prefer, not to mention a rotating cast of first class artists to pitch. More»

Merchandising Bob Marley

Merchandising Bob Marley

“These headphones stand for peace, love and togetherness,” reads the product description for the Redemption Song on-ear headphones on the website for House of Marley, the official merchandise company for the Bob Marley brand. More»

Remembering the Punk Noughties

Remembering the Punk Noughties

The previous decade – let’s call them the noughties – showed the punk scene regrouping after the 1990s. Amid the flood of great new music, many full-lengths were inevitably overlooked or were lost in the chaos. Other releases got momentary attention, but were quickly forgotten. Here are some of the best LPs from the previous decade that are worth revisiting. More»

Pioneers of Postpunk

Pioneers of Postpunk

Warsaw changed their name to Joy Division to avoid conflict with the band Warsaw Pakt. Coincidentally, the name change also served to mark the break between Joy Division’s punk phase and their later, better-known postpunk era. More»

Dub and Bass Culture

Dub and Bass Culture

Jamaican dancehall began rushing Germany’s charts in the early ‘90s, at around the same time that Berlin’s Basic Channel label starting releasing its uniquely stark brand of dub-influenced techno that’s influenced countless artists in the city and around the globe. More»

The Year Goth-Punk Broke

The Year Goth-Punk Broke

The very first issue of SPIN Magazine in 1985 featured a full color feature on deathrock. Titled “Is There Life After Deathrock?” the article’s tagline warns, “If you thought punk was hardcore, you’re in for a shock.” Almost 30 years later, punk bands have rediscovered the music SPIN warned about. More»

Russia and the Punk Imaginary

Russia and the Punk Imaginary

Pussy Riot is the first Russian punk band to attain household name status in the West. The reason has less to do with its music than its politics. The subject of global media attention since three of its band members were arrested in February, the all-girl guerrilla group has become the unofficial face of Russia’s pro-democracy movement. More»

Turkish Psych Mix

Turkish Psych Mix

Not long after 9/11, San Francisco’s best record store began stocking up on reissues of Turkish psychedelia. The third wave of musical imports from the Middle East taken up by US hipsters (beginning with their adoption of Ofra Haza in the mid-1980s,) the timing was entirely appropriate. Amidst the wreckage of the World Trade Center, Americans were finding themselves drawn to the sounds of the Islamic New York. More»

Horns for Berlusconi

Horns for Berlusconi

Silvio Berlusconi isn’t known to be a Black Sabbath fan. A recording artist in his own right, the musical preferences of the Milanese media magnate lean more towards cruise ship favorites like “What’s New Pussycat?” than they do “Iron Man.” Not that it’s unreasonable to conjecture. Particularly following Il Cavaliere’s infamous flashing of the corna (horns) behind the head of Spain’s foreign minister, during a 2002 photo op. More»

Dub Step to Roots and Culture

Dub Step to Roots and Culture

Alongside the Olympics, London is currently bursting with activity celebrating the 50th anniversary of Jamaican independence. The all-star mega-big Respect Jamaica 50th Festival enters its second week at the nearby Indigo2, sporting a roster that includes everyone from Jimmy Cliff and U-Roy to Maxi Priest and Shaggy. More»

No Hipster Metal Here

No Hipster Metal Here

I’ve spent years trying to convince the world of metal’s radical potential. I’ve followed the obscure byways of obscure extreme metal genres in search of the avant-grade potential of this most degraded form. My heart has swelled with satisfaction as – finally – The Wire, The Quietus and other bastions of elite musical opinion have begun to embrace the metallic dark side. More»

A Brief History of Noise, Part I

A Brief History of Noise, Part I

In the 1970s, older folks regarded punk as untalented, amateur, and above all, noise. Only a few years after its arrival, British artists affiliated with the punk and postpunk scenes co-opted the “noise” designation, turned it into a badge of pride, and pushed the sonic envelope further than many believed possible. More»