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Oliver's Top 10 for 2012

Oliver’s Top 10 for 2012

2012 was a damn good year for music in general, and for new musical discoveries, personally. I found my own tastes wandering between the seemingly-unrelated-yet-actually-interconnected worlds of hardcore punk, deathrock, postpunk, and neofolk. My “top 10″ for 2012 reflects this. More»

Iberian Punk Sampler

Iberian Punk Sampler

Times are tough in Spain. Suffering the aftereffects of the collapse of a speculative real-estate bubble in 2008, debarred from improving its export position through devaluation because of its participation in the Euro, the government of Mariano Rajoy has recently proposed a budget plan involving cuts of over $85 billion in the next two and a half years. More»

Nuggets and The Velvet Underground

Nuggets and The Velvet Underground

“Not again,” I thought, looking over the new releases on display at the record store. The top shelf featured a 40th-anniversary reissue of Nuggets, the classic garage compilation, while the one below offered a 45th-anniversary version of The Velvet Underground and Nico. It annoyed me that I was being asked to buy music I already owned. More»

From Crisis to Sol Invictus

From Crisis to Sol Invictus

Tony Wakeford has been making music since 1977, starting with political punks Crisis. Wakeford and ex-Crisis members started the seminal postpunk/neofolk Death in June. Afterwards came his current project, Sol Invictus. Wakeford’s career has not been without controversy. He recently discussed his legacy with Souciant. More»

Making Grind a Threat Again

Making Grind a Threat Again

+HIRS+ is a Philadelphia duo dedicated to harsh noise and queer politics. Their motto, as emblazoned on their t-shirts, is “looks like hell, sounds like shit, no gods, no cops.” The band’s singer, Jenna Pup, sat down with me to discuss sampling, what it’s like being a queer band in the grind scene, and the role of music in delivering political messages. More»

Of the Wand & the Moon

Of the Wand & the Moon

Of the Wand & the Moon are one of the big guns of contemporary neofolk. Arriving a generation after founders like Death in June, Sol Invictus, and Current 93, Of the Wand & the Moon have breathed new life into this beautiful and perennially misunderstood genre. OTWATM’s 2011 The Lone Descent LP is widely regarded as a neofolk masterpiece. More»

It's All About Locale

It’s All About Locale

You didn’t want to listen to it. That is, the song you hear repeatedly in your head, untethered from your iPod, and your CD collection. Overheard in an elevator, or while shopping, such sounds have a colonizing effect. We hear it during our most private moments. We think about it when we try to script our own musical sensibilities. Everything about our sonic imaginary is defined in relation to it. More»

The Party is Still Over

The Party is Still Over

Political activism, and especially political music, has always suffered from the problems of nuance and restraint. In order to get your point across to the masses, you can’t just stand on the street corner with a megaphone and scream at everyone. If you’re lucky, all that will happen is that you’ll be ignored. If you’re unlucky, you might find yourself in jail or a mental asylum. More»

Music for a Dying West

Music for a Dying West

In “The Operable Man,” German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk stated, “It is neither our failure nor our accomplishment that we live in a time in which the apocalypse of man is an everyday occurrence.” The music of Killing Joke is the sonic corollary to this existential predicament. Let me show you how. More»

Sound System Revival

Sound System Revival

October saw the American dub-reggae-based sound-system scene get its profile raised with the launch party for Dub-Stuy Records, the Brooklyn label launched by Quoc “Q-Mastah” Pham’s Sound Liberation Front crew. But as Vice tech-site Motherboard notes, the party was really centered around the debut of the deluxe 15,000-watt sound system that SLF has spent the past year building and tweaking. More»

Hungry in Turin

Hungry in Turin

The Apple Store had finally opened. Located in a nineteenth century building on Via Roma, across from H&M and Bennetton, the American chain had set up shop in appropriately branded surroundings. Seeing that the store was packed with Sunday shoppers sporting bags emblazoned with the logos of its neighboring retailers, I decided I’d take a rain cheque. The frenzy was overwhelming. More»

The Right People's Choice

The Right People’s Choice

NoMeansNo were an acquired taste. Starting out in the early 1980s, they wrote jazzy, complicated songs at a time when the shorter, louder, faster aesthetic was ascendant. The scene from which they emerged in Victoria B.C. was certainly less well-known than others in the Pacific Northwest. More»