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Don’t let Putin fool you. Banishing Pussy Riot to a penal colony allowed the Russian leader to reassert his rule. Democracy be damned. Civil rights, religious freedom, and gender equality from herein would be subject to his purview. The ex-KGB officer’s message wasn’t just aimed at Russia. It was directed at all of Eastern Europe, too. (More…)

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…)

Before the housing bubble burst, before Lehman Brothers fell, and before sub-prime loan losses were making the news, I became subconsciously aware of the growing number of vacant commercial spaces around me. I began looking through dirty windows to better see into the interior spaces left behind when businesses fail. They seemed filled with sadness, with the emotions of loss contained within their empty walls. (More…)

A Rough Guide to the Dark Side comes close to saying something profound – and then stops. A critique of mainstream news media, an account of corruption in post-millennial Serbia, music industry non-fiction, and a drug memoir. It tries to do too many things. Ironically, it’s the addiction theme that brings it all down. (More…)

To our neighbors: Squat in the Weise Steet on the 28th of April. How come, anyway?

At the end of April in our Kiez, a squat was begun at a house, 47 Weise Street, that had stood almost completely empty for years. We would like to explain to you why in this short statement. (More…)

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…)

For over a decade, I have been saying that there will be no attack on Iran, either by Israel or the United States. Although I maintain that conclusion to this day, I do admit to being 85% certain of it, whereas once I was 95%. Nothing in politics is ever 100% sure, so where once I was as certain as I could be, there is some doubt now. (More…)

They call it “poverty porn.” Published in The Guardian, an August 14th feature discloses the results of an Advertising Standards Authority survey, warning British charities against using severe imagery in adverts intended to highlight homelessness. Accordingly, using photos of compromised persons constitutes “shock tactics” that risk “exploiting” their subjects, and putting off the public. (More…)

Soon the Great British Olympic moment will be over. The closing ceremony was held last weekend. This year’s Paralympics will be finished by early September. By the turn of the season, the magic will finally have faded. The nature of the legacy left in its wake, for London in general and the people of Newham in particular, remains to be decided (NB: some locals have already complained about being short-changed.) (More…)

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…)

August 22nd marks the twentieth anniversary of the Rostock riots. Targeting Roma and Vietnamese migrants, the two days of violence that followed are considered amongst the worst race riots to hit post-war Germany. Many activists contend that the upheaval helped move the country to the right on questions concerning multiculturalism and immigration. (More…)

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…)