I logged thousands of hours as a college radio DJ in the early 1980s, and have spun in clubs every once in a while since. House mixing is alien to me. I don’t like to extend songs, or blend them seamlessly. I want to slam different things together and mix them up, but still make sense. I want dynamics, not sameness. (More…)

I first saw Richard Buckner perform a decade ago, at the now-defunct Nita’s Hideaway in Tempe, Ariz. Call it an intimate performance, or call it a half empty room; Buckner hadn’t really made a name for himself yet in Arizona. I was seated at a small table. I could’ve put my feet on the stage if I’d leaned back in my chair. Buckner was touring with a pedal steel guitarist. This was already three fantastic albums into his career, so I guess the acquired taste tag had already been placed on the deep-voiced, brooding singer. (More…)

This is a piece I recently rediscovered while transferring audio from old DAT tapes. It first developed as a guitar practice exercise in 1988. I was rehearsing non-standard time signatures, while listening to 4/4 rock beats. What evolved was a little figure in 7/8 that sounded similar to a tune by one of my favorite groups, Massacre (Fred Frith, Bill Laswell, Fred Maher.) This riff may have developed while trying to learn how to play Massacre’s Killing Time. What emerged from this exercise was a Massacre pastiche. (More…)

When word started spreading about Wugazi, the excitement in social media circles was palpable. To those long familiar with mash-ups, myself included, this came as a surprise. It has been eight years, after all, since Danger Mouse released the form’s first widely discussed masterwork The Gray Album, an astonishingly vital fusion of The Beatles’ double-LP colloquially referred to as the “white album”, and Jay-Z’s The Black Album. (More…)

“If you’re lookin’ for me, you better look outside” sings John Gleason on the opening song of We Can Take Care of Ourselves, the fourth album from Roadside Graves. It’s a simple statement, a simple moment repeated in a song that’s anything but. (More…)

The muse of that isolated winter is gone, replaced by a muse that’s on the run, loose in a wide world. Bon Iver, the band that had its phoenix-like beginning with the muted and hushed For Emma, Forever Ago, is now fully awakened. His recuperation complete, Justin Vernon is free to explore, reaching for a host of new sounds to adorn the band’s second record, Bon Iver. (More…)

I wasn’t going to write about the debut album from Cults. The very idea of the band annoyed me. I’m tired of male-female duos like the The White Stripes, Fiery Furnaces, and Mates of State. I’m tired of records that sound like they’re being played over an AM radio. And I’m especially tired of bands from Brooklyn, which actually make me long for the days when Seattle was all the rage. (More…)

As I was finishing a Hawaiian plate lunch with my daughter and her mother in Encinitas, they announced that they were going to do some “girl” shopping on the main drag. I said I’d come along. But then I was overcome by a familiar urge. (More…)

It was my friend Jerlyn who got me into hardcore punk. We went to high school together. At the time, I was a wayward ex-raver looking for something — anything —with a drop of integrity. I was around sixteen when I went to my first hardcore show.

The day before the official release of the Fleet Foxes’ sophomore album Helplessness Blues, I was intently listening to NPR’s label-sanctioned stream when my twelve-year-old daughter broke in: “I really like this.” (More…)