As the Hip-hop lightning rod of 2012, Chief Keef has a lot riding on his major-label debut. The problem with the pressure is that Keef’s notoriety is not based on the talents people are expecting to hear in his songs. It’s based more on the timing of his emergence. The murder rate in his hometown of Chicago turned attention to him in a way that no rapper has experienced in recent memory. The zeitgeist of gun violence made the nihilistic anthem “I Don’t Like” strike an open nerve with people who have no business speaking on Rap music.
With that …read on

Roy Christopher, 22 December 2012

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Among the many burgeoning subgenres of post-metal, there is one band that is consistently named as a starting point: Neurosis has been bending and rending metal, punk, crust, sludge, drone, doom, ambient, folk, and other odd musical categories since 1985. Their latest, Honor Found in Decay (Neurot Recordings, 2012) more than illustrates both why they’re the godfathers of this sound and what exactly it is that all of their progeny are still trying to achieve.
On their tenth studio outing, the Oakland sextet gathers together pieces from their storied past to pull off a defining document of their sound. Honor …read on

Roy Christopher, 17 October 2012

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Om, which was once two-thirds of stoner deities Sleep and used to sound like a loose approximation of just that, hath leapt beyond their roots into something much less earthbound. Advaitic Songs is the sound of a band coming into its own.
While other Om-related ensembles (e.g., Grails, Shrinebuilder, Sleep, et al.) have flirted with religious themes and motifs, this record finds Al Cisneros and Emil Amos sounding downright spiritual. This is music for a power higher than the previously almighty herb.
There are only five songs here, “five roads subsumed by grace,” but they clock in at just under …read on

Roy Christopher, 03 September 2012

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How much reference to previous work is the right amount? Thomas Kuhn called the dialectic between tradition and innovation the “essential tension,” and Erik Blood has found the perfect middle. To call Touch Screens unoriginal would be to admit you didn’t listen to it. Yes, this is stuttery, gooey, taffy-like pop in the vein of Brad Laner and Kevin Shields, but Blood puts these things together with that third thing, the thing that comes from more than just nailing the essential tension.

“Most of [the shoegazers] couldn’t rock their way out of a paper bag,” once quoth Simon Reynolds. Not so …read on

Roy Christopher, 24 August 2012

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The premiere BMX zine, Aggro Rag Freestyle Mag, is back after a twenty-two-year hiatus. Mike Daily is back at the helm, and his deep connections in the world of old school flatland and rejuvenated love of Hip-hop are both evident here. This issue is basically an oral history of 1980s flatland freestyle BMX. It sports fifteen interviews with flatland’s finest, including Aaron Dull, Jim Johnson, Gary Pollak, Derek Schott, Gerry Smith, Marc McKee, Chris Day, and Dave Nourie, as well as current ripper Chad Johnston. There are also interviews with Dark Time Sunshine and Aesop Rock (the latter …read on

Roy Christopher, 24 August 2012

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Marc Johnson commercial

Lakai’s creatives once again tinkle over 99% of US television ad creatives and demonstrate what the word “creative” means.

Chris Noble, 09 August 2012

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Austyn Gillette’s Quik tour of LA

You wait ages for a bus…

Austyn Gillette’s very nice little Quik/Quiksilver × The Berrics × Los Angeles video by Colin Kennedy.

Chris Noble, 16 July 2012

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The Art Dump by Havoc TV

Andys Mueller and Jenkins talk a little about The Art Dump, the collection of artists at Girl Skateboards.

Chris Noble, 16 July 2012

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Killer Mike: No, really...

If this video doesn’t move you in some way, you’re probably dead. First of all, the pairing of Killer Mike on the mic and El-Producto on production is a match made somewhere south of Heaven: It’s dark, it’s evil, it’s raw, and it’s hard as fuck and the record they just did, R.A.P. Music, proves it many times over. Next, we have this straight bananas lead track “Big Beast,” including sick verses by Bun B. and T. I. that will remind you why they’re both Hip-hop legends, and a catchy chorus by Trouble. Then, we have this face-eating, car-chasing, enthusiastically violent video that has them all doing some ill shit (that’s El-P in the mask). Like I said, check your pulse.

Roy Christopher, 08 June 2012

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To explicate the pedigree of Justin K. Broadrick would require a book-length exploration, but let’s try to nick the surface. He was a founding member of Napalm Death, invented and inverted genres in Godflesh, and happily drones in headphones in Jesu—not to mention stints in final, Head of David, Fall of Because, Ice, God, Techno Animal, Greymachine, and Pale Sketcher, among others. Now Broadrick revives his JK Flesh moniker to make some noise that doesn’t fit under any of his other active names. The sounds on Posthuman land between the lines and demonstrate that the disc deserves its own designation. …read on

Roy Christopher, 07 June 2012

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