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

, 22 December 2012


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

, 17 October 2012


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

, 03 September 2012


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

, 24 August 2012


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.

, 08 June 2012


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

, 07 June 2012


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Omar Almufti photographer

Miller Beats

I had a chance to catch up with San Francisco-based, multi-talented, electronic musician Travis Miller while he was out on the East Coast before heading to Amsterdam for a semester at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie. He offered up some insight into his work, influences and upcoming EP.

I guess to start from the beginning, how did you get into making music? Tell me about some of the really early stuff you worked on, what you’re up to now, that kind of thing.

I’ve been making music forever. I used to be super-into punk, and in like eighth, ninth and tenth grade I was in a ska band. I started making beats my first year of college; I was 18 …read on

, 07 November 2011

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Kenna’s Water/Music

Kenna understands that there is so much more to this world than silver and gold. A model of meaning guides his career moving forward from two remarkable albums with a series of three EPs, the Land 2 Air Chronicles. The first release, Chaos and the Darkness, is a gripping example of music with a distinct purpose. I had a chance to listen to Kenna talk about the record and play a few other songs on the piano and the spur of the moment in front of perhaps twenty people at the studio he’s been using in Manhattan. Then, when I called him up to do the interview, he made life easy by saying a lot of really cool stuff. Kenna …read on

, 24 June 2011

My dude Timothy hath wrought it and brought it again. From the germinal Atoms Fam to the mighty Hangar 18, Tim “Alaska” Baker is an emcee who’s been slept on for too long, so long in fact that he’s pretty well over this rap shit. The Crack Epidemic might be your last chance to give him his well-deserved props.

If Alaska is just a big, cold state you’ve never been to and you don’t have any idea who Tim is, don’t worry. The opening track on The Crack Epidemic’s American Splendor, “Bright Lights,” is a brief history of the man on …read on

, 09 June 2011


There are several bands jostling for the heavy, arty interstices between the monoliths of Neurosis and Radiohead, and though healthy hiatuses have left Cave In making less entries than say, Muse, they bring the best together like no other.

Cave In started off as one of the proto-metalcore ensembles of the late 1990s, but after a few germinal genre recordings (the undisputed classics Beyond Hypothermia and Until Your Heart Stops), they switched their vibe from introspection to outer space. A major change as such is not easy: Think Kill Holiday or Corrosion of Conformity, but on Jupiter (2000) and Antenna …read on

, 07 June 2011