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Golden Harvest

I recently had a chance to speak with Dexter Tortorielo, the founding (and sole) member of an experiment in electronic music functioning under the moniker Dawn Golden and Rosy Cross. We talked about his recently released Mad Decent EP, Blow, some of his earlier works and other current projects, and a bunch of super-nerdy stuff about making electronic music.

Tell me a little bit about yourself, growing up, how you got into making music and some of the early projects you worked on, that kind of stuff.

I grew up in Chicago. I got into music at a pretty young age, one of my father’s friends owned a recording studio and he dumped a treasure trove of old analog recording equipment …read on

, 27 May 2011

The Dawn Golden and Rosy Cross is spread thinly but surely on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and Tumblr

Hail Mary Mallon is the melding of word-murdering minds Aesop Rock and Rob Sonic and the laser-precise cuts of DJ Big Wiz, all three Def Jux alumni and no strangers to the raps and beats in their own rights. In the interest of full disclosure, these dudes are my friends. To be perfectly honest, if they were wack they wouldn’t be.

These three have been touring and clowning together for years in different guises, and it’s obvious when you hear how well they play together. Are you Going to Eat That? is the dopest record out this year.

Production-wise, “Mailbox Baseball” sounds …read on

, 11 May 2011


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Delrey of Light

Mad Decent Records continues its tradition of showcasing standout artists from a variety of disciplines with the upcoming release from recent signing Bosco Delrey. The record, titled Everybody Wah, is a strong, fresh, super-diverse collection that speaks to Delrey’s sensibilities as a musician. Already in the process of trading remixes with Mike D. and Ad-Rock (as in, the Beastie Boys), it seems pretty clear that dude is being vetted by the best and there’s sure to be a heap of dope material coming from him in the future. I recently had the chance to ask Delrey a few questions about his work, linking up with Mad Decent and the current project…

Tell me a little bit about yourself, growing up, …read on

, 02 May 2011

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Omar Almufti photographer

Tight Lips

When Black Lips passed through Webster Hall in Manhattan’s East Village last week to support their latest project, Arabia Mountain, out June 7th on Vice Records, it became clear from the outset that this it was going to be a wild fucking show. I had always heard these guys put it down, but hadn’t had a chance to catch them in the past. A few seconds into the first cut, the packed house was shaking, beer and all kinds of other shit was being tossed around… simply put, people were raging it. I hadn’t been to a proper rock ’n’ roll show for a minute and the set these guys played was definitely a reminder of all the best reasons that people are drawn to this music in the first place. Bassist Jared Swilley took some time to speak with me about the new record, some of the band’s travels over the years and their upcoming tour.

, 26 April 2011

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Hot Salsa

Cult Cargo: Salsa Boricua De Chicago, the latest compilation released by Grammy-nominated archival record label Numero Group digs deep into the history of Chicago’s little-known salsa recording industry. Focusing on releases from Carlos Ruiz’s storied Ebirac imprint, accompanied by detailed liner notes and a lot of dope photos, the project maintains a composed sense of history that these guys have become best known for.

This is a really cool record, what was the inspiration for developing this compilation?

No one even knew there was a salsa recording industry in Chicago whatsoever. Discoveries are what drives a lot of our directions. I was calling extremely knowledgeable salsa collectors and stumping ’em with these releases. 

How did you first learn about Carlos …read on

, 06 April 2011

“I’m such a tease and you’re such a flirt…” The most important band in the world has returned with another cure for the malaise of the age. Pick one: They’ve saved rock and roll, killed rock and roll, and still emerged from the muck of the music industry well ahead of the curve. Everyone in media keeps them under the microscope to see how they will win. Again. Lean in, here’s the secret:

Radiohead makes great records.

And they do it consistently. They’re also quite adept at parsing the patterns on the horizon of the mediascape, but that wouldn’t matter if …read on

, 22 February 2011


The King of Limbs

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Rebecca Steele photographer

Grails Tap

The sound cultivated by Portland, Oregon-based band Grails on their latest release, Deep Politics, is out of this world. Level had a chance to speak with founding member Emil Amos and get some insights on the project.

For those unfamiliar, tell me a bit about how you guys got together as Grails, and some of the projects you’ve worked on leading up to Deep Politics.

The band has been around since around late ’99/early ’00… it feels like it’s gone from being a typical ‘band’ that played weekend shows to some sort of art production warehouse at this point… there’s more of a back room/mad scientist element in revealing these experiments to the rest of the world than the usual …read on

, 21 February 2011

It’s so unfair to see a band like Deftones lumped in with bands they have next-to-nothing to do with (e.g., Limp Bizkit, Korn, Tool, et al). One listen to their latest, the delayed and embattled Diamond Eyes—the boys have been through a lot since 2006’s Saturday Night Wrist including an entire record shelved and a bass player in a coma—and you’ll hear the pedigree. Diamond Eyes proves as sophisticated as it is loud and as beautiful as it is aggressive, and Deftones as much like the Cure as they are Clutch.

, 09 February 2011


From the Department of Least Likely to Surprise You comes, well, a huge surprise. What would happen if Limp Bizkit collaborated with U2? Who woulda thought that Linkin Park would be the ones to bring together Erving Goffman and Public Enemy? The track “Wretches and Kings” starts with the line, “To save face, how low can you go?” I’m afraid that I have more questions than answers. A Thousand Suns is big and soaring and weird, like some strange bird that you’re surprised can even fly. Some are calling it Linkin Park’s OK Computer. I don’t know about that. Hell, it might not even be their White Pony, but it’s more often than not a far cry from the rap-rock they’re known for, and well worth a spin or five.

, 14 October 2010


Austin, Texas might not be a hotbed of heavy metal, but The Sword could make you think otherwise. Mixing monolithic-but-driving doom like Pentagram and Saint Vitus with old-timey core metal like Black Sabbath and Budgie with a dash of new-school technical-but-melodic hard rock like Baroness or ASG, The Sword is all push and power. Warp Riders finds them by turns heavier and catchier than ever. “Night City” is 21st Century AOR like Deep Purple would’ve done it. “Tres Brujas” and “Arrows in the Dark” are warlock rock like Dio dreamed of, and “Lawless Lands” could be a classic Trouble song. The grooves here are deeper and the riffs bigger than the ones on your stoner friend’s records of any of the aforementioned bands. Warp Riders proves that The Sword is not only the best metal band in Austin, they’re one of the Top 5 metal bands on the planet.

, 12 October 2010