Dance music used to be considered sort of anti-rock and roll. Somewhere along the way though—perhaps in the throes of the postmodern turn—someone started explicitly mixing the two. I distinctly remember the Utah Saints picking up that torch at some point. The Chemical Brothers certainly dirtied it up with their knob-turning fingers. Well, 65daysofstatic have grabbed a hold of it like grim death. Where previous outings may have owed more to Mogwai or Tortoise, this one owes more to Aphex Twin or Autechre. Don’t get it bent though, it still rocks the block like they always have.

, 05 May 2010


I caught Band of Skulls at this year’s bedlam in Austin, SXSW, and they blew my face right off. Just the right mix of sludgy stoner metal and throwback rock and roll (à la T. Rex) makes Band of Skulls sound simultaneously familiar and unique. On Baby Darling Doll Face Honey, they embody those sounds’ many facets. That is, they can riff it up and mow you down, but also lull you into sweet psychedelic daydreams. Live and on record, Band of Skulls are a rare gem indeed.

, 27 March 2010


High on Fire took their sweet time getting this record recorded and released, and it is well worth the wait. If Lemmy sang for heyday-era Slayer, they might sound like this, though Matt Pike’s hell-fire fret-shredding, monolithic riffs, and barbed-wire growls are second to none. “Frost Hammer” sounds just enough like “Angel of Death” (that breakdown is sick in the same way) and more than enough like High on Fire to make it a worthy replacement for the former. Adding Snakes for the Divine to their already hefty body of work, High on Fire might just be the best metal band working today. (Sorry, Mastodon.)

, 27 March 2010


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Omar Almufti photographer


I first heard Jahdan Blakkamoore on Earth Force, DJ Child’s mixtape tribute to classic roots reggae music, released on the Project Groundation label. The song, titled “She Told Me”, featuring 77 Klash, at first seemed a little out of place to be honest: a bare, hyper-digital track slotted between crucial hits from Gregory Isaacs and Dennis Brown. Over the next year or so I started checking for more of Jahdan’s material and I really began to understand the context in which his work fits seamlessly with the classic styles of the artists previously mentioned, while maintaining a modern sound that lends itself to the myriad of current interpretations of Caribbean music. “Diversity” is an understatement. From powerful one-drop tunes crafted …read on

, 09 March 2010

It seems like cover records come in three flavors: cop-out, contractual obligation-fulfiller, or rookie mistake. Well, that’s just not the case here. While I must admit to hating this record upon first listen, I can now say with honesty that it is good. Damn good. The first thing that struck me was that two of my favorite things about Peter Gabriel records—besides the lengendary genius that is Peter Gabriel, of course—were missing: the drums (Peter Gabriel records always have banging drums) and Tony Levin (King of the Low End). Scratch My Back is just Peter and an orchestra. I realize …read on

, 23 February 2010


When Antipop Consortium threw down the progressive hip-hop gauntlet on 2002’s Arrhythmia they didn’t expect to have to reunite several years later to pick it up—but they did. Their recent Fluorescent Black answers every challenge presented on Arrhythmia and then some. It’s weird, it’s word, and it’s war. The lyrics are abstract but tight and the beats are quirky but banging—and the whole package will stomp a mudhole in your ass.

, 08 February 2010


The Cure’s principle videographer for much of the 80s, Tim Pope, once said that a concert film is the greatest thing in the world to the fans of the band and means very little to anyone else—or something like that. Well, Iceland’s Sigur Rós may have finally shattered that mold. Combining concert footage of their 2006 tour of small venues in their homeland, interview clips and sweeping landscapes, Heima (“at home”) is a visually beautiful piece of film whether or not you’re that into the music of Sigur Rós. It might even make you a fan.

, 08 February 2010


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Tom Bunning photographer


Twelve years into their career, Andy Cato and Tom Findlay show no signs of sitting pretty on their already huge successes. With three million records sold worldwide, a Grammy nomination for their seminal track Superstylin’ and now on their sixth studio album (Black Light, due for release late February), the British powerhouse that is Groove Armada storms on. GA have completely reinvented their sound for Black Light in a way that can’t help but win over a new audience and gain respect from new ears. They’ve stepped away from the funk-driven beats of Superstylin’ and laid-back grooves of At the River and moved over to a darker side.

Working on the album for the past 14 months, Andy and Tom’s strong …read on

, 18 January 2010

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Michael Abramson photographer


Ken Shipley, Tom Lunt and Rob Sevier, working collectively as Numero Group, have set out to close the gap between songs seemingly gone forever and the people who have been waiting years to hear them again. Numero Group serves as an archival record label focusing on reissuing obscure soul, blues and funk recordings that hold a distinct place in the history of recorded music—or at least that’s how it started. From its inception in 2003, Numero Group has grown to include hundreds of titles touching several genres and has released these gems in a variety of mediums, both audio and visual. Their most recognized collection of releases, the Eccentric Soul series, features soul tracks on the verge of extinction from …read on

, 24 December 2009

Lucero’s latest release has the same good ol’ boy lyrics of lead singer Ben Nichols, but his distinctively raspy voice is accompanied by a healthy dose of southern soul in the shape of gospel-like backing vocals and robust horn sections. The result is a melodic collection of, to quote Nichols, “sad old bastard songs” for the soul. By the final track Mom, it’s clear that this is their most determined effort to date.

, 10 December 2009