Swamp Dogg: Love, Loss, and Auto-Tune

If all Swamp Dogg was was weird, would we still care? The man born Jerry Williams Jr. found LSD and Frank Zappa in the late 1960s, and these discoveries prompted his transformation into R&B’s weirdest weirdo. He planted his freak flag on 1970’s ebulliently funky Total Destruction of Your Mind and the following year’s Rat…

T.I.:Trap Muzik

Before Atlanta’s Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway was named after an attorney from the Civil Rights era, its namesake was Alabama Senator John H. Bankhead, “Father of Good Roads.” Bankhead Highway, as it was then known, snaked from Memphis to Tupelo, to Birmingham, to Atlanta. It was functionally an interstate, but Atlantans took a special liking…

Ipek Gorgun: Ecce Homo

In the work of Ipek Gorgun, small moves and grand gestures are equally important. Before she molds her instrumental electronic music into massive shapes, the Turkish sound artist infuses it with precise detail. “I work with milliseconds in the beginning, then I switch to seconds, then to minutes,” she once explained. “At the end, I…

Led Zeppelin: The Song Remains the Same

The witching hour approaches. A full moon peeks through the thick, English fog. Jimmy Page, hair curled like a hobbit’s, crawls up the slopes of a jagged mountainside. At the summit, he encounters a Gandalf figure in a white, hooded robe, lamp in hand. The mountain wizard raises his head and fixes Page with a…

Catherine Christer Hennix: Selected Early Keyboard Works

Ten years ago, followers of drone, experimental electronic music, and minimalism might have noticed that something was amiss with the canon: Most of the big names there were men, with very few women or people of color represented. But recent reissues have sought to present a broader portrait of late-20th-century minimalism, one that ventures beyond…

Agent Sasco: Hope River

To many listeners, veteran dancehall MC (or, deejay, as they would say in Jamaica) Assassin, aka Agent Sasco, may be known solely as the rough baritone bawling “Action ting, yo a badman ting” on “I’m in It,” a particularly dark and raunchy LP cut on Kanye West’s 2013 opus Yeezus. It’s an unforgettable irruption into…

Comethazine: Bawskee

Put a team of desperate record executives looking to cash-in on a demographic that looks at No Jumper podcast host Adam22 as this generation’s Barbara Walters, and the result is Comethazine. The 20-year old St. Louis rapper is designed to be an amalgamation of everything that has worked on SoundCloud before him: edgy, polarizing, iconoclastic….

Bruiser Brigade: Reign Supreme

On August 24th, Danny Brown hopped on Twitch, a video game social network to play “Persona 5” with some virtual pals. After a while, he started playing new music, songs he insisted wouldn’t be released and were not part of the album he’s working on. Brown’s spent the last 10 years building a world so…

Four Tet: Live at Funkhaus Berlin, 10th May 2018

Is there a producer more generous than Four Tet? While Kieran Hebden kept up a steady flow of records through much of the 2000s (not to mention a number of collaborative releases with the late jazz drummer Steve Reid), since rebooting his own Text Records imprint in 2007, he’s rewarded his fans with an abundance…

IDLES: Joy as an Act of Resistance

IDLES’ new album concerns the tragedies of illness and loss, the addict’s vacillation between sobriety and vice, and the discomfort of rational people at the current state of the world. Joe Talbot, the band’s sardonic, growling singer, lost his disabled mother, cleaned up his substance abuse, and watched the xenophobic Brexit go down—all while his…

Mogwai: KIN: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

KIN is a movie about a futuristic bazooka that can blast walls out of buildings and instantly turn people into dust. The music of Mogwai has been known to do the same. But as the Scottish group have amassed enough soundtrack credits to qualify as the four-headed Hans Zimmer of indie rock, Mogwai’s film scores…

JEFF the Brotherhood: Magick Songs

For most indie-rock bands, signing to a major label hardly presents the moral quandary it did, say, 25 years ago. In fact, these days, you barely even notice when it happens. (“I’m so bummed the War on Drugs signed to Atlantic,” said no one ever.) However, the destabilizing effects of getting dropped by a major…

Big Red Machine: Big Red Machine

Big Red Machine want you to think of their music not as a definitive product but as an indefinite process. Maybe not in a sudden Kanye “Ima fix wolves” kind of way, but more like a document of a process. When an album is framed this way, you can perhaps experience something new outside of…

Milton Nascimento & Lô Borges: Clube Da Esquina

If you grew up in the rural area of Rio Grande de Cima back then, you probably knew the two boys as Tonho and Cacau. Whether they were playing football or marbles, swimming in the river or in one of the nearby waterfalls, they were inseparable. One afternoon, Tonho and Cacau were playing on a…

The Band: Music From Big Pink

Music From Big Pink went from album to legend decades before it reached its 50th anniversary this year, an occasion being celebrated with the release of a variety of splashy commemorative reissues, all featuring a startling new remix by Bob Clearmountain. Such a milestone offers an opportunity for a reassessment, but the striking thing about…

George Clanton: Slide

George Clanton is exactly the kind of artist chillwave could have used a decade ago. The Virginia-born artist’s faded synth pop hits all the right 1980s-indebted notes, but as a singer Clanton is anything but chill. Starting under the moniker Mirror Kisses in the late 2000s and continuing on 100% Electronica, his 2015 debut under…

Various Artists: Studio Barnhus Volym 1

Eight years ago, Stockholm’s Studio Barnhus label got its start with Good Children Make Bad Grown Ups, a showcase for founders Axel Boman, Petter Nordkvist (aka Pedrodollar), and Kornél Kovács. The four-track sampler triangulated the nascent label’s sound at the intersection of deep house, impish disco, and 1960s pop, and as Studio Barnhus has grown…

Alice in Chains: Rainier Fog

Early promotional efforts surrounding the release of Rainier Fog, the sixth studio album from Alice in Chains, centered around the group’s birthplace of Seattle. The quartet played an acoustic set atop the Space Needle, as well as a secret show at the Crocodile, the local venue co-owned by drummer Sean Kinney. To cap it off,…

The Outfit, TX: Little World

The Outfit, TX have been warping the sounds of Texas rap for almost a decade now, their music varying from smooth, split-screen introspection to deep, dank ghost whispers to “cooly fooly space-age funk.” The Dallas trio, consisting of Jayhawk, Mel, and Dorian, reinterprets the legacy sounds of Third Coast hip-hop through a wide range of…

Terry: I’m Terry

Good indie pop is tricky to pull off. Go in too hard and the music can turn precious or juvenile, but keep your distance and you risk coming off cynical, as if you’re making fun of your own music. To sound breezy and effortless, you have to strike a delicate balance—and Australian quartet Terry have…

Iron & Wine: Weed Garden EP

Let’s start at the end of Iron & Wine’s new EP, Weed Garden. As the final verse of the final song, “Talking to Fog,” reaches its climax, Sam Beam offers a vivid description of happiness. It’s a place “where our memories of singing fill the air above our heads” and “the faces of our family…

White Denim: Performance

If you haven’t checked in with Austin rockers White Denim in the past five or so years, here’s a refresher: After gaining blog buzz for their gnarly, unpredictable tunes in the late 2000s, they joined artists like Santigold and Mos Def on Downtown Records for their fifth album, 2011’s D. Under estimable producers including Ethan…

Pat Van Dyke: Hello, Summer

The New Jersey jazzman Pat Van Dyke is in his mid-30s, which means he’s part of a generation of players who grew up immersed in hip-hop. That has put the music he plays, composes, and produces in direct conversation with beatsmiths like Oddisee and Kev Brown, whose love for analog sounds gives their music an…

Pink Siifu: ensley

This record, from a peripatetic, multi-talented twentysomething who uses several stage names, is both so accomplished and so incomplete. The strands used to create it point toward a completely unfamiliar artistic lane for many listeners. That the entire project is as good as it is while remaining defiantly “unfinished” and coming from a little-known artist…

Third Eye Blind: Thanks for Everything

Third Eye Blind reserve their rendition of Bon Iver’s “Blood Bank” until the end of Thanks for Everything, their intentionally earnest but unintentionally tragic set of seven covers. Justin Vernon’s most exquisite song, the original was a readymade finale, with the arching guitars and mewling vocals of its climax igniting the narrator’s lovesick innocence to…