Music

The Beatles - White Album

Elegy with Records on the Doorstep

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The old music still filled pits in him like sawdust and wood glue do a nail hole. The songs didn’t say anything new over the years, but they provided home when he missed it. ...more

Album of the Week: Powerplant by Girlpool

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Powerplant is the sophomore album of Los Angeles duo Girlpool, now out via Anti-Records. Starting out with an intimate, bedroom pop made up of vocals over guitar and bass, Harmony Tividad and Cleo Tucker then recruited Miles Wintner to record drums on their new material, creating a fuller sound which could easily fit under the “folk punk” umbrella, but taking up way more space than that.

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Sound & Vision: Bob Egan

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Allyson McCabe talks with Bob Egan, a man widely known as one of New York’s foremost “pop culture detectives,” about why and how he does the work he does. ...more

Slang and Swagger: Riffing with Jeff Chang

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Jeff Chang discusses his latest book, We Gon’ Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation, his work in hip-hip journalism, and the beauty and humanity of political protest. ...more

Swinging Modern Sounds #80: I Just Don’t Want to Wait Around Anymore

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Mulcahy’s Possum is, like the animal titularly referred to, a sly and imaginative affair... ...more
As Cities Burn - Come Now Sleep | Rumpus Music

Albums of Our Lives: As Cities Burn’s Come Now Sleep

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Most often, I do not speak when I am alone. That morning I sat on the couch and said Oh my God. I said it aloud, again and again, Oh my God. ...more

Album of the Week: Harriet Brown’s Contact

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Hailing from the Bay Area and now based in Los Angeles, Harriet Brown is the self-proclaimed champion of “romantic funk,” a realm where Prince is king and Sade is queen. His debut Contact, just released by Innovative Leisure, is “a concept album about communication and the contact we purposely, accidentally and inherently struggle to make between friends, lovers and strangers, be them human or otherwise.”

Drawing inspiration from the late 1980s American funk and early 1990s British R&B, Brown composed, arranged, co-produced, and performed all the album’s tracks without any sense of nostalgia, updating familiar sounds to fit with the current cultural climate, “sexual and sensitive, ambiguous and androgynous.”

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Album of the Week: Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN.

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With rumors and speculation about another new record dropping on the second Coachella weekend flying, Kendrick Lamar’s fourth studio album DAMN. (out via TDE/ Interscope) has already established itself as an instant classic.

Lamar, who prefers to identify as musician and a writer rather than a rapper, called his album “Very urgent.” DAMN.

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Finishing What You Start: A Conversation with Musician Matt Kivel

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Matt Kivel discusses his latest release, Fires on the Plain, the ways in which cinema inspires his music, and how he reads his critics. ...more

Album of the Week: Arca by Arca

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In 2012, after leaving their homeland Venezuela for New York City and then London, Alejandro Ghersi began playing music under the stage name of Arca. A former child star, Ghersi has collaborated with Bjork and Kanye West. Now, the twenty-six-year-old producer and composer is releasing their third, eponymous album—the first via XL Recordings, and the first to feature Ghersi’s compelling vocals, breaking their long streak of producing extremely experimental, instrumental works.

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Anything Can Happen: Jennifer Higdon on Contemporary Music

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Composer Jennifer Higdon discusses the end of expected boundaries in contemporary music, connecting with an audience, and the difference between academic and commercial works. ...more

Swinging Modern Sounds #79: The Rhythm Section Speaks

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Maybe there is something important about rock and roll now, rock and roll the neglected past tense of a musical form, and that is that it is the music of adults. ...more

Album of the Week: Tei Shi’s Crawl Space

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Tei Shi is Valerie Teicher—born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, raised between Bogota, Colombia, and Vancouver, Canada, she now lives in New York after graduating from Boston’s Berklee College of Music. Her new album, Crawl Space, out now from Downtown Records, is her coming-of-age diary transposed into music.

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The Rumpus Mini-Interview Project #77: Hauschka

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Lion could be a simple homecoming story, the prodigal son returning to the place he was born. Except, the son in question was six when he left. Now, he’s twenty-six and his story is far from simple. Garth Davis’s film, like his TV offering Top of the Lake, is a beautiful, emotional rollercoaster. 

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Sound & Vision: Matt Sullivan

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Allyson McCabe talks with Matt Sullivan, founder of Light in the Attic Records, about how he’s preserved the label's commitment to great music while also meeting the demands of a changing, and often challenging, market. ...more
Annie Lennox - Nostalgia | Rumpus Music

My Life with Annie Lennox: Nostalgia

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I don’t use the term “lifelong hero” frivolously. There are a lot of people I respect and wish to emulate; Annie Lennox, however, is the only “lifelong hero” I’ll ever have. I need her. ...more

Wanted/Needed/Loved: Weyes Blood’s Mysterious Kris

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To this day no one really knows where my kris came from or whether or not it’s a significant part of my family history, if it’s a random object or an heirloom with an untold story. ...more

Album of the Week: Jay Som’s Everybody Works

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Jay Som is the musical project of San Francisco singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Melina Duterte. The moniker was found via an online baby name generator and means “Victory Moon.” Everybody Works is her sophomore release, out via Polyvinyl Record.

Writing, recording, playing on, and producing almost every bit of her new album, Duterte keeps her signature DIY approach—wedding lo-fi rock to hi-fi home orchestration, and weaving evocative autobiographical poetry into energetic punk, electrified folk, and dreamy alt-funk.

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Leonard Cohen - You Want it Darker | Rumpus Music

Sound Takes: You Want it Darker

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There are hard lessons about aging and dying and living on You Want It Darker that we’re not going to ever be done with until we either cure death or forget Leonard Cohen. ...more

Album of the Week: Nadia Reid’s Preservation

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“I remember recording the tracks, it was about 11 at night, and I felt almost transcendental, as if I was out of my body, singing these words to myself. That’s what these songs are: a confession to my future and past self.” So Nadia Reid introduces her sophomore album Preservation, out now on new British label Basin Rock.

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Swinging Modern Sounds #78: Conceived as a Playlist

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Shadowbahn [...] is among the most unusual, and most extreme, in a literary career that has often been marked by its unpredictability. ...more

Sound & Vision: Leah Hayes

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Allyson McCabe talks with Leah Hayes, acclaimed illustrator, graphic novelist, songwriter, and musician. ...more

Album of the Week: Peter Silberman’s Impermanence

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“It’s not the notes you play, it’s the notes you don’t play.” This quote from Miles Davis is what inspired Peter Silberman during the make of his first solo album, Impermanence, out now via Transgressive.

Forced by a temporary hearing impairment to leave Brooklyn, Silberman learned to deal with silence and its ungraspable dimensions in a quiet place in upstate New York, slowly reintroducing even the softest sounds into his life bit by bit as time went by, making music whispering words with an acoustic guitar, and singing about his illness and recovery.

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Mister Loveless - Grow Up | Rumpus Music

Albums of Our Lives: Mister Loveless’s Grow Up

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These golden years, precious and ephemeral, are falling in pieces at your feet everywhere you turn, and part of you thinks, let them. You almost wish, despite yourself, for this all to just go faster. ...more

Album of the Week: Molly Burch’s Please Be Mine

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Torch songs, i.e. “sentimental love songs, typically one in which the singer laments an unrequited love,” were once the flagship of every respected crooner: with sultry lonesomeness, a smooth voice would dance above the elegant orchestra accompaniment, singing of lovers lost or unreciprocated romance.

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Wanted/Needed/Loved: Allison Crutchfield’s Sewing Machine

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When I’m away touring, my clothes are my connection to home, my way of feeling myself. ...more

Album of the Week: Sinkane’s Life & Livin’ It

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Take a musician born in London, raised for a time in Sudan, and relocated to Ohio at five years old. Have his parents make him listen to Bob Marley, and let him eventually discover great Afrobeat like William Onyeabor, and Pharoah Sanders’s legendary saxophone.

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Song of the Day: “Gin House Blues”

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Nina Simone’s troubles were highlighted in the recent gripping documentary by Liz Garbus, What Happened, Miss Simone? Though Simone had her fair share of challenges, it was her incredibly resonant voice and musical genius that contributed to the gradual accumulation of legends surrounding her.

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