Music

Album of the Week: Vic Mensa’s The Autobiography

By

At only twenty-four, Vic Mensa is already an established member of the Chicago music scene and a social justice activist—from protesting his hometown police department after the shooting of shooting of Laquan McDonald to flying to Standing Rock and joining with the protestors to fight against allowing construction the Dakota Access Pipeline, he’s made his political feelings known.

...more

Sound & Vision: Nicole Georges

By

Allyson McCabe talks with Nicole Georges, illustrator, zinester and educator, about her new book Fetch, how she got into the DIY punk scene, and family secrets. ...more

Album of the Week: Mellow Waves by Cornelius

By

Cornelius is the alter ego of the legendary Japanese composer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Keigo Oyamada.

Twenty years after releasing their iconic album Fantasma in 1997, and putting an end to an eleven-year-long silence, the Tokyo-based musician and his band are now back with Mellow Waves, out now via Rostrum Records.

...more

Staying Syncretic: A Conversation with Kool A.D.

By

Kool A.D. discusses his debut novel, OK, the war on drugs, systemic destruction of left-leaning movements by the government, and the inability to escape American capitalism. ...more

Swinging Modern Sounds #82: Joni Mitchell’s Court and Spark: A Symposium

By

...yet she did what she did, and in the process made the most successful album of her career. ...more

Album of the Week: Something to Tell You by HAIM

By

Four years after releasing their impressive debut album Days Are GoneHAIM are back with their long-awaited sophomore project, Something to Tell You, out now via Polydor.

The three Angeleno sisters Este, Danielle, and Alana have kept their distinctive, classic rock sound—inherited from the cover band they fronted in the early days together with their parents—smoothed out by the perfect production of longtime collaborator Ariel Rechtshaid, with help from Rostam Batmanglij.

...more

The Summer of Lana Del Rey

By

Three summers ago, I did nothing but drive around Middlebury, Vermont, blasting Lana Del Rey and chain-smoking cigarettes. It was—and I will be dramatic, because that is how it felt—an act of survival. That summer I was in an academic program where we were only allowed to speak or be spoken to in French.

...more

Sound & Vision: Leah Hennessey

By

Allyson McCabe talks with Leah Hennessey, a co-creator of the DIY web series Zhe Zhe, about the art of performance in the age of Trump. ...more

Album of the Week: Dust by Laurel Halo

By

Born in Michigan but currently based in Berlin, Germany, Laurel Halo is one of the most compelling electronic producers around. Halo’s third album, Dust, is out now from Hyperdub, and is breaking all preconceptions about women in electronic music.

Mixing experimental beats, synth pop, and abstract sounds, with techno hints that peek out in her live sets, the classical and free-jazz trained musician creates a new, 3D sonic experience in her compositions.

...more

Album of the Week: Fake Sugar by Beth Ditto

By

After rising to fame a decade ago with her band Gossip, and following a five-year silence, Beth Ditto is back on the scene with her first solo album, Fake Sugar, out now via Virgin.

Ditto’s charming pop performances find a new awakening in the twelve tracks of the album, on which she sings again about love, relationships (with her wife of four years, in particular), friendship, and human rights.

...more

Wanted/Needed/Loved: Brendan Canty’s Vintage Drums

By

I just remember when I first started playing that set how beautiful and perfect it was. Having a real instrument really made a difference. I started really playing! ...more

Album of the Week: Bravado by Kirin J. Callinan

By

“With every decision I made, I picked the least-tasteful option,” Australian singer-songwriter Kirin J. Callinan told the FADER in discussing how his newest album, Bravado (Terrible Records) came to be.

A wacky yet riveting  journey into the clichés of contemporary pop but with a distinguished sonic quality and production, the album features guest appearances from DeMarco, Weyes Blood, James Chance, Alex Cameron, Connan Mockasin, Owen Pallet, Sean Nicholas Savage, and the Finn Family.

...more

Swinging Modern Sounds #81: On Cultural Preservation

By

The Lost Boys had their moment in the media, but these people, these survivors, not boys at all and not lost now either, are still here, living lives, growing and changing and thinking and reflecting. ...more

Album of the Week: True to Self by Bryson Tiller

By

Bryson Tiller made himself known in 2015, when, hailing from the streets of Louisville, KY, the then-twenty-two-year-old singer, rapper, and songwriter posted his debut single “Don’t” on his Soundcloud page, introducing a new style that blends “the urgency of trap music with the smoother sound of alternative R&B.” Subsequently, Tiller released his first album, T R A P S O U L, via RCA.

...more
S'morez - The Recipe | Rumpus Music

Meet the Internet’s Strangest Rap Enigma

By

S’morez is a young rapper from New Jersey with an all but exclusively online presence, and in June last year he put out one of the strangest mixtapes of 2016, The Recipe. ...more

Album of the Week: She-Devils by the She-Devils

By

Coming from Montreal’s notable music scene, the She-Devils, Audrey Ann Boucher and Kyle Jukka, approach their music-making more as visual artists than songwriters. Boucher draws and paints cartoon-influenced images, including the group’s album art, and Jukka is a “sound sculptor,” molding sonic pieces from samples and loops.

...more
The Beatles - White Album

Elegy with Records on the Doorstep

By

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

By

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.

...more

Sound & Vision: Bob Egan

By

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

By

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

By

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

By

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

By

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.”

...more

Album of the Week: Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN.

By

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.

...more