Features

No UFO’s: An Interview with Konrad Jandavs

February 10, 2017

No UFO’s: An Interview with Konrad Jandavs While Konrad Jandavs isn’t entirely a household name, you might still be familiar with his work. The Vancouver-based musician first broke out in 2010 with Soft Coast, a vibrant dose of modern kosmische musik that put other cosmic synth dabblers to shame. Initially issued on his own Nice Up International... 

Slip’s February 2017 Batch

February 9, 2017

Slip’s February 2017 Batch The London/Berlin-based Slip imprint is getting 2017 off to a strong start with two deeply intimate, thrillingly adventurous releases set to land on CD, cassette, and download. Julia Reidy’s Dawning On is comprised of three solo 12 string guitar meditations. Lazy points of reference for Reidy’s... 

Losing Control: Jae Matthews and Gus Muller of Boy Harsher

January 19, 2017

Losing Control: Jae Matthews and Gus Muller of Boy Harsher Boy Harsher is Jae Matthews and Gus Muller, originally formed in Savannah, Georgia and currently living in Massachusetts. Their first full-length, Yr Body is Nothing, was a runaway success on DKA Records last year, following up a well-received EP in 2014, Lesser Man — which saw several of... 

Escape to Atlanta with 10th Letter

January 17, 2017

Escape to Atlanta with 10th Letter 10th Letter is South Carolina-born and now Atlanta-based Jeremi Johnson, a longtime producer/multi-instrumentalist with a brilliant flair for idiosyncratic beats and atmospheres. As I wrote last year, I first encountered 10th Letter thanks to the defunct Wigflip imprint out of Baltimore — a pioneer... 

It’s Hitting Hard: Ed Balloon on Life as a Young Black Artist at the Dawn of the Trump Age

January 5, 2017

It’s Hitting Hard: Ed Balloon on Life as a Young Black Artist at the Dawn of the Trump Age As submissions go, Ed Balloon’s email regarding his Yellow 20-Somethings mixtape stood out. For the music it contained, certainly, because Balloon knows his way around a tune, but also for the way, in a single short paragraph, the Boston native encapsulated the fear and uncertainty that America... 

Decoder Podcast #05: Czaszka, Graham Dunning, German Army, & Strategic Tape Reserve

December 15, 2016

Decoder Podcast #05: Czaszka, Graham Dunning, German Army, & Strategic Tape Reserve When I recorded the introduction for this episode of the Decoder podcast, it seemed very very much like the American election results would be the worst and weirdest event that I would have to register. As of my writing, multipurpose and studio spaces across the country are being targeted in an energetic... 

Tristan Perich: Working Inside the Insane Limitations of 1-Bit

December 8, 2016

Tristan Perich: Working Inside the Insane Limitations of 1-Bit Personal computers stand as one of the most substantial inventions of the 20th century, to some great extent because of how they’ve reframed our very identities. Our laptops, tablets and phones intersect with many branches of our lives, especially the methods by which we entertain ourselves. In... 

Sharing the Same Air: Raven Chacon in Concert

November 30, 2016

Sharing the Same Air: Raven Chacon in Concert Among all the invective, babble, and rage of this American election year, even someone with a deep concern for environmental politics could forget that 2016 is the centennial of the National Park Service. Maybe that sounds less important than the approach of a disastrously bigoted president-elect, yet... 

Side-by-Side: Tombed Visions Bring Fire Music For the Trump Era

November 17, 2016

Side-by-Side: Tombed Visions Bring Fire Music For the Trump Era I’m writing this on Thursday 9th November, the day we in Europe woke up to the results of the US election. (SPOILER WARNING! STOP READING NOW IF YOU’VE YET TO SEE THE FINAL EPISODE). I’ve spent the day lurching from wry sarcasm, to confused rage, to hopeful optimism. Walking along... 

Zeena Parkins: Modernizing the Harp and Jolting the Ear

November 8, 2016

Zeena Parkins: Modernizing the Harp and Jolting the Ear Outside a small church in Brooklyn, a crowd lingers in the September air, delaying facing the pine-scented humidity inside. A modest drum kit and a small harp wait in front of the pulpit. The triangular harp catches the eye, a sleek, minimalist update of its bulky orchestral ancestor. Two musicians... 

I Explored My Love of Céline Dion: A Conversation with True Neutral Crew’s Brian Kinsman

September 29, 2016

I Explored My Love of Céline Dion: A Conversation with True Neutral Crew’s Brian Kinsman The canny inclusion of early mixtape selections and hard-to-find one-offs with True Neutral Crew’s debut album soft rules was a boon to long-time listeners and the previously uninitiated alike. Not only do songs like “Modern Art” and “New Shit” — both from 2014’s... 

Rhythmic Composure: An Interview with Will Long

September 9, 2016

Rhythmic Composure: An Interview with Will Long Will Long is no stranger to reinvention. While the Japan-based, America-bred producer is probably best known as Celer, his long-running and eternally melancholic ambient project with modern classics issued on Sequel, Digitalis Limited, Blackest Rainbow, Experimedia, Spekk, and many more; Long has also... 

Decoder Podcast #04: David Nance, Dino Spiluttini, Wounded Knife, & Stuff Muzak Supplement

July 28, 2016

Decoder Podcast #04: David Nance, Dino Spiluttini, Wounded Knife, & Stuff Muzak Supplement Welcome to episode four of the Decoder Podcast! For this installment, David Perron of Free Form Freakout speaks with a fellow-David, Omaha-based DIY recorder David Nance, about older releases and preparing his new LP for Ba Da Bing Records. Spool’s Out host Tristan Bath speaks with Vienna-based... 

Compositions Are Born: Raising Kids with Zach Cooper

June 16, 2016

Compositions Are Born: Raising Kids with Zach Cooper Today, more than ever, music is unstable. As the BPM of modern life steadily increases, our history fades as our timelines grow. Artists scramble to stay relevant as once serene songs turn stale and fame’s fifteen minutes is reduced to a fleeting 140 characters. Faced with this frenetic pace and... 

Spirits Rejoice: An Interview with Astral Spirits’ Nate Cross

May 17, 2016

Spirits Rejoice: An Interview with Astral Spirits’ Nate Cross Time was, rock criticism was rotten with youngsters stealing the pennies off the eyes of Lester Bangs’ corpse. They’d wheedle around a non sequitur ledge before going bug-eyed about a band that was almost always some variation on the same geocodes and same genre gestures, holes torn in the same... 

Live Report: M. Geddes Gengras @ Rare Air (4.12.2016)

May 5, 2016

Live Report: M. Geddes Gengras @ Rare Air (4.12.2016) On any given night, patrons at Seattle’s Q Nightclub might expect to hear bumping house music in a setting that’s 50% ultra lounge, 50% dance club, and 100% meat market. The club’s specs boast a state-of-the-art sound system, which is accurate, but the vibe is not one that particularly... 

Remembered By A Tone: An Inquiry with Ulver’s Kristoffer Rygg

April 28, 2016

Remembered By A Tone: An Inquiry with Ulver’s Kristoffer Rygg When I was in my teens, I loved black metal and I loved snow. Naturally, this meant I loved Ulver, whose debut album Bergtatt blends glacial banshee-screeching thrash with stately neo-folk to recount a fairy tale in an ancient Norwegian dialect. Then I grew up, moved away from a blizzard-friendly climate,... 

Side-by-Side: Ratskin Records, A Tale of Two Shows

April 15, 2016

Side-by-Side: Ratskin Records, A Tale of Two Shows Ratskin Records has a prolific output rivaled only by how puzzlingly unnoticed by the public it seems to go. The imprint has unleashed sounds from noise veterans and neophytes alike, including legends like Bastard Noise and countless local unknowns. I took it upon myself to correct their lack of exposure... 

Side-by-Side: Life Like’s Winter 2015-16 LP Batch

April 5, 2016

Side-by-Side: Life Like’s Winter 2015-16 LP Batch Fred Thomas’ Life Like label has accumulated a massive discography since beginning in 2010, filled with little-heard gems and treasures that barely anyone knows about, as some of them were only limited to a dozen copies or so. Easily one of my favorite releases in the label’s catalog was... 

Into the Haunted Labyrinths of Sister Grotto

April 1, 2016

Into the Haunted Labyrinths of Sister Grotto I met Madeline Johnston in the summer of 2012 when she performed at my house at the time in West Nashville, Tennessee — which was dubbed Richland Ballroom — under the name Mariposa, while on tour from Denver, Colorado. We had a mutual friend in Albuquerque, New Mexico-based artist and... 
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