March 13th, 2017 | Category: Interviews
Alexis Desolneux: Heresy for Hire

Once upon a buzz in the conquest of cool, there was a thing called brand hijacking. This was the phenomenon, sometimes frowned upon, of a brand being supposedly inadvertently associated with a certain subculture or movement. Think Pabst Blue Ribbon, Tommy Hilfiger, or Converse Chuck Taylors. It turns on the idea that the image of a brand belongs to the market, not to the company that cultivates that image.
The only antidote is an image so strong that there’s no other way to take it. Over the past several years, Alexis Desolneux and his …

Read on »
March 06th, 2017 | Category: Reviews
The Light at the End of the Tunnel is a Train

I often make a distinction between my favorite bands and the bands I think are the best. Unwound is one of the few bands for which that distinction means nothing: They are both one of my all-time favorite bands and one of the best to ever do it. Unwound have now been apart longer than they were together, but every time I listen to one of their records, I am reminded just how great they were. Numero Group’s extensive new boxset leaves no doubt that they still deserve more attention.
Having …

Read on »
January 26th, 2017 | Category: Interviews
Shabazz Palaces: A New Refutation

The history of hip-hop so far can be seen as split down the middle by the deaths of Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur. In the most oversimplified of terms, there was a reset when street sounds gave way to club bangers. Wu-Tang and Nas stepped aside for Missy and Puffy. Few survived.
Ishmael Butler has been on both sides of that divide. His old New York crew, Digable Planets, was all over the place in the early 1990s, and his new Seattle outfit, Shabazz Palaces, is firmly a part of the …

Read on »
December 29th, 2016 | Category: Essays, Reviews
Firing the Canon: Read This, Not That!

I know you have your giftcards handy, and you’re looking for something new to read. In these times, I often think about books everyone’s supposed to read. I’ve read some of them. Many are damn good and on the list for a reason, but some need to be avoided like carbs or fat or sugar. So, in the tradition of Eat This, Not That!, here are a few of my recommendations:
Instead of the whiney tedium of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig (William Morrow, 1974), read …

Read on »