Author Archives: Editorial

Sheet Metal and Spray-Painted Trash: Wolf Eyes’ Deep, Noisy Discography

Wolf Eyes

“A song becoming definitive when an artist decides to hit record isn’t really the case, man,” says Nate Young, founder of noise project Wolf Eyes. “It’s never the definitive version, especially with the kind of music we’re dealing with.” For 23 years, that’s been a guiding principle in Wolf Eyes since it began with Young splicing a found tape loop from an answering machine with Paul Winters’s new age/smooth jazz release Wolf Eyes. He gave one copy to friend, and soon-to-be bandmate, Aaron Dilloway, called it “Wolf Eyes,” and almost immediately began amassing what is now one of underground music’s deepest catalogs.

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Album of the Day: Dexter Story, “Bahir”

During the first minute of Bahir, the new album from multi-instrumentalist and producer Dexter Story, a steady beating drum crescendo slowly evolves into an intricate composition: traditional jazz pianos, classical strings, wind chimes and East African percussion playfully mingle with cymbals that almost sound like a rushing wind. The opening track, “Techawit,” feels like an introduction to Dexter Story’s brand new world — a place where the musician can toe the line between different dimensions, embracing the pull of history and tradition, while conjuring a new, seamless fusion between the old and the new. Continue reading

Flow Fi Records is a Hub for Forward-Thinking Beatmakers

Flow Fi

“I’m sick of working different jobs,” Ananthu Nair explains on the phone from Sydney, Australia, where he’s currently based. “I want to be my own boss. I want to call my own shots. I want to be the Malayalee Jay-Z.” Better known as enigmatic producer aywy, Nair is soft-spoken—and reluctant, at best, to chat about himself. He’d rather talk about Flow Fi, the label he co-founded in 2014, and currently leads as creative director. Since gaining attention from publications and audiences in 2014 and 2015, Flow Fi has found itself at the forefront of the experimental beatmaking and hip-hop underground, offering sounds that swing confidently between genres like alt-pop and bass-heavy trap. It’s less a label than a vehicle for unfettered stylistic experimentation, with Nair at the helm.

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The Story of Lambchop in Seven Albums

Lambchop

Photos by Steve Gullick

According to Kurt Wagner, “This is how Lambchop started: Nobody wanted to sing, and nobody wanted to write songs, but we wanted to get together and play. So I was like, ‘Uh, I’ll do it.’”  Continue reading

Oakland’s Hot Record Societe Builds a Community of Like-Minded Outsiders

Melanie Charles

Melanie Charles

Despite being firmly rooted in downtown Oakland, the prolific label Hot Records Societe can trace its origins to a fateful day in Ecuador some years ago when the label’s founder, who goes by the pseudonym Arlington Lowell, got stung on the foot by a stingray. Lowell spent the following month recuperating in Ecuador, and took advantage of his solitude to finish an album he’d started at home in Oakland, and to reach out to artists on the internet, including the Belgium-based ShunGu, who have since released music on Hot Record Societe. “[There was more of a garage rock scene] in Oakland at the time,” Lowell explained. “I didn’t see a lot of people doing the same thing that I was.”

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Album of the Day: B. Cool-Aid, “Syrup”

 

It wouldn’t be wrong to describe the music of B. Cool-Aid as neo-soul—but it wouldn’t exactly be right, either. The duo’s work has all the warmth and feel of the Soulquarians, but their spin on it is decidedly more rugged and rap-centric. Long Beach, CA producer Ahwlee favors the sound of Dilla’s solo productions rather than his work with that collective And Pink Siifu, the musical polymath from Cincinnati, Ohio, moves between rapping and singing so subtly that the distinction between the two is often negligible. In short, B. Cool-Aid situate themselves comfortably at the intersection of neo-soul and indie rap.

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Grind Upstarts Noisem Claw Back From Tumultuous Hiatus, Fiercer Than Ever

Noisem

Photo by Andrea Dieguez

Noisem covered a lot of ground in their first three years of existence. Between 2013 and 2016, the Baltimore five-piece released their first two albums to widespread acclaim, opened for Carcass on Decibel Magazine’s annual tour, and in June 2016, announced that they had signed to metal mega-label Relapse Records. When the dust settled, only one member of the band was older than 21. With a new album set to be recorded later that summer, Noisem seemed unstoppable.  Continue reading

With Tragedy As Her Tailwind, Ingrid Chavez Soars On “Memories Of Flying”

Ingrid Chavez

When asked to consider the largely unpredictable trajectory of her career, poet, songwriter, and visual artist Ingrid Chavez is quick to point out the most important common thread in all of her work. “I’ve always just done whatever I felt like doing,” she explains. “But I have noticed that it generally takes me three to four years to make something new. That’s just because I’m living my life, and I’m writing as I go. I’m not just trying to churn out songs, I’m only trying to find things that are meaningful to me.” Meaning, as it exists in Chavez’s work, takes on many forms—from pure spoken-word poetry to sultry, Badu-esque jazz-inflected trip hop to breathy electronica, her work spans a variety of genres and an even wider spectrum of collaborators, many of whom make appearances on her forthcoming solo record, Memories of FlyingContinue reading