Category Archives: featured music

Certified: Sui Zhen’s Experimental Pop Collects the Fragments of Digital Identity

Sui Zhen

Certified is a series on Bandcamp where we spotlight artists whose work we think is worthy of additional attention.

“I’m not so much interested in technology as I am in what it is doing to us—the emotional ramifications,” explains Becky Sui Zhen Freeman, the Australian experimental pop musician and multimedia artist better known as Sui Zhen. Speaking by phone from her studio in Melbourne, surrounded by vintage drum machines and synthesizers, she ponders the questions that sit at the heart of her artistic practice. “As someone who works in the intersection of art and technology in my day job, I think about this all the time. It weighs quite heavily on me because dealing with this sort of subject matter is one of the prevalent stories of today.”

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A Landlubber’s Guide to Pirate Metal

Heavy metal is the law, and revering outlaws is part of the law. Bikers, thought criminals, heretics, blasphemers, killers all have a space in metal lore. So, why not pirates?

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Weeping Icon’s Roaring No Wave Asks Probing Questions About Modern Life

Weeping Icon

In the Christian faith, there’s a healthy amount of debate about the significance of a weeping icon. The phenomenon, which occurred with striking regularity throughout North America in the 1980s, has been dismissed by skeptics as the result of coincidental water damage. However, many Orthodox Christians regard these events as divine, and perceive the weeping of an icon like Mary to either be a reaction to our humanity’s sins, or an outpouring of mercy and compassion during trying times.

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Album of the Day: The Utopia Strong, “The Utopia Strong”

Steve Davis has enjoyed the most interested career rebirth since Mickey Rourke decided he wanted to punch flesh and bone for a living. Anyone familiar with the sport of snooker will know it’s not hyperbolic to declare Davis one of the greatest players of all time, a six-time world champion who established his own era of domination in the 1980s, when snooker was a staple of British TV. So imagine the bemusement surrounding the native Londoner’s rebirth as a club DJ in recent years; instead of making trick shots, Davis spins records as one “DJ Thundermuscle”—at festivals like Glastonbury, natch. And this was a man once dubbed snooker’s Mr. Dull because of his methodical play? What a time to be alive.

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Ten Divine, Diabolical Feminine Artists Challenging Heavy Metal Machismo

Heavy metal has been challenging the status quo for its past five decades (and counting!) of existence on this doomed planet. But in some respects, rock ’n’ roll’s loudest, wildest bastard child has skewed more traditional and—in matters of gender, race, and identity—downright conservative. And yet from Jinx Dawson, Bolt Thrower’s Jo Bench, Nuclear Death’s Lori Bravo, Cretin’s Marissa Martinez, to Sunrot’s Lex, women and nonbinary people have been heavily involved in the evolution of the genre since it was barely a glimmer in Tony Iommi’s eye. Yet, even now, as they are creating some of the most challenging and exciting music in metal’s history, some reactionary elements that still regard metal as a boys’ club continue to persist. Many have been petulantly resistant to making space for anyone else, and at worst, they’ve latched onto misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic, racist, and fascist rhetoric in a misguided last-ditch effort to “keep metal dangerous.” 

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How Mariusz Lewandowski’s Epic, Emotive Paintings Made Him Metal’s Most In-Demand Artist

Mariusz Lewandowski

“Capturing emotions in a painting is similar to showing depth and light. If it is not there, if it is missing, the art is simply flat and it does not look good,” explains Mariusz Lewandowski, a Polish painter whose artwork, by the venerable Encyclopaedia Metallum’s count, has emblazoned the covers of 10 metal albums since 2017. Emotion is as integral to his work as his depictions of skulls, scythes, and other standard metal imagery—if not more so. 

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Gourmet Deluxxx Brings the New Generation of Boom-Bap to CD

gourmet deluxxx

The recent resurgence of the underground boom-bap sound in hip-hop has happened in conjunction with the rise of three European indie labels: Tuff Kong Records in Rome, and two London-based labels, Daupe! Media and Gourmet Deluxxx. For the last few years, these imprints have been turning out an endless stream of releases from the top tier of boom-bap’s new wave, including artists like Westside Gunn & Conway, CRIMEAPPLE, Hus Kingpin, and Vic Spencer. But while Daupe! and Tuff Kong focus mainly on vinyl, Gourmet Deluxxx noticed that there was a demand for CDs that wasn’t being met, so they stepped in to fill the void.

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Album of the Day: The Garifuna Collective, “Aban”

The Garifuna Collective has been bringing the culture of the Garifuna people to the world stage for over a decade, and Aban, the celebrated Belizean music group’s latest album, is a rapturous addition to their discography. The group’s name pays homage to their ancestry, as part of an Afro-Indengious community in Central America and the Caribbean. Co-founded by the late Andy Palacio, the collective sings in the endangered Garifuna language, and features Garifuna people from across Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras. As a result, Aban is a vibrant mix of Garifuna and other African diaspora musical traditions. 

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