Tag Archives: feature

Wino Willy’s “Burlap” Reflects Its Maker’s Journey

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Like a lot of young producers whose ambition exceeds their budget, when rapper/producer/DJ Wino Willy (born Charles Corpening) first started experimenting with music-making as a teenager in Edison, New Jersey, he had to get creative. “I used belt-drive turntables, mixers, and random early equipment to make primitive hip-hop beats,” he says. “Then, I strung them together in Audacity. I kept polishing until I started to get decent.” 

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Olivia Neutron-John’s Playful, Pointed Experimental Pop

Olivia Neutron John

Photo by Jen Dissinger

“When you don’t fit into any specific category, you make your own,” says Anna Nasty, aka Olivia Neutron-John, over the phone. “I use language as it suits.” Nasty describes Olivia Neutron-John’s music as “post-bro,” and if that, or the project name itself, doesn’t give it away, they’re very interested in artistic playfulness. But while wordplay and being clever are important, Nasty’s music and artistry is serious. Olivia Neutron-John combines Nasty’s Casiotone—used for synth melodies and drum patterns—with incisive lyricism, and fuses noise, post-punk, and synth-pop into one singularly delightful sound.

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On Her Debut, Claude Fontaine Writes a Love Letter to Reggae and Bossa Nova

Claude Fontaine

Photo by B Plus

Claude Fontaine’s debut LP is a labor of love, written on the heels of a failed relationship—but it is not a breakup album, at least not technically speaking. Sure, there are moments of melancholy on Claude Fontaine. But this is first and foremost a love letter, addressed to the sounds closest to her heart: reggae, rocksteady, bossa nova, and dub. Her airy, yé-yé-style vocals make the dub and rocksteady on the album’s first half feel like a spiritual sequel to Serge Gainsbourg’s late ’70s Jamaican sabbatical, while its final five tracks of retro bossa nova evoke seductive, after-dark, if-these-walls-could-talk lounges—the kind of dimly lit hideaway where Hunter S. Thompson might have guzzled Cuba Libres. What we’re left with is a highly personal pocket guide to multiple, timeless musical styles.

[Listen to an interview with Claude Fontaine on Bandcamp Weekly.]

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The Breeders Bassist Josephine Wiggs Goes Ambient on “We Fall”

Josephine Wiggs

Photos by Peter Ross

“It was really hard going,” laughs Josephine Wiggs. She’s speaking about the emotional shifts she needed to make while working on her meditative, mostly instrumental solo album We Fall during downtime on The Breeders’ 2018 tour. “It was very difficult to switch gear from doing this moody, ambient stuff and then going and playing a rock show.” 

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The Power of Community: Team Dresch Return

Team Dresch

“Is there another word you can look up in the thesaurus? What’s another one for ‘powerful?’” Kaia Wilson asks, an hour or so into my interview with her and Melissa York, of queercore icons Team Dresch. Wilson and York use “powerful” at least 11 times throughout the interview, so often it turns into a running gag—but no other word quite suffices.

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Snotty Nose Rez Kids Are Laying the Groundwork for Future Generations

Snotty Nose Rez Kids

Trapline
, the new record from the Haisla Nation hip-hop duo Snotty Nose Rez Kids, begins with the sound of crackling fire and a voice speaking over a haunting synth patch: “The culture of the Haisla is built on respect. Respect for the land, the air, the water, the animals, and each other. The wa’wais is a track of land; today it’s known as a trapline. That wa’wais is owned by a clan member. The wa’wais boundaries are from sea to the mountaintops. The wa’wais will be protected for future generations. We own only the responsibility to protect the land, the sea, and the air, and all that live within it, for future generations.” 

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Minyo Crusaders Armor Japanese Folk Music for the Post-Modern Age

Minyo Crusaders

In his short story “The Preserving Machine,” Philip K. Dick wrote that “music is the most perishable of things; fragile and delicate, easily destroyed.” The character who speaks that line sets about turning music into DNA to enable it to survive for future generations. In a manner of speaking, the Tokyo group Minyo Crusaders are pursuing the same ends—albeit without the assistance of a laboratory, or indulging in any gene splicing.

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Cate Le Bon’s “Reward” Marks a Turning Point

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Photography by Ivana Kličković

On a recent visit to New York City, Welsh songwriter Cate Le Bon visited an exhibit on the Swedish painter Hilma af Klint at the Guggenheim Museum. There are some similarities between af Klint’s dramatic abstract paintings and Le Bon’s new album, Reward. For one thing, both operate on a grand scale. Like af Klint, Le Bon works in isolation—Reward was written during a year she spent in solitary conditions in rural England. Although the album is intimate in nature, it incorporates a dynamic new palette of sounds, and lyrics that are decidedly more straightforward. In short, Reward marks a sea change in her career.

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