The Wu-Tang Clan Doesn't Care How MF'ers Feel Anymore

Categories: 2013

mastakillastudio560.jpg
Photo by DeAnn Prinz
Masta Killa guiding us around Wu Tang's studio.
Outside the tenth-floor window of Quad Studios in Midtown Manhattan, the neon and LEDs of M&Ms World caught the eye as a brand new Wu-Tang Clan album blasted through a tiny soundproof room, packed with a who's who of music writers, producers, and chosen few rap fans.

"The second song was called 'Felt' because we don't give a fuck how motherfuckers feel anymore," Wu-Tang impresario The RZA said, about a quarter of a way through a listening party for A Better Tomorrow, the new album he produced for the seminal rap crew. That must be a good feeling, especially as you couldn't hear a fucking thing over the general din of internet friends catching up IRL. But that didn't matter to the RZA, who spoke to us over a mic from behind glass in the soundbooth. He heard only what he wanted to.

More »

Five Times Lee Ranaldo Proved He Was the Driving Creative Force in Sonic Youth

Categories: 2013

London-by-Eli-Collini560.jpg
Photo by Eli Collins via
Lee Ranaldo
Despite a career spanning over 30 years, Lee Ranaldo retains a thirst for unabashed creative expression that is truly rare. So, to ready ourselves for seeing this maverick's latest incarnation, Lee Ranaldo and the Dust, at Union Pool this Saturday, let's take a look back at the guitarist/vocalist/writer/producer's five greatest moments.

See also: Watch Sonic Youth Perform on Gossip Girl


More »

Can You Guess the Real Music Genre?

Categories: 2013

chillwave560.jpg
If there is one thing you can always blame music writers for, it's the utterly useless proliferation of genre tags into modern cultural dialogue. The construction of a genre can serve as hot branding for certain publications, it's why a site like Pitchfork was totally happy to nurture an imaginary "chillwave" scene which really only encompassed about five bands in five completely different parts of the world. The connectivity of the internet allows the idea of genre to bind our entirely asymmetrical music scene into something digestible. It's a vain attempt to give meaning and context to something that will always, always be hopelessly obfuscated.

To prove our point, we offer this quiz. Each question will feature three genres that we completely made up. The fourth is a genre legitimate enough to have its own Wikipedia page. Can you see through the fake bullshit to find the real bullshit? Good luck!

See also: Take Our Andrew W.K. Party Tip Quiz!

More »

The Five Sexiest Ugly Guys in Music

Categories: 2013

thomeyes560.jpg
YouTube screen capture
The music industry has a long history of allowing people who should never be getting laid getting laid. It's part of the deal when you become a superstar. James Blunt is still getting laid, the dude from Keane is still getting laid, somewhere around Ole Miss, Bubba Sparxxx is getting laid.

It's a very unique psychological effect, something I call the "sexy ugly guy." Where a flabby, antisocial, or otherwise awkward star stumbles into sexiness out of circumstances and a few adorable quirks. It's a beautiful thing that lets the general public know that, hey, we're only one hit away from being the apple of the world's eye. Here are our five favorite sexy ugly guys.

See also: The 10 Best Male Rappers of All Time

More »

The 7 Best Semi-Extinct Band Logos

Categories: 2013

Wall-kayne-west-1280x1024.jpg
There are plenty of bands out there that arrive with their legacy already in mind. They drape their debut album with their monumental logo and wait for the cult to arrive. Sometimes this works. (The xx currently own one of the most commanding stage setups in music thanks to their all-time great insignia.) But tastes change, as do conceptions of reality, and sometimes the logo that you used to ride with just doesn't make sense anymore. Those old images are left by the wayside as you attempt to redefine who you are as an artist. That's just part of growing up.

We have a certain appreciation for those old logos, images that lived for only a couple albums. We've collected a few to reminisce on a time where the famous people below thought they knew how their careers would play out.

More »

9 Album Oral Histories We'd Love to See

Categories: 2013

RihannaLoud560.jpg
The music industry doesn't produce director's commentary. Your average musician isn't doing press tours, they're doing three hours of phone interviews. Every album has a narrative, a set of circumstances that led up to its tenor and tone, but much of that is left by the wayside.

Music writing's answer to bridge that divide is the oral history. A way to tribute an important record from years past with a personal candor, the best example might be Pitchfork's oral history of Interpol's Turn on the Bright Lights, an album that turned out to be a defining moment for modern indie-rock, but will also never get a segment on 60 Minutes. As it turns out, it's pretty interesting to hear about the moment Paul Banks started singing from the people who were there. So with that in mind, we decided to pick a few albums that we'd love to read oral histories about. There's a good chance none of these will ever happen, for one reason or another, and that only makes us more curious.

See also: The Oral History of NYC's Metal/Hardcore Crossover

More »

Top 10 Power Ballads of All Time

Categories: 2013

bono.jpg
Photo by Helge Øverås via Wikimedia Commons
If we're being completely honest, power ballads are responsible for some of the most resonant music-listening experiences in the entire world. They're a beautiful blend of sentiment and obviousness, a band willfully becoming emotionally available. Everybody makes fun of the power ballad, because sometimes it's hard to admit we gave over our souls so easily. We've all made fun of a lot of the songs on this list, but we've also had private, don't-look-at-me emotional moments with each of them. This is the foundational argument against anyone who maintains that pop music makes evil people, this is proof to any aliens that the human race is not beyond salvation, this is the top 10 power ballads of all time.

See also: Top 10 Douchiest Guitarists of All Time

More »

Five Albums That Make Their Fans Insufferable

Categories: 2013

nasalbum.jpg
There's only a few albums in the world that transcend any scene or genre, and build a following in their own, distinct shadows. It's powerful, and it's mostly good, but sometimes the greatest albums of all time can turn good, solid people into an absolutely insufferable demographic. You know what I'm talking about. Those albums. You're at a party, you asked someone about their favorite records, they reply with a record you both like, but their fandom runs in a dark, depressing obsession -- there's a reason Weezer fans always travel in groups. We went ahead and highlighted a few of these albums, if only to help inspire a bit of sanity back into their steadfast followers. It's never good when a human being can be adequately described with the name of an album.

See also: The 50 Most NYC Albums Ever

More »

Which Philosophies Do These Metal Genres Exemplify?

Categories: 2013

surturrisingcover.jpeg
Metal bands have a beautiful combination of ballsiness and self-importance to put themselves out there, and risk looking hilariously self-serious. Simply put, there's no scene that gels better with my high school philosophy class than metal. You'd always rather read Kant listening to Ulver over Modest Mouse. So with that in mind, we felt it necessary to pick a specific school of philosophy/theology that best associates with a specific subgenre of metal. Because if there's anything we're sure of, it's that Socrates would've loved blast beats.

See also: What Artistic Movements Do These Rappers Exemplify?

More »

Weird Things Rock Stars Have Put Their Penises In

Categories: 2013

9-1208-100_southwest_breakfast_burritos_0.jpg
We've built a culture that breathlessly responds to the reckless id of horny rock stars. It's either another colorful facet of pop culture or the crumbling of our basic human values, depending on how you look at it. What we do know, is that gross white men sticking their penis into esoteric things is a tradition that is not going to change for quite some time. So while we're living in this phallic age, we might as well do our best to evaluate it. Below, you will find a host of weird things rock stars have allegedly put their penis in. We're judging style, hilarity, memorability, improvisation, and of course, immortalization.

See also: Ten Metal Albums to Hear Before You Die

More »
Loading...