Harmonizing Duo Kings Anchor Inaugural Big Gay Country Holiday

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Jarrod McCabe
Kings, littorally.
I would date boys in high school and college who happened to play the guitar; then I realized, instead of dating them, I wanted to be them," says Steph Bishop, one-half of the poignantly pure-voiced duo Kings, accurately self-tagged as "queer country folkies" with "tight vocal harmonies, strings, stomps...intelligent, inventive songwriting, politics, humor."

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Listen to 'I Can't Breathe,' the Haunting Song for Eric Garner, by We Are Temporary

Categories: Interviews

Mark Roberts, an electronic music producer who works under the name We Are Temporary, knows his latest song, "I Can't Breathe" -- out Tuesday and about the death of Eric Garner -- is manipulative.

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Interview: AC/DC Are Enjoying Themselves Too Much to Retire

Categories: Interviews

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AC/DC 'Rock or Bust' Promotional Photo
For a larger-than-life multi-millionaire rock star, in person, Angus Young is almost scarily diminutive, low-key and frail-seeming. In conversation he's as basic as AC/DC's music -- not many frills or furbelows. As Young and singer Brian Johnson hang outside a midtown Manhattan office building, smoking and joking like the old friends they are, not a single passerby recognizes the duo.

Yet it's been an uncharacteristically busy news cycle for the lineup: Drummer Phil Rudd was arrested on November 6 for the extraordinary charges of attempting to arrange a murder, threatening to kill, and possessing meth and marijuana. And in September came the incredibly sad news that Angus's elder brother Malcolm was suffering from dementia, necessitating his permanent retirement from the band he co-founded in 1973 as its rhythm guitarist.

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Quintron and Miss Pussycat Might Write a Song About You

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Photo by Andreas Staebler, provided by Quintron's publicists
Quintron
It was a snowy Christmas Eve with harpist (and transgender performance artist) Baby Dee and a huckster named Chicken John, at Coney Island High," begins Quintron. "And nobody came to the show. But we played, and at the end of the night, Chicken John got drunk and let a dog hump his leg, and two long-haired acid-head guys who were really into Hawkwind who had heard us on WMFU playing our puppet soundtrack came to see us. And that," declares the singer/organist/inventor, "is my memory of the first show Quintron and Miss Pussycat played in New York back in '96 or '97. It was a beautiful night."

The New Orleans-based duo have enjoyed many wild and wooly adventures since then. Putting out 14 records since the mid-'90s, the pair might be very loosely described as kitschy if quirky-smart party rock -- think an organ-based version of the Cramps meets the B-52's, with puppets -- but there's much more than the festive personas and performances that meet the eye.


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An Interview With Jimmy Page: Turning Led Into Gold

Categories: Interviews

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Photo by Andrew Smith via Wikipedia
Jimmy Page plays guitar better than you.
To paraphrase Led Zeppelin's 1969 psychedelic classic: "What Is and What WILL Never Be." In short, a Zeppelin reunion is what will never be. Seemingly, at least. Guitar genius/producer Jimmy Page wants it; vocalist Robert Plant vociferously does not. So it's not the elephant in the room -- or in this case, on the phone line from London. It's oft-discussed, but Page, uncharacteristically talking to the press and doing public events in the U.S., is laser-focused on promoting his book (the succinctly titled Jimmy Page by Jimmy Page) and the massive year-long-plus Zeppelin reissue/remastering campaign offering previously unreleased "companion audio." Page, 70, is charming and articulate, if slightly cagey, and though there's so much fans want to ask -- ZoSo! Crowley! John Bonham! The Riot House! -- the elder statesman of rock has earned and demands a respect few others can claim.

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Cozz: 'I've Been Given a Platform for a Reason'

Categories: Interviews

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Screengrab from Cozz's "Dreams" video
Cozz has "Dreams."
Over the decades, South Central Los Angeles has acted as an incubator for hip-hop, where rappers and groups like Ice-T, N.W.A., and Cypress Hill pushed the city to become the genre's focal point. After so many years, L.A. has risen again with MCs like Kendrick Lamar and Schoolboy Q, who have aided in the city's musical reincarnation. While the reign of King Kendrick and his TDE crew persists, it's no surprise that L.A. has now churned out another promising young rapper, 21-year-old Cozz, or Cody Osagie, a pleasant addition to L.A.'s growing roster.

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Dej Loaf on Being Rap's Defiant New Female Voice: 'I Don't Think It's Hard at All'

Categories: Interviews

Dej Loaf
Dej Loaf
Move over, "No Flex Zone." Rap's adversarial anthem du jour is newcomer Dej Loaf 's "Try Me." The menacing track is primed for stalking through the streets while fending off haters and naysayers, and with lyrics like, "Let a nigga try me, try me. 
I'ma get his whole muthafuckin' family
/And I ain't playing with nobody/Fuck around and I'ma catch a body," people will think twice before they try you.

Like so many things in hip-hop, it was an Instagram shout-out from Drake in September that catapulted the 23-year-old Detroit native born Deja (Loaf comes from her penchant for loafers) into the spotlight. Drake didn't flip his own remix to "Try Me," but the kingmaker had spoken. Shout-outs from Kevin Durant and Ty Dolla $ign followed, as well as remixes from the likes of Wiz Khalifa and E-40. Not surprisingly, major labels took notice and Dej soon signed a deal with Columbia Records.

See also: The 10 Best Male Rappers of All Time

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Meet Logic, the Punctual, Seinfeld-Loving Rapper Who Turned Down a Deal With Nas

Categories: Interviews

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Via
Hip-hop and Seinfeld nostalgia rarely intersect, but then Logic is not your typical rapper. The 24-year-old Gaithersburg, Maryland, native is in town on a promo blitz for his debut album, Under Pressure, and asks to meet me for breakfast at Tom's Restaurant, the Morningside Heights spot known as Monk's Diner to fans of Jerry, Elaine, and George. He's ridiculously punctual, unheard of in hip-hop, and really nice about my tardiness (even more unheard of). "You watch Seinfeld?" he asks, after ordering a tuna sandwich on white bread, toasted, with light lettuce and cheese. "Jerry Seinfeld is the type of dude who would break up with a girl because she eats her peas one at a time."

Born Sir Robert Bryson Hall II, Logic's regal name and pop-culture affinities seem more suburbia than his tormented, impoverished, and downright fucked-up upbringing. A light-complexioned, blue-eyed biracial child -- he absolutely hates when people incorrectly categorize him as a "white rapper" -- he grew up with a white mother who battled prostitution and addiction while his father, who is black, was addicted to drugs, even scoring crack from Logic's brothers. Terrifying violence was the norm, and Logic recounts seeing his mother and sisters sexually assaulted. His own best friend is currently serving a 14-year prison sentence for stabbing and disemboweling a man on the sidewalk, due to what he believes was a drug deal gone bad.

Somehow, Logic took this as a cautionary example and went the other way.


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'Pray Daily. Love Openly. Live Simply': The Sound of Crown Heights Rapper ScienZe

Categories: Interviews

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Via YouTube
Crown Heights' ScienZe, born Jamal Monsanto, became fascinated with hip-hop at nine years old, when he first heard his older brother -- nine years his senior -- rap with his friends in their family home. From then on, a young Jamal took to writing lyrics in his head, something he believed to be normal for everyone. Jamal's brother was his real inspiration to pursue rapping; as Jamal began to take rap more seriously, he first went by the name Warlock. He then teamed up with his brother to form a producer duo called the Brudaz Grymm. After a while, Jamal went solo, landing on the name ScienZe, which stuck with him.

ScienZe made the move to a full-time rap career in 2009 by dropping his debut project, The DopeNESS Vol. 1. Since then he has released seven solo projects and one collaborative effort (as Divine ScienZe), and now he's set to drop his latest solo work, #BringBackElla, on Tuesday, October 21. Tonight, ScienZe performs at the Red Door's CMJ Showcase with King I Divine as the duo Divine ScienZe. Before his show, we spoke with him about his Ella movement, positivity in hip-hop, and the movie 500 Days of Summer.

See also: The Top 20 NYC Rap Albums of All Time: The Complete List

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'My Inner White Girl Really Likes This One': Taste-Testing Fall Beers With the Doppelgangaz

Categories: Interviews

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Matter Ov Fact and EP at Pop Bar.

Fall is upon us! For hop heads, this means an abundance of pumpkin and Oktoberfest-styled beers popping up on draft and in bottles across the land. But how do you navigate through this tricksy autumnal beer market? Enter EP and Matter Ov Fact, who perform as the discerning upstate rap duo the Doppelgangaz and who have graciously agreed to act as your official fall beer taste-testers. (Gratuitous product plug: You can cop the Dopp Gang's Ghastly Duo EP on tape or vinyl now.)

Holed up at the graffiti-splattered Pop Bar in Astoria, EP and Matter Ov Fact sampled a selection of seasonal brews (including a can of slopwater PBR, in the interests of balance) and then anointed an approved beer for fall. Read on for the Dopp Gang's ruling. (Beer snob disclaimer: Key descriptions include the terms "grandma's attic" and "my inner white girl," and also involve a discussion on breast milk.)

See also: The Doppelgangaz: 'We Hold Dipset Near and Dear to Us'

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