Even Country Music Is Ready for Marijuana Legalization

It has been rough and rocky traveling for cannabis cowboys for most of the 40 years since "Me and Paul," the hounded-by-the-Man classic in which Willie Nelson tipped off like-minded longhairs to the presence of narcs in Laredo. "If you're staying in a motel there," he warned dryly, "don't leave nothin' in your clothes."

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The Dance Cartel Brings Jubilation and Humor Back to Dance

Categories: Feature

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Photo Sasha Arutyunova
It is rehearsal, several weeks before the dance company's return to the Ace Hotel for its oft-packed On the Floor and it is time for new material. Dancers do half cartwheels through the studio floor, slow move with a disco ball, point a leg and shoot (as if their leg was a semi-automatic) and fly with a make-shift cape. They are focused, watching their characters in the mirror and seeing what sticks, and they are laughing, joking about how silly they look.

This new opening they're trying to build, explains Dance Cartel founder and choreographer Ani Taj, who was surveying the scene, seeking nuggets for the show and rehearsing new moves herself, is a way to magnify the dancers' own quirks. Days before she'd asked them to consider, "What's the Power Ranger or superhero version of you inside the Dance Cartel? How does that assemble into this wacky team?"

See also: Inside NYC's Burgeoning Folk Scene

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Ratking Redefine NYC Hip-Hop on New Album So It Goes

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Photo via XL Recordings
It's 6:30 pm on a Tuesday and it's hectic on West 14th Street outside Babycastles Gallery, where the three members of the up and coming hip-hop group Ratking are trying to figure out how to get all of their friends into their album release show. Upstairs, the two floors of the gallery are already filled to the brim with 19 and 20 year old kids, enough diversity to fill 30 university brochures, though administrators might shy away if more than half the kids looked like these: hair-dyed, tatted up and smoking like freight trains.

I'm outside talking to Patrick Morales, the 20 year old de facto leader of Ratking, if only by virtue of being the most extroverted member of the group. Morales, who goes by the name Wiki--short, curly-haired--is gracious enough to concede to doing an interview just 30 minutes before show time, even as we're constantly interrupted by the scores of his friends and acquaintances coming by to congratulate him on the album.

See also: The 50 Most NYC Albums Ever

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Mosh Pit Paintings Capture the "Barbaric Yawp" of New York Hardcore

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Courtesy Jonathan LeVine Gallery
Vision of Disorder (2013). Click for larger version.
Update: See photos from the exhibition's opening.
Dan Witz is painfully familiar with the sweat-stained violence of New York hardcore punk concerts. Attending shows in Brooklyn and Long Island by the bands Agnostic Front and Vision of Disorder, Witz has suffered black eyes, a broken finger, and various cuts and bruises. He once had a camera slammed into his face. He started wearing steel-toe boots to protect his feet.

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

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The Pack A.D.'s Favorite Songs of Bands They Get Compared to

Categories: Feature

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Courtesy of Speakeasy PR
The Pack A.D.
Vancouver garage rock duo The Pack A.D. get compared to a lot of other bands, but according to drummer Maya Miller, their influences are "more obtuse" than both the old and new rock staples their sound reminds fans and critics of. "It's more sort of literary influences and movies rather than music," explains Miller. On the band's excellent fifth album, Do Not Engage (out in January), they drew inspiration from Stephen King novels and 2001: A Space Odyssey was a muse for one of the tunes.

This time around, we let The Pack A.D. draw their own comparisons, and had them list a few of the bands people have cited when discussing the duo. Maya gave us some of her favorite songs by the bands as well as a song off Do Not Engage she feels most deserves the comparison, though the band's tunes are wholly and perfectly original.

See also: We Bet on Horses (and Met Bill Murray) With Dinowalrus

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After More Than 10 Years, East Village Radio Is Just Getting Started

Categories: Feature

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Photo via EVR
Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig on East Village Radio
The producer who helped turn Amy Winehouse and Lily Allen into stars. The radio legend who first played Biggie and Jay-Z on the air. Two male roommates who have dressed identically every day for the last 12 years. A tiny room, on 1st street and 1st Avenue in the East Village.

It sounds like the formula for a confusing joke. But those are the types of the characters who make up East Village Radio, the pirate-turned-internet station that reached its tenth anniversary last year. Along the way, its members have included some of the most distinctive music personalities in New York City. And the station really got started when it seemed fated to fail: when the FCC decided to shut the place down.

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Goodbye Blue Monday May Say Goodbye For Good Without Some Help

Categories: Feature

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Photos Hannah Palmer Egan
Saturday's benefit at Goodbye Blue Monday

By Hannah Palmer Egan

On a recent Tuesday, Sunday Wright sits at a table at the back of Goodbye Blue Monday. The room is dark: lit with colored bulbs, brick-a-brack and the afternoon glow of 10 or so day-drinkers, conversation keeps to a quiet lull as warm notes of jazz noodle through the air. Later, performers and poets will take the stage in a weekly open-mic that draws artists from the neighborhood and beyond; for some of them, tonight will be their first time performing in New York. Outside, J and Z trains clatter over Broadway; the bar/junk shop/music venue toes the line between Bushwick and Bed-Stuy, inside, all is an insulated hush.

But crisis simmers subsurface, and eavesdropping casual bar chatter reveals a space is in crisis:

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My Favorite Band Played My Garage!

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Chaz Kangas
Flipp, My Mother, My Garage and Me.
If you grew up watching MTV or listening to the radio in the '80s and '90s, chances are between losing yourself in the music and catching yourself in the commercials you heard about quite a few music-based contests for various record label and band promotions. Perhaps you may have even participated in a few by either trying to be the seventh caller in order to win tickets or entering your name, age, and address somewhere at AOL Keyword: MTV. This was a bizarre time in American pop culture when Nickelodeon's Super Toy Run, a sweepstakes where the ultimate prize was the chance to win all the toys you could fill into a cart in five minutes, raised the bar for excessive wish-fulfillment absurdity. There's no harder truth than the disclaimer "Many will enter, few will win." In the summer of 2002, because of one of these contests, I had the tremendous fortune to actually have my favorite band play my garage.

See also: I Swear, I WILL Become Kid Rock's Personal Bartender

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MUST OWN: The Jesus Lizard Book

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Photo by Steve Gullick
David Yow: Perpetually shirtless.
It began in earnest — as Touch and Go Records co-founder Corey Rusk reminisces at the beginning of the engrossing new Jesus Lizard coffee table book titled (in typical Lizard four-letter-word fashion) Book — with 1989's Pure EP and a debut gig that sizzling Chicago summer, alongside Slint and King Kong, inside a local Thai restaurant that hosted exactly one rock show.

It ended 10 years later. And then the Jesus Lizard jerked back to life briefly, in 2009, for a reunion run of some 40 shows (the "re-enactment tour," as frontman David Yow characterizes it today) before going dark again.

Until now, albeit in literary form. The gorgeously crafted, 176-page hardcover Book — co-designed by Yow and Chunklet's Henry Owings, a long-time friend — dives deep and candidly into the Jesus Lizard's first decade and touches a bit on that 2009 coda, too. Through many thousands of words, hundreds of photos, and collected ephemera, it celebrates the sweat, menace, humor, musicianship, lasting power, and genitals of one of the best bands ever coughed up by the rock underground.

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Bob Dylan's Star-Studded "Halftime Show" Gets Deluxe Treatment

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Bob Gruen/Columbia Legacy
Check out the star power at the concert finale! Why so morose, Sinead?

"Thanks Bob! Thanks for having Bob Fest!" Neil Young enthuses at one point during his set at the Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary Concert.

And though methinks that the October 1992 show at Madison Square Garden paying tribute to the Bard of Hibbing was due more to the planning of Columbia Records than the honoree himself, the megastar-studded event found a wide swath of performers covering Dylan's deep songbook.

It was capped off by a solo and collaborative set from the man himself, and now available again in a 2CD/2DVD-Blu-Ray Bob Dylan: The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration -- Deluxe Edition (Columbia/Legacy). As VH-1's Bill Flanagan offers in the liner notes, what "could have been a last waltz instead turned out to be rock and roll's greatest halftime show."


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