A$AP Rocky, Action Bronson, Joey Bada$$ and the Best of NYC Hip-Hop at SXSW 2015

Categories: Hip-Hop, SXSW

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Photo by Courtney Chavanell
Joey Bada$$ performs at SXSW 2015 in Austin, Texas.
My sneakers are streaked with mud, the flavor of tender carnitas tacos is all but a memory, and the last in a succession of VIP wristbands — which had been piling up on my forearms like a garish rainbow all week — has been cut off. SXSW is officially done.

The annual music fest in Austin, Texas, brought what has become its modern milieu: emerging artists vying for exposure amid big-name acts (usually backed by even bigger-name corporations) in a veritable battle of the bands. The perpetual whispers of whether Jay-Z, Drake, or Kendrick would show up didn't quit, either. From superstars to one-hit neophytes, here's how New York rappers repped at SXSW 2015.

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Swans Deafen Williamsburg and Reveal Plans for New Music

Categories: Last Night, Swans

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Karen Gardiner for the Village Voice
Swans at the Music Hall of Williamsburg
Since their 2010 reboot, Swans have quickly become one of the most absorbing live acts touring today. And so it came to pass on March 22, not even a month since they last played in Brooklyn, that a near-capacity, generation-spanning crowd assembled in the Music Hall of Williamsburg with ears plugged and braced for what would prove to be something of a religious rite.

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The Budos Band Take Their Burnt Offering to Brooklyn

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Courtesy of Daptone Records
The Budos Band
The album cover for the Budos Band's 2005 self-titled debut features an active volcano gushing out lava as it spills downhill. At the time of its release, the group was fresh to the scene with a modern take on soul and Fela Kuti–inspired rhythm that sizzled to the touch. Fast-forward to their most recent gift to the fusion funk gods, 2014's Burnt Offering, and the sounds you hear recall a smoldering wind of change after nearly a decade's worth of tight, Afro-soul instrumentals. At their core, the nine-piece outfit is still the good-cheer-producing ensemble that can inspire the crabbiest of curmudgeons to tap a foot along to their infectious brass beat. It's just that now, Daptone Records' Staten Island ambassadors have broadened their reach into darker-sounding territory, and they've done so while flexing the hell out of a fuzz pedal.

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The Nine Best Concerts in New York This Week, 3/23/15

Categories: Listings, Live

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Catalina Kulczar
David Byrne

For more shows throughout the weekend, check out our New York Concert Calendar, which we update daily.

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Kendrick Lamar's Fans Brave the Snow at To Pimp a Butterfly Rough Trade NYC Signing

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Silas Valentino for the Village Voice
Snow couldn't keep fans away from Kendrick Lamar's Rough Trade NYC signing.
Two thousand Kendrick Lamar fans can't be wrong, but 30 degrees and icy snowfall was definitely an insult. Regardless of the less-than-stellar conditions during the wait outside, fans of the rapper trickled in and snaked around the outer rim of Williamsburg's Rough Trade NYC. First they obtained a copy of this week's biggest album release, To Pimp a Butterfly, as well as a yellow wristband to then face the bleak music of returning back to the cold for another joust with the weather. Though everyone looked like they had white powder caked to their jacket hoods and shoulder tops, spirits and anticipation couldn't have been higher.

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Twisted Sister's A.J. Pero Remembered for Finesse -- And Merciless Drumming

Categories: Metal, Obituaries

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Photo via AJPero.com
A.J. Pero of Twisted Sister and Adrenaline Mob
Twisted Sister and Adrenaline Mob drummer A.J. Pero has died at the age of 55, the announcement coming on March 20 from Twisted Sister's official Facebook page and website: "The members of Twisted Sister are profoundly saddened to announce the untimely passing of our brother, AJ Pero. The band, crew and most importantly the family of AJ Pero thank you for your thoughts and prayers at this time."

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Kendrick Lamar to Pack Rough Trade NYC for To Pimp a Butterfly Signing

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Timothy Norris for LA Weekly
Kendrick Lamar at Made in America 2014
Hooray for playing hooky. Kendrick Lamar, on the heels of the (surprise!) release of this new album, To Pimp a Butterfly, will offer a special signing for the first 2,000 records sold at Rough Trade NYC in Williamsburg March 20 beginning at 1 p.m. Fans who purchase the record will be given a wristband allowing them to return at 4 p.m. for the meet, greet, and signing. Lines will start forming around 3 p.m., so if you want a shot at saying hey to K-Dot, get thee to the L train, stat.

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Five Things We Learned About Gruesome Twosome Ho99o9 at SXSW

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Photo via Facebook
Ho99o9
Don't try to label Ho99o9. The duo (pronounced "Horror") has been dubbed everything from experimental thrashcore rap to horrorcore hip-hop, but nomenclature doesn't do them justice. Originally from New Jersey, the genre-obliterating rappers theOGM (a/k/a Jean) and Yetti999 (a/k/a Eaddy) have garnered attention for their dark and subversive rhymes, touching on topics like drugs, sex, and (most-cited) necrophilia. They're freaks and proud of it. Following the underground success of the track "Bone Collector," Ho99o9 received nods from the Afropunk Festival and Last Call With Carson Daly. This year, they're slated to perform at the Warped Tour and are deep in the throes of their first SXSW. Before going onstage at The Main last night in Austin, Texas, the guys met us in a fittingly weird place: the back alley behind the venue (where we witnessed a domestic assault and the police showing up in the midst of this interview).

Here's what we learned about the ear-catching duo.

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The Ten Best Concerts in New York This Weekend, 3/20/15

Categories: Weekend

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Publicity photo by Randy Gunter
Kaki King performs Saturday at Merkin Concert Hall.
For more shows throughout the weekend, check out our New York Concert Calendar, which we update daily.


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Stand Clear of the Cello, Please: Bach in the Subway Changes Up Classical Music

Categories: Classical

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Photo by Danielle Sessa
Dale Henderson rocks out with his Bach out.
On March 21, 130 cities across 40 countries will host the same 330th birthday celebration. Thousands of classical musicians will gather in public places — like the urban echo chamber of the subway — to commemorate the influence and enduring legacy of Johann Sebastian Bach. Orchestrated by New York's own cellist Dale Henderson and in its fifth year of operation, Bach in the Subways is preparing for its largest celebration yet.

"Classical music is everything that pop music claims to be — it's sexy, it's exciting, it's fun," says Henderson in an interview with DNAinfo New York. "But for several reasons — marketing, the creation of the recording industry — people don't get exposed to it much or they assume it's boring or it's an old-white-guy thing. By bringing live classical music for free, we aim to change that."

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