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Album Review: Hesitation Marks, by Nine Inch Nails

September 4, 2013
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Album Review: Hesitation Marks, by Nine Inch Nails

Trent Reznor’s great career inquiry, post-The Fragile (1999), has been thus: how does one transition from the the noisome trappings of raw, teenage angst into an adult sphere without coming across as exaggerated and ridiculous? His solutions have have been a mixed bag: With Teeth half-baked, Ghosts I-IV spotty, The Slip texturally interesting if...
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Q&A: Solar Temple Suicides On Fears, SCarey Studios, and the Japanese Nuclear Disaster

June 6, 2011
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Q&A: Solar Temple Suicides On Fears, SCarey Studios, and the Japanese Nuclear Disaster

The first instrumental element you’ll take real note of in a Solar Temple Suicides song is the bass. It’s not shy, that bass. It’s prominent in the mix: bold, booming, probing, a sweet, mellow groundswell carrying the rest of this Baltimore-based group’s earthenware psychedelic grooves on its muscular back like an enormous, oversized tortoise,...
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Q&A: Spermwhales’ Brent Grant on Casios, the Time Warp EP, and Danny Glover

November 12, 2010
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Q&A: Spermwhales’ Brent Grant on Casios, the Time Warp EP, and Danny Glover

Spermwhales songs have titles like “Daydreams,” “Dwell Forever,“ and “Surf Out Of Forever” that telegraph the cerebral, blunted atmospheres that Spermwhales’ Brent Grant taps into with little more than a guitar, effects pedals, and an impeccable melodic intuition. His prismatic, hypnotic drones, tonal-pond ripples, and Wavves-esque surf-noise is nothing short of beautiful. Occasionally, as...
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Q&A: Jeff Henley of Things That Fly on Working At TGI Fridays, the Ataris, and Life After God

October 18, 2010
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Q&A: Jeff Henley of Things That Fly on Working At TGI Fridays, the Ataris, and  Life After God

Baltimore’s Things That Fly need a superhero movie to soundtrack like sparrows need nests–something hopeful, inspiring, and flashy, teeming with twentysomething angst and hormones and moral prerogatives and slow-motion explosions. Comic-book drama would be a perfect fit for the stirring emo-pop singer/guitarist Jeff Henley, 26, and guitarist Arthur “Paul” Hemlock, 27, whip up together....
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Q&A: Warpaint’s Jenny Lee on Billie Holiday, Exquisite Corpses, and Los Angeles

August 16, 2010
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Q&A: Warpaint’s Jenny Lee on Billie Holiday, Exquisite Corpses, and Los Angeles

The guitars of Emily Kokal and Theresa Wayman interlocking in sequin-sparkle shimmer or sinuous smolder; Jenny Lee Lindburg’s bass notes pacing thoughtfully at melody’s edge; Stella Mozgawa’s keyboards adding depth and texture to the whole even as her drumming propels it. This is the intoxicating sound of Warpaint , an Los Angeles-based foursome whose...
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Q&A: GayBomb on Vivaldi, Charles Nelson Reilly, and Antique Computing

June 9, 2010
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Q&A: GayBomb on Vivaldi, Charles Nelson Reilly, and Antique Computing

By day, Andrew Barranca works as a special educator, assisting children with autism. In his spare time, the Fredrick native (who now resides in Rockville) moonlights as GayBomb, whipping up sonic-slurry shakes–created in part using a card reader Barranca discovered “in the supply closet of my first classroom”–that suggest a hybrid of industrial noise...
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Know Your Product: Various artists, You’re Not As Weird As You Think You Are: Six Years of Public Guilt (Public Guilt)

June 2, 2010
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Know Your Product: Various artists, You’re Not As Weird As You Think You Are: Six Years of Public Guilt (Public Guilt)

A week-long, multi-venue festival, a packed-to-the-gills one-night stand, an ambitiously incestuous remix project-qua-baccanal, a 7-inch series, abject silence: there’s no right or wrong way for a record label to celebrate an anniversary. While the compilation is among the most common commemorative expressions, there’s an unfortunate knee-jerk tendency to underthink the sequencing, clotting odds, ends,...
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Q&A: Fred Schneider on Junking, Holiday-Themed Albums, and the Mastergators

April 9, 2010
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Q&A: Fred Schneider on Junking, Holiday-Themed Albums, and the Mastergators

Fred Schneider sounds exhausted. It’s an evening in mid-March, and the party-pop icon is at home in New York City—holding forth about his recent musical exploits and the impetus for tonight’s performance at the American Visionary Arts Museum—and he just seems wiped out, like most mere mortals are at 10 p.m. on an average...
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Know Your Product: Jonathan Badger, Unsung Stories from Lilly’s Days as a Solar Astronaut (MT6/High Horse)

March 9, 2010
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Know Your Product: Jonathan Badger, Unsung Stories from Lilly’s Days as a Solar Astronaut  (MT6/High Horse)

The first thing you notice about Unsung Stories from Lilly’s Days as a Solar Astronaut is its distinctive packaging, a cryptic collage overlaying a backdrop the color of faded parchment paper: ragged, Ralph Steadman-esque lettering interspersed with distressed typefaces, washed-out snapshots of an ’80s-era sedan and an unidentifiable action figure, aimless doodles, a gray...
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Q&A: White Suns On Brooklyn, Noise, and Baseball

November 13, 2009
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Q&A: White Suns On Brooklyn, Noise, and Baseball

| Image by Chester Given the sulfuric dissonance, clamor, and strife present in White Suns’ noise-punk tumult, it’s hardly shocking that the Brooklyn trio count Sightings among their favorite bands. Performing and recording together, Kevin Barry, Rick Visser, and Dana Matthiessen blaze with a gunfire-stipled, sunspot intensity that befits their handle and recalls, at...
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Q&A: Twig Harper on Baltimore’s Dreamworld Portals, Tape Loops, and the Human Instrument

October 29, 2009
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When we chewed the fat with sonic collagist James “Twig” Harper about his latest compositions recently, the Nautical Almanac co-captain and HereSee co-operator had a great deal to tell us-more than we could cram into the print version of our recent story. In the full-length interview below, Harper clues us in on his unusual...
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Know Your Product: Nuclear Power Pants, Wicked Eats the Warrior (Wham City)

September 24, 2009
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Know Your Product: Nuclear Power Pants, Wicked Eats the Warrior (Wham City)

In the mid-1990s, Nuclear Power Pants would have been lucky to snag a third-string indie stage gig on selected Lollapalooza dates. In the late-’90s, they might’ve found themselves opening for the Make-Up, Olivia Tremor Control, or Love As Laughter. Today, at the twilight of the penny-pinching ’00s, this daffy, nomadic octet—formed in New York...
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Q&A: Lizzie Bougatsos of Gang Gang Dance

August 4, 2009
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Q&A: Lizzie Bougatsos of Gang Gang Dance

| Image by Takahiro Immamura Listening to Gang Gang Dance often feels like drowning in a flood of mysticism: exotic instrumentation trickling down on synth flutterings and dense, bent percussion of both the electronic and organic persuasions, while frontwoman Lizzie Bougatsos lends the surrounding melee an idiosyncratic voice. At times, she’s fiercely ornamental, doling...
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Know Your Product: Creepy Murdle, The Little Things That Kill You (MT6)

July 16, 2009
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Know Your Product: Creepy Murdle, The Little Things That Kill You (MT6)

Baltimore’s Creepy Murdle—bassist Anne Feinstein; her husband, guitarist/snarler Rich Feinstein; and drummer Clay Holland—might be MT6 Records’ most accessible signees yet. Sure, their macro-aggro crunch on debut The Little Things That Kill You comes cloaked a scrim of psychedelic bubblewrap; sure, Feinstein’s clipped, anarchistic dispatches seem to have been recorded via a busted CB...
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Q & A: Dag Rosenqvist of Jasper TX

July 10, 2009
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Q & A: Dag Rosenqvist of Jasper TX

Almost as a rule, we don’t expect weavers of mercilessly dark, navel-gazing music to be forthcoming about either their craft or themselves. So we were shocked, during an e-mail exchange with Jasper TX’s Dag Rosenqvist, to find him so voluble an interview subject. Below is the full interview transcript, much of which wouldn’t fit...
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Q&A: Eric Copeland of Black Dice

June 10, 2009
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Q&A: Eric Copeland of Black Dice

NYC trio Black Dice doesn’t so much make music as it dumpster-dives for sonic refuse, smashes together its findings, and shapes the shards and fragments into disarmingly odd, wobbly sculptures. Listening to albums like Creature Comforts, Beaches and Canyons, or recent dispatch Repo (Paw Tracks) isn’t rock-out-with-your-cock-out gratifying or cathartic; it’s intriguingly puzzling, mysteriously...
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Know Your Product: Ear Pwr, Super Animal Brothers III (Carpark)

May 14, 2009
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Know Your Product: Ear Pwr, Super Animal Brothers III (Carpark)

If a pop-techno album ever warranted its own Surgeon General’s warning, Super Animal Brothers III is it. Something along the lines of: “This disc contains high does of sacharrine and obnoxious cuteness, which may trigger diabetic comas in some listeners. Do not ingest more than once in a single 72-hour period.” What Ear Pwr‘s...
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Q&A: Sonic Suicide Squad

April 15, 2009
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Listening to Washington, D.C./New Jersey trio Sonic Suicide Squad is comparable to watching naturalists attempt to ensnare sharks, cougars, or grizzly bears for scientific or educational purposes. The thrill and thrall are couched in seeing how the capture will play out. Will the struggle be quick and easy, or long, bloody, and visceral? The...
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Q&A: Wavves’ Nathan Williams

March 24, 2009
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Q&A: Wavves’ Nathan Williams

Nathan Williams’ passport is getting a serious workout these days. February and March found the 22-year old San Diego resident and Wavves nucleus blazing a whirlwind noise-pop path through Europe, hitting Prague, Hamburg, Paris, and Leeds, among other cities. Over the past couple weeks, he’s rocked South By Southwest and issued sophomore disc Wavvves...
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Who Wants To Be An MT6 Recording Artist?

March 5, 2009
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The taut, tense guitars lash out with gut jabs and, with the drums slamming along in time, it’s as though the instruments have been coiled and waiting forever for their chance to strike. Yet now that they’re free to do so, they’re determined to unfurl in as surgical a manner as possible: gray-black polygraph...
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