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Vex'd: Being Cross Sounds So Good

Since moving to London from the cheery (if boring) suburbs of Maidenhead, 26-year-olds Jamie and Roly have been pissed off and broke. You might even say Vex'd. Luckily, such conditions are ideal for making sinister grime tunes, the likes of which can be found on their debut album, Degenerate. With horror movie strings and samples, menacing sine wave basslines and chopped breaks that are the equivalent of a baseball bat to the skull, the record makes the ultimate argument for grime as the music of a generation raised on videogames. Read more » 

Ladytron: Spell Bound

Of all the early praise directed at Ladytron for their new record, Witching Hour, the response that resonated most came in the form of tough love from a longtime friend. Upon hearing the album for the first time, Steve Pross, formerly the manager of the quartet's now-defunct label Emperor Norton, took founder Daniel Hunt aside and said, "You are now the band you were pretending to be five years ago." Others might have interpreted this as a backhanded compliment, but Hunt knew exactly what he was trying to say. Read more » 

Micromusic.net: Home of 8-Bit

Considering that most people's exposure to electronic music first comes through videogames, it's no surprise that micromusic.net, the world's most active chip and 8-bit music portal, just celebrated its sixth anniversary. Hackers and modders, gamers and musicians meet to chat, post tunes and events and trade bits of software in this vibrant community. Read more » 

Steve Spacek: Future Soul Flying

When it comes to musical collaborations, Steve Spacek has led something of a charmed life. From his highly regarded partnership with the band Spacek to vocals for GB and Platinum Pied Pipers, the London-born singer and producer has become synonymous with effortlessly hot future soul. So it's no surprise that when he hooked up with beat baron Jay Dee (a.k.a. J. Dilla) for a track on Spacek's first solo album, cutting a classic was kid's stuff.

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Philip Smart In The Studio

It's hard to imagine any movement slipping through the cracks in New York, yet the story of reggae/dancehall here remains largely undocumented. Colored with artists like Sister Carol, Shinehead, Scion Sashay Success, Sammy Levi and, yes, Shaggy; labels like Wackies, Jah Life, Wittys and Mr. Doo; and soundsystems like Downbeat, King Addies and LP International, it's a legacy somewhat blurred by the dual citizenship of many of its practitioners.

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