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Yuki Chikudate and Neil Halstead

Yuki Chikudate, frontwoman for New York atmospheric rock combo Asobi Seksu, was just a piano-playing teen in Southern California when British singer-guitarist Neil Halstead released his first record with shoegaze heroes Slowdive in 1991. But after a few extracurricular lessons in Sonic Youth and Stereolab, Chikudate traded in classical for a decidedly noisier approach to music. Halstead, now the frontman for country-tinged Mojave3, has quieted down significantly. Read more » 

Get Physical: Electric Company

Every once in a while, a label comes along that we can't stop loving. We fiend for their next release. Their 12"s capture something in eight minutes that entire albums can't capture in over an hour, and we are forced to listen to them over and over. Their anthems define important moments for us, in and out of the club. Over the last two years, that label has been Get Physical. First, they bombarded us with DJ T.'s electrifying Boogie Playground album and massive anthems from Booka Shade ("Mandarine Girl") and M.A.N.D.Y. ("Body Language"). Read more » 

Mr. Dead: Off the Deep End

If MF Doom is hip-hop's vaudeville villain then horror/B-movie makeup artist and MC Mr. Dead is rap music's Vincent Price-or maybe its Peter Sellers.

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Nicolay In the Studio

The Foreign Exchange's Connected was one of 2004's biggest surprises, simply because of how it was produced. The hip-hop record was proof-positive of how far the internet has taken recorded music. Raleigh, NC-based rapper Phonte (of Little Brother) and Dutch DJ/producer Nicolay concocted an entire album without seeing each other in person or even speaking on the telephone. They met through an Okay Player message board and began swapping audio files across the Atlantic via Instant Messenger, eventually piecing together a seamless record. Read more » 

AG: Andre's New Posse

Andre Barnes (a.k.a. AG) no longer lives in the Patterson Houses-where he saw Grandmaster Flash and Grand Wizzard Theodore scratching in the park as a small child, and scribbled the impeccable rhymes on Showbiz and AG's impossibly mature Runaway Slave LP as a teenager-but he's still very much a part of the tapestry here.

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