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Labels We Love 2006

Everyone seems to be mourning the death of the label. Corporate monoliths–and even more monolithic blanket orgs like the RIAA–would rather spend their time suing the crap out of tech-savvy teens than allow the imprints they've swallowed up to actually develop artists. We still believe that the best music–and the curation, design, packaging, and sense of community that comes with it–is independent, created by teams of devoted, creative individuals with super-honed zeitgeist feelers and a profound respect for the art and the craft. Read more » 

Douglas Coupland's JPod

Vancouver's Douglas Coupland defined youth in the early '90s with works like Generation X and Shampoo Planet, coaxing deeper meanings from a tech-obsessed generation's collective neuroses. Nearly 15 years later, Coupland faces the question: Will he become obsolete, or merely retro, like some adored but aging game console from childhood?

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The Presets: Post Rock, Moving Hips

Before 29-year-olds Julian Hamilton and Kim Moyes were The Presets, they were studying piano and percussion, respectively, at Sydney's Conservatorium of Music. And, like most arty kids rebelling against the system (in this case a hard-core regimen of music composition and theory), the pair also had an experimental band in the works. "Prop was instrumental music with vibraphones and marimbas and keyboards," explains Hamilton. "It was a bit like Tortoise. You know, music for the soul, instrumental, film-scorey, 'meaningful' music."

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Jamaica To Toronto: Studio One

The history of Studio One and every Kingston recording hut and soundsystem of the '60s has been told many times through Soul Jazz and Trojan Records compilations. But while their liner-note scribes venture into every nook and cranny of the music's fascinating history, their stories all seem to end in Jamaica. Read more » 

Breakcore: Live Fast

What defines the current breakcore scene–a style and community rising from the ashes of gabber, noise, breaks, and ragga jungle–is what doesn't define it. Even Jace Clayton (DJ /rupture), who's known for his erudite commentary, can only describe it in vague terms. "It was this amazing danceable noise with some kinda reggae bass/base to it," he writes of the first time he heard breakcore scene pioneer DJ Scud play at one of the Soundlab parties in New York.

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