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Out Hud: Say Anything

Rumors abound about Out Hud. That they have a drum machine named Phyllis. That they changed their name to !!! when they got signed to Warp Records. Whether it’s their perpetual instrument-swapping or certain associates’ membership in the seven-piece punk-dance outfit !!!, people just can’t seem to get their facts straight when talking about these New York-via-Cali dub ‘n’ dancefloor deconstructionists.

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Jeff Chang's Hip-Hop History

You may not be able to tell from mainstream media’s bling saturation, but hip-hop was not birthed in the back of a Hummer. It was borne out of urban collapse and draconian cutbacks that reduced much of the Bronx to rubble. In that atmosphere DJs, MCs, b-boys, taggers, and gangbangers raged against the callousness of Carter and Reagan and turned it into a worldwide phenomenon.

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Edan: Psychic Out

Look closely at the cover art of Edan’s Beauty and the Beat–a pastiche of swirling colors with Prince Paul, Flavor Flav, and an assortment of old school hip-hop heads draped under ill-fitting afros and mod hairdos–and you might find the 30-minute whirlwind that is the MC/DJ/producer’s second album encapsulated in a nutshell.

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Wighnomy Brothers: Moving East

I’m guessing you’ve never heard of Jena, Germany. It’s okay. I hadn’t either, until I discovered the Wighnomy Brothers. But take a moment to locate it on the map–equidistant from Berlin and Frankfurt, it lies 100 miles or so west of Dresden, hovering perhaps 50 miles north of the Czech border. And take a good look at the cities nearby: Leipzig, Zwickau, Chemnitz. Why? Read more » 

The Books: Reading Between the Lines

The title of The Books’ third album, Lost and Safe, is the damn truth. Listen: bluegrass melodies on banjo and fiddle contorted into paperclip sculptures; crates of samples seemingly dug by a blindfolded Goodwill shopper; lyrics that make accidental sense. It sounds like everything from Asiatic Appalachian folk to a soundtrack for a future where robots made of empty tomato cans, ham radios, and duct tape rule the world.

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