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Matthew Dear: Confidence Man

Much ink has been spilled over the way that hip-hop artists are increasingly becoming defined by their entourages. Less discussed is the fact that techno is going the same route. (For proof, reference any photograph of the DJ booth when Richie Hawtin is holding court.) The proliferation of discount airlines and the growing notion of a "clubbing season"–marked by the opening and closing parties of Ibiza's biggest institutions–are turning DJ entourages stateless and nimble, as quick as a flash mob and as ubiquitous as a 4/4 kick.


FriendsWithYou: Plush Playgrounds

With so many brands trying to insinuate themselves into your daily life, it's easy to be suspicious of an organization that wants to befriend you. But it's hard to stay cynical about Friends With You, an outfit so upfront about their intent that they've made their mission statement their name.


Explosions in the Sky: Hazy Shades

Fans–whether of sports or music–say a lot of things, not all of them nice. They say the second title is the toughest, that the hardest thing is a repeat. And they repeat these axioms 'til they hammer harder and heavier than any linebacker.

Some teams flare up and out, achieving a pyrrhic victory. Then there are countless tales of bands and ballplayers sacked just short of expectations, no matter how many two-a-days they ran.


Brah! Records: Oneida Flourishes

To most record labels, signing Pittsburgh rock 'n' roll iconoclasts The Dirty Faces would seem like a bad bet. Their music is too experimental–feedback-laden and lyrically post-ironic–for staunch rock fans, but so rife with Iggy Pop and AC/DC gee-tar nods that the black-framed-glasses set cringes. The band's image? Read more » 

So Damn Fresh: Indie Rappers

Following in the footsteps of 2 Live Crew and JJ Fad, Gold Chains and Gravy Train!!!, Snap and Lil Jon, a new club rap canon emerges, guided by the same bass-inundated party-and-bullshit ethos, but availed of above-average vocabularies and high-speed internet connections. Meet Philly's off-the-cuff MC Pase Rock, who many know through frequent appearances with Spank Rock and potty-mouthed partner-in-rhyme Amanda Blank. Brooklyn's Bunny Rabbit and Black Cracker are the sonic incarnation of Williamsburg attitude with their cynical wordplay and sinister beats. Read more » 

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