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Steve Albini: Black Magic

If '80s punk was about finding nothing sacred and everything profane, Chicago's Big Black was it. Steve Albini and Santiago Durango's guitar swordplay imitated the symphonies of the city's meatpacking houses, while bassist Dave Riley broke bones with each pluck. Their heartbeat was inhuman, with the locked rhythms of Roland drum machines igniting each salvo. And what really punctured the skin was Albini. His verses were snapshots of the Middle American wasteland: a bored slacker igniting himself for kicks, a dog trained to attack blacks, a Minnesota town running a child sex ring.

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K-Swift: Baltimore's Club Queen

This is music as martial law. Tons of stuttering trombones bleat out a shuffling time like "Taps" on cocaine. Snares back up against each other and pop-pop like automatic gun fire. Demanding bass reinforces the boom-clack-bounce-shuffle of the breaks and the militancy of the samples–repetitive staccato orders like "Watch out for the big girls!" and "Open it up! Give 'em some room!"

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The Drama: Virginia Is For Artists

"The Drama goes way back, so far back I can't remember," shares Joel Speasmaker, the founder and creative director of the Richmond, VA outfit with the suitably melodramatic name. Founded in 2000 as a collective of likeminded underground Virginian artists, The Drama's core seven members (who now live all over the country) organize art shows and run an online store, as well as publish a totally awesome art and design magazine. Read more » 

Semi-Permanent Design Conference

When it launched in 2002, the Semi-Permanent design conference–curated by online magazine/portal Design Is Kinky–made everyone jealous they didn't live in Sydney, Australia. But this fall, the little design conference that could will journey from the land of wallabies to the home of 50-cent franks and papayas. Semi-Permanent NYC 2005 (held September 9-10 at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall) will feature events and lectures with a worldly group of unusual suspects from art and design. Read more » 

Hank Shocklee vs. Jason Forrest

Jason Forrest's music (formerly released under the Donna Summer alias) is a crazy pastiche of recognizable pop themes and postmodern noise, from glitch to cock rock. But before 34-year-old Forrest was performing demented laptop surgery, he was a kid from the deep South finding solace in punk rock; and somewhere–in between playing dubbed cassettes of Bad Brains and Minor Threat down to the nibs–a friend turned him onto Public Enemy. Read more » 

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