We call this feature Labels We Love but we might as well call it Labors of Love, since that's really what this is about: mavericks ignoring prevailing record-industry "wisdom," flipping the bird at common sense–and sometimes common decency–in the name of supporting music that needs to be heard. Every year we hear that the indie label is going to die, often from the owners themselves; despite this threat, our favorite imprints just seem to be getting stronger and more important than ever (especially in the face of the practically useless mergers... We mean, majors). Read more »
Tortoise's polyglot approach to music is grounded in the work of three percussionists–John McEntire, John Herndon, and Dan Bitney (a.k.a. Bumps)–who integrate elements of dub, funk, jazz, and numerous genres into the band's instrumental compositions. But despite the wealth of side projects they're involved in, they've never made a percussion album together... until now. Read more »
"World music" is a horrible idea. It makes you think of corny CDs with "native" drawings that are sold at the Nature Company; stuff to twirl around to at hippie festivals, songs that aging beardos play at dinner parties to seem well-traveled. The term itself is offensive, creating an artificial distance that places Western music on a pedestal, and music from "the rest of the world" into a bin labeled "exotic" or "outdated" or "unintelligible."
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The OutKast-affiliated Dungeon Family, arguably the crew that established Southern hip-hop as a creative and commercial force, is a locus for imaginative artists bent on self-exploration. So it made sense that Janelle Monae, a young and ambitious singer from Wyandotte County, Kansas, would find her way to OutKast's Big Boi in Atlanta.
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You might call the lush, liberal landscape that stretches from Portland through Seattle and British Columbia the "Pacific Northwest." But to some it's Cascadia–a name that is both a reference to the region and a part of a shorthand, half-joking slogan (Free Cascadia!) for a particular state of mind, if not a proposed state. Cascadia celebrates a community of freedom and open-mindedness–and it's not just a hippie hangover from the surplus of quality local bud.
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