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François K: Echo Effects

One typically associates François Kevorkian with the soulful deep house of his Wave Music label or the eclectic disco and Afro-Latin sounds commonly heard at his long-running (but now defunct) Body & Soul event. But in the last year or two, the haunting, stripped-down soundscapes of UK dubstep have grabbed the attention of this NYC house torchbearer.

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Aesop Rock: Daydream Nation

If you're not prepared to pay heed to rapper Aesop Rock's gravelly baritone, his complex lyrics can easily overwhelm. Reflexively branded one of hip-hop's most abstract wordsmiths, the Definitive Jux mainstay appears to operate on a different wavelength, his dense rhyme schemes relying on seemingly inscrutable verbal algorithms. But a close listen reveals a dedicated artist continually honing his craft, someone trying to convey strikingly detailed stories by way of eclectic and novel language. Read more » 

Pete Leonard's Favorite Things

NYC's King Stampede brand is such a big name in streetwear, you might think they rock hip-hop all day every day. Wrong! Read more » 

Simon Reynolds: 20 Years of Noise

Though he's lived in Manhattan nearly 15 years, British music writer Simon Reynolds has championed UK underground sounds like grime and jungle long before we Yanks caught wind of them. Following his groundbreaking tomes on rave culture (Generation Ecstasy) and post-punk (Rip It Up and Start Again), Reynolds' latest book, Bring the Noise (Faber), collects 20 years' worth of his journalism and criticism, focusing on the relationship between white alternative rock and black street music.

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Icepick: Too Cold

In Icepick (Gingko Press; hardcover, $29.95), Icelandic graphic designer Thordis Claessen surveys her homeland's vibrant street art and finds it invigorating and inspiring. Read more » 

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