Guest Spots: Georgia Anne Muldrow challenges the food system’s status quo

Georgia Anne Muldrow: SeedsGeorgia Anne Muldrow: Seeds (Stones Throw, 3/27/12)


Georgia Anne Muldrow: “Seeds”

Global food politics didn’t crop up on many albums last year, but it featured prominently on one: Georgia Anne Muldrow’s Seeds, the title track of which became known as a “diss track” to Monsanto, the infamous multinational agriculture company. Here the Las Vegas-based songwriter and record producer talks food, farming, and our environment of fear, giving us a lot more than two cents — pretty generous for an artist who admits she’s living paycheck to paycheck.

Interview: Dan Deacon on the importance (or lack thereof) of formal music education

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Dan Deacon: AmericaDan Deacon: America (Domino, 8/27/12)


Dan Deacon: “Lots”

In a police lineup of today’s most unique young composers, Dan Deacon would be easy to spot: big, red hipster glasses and a big, red half-moon beard. But despite the “charming doofus” look, Deacon’s blend of synthesizers, vocal effects, and acoustic percussion is some of the smartest electronic music around, and he owes its complexity at least in part to his time studying composition at the Conservatory of Music at SUNY Purchase. Here he discusses what his education meant to him, the enormity of student debt, and forcing musicians to study math.


Review: Matmos’s The Ganzfeld EP

Matmos: The Ganzfeld EPMatmos: The Ganzfeld EP (Thrill Jockey, 10/16/12)

“Very Large Green Triangles”

Matmos: “Very Large Green Triangles”

You’re in a chair, wearing headphones, with white noise hissing fuzzily at you from either side. Ping-pong balls have been scissored in half and set over your eyes, with a purplish light beaming at you from just inches away. You can’t see. You are told that the experiment will last 30 minutes. It may not work.

David Byrne & St. Vincent

Review: David Byrne & St. Vincent’s Love This Giant

David Byrne & St. Vincent: Love This GiantDavid Byrne & St. Vincent: Love This Giant (4AD, 9/11/12)


David Byrne & St. Vincent: “Who”

David Byrne has one of the most recognizable voices in music, ranking somewhere between Bob Dylan and Michael Stipe. No doubt this is why everyone wants the former Talking Heads front-man to guest on their records. Dirty ProjectorsArcade Fire, Jherek Bischoff — they’ve all taken advantage of the static friction of that back-of-the-mouth tenor.

But Love This Giant, Byrne’s collaboration with St. Vincent, a woman who’s known more for her multi-instrumentalist abilities than her voice, is the first full-length he’s co-written with anyone other than Brian Eno.

Dan Deacon

Review: Dan Deacon’s America

Dan Deacon: AmericaDan Deacon: America (Domino)


Dan Deacon: “Lots”

It takes a certain type of self-confidence to Sharpie tits on a map of the United States and call it album art, or loop the sliced-up laugh of Woody Woodpecker for three-and-a-half minutes and call it an opening track. It takes a very different type of self-confidence to craft something as complex, varied, and yet wholly likeable and listenable as “Prettyboy,” one of the most intrepid compositions on Dan Deacon’s newest release, America.

Serengeti (w/ Jel & Odd Nosdam)

Review: Serengeti’s CAR

Serengeti: CAR (Anticon, 7/31/12)



“CAR.” What is that exactly? Chicago MC Serengeti makes a case that it’s all about a funk-fueled vibe under enough scratching to require a daily supply of new vinyl. With the help of Anticon producers Jel and Odd Nosdam, Serengeti (born in Chicago as David Cohn) has released the latest in his double-digit hip-hop discography.

Mucca Pazza

Review: Mucca Pazza’s Safety Fifth

Mucca Pazza: Safety FifthMucca Pazza: Safety Fifth (Electric Cowbell, 6/12/12)

“Boss Taurus”

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If Chicago’s tourism committee was serious about a new theme song—one that made people want to come to Chicago rather than, you know, kill themselves—they wouldn’t have chosen Chicago (the band), Buddy Guy, and Umphrey’s McGee. They would’ve chosen Mucca Pazza.


Review: Liars’ WIXIW

Liars: WIXIW (Mute, 6/5/12)

“No. 1 Against the Rush”

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Once you pair an image to a sound, it’s difficult to scrub away. Like having an actor’s face thrust onto a character from a beloved book, a music video can forever alter a song, and so anyone who saw the Todd Cole-directed video for Liars’ “No. 1 Against the Rush” will always associate its sparse beats and drugged-up synths with the midnight vistas of a derelict city, sprawlscapes illuminated only by the headlights of an unmarked van.

Jherek Bischoff

Review: Jherek Bischoff’s Composed

Jherek Bischoff: Composed (Brassland, 6/5/12)

“Young and Lovely” f. Zac Pennington & Soko

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Jherek Bischoff has more than a few tricks up his very well-tailored sleeves. You know it just by looking at him, at his satin-collared tuxedo and manicured hairdo circa 1939, at his high cheek bones and golden-brown eyes, the color of failing light refracted off coated steel. Bischoff is maybe a renaissance man, maybe one of many. He’s not the only musician whose pedigree includes both experimental ensembles like Xiu Xiu and more classically oriented groups like Wordless Music.


Review: Idyl’s Elements of the Field

Idyl: Elements of the Field

Idyl: Elements of the Field (5/8/12)

“Rio da Duvida”

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Thirty years ago, an artist like Alex Dupree may not have gotten past his debut album, a record brimming with both respect for the folk tradition and an insatiable need for experimentation, recorded with a group of misfits from Austin, Texas, who called themselves the Trapdoor Band. He may not have gotten past his second record or his third or the EP that came out between them, music that earned Dupree comparisons to Bob Dylan, at least by the few folks listening. Fortunately, times have changed, and artists like Dupree don’t need to be ratified by the critics’ vanguard to keep making music.

Father John Misty

Review: Father John Misty’s Fear Fun

Father John Misty: Fear FunFather John Misty: Fear Fun (Sub Pop, 5/1/12)

“Hollywood Forever Cemetary Sings”

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Everyone who wants to see a man rip his arm off and beat himself with it, line up here. It’s opening day for Joshua Tillman’s new act, and he promises some violence as part of the transformation from J. Tillman as Sad-Bastard Acoustic Folk Singer to J. Tillman as Father John Misty, a new moniker for a new style and new album, Fear Fun.

Loop 2.4.3

Review: Loop 2.4.3’s American Dreamland

Loop 2.4.3: American Dreamland

Loop 2.4.3: American Dreamland (Music Starts from Silence, 4/24/12)

“Sakura (We Must Love)”

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The “singularity” is the predicted moment in the future when technological intelligence surpasses that of humans and renders all previous knowledge null and void. It’s an oft-discussed sci-fi notion, but not your typical album opener. But Loop 2.4.3 is not, let us state for the record, a typical band. Instead, it’s a “percussion duo” that uses a lot more than percussion: piano, strings, and electronics, as well as voices that are all soulful, raw, and classically trained.