• Magik Markers / Photo by Art-Utility

    Album of the Week: Stream Magik Markers' Post-Hiatus Psych-Punk LP 'Surrender to the Fantasy'

    "Nobody would make art if they were sensible, logical, or responsible," Magik Markers' Elisa Ambrogio says about the creation of the noisy experimental-rock group's latest LP. "That's why we called the album Surrender to the Fantasy. I think when we were making the album, I even wrote down that we have to surrender to the fantasy.""Fast-forward four years and we actually get it done," her bandmate Pete Nolan agrees drolly."There was way too much surrendering to the reality," replies Ambrogio.It's not the only excuse the Magik Markers have for the amount of time it took the trio — multi-instrumentalists Ambrogio, Nolan, and John Shaw — to create the follow-up to their last LP, 2009's Balf Quarry. Prior to this lengthy recording break, the group had put out about 40 releases — LPs, CD-Rs, 7-inches — in a seven-year period beginning in 2002. "We have been spread out," says Nolan.

  • Erik Danielsson of Watain at Irving Plaza, New York City, October 8, 2013

    Smoke Breaks With Satan: The Strange Days and Sinister Nights of Watain

    "There is going to be a lot of blood," says Erik Danielsson, standing outside Manhattan's Irving Plaza. "It's a Watain concert."At this point, that almost goes without saying. Over the past decade, Danielsson's band, Watain, have become infamous for their sinister, spectacular live show. In concert, Danielsson and Co. praise Satan, wear clothes Mad Max might deem déclassé, and douse themselves and audience members with putrid-smelling cow plasma, all while playing their insanely intense black metal. In a genre devoted to extremism, Watain are perhaps the most extreme band touring right now.

  • Korn

    Korn's Paradigm Shift, Testament Singer's M.J. Tribute, and 8 More Metal LPs in Grind Time

    Korn - The Paradigm Shift (Prospect Park)’ Simplicity — whether deceptive or blatant — has always been the secret to Korn's success. Most reviews zero in on the group's signature "nü-metal wallop," and that's because their thud is just as primal, just as base, as anything frontman Jonathan Davis slobbers out. It's that economy of thump that made tracks like "Freak on a Leash" and "Falling Away From Me" MTV smashes — but it's also what made 2004's "Y'All Want a Single" their most laughable release ever. So it was a curious thing in 2011, when the band released the busy, cluttered Path of Totality, a divisive record that predicted and amplified the cross-pollination of metal and dubstep the same way their first few releases hinted towards rap-metal.

  • us3, cantaloop, oral history, 20 years ago

    Biddy Biddy Bop: The Oral History of Us3's Bold Jazz-Rap Breakthrough 'Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)'

    The Blue Note Records catalogue dates back to 1939 — and names like Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Ornette Coleman are just the tip of the iceberg for the most iconic jazz label in history. But the imprint didn’t score a platinum album until 1993, thanks to a smooth bit of scatting improvised by rapper Rahsaan Kelly: "Biddy biddy bop." The song it appeared on, "Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)," was a one-of-a-kind jazz-rap crossover for a London-based crew calling themselves Us3, reaching No. 41 on Billboard's Hot 100 and settling into MTV's Buzz Bin rotation. And it never would have happened if first they hadn't broken the law.The recording group, built around producers Geoff Wilkinson and Mel Simpson, began with a white-label 12-inch called "The Band Played the Boogie," released under the name NW1 on the fledging sampletronica label Ninja Tune.

  • A masked Win Butler joins the crowd at 299 Meserole

    Arcade Fire Prank the Crowd, Spurn the Hits at '$500 Gift' Brooklyn Show

     "We've all got things to hide," goes a throwaway line in "Reflektor," the disco-thumping lead single and title track of Arcade Fire's upcoming fourth album. But by the time Win Butler sang it last night at 299 Meserole — a converted warehouse space in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn — it had become a kind of mission statement.Arcade Fire had booked the show, along with others in Miami and Los Angeles, under the pseudonym the Reflektors. The last time the Montreal group played a concert in New York City, it was two supersized nights at Madison Square Garden, and since then their status as one of the world’s biggest bands has only grown.

  • Red Fang 'Whales and Leeches' Album Stream Interview

    Album of the Week: Stream Red Fang's Sludge-Pop Triumph 'Whales and Leeches'

    The way the members of Portland sludge-pop crew Red Fang tell it, their third album, Whales and Leeches, was a total rush job. "We had almost no songs when we started," bassist-vocalist Aaron Beam explains about the two-month window before their recording session. "It was like frantic-panic songwriting sessions." The result of this frenzy is a record that's heavier than their usual brutal boogie: hyper-charged bulldozer riffs, lyrics about a doomed winter and death tolls, and bellowed vocals that recall burly forefathers like Mastodon and Baroness. With a couple of songs featuring guest appearances by Mike Sheidt of doomsters Yob and Pall Jankins of mopey indie rockers Black Heart Procession, the group has upped their own ante, whether they intended to or not."I didn't really like that pressure, because you can't turn on and off the creative juices," guitarist David Sullivan says.

  • Windhand

    Windhand: Virginia Doom Merchants Master the Slow Stomach-Churning Rumble

    Who: Known for their snail's-pace stoner metal, imbued with artfully placed feedback, this Richmond outfit has released three albums since it formed in 2008. "I met the rest of the band by answering a Craigslist ad," Windhand frontwoman Dorthia Cottrell says. "It said they wanted a vocalist who likes Electric Wizard, the Melvins, and Sonic Youth. When I first joined, their songs were faster, but when it all came together, we developed our current sound." Windhand's latest, Soma, unveils slow-churning tracks that last from six-and-a-half minutes to almost half an hour. While that may sound grueling, it affords the songs an emotional depth that's moving in a way rarely approached by other doom bands; but it can also trigger some unwanted movements. "It always, always, always makes me feel like I have to take a shit," Cottrell says. "The rumbling shakes my bowels really bad.

  • Korn (L-R) James

    Korn's Jonathan Davis on Addiction, Head's Return, and Lessons from the Satanic Bible

    When vocalist Jonathan Davis opened up Korn's 1994 debut single, "Blind," by growling, "Arrre youu ready?!" it wasn't so much a question as it was fair warning, a salvo for a nü era. For the past 20 years, the boys from Bakersfield, California, have managed to stay at the vanguard of metal expression. In addition to (for better or worse) spawning the nü-metal subgenre, they were among the first bands to incorporate hip-hop beats with guitar heaviness, and with their 2011 album The Path of Totality, they even incorporated dubstep. Love 'em or hate 'em, they're American originals.Korn's latest album, The Paradigm Shift, finds the group again experimenting with electronic music on the single "Never Never" and indulging their heavy side elsewhere, thanks to help from original guitarist Brian "Head" Welch, who has returned after eight years away.

  • Metallica at the Apollo Theater, New York, NY, September 20, 2013 / Photo by Joe Papeo

    A Rage in Harlem: Metallica Storm the Apollo

  • Windhand

    Album of the Week: Hear Windhand's 'Soma,' a Stormy, Virginian Melodic Doom Epic

    "I don't want to get pigeonholed as a 'doom' band," Windhand guitarist Garrett Morris says. "Led Zeppelin had heavy songs and acoustic songs, all kinds of different stuff. That's kind of what we're trying to get to." Despite his intentions, the Virginia group's second album, Soma, is a doomsayer's dream. Full of epic opuses — how about a 30-minute closing number? — it finds the group doling out extra heavy riffs at a snail's pace, augmented with piercing feedback and the spooky vocals of frontwoman Dorthia Cottrell. "It's a style of music that found us," Morris says of why his band has taken this direction. "I feel like when the music is a little bit slower, you can almost see it. It takes longer to absorb. You can hear the crunching of the guitars and the way things are vibrating and moving. It's almost like bees buzzing.

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