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Slowthai’s jacked union

The 24-year-old rapper’s debut LP, Nothing Great About Britain, is a combustible response to a country that can’t stop kicking itself. But he’s still Northampton’s child. Tyron Frampton was standing on a corner in his hometown of Northampton one night about a decade ago, getting drunk on Lambrini and smoking up with two of his friends, when a 50-something-year-old man with a frazzled, ash-grey beard walked … Continue reading Slowthai’s jacked union

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Open Mike Eagle Is a Warrior

Mike Eagle recently travelled to Louisville, Kentucky, on two days notice. He had agreed to fight an antagonistic wrestler named Shiloh Jonze, who’d spent weeks prodding at Eagle in hammed-up YouTube freestyles and cringeworthy call-out tweets. Eagle is a committed wrestling fan with a podcast to prove it, but until he stepped into the ring in the Bluegrass State that night (and won), he was no wrestler. … Continue reading Open Mike Eagle Is a Warrior

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How One Rich Man’s Weird Dream Transformed A British Pro Soccer Team

Outside the 3500-capacity AGP Arena in the modest suburban town of Billericay, Essex, a 100-foot-long, 20-foot-high mural depicts Glenn Tamplin’s dream. It begins with the Mayflower setting sail for the New World, jumps ahead somewhat to the formation of Billericay Town FC in 1880, and quickly addresses the club’s modest, amateur-level successes during the 1970s. And then God speaks. Specifically, He speaks to Tamplin, who … Continue reading How One Rich Man’s Weird Dream Transformed A British Pro Soccer Team

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Smoke Some Weed, Take a Walk, and Read This Interview With Neil Young

“They’re beautiful,” Neil Young says of the new melodies he’s had rolling around his head lately. He’s palm-drumming on his crossed legs in a suite at the Four Seasons in downtown Austin, Texas, his black shirt open wide enough to reveal a Third Man Records tee. “But all of the lyrics to the melodies are all profane. Everything’s profanity, which I find to be very … Continue reading Smoke Some Weed, Take a Walk, and Read This Interview With Neil Young

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The Darkness Want to Be Rockstars Again

It’s 9 AM on a bright, frigid October morning in Greenwich, South East London, and a Thames Clipper river bus is floating gently down the water, past St John’s Wharf, carrying a few dozen bemused commuters to Waterloo. At the front of the boat, with the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf glistening in the background, The Darkness, once Britain’s biggest rock band, are playing “One Way … Continue reading The Darkness Want to Be Rockstars Again

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The Woman Who Shares a Body with 14 Different Artists

Patricia sits on a wooden chair in the sunlit ground-floor of the Zebra One gallery in Hampstead, London. Gucci spectacles are buried into her straw-red hair, which falls down as far as the shoulders of her powder blue coat. She points to a painting that’s standing on the floor. This one, she explains, is the work of Ria Pratt. It’s one of the four paintings … Continue reading The Woman Who Shares a Body with 14 Different Artists

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The Art Rock Rebellion of Torres

During Torres’s set at Brooklyn Steel in May, Mackenzie Scott seemed possessed. At the top of every crescendo, her voice spiralled out into a wild grunt or wail; she attacked her guitar like it was an industrial tool. She closed her set that night with “Strange Hellos,” a vengeful song of ominous non-apologies, a one-sided argument backed by clattering grunge guitars. She towered over the … Continue reading The Art Rock Rebellion of Torres

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Leonard Cohen Taught Us How to Die

No tattered papers, no clawing around for narrative, no absence of poetry. It was some way to say goodbye. After hearing Thursday night that Leonard Cohen had died, I found myself hunched over a desk in my apartment, going through the last of my father’s possessions. They comprise a green leather box full of discarded ephemera, once a case for a Spanish brandy, and a … Continue reading Leonard Cohen Taught Us How to Die

Chastity Belt’s Julia Shapiro steps out on her own on Perfect Version

Last April, shortly after a show at The Pilot Light in Knoxville, Tennessee, beloved indie rock band Chastity Belt cancelled the remainder of their US tour, citing “health concerns.” Lead singer Julia Shapiro was in the midst of a crisis. She’d recently had half of her thyroid removed — doctors suspected that it might be cancerous. She’d also broken up with her long-term partner, who’d … Continue reading Chastity Belt’s Julia Shapiro steps out on her own on Perfect Version

Why are these alt-rock musicians suddenly lining up behind Morrissey?

It is usually best to ignore Steven Patrick Morrissey. The foppish former frontman of The Smiths and recent right-wing blowhard now brays from the fringes, his music all but irrelevant, his views as nuanced as those of a toddler in a temper tantrum. His only worthwhile contribution to pop culture over the past decade came when JPEGMAFIA borrowed his name for the brilliant “I Cannot … Continue reading Why are these alt-rock musicians suddenly lining up behind Morrissey?

Lee Fields on the past, the future, God, and the cosmos

The house band is absent when Lee Fields walks onto Carnegie Hall’s gilded, wide-open Isaac Stern Auditorium stage for the 17th annual Van Morrison tribute show. A hard-touring 68-year-old soul singer originally from Wilson, North Carolina, Fields spent decades searching for the right back-up — a group of musicians who could match the crackling, aching ecstasy in his lungs. He found that in the Expressions … Continue reading Lee Fields on the past, the future, God, and the cosmos

Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” makes genre charts look silly

Five years ago, bro-country pioneers Florida Georgia Line released “This Is How We Roll,” a brazen, almost exploitatively catchy single that strung banjo twangs over cringe-inducing rap bars and stole the darkest corner of my heart before vaulting to the top of Billboard’s Hot Country Song charts. You can watch the video for it now and see the frat-house aesthetic of modern country radio coming to life … Continue reading Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” makes genre charts look silly

Spencer Radcliffe and everything else

Seven hours from now, Spencer Radcliffe will perform in front of a bronze Jesus pinned to a five-foot crucifix beneath a flower-shaped stained glass window at Brooklyn’s Park Church Co-Op. In the middle of his set, he will perform “Trust,” a stark and disconcerting song from his 2017 LP Enjoy The Great Outdoors, and he’ll let his head drop to the left while gently pulling the … Continue reading Spencer Radcliffe and everything else

The Walmart Mysticism of Cass McCombs

With an apocalyptic hum, the songwriter tells stories of solipsists and idealists on his new record ‘Tip of the Sphere.’ “I wish to give myself into your hands here, a fugitive from justice, to be held a prisoner until the state authorities of California and the postal authorities of the United States are notified and can act on the matter,” John R. Griffith wrote to the Sacramento Daily … Continue reading The Walmart Mysticism of Cass McCombs

Lil Yachty Is Still Trying to Impress the Doubters on ‘Nuthin’ 2 Prove’

I half-remember that Quality Control compilation record from last year calledControl the Streets Volume 1. It featured Lil Yachty, Nicki Minaj, Travis Scott, Cardi B, each and every Migo, Young Thug, City Girls, Gucci Mane, and Lil Baby. But if you put a gun to my head and confiscated my laptop, I couldn’t say, on pain of death, whether or not it included a song called … Continue reading Lil Yachty Is Still Trying to Impress the Doubters on ‘Nuthin’ 2 Prove’