The death and rebirth of Sleater-Kinney

Twenty-five years after practicing for the first time in an Olympia basement, Sleater-Kinney are back — and they’ve created one of the most furious, dynamic records of their career. Janet Weiss lives a few minutes on foot from a cemetery deep in Portland, Oregon’s picturesque, sleepy Northeast region. She has a one-and-a-half-year-old Texas Heeler named DizzyContinue reading “The death and rebirth of Sleater-Kinney”

Enigmatic country singer Orville Peck always wanted to be Mercutio

The masked man at the other end of this Skype conversation tells me that Orville Peck has always been around. He says there’s a photograph of the artist as a seven-year-old boy — Jurassic Park t-shirt on his torso, Stetson on his head, handkerchief over his face. That kid was unknowingly playing an antihero, a reluctant savior,Continue reading “Enigmatic country singer Orville Peck always wanted to be Mercutio”

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 theContinue reading “Open Mike Eagle Is a Warrior”

Mac Miller Wasn’t Done

Seven years ago, a scrawny half-Jewish kid-rapper from Pittsburgh had the best-selling record in America. He earned it by gurning and grinning his way through verses that made sense to the underage drinkers who packed out his shows on college campuses, then laying those rhymes over palatable, poppy beats. Born Malcolm McCormick, he was exuberant,Continue reading “Mac Miller Wasn’t Done”

The Untold Story of ‘The Sims,’ Your First Favorite Jazz Record

The songs that soundtracked the game’s Build Mode introduced millions of unknowing kids to new age jazz. The musicians behind it were just trying to make something that wouldn’t interfere with your landscaping. In a home studio in a garage in a suburb east of San Francisco, some time in 1999, Jerry Martin set aboutContinue reading “The Untold Story of ‘The Sims,’ Your First Favorite Jazz Record”

What Ever Happened to Willis Earl Beal?

After his promising career evaporated four years ago, the songwriter disappeared. Inside an 18-month long, transatlantic journey chasing down a musician-in-exile. The Fortuna Inn is the last sun-battered motel at the end of Drachman Street, a few doors down from the Meat Rack Bar & Grill, on the outskirts of Tucson, Arizona. Through the crackedContinue reading “What Ever Happened to Willis Earl Beal?”

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 theContinue reading “The Woman Who Shares a Body with 14 Different Artists”

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-sidedContinue reading “The Art Rock Rebellion of Torres”

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 discardedContinue reading “Leonard Cohen Taught Us How to Die”