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Producer Chris Zane on the Sick and Twisted Walkmen

Nick Sylvester | October 6, 2010

Behind some of this year’s best records — The Walkmen’s Lisbon, Les Savy Fav’s Root For Ruin, Holy Ghost’s Static on the Wire — is a young producer named Chris Zane. These are vastly different records too, with their own charm and not much in the way of a heavy producer footprint. Zane seems to…

Dipset’s Return and the Tyranny of Promise

Nick Sylvester | September 29, 2010

This past Friday the Diplomats, a group of Harlem-from rappers who had their heyday in the mid-00s before submitting to a kind of quiet entropy, announced their plans for a reunion concert. Cam’Ron, Jim Jones, Juelz Santana, and Freekey-Zekey appeared together on Hot 97’s Angie Martinez Show, and explained their return with classic Dipset tautologic.…

How Kanye West’s Online Triumphs Have Eclipsed Kanye West

Nick Sylvester | September 22, 2010

If there’s a reason I haven’t written about Kanye West and his recent online triumphs, maybe it’s the feeling that, in the process, I’d somehow be getting played. These triumphs, after all, are in the field of Getting People To Talk About Kanye West. Week after week, he has maintained the spectacle of himself: an…

On Pitchfork’s Top 200 Tracks of the 1990s

Nick Sylvester | September 8, 2010

All last week, the music recommendation website Pitchfork.com rolled out their “Top 200 Tracks of the 1990s” feature. My guess is things haven’t changed much since I last contributed to one of their lists, which means there were a series of rounds in which reviewers suggested possible tracks, then the top editors whittled down the…

On Katy Perry’s "Teenage Dream"

Nick Sylvester | September 1, 2010

This thing is the number one song on iTunes, number three on Billboard, and number one in the overpriced Korean grocery market in my neighborhood. Katy Perry, who sings, is on the cover of Rolling Stone, wearing what I guess is a bra and looking like a bustier version of the 1960s. She makes headlines…

Lost in The Suburbs: How We Failed Arcade Fire

Nick Sylvester | August 25, 2010

I don’t read much rock criticism except the stuff my friends write, but for whatever reason I was curious to see reviews of The Suburbs, the new album by Montreal indie rock band Arcade Fire. If I’m being upfront, this album impresses the hell out of me. I wanted to see what paid professionals thought…

Gathering of the Journalos: The Lessons of Tila Tequila

Nick Sylvester | August 18, 2010

The music festival known as the Gathering of the Juggalos took place in Cave-in-Rock, Illinois this past weekend. You might have heard about this otherwise non-event because Tila Tequila, a celebrity who is famous for being a celebrity, was pelted with rocks, water bottles filled with urine, a bag of chicken tenderloin, and even human…

Jennifer Egan on Goon Squad, Muddiness and the Acrobatics of Eminem

Nick Sylvester | August 11, 2010

Brooklyn author Jennifer Egan had a story called “Ask Me If I Care” in the New Yorker this past March. It’s about, among other things, a group of teenagers making their way through the Bay Area punk scene in the late ’70s/early ’80s. Two of the characters are in a fictional act called the Flaming…

Les Savy Fav’s New LP: Meet Me in the Dollar Bin

Nick Sylvester | August 4, 2010

Two weeks ago the Brooklyn punk rock band  Les Savy Fav saw their fifth studio album Root For Ruin leak online — more than a month before it was due for release. The band reacted quickly, almost too quickly, as if they were counting on a leak all along. A ragged announcement went up on lessavyfav.com entitled I ‘Stole’ Root…

The Mayor of Sound City

Nick Sylvester | July 28, 2010

Sound City, the rehearsal space where I play music, is an all-hours complex located in North Williamsburg near McCarren Park. Technically it is two conjoined buildings, with over thirty separate rooms and bands of every possible shape and temperament. Matt and Kim used to play here, so did Interpol and, according to the Sound City website, Biohazard. The rooms vary…