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Features

Bad Brains, H.R., Photo by Frank White © 1987

Band in D.C.:
Out of the nation’s capital,
Bad Brains came with extraordinary positivity

“What we discovered was PMA was really the Great Spirit,” says bassist and Bad Brains founding member Darryl Jenifer. “The…

July 28, 2015 | Jon Kirby | Articles
Swamp Dogg

Little Jerry Williams reinvented himself as Swamp Dogg, using Southern soul to tackle social issues, comedic parables, and once-taboo subjects

Jerry Williams Jr.’s life is the stuff of legend, yet he never became a legend. He hung out with Louis…

July 24, 2015 | Travis Atria | Articles
Kon

Kon’s Star Time label delivers stellar disco edits

“In 1978, my mother was pretty much a disco diva—a little queen—and would take me to the club on Saturdays,”…

July 17, 2015 | Alexander Speetzen | Articles
Ghostface Killah

In an arena where MCs seldom have longevity, Ghostface Killah has been a pillar of hip-hop since 1993’s Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)

  See this rap shit?  Came at a time that  was accurate.  Twenty years later,  I mastered it. –“In tha…

| David Ma | Articles
Ratatat by Timothy Saccenti

Melody Maestros: As Ratatat, Mike Stroud and Evan Mast have a penchant for making catchy yet cerebral instrumentals, featuring smart interplay between guitar, synthesizers, and crisp beats

“I was so into [Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass]. I had all of his records,” says multi-instrumentalist/producer Evan Mast,…

July 8, 2015 | Allen Thayer | Features
Debbie Harry by Chris Stein

Blondie rose to stardom out of New York City’s burgeoning downtown scene of punk rock and new wave

In 1970s New York City, photography student Chris Stein found his muse in singer Deborah Harry. The two became romantically…

July 1, 2015 | Andrew Mason | Articles
Nu-Shooze-splash

Obscure, jazzy R&B band Nu Shooz took a cue from Portland’s local new-wave scene and morphed into synth-pop stars

Obscure, jazzy R&B band Nu Shooz took a cue from Portland’s local new-wave scene and morphed into a successful synth-pop outfit, crafting the mega-hit “I Can’t Wait” in the process.

June 30, 2015 | Wax Poetics | Articles
Nina Simone

Natural Fact: The Nina Simone Story

Nina Simone had no filter. She spoke with candor about civil rights when many in her position didn’t dare. She sang about uncomfortable subjects and made sure her audiences understood what those songs were really about. Whether due to the demons that haunted her or the overpowering desire for social justice that burned deep in her heart, Simone always told the goddam truth.

June 25, 2015 | Michael Gonzales | Articles
The Expanders

Reggae revivalists the Expanders choose five classic faves

  It’s a good time for fans of the classic ’70s reggae sound. In addition to a steady stream of…

June 23, 2015 | Wax Poetics | Record Rundown
Leon Bridges

Up-and-coming soul singer-songwriter Leon Bridges on his musical influences and style choices

  For the past year or so, young Texan soul singer Leon Bridges has been receiving a lot of praise…

June 16, 2015 | Wax Poetics | Guest Blog
DJ Cash Money

The incredibly insane collection of DJ Cash Money

DJ Cash Money’s legacy as a turntable heavyweight began in 1988 when he won the DMC World Supremacy battle. After…

June 15, 2015 | Paul Sullivan | Articles
Ornette Coleman

Jazz experimenter Ornette Coleman finds the eternal

I’d finally done it. Somehow I managed to scrape together the loot, eighty-some bucks to buy the Ornette Coleman box…

June 11, 2015 | Wax Poetics | Articles
La-Gatta-In-Galore-splash

Obscure Italian film La Gatta in Calore spawns rare soundtrack

Cinema often functions as an incisive social and cultural barometer. At the tumultuous nexus of numerous popular, sexual and political…

June 9, 2015 | David Thrussell | Guest Blog
ZeddCD036 Opolopo - Superconductor

Swedish producer Opolopo chooses five boogie faves

When the promo of Opolopo’s Kick and Bass Rerub of vocalist Gregory Porter’s “1960 What?” landed in November of 2011,…

June 2, 2015 | Andrew Mason | Record Rundown
Patrick Adams at the piano. Photos by Terry Adams.

Disco futurist Patrick Adams found his voice through the synthesizer

  By 1975, disco pioneer Patrick Adams had left his job as a songwriter, arranger, and producer at Perception Records…

May 26, 2015 | Wax Poetics | Articles
Bishop Nehru

New York phenom Bishop Nehru is the new Golden Child of hip-hop

  “I have a lot of books. Right now, back home, I have The Kybalion and I have Stellar Man;…

May 12, 2015 | Alice Price-Styles | Articles
LL Cool J Mama Said Knock You Out (Lenticular)

Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather, and the most memorable boxing entrances

Floyd Mayweather stood prancing in his dressing room at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, long after his cue to…

April 30, 2015 | Ericka Blount Danois | Guest Blog
Rod Lee, Baltimore club

An oral history of Baltimore club

  For more than a decade, Baltimore club has been the soundtrack to the city’s weekend. From the car to…

| Wax Poetics | Articles
Brian Ellis Reflectionz

Voltaire Records is the synthesized sound of San Francisco

Voltaire Records is a modern-day synthesizer label birthed in the eucalyptus-scented air and mild sunshine of Northern California. It is…

April 22, 2015 | Alexander Speetzen | Articles
Lincoln Olivetti

Brazilian producer Lincoln Olivetti remembered by friend and colleague Kassin

Just months away from completing his first solo album in decades, the prolific arranger, producer, synthesizer pioneer and Brazilian “studio…

April 20, 2015 | Allen Thayer | Articles
Chuck D Tupac

Wax Poetics Issue 61 Letter from the Editor-in-Chief

Who’s gonna take the weight?

April 16, 2015 | Andre Torres | Guest Blog
Ed-Ape "Up, Up, Up"

Stones Throw created instant lore with Ed-Ape’s “Up, Up, Up” 7-inch

“When I didn’t have a mic, I rapped on headphones.” –Charizma In 1996, Stones Throw released its first record, “My…

April 15, 2015 | Alexander Speetzen | Guest Blog
Al Green

Al Green strives for perfection

“Since I can remember, women have wanted to get next to me, and when I sing, it’s like they’ve received…

April 13, 2015 | Wax Poetics | Articles
Collage of Music Box regulars. Courtesy of Robert Williams.

Ron Hardy’s radical Music Box mixes and edits defined a new sound in dance music

  When the universally appointed “Godfather of House” Frankie Knuckles left Chicago’s Warehouse club in 1983 to start a residency…

March 16, 2015 | Wax Poetics | Articles
Justice

The Department of Justice’s report on Ferguson

View image | gettyimages.com   On March 4, the Department of Justice released the results of a wide-ranging study on…

March 11, 2015 | Travis Atria | Guest Blog
Brazilian Disco Boogie Sounds

Two fiery Brazilian boogie compilations explore the bumpin’ sounds from Rio to São Paulo

Before I get all academic and try to explain the historical, political, and musical context of these boogie-oogie tunes, let…

March 9, 2015 | Allen Thayer | Guest Blog
Pete Rock

Back to basics with Pete Rock

Pete Rock keeps active nowadays by doing what he perfected as a teenager: putting sounds into his sampler and banging…

February 20, 2015 | David Ma | Record Rundown
Daniele Baldelli Afro Cosmic Disco

Italian DJ Daniele Baldelli created the Afro Cosmic disco scene

  Imagine circling the planet in a spaceship—weightless, far from home, listening to music on your gravity-modified iPod. Or imagine…

February 18, 2015 | Wax Poetics | Articles
Roosevelt-Record-Show-flyer-splash

A gallery of photos from the NYC Roosevelt Hotel Record Convention, 1993–1995

We recently found a stash of photographs from the late, great record dealer John Carraro that we did not use…

February 6, 2015 | Wax Poetics | Gallery
Shabazz Palaces

Ishmael Butler’s Shabazz Palaces is a heavy yet fleeting Afro-celestial experience

We spoke to Ishmael Butler in 2012 after the release of his first Shabazz Palaces long player on Sub Pop, Black…

February 5, 2015 | Jon Kirby | Articles