Ear-splitting noise and X-rated rap made for a wild weekend at Chicago’s Red Bull Music Festival

Almost as soon as the lineup for Drone Activity was announced, the snarky social media posts began: “Did you hear about the corporate noise festival?” And the curators behind the show must have seen it coming. Of the monthlong series of events that make up Chicago’s inaugural Red Bull Music Fest, Drone Activity—an…

Here’s how you’re damaging your ears—and what you can do to protect them

One of the central storylines of A Star Is Born is Jackson Maine’s (Bradley Cooper) struggle with hearing loss and tinnitus, made worse by the fact that he’s a musician who performs live concerts and exposes himself to loud sounds on a daily basis. While most of us aren’t famous musicians playing shows every night,…

Fruit Bats sign to Merge, release surreal short film for “Getting In A Van Again”

Eric D. Johnson was stranded. When he called the The A.V. Club from a rental-car counter in Atlanta, the facility was fresh out of cars, bringing a sudden halt to a long day of travel for the singer-songwriter who’s been recording under the Fruit Bats moniker since 1997. Johnson was stranded, but not without support:…

Solange and Anderson Paak lead our 21 most-anticipated albums of November

Often the last big records of the year arrive in November, making it a fair bet that Solange’s “imminent,” highly anticipated fourth album will drop in the next few weeks. There are also promising new efforts on the horizon from Anderson Paak, Dead Can Dance, Cupcakke, Josephine Foster, and Jeff Tweedy, plus exciting…

Beyond “Monster Mash”: 60 minutes of killer tunes for your graveyard smash

Halloween is on a Wednesday this year, which means that all but the most dedicated creeps will be throwing their Halloween parties this weekend. And while it’s tempting to just put “Monster Mash” on repeat and wait for someone to call you out on it, you want your guests to stick around through the witching hour, right?

One of punk’s true originals, Germfree Adolescents is as fresh today as it was in 1978

On her 2007 album How To Win!, stand-up comedian Maria Bamford tells a joke about her mother telling her she looks “mentally ill” without makeup. “Now, when I go home, I’m certain to wear thick green eyeshadow and a line of lipstick around my lips,” Bamford says, before asking in a quivering voice, “Baby look pretty…

Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, and the story of indie rock’s best new supergroup

Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus make records that seemingly flaunt their loneliness to make the listener feel less alone. Devastatingly honest, each singer-songwriter’s most recent record—Baker’s Turn Out The Lights, Bridgers’ Stranger In The Alps, and Dacus’ Historian, all out in the past year or…

Solange's A Seat At The Table follow-up is nearly finished, will reportedly drop this fall

Solange, the pop artist responsible for 2016's neo-soul masterpiece A Seat At The Table, is the subject of a fascinating, far-ranging new profile in The New York Times. The piece explores her early albums and recent forays into performance art, but it also contains a juicy promise for fans: Her new album is not only…

Fembots, dancing queens, and love fools: 60 minutes of Swedish pop

A 2013 article in The Atlantic asked a very good, non-rhetorical question: “Why is Sweden so good at pop music?” The fascinating article outlined some potential answers—prioritization of melodies, government support of artistic endeavors, a supportive community, embrace of cutting-edge technology and sounds—but missed…

Lil Wayne’s long-overdue Tha Carter V, plus High On Fire and more in this week’s music reviews

Lil Wayne’s long-delayed Tha Carter V has enough highlights to carry it through, while metal vets High On Fire offer one of their most ass-kicking albums yet, and Philly DIY rockers Swearin’ return restless and reflective on Fall Into The Sun. Plus, we look at the third LP from Death Valley Girls, Darkness Rains.

Robyn, Thom Yorke’s Suspiria score, and 18 more scary-good albums out this month

The spooky season is nearly here, and with it will come John Carpenter’s excellent soundtrack for the Halloween series’ 11th installment and Thom Yorke’s music for Luca Guadagnino’s masterful Suspiria remake. Beyond horror scores, October offers exciting new records from High On Fire, Robyn, Daughters, Julia Holter,…

40 years after Are We Not Men? we’re just now starting to get Devo

Devo was finished. The quintet—brothers Jerry and Bob Casale and Mark, Bob, and Jim Mothersbaugh—had gotten about as far as they could in their hometown of Akron, Ohio. The former Rubber Capital of the World would eventually find a secondary renown for producing musical outcasts, but in the mid-1970s, its barflies,…

Cher does ABBA, BROCKHAMPTON sprawls out, and more in this week’s music reviews

Of course Cher pulls off the ABBA tribute Dancing Queen. Elsewhere BROCKHAMPTON continues to reveal new shades on Iridescence, and The Joy Formidable’s Aaarth boasts its most off-kilter anthems yet. Plus, we take a look at Chicago indie-rocker Lillie West’s second outing as Lala Lala.

Advertisement