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ISSUE 45

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GYPTIAN’S ONE DROP RASTA POP•SUNDAY STYLE AT SWAY•PORTRAITS FROM KABUL PANDA BEAR SEARCHES FOR GOODNESS•PRODIGY’S PAIN•BLACK LIPS’ MUSICAL MAYHEM
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45
THE FADER MAGAZINE
45
THE FADER MAGAZINE
APRIL 2007 APRIL 2007

NUMBER 45 APRIL 07 THEFADER.COM


YOUR
NEXT
SUPER
PRODUCER
RIDING
HIGH
WITH
POLOW
DA DON

+ ROBOT TENSION

LEGEND
MAKER LEGEND MAKER
BILL
CALLAHAN
EMERGES
BILL CALLAHAN
EMERGES FROM THE SMOG
FROM THE
SMOG YOUR NEXT SUPER PRODUCER: RIDING HIGH WITH POLOW DA DON
+YOUR
F
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Fader 45
April 2007

Contents
45

Bill Callahan in East Christchurch, New Zealand, photographed by Derek Henderson, February, 2007.

30 FADE IN GREENPAGES

32 NWSPRNT Artists, authors, gadgets and gadflys 140 Vinyl Archeology Finger Waves

44 STYLE The most crucial looks 142 Mixtape: Musics

146 Jedi Mind Pix Favored tunes from favorite DJs

GEN/F 148 Beat Construction Van She Technologies

54 DG Yola 150 Dranks

56 Dion 152 Events

58 David Vandervelde 154 Stockists

60 Munga Honorable 156 Appendix

62 Turf Talk

64 Wild Beasts 160 FADEOUT


®
66 Bunji Garlin

1 8 T H E FADER
Fader 45
April 2007

Contents

Polow Da Don and Rich Boy in Atlanta, GA, photographed by Matt Eich, February 2007.

FEATURES

72 Bill Callahan The Rising

80 Polow Da Don It Don’t Stop

88 Panda Bear The Love Movement

96 Gyptian One Drop Pop

102 Black Lips Res - Erection

108 Prodigy Hard Times

114 Portraits of Kabul Blink of an Eye

126 STYLE Sway

2 0 T H E FADER
45
PUBLISHER
ANDY COHN

DIRECTOR, ADVERTISING & BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT


MELANIE SAMARASINGHE

WEST COAST ADVERTISING DIRECTOR


PAUL FAMILETTI
FOUNDING PUBLISHERS
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GRAHAM HETH, DANA KROZEK
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
ALEXANDRA WAGNER ADVERTISING COORDINATOR
IVY QUEJADO
CREATIVE DIRECTOR
PHIL BICKER PUBLICITY DIRECTOR
ED JAMES
DEPUTY EDITOR
WILL WELCH MARKETING DIRECTOR
KAELA LAROSA
SENIOR EDITOR
ERIC DUCKER MARKETING, MEDIA AND EVENTS
SAIDAH BLOUNT, EVAN FRANK, PRIYA PALANI, REBECCA
SENIOR ASSOCIATE EDITOR SILVERSTEIN
LINDSEY CALDWELL
FARM DEPARTMENT
ASSOCIATE EDITOR ALEX ARCINIEGA, ANDREW BARNETT, CHRIS HANAKA,
NICK BARAT GARY JOHNSON, KARA MARKS, TONY MESONES, JOHN
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PETER MACIA FARM TEAM SENIOR REPS
MARVIN ALEXIS, NARCIS ALKHANI, MARY BLAS, BRYAN
STYLE EDITOR BLOOM, JESSE CHEMTOB, BEN CHRISTIANSEN, ECHO
CHIOMA NNADI CURRY, BRYAN EDWARDS, JULIO ENRIQUEZ, STEPHANIE
ESTES, MONIQUE FRAIZER, TIM FRANK, MAGGIE FUKUDA,
CONTRIBUTING STYLE EDITOR AZRIEL GILMORE, HEATHER HENNESSEY, RICHARD
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Fader 45
April 2007

Contributors

CAROLINE MCCLOSKEY DEREK HENDERSON KRISANNE JOHNSON DAVID BANKS


Writer Photographer Photographer Photographer

Assignment: Assignment: Assignment: Assignment:


“Res-Erection,” page 102 “The Rising,” page 72 “One Drop Pop,” page 96, “Res-Erection,” page 102
“Shots Fired,” page 64
What happened: What happened: What happened:
This issue, FADER fave and Bill Callahan, formerly What happened: The lensman for the Black Lips
Brooklyn resident Caroline known as Smog, is known Krisanne Johnson shot not one feature, David got his chow
McCloskey got the heat on for being shy and somewhat but two stories for this issue in on in Atlanta, eating with the
ATL’s raucous sons, Black withdrawn, so Derek took Kingston, Jamaica: Gyptian band at Harold’s BBQ—a spot
Lips. After touching down in him out to Birdlings Flat, and Munga Honorable. On conveniently located next
Atlanta, she accompanied a relatively isolated area her first day of shooting, to a federal penitentiary. “I
the band to a Yo La Tengo of East Christchurch, New Krisanne went along with think everyone was packing
show and then to a bar on the Zealand (which Callahan Gyptian to the spots he heat,” David says. His goal
edge of town called Southern was passing through on tour). frequents around town. “You was to capture the band’s
Comfort, where the Lips were “I’d heard his music and I could immediately see his life “youthful exuberance,” so he
recognized by everyone liked his lyrics, so I wanted and the influence it has on his hung out with the boys in their
from the band on stage to an to go somewhere destitute,” music,” she says. After driving highway-worn tour van and
old high school teacher. The says Derek. “He seems to write into a more rural Kingston stuck around for their epic
infamously wild group was about desolation.” And as if that she may not have been poker games. Says Banks, “I
very affable and subdued on cue, Derek and Callahan privy to as a tourist, Krisanne looked for the subtle moments
throughout. “They were sweet ran into a huge pitbull on managed to spend a full day when they forget the camera
as hell,” Caroline confirms. the Birdlings Flat beach. “We with the Honorable one—who and just act how they are.”
all froze. It was a standoff. It kept it casual. So casual, in
Where to see more work looked at us, and we looked fact, that at the end of the Where to see more work
Time Out NY at it, and we were like, ‘Holy day Munga fell asleep in his www.davidwalterbanks.com
shit!’ It was one of those chair, mid-shoot. “He had
moments.” Despite this, Derek sunglasses on,” she says.
had no trouble with the snaps. “But everybody was like, ‘He’s
“He’s talented,” Derek says of out.’”
Callahan. “The soulfulness
comes out in the pictures.” Where to see more work
www.krisannejohnson.com
Where to see more work
www.mapltd.com, The Terrible
Boredom of Paradise and the
forthcoming Waikato River.

24 T H E FADER
We care about you. Ride safely, respectfully and within the limits of the law and your abilities. Always wear an approved helmet, proper eyewear and protective clothing, and insist your passenger does too. Never ride while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Know your Harley ® motorcycle and read and understand your owner’s manual from cover to cover. © 2007 H-D. Harley, Harley-Davidson, and the Bar & Shield logo are among the trademarks of H-D Michigan, Inc.
Fader 45
April 2007

Letters

INSTANT VINTAGE STATS’S MENTOR


Were the fashion spreads in issue #44 vintage What’s up FADER...jus finished read the
photographs? I couldn’t tell if the photos whole mag...i must give u guys props...am
from the “On the Corner” story were recent amzed how wel u all familiar with the whats
pictures or archival Indian images. Please happening within the whole caribbean
let me know as I would very much like to musice scene...you all really digging the
purchase the silver sandals worn by the vibe i guess...writing better than those kats at
gentleman on pg 164, and I’m hoping they are those urban mags (wont call no names)!! lol
not rare ’70s finds. goodwork
Best, Daniel Lyons
Crispin Willows

Crispin: All the images in the “On The GOOD EYES, BUT YOU MISSED THE USED
Corner” were made by photographer Andrew BAND-AID AND THE RAT POO
Dosunmu in 2006, which kind of makes them Hey FADER staff,
vintage. The sandals are from Dior Homme. I really enjoyed your Light Bright
collaborators spread and hope that you guys
do something like that in the future. One thing
I noticed though, on the Becky Stark and
Devendra Banhart page there seems to be a
hair caught in the Devendra lightbright!
Maybe his beard is just getting out of control.
I love the magazine!
Ty

OOPS!
In our DC hip-hop story [Issue #44, “New Slang”], the
photos of Wale were shot in Riggs County, MD, not Bowie,
MD. Our bad.

Fists forward and boot heels to the wind. Exposed metal slathered
with chrome. Fat rubber steamrolling an endless slab of highway.
Wyle out with us on The Let Out—two hours of remixes, exclusives and the newest/oldest hot shit spun live by the FADER editors. Every A V-Twin motor feeding your ears. Any questions? Didn’t think so. Live by it.
Friday from 6-8pm, East Coast time (motherbitches) on www.eastvillageradio.com, IM “EastVillageRadio” to get at us in the studio, boyo. www.harley-davidson.com.

2 6 T H E FADER
Fader 45
April 2007

Editor’s Letter

S
ometimes like little tiny gold coins or drizzle, good music falls from the sky
and into our laps. We were all having a sort of humdrum early
’07, plaintively listening to Konvicted b-sides and, like, “12:51,”
when the sky turned grey and a whole gripload of really good
music started raining from the heavens. We’re not saying we
weren’t all jazzhands and smiles, collecting the tunes in buckets,
but it was overwhelming. Which brings me to the subject matter
of Issue 45: The Just Another Issue Filled with Amazing Jams, No
Big Deal Issue. Legions of heartbreakers and the heartbroken
have been following Smog genius Bill Callahan as he’s woven
his spell of song over the last 20 years. We were curious to see
what would happen when we put the man’s new album, Woke
on a Whaleheart, on ye olde hi fi and it was weird because all
of us started holding hands immediately, searching for grace in
the unseen. Actually. Obviously, we put him on the cover.
For the last couple months we’d been alternately throwing
some D’s and throwing some cheese, listening to Mobile’s young
gun rapper Rich Boy and his cache of remixes when it dawned
on us that it was time to shine the light on his (and several other
artists’) Not So Secret Weapon: producer Polow Da Don. Polow’s
been crafting heatrocks for everyone from Fergie to Ludacris
to the Pussycat Dolls to (gasp!) R Kells himself and we’re pretty
damn near convinced that he’ll be a household name ohhhh,
sometime around yesterday—which is [cough] why you’ll also
find him gracing our back cover. And in the frenzy that resulted
from this monsoon season of new music, we also dipped into the
maniacal rock frenzy that is ATL’s Black Lips, the one-drop rastafari
thesis of Jamaica’s Gyptian (serious times!), Animal Collective’s
Panda Bear and his new set of blissed-out good vibes and the
growling, vicious return of Mobb Deep’s Prodigy. Folks, when I
say it’s raining I mean It. Is. Coming. Down. Out. There. Bring an
umbrella, pull on the galoshes, put the cat indoors. What’s an April
shower when you’ve got us?

On the covers:
ALEX WAGNER
Bill Callahan photographed
by Derek Henderson.

Polow Da Don,
photographed by Amanda
Marsalis.

THE FADER 29
FADEIN

PHOTOGRAPHY DOROTHY HONG


NWS
PRNT
• There’s always been
something kind of iffy about
the Kings of Leon: between
the strange names in the
songwriting credits, the
mansions-n-models Terry
Richardson spreads, the
perfect rock & roll back
story (traveling preacher’s
• Adult Swim and Stones
sons are TALENTED and
Throw’s Chrome Children
RURAL and also HOT?!?)…
compilation was already
it feels like they sprung
partially conceived by the
forth, fully formed, from the
time Dan Garcia was swept
mind of an A&R in LA. That
up into the mix. Adult Swim
said, THE JAMS WON’T
was a client of Garcia’s
QUIT. On the Followills’
production company Super-
new album, Caleb leans on
Fi and this was his first stab
tidy imagery like She looks
at music video direction. He
so cool in her new Camaro/
was able to choose one of
It’s black as coal and it
the three songs and decided
go, boy it go go go and
to direct a tribute to J Dilla.

PHOTOGRAPHY JUSTIN BORUCKI (KINGS OF LEON). ©HELLEN VAN MEENE, COURTESY YANCY RICHARDSON GALLERY (HELEN VAN MEENE).
lets the huge instrumental
The result was a video for
arrangements tell the rest of
“Nothing Like This,” a story
the story. The band is three
about love and loss that
albums in, and questions
leaves you feeling sad and
about cred seem silly in the
unsettled. Garcia explains,
face of all the great songs.
“Things don’t work out in
WILL WELCH
the end, but that’s kind of
how life is.” Together with
his selected crews, Garcia
put together three distinct
videos: Madlib’s “Take it
Back,” J Dilla’s “Nothing
Like This” and Madvillain’s • For the last two years,
“Monkey Suite” within a Dutch photographer
one month deadline. Good Hellen van Meene has
to know we’re not the been traipsing all over
only ones who can make the world finding insane,
miracles under pressure. beautiful, pathos-inducing
LINDSEY CALDWELL kids from St Petersburg
www.danielgarcia.tv to Morocco. Van Meene’s
eerie, ethereal portraits
of these young ones were
recently exhibited at NYC’s • In his video for “The whether that means the
Yancey Richardson gallery, Great Salt Lake” by Band Thermals getting spazzy for
and the folks at Schirmer/ of Horses, director Whitey “A Pillar of Salt” or Panther
Mosel Publishing have McConnaughy captured doing the James Brown in
thoughtfully printed up a the sunny side of slack by “You Don’t Want Yr Nails
book for those who missed filming one of the group’s Done.” When asked if there
it. Meaning people all over weekly softball games. is a recurring theme in his
the world can take these The result is pure ragged, work, the former skate video
strange little creatures beery glory. Portland-based director replies, “I almost
home for themselves. And McConnaughy has made the always lose money on them,
they won’t even have to pay wild out fun happening in is that a theme?” ERIC DUCKER
a babysitter! ALEX WAGNER
the Northwest his specialty, www.whiteyfilms.com
www.hellenvanmeene.com

3 2 T H E FADER
MAGICAL HISTORY TOUR ALEJANDRO JODOROWSKY FINALLY SEES THE LIGHT OF DVD

NWS
PRNT

image to come

• In 1970, John Lennon and and Lennon’s notorious cultists who had previously Holy Mountain (bankrolled score by Pink Floyd—was
Yoko Ono introduced El biz manager Allen B Klein known them through urban by John & Yoko) is the never finished. Suffice to
Topo, Alejandro Jodorowsky’s finally agreed to release the legends and dubs from most expensive film ever say, as Jodorowsky did, the
shamanistic mindfuck of a work on DVD. A new box set Japanese laser-disc. And the produced in Mexico, and an films “ask of cinema what
Western at the Elgin theater makes his first three films, legends all turn out to be adaption of Dune starring most North Americans ask of
in London, but it wasn’t Fando & Lis, El Topo and true: Fando & Lis sparked Mick Jagger, Orson Welles psychedelic drugs.”
until 2006 that Jodorowsky Holy Mountain, available to a riot at its 1968 premiere, and Salvador Dali—with a EDWIN “STATS” HOUGHTON

3 4 T H E FADER
ANIMAL KINGDOM BASTARD CHILDREN OF THE DRUMMING MUPPET

NWS
PRNT
IMAGE ANDREW KUO

3 6 T H E FADER
NWS
PRNT
• In his work with the • Products of a migration that began with Jamaicans doing • When Ghostface Killah • Hold onto your pants
musicians of new young construction on the Canal, black Panamanians like Nando shouted out Anthony friends and fiends! For the
Britain, director Nima Boom, El General and La Atrevida drew the blueprint for Acid in his verse for Mark second edition of the FADER/
Nourizadeh has been able reggaeton back in the early ’90s, but never made much Ronson’s “Ooh Wee” back Southern Comfort limited
to effortlessly capture the noise outside the Nuyorican market. El General exhibited in 2003, it seemed like edition 7-inch we hollered at
personas of champs like the greatest longevity, incorporating merengue and just another unexpected our folks in Kingston, JA and
Lily Allen, Lady Sovereign “raperos” into later hits, and a 2002 collabo with Vico C—the reference pulled from put together a likkle slab of
and Jamie T without coming Johnny Appleseed of Puerto Rican reggaeton—cemented Ghost’s deep mind pocket. vinyl that is jam packed with
off as a flagrant image his missing link status. But serial name-checking from Then the Staten Island dancehall finery. Issue 42
pusher. However it’s his artists like Daddy Yankee and Tego Calderon has driven house DJ remixed the Staten cover star Mavado is on the
work with humor and Hot new demand for this first wave, elevating their status from Island MC’s raunchy club a-side over a riddim by Issue
Chip that is the bestest of dollar-bin novelty to collector’s item. What’ll you give us for jam “Tush” in 2004, and 43 Beat Construction-featured
his best. The clip for “Over our original Pocho Pan & Bacan “Bo Bo” 12-inch? liner notes reveal that producers Daseca while
and Over” parodies special EDWIN “STATS” HOUGHTON Acid recorded and mixed the b-side is a new tune by
effects-reliant videos, almost all of Ghostface’s Mavado’s Issue 39-featured
presenting Hot Chip as Fishscale, More Fish and homie Busy Signal over one
willing participants in the the Theodore Unit’s 718, of the biggest riddims of ’07
technological nonsense and as well as producing his (so far), created by Issue 43-
perfectly distilling the band recent “Greedy Bitches.” featured clash titans Black
to what they are—awesome It turns out the two met Chiney Soundsystem, plus
and absurd. ERIC DUCKER back in 2001 and after there’s kitty cat cover visuals
www.partizan.com moving back to Shaolin by London-based artist Jack
from Miami, Ghost chose Duplock. Got it? Didn’t think
Acid’s Reddline Studios so! You really, really have to
as his new homebase. hear it to understand.
Though Anthony Acid is WILL WELCH
most known for music to www.thefader.com
listen to when crossing the
Verrazano Bridge, his hip-
hop roots include work with
Mercury of the Force MDs
and fellow genre-straddler
DJ Skribble. “In today’s hip-
hop or R&B you find a lot of
producers borrowing from
house music,” Acid reasons.
“‘SexyBack’ is a four on
the floor house track, TI
sampled ‘Gypsy Woman’
• Paris, Je T’aime collects simple: feminine featured
and all the South records
eighteen short films by an teen boy sees striking teen
have those techno house
impressive international Muslim girl by the water,
keys in them, they’re just
roster of directors and girl trips, boy helps girl up,
slower in tempo.” ERIC DUCKER
actors, and as the title boy and girl talk, girl goes
www.myspace.com/33853927
suggests, each is about a to the mosque, boy waits for
different neighborhood in girl, girl leaves mosque with
Paris and each is about grandfather, all three walk
a different aspect of love. away together…swoon.
Sure it’s a ball to watch ERIC DUCKER

Ben Gazzara and Gena www.firstlookstudios.com


Rowlands reunite, Maggie
Gyllenhaal get stoned
and the Coen Brothers go
weird in the Metro with
Steve Buscemi, but there
is a simple, romantic joy to
director Gurinder Chada’s
segment. The story is
FREDPERRY.COM/SUBCULTURE

3 8 T H E FADER
©2007 Heineken USA Inc., White Plains, NY. Heineken Premium Light is a trademark of Heineken Brouwerijen B.V.
NWS
ANTIPOP GET SMITTEN WITH SUMMER LOVERS UNLIMITED

Temptation Has
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a Taste
I R R E S I S T I B L E

•“It’s very important to us not ideals behind his Montreal- SLU releases have ranged Canadian underground Castles plug in keyboards
to be seen as yet another based record label, founded from the punk cabaret thump and a testament to Kuo and at a FADER show last fall,
‘Canadian Girlfriend,’ three years ago as an of Dandi Wind to Vancouver label partner Patrik North’s only to spend the whole set
appreciated with a constant antidote to the “safe, granola, DJ Paul Devro’s baile funk obsessive love for new, weird dancing like a maniac next
tinge of ironic coddling,” says guitar-based indie” many Toma mixtape series, and the pop—and we’d be saying to the stage. NICK BARAT

Summer Lovers Unlimited had come to associate with discs act as both a needed that even if we didn’t spy Kuo www.myspace.com/
founder Douglas Ko of the the country’s musical exports. chronicle of a right now helping label pals Crystal summerloversunlimited
heinekenlight.com
Enjoy Heineken Light Responsibly.
4 0 T H E FADER
©2007 Converse Inc. All rights reserved. CONVERSE is a registered trademark of Converse Inc.
JOHN VARVATOS is a registered trademark of John Varvatos Apparel Corp.
CLEANING UP THE LYRICS OF BRIGHT EYES

NWS
PRNT

Take the fruit from the


tree, break the skin with
your teeth
Is it bitter or
sweet? All depends on
your timing Like a meeting of chance with a train station glance
Many lifetimes had past in an instant reminded
Of a millstone house in a seaside town
When your heart gave out in a mission bed

So your wife gave birth


to a funeral dirge
As you
woke up purged as a
wailing infant
In Krung Thep, Thailand

• Recently it struck us that breakdowns—that it’s almost top secret codes for the Casadaga stole our hearts,
Conor Oberst is so good kind of embarrassing for us Great American Song with thanks in part to a shaky,
with a song—with familiar listeners: our emotions are lyrics that are honest but not circular burner about drugs,
instrumentation, riffs and toys in his hands! Rather necessarily direct; angry but rebirth and renewal called,
tropes; with bridges, pre- than re-inventing the wheel, not lacking in nuance; strong appropriately, “Cleanse
choruses and verses; with Oberst has perfected it, but in tune with shyness Song.” WILL WELCH
words and turnarounds and breathing new life into the and fragility. His new album

CLOTHES AND SHOES FOR GUYS AND GIRLS


4 2 T H E FADER
STYLE

• Nestled in an unlikely
clearing of light amongst a
warren of downtown New
York streets, Project No 8 is
a modern shop of earthly • These days, the simple
wonder. Housing designers idea that a handbag should
like Bless and Boudicca, get better with age has
founding designer Elizabeth been lost in a sea of trendy
Beer and art director Brian diamante-studded hobos
Janusiak have also made whose width happens to
the space a place for their be directly proportional to
favorite artists to tinker with the size of their wearer’s
new ideas—like Danielle checking account. Snooze.
• “Referential” might
Aubert’s oddly arresting Endymion, a line of bags
detract from the quiet
Microsoft Excel drawings. “I designed by former fashion
beauty of the artist Paul
guess the project is a way to writer Kerry Johnston and
P’s renditions of the faces
curate a world around us,” her stylist friend Arianne
and figures of young
says Beer. Powered using Tunney, is an attempt to
men, all of which were
ambient energy (heated counterbalance a little of
sourced from pre-AIDS gay
flooring = the future!), the that “it” bag mouth-frothing.
magazines. Published by
Project No 8 universe is The collection has six lovely
recently minted mavens
100% energy efficient, minus • As we get older we • Japanese fashion designer shapes at its core, all of
powerHouse Books, Paul’s
any dubious eco-store start to think about fancy (and Comme des Garçons’ which are accented with
monograph, Nonchaloir,
trimmings. home goods because our second-in-command) Junya subtle nautical hardware—
CHIOMA NNADI includes over 2,000 reprints
www.projectno8.com grandparents check in on Watanabe is a man of few and we think they’ll age
of his paintings: lovely,
us to see if we’ve prepared words, preferring to make quite nicely. CHIOMA NNADI
shaggy profiles, looks of
for marriage, life, and his bold statements— www.endymionleather.com
disbelief, indifference,
angst and ecstasy. Paul so on. To get answers for tailored leisure-suits in
utilizes the vocabulary of them we went on a search burgundy and cobalt
late 19th Century art, but for food containers that stripes!—on the runway.
even through some of the work with our city life and Clearly, Watanabe has
pointilistic haze, we glimpse style. Lorena Barrezueta’s never encountered a color,
the immediacy of his Gourmet Collection is nor pattern, he didn’t like.
subjects—and the palpable right in the middle of fancy For his latest project, he’s
longing and confusion bone china and aluminum teamed up with Converse
surely has a soundtrack to delivery table wear. Either on six limited-edition
match. See Paul’s work in in bright colors or classic low-top Chuck Taylors,
the MoMA collection, or if white with 22k gold edges, each more dazzling and
you’re abroad, check his you “apprecate the details deafening than the next.
collaboration with Hedi in the things that you don’t Folks, nothing screams
Slimane for last spring’s usually appreciate,” says I’ve got my fashion freak
Dior Homme campaign. Barrezueta. This is my china on like a pair of multicolor
RANJANI GOPALARATHINAM pattern, grandma! madras kicks. KARIN NELSON
www.powerhousebooks.com LINDSEY CALDWELL www.converse.com
www.lorenabarrezueta.com

4 4 T H E FADER
WILD LIFE MANISH ARORA WEARS FANTASY ON HIS SLEEVE

STYLE
PHOTOGRAPHY DOROTHY HONG

STYLING CHIOMA NNADI. MODEL MAGGIE LEE.

• When Manish Arora life. Some models sported happy, and sometimes of humor that underpins his dress. By taking the edge off
showed his spring collection pink and amber butterflies even laugh,” says Arora, work, from the silhouettes the industry’s earnestness,
last year in London’s for lips, while others whose influences are rooted of droopy-eared dogs the Delhi-based designer
Natural History museum, sprouted huge flowers from in the film industry of his that sit panting under hot reminds us that fashion
it was as if the fossilized their heads in thick pastel hometown, Bombay. Aside pink chiffon to the layered is as much fantasy as it is
creatures and botanical bunches. “Wearing clothes from Arora’s joyful use of sequined feathers on a function. CHIOMA NNADI
exhibitions had come to should make a person feel color, there’s a playful sense rainbow-colored toucan www.manisharora.com Los Angeles Miami New York San Francisco Georgetown Santa Monica
South Coast Plaza Dallas Ala Moana Stanford Topanga Houston Montreal
Toronto Opening Fall 2007 - Las Vegas Atlanta energie.it
4 6 T H E FADER
SYNCHRONICITY PAM MAKES ART AND FASHION IN TANDEM

STYLE
PHOTOGRAPHY ALISON CHURCH

A
ustralian M: Not at all. Everyone is just
duo Perks a human.
and Mini S: But I appreciate where I’m
(government from and I feel like because
names: Misha we are Australian, there’s
and Shauna), this freedom, which you
have been working together don’t have when you come
as PAM for around six years from a country that has a lot
now, producing their ever- of history. Like when we
radical fashion line, working first started—just to walk into
on international installations, Colette and sell our T-shirts—
making music, mixtapes a lot of people wouldn’t have
and their book series and the gall to do it. But it wasn’t
zines. When we caught up that we had gall, it was, “Isn’t
with them amid sawdust that what you do if you want
and paint fumes, they were to sell T-shirts in a shop, you
putting the finishing touches go in and ask them?” That
on their newly-expanded sort of innocence is really
Melbourne store, Someday, Australian.
and helping visiting homies
Diplo, Spank Rock, Justice What can we expect from
and Busy P rifle through PAM in the future? We’ve
their latest collection. heard you plan to start a
free newspaper?
You both seem heavily “IT’S JUST that I can make things from it. least, with the use of peace Misha and M: Well it’s not really a
THE IDEA OF symbols, doves and so on. Shauna of PAM
involved with music and newspaper, it’s more like a
at their studio
your record collection is SHARING, What do you mean when S: Misha is really against giant zine in the form of a
in Melbourne.
legendary. How does music THAT’S you say that food plays a politics and I’m not interested newspaper. It’s called the
play a role in what you do? REALLY WHAT big part in what you do? in it either, but I think it’s Free Independent Times. It
M: Music and art—visual DRIVES US.” M: I think everything comes important that people have will be free, independent,
information—and food, down to sharing, and food that sense of freedom. and it’s of the time.
even things like incense, are allows you to share. That’s Sometimes, having to wear
really important to us, they’re why we make so many your bike helmet or having Who’ve you got writing for it?
all very sensual. It’s part things, and I guess we have to put your seat belt on, M: Ari Marcopoulos,
of basic human existence. to sell some stuff because there’s always someone Thurston Moore and Nieves.
Getting inspired by visuals we’ve gotta keep a business telling you what to do and So many people.
and making visuals is a to be able to make things, but you forget that you can S: You have to make the time
bit dangerous, but music also making the free things just say no and be free we live in interesting. And it’s
provides you with something like the CDs or the little zines and individual. So there is kind of up to you to make it so.
really abstract, and for me, or whatever. It’s just the idea [Shauna gives the finger]–a EVET JEAN AND LUCY MORIESON
it’s nice to take it in a way of sharing, that’s really what lot of that in our work. www.perksandmini.com
drives us. M: But it’s a friendly fuck you.

What about politics? When you think


M: I hate it. about collaborating
internationally do you think
Lots of your work seems to about yourselves as an
draw on it—aesthetically at Australian brand?

4 8 T H E FADER
HEAD START CORA GETS AT THE CORE

STYLE
PHOTOGRAPHY DOROTHY HONG

STYLING MOBOLAJI DAWODU. MODEL GIBRIL AT FUSION. SHIRT BY LACOSTE, HAT BY CORA.

• Citing London’s Buffalo her new line, Cora. A snug recalling the contours of a lacey veils and twinkling
movement of the late ’80s fitting felt number boosts Chinese battleship. Then oversized gems for the ladies.
as one of her inspirations, off-kilter swagger with a there are the amazing Bad hair days might not be
designer Nashay Morris left-leaning bulbous crown. hidden extras—optional zip- such a disaster, after all.
takes the building blocks Another—black with sleek on linen drapes to protect CHIOMA NNADI
of hat design and turns leather trimmings—gets your neck (think latter day www.coranyc.com
them on their head with a three-tiered silhouette Lawrence of Arabia),

5 0 T H E FADER
songs
pictures
playlists
share wir elessly
Built-in wireless sharing. Vivid 3-inch screen. FM tuner. 30 GB. Share away. $249 ERP.
Learn more at zune.net*
*Share select songs, 3 plays in 3 days.
“YOU CAN
DANCE OFF IT
IF YOU WANT
Y ola Da Great is only 19, but goddamn
if dude’s mind isn’t much older. Ask
him about it. Age? “That ain’t even an
TO, BUT YOU issue. I’m a fuckin real nigga,” proclaims
WON’T CATCH
ME DANCING.” the valedictorian of Atlanta’s Class of ’07.
Yola talks like he raps, which means every
syllable carries weight; each deeply-
drawled word pushes as much Georgia air
aside as possible. “Atlanta’s gutta, man,” he
says slowly, as an introduction to where’s he
been for the past 19 years. “That’s what I’m
bringing to the table.”
Turning to the block after a rough
childhood on Atlanta’s West Side, Yola got
his name in the trap. “Used to be movin

GENF
and workin on the block,” he explains. “Try
to go by my re-up name, but I put a lil twist
on it, a lil edge—so I got DG, Yola Da Great,
yessur!” Now the man is known variously to
fans in Atlanta and beyond as DG Yola, Yola
DG, or even occasionally Lil Yola. But the
“Lil” is a hand-me-down—it no longer fits
GROWN UP right. Not after the way Yola’s stomped out
QUICK cuts on mixtapes over the past year and a
half—including his own, Really Really In the
DG YOLA Streets. And not after the way he’s knocked
STAYS AHEAD out shows all through his resurgent South,
OF HIMSELF from North Carolina to deep Florida. And
especially not now, not when the release
of Gutta World, his major label debut on
Atlantic, beckons. “I been really killing the
South,” he casually volunteers.
Since Yola’s anthemic hit “Ain’t Gon
Let Up” first broke in the infamous Atlanta
nightspot the Poole Palace, his grind has
been furious. Backed by ATL players like
DJ T-Rock, Yola’s aggressive “gutta music”
quickly found an audience among locals
tired of what Yola calls “the bullshit side” of
Atlanta’s musical export. More fight music
than ATL-style rollerskate bubblegum, Yola’s
trademark call from “Don’t Make Us,” his
collabo with DJ Unk, says it best: You say
motherfuck me? I say motherfuck YOU! “You
can dance off it if you want to, but you won’t
catch me dancing,” explains Yola, happy
to be asked. “I don’t do all that snappy-
snap shit.”
As the interview continues, one can’t help
but notice the insistent chirps of the little
kids in the room with Yola: they’re cheerful,
Yola and a youngun loud, squawking. And though Yola’s verses
in Atlanta’s West End sparkle with a certain wibble-wobble,
neighborhood.
breakfast cereal sugar high enery—Nooo,
I ain’t gon shut up!!—he’s nothing if not
focused. So when his grown man voice is
juxtaposed with the children’s shrieks
piercing the air, the contrast illustrates just
how old young Yola already is. Collected,
poised, DG Yola has the distinct air of a man
who’s already seen more than most: “I’m
19, dog,” he says. “But mind state of a 50-
year-old!” WILL CREELEY

PHOTOGRAPHY BRYAN MELTZ

5 4 T H E FADER THE FADER 55


“THAT KIND
F or Cincinatti-based singer Dion, the grand Gaye sweetness that he sang with all along. Dion listening to
OF SET ME prize of the 2003 Midwest Talent Search And on “Let it Go” he sings Steppin out on
Marvin Gaye’s Trouble
BACK, LIKE, turned out to be way more than a modest demo faith, ready for whatever/ It’s written so can’t
Man at home in
Cincinnati, Ohio.
‘DAMN, I deal. The DJ and producer Hi-Tek was on the worry bout what’s next/ ’Cause you never know.
WANTED
TO BE ON panel of judges that surveyed the field of 300 or He lists the likes of Shirley Caesar, Donnie
AFTERMATH.’” so participants, and Dion’s medley of original, Hathaway and Miles Davis as influences—and
self-penned songs made him the winner, even though he’s capable of giving 50 or
leaving the rest of the contestants to make a Game a thugged out hook—he’s completely
beeline home to film audition tapes for Making unapologetic for having a straight ahead,
the Band. Hi-Tek, meanwhile, scooped Dion for-the-ladies sensibility with his own music.
up to sing for Hi-Tek Productions, starting with “I’m an R&B singer,” he says. “You know what
a track on the 213 album called “Twist Your I mean? No fake gangster love, not this way. I
Body.” In the years that followed, Dion went write from my soul.” LINDSEY CALDWELL
on to sing on tracks by big timers like 50 Cent,

GENF
the Game, Talib Kweli and on Hi-Tek’s latest
Hi-Teknology, Vol. 2: The Chip. Dion also signed
to Dr Dre’s label Aftermath Entertainment, but
was only granted one visit to the Interscope
offices to sing for the execs, and was dropped
when they didn’t hear a single. Dion reflects on
the moment saying, “You know you win some,
THE TALENT you lose some. I was really looking forward
SHOW to it. That kind of set me back, like, ‘Damn, I
wanted to be on Aftermath.’”
DION MAKES Dion is currently in Cincinnati and in the
THE BEST studio with Hi-Tek, pulling together songs for
OF THE his first album—which will also include tracks
AFTERMATH
from Raphael Saadiq and Aftermath producer
Focus—and shopping for a record deal.
Despite his misfortune with Interscope, he’s
stuck with the same mix of Smokey Robinson
falsetto and Marvin

PHOTOGRAPHY MATT EICH

5 6 T H E FADER
“I WAS JUST
O n David Vandervelde’s debut album pupil of rock & roll’s most notorious innovators, David Vandervelde at
LIKE, ‘THIS The Moonstation House Band, there’s a admittedly weaned on his father’s vinyl copies
the Kitty Moon Bar in
LABEL IS liner note that reads, “Thanks to Jay Bennett of the BeeGees and the Left Banke—but his
Chicago, IL.

INTERESTED IN for inviting me into his special playhouse for songs still live in the present. While
MY BAND, DO
YOU WANT the two years of making this record.” That Moonstation House Band at times channels
TO LEARN A playhouse is Chicago’s Pieholden Studios, Bowie and Bolan in its sexed-up vamp
FEW TUNES where the then-19-year-old Vandervelde lived and pixiedust passages, the songs remain
AND GO PLAY for two years, sleeping on a mattress in the postmodern in attitude and lyric. Vandervelde
THIS SHOW?’”
control room, crafting a dazzling set of songs chides cruel anti-heroines and plasters his
that harken back to rock & roll’s glam & glory hooks over double entendre: he snarls, Didn’t
days. The self-proclaimed “studio hermit” someone tell you it’s raining/ Cause you forgot
emerged from the studio that helped birth your jacket on the second floor. It might be a
Yankee Hotel Foxtrot to spend four months rhetorical question about emotional pain or
crashing out on couches—and recruiting STDs—then again, Vandervelde has said it’s

GENF
friends to help him send out CD-Rs with his “an actual situation about my first girlfriend
email address. One of them landed in the and her rebellious high school years. She was
hands of Chris Swanson at Secretly
Canadian, who wanted to see the band live.
so hot and never listened to her mom.” It’s
obviously a little less direct than “Cocksucker
The new album
“I was pretty much just like, ‘Yeah, I’ve got a Blues,” but by now, Vandervelde is an old pro featuring
band,’” Vandervelde says. “We had a party
in our house and there were a few people
at gussying up a story with equal parts scuzz
and glitter. CHRISTOPHER JAMES RICHTER
“Tell Me ‘Bout It” &
MELLOW GOLD
hanging out. And I was just like, ‘This label is
interested in my band, do you want to learn
“Tell Me What We’re Gonna Do Now”
DAVID a few tunes and go down to Bloomington and
play this show?’” Halfway through his first tour
feat. Common
VANDERVELDE opening for Bobby Bare Jr, members of Bare’s
JAMZ GEMS
band were backing Vandervelde to close out
the last two songs of his performance, playing
“Murder in Michigan” and a cover of the
Stones’ “Cocksucker Blues.”
It’s fitting that Vandervelde would carry
“Cocksucker Blues” around with him—he’s a

PHOTOGRAPHY CARL KIILSGAARD myspace.com/josstone


Common appears courtesy of Geffen Records jossstone.com
5 8 T H E FADER
© 2007 Virgin Records America, Inc. and Joss Limited. All rights reserved. virginrecords.com
Mr. Complex

“I STARTED MY
M unga Honorable is the answer. The dropped since, beginning with the soca-ish Munga at the gates
CAREER AS A question, for selectors and dancehall “Flippin Rhymes,” which shares a backing
to a friend’s house in
FEUD ARTIST.” professionals, is “Who are you checking for right track with Sean Paul and Rihanna’s “Break
Kingston, JA’s Cassia
Park neighborhood.
now?” For chat-board color commentators it Off.” “I started my career as a feud artist,”
on the skirmishes in Jamaica’s open-ended Munga says. “’Bad Like I’ was like, ‘Yeah.
musical combat it’s “Pussyclaat...a which dutty Garrison. Grrrrr.’ But ‘Flippin Rhymes’
ras sing dis???” The buzz and extra question established the versatility.” “Earthquake” is
marks are all for “Bad Like I,” the 45 with another jump up tune built around a sing-
which Munga launched his deejay career song taunt in an auto-croon vocoder style,
last year by naming names and licking shots. while “Came to Take My Place” is pure JA
“It could be slated as a DJs song, indirectly,” crunk, slow and ominous in a Bone-Thuggish
Shabaam
Munga says modestly, between mastications way that is credible as straight ahead Sahdeeq
on a sasparilla chew-stick. Busy Signal fear rap even as it displays a certain rastafied
Aidonia, I don’t was the first line of the verse, inflection. Munga is in fact a rasta, one who

GENF
followed with Dem ’fraid fi shoot him, I won’t/ came up in Capleton’s camp and voiced
Dem a flatline…Munga hold high note. for one drop labels before connecting with
Playing off a feud within a rival crew to his Corleone. Conscious themes and rootsier
own advantage, Munga violated every rule of rhythms offer yet another vein to his sound
military strategy, declaring lyrical war on at but what all his tunes have in common is
least two fronts with a single line and instantly a distinctive writing style built on simple
commanding dancehall’s center stage. freestyle constructions, deadly in a soundclash
The 38-bar tour de force that followed started but also more transparent to non-Jamaican
SHOTS FIRED as a short freestyle overheard by selector listeners. No doubt sensing platinum method
Cool Face while Munga was cutting dubs in the madness of his forward-on-all-fronts
MUNGA for small scale soundsystems—“What we call strategy, Don Corleone is keeping Munga
HONORABLE ‘ghetto sounds,’” he says—at Vendetta studios. close to Vendetta studios, accumulating a war
STRINGS HIS
BOW When producer Don Corleone heard the lines, chest of material for a summer LP release.
“him skin color change,” Munga says, but Munga, with characteristic caution, says simply,
two weeks later Corleone recorded them on “2007 is mine.” EDWIN “STATS” HOUGHTON
the throwback “Sweat” riddim, and quickly DJ Spinna
took Munga under his wing. Yet Munga has
changed strategy with almost every 45 he’s

Tiye Phoenix

THE LONG AWAITED FOLLOW UP TO THE CLASSIC “RHYME RELATED” FROM THE RENOWNED GROUP COMPRISED OF
TIYE PHOENIX, MR. COMPLEX, DJ SPINNA & SHABAAM SAHDEEQ

FEATURING GUEST APPEARANCES BY: PHARAOHE MONCH, LITTLE BROTHER, SLUM VILLAGE, LARGE PROFESSOR, PLANET ASIA & MANY MORE**
PRODUCTION BY: DJ SPINNA & MORE

PHOTOGRAPHY KRISANNE JOHNSON A CLASSIC RETURNS... APRIL 24TH, 2007


6 0 T H E FADER
www.crackspace.com/poly www.babygrande.com **APPEARANCES NOT FINALIZED
“SHADOW
B y the time rap history books catch up I like that, Turfy!’ Then he’ll bust the same style.” Turf Talk waits to get
SHOWED ME and canonize this first decade of the two- The family members share an affinity
into the BARS Awards
THIS IS A REAL thousands, Turf Talk’s 2004 debut The Street for unlikely lyrical detail and a consonant-
at California’s San
Mateo Expo Center.
CAREER. I DIDN’T Novelist will be remembered not as an early grinding delivery—who else could make
DO REHEARSALS
BEFORE I LEFT salvo in the hyphy movement, but a minor gangster rap sound harder just by pronouncing
TO EUROPE. hip-hop classic, slotted right next to Spice 1, the Rs?—but Turf Talk has always distinguished
NOW I ALWAYS MC Eiht and the rest of the West Coast’s thug himself with a grimier approach. This past year,
SOUNDCHECK elite. The beats on Novelist are banging and Turf saw his biggest mainstream recognition hcjcg mcghmcghmcghm
WITH MY DJ.”
futuristic, no less party-ready than any other to date, touring Europe for two months as an
moon rocks from the Bay, but Turf used them to invited guest of DJ Shadow, who featured the
drop corkscrew rhymes about hiding drugs in MC on the bouncy single “Three Freaks.”
the shrubs (“Bundle Bush”) and talk about how “Shadow showed me this is a real career,”
it fucked up his hustle when the government
took away food stamps. The album stayed true
he says. “I didn’t do rehearsals before I left to
Europe. Now I always soundcheck with my
m

GENF
to Cali rap’s starched Dickies lineage while DJ.” Despite any newfound professionalism,
blasting into another orbit entirely, and in the West Coast Vaccine doesn’t see Turf Talk
process established Turf Talk as the state’s abandoning his soil for the glamorous life any
young turk. time soon. “I got shot, went through family
Shuffling between Vallejo and Los Angeles problems, politic problems,” he says of the
as a child, the rapper born Demar Bernstein album’s genesis. “I got slaps, but this is not
grew up idolizing his older cousin, Earl “E-40” really a friendly album.” NICK BARAT
Stephens. “40’s the tree, and we the branches,”
GOT SLAPS? he says. “In LA I would have Federal posters
up on my wall, Mr Flamboyant posters.” The
TURF TALK cover of Turf Talk’s new album, West Coast
GOES ABOVE
Vaccine, even features the MC hooked up
& BEYOND
to an IV on an operating table surrounded
by stacks of albums, including E-40 and
The Click’s Down and Dirty. “I always try to
impress 40,” says Turf. “But every time I think
I’m gonna get him in the booth, he tears me
apart. I’ll do a verse, and he’ll say ‘Ugggghhh,

PHOTOGRAPHY THEO RIGBY

6 2 T H E FADER
“WE CAN’T
B ritain’s Hayden Norman Thorpe was 16 Thorpe’s lyrics are audacious. He rhymes Wild Beasts at Camden
AGREE ON ANY when he finally accepted that he wasn’t “toddler” with “mollycoddler,” and urges us
Lock, London.
INFLUENCES. going to make it as a professional footballer. to seize the day, to “swig the bottle, slap the
THERE’S Luckily he’d been working on a Plan B since face of Aristotle.” “I think it’s important to use
SOMETHING
ACCIDENTAL primary school, a group called Fauve (named language to be silly and entertaining, while at
ABOUT OUR after the early 20th Century art movement), the same time to make an underlying point,”
MUSIC.” later translated into English as Wild Beasts. he reasons.
Forming a band was a bold move in itself for a The only other band ever to come from
footy-playing Northern lad. Forming a band as Kendal—a small town on the edge of the
utterly strange, as effete yet resolute as Wild Lake District famous for its Kendal Mint Cake,
Beasts, surely took some bottle. a bizarre sugary confection beloved of hill-
“I don’t really listen to music at all, I keep walkers—are the equally eccentric British
my head in the sand,” says Thorpe, instantly Sea Power. It must be something in the water.
batting away all the standard questions Or the cake. Wild Beasts have since moved

GENF
about influences. “It’s easier that way—I hate lock, stock to Leeds, but there’s no doubt that
the feeling of something else getting into my isolation has helped nurture Britain’s most
mind.” On hearing the rarefied romantic unique new pop prospect. “We’re determined
racket of recent single “Brave Bulging Buoyant to make music that opens people’s eyes,” says
Clairvoyant,” you can almost believe him. Thorpe. “If any of our ideas sound remotely
There are strong notes of Orange Juice, but close to anyone else’s, they’re out the window.
whereas contemporary bands like Franz We relish that challenge. We’re not lazy
YOUNG Ferdinand have streamlined that Postcard bastards.” SAM RICHARDS
WHIMSY sound into an efficient pop machine, Wild
Beasts have added fresh layers of intricate
THE whimsy: echoes of Kate Bush or Jacques
ROMANTIC
YELPS OF Brel, and in Thorpe’s extraordinary, lusty
WILD BEASTS falsetto, hints of a young Morrissey. Bassist
Tom Fleming cites the Beatles, Marvin Gaye,
and “people who have made thoughtful pop
records,” but concedes, “We can’t agree on
any influences. There’s something accidental
about our music.”

PHOTOGRAPHY VENETIA DEARDEN

6 4 T H E FADER
YU MAD OR
S itting on an interview couch wearing an he won the competition for jumping around Bunji Garlin in a
WHA, YU BAD oversized Kangol and white T-shirt, Bunji on stage to the hyperactive soca of “Warrior
Trinidad recording
OR WHA? A YU Garlin performed an impromptu accapella Cry,” with a live show highlighted by his floor
studio.

ALONE WAN rendition of his single “Brrrt” this past fall on length Japanese kimono and an oversized
DIS TRINIDAD
OR WHA? Trinidad music network Synergy TV. The title glove that shot fireworks out of each finger.
of the song comes from onomatopoeic gun So far, the new year of carnival releases
talk—Seh dem have di BRRRT, when dem has already brought out Bunji’s dancehall-
bus di BRRRT, when dem pass di BRRRT, tempo, anti-prejudice anthem “Black” right
when dem rise up di BRRRT—but when Bunji alongside the march-ready “Fire,” where he
deliberately slowed-down his delivery to declares himself not only soca’s warrior, but
point out specific lyrics, viewers realized the the “keeper of di flame.” Yet it wasn’t always
club tune isn’t a celebration of the gangster so easy for Bunji to slip between worlds. When
lifestyle, but an angry critique: Seh dat yuh a he first started making inroads in Trinidad in
real bad man, every day yuh walk around di the late ’90s, fans didn’t know what to call his

GENF
streets with a chrome nine, I dun know what’s sound: was it soca? Dancehall soca? Ragga
yuh deal bad man…. soca? Two summers ago, following comments
“Brrrt” has been a success for Bunji on a by Jamaican one-drop artist I-Wayne that soca
number of levels. Recorded on Massive B’s was “devil music,” Bunji pit island against
“March Out” riddim, it is one of the rare island by responding with “Yu Mad or Wha”:
tracks by a soca artist to recieve spins on Yu mad or wha, yu bad or wha? A yu alone
dancehall mixshows from Hot 97 to the BBC, wan dis Trinidad or wha? Oppose a whole
BULLET and was even included on the newest edition nation like yu bad or wha? Garlin may be a
POINTS of Greensleeves’ definitive Biggest Ragga firestarter for debates among soca fans (and
Dancehall Anthems compilation. More foes), but he has never lost respect for sticking
BUNJI importantly, the hit bolstered Bunji’s position to his guns.
GARLIN’S NICK BARAT

CROSSOVER as a Caribbean chameleon, capable of


SOCA SPIT switching between lyrical themes and sonic
styles with ease. Musically, “Brrrt” is tailor
made for artists like Mavado and Elephant
Man, but Bunji brings the right swagger and
delivery to match. But when he was crowned
Trinidad’s International Soca Monarch in 2004,

PHOTOGRAPHY PHILIPPE MCCLELLAND

6 6 T H E FADER
young jeezy i885

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“YOU W ON’T
GeT HU Rt IF
YOU KEEP
YOUR HAnDS
UP AND STAND
TALL” BILL CALLAHAN . POLOW DA DON . PANDA BEAR . GYPTIAN . BLACK LIPS . PRODIGY . AFGHANISTAN . SWAY STYLES
STORY MARGARET WA P P L E R P H OTO G R A P H Y D E R E K H E N D E R S O N

T He
RIsing

Bill Callahan, the mysterious man behind Smog, sheds the stage name—and a little of the darkness, sadness and black comedy—to pull his gospel in just a little bit closer.
BILL CALLAHAN

F
rom 1988 to 2005, Bill Callahan made music under
the name Smog. Sometimes, to obscure matters
even further, he would spell it as (Smog). Like his
ex-girlfriend Chan Marshall and his occasional
collaborator Will Oldham, Callahan had a penchant
for aliases and projecting a brooding, intellectual
darkness. He became a prolific fixture in underground
music, releasing 11 albums along with a stream of
cassettes and EPs. Callahan’s songs carried a distinct smudge of perversion and black
comedy that quickly earned him a certain reputation, and a certain following. Even as
the music kept coming and the tours kept getting booked, he maintained an extremely
shadowy and unpredictable public persona. He came off as dark and unknowable, a
moving target. With each new release, certain lyrics reinforced this image of Callahan
the Loner. His devoted fans fetishized those lines—the ones about solitude or sex or
depression—imagining themselves to be like Bill Callahan, whoever or wherever he
was, further entrenching his myth.
But now, without making much of it, Callahan seems to be subtly breaking that
circular feedback loop between himself and his listeners by quietly adjusting his rules.
With his new album Woke on a Whaleheart, he’s restructured his side of the dynamic,
even if he’s not convinced anyone on the other side is really paying attention.
Smog started when Callahan, at age 22, self-released Macramé Gunplay, the first
in a series of four cassette tapes. Each one reiterated his clumsy, repressed desire for
others, for a better self, for some kind of masterwork to settle around him like a cloak.
He played his guitar paranoid-close, like it was his enemy. Tearing and scratching at it,
Callahan forced the instrument to squall and squawk over a roiling sea of static and
hiss. By the time he made Forgotten Foundation in 1992 (his first of many albums for
Chicago’s Drag City label) he had made his voice the flagship vessel for his struggles.
With a range that included atonal punk wail, salt of the earth moan, smugly detached
statement and desperate whine, he conveyed a young man uncomfortable in his own
skin. But insecurities didn’t keep him from plugging away, no matter how often his
ideas lead him into emotional cul-de-sacs. For almost two decades Smog, the concept,
functioned as a windswept pasture where Callahan’s favorite tattered identities—the
perpetual stranger, the jilted lover, the bleak-witted barfly—could roam. On this barren
landscape he could indulge all his musical impulses, from experimental noise rock to
confessional folk-bramble to loping country.
Callahan recorded his visions of the world in an attempt to understand his place in
it and to get the clarity he always wanted. He restlessly sought out the kind of well-
worn vision that he admires in Kris Kristofferson, Randy Newman and Willie Nelson,
and with his latest album, Callahan seems to have found some of it. A clear-headed,
transcendent record rich in natural imagery, Woke on a Whaleheart is the follow-up to
the deeply meditative A River Ain’t Too Much to Love. Released under his birth name—
Bill Callahan, no alias—Woke on a Whaleheart is the first record of the new post-
Smog era.

Speaking slowly in his molasses baritone over the phone from Tokyo—where he
is on tour with Joanna Newsom, his sometime collaborator and girlfriend of three
years—Callahan often lets his sentences trail off or restarts them just when they’re
nearly finished. He cracks jokes in the same dry, mildy-inflected tone in which he talks

There are ideas about Callahan in need of


revision, but he doesn’t feel an urgency to set
any records straight. “I think people
stopped listening ten years ago
anyway,” he says.
Callahan’s light goes on as
Joanna Newsom walks into
the room.

THE FADER 75
BILL CALLAHAN

and follows them up with slight, whispery laughter. He will thoughtfully answer any
question, but he doesn’t feel the need to express everything.
Like most artists who have been making music for close to 20 years, there are
several ideas about Callahan in need of revision, but he doesn’t feel an urgency to
set any records straight. “I think people stopped listening ten years ago anyway,” he
says of his own music. It’s an interesting comment from a songwriter whose fans pick
apart every word he utters, start websites named after snatches of his lyrics and quote
his lines back and forth to one another to entertain themselves in bars. It’s as though
Callahan, the moving target, has realized that even as he’s kept moving—literally to
Georgia, Chicago, California and Texas, but also by keeping to himself and staying out
of the press—he’s been pinned down, reduced to a caricature anyway.
Just as John McEntire and Jim O’Rourke, two producers who have worked with
Callahan, have been permanently lumped into the postrock genre, Callahan has been
stubbornly categorized as lo-fi, a designation that hasn’t really been true for at least a
decade. “When people call me [lo-fi], I’m not sure what they’re implying, but I still get
offended,” he says flatly. “I also just don’t want to think about it. All those ideas, those
labels, are just hanging out there like mosquitoes.” Yet what dogs Callahan even more
than the lo-fi tag is his reputation for being a sad sack and somewhat of a bastard.
It’s a narrow, though somewhat understandable, conclusion. On “It’s Rough” from
1995’s Wild Love, Callahan sings, When you’re down on your luck/ And you just can’t
cope/ When the times are bleak/ And the friends are few/ Don’t turn to me/ ’Cause I’m
no hope/ Don’t turn to me/ ’Cause I don’t know what to do. Then he offers the advice,
Maybe you should have a drink/ I don’t know why you ever stopped anyway.
Though Callahan admits that his lyrics “might’ve been spurred by things happening
in my life,” he insists there is a separation between himself and the narrator of his
songs. “I try to stay away from it being me. I don’t think I write in character as much as
Randy Newman does, but it’s probably closer to being in character [than being me],”
he says. “I always think I’m telling universal stories.”
Whoever it was telling the stories in Callahan’s work, Callahan recently felt compelled
to distance himself from that person. And so he had to get rid of Smog, an identity that
remains not fully understood by most listeners. Over email, a medium where Callahan
communicates in the same poetic and formal tone of his lyrics, he writes, “Smog was
an entity. My idea at first was to have songs that were so fragile and fragmentary, they
couldn’t possibly be covered by anyone else. Not even myself. I just wanted the songs
to exist in that one form, like charred things that were left over from a fire.”
Smog was also about Callahan being in control. Although he has collaborated with
plenty of musicians, he more or less told them what to play. For Woke on a Whaleheart,
Callahan asked Neil Michael Hagerty, former vocalist and guitarist for Royal Trux, to
write the arrangements and co-produce the album. Hagerty’s current band Howling
Hex has opened for Callahan and Newsom, and for this album Hagerty aimed to
capture some of Callahan’s live dynamic. “I put Bill in the category of having a personal
relationship with his audience,” says Hagerty. “His shows have a very consistent level
of energy—even in a slow song, it never dragged. There was a tension, but not in a
negative sense. It was a pulling from Bill and the audience, both tugging on the same
song. I wanted to keep that intensity in the record.”
Before they began recording, Callahan sent Hagerty some demos with a list of
ideas. “I didn’t want to make an indie rock record. All these prejudices are attached to
that [sound],” Callahan says. “[Hagerty] said he wanted to keep it generic. It’s not

“I don’t think I write in character as much as


Randy Newman does, but it’s probably closer
to being in character [than being me].
I always think
I’m telling universal stories.”
Woke on a Whaleheart is
Callahan’s 12th album and
the first under his own name.

76 T H E FADER
BILL CALLAHAN

the most flattering word to hear about your music, but I understood what he meant.”
Woke on a Whaleheart isn’t generic, but it’s a subtle work that gains traction
through repetitious, circular builds and the stark power of ordinary language. It
is also an album steeped in easygoing gospel. Deani Pugh-Flemmings, the leader
of Olivet Baptist Choir in Austin, Texas (Callahan’s hometown since 2004), sings
glowing back-up vocals on nearly all nine of the tracks, adding a proclaimatory edge
to the proceedings. Callahan has been flirting with gospel in his music for a while,
but on “The Wheel” he goes all in, utilizing the traditional technique of speaking
a line first as a prompt for the congregation, then immediately singing it over, with
emotion reinstated. And on “Day,” Callahan sings his own hymn of hope: Some
would ask, What are we to do/ With a world that crumbles to the touch?/ A world that
spins and dies where it stands/ Like tryin ain’t enough?/ To family is all you can do/
To family is all you can do/ Even if it’s just us two.

Woke on a Whaleheart celebrates not just the shedding of Smog, but also a revelation
for Callahan about the way he wants to make music. “I feel I’ve settled into a new
approach or feel that will take me ten, 20 years to unravel,” he says. “Ever since A
River Ain’t Too Much to Love, I’ve been trying to lessen the division between guitar and
voice. I’m trying to make things more difficult instead of easy.”
A River Ain’t Too Much to Love spotlighted Callahan’s voice and guitar-playing,
which was more sophisticated and nuanced than on his previous work. With lots
of finger-picking and separate rhythms for each of his two instruments, Callahan
took beta blockers for a few months in order to play the songs on tour. “I want to
push myself, push my guitar and singing to a place where I have to take stage fright
drugs,” he says with a laugh. “They made me really sleepy, but I ended up mastering
the songs.”
The guitar, which has been Callahan’s constant companion, has only recently been
reconsidered, something Callahan says he owes to Newsom. “I think the way she
loves her harp, how much she loves playing it, has inspired me to try to play the guitar
better, or just be more considerate of it,” he says. “I used to regard it as something
that shouldn’t be there, or just the barest minimum thing to get the words and melody
out.” The influence is mutual. Newsom says it was Callahan who suggested she ask
Van Dyke Parks to arrange the orchestral parts of last year’s Ys, and performing live
together has inspired both musicians. “Playing music with Bill is much more thrilling
than I should even admit,” Newsom says. “When I play with Bill, I get to drink beer
and so forth. I can’t do that when I play my own songs, cause the harp parts are too
complicated.” Catching them live, it’s easy to see her excitement. She sits behind an
electric piano, striking bouncy keys to Callahan’s more staid guitar, jogging her legs
and tapping her feet.
For Callahan, playing with Newsom, who’s become a cornerstone of the avant-folk
scene, has exposed him to a new audience outside of the circle that tried to grab him
so tightly over the years. “If the audience is all rooting for you, it can be too easy,”
Callahan reasons. “They’re going to laugh at all your stupid jokes just because they
like your music. I find it really rewarding if I get one person that says, ‘I came to see
Joanna, but I bought your CD too.’ That’s a triumph for me.”
At 40, Callahan has more than a few grey hairs salting his toy soldier haircut. Now
his pensive expressions sit better on his still boyish but subtly lined face. “Every
year I’ve gotten older, I’ve been more comfortable and happy,” he says. “You’re not
supposed to enjoy it, but I do. You learn more about what you’re supposed to be doing
and who you’re supposed to be spending time with.” And though he wants to keep
himself out of it, Callahan knows that bright comfort is all over Woke on a Whaleheart,
even in the hanging moments of doubt. “I don’t think there’s a single sad thing on this
record,” he says. “But I don’t think anyone’s going to notice it.” &

“If the audience is all rooting


for you, it can be too easy. They’re going to laugh
at all your stupid jokes just because
they like your music.”
“Changing the name is a way to
physically demarcate a change,”
Callahan says of Smog.

THE FADER 79
Blazing the endless night with your next fast breaking, big talking, superstar producer—Polow Da Don

I t
DO
N’T
sT
Op
S TO RY E R I C D U C K E R P H OTO G R A P H Y M AT T E I C H
POLOW DA DON

I
“I’VE BECOME THE MAIN GUY, THAT MEANS PRODUCERS ARE FOLLOWING ME. EVENTUALLY WHAT THAT MEANS IS REAL MUSIC COMES BACK, BECAUSE WHAT I DO IS REAL MUSIC.”
t was Tuesday, coming up on midnight, and sticking
to his usual schedule, producer Polow Da Don hadn’t
even gotten to work yet. Instead he sat by a blazing
heater on the tented patio of Atlanta’s R Thomas
Deluxe Grill with his personal assistant Noah Betzing,
the rapper Rich Boy and Rich Boy’s manager Bianca
Mendez. In front of him were the remnants of his
chicken wings dinner. The final mixes of Rich Boy’s
self-titled debut album were due for mastering last
week, but Polow had given himself until Thursday to
get it all done. Time was running out, but no one seemed too worried about it.
Rich Boy’s album is the first release on Polow’s Zone 4 label, an imprint backed
by Interscope. Polow produced ten of its 16 tracks, and in early 2007 the first single
“Throw Some D’s” unexpectedly became the biggest rap song in the country, even
though it had been floating around generally unnoticed for more than a year. The
mandatory posse remix (co-produced with Lil Jon and featuring Andre 3000, Jim
Jones, Nelly, Murphy Lee and the Game) was out, as well as another version by
Kanye West where Polow’s beat remains untouched and West adds two new verses
of his own, shifting the subject matter from rims to tits.
The success of Rich Boy’s “Throw Some D’s” certainly had a lot to do with the
way the Mobile, Alabama MC stretched vowels from his mouth like taffy, but it also
came during Polow’s ascendance as the new go-to producer for pop, hip-hop and
R&B hits. Now when talking shit about music on the radio, Polow has to preface
his comments with an explanation that he’s referring to music on the radio before
six months ago, the time when his hot streak began. Before then, his sporadic
credits included Ludacris’s “Pimpin All Over the World,” a supersonic remix
for Mya’s “Fallen” and a brilliant-but-rejected re-imagining of Gwen Stefani’s
“Luxurious.” Then two Polow productions, “London Bridges” by Fergie and
“Buttons” by the Pussycat Dolls, achieved summertime ubiquity.
Since then he’s provided lead-singles for Mario and Young Buck, delivered
the stunning bionic grind of Kelis’s “Blindflold Me,” gone to Chicago to work
with R Kelly, been pegged to help Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger on her solo
material, and taken Ciara out of roller skating jams and into panting ballad
territory with “Promise.”
The Rich Boy album had to be done by Thursday morning because that was when
Polow was scheduled to fly out to Los Angeles for Grammy weekend and all the
meetings, parties, appearances, tributes and pomp that come along with it. Then
there was the Grammy ceremony itself, which he would be attending for the first
time. Polow didn’t know if the songs he’d produced for Fergie, the Pussycat Dolls or
Jamie Foxx were nominated for anything (they weren’t), but he knew that Ludacris
and Mary J Blige would be performing “Runaway Love,” and that was his too. The
28-year-old also knew that he wasn’t up for the Producer of the Year award.
Before getting busy, Polow stopped by Zac Recording Studios to see Outkast’s
Big Boi, who was laying down a verse for Rich Boy’s “And I Love You.” Big Boi has
nearly 15 years of experience in the game and has sold millions of records—since
the beat came from his longtime collaborator Mr DJ, this meeting wasn’t a creative
one. It was more of a political move, a gesture of respect.
Wearing a crisp black Beatles T-shirt, Big Boi sat in one of Zac’s darkened control
rooms, two pads of paper at the ready while three white pillar candles burned
on three separate paper plates. As Rich Boy fell back towards one of the corners,
Polow and Big Boi shot the shit about Bubba Sparxxx and how Big’s partner Andre
3000 had been ripping all the remixes he’d been jumping on with actual raps. Before
they left, Big Boi told Polow and Rich Boy, “I’m just happy to take it home for you.”
Soon Polow was in the passenger seat of his white Jaguar as it rolled through
the empty streets and highways of outer Atlanta, ending at House Studios in
the northern suburbs. The art for Rich Boy’s album had already been printed, so at

Polow resting, post-game, at Crunch


Fitness in Buckhead, ATL.

8 2 T H E FADER
POLOW DA DON

NOW WHEN TALKING SHIT ABOUT MUSIC ON THE RADIO, POLOW HAS TO PREFACE HIS COMMENTS WITH AN EXPLANATION THAT HE MEANS MUSIC ON THE RADIO
this point they were just making sure that all the songs listed and credited actually
existed. Rich Boy still needed to lay down a couple more verses and record an intro,
while Polow needed to tinker with the mix on a few songs, add some gun shot
embellishments and record a verse of his own for the song “Good Things.”
Everyone involved in the making of Rich Boy had been at it for several days
straight and their eyes were narrowing into slits. Polow dispatched a Studio House
assistant to the grocery store for raspberry herbal tea, Splenda, Aquafina water and
the energy drink Red Lion if they had it (Red Bull if they didn’t). At 4:45AM there
were still a few more hours of work until quitting time. “A thing you should know
about me,” said Polow, “is that I don’t sleep.”

Built off a teeter-tottering sample from Switch’s “I Call Your Name,” “Throw Some
D’s” is actually a secret history lesson on Polow and Rich Boy. The chorus comes
from Rich Boy’s verse on the remix to Bubba Sparxxx’s “Back In The Mud”—Rich
Boy’s first nationally released song, his first official collaboration with Polow and
the only available artifact of New Money, a down south supergroup that Polow and
Timbaland were putting together with Rich Boy, Sparxxx, Pastor Troy and Sean Paul
of the Youngbloodz. The lines from Polow’s verse I never slip/ I never fall/ A lot of
hoes give me their numbers but I never call first appeared on “Can We Do This,” a
song by his old group, Jim Crow.
Jamal Jones aka Polow Da Don was raised in the southwestern part of Atlanta,
in the Zone 4 police patrol area that his label name refers to, and grew up hoping
to become an A&R for a record company. After two years at Morehouse College
he dropped out to focus on his rapping career. Jim Crow was a three MC crew
that signed to Sony in the late ’90s when major labels finally realized there might
actually be money in Southern rap. The group released two albums before breaking
up and are best remembered for popularizing the phrase “Holla at a playa when
you see him in the streets” to the point that it was regularly heard on ESPN’s
SportsCenter. Polow considers their debut album Crow’s Nest an Atlanta rap classic
on par with Outkast’s first three records, Goodie Mob’s Soul Food and Kilo Ali’s early
’90s regional releases.
When Polow was in Jim Crow he would always give his opinions to the producers
they were working with, yet it wasn’t until after the group separated to try solo
careers that he started making beats himself. Unlike the Neptunes or Lil Jon, Polow
doesn’t have a signature sound. Part of his talent is his versatility and his ability to
find unexpected but effective pairings between vocalists and tracks. The restrained
soul of “Runaway Love” allows Ludacris to ditch his cartoonish pussyhound
character and make a post-Crash foray into maturity, while the puppy love piano of
“First Piece” provides a fascinating counterbalance as Juvenile and his cronies in
UTP lyrically get Geto Boys-level repugnant. Even on “London Bridge,” the closest
song Polow has to a calling card, the strutting drums match Fergie’s confident
delivery, but the sirens and jarring horns that define the song are pure panic.
Polow is a detail-oriented producer prone to dropping in unpredictable touches
like triple-time claps and clave breaks that either ignite like turbo-boosters or
decimate like shrapnel. There is a depth to his songs that most producers ignore
in their quest for catchiness. “I’ve become the main guy,” he said. “That means
producers are following me. What that means is real music comes back, because
what I do is real music. When that happens, then I did my job.”
In person Polow carries himself with quiet confidence, but his quotable, outsized
ego has become an essential part of his identity. In interviews he takes casual jabs
at industry kings like Jay-Z and Jermaine Dupri like it’s no big deal. This cockiness is
just as crucial as the “King of the White Girls” image he pushed in the “Throw Some
D’s” video by delivering his verse from the backseat of a convertible as three chicks
seemingly plucked from a Tri Delt sorority house sing along with him.
Polow is messing around with a solo project called Gorgeous Jones that takes
his persona to its most ridiculous extension. “Gorgeous Jones is basically a day in

Rich Boy on the set of Young


Buck’s “Get Buck” video.

BEFORE SIX MONTHS AGO, THE TIME WHEN HIS HOT STREAK BEGAN.
8 4 T H E FADER
POLOW DA DON

the life of a movie/rock star,” he explained, staying vague on the musical specifics.
“Everything he does is perfection. Dudes want to be him and girls want to see him.
He’s arrogant, but entertaining. He’s a lovable guy, almost like Johnny Bravo if he
was a rapper.”

Following Tuesday’s late night session, Polow’s Wednesday got started around 5PM
at Crunch Fitness with a Peach Punch smoothie and pick-up basketball. On the court
he led fast breaks, drained some jumpers, bricked others, cherry-picked for easy
baskets, connected on touch passes, yelled at his teammates to get their hands up
on defense and argued when it was over. “When his brow goes up, that’s when you
can tell he’s mad,” said one of the other regulars from the sideline. When Polow
came away from his fourth and final game with an L, he drove home in a stank
mood. Though he’d lived in his white-columned, high-ceilinged luxury apartment
for a couple years, the place remained for the most part empty and undecorated.
“I just sleep here,” said Polow. “That’s why I’m never here.”
Taking one of the custom-designed Ken Lo hoodies from a metal rack in the
dining room, Polow headed down to the video shoot for Young Buck’s “Get Buck,”
a big and blustery track he produced. Atlanta may currently dominate hip-hop, but
the community itself is small and interconnected. As Polow and Rich Boy stood in
the parking lot of a check cashing spot waiting to film their cameos, a procession of
folks who were somehow part of the rap game came by to get Polow’s cell number,
give Polow their cell number or give Polow their cell number to give to someone
else. The marching band and step team sequences were almost done shooting
when Polow spotted Young Buck posted up by a monitor with the clip’s director,
Bernard Gourley. Polow called out, “Buck! What it is?” The rapper replied, “It’s you.”
Once the video wrapped, the next stop was Soapbox Studios for a quick session
with Phil Tan, Jermaine Dupri’s longtime engineer who also mixed most of the
Neptunes recent hits and Rihanna’s “SOS.” After he explained the touch ups he
wanted on Rich Boy’s extra-shinning club jam “On the Regular,” Polow went to the
studio’s kitchen. There he ran into Rico Wade, a founding member of Organized
Noize, the production team that defined the sound of Atlanta rap in the ’90s. As
a way of congratulations, Wade pontificated on why people had embraced Rich Boy,
saying that his high skin fade reminded them of their country heritage. Amidst local
superstars like TI and Young Jeezy’s envy-inspiring talk of Bentleys and Phantoms,
there is something almost quaint about Rich Boy’s pride-filled claim on “Throw
Some D’s” that he just bought a Cadillac. Wade contended that Alabama is still the
real South, a state where everybody has an uncle and the penalty for a narcotics
case is almost as bad catching a murder rap. “It’s like Atlanta ten or 15 years ago,”
he said.
At one in the morning, according to Mobile time, Rich Boy officially turned 23 and
Polow took him out for a laidback celebration of table dances at the Pink Pony. In
the car afterwards Polow admitted that finishing the Rich Boy album would be a
load off his mind and that doing it hadn’t been easy. Earlier that night he learned
that a song he’d spent several pre-dawn hours working on wasn’t included in the
final tracklist. Not having to finish it saved him time right now, but it had been a
waste of his energy. “I don’t feel like I’m properly staffed to work the way I want
to work. I want to worry about zero personal, day-to-day type shit if I choose to,”
Polow said. “We’re all doing this for the first time on this level.”
Over at Stonehenge Studios there was an empty vocal booth and an engineer
available, so Rich Boy booked himself a later flight to Los Angeles and got working
on what had to get done. Polow laid out on a leather couch waiting for him to finish,
one foot on the cushions and the other one on the floor. He lazily talked about
maybe going to Hawaii for a break before coming back from California, and his
Sidekick continued to buzz with every new and unanswered message. It was then,
in the silence, that Polow put his hood up and finally closed his eyes. &

Polow holds the door of an Atlanta


apartment building.

“I DON’T FEEL LIKE I’M PROPERLY STAFFED TO WORK THE WAY I WANT TO WORK. WE’RE ALL DOING THIS FOR THE FIRST TIME ON THIS LEVEL.”

THE FADER 87
Noah Lennox and the infinite struggle for sweetness

h
T e
LO VE
m OVE
Ment

STORY ALEX WAGNER PHOTOGRAPHY TODD COLE


PANDA BEAR

A
t first, you’d think Person Pitch was
recorded in the desert—among
the spindly ocotillos and the rangy,
extraterrestrial cacti, outside of
crappy one-horse Tucson and its
quicksand gentrification, somewhere
in the dusky purple mountain
majesty of Mount Lemmon. All the
rocks and breathlessly huge spaces, with their
echomaking possibilities and promises of freedom from
currency, pessimism and subways. But the album wasn’t recorded in the desert,
although its maker, Noah Lennox—better known as Panda Bear from Animal
Collective—happened to be in Arizona for a few weeks in the late winter of this
year. Together with his bandmates Dave Portner, Josh Dibb and Brian Weitz, and
with help from producer Scott Colburn, they were sequestering themselves in
a local studio to imagine the songs for a forthcoming Animal Collective album—
perhaps channeling the mystic juju of Tucson’s rearview mirror dreamcatchers
and looming natural world into something billowing and triumphant, to be
released at a later date.
As it turns out, Person Pitch, Lennox’s second solo album, was recorded in his
home studio in Lisbon, Portugal, where he lives with his wife of three years and
their two-year-old daughter. Lennox describes the studio as “seriously the most
basic, jerryrigged set up,” but if he was using free software and a bootleg mic to
record the album, you can’t really hear it in the overlapping layers of owls and
doowop and reverb that wash over the seven songs. If Person Pitch sounds like it
was birthed in the Great West, in all its ambitious, open spaces and sonic bigness,
it also very much sounds like a small barnacle-covered apartment on the Tejo
river, someplace far away and flooded with sunlight and too much love.

The four members of Animal Collective have been making self-described “weird”
music for the last six years, the psychedelic qualities of which are heightened
by their stage names (Panda Bear, Avey Tare, Geologist and Deakin), use of face
paint and a willingness to get dirty and mix unlikely sounds and samples as if
they were pudding and apple juice. But at the very core of their band is a glowing
ember of pop—tangible, sad, uplifting melodies and harmonies that just happen
to be accompanied by lyrics involving sticky shoes, Chinese ballet and tunas in
Tennyson’s tubs. Lennox and Portner are the primary architects of Animal
Collective’s songs, and not surprisingly, the melodiousness of Person Pitch is
as solid—as perfect, really—as anything the group has done to date. “I feel like
when I listen to an Animal Collective album, I can be like, ‘This part of the song,
there’s a lot of me in that part,’” says Lennox. “But with Person Pitch it’s just
like flooding with me—me-ness. An Animal Collective record would never have
so much reverb over everything, be so watery. That’s a kind of sensibility that’s
particularly mine.”
It took Lennox two years to record the album, swiping sound effects off the
internet, burying his own vocals in blankets of whatever he found and tweaking
the samples themselves while he waited for the birth of his first child. Only at the
end of the process did he invite frequent collaborator Rusty Santos to Lisbon to
mix the tracks. “[Santos] got there and was like so bummed that I had this crappy

“I feel like when I listen to


an Animal Collective album,
I can be like, ‘This part of the song, there’s a
lot of me in that part.
But with Person Pitch it’s just like
flooding with me—me-ness.”
Panda Bear, bka Noah
Lennox, outside of the studio
in Tucson, AZ.

9 0 T H E FADER
PANDA BEAR

equipment,” Lennox explains. “Like, This is such BS.” Santos took songs apart
and cleaned them up, but by far his biggest contribution was to unearth Lennox’s
vocals. “On every mix, it was Ok take the vocals up, take the vocals up,” he says.
Even though Santos had his way at the mixing board, it’s still difficult to hear
exactly what Lennox is singing about—“soul” could be “son,” and “love” might
really be “above,” but you get the sense that it’s his intention to let each phrase
live by whatever interpretation it receives.
Midway through the recording of the third song on the album, “Bros,” Lennox’s
daughter was born. “It’s not like I was writing the songs, [thinking] She’s really
gonna love this!” he offers, “But…that sense that you’re expendable—the circle
of life hits home heavy when you have a kid, at least it did for me.” Nearly the
longest song on the album, “Bros” clocks in at 12 minutes and 30 seconds and
is filled with movements that range from light ragas to melancholy, chiming
harmonies that are eerily similar to those of Brian Wilson—so much so that they
demand comparison. But ultimately, where Wilson’s music had a plasticine quality
that gave his work a supernatural, ghostlike aura, Lennox’s music is dirtied and
sullied with his own heartbreak and humanity. Somewhere around the three
minute mark of the song, you can decipher the cry of a woman, then of a child and
then of an older man—the cries of Lennox’s wife, baby and himself, respectively.
Depending on the listen, they sound full of woe or full of joy. Lennox says that
“Bros” is the zenith of the album.

Growing up middle class in Baltimore, MD, Lennox attended one of the Waldorf
schools, which emphasize a holistic approach to learning—paying an equal
amount of attention to the inner emotional life of a child and his or her intellectual
development. “For better or for worse it was very white, middle-class Lacrosse-
playing Baltimore guys,” he explains. During his time in Tucson and in press
photos, Lennox is sometimes seen wearing a cashed out, loosely fitting Orioles
baseball hat—maybe an ironic fashion statement when paired with a bleach-
splattered cutoff sweatshirt, but then he adds, “My older brother is a mega
athlete guy—he’s like a tennis pro now. If you have an older brother who’s
really good at sports, you get crazy about losing and kind of get obsessed with
winning.” Lennox continues, saying that Person Pitch is the first time he’s lassoed
his attention deficient habits and worked on something really intensely, focusing
on the songs and the quality of their sound.
September of 2004 saw the release of Panda Bear’s first solo album, Young
Prayer, which was created on the heels of an extended period of depression. Of
attending high school at another Waldorf school outside of Philadelphia (there
are only a handful in the country), Lennox says, “It was a sad time—the beginning
of my sad times, which I think lasted for a while.” Three years of college in
Boston ended when Lennox dropped out—“I kind of lost it for a little while,” he
explains—and a move to New York followed thereafter. Though Lennox began
recording with Animal Collective, the death of his father in 2002 prompted the
release of his first individual body of work, Young Prayer: it’s a spare, eight-song
EP that is very much a meditation on sadness and sorrow, but with moments
of poetry that come close to wistfulness and some sort of redemption. In the
aftermath of Young Prayer, Lennox says, “I didn’t want to do anything that even
approached that really serious and somber psychic matter. I just got tired of
feeling that way, and feeling like it was a major waste of time to be thinking
negative about everything. This album has a lot to do with that, me wanting to feel

“I thought, What do I think is cool?


Stuff like a guy walking an old lady across
the street, I think that’s cool. Good deeds—
and doing good stuff for yourself
and for other people,
as cheesy as it sounds.”
Lennox has been jamming
with Animal Collective
members for a decade.

92 T H E FADER
PANDA BEAR

positive and make music that makes me feel good and hopefully other people feel
good, as much as I can.”
Person Pitch begins with a song called “Comfy In Nautica.” It’s built around an
echoing, processional vocal that proclaims, Goodness is having courage/ Courage
to do what’s right. With this earnest pedagogy, it recalls a time gone by—maybe
an all-boys choir from the ’50s giving a gauzy valediction to their alma mater—but
then Lennox overlays the vocals with bubbles, a lion roar and the zoom of a
Formula 1 racetrack, and continues his chorus with I try to remember always/ Just
to have a good time. “I’m really stoked about the way a certain pair of shoes can
make me feel,” he admits. “I started thinking about coolness—I just started kind
of to not like it, the whole concept of coolness. So I thought, Well maybe I’ll try
and come up with my own definition for it. What do I think is cool? Stuff like a guy
walking an old lady across the street, I think that’s cool. Good deeds—and doing
good stuff for yourself and for other people, as cheesy as it sounds. So the song’s
a bit about that: wishing people wouldn’t only feel comfy in Nautica. Feel like they
needed to put on a certain brand of clothing to feel like they’re awesome.”
The album runs through several glimmering tracks that recall twilight and
rebirth, but it ends with the song “Ponytail.” Because of its length and lack of
multipart development, the song might otherwise feel like an afterthought, but in
its reflective, haunting send off, it’s one of the album’s standouts. When my soul
starts growing/ I get so hungry/ And/ I wish it would never would stop growing
is looped over and over again atop echoey keys and a warm, fuzzy wash—Panda
Bear’s “me-ness” in Technicolor. It sounds a lot like a lullaby. Though he considers
it a “really cheesy cut,” it’s telling that Lennox chose to end the album with
it. “When I wrote it, it was really spontaneous and I was washing dishes or
something in the morning,” Lennox explains. “And the melody came into my head,
and I got really hungry too. And I was thinking that, Man this is like a time in my
life when I’m really getting older, somehow. Kind of goofy.”

In speaking about Rock Music Now, the idea of goodness—the search for its
origin or its progeny, or simply the search for a way to be good in a complicated
time—is a very powerful ethic. Lennox, in this way, rubs the same stone as many
of his contemporaries—Animal Collective, of course, but also bands like Softcircle
or Brightblack Morning Light or Arcade Fire, for that matter. There’s a shyness
guised as irony or weirdness or perhaps just being too stoned that quiets the
power of their message; a self-effacement that masks what, in many ways, is
a sermon about the brevity and power of life and love. Lennox hasn’t played
too many solo shows for Person Pitch; at press time, he had only performed
twice in Europe but was readying himself for a handful of gigs in England and
the US. “There’s been a couple shows recently where it’s been kind of like a total
disaster,” he says. “I played this show in the north of Portugal—probably like
30 people showed up, ten of which were people who had set up the show. And
people were not into it at all, they just talked the whole time. After I finished, I
was like I got two more songs, let me know if you wanna hear them. And this guy
calls up and in Portuguese is like, ‘So uma!’ Which means, Just one! And I was like,
Alright—so I played just one. It’s kind of nice to have that sort of thing every once
in a while, so you don’t think you’re sweet or anything.”
A YouTube clip of another solo show shows Lennox clad in a green T-shirt, silver
wedding band on his right hand, clutching the mic. He’s working—sweating—his
way through “Bros,” in what sounds like a pretty noisy venue—people are
definitely talking over him. The song sounds different, louder, awkward: the
samples not nearly as fluid as they are on the album, certain basslines ratcheted
up to a weirdly distorted trance-like thump, Lennox’s own voice buried, willingly, in
the din. At a certain point, it really does seem like a tragedy. Until you realize that
it was perfect—however it was played. &

“[Santos] got there and was like so bummed


that I had this crappy equipment.
Like, This is such BS.”
Lennox hid sounds “so you can
listen to the album and still think
Did I hear something there?”

9 4 T H E FADER
O Ne
dr
Op

po p
Gyptian’s brand of rasta-lite throws a lion into the rat race STORY EDWIN “STATS” HOUGHTON PHOTOGRAPHY KRISANNE JOHNSON
GYPTI AN

“R KELLY BAD TOO! R KELLY COME LIKE HE’S A REGGAE ARTIST. YAH MON, R KELLY MIGHTY, MON. MIGHTY, MIGHTY BROTHER...

T
he problem with trying to interview rastas New York winter blowing outside, and his debut album My Name is Gyptian
is that they have their own language. is dropping on VP just in time to lay claim to whatever Christmas money
Their very own. It’s English, but not the reggae fans have set aside. By this time, Jamaica’s collective imagination
same English or even the same patois has turned away from spiraling gun-violence, instead focusing on the
that’s known to the rest of the world. Ask constant traffic stops police employ to combat it. Funeral marches have
a straightforward, Journalism 101 question been replaced as the soundtrack of the moment by the stop-and-go bump
about musical influences and you might of Buju Banton’s “Driver A” and Stephen Marley’s “Traffic Jam.” “Serious
get an aphorism like “You cannot wake a Times,” meanwhile, has just barely filtered into the periphery of North
sleeping lion” by way of an answer. That particular afro-koan is proffered American consciousness outside the core reggae community via word of
across the table of an unused conference room at VP Records in Jamaica, mouth and a one drop compilation actually called Serious Times on XL
Queens by a reggae singer called Gyptian, a young dude with a very old Recordings, leaving Gyptian somewhere in the deadly time warp that exists
soul and a regal aura heightened by a crown of budding locks. Listening to between Jamaican grassroots success and international distribution. For
him talk makes it clear that rasta is not so much his religion as a sort of better or worse, Gyptian’s own album continues exactly in the same mode
counter-religion, a general disbelief in conventional rules and hierarchies. as “Serious Times,” a mode that could be called “rasta lite”—power ballads
Counter-culture demands counter-language to go with it, and, in his driven almost totally by melody and not at all by the characteristically
style of speak, divisive pronouns like “you,” “we,” “me” are all replaced by Jamaican emphasis on bass and snare. The songs bear some resemblance
“I,” and downpression is the opposite of upful livities. to ’70s roots, especially the plaintive quality of Gregory Isaacs’s “Night
This logic is built right into the name Gyptian. Windel Beneto Edwards Nurse,” but it’s almost impossible to discuss their appeal without the
earned the epithet “Egyptian” from the dreads around Portmore—a reference point of R Kelly, for several reasons, but mostly because both
community of studios and musicians that’s easy distance from Kingston, singers glide along the same molecule-thin membrane between brilliance
but not part of it—for wearing a T-shirt tied sphinx-style around his head and Disney-fied saccharine. Hallmark-isms like Have I told you that I’ve
and constantly twirling the curls on his chin in a pharaonic manner. “I always loved you/ Have I told you that I’ve always cared? totally fail to
just take off the [e]vilous and it jus’ naturally become Gyptian,” he says. derail melody of the kind that gets anyone—rocker, soccer mom, dogheart
That was in 2005, right after the 22-year-old moved to Portmore and right killer—open when no-one is looking. This melodic propulsion—so strong
before he was unexpectedly thrust into the spotlight with the very first on “Beautiful Lady” that it carries the song right through bar after bar of
tune he released. “Serious Times”—a slow, mournful reggae ballad that rhymeless lyrics like waves over a reef—works because of a certain stream-
rhythmically suggests both a funeral march and a nyabinghi drum choir— of-consciousness spontaneity. The lack of calculated strategy highlights the
became the anthem of that particularly bloody year. From the States it’s fact he could be singing names from the Kingston phonebook or scatting
hard to get an idea of the song’s ubiquity and its resonance, but consider nonsense syllables and it wouldn’t dilute the song’s power much. Although
that it beat out both Damian Marley’s “Welcome to Jamrock” and Jah Cure’s it contains some disappointments and notable omissions, My Name has
“True Reflections” as the Most Important Song of 2005 in a Jamaica Star more than its share of such moments; with the careless generosity of
readership poll. In the midst of ever-higher crime rates, it became the a young artist, Gyptian flings away tune after golden tune that some biz
rallying point for a revival of conscious reggae the likes of which Jamaica savvy composer could have stretched out into a million-dollar portfolio of
had not seen for 20-plus years, but its timeliness was deceptive. Gyptian commercial jingles.
originally voiced his lament for street violence in 1999 for former Wailers Despite some elements in his sound that seem to directly contradict
guitarist Earl “Chinna” Smith, but it was never released until he moved to it—the spare nyabinghi drums, the rasta cryptographics—Gyptian seems
Portmore and re-recorded it for another producer. Somehow, this backstory more or less cool with this essential popness. “I an’ I listen to a lot of
of dream deferred did not detract from the relevance of the lyrics—which overseas artists,” he says. “Celine Dion, Mariah Carey an’ Whitney Houston,
put drive-by shootings straight off the daily headlines into the biblical Patti LaBelle. Boys II Men over deh so, Beyonce.” When I finally play the
time-frame of seven times rise and seven times fall—but actually added to Kells card, he looks animated for the first time. “R Kelly bad too! R Kelly
their power, cementing their prophetic inevitability, the inescapable feeling come like he’s a reggae artist. Yah mon, R Kelly mighty, mon. Mighty, mighty
that they were meant to be heard in that place and that time, over those brother…him an Brian McKnight. Bad singer.” But pressed on whether
particular drums. he aspires to sing over the kind of production those artists popularized,
or how his overall project might be different from theirs, it’s back to
When we speak in Queens, Gyptian is very much in a different place and parables. “I’m not the artist to separate from music,” he says. “Wherever
time. Instead of a ghetto red hot summer, there is a distinct brickness to the I hear music, ears dem cock up. Like Shabba say: deejay ears cock up
when they hear boom riddim. That is music, an if you a go part it up into
Gyptian derived his calypso, R&B, dancehall, scat, that would be more like havin Christianity
name from the nickname
he earned around the
Portmore area outside of
inna music, you get me? Because in Christianity everything differentiate:
Seven Day church, Apostolic, Ebenezer, Catholic. Everyone praise god on
HIM AN BRIAN MCKNIGHT. BAD SINGER.”
Kingston. a different day in a different church. But rastaman now, he must get up

9 8 T H E FADER
GYPTIAN

an live! Sunday, Monday, whatever day.” This particular metaphor and its
non-denominational stance are especially close to Gyptian’s home because,
as he’s quick to point out, he is the son of a Seventh Day Adventist mother
and a rasta father (who, appropriately, ran a roots soundsystem called
Faddatone) and it’s this upbringing which he credits for his musicality and
his outlook on life. In speaking with Gyptian, I try to translate his reasoning
into some sort of thesis about the present moment for reggae and its
place in the scheme of things—how even if one drop is a sub-niche of a
sub-culture, by music industry standards it’s about ready to be recognized
as pop music on its own terms—but it’s just about here that Gyptian
melodramatically hits stop on the tape to lay out a conspiracy theory
involving Bob Marley and Peter Tosh. The remainder of our conversation
that day is off the record.

Some months later the LP is out and selling respectably well, cracking some
urban charts, but so far without the adds to the key stations in London,
Miami or New York that foretell major label interest and real numbers.
Speaking over the phone about touring behind the record, holding down
a solo bill for the first time, Gyptian is too busy seeing the world to care
much. He’s just shot a video for a new 45 called “My Fadda Say”—possibly
to balance out “Ma Ma,” which starts off the LP. If there were such a thing
as royalties in Jamaica, Gyptian could live for the next thousand years off
the remittances from Mama and Fadda’s Day alone. But the real tribute to
his father’s rasta legacy is not the just in the song’s melody (it’s as addictive
as any of his other tunes), but in its throwback to the utopian aspirations
of his roots generation, the radical lack of focus on royalties or doing real
numbers. If American hip-hop-style capitalism is now the industry blueprint,
it seems almost logical to assess non-American music the way bankers do
developing countries. Jamaican artists are so routinely evaluated this way,
by their potential to make the leap from a subsistence economy of reggae
45s to a larger market with all the trappings, that it’s almost impossible
to imagine the spirit free enough to see music not as a ladder into the
industry, but as an escape route out of that rat race. But that’s more or less
where Gyptian seems to be with it. “It’s more like a free flow,” he says. “It’s
not about money ’cause, to be frank with you, iffa money I wouldn’t be
here. It’s from the music, right? I sing because that’s what I do: music, not
money. You deal with a whole heap of things in this life yunno, but you can’t
sell your soul for it. I tell you I start from nuthin, until it take me right here
so—music that, nothing else but music.” Questioned again as to where that
flow might be carrying him, he replies, “Me? Just the higher heights a life,
man. That’s where I’m goin; the higher heights of life.”
Throughout all these conversations, the word Gyptian uses most
frequently is “naturally.” It conveys the positive sense of “not-synthetic”
and also “of course,” as if to say in response to my various queries about
crossover strategy, record labels, markets: Yes but, what’s that got to do
with life? Why waste breath on them when the point is not to carve out
a better record deal or even a greater musical legacy, but to discover a
greater way of living? A record deal is just a means, the songs themselves
are just documentation…rasta-colored hallmark cards from the higher
heights of life. &

“I’M NOT THE ARTIST TO SEPARATE


FROM MUSIC.
WHEREVER I HEAR MUSIC,
EARS DEM COCK UP. LIKE SHABBA
SAY: DEEJAY EARS COCK UP WHEN
THEY HEAR
BOOM RIDDIM.”

THE FADER 101


REs -
e r eC T o N
i

The Black Lips—the most banned band in America—is raising such a perfectly hellish storm that everyone who kicked them out is now angling to have them back STORY C A R O L I N E M c C LO S K E Y P H OTO G R A P H Y DAV I D B A N KS
BLACK LIPS

I
t’s Saturday evening in This is not manufactured bravado. Black Lips have
the Virginia Highlands just learned how to unplug their brains and submit
neighborhood of to whatever larger force possesses them on a given

“I got this fire extinguisher and I started spraying it everywhere,


Atlanta, and the Black night once they get under the hot lights. But they
Lips are sitting around also understand the value of turning it on. “We’re
the living room figuring entertainers,” says St Pe. “If I want to hear a CD or

and there was this


out their night move. a record I’ll put that on. If I go see a show, I want
Joe Bradley, the band’s to be entertained. Sometimes it seems like people

butch-dyke owner chick and


drummer, spins a blue expect us to act crazy now, but I’m no puppet. We
marble on the coffee never know what’s going to happen when we get
table. It’s his birthday—he’s 23. Bassist Jared Swilley on stage.” Swilley grew up in Dunwoody, Georgia,

she was really tough and she just, like, came out of the fog.
and guitarist Cole Alexander are kicking it on the listening to his pastor father preach before a
couch with a glass of red wine. Ian St Pe, another congregation of thousands. “At my Dad’s sermons
guitar player (and at age 29, the band’s senior they speak in tongues and people freak out and go
member), is on the cell-horn setting up tickets to the crazy and scream,” he says. “I don’t believe in God
Yo La Tengo show later, just down the street in Little personally, but I like that energy. It’s directly related
Five Points. Cocks remain in pants, tongues are in to our shows—they’re about putting on a show while
their rightful owner’s mouths and no one is bleeding preaching their message, and we’re about delivering
from any visible orifice. Given the civilized tableau, our songs while putting on a show. But everyone in the
who’s to know that the night will end on the outskirts band gets their showmanship from different places.”
of town, at a roadhouse out beyond the Perimeter Something about the band’s native charisma makes
(aka I-285) in a joint rife with Mexican cowboys and people, even cops, want to give them a break. “I
parking spots for rigs? Right now, these boys with a remember we got busted on tour one time, as we were
reputation for perpetrating vandalism onstage and on driving through Tennessee,” says Swilley. “It was around
vinyl have a rare night off and goddamn, they’re not the same time as Bonnaroo, and I guess the policy in
performing for anyone. that county is to pull over every out of state van or car.
The list of venues that have blacklisted the Black So they pulled us over and we had a little bit of weed
Lips is long and distinguished: Mercury Lounge and mushrooms, and some Xanax. They had already
and its sister club, Bowery Ballroom, in New York; written the ticket, but we ended up singing Lynyrd
the Black Cat in DC; the Knitting Factory in LA; Skynyrd with the cops and stuff, joking around. They
40 Watt in Athens; Buffalo Bar in London; had to take us to jail because the mushrooms were
Gleis 22 in Munster. Spit, piss, blood and fire a felony. But we made them laugh—we played Rock,
figure prominently in the litany of offenses, and Paper, Scissors to see who was gonna take the charge.
underground folklore about the band has morphed In the end, they apologized for pulling us over and said,
into a giant, international game of Telephone, with ‘Y’all have a good time on tour!’ And when we went back
accounts of members variously swapping spit, to court, they dropped almost all the charges, wiped it
trashing equipment into shards, setting off fireworks off our record and the DEA apologized to us.”
onstage and pissing into their mouths and/or onto Because here’s the thing about the Black Lips:
the crowd. So it’s not for nothing that Black Lips they’re charming as hell. They like each other. It’s
shows have achieved a certain mythic status among genuine. Everybody writes and everybody sings; all
the urban animals who attend them. But the scrappy songs are credited to the entire band. There’s no
band from Georgia has clearly been tapped by the diva bullshit, possibly because the members of BL
wand of the charmed instead of the damned, because have toughed out two of life’s more radical trials
every one of those clubs has overturned the sentence together: the gruesome years of adolescence and the

I was with these two pretty girls, and she just ripped ‘em
and invited them back for another round of pagan demoralizing calisthenics of trying to make a living
spectacle. from music. “We started playing together in high

out of my way and started whacking my face in—


None of this loose gossip is especially remarkable school for talent shows,” says Alexander. “A lot of
to the Black Lips themselves, who play upwards bands came out of [Dunwoody High],” adds Swilley.
of 200 shows a year and are consequently hazy on “Tilly and the Wall, some guys from Deerhunter, a

blood started coming


the Whats and Hows (the Whys are irrelevant) of couple of people who play with Bright Eyes. It makes
any particular one. Although, you know, there are coming home for Christmas pretty fun.” The Lips

out of my nose, I’m spraying her at the same time.”


exceptions. “One show we played at Buffalo Bar, I hit the road early and hard, powering through the
got this fire extinguisher and I started spraying it indignity of going broke playing for empty rooms. It
everywhere,” Alexander recalls fondly. “And there was -COLE ALEXANDER was a triumphant adventure. “The first tour we had
this butch-dyke owner chick and she was really tough was horrible—we were eating out of garbage cans
and she just, like, came out of the fog. I was with and sleeping in homeless shelters,” says Alexander.
these two pretty girls, and she just ripped ‘em out “All the shows fell through. We got to New Orleans
of my way and started whacking my face in—blood and they were like, ‘What show?’ The bar was closed,
started coming out of my nose, I’m spraying her at so we ended up playing for this one bum who was
the same time…Yeah, that was awesome. We got Previous spread: Cole Alexander riding around Atlanta, Georgia in the Black Lips tour van. At left: Joe Bradley at the Earl in East Atlanta. At right: Ian St Pe and Cole Alexander at the Earl. hanging out. But we’d never been anywhere. We
banned from there.” thought we were on top of the world.”

1 0 4 T H E FADER THE FADER 105


BLACK LIPS

“We ended up singing Lynyrd Skynyrd


with the cops and stuff,
joking around.
They had to take us to jail
because the mushrooms were a felony.
Of course, nobody would even blink at the “He rules—he drinks the best cigars and the best
Black Lips stage antics if they couldn’t back it up tequila,” says Swilley. “And he has perfect teeth.
with decent noise. Rooted mostly in ’60s garage They’re amazing.”
dissonance, their jams also contain trace elements of Back in Atlanta, the Yo La Tengo show is swarming
the mutant array of sounds accessible to the modern with kids. Black Lips haven’t seen the band before
ear: gospel, punk, R&B, country, death metal. The and don’t really know the music, but Ira Kaplan’s been
hairy, acid-blasted, deliciously mangled result is party kind to them in the press and they’re curious to check
sugar and destroy sauce all at once. Since 2000, it out. Inside the theater, people are either seated or
the Black Lips have produced two seven-inches, a standing in the aisles like beatific zombies, rapt and
couple of LPs on Bomp! and, in 2005, Let It Bloom—a motionless—the energy is almost the direct opposite
silly-catchy record packed with odes to the Redneck of a Black Lips show. After admiring a couple of
Rivieras (I got a tattoo of a dolphin on my belly songs, the band ducks out and pilots the car toward
button/ And Bobby got a tattoo that said Panama City no man’s land, eventually landing at Southern
Beach 3003) and tracks that make you wanna grab a Comfort, a giant hall filled with picnic tables, Stetson
piece of rotten fruit and just squeeeeeze it through hats and hundreds of good ol’ boys. The Black Lips
your fingers. But even for this workhorse band, the are the youngest people here by a good 15 years,
past year’s been unusually busy. Since signing with but this is more their speed tonight. The house band
Vice last winter, they’ve been busting ass, touring gives them a shout out (their pedal steel player sits
the world and making three new records, including a in on the new studio record) and conversation veers
live set recorded in Tijuana, a collection of outtakes towards the Great Mercury Lounge Incident of 2006,
from Let It Bloom (tentatively titled Last of the White in which the Lips got booted for, ostensibly, pissing
Niggers) and a studio release set for the end of the on stage and then refusing to stop playing. “We were
summer. “It’s weird, it’s like people think we’re a new banned for life as they threw us out,” St Pe recalls.
band or something,” says Alexander. “We’ve been “They turned on the house lights and pulled our mics.
together seven years, but I guess it seems like we’re But come on, we play music for a living—we’ll just
a new band because we’re starting to get a little more do an instrumental set. We refused to stop, and then
attention.” Bradley adds, “Rolling Stone chose our the bouncers came up. And then Wolfmother went on
third album as Best Debut Album.” after we got kicked out. It was great: the front man
To record the live album, Los Valientes Del Mundo, was acting all cool, standing there in Cole’s piss. But
Vice rented out a joint in Tijuana, gave out free beer I guess the almighty dollar speaks, because now that
and tequila, hired a mariachi band to play between we’re on Vice and people are kinda showing interest
songs and let the magic flow. “The crowd was like in us, they asked us back. So we’ll be playing there
50 or 60 percent Mexican, plus some drifters from next time with a friendly smirk.” &
San Diego,” says Bradley. The Hot Snakes’ John
Reis, who the band first met while playing a show Jared Swilley at home in Atlanta’s Virginia
in California, worked the boards during the set. Highlands neighborhood.

But we made them laugh—we played Rock, Paper, Scissors to see who was gonna take the charge.” -JARED SWILLEY

1 0 6 T H E FADER
The rock-bottom revitalization of Mobb Deep’s Prodigy

H
AR D

TiMe s
S T O R Y N I C K B A R AT PHOTOGRAPHY LAUREN FLEISHMAN
PRODIGY

THE CLIP FOR “MAC 10 HANDLE” FEATURES A SWEAT-DRENCHED PRODIGY IN A FILTHY APARTMENT, SWIGGING LIQUOR AND WIPING FINGERPRINTS OFF BULLETS.

W
gangsta? Then shoot me/ Who gives a fuck, really/ I miss
my nigga Twin, kill me/ So I can join the rest of my folks,
up in the heavens. It was a casual admission, a glimpse
into Prodigy’s psyche made more shocking because of its
offhandedness. It didn’t matter whether or not you believed
what he was saying—it worked because he believed it.

hen it comes to confessionals on Last year, Prodigy tattooed a script “G-Unit” logo on his
wax, few get realer than “You Can Never Feel My Pain,” the right hand, a symbolic gesture commemorating Mobb
final song on Prodigy’s 1999 solo album, HNIC. Over some Deep’s signing with the crew (50 Cent got the Mobb
lite R&B keys from an Angela Bofill record, the Mobb Deep insignia inked on his wrist in return) following a one-album
member details his lifelong struggle with sickle cell anemia: stint on Jive records in 2004, a series of abortive indie
1974, motherfucker I was born with pain/ My moms and projects following 2002’s Infamy LP, and Jay-Z’s vicious diss
my pops passed it down to me/ So don’t talk to me about track, “Takeover.” That song was first performed at Hot
“Can I feel yours?”/ Cause I ain’t feelin you at all, your pain 97’s Summer Jam concert in 2001, complete with Jay’s now-
isn’t pure/ You cryin cause you broke from the projects/ legendary Jumbotron projections of a nine-year old, sequin-
That’s not pain, that’s emotions, you a bitch/ I’m talkin bout clad Prodigy photographed at his grandmother’s dance
permanent, physical sufferin/ You know nothin about that/ school, along with the devastating line, You was a ballerina,
You just complain cause you stressed/ Nigga, my pain’s I got the pictures, I seen ya.
in the flesh/ And through the years that pain became Blood Money, the group’s G-Unit debut, was supposed
my friend. to be a true comeback album for Mobb Deep. But the
Ever since they were introduced to the world as axe- final LP was a muddled affair, heavy on nondescript club
wielding post-pubescents on the cover of their 1993 beats and glossy, out-of-character collaborations with 50
album Juvenile Hell, Prodigy and Havoc of Mobb Deep like “Outta Control” and “Have a Party.” Sales-wise, the
were never your average thugs. Their goth depictions of disc was an even bigger disappointment, failing to sell
outer-borough life made albums like Hell on Earth and The even 300,000 copies despite heavy promotion and three
Infamous East Coast classics, melding wild-out energy with expensive videos. Even the gospel-tinged “Pearly Gates,”
an introspective uneasiness, both musically and lyrically. the album’s one real standout, was marred when Prodigy’s
Where other groups would write a song about partying, lyric Tell that nigga Jesus I’ma see him when I see him/ And
the Mobb would compose “Drink Away the Pain.” Even when I see him, I’ma beat him like the movie was censored
when boasting about how they’d rock you in your face and on retail copies of the disc. “I was happy with the music we
stab your brain with your nosebone, there was always an put on there and gave to the world,” says Prodigy, tersely.
underlying sense of claustrophobia and internal conflict “After Blood Money I just wanted to keep it moving,
that fueled the menace. New York got a nigga depressed, you know what I’m saying? Now we on to the next project.
Prodigy declared on Infamous single “Survival of the That’s how we work.”
Fittest,” so I wear a slug-proof underneath my Guess. This past winter, Prodigy linked up with longtime
In the late ’90s and early ’00s, when the group polished collaborator Alchemist to record some new songs,
up their songs and videos to keep pace with the rest of an ostensibly for an HNIC follow-up. “We were watching the
increasingly jiggy New York City, they lost the dusted-out old video for [Capone N Noreaga and Mobb Deep’s] ‘LA,
loops that helped define their earlier work but maintained LA,’ where P had the gold Mac 10 chain around his neck,”
their unhinged aura as dudes who might pop Cristal but recalls Alchemist. “We were like, ‘We gotta bring back that
wouldn’t hesitate to break the yellow bottle and cut you feeling.’ Not bring back the old music, because we never
with it. Much of that spirit could be attributed to Prodigy. go backwards with that, but if we could capture the old
From his appearance—skinny, tattooed and wifebeater-ed, vibe….” The duo recorded what has become their joint
accessorizing only with bandanas, doo rags and giant album Return of the Mac in two weeks of intense in-studio
chains—to his progressively more abstract and paranoid inspiration. “We was on a mission,” says Prodigy. On
lyrics that were peppered with references to melancholy the new album, the instrumentals blend throwback drum
and self-medication, he cultivated a complete mythology
Prodigy takes aim in
around not giving a fuck. On songs like HNIC mission a game of Big Buck
statement “Keep It Thoro,” he would even lay it out in Hunter in Williamsburg,
those exact, raspy words: You just a groupie/ Oh you Brooklyn.

HE SWINGS KNIVES AT DEMONIC HALLUCINATIONS IN THE MIRROR, RAPPING I SIT ALONE IN MY FOUR-CORNERED ROOM STARING AT CANDLES, HIGH ON DRUGS.
PRODIGY

breaks and evocative samples from soundtracks like is hot when you are all fucked up,’” says the producer.
James Brown’s Black Caesar score and the Quincy Jones “He’s an artist, he grew up in a family of artists, he’s been
Ironsides siren used throughout Kill Bill, along with vocal in movies before. P doesn’t sit in the crib all day sweating,
snippets of Biggie, Ice Cube, Tupac, Big Pun and others— spitting out Henny on the wall. But for the sake of the video
all talking about Mac 10s—sprinkled in for flavor. The it was dope. It was like, ‘I am so glad you are stabbing
result is a cinematic, imaginary Gotham City that doesn’t the couch instead of walking into the club with a bunch
recall any era in particular, and Prodigy uses it as a of bitches.’”
lightning bolt to electrify a grimy, Infamous-style flow that
sounds as vital coming out of his lungs as ever. “[Return Return of the Mac is going to be distributed by Koch this
of the Mac] was just an excuse for me and P to dumb out,” spring, but has already been used as a point of contention
says Alchemist. “Every song is about a Mac 10 loosely, in the high-profile war of words between 50 Cent and Koch-
every song is about New York loosely, we kind of threw a affiliated Cam’ron, with Prodigy’s sales figures and contract
bunch of things in the pot and came up with this body of details discussed in heated on-air radio conversations
art that is dope to me.” between the two. “People follow our every move, what
Return of the Mac was originally intended as a mixtape, we’re doing on the business side, everything,” says Prodigy.
but a self-financed video by Prodigy changed all that. “It’s nothing new.”
“He just went and did it, he didn’t tell me about it,” says Regardless of whether or not this album—or the
Alchemist. “He didn’t put out any press releases, or send forthcoming HNIC sequel—brings Prodigy back to the gold
any emails like, ‘Yo, come check the new Prodigy video.’ and platinum heights of earlier Mobb Deep projects,
He straight put it on YouTube out of nowhere, and people cutting to the bone and reminiscing with Alchemist has
started telling their friends. That’s what set this off on a certainly revived his creativity. On “Legends,” one of the
bigger scale.” The clip, for “Mac 10 Handle,” featured a album’s final tracks, Prodigy spits over a Dionne Warwick
sweat-drenched Prodigy in a filthy apartment, swigging sample last flipped by J Dilla on Donuts, and it’s one of his
liquor and wiping fingerprints off bullets. He swings most self-aware storytelling moments to date: Dirty little
knives at demonic hallucinations in the mirror, rapping fuck/ Learnin how to aim my pee/ Older niggas in the hood
I sit alone in my four-cornered room staring at candles/ used to try and thug me/ Til pops gave me a knife, told me
High on drugs. It was a heavy video, made more intense handle my things/ And if not, when I came back, he would
not only by its low-budget production values, but by the handle me/ I put my first lil fear in niggas/ I was gassed/
life-versus-art emotions that it stirred. Prodigy embracing Started hangin with the others that was on the same shit/
the darkest recesses of his persona for musical inspiration Had my first taste of gunfire early in my years/ Gang fights,
was not a new development, but choosing to depict we was jumpin niggas/ We was just kids. Whereas the
himself at rock bottom following so many personal attacks rest of Return of the Mac celebrates the nihilism of The
and professional disappointments gave the song real Infamous, “Legends” adds a reflective storyteller’s edge to
pathos. “It’s just another joint,” Prodigy says. “To me, it P’s usual style. “We used to cut out of school and go to
was just another day in the studio. But I’m happy if it makes Coney Island to record songs almost every day,” he says,
people feel a certain way.” Alchemist is more succinct and there’s warmth in his tone as Prodigy speaks on the
about what he sees as the video’s appeal. “I don’t think Mobb’s wild, fake ID teenage days. “You grow out of a lot
[Prodigy] is offended when people are like, ‘Yo, that video of shit,” he says. “But you can never change.” &

“HE’S AN ARTIST, HE GREW UP IN A FAMILY OF ARTISTS,


HE’S BEEN IN MOVIES BEFORE.
P DOESN’T SIT IN THE CRIB ALL DAY SWEATING,
SPITTING OUT HENNY ON THE WALL.
BUT FOR THE SAKE OF THE VIDEO IT WAS DOPE.
IT WAS LIKE, ‘I AM SO GLAD YOU ARE STABBING
THE COUCH INSTEAD OF WALKING INTO THE CLUB WITH
A BUNCH OF BITCHES.’” - ALCHEMIST

1 1 2 T H E FADER
B LI nK
oF

e
AN
ey
Portraits from Kabul P H OTO G R A P H Y ST E P H E N D U P O N T T E X T JACQUES MENASCHE

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KABUL

O
n March 13, 2006—the day Stephen Dupont made these
photographs—the big picture in Kabul was more bombs,
more drugs and more poverty. It’s an old story by now: the
foreign promise unfulfilled, the failed reforms, a country
immune to money, schools and eight-part programs,
always reverting to its savage nature. It didn’t help that
Stephen and I had spent the better part of the previous
three weeks in a mental hospital. Whatever other effects
that may have had, it turned this city into a sort of violent burlesque of junkies,
electroshock patients and amputees.
This body of work is not about the big picture. It’s about all the small ones, the
16 particular, like-no-one-elses you see here. As journalists we use individuals
as emblems, symbols, small faces to make big judgments. But obviously, any
single Afghan, any single story, is more ambiguous, murkier than that. Take the
man I met at the orthopedic hospital six hours before these images were shot.
About 40 years old, he was from Madianshar. I’d been there once in 2001, a kind
of Wild West ghost town over which the Northern Alliance and the retreating
Taliban were trading missiles. That day, listening to the whistling shells, the
journalists hunkered down inside a yellow house. It might have been
his, this house, the one that every night he ringed
with nine landmines for protection. Every morning he
dug them up again. But one morning, not thinking, he
dug up only eight. The ninth he stepped on, blowing both his legs off.
“We have an expression for this,” the doctor in the hospital said slyly. “He dug
his hole…then he jumped into it.”
What does this story tell us? Neither nothing nor everything. And that’s the
way it usually is. Having been in many places where pictures were taken, many
times I’d seen the images that emerged and didn’t recognize them. Inevitably
they made the incidental appear central, manipulated light and angle to overstate
drama, honed in on every spot of violence and destruction until they completely
erased the less photogenic truth surrounding these places. In short, they had
almost no relation to the scenes that I myself had witnessed.
But there’s no slight of hand here. This is merely a record of how it was. The
images can’t convey how, ten minutes after we arrived, we were surrounded by a
hundred people pushing and pleading to get into the chair with the curtain that
Stephen had rented from one of the local photographers. How the excitement
of the crowd would grow until it inevitably climaxed with a policeman swinging
a steel truncheon, chasing us farther down the road. But what the pictures
do convey, what they document, is that there is always a moment. The finger
pointed, the next subject selected, the die cast—and it didn’t matter if it was a
young boy, a cop, or a man with elephantitis. He sat in the chair and as if by some
secret signal the crowd went silent and the man squared himself toward the lens.
The cop checked his swing. The buses stopped. And the movement of the
world froze, as if anticipating its place in a volume some months later, out of
time, timeless.
These sessions unfolded over a cluster of locations within two hundred yards
of each other, in three hours, between 3 and 6 PM—roughly one picture every
two minutes. In the gap, these faces. The faces these 18 Afghans present to
you. They confound, rejecting every attempt to be tidily stored away in the
mental filing cabinet, yet strike that deep-timbered tone: recognition. It says,
I don’t know that man; I know that man. I don’t know that place; I know that
place. When I am—you are, he is—staring life in the eye, in the tripping shutter
of the camera, life blinks first. F

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VINYL ARCHEOLOGY
FINGER WAVES
THE TIMELESS, BOUNDARY-LESS LULLABIES OF THE STEEL GUITAR

Pete Drake The Amazing Debashish Bhattacarya


and Incredible Pete Calcutta Slide-Guitar, Vol
Drake (Starday 1965) 3 (Riverboat Records 2005)
Some people don’t believe Debashish Bhattacharya once
it when they hear “Satisfied said, “Onstage, when I get deep
Mind”—their brains can’t into the raga, I forget everything.
handle it! Mr Drake was First, I forget where I’m sitting.
a fixture on the Nashville Then I forget what I’m doing.
session circuit in the ’60s, And, finally, I forget my name
though here we see him and who I am.” Excellent!
beating Peter Frampton, Bon Bhattacarya mixes the classical
Jovi and everybody else to that musicality of the Indian ragas
“talk box” sound by a decade. with the Hawaiian slide guitar
King Sunny Ade Juju But a talking pedal steel? OUT, sound he was exposed to when
Music (Mango 1982) man! I tried to recreate one he was three. He’s designed
A real melter from a whole and felt an electric current several of his own instruments
’nother continent. Marie Ely coursing through the plastic that weave the two traditions
from Marfa, Texas first played hose. I thought I was going to together. The result induces a
this for me. I had no idea King get electrocuted. It’s also a bit similar effect to Ravi Shankar’s
Sunny was bringing the steel tough to travel around with, playing. Great listening all
guitar like this. Mr Demola but someday…. around, though a little goes a
Adepoju definitely comes long way for me.
at slide playing with a fresh
take on the original Hawaiian
style. “Eje Nlo Gba Ara Mi” Santo & Johnny In the Still Various Artists Hawaiian Beachwood Sparks Once
sounds like the past and the of the Night (Canadian Steel Guitar Classics 1927- We Were Trees (Sub
future, uniquely blending American 1964) 1938 (Arhoolie 1993) Pop 2001)
Nigerian music, slide guitar and The classic “Sleepwalk” This collection is a great way Egomaniacal narcissistic
electronic dub effects. This transcends its time and place to get into the sounds of the bastard? Perhaps, but this
record looms like a mysterious with its heavy mood. I don’t original Hawaiian masters, album possesses the traits
gateway to an unknown land think it’s possible to carry on who played with a wild style we’re looking for. I tried a
with a strange mist pouring out with business as usual when that beautifully combined skill, pedal steel for the first time
of it. this undeniable heart-melter finesse and humor. As a kid with this one, recorded at J
comes on. I first connected I got this on cassette after Mascis’s house out in snowy
to it when I was eight and reading a review of it in my Massachusetts. A slip on some
saw La Bamba. Check out the The Flying Burrito mom’s copy of Entertainment David Crosby If I Can black ice during a snowball
powerful way it’s used in the Brothers The Gilded Weekly (it got an A+) that Only Remember My fight had me finishing the
opening and closing scenes Palace of Sin (A&M 1969) connected these old recordings Name (Atlantic 1971) album on crutches. Check
of the film, but from then on Sadly, “Sneeky” Pete Kleinow with the “wacky” music used Hey you hippies, listen to out “Juggler’s Revenge” for
you might end up hearing the just passed away in January. in the original Bugs Bunny this. On this album, Jerry the atmospheric pedal steel
cry of “RI-CHIE!!!!!!” every time An inspiration to all who came cartoons. The sliding sound Garcia’s beautiful pedal steel washes amidst Mascis’s guitar
it plays. after him, in his work with this was a huge fad in the 1930s, guitar playing floats like a leads, the shimmering textures
band—that included Gram and many companies did good whale/manatee and soars like a on “The Goodnight Whistle”
Parsons and Chris Hilman business making and selling lap falcon/eagle. Ethereal business. and the bridge in the middle
of the Byrds—he expanded steel guitars. As 78rpm records The crowner for me is the of “You Take the Gold”
the boundaries of pedal steel aren’t that convenient, comps end section of “Laughing,” a where you will hear some
playing, widening the style with like these come in handy. true moment of majesty and liftoff achieved.
innovative technique and the purportedly one of Jerry’s own
colorful use of fuzz and echo. favorite performances.
The steel (Hawaiian slide) guitar is capable of producing magic and amazing sounds. It can move and float (It’s fitting he also did animation
within a piece of music like no other instrument, adding a mysterious mood to any recording. I was 22 when and special effects on projects
my father bought me my first lap steel guitar up in Mendocino, California, a beautiful Hawaiian model from like the original Gumby cartoons
and The Empire Strikes Back.)
the 1930s. I quickly felt the instrument’s incredible potential for creating motion; it could move like the sea
and cry like a seagull. I’ve actually met a man who can’t listen to the steel guitar because he gets seasick!
PS Will you, Dear Reader, record my next favorite? The lap steel guitar can be played to good effect almost
instantly, and in many ways, so please take up playing the steel guitar...and transform your world!
PPS David Gilmour’s slide playing just might be the reason Dark Side of the Moon is the biggest album ever.

Farmer Dave Scher is a Los Angeles-based musician and a former member of Beachwood Sparks and All Night Radio. He has played
and toured with artists including Jenny Lewis, Dios (Malos), the Like and the Tyde. He recently co-produced Vietnam’s self-titled
album and Johnathan Rice’s upcoming release.

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MIXTAPE
MUSICS
COMPILED BY NICK BARAT, LINDSEY CALDWELL, ERIC DUCKER, SAM HOCKLEY-SMITH,
EDDIE “STATS” HOUGHTON, STEVE LOWENTHAL, PETE MACIA, SAM RICHARDS

It’s these dense electronic the dance floor, lots of


peaks that elevate the blow and adultery are
music beyond good song afoot and Too $hort just
status and into CERTIFIED pulled up in a DeLorean
JAM territory. SHS wayback machine. Despite
the “soul sessions” heading,
this is not so much dirty
The Blow Poor Aim: disco as dirty dance rock
Love Songs (K) alongside aggro acid house
Eric told me the mailman and Jimi Hendrix samples.
just brought him the What it really feels like
TENTH ANNIVERSARY is an accidental Disco D
reissue of Baz Luhrmann’s tribute, demonstrating just
Romeo + Juliet soundtrack. how much his ghettotech
Just, like, yesterday I was aesthetic has become the
Various Artists
a teenager watching that go-to club sound from
Stax 50: A 50th
flick in an actual theater Philly to France. To sum
Anniversary
on an actual date, fumbling up: hug it out, you little
Celebration (Stax)
around under some(one bitches. ESH
50 years ago the brother
else’s) actual mall-bought and sister team of Jim
clothing. Portland duo the Stewart and Estelle
Blow didn’t wait ten years Axton started the Stax
to reissue their awkward (St + Ax) record label in
and amazing Poor Aim: Love Memphis, TN. Born from
Songs EP (complete with six Satellite Records, Stax
extra, mostly unnecessary landed 167 R&B singles
remixes of the original’s on the Billboard Hot
lonelyheart dance-pop) but 100 charts that you not
I still find myself drawing only know by heart, but B Cause Super Disco
Dolly Parton Jolene (Legacy) parallels between the two. probably have burned up Hyphy (fouronefunk.
There’s a grungy Mexican joint in LA where you can get a Did I mention I’m writing a wedding dancefloor to. com)
cheap and deadly margarita and spackle-worthy refried beans this on Valentine’s Day? Otis Redding, the Staple The craziest thing about
And feeling old? Is this what Sisters, Sam & Dave, Rufus Super Disco Hyphy is not
while staring at a blacklight poster of Dolly on the wall. It’s like it sounds like when doves Thomas, Jean Knight, Eddie that B Cause seamlessly
living in Fernando Lamas’s ribcage and if it ever gets gentrified cry? NB Floyd and Isaac Hayes blends some of the best
with Patrón, I’ll never go back because that kitschy, neon- are all on this two disc, Bay rappity raps with a
saturated portrait will have been tainted by d-bags. That’s how must-have chronicle of lot of great disco, but
Memphis soul and R&B. that in doing so he has
I felt about Jolene. Its title track and “I Will Always Love You” Mazel tov! LC re-imagined Northern
were paled by countless covering twits (Jack White excepted), California as the birthplace
until I listened to this remaster. I’d forgotten how the simple of hip-hop. Suddenly
“Tell Me When to Go”
arrangements—meandering slide guitar, drawling bass, brushed becomes less hyphy and
snares—all bathed Parton’s angelic twang in a Smoky Mountain more late-’80s block
sunset and how her plainspoken lyrics took on the weight of the Curses! “Hungry
party via a loping funk
bassline. Other songs are
world through her weary, yet resolute voice. Listening again, 4 Love” 12-inch
even more discocentric,
I remember Dolly didn’t get covered because she was tacky (Institubes)
which is totally fine by me,
Luca Venezia has a talent
emblem, but because she’s a brilliant singer and songwriter. PM for making music I like by Stretch Armstrong
considering that disco is
sorta like hyphy’s uncle
using elements of music T5 Soul Sessions Six
who is getting kind of fat
I hate, appropriating the (Triple Five Soul)
and wears the same shirt
tackiest rave sounds into Though built mainly from
every day but is still cool
his bass-heavy mishmash modern remixes and
and will let you ghostride
of house-grime-whatever blog re-edits, Stretch
his Camaro. What I’m
party music. Made under Armstrong’s new mix
trying to say is that pretty
his new moniker Curses!, recalls Manhattan’s
soon hyphy will be fat
this single is full of subtle excessive early ’80s:
Uncle Disco and we’ll
layers that build into “The Dominatrix Sleeps
all be listening to trance
massive climaxes that are Tonight” is the hot new
rap. SHS
a little more unhinged 12-inch, chopped-up
and loose than Venezia’s pieces of Eddy Grant’s
material as Drop the Lime. “Electric Avenue” litter

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MIXTAPE
MUSICS

other hand, are HOUSE Creator of the Indie


MUSIC, recorded live at Rock—as Calvin Johnson
Café Mambo in Ibiza. Sure, is—you don’t really need
the soulful thump of the to do anything new, so
Dennis Ferrer and Peven he’s doesn’t. Prompted
Everett jams aren’t really by Khaela Maricich of the
an everyday listen for Blow and Jason Anderson,
this kid, but damn if Vega Johnson formed the Sons
Barrington Levy doesn’t get me going all of the Soil and re-recorded
Englishman night long/ say what? with hits from his back catalog
(Greensleeves) this one. NB with a live band of his
Since veteran roots label K-related progeny. The
Greensleeves are about resulting album is the
to celebrate their 30th messiah mingling with
anniversary, this 1979 the masses, moaning over
classic is no doubt the first tunes more raucous and
drop of what promises to gregarious than any of
be a torrential downpour his previous recordings.
of reggae reissues. If so, Johnson hasn’t changed,
it’s an auspicious jump but the tunes have, for the
off. Englishman is arguably better. PM
Various Artist The
Barrington’s best album and
American Tapes 500
every other tune (“Sister
Box (American Tapes)
Carol,” “Look Youthman,”
For the last 16 years Wolf
“Don’t Fuss Nor Fight”) is
Eyes’s John Olson has been
a genre-defining proto-
putting out handmade
dancehall hit. But the best
LPs, CD-Rs and cassettes
moments are the awesome
on his American Tapes
and spooky departures
from Levy’s usual MO. The David Rodigan and Sting International The Kings of label—making it America’s
premier source for cracked
thunderous echo on “Send Reggae (BBE) electronics. Some releases Cajun Dance
a Moses” and “If You Give The real genius of BBE’s expert-curated Kings of… series is are limited to a couple Party “The Next
to Me” are revelations
how non-definitive it is. Instead of the middle-ground consensus, hundred copies, others, Untouchable/
precisely because they’re
five or less. For the label’s Buttercups” 7-inch
so clearly outside the the selectors make the call on what they think the essentials 500th release, Olson (Way Out West)
overall dancehall thrust of of a genre are. So for the reggae disc from the encyclopedic compiled a box of 19 Followers of the Lafayette
Barrington’s style. ESH
Englishman, David Rodigan, you do get the chestnuts “Police CD-Rs, one DVD, a one folk tradition will be
sided 7-inch, a cassette disappointed to find that
& Thieves” and “The Harder They Come,” but they slide in Cajun Dance Party is not a
and a poster featuring all
amongst the recent Germaican piece “Caan Hold Us Down” from new material. Each box is zydeco fiddle troupe, but a
Gentleman and John Holt’s righteous “Police in Helicopter.” handmade and features fresh-faced five-piece from
one of a kind artwork by London. So fresh, in fact,
Whereas Sting International, the producer behind many of
Olson. “In classic Michigan that in their home country
Shaggy’s hits, keeps it strictly ’80s. Most of the tracks on this form we took the joke they are presently barred
collection didn’t make it to the old The Story of Jamaican Music WAAAY too far,” says from drinking, driving or
Olson. “I wanted AM 500 voting. And yet they deliver
Louie Vega Mix The box set (slept on!), but after hearing Marcia Griffiths repeatedly
be me and [wife] Tovah’s two portions of breathy
Vibe: For the Love intone Surely we’ll never die like it’s killing her on “Dreamland,” first kid.” There’s always pop classicism with the
of King Street (King
Street)
you’ll curse the dark forces that conspired to keep it away from the 1000 box. SL assurance of men (and
you for so long. ED one polka-dotted woman)
It’s a little weird seeing
who have been exercising
house used as a catchall
their democratic right since
phrase these days. Cool
Thatcher. Felt and Pulp are
jacket Ed Banger tracks,
just two of the one-syllable
jittery electro squelches
bands whose dreamy jangle
from West London
they resemble, and whose
basements, sped-up
spirit of indie haplessness
Baltimore rap loops…I can
they look to transcend. SR
dig on the populism that
sort of usage implies, but it Calvin Johnson & The
doesn’t always feel like the Sons of the Soil self-
right fit. The 28 tracks on titled (K)
this new mix by Master at When you’re the King
Work Louie Vega, on the of Olympia, WA and

1 4 4 T H E FADER
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JEDI MIND PIX
RECOMMENDED LISTENING
FAVORED TUNES FROM FAVORITE DJS

BAG RAIDERS DJ ELI PRINCE KLASSEN


Sydney, Australia’s Bag Raiders have made Eli Escobar has been a NYC nightlife fixture for When he’s not buying vinyl for Austin’s
a name for themselves in the Oz indie scene nearly a decade, spinning everywhere from the Waterloo Records, you can catch lone star
thanks to wild club gigs (often blending live old Stretch and Bobbito radio show on WKCR to Prince Klassen rocking the Beauty Bar and the
electro performance and MicroKorg riffery with velvet-roped havens like Bungalow 8. He’s also an Whisky Bar each weekend, as well as co-DJing
good ol’ fashioned DJing) and crafty remixes for on-point producer, dropping indie instrumentals the fun monthlies PRPL DRNK and Swoll.
their countrymen Muscles and the Valentinos. for the likes of MF Doom and now crafting Check him at centralbooking.blogspot.com and
Give a shout to Chris, Gus and Jack at myspace. uptempo remixes for clubs worldwide. Download myspace.com/princemotherfuckinklassen.
com/bagraiders. Eli’s rarities at outsidebroadcast.blogspot.com,
and say hello at myspace.com/eliesco.

Jessie Rose & Sinden Natasha ft Clipse, “So


Soft Tigers “Mr Ice KIM “Party Machini” Me Mobile EP (Made Sick” (Jive)
Cream” (Bang Gang) (Modular) DJ Technics “He Teddybears ft Neneh To Play) I am calling it right now,
Sometimes it gets so hot Sydney-based Presets dude Loves Me” (white) Cherry “Yours To I don’t know anyone else this is the “Me and You”
all you can do is sit in the Kim dishes out a track that The Jill Scott original is Keep” (Big Beat) who has this, and I cant of 2007. Super bass heavy
shade with a Pimms and makes you feel like you’ve kind of a snoozer, but I was a really big Neneh figure out why. A jacking beat, a pop singer/rapper
lemonade with cucumber/ been blended up in a giant Technics transforms Cherry fan back in the midtempo house beat attempt that doesn’t
mint/strawberry garnish. piña colada and served up it into a club anthem day, and her second with a retarded bassline really cut the cake (don’t
And then some band will in a steel drum to some in the tradition of the album Homebrew was and a toasting Vybz Kartel mean to bag on girl, just
come along and put that alien who drinks it and best soulful disco/house severely slept on. This on top of it?! Rose and saying…), and then Clipse
feeling into a rugged-ass then pees you out into the classics. Bmore tracks has some really sweet Sinden are on the top of a going in hard on their guest
rump shaker of a track cosmic reaches of outer are certainly a dime a harmonies over a short list of people really appearance. This song
that’ll have all the kids space. Serious fun. dozen at the moment, groove pretty similar keeping me interested in makes me feel like summer
dancing some crazy dance but this manages to to the Teddy’s own music. is already here. Or it could
that’s even girlier than the transcend being just a “Punkrocker.” Good to be that I live in Texas,
drink they were holding. remix. So crucial. hear Neneh back in top where climate change
form. doesn’t exist.

Kid Sister “Pro Nails”


(Fool’s Gold) JJ Fad “Eenie Meenie
We’re definitely feeling Beats” (Ruthless)
Tepr “Minuit Jacuzzi this one at the minute. Klaxons “Golden The last cut on the pop
(datA remix)” (white) Cool pitched down vocals Skans (Erol Alkan’s The Glass “Come side of Supersonic is a huge Various Artists Booty
Not much room for at the beginning, gnarly Ekstra Spektral Alive (Stretch secret weapon. This is a Shake Vol 2 (white)
standing around when A-Trak scratching in the Rework)” (DGC) Armstrong remix)” reprise of their supersonic The first time I played this
this comes on, and if you background and some Erol is my favorite (Plant) motivating rhymes that out in a long while, your
insist on it, you’re likely sweet half-time switch-ups producer in the Stretch gives the Glass we all know and love, but boy got nothing but girls
to have your drink spilled in the beat. We caught burgeoning European a New York freestyle with a huge fl ip of said going nanas over the Miami
all over your new jeans. A-Trak when he was in electro scene, because treatment that suits script. Ol’ girl comes in bass version of “Thong
There’s like four bars of Sydney. His fingers are so he doesn’t let technology them perfectly. This with her Twista tongue Song”...sucks to be me.
intro, then straight into fast! He was definitely that get in the way of his track is really addictive— and really gets the joint Another secret weapon
fat leads and choppy kid in school who tapped musical instincts and I can’t stop playing it. I shaking, and then Dre on here is the booty remix
sounding chords, no you on the shoulder and really knows how to let a even find myself falling goes ahead and tries to of TX anthem “Sippin on
mucking around. Another when you turned around, track build. He is proving asleep with the chorus make my head explode Some Syrup” from UGK
French dude who’s killing no one was there. himself to be a master going round and round by chopping up the vocals and Three 6 Mafia—there’s
it on the electronique tip. of reinvention and this in my head. Crack attack in a stuttery fashion. some corny, Halloween-like
C’est tres dope, no? Klaxons mix might be his indeed! Bananas! arrangements on it, but the
best yet. bass is lowest of the low.

1 4 6 T H E FADER
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BEAT CONSTRUCTION
DISTORTION DOWN UNDER
REMIXERS VAN SHE TECHNOLOGIES BEAT UP THE BEAT

PHOTOGRAPHY JAMES BRICKWOOD

T
hough their unpredictable as drunk reconstructing like-minded the mixing desk. If we the recent burst of
MySpace page sex. VST infuse their tracks English groups the Klaxons have one, that is.” Australian electro-rock-
would have with new wave, house and and New Young Pony Though they continue dance bands, all of whom
you believe electro sensibilities to make Club, Van She Tech make to accept new remix seem to be remixing each
otherwise, there are hyper-saturated filth— “Gravity’s Rainbow” and challenges, including other’s tracks into larger
precisely zero females in drums stutter and bounce, “Ice Cream” prance and tracks by MSTRKRFT and than life, Technicolor
Van She Technologies. while synthetic sounds then pound. Tiga, the pair is trying to sound extravaganzas.
Instead VST is comprised writhe on top of them. Drum machines and concentrate on finishing “There are a lot of dirty,
of Michael Di Francesco There’s some minimalism synthesizers are a definite the first full-length Van heavy people in both
and Nick Routledge, one at play here, but the sound part of Van She Tech’s She album. Expect the Melbourne and Sydney,”
half of the Australian is thick and heavy like a arsenal, but there’s also new jams to sound “more Di Francesco says. “I also
outfit Van She. Under the ’57 Chevy. plenty of live (if highly party, weird party,” as Di think everybody here just
Van She Technologies In their remixing, Van processed) guitar as well. Francesco puts it. “The worked out that you can
name, Di Francesco and She Tech add a strutting, Similar to their roles in Van kind of party you have use distortion pedals on
Routledge create thrilling confrontational element She, Routledge handles with yourself with the synthesizers.”
remixes as confusing and to the originals. In VST’s the computers, guitars and music turned up in a really EVAN SHAMOON
hands, the chilly “Are effects, while Di Francesco dark room in the middle
You the One”—from plays synths and pretty of the forest with just the
their countrymen and much everything else. “We TV flicker, like a new age
Modular labelmates, the usually jump around a lot campfire.”
Presets—takes on the thrill to create a vibe,” Routledge The recognition of
of a knife fight on a New says of their creative Van She Technologies’
York City dancefloor. When process. “But never on handiwork comes amidst

1 4 8 T H E FADER
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MIXTAPE
DRANKY DRANKS
COMPILED BY LINDSEY CALDWELL, EDDIE
“STATS” HOUGHTON, ALEX WAGNER

PHOTOGRAPHY NIKOLAS KOENIG

Trago Silver Tequila I was with [Ed: cough] Sean I kept upping the price point
A few months ago, when it Paul and crew at the Caymanas on the shelf and somehow,
was winter, two well-dressed Club in uptown Kingston and miraculously a phantom ninja
and classy ladies in fitted realized the rum itself tasted bokkle of white mystery
black pants swung through damn good. I would say it’s Horin Gekkeikan Sake arrived
the office with some kinda actually tastier than the Coke on my desk. I’m not saying I
Inspector Gadget-style briefcase except that with Appleton & remember the circumstances
(lots of snaps and some sort
of polyurethane coating.
Coke it’s clearly a mission, not
a competition. Since tasting
that led me to this Moment
of Redemption, but right now,
; ANDREWBIRD =; ARMCHAIRAPOCRYPHA =
Also a ginger-haired niece the color blue I’m a one-drink Intern Sam is sitting at my
named Penny, yar har har!) in drunk and much happier for desk talking about the merits
which there was a curiously it. ESH of Pacific Northwest Bra Rap,
rectangular bottle of Trago a German book about Can
Silver. They also brought some Horin Gekkeikan Sake and Being John Malkovich, and
dubious low carb geranium- Sometimes you go to the local I am like, into it? I don’t know
flavored Snapple to “chase liquor spot and ask for a classy anymore because my fingers
the dragon,” which I politely dry junmai sake and dude is all: can’t feel the keyboard—this
declined for reasons that I (and
a signed NDA) can’t disclose
“We have some shoju!” and
then, “Also, sake is made with
shit is playing glissandi on my
teeth!—but folkery of the !6! ) , ! " , % - ! 2 # (   4 (
right now. At any rate, the rice—I think?—and this one Folk World—I believe it! AW 7 7 7 &!4 0 / 3 3 5 -  # / - 7 7 7 ! . $ 2 % 7 " ) 2 $ . % 4
Sisterhood of the Traveling should be good?” PS to the
(Black) Pants informed me World: if you work in a liquor Level Vodka
that in taste tests all over the store, nothing should end in Super premium vodka brands
world, Trago beats Patrón a question mark. I needed have sprung up all over
like a fat kid beats a Twinkie definitive answers, Madison the place like mushrooms
at the 10AM low-blood sugar House Liquors! At any rate, and/or locusts and we, like
recess period. Did I believe the blinded proles that we
them? Have you tried to are, just keep paying more
blindfold yourself with two and more cash to taste, well,
cups of magic juice at 7:42 PM nothing. The folks at Level aim
and assumed anything that to teach us journalists about
happened could be considered adding “seasonal flavors”
definitive and/or legitimate? It’s to our vodka in the hopes
a celebration, bitches!!!! AW of sparking a flavor massive
trend with you folks in the
Appleton Estate Reserve humanworld. Witness: the
Jamaica Rum Level people packaged up
It’s hard for me to talk our bottle with goji berries
meaningfully about Appleton’s. (word to the wise: they’re
Not because it’s all been full of antioxidants!), fennel
said before—though I guess seeds and yuzu. And okay,
it has since they’re roughly after we got over the initial
2.5 centuries deep in the shookness at having our very
game—it’s because it’s actually own in-house sachet of goji
the only thing I drink. You can berries, we were like mad
explain the color blue to a scientists, infusing our vodka
blind person if you’re eloquent with all sorts of thises and
enough, but how do you thats. Here’s the magic drink
describe blue if all you can see we came up with: one part
is blue? I can only tell you my Level infused with goji berries
story: I used to be the type of plus a quarter teaspoon yuzu
girly-drink drunk who imbibed extract. Chew on fennel
cuba libres cause the Coke seeds. Rinse. Repeat. Try at
masked the terrible taste of your own risk—and pack the
the alcohol. Then one evening dental floss! LC

1 5 0 T H E FADER
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EVENTS
FADER 43 IS#UE RELEASE PARTY
ELECTRIFIED CLASSICS WITH THE STARS OF FADER 43

A BUDWEISER SELECT EVENT


P L E A S E R E M E M B E R TO D R I N K R E S P O N S I B LY

• Last month, we jetted (er, Jet Blued) out to LA to enjoy the warm(er) weather and
visit the home of the artists covered in our story for FADER #43 on electrified soul music.
We were jazzed to get Ty & Kory, Ta’raach, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Dudley Perkins,
Blu Jemz and DJ Pubes to break out the jams in celebration of the issue’s release.
Despite the overzealous door staff (Dudes! Take a deep breath!), we had one heck of a
time, and those of you who were there—and those who missed it—should gather round
and reminisce with us on that winter night in LA, where a sexy glass bonfire kept us
warm and the Bud Select poured like rain.

PHOTOGRAPHY ROBERT YAGER

1 52 T H E FADER THE FADER 153


GP
STOCKISTS
WHERE TO BUY THE
LOOKS YOU LOVE

PHOTOGRAPHY BY DOROTHY HONG. STYLING MOBOLAJI DAWODU. TANK TOP BY DKNY JEANS, PANTS BY CATHERINE MALANDRINO. SUNGLASSES BY RAY-BAN.
• Talk to the members of Bay rap collective
the Federation individually, and each one will
listeners are bombarded by CHOOM
CHOOM CHOOM bass kicks, spastic blinks
collectively it’s special with me and them,”
he says. “I could go to Pluto, and they’ll be
drop a variation on the same cheesy metaphor of melody, and a computer-voice chorus right there on Pluto, like, Let’s get down.
about leaving Virgin Records to release their from Federation producer Rick Rock, all That’s exciting for me.” As a hired gun,
new album It’s Whateva on Warner Brothers. underneath a free-associating verse by Coon Rock has crafted hit singles for the likes
“Maaan, Virgin was like a Pinto…” with the that references El Niño, various Northern of Busta, Mariah, Jigga and their platinum
current deal being a Bentley, Benz, etc. A California neighborhoods, serpents, baby ilk, but he uses Federation songs as his
much closer representation of the Federation’s powder, Red Lobster clam chowder, real pop playground. Perhaps more striking
supermassive approach is the gleaming white Remember the Titans, kites and the Triton than “18 Dummy” is “Stunna Glasses at
Cadillac SUV riding on the back of a gleaming synthesizer, before unexpectedly breaking Night,” where Rock jacks Corey Hart’s ’80s
white flatbed tow truck while 15 people hang into song: If you sleazy all you beezies say, nugget “Sunglasses at Night” (“I even got
off the sides and pop collars on the roofs of We loooove you Cooooon…. It’s some out- a white boy to sing the chorus,” he boasts)
both vehicles in the video for their lead single there shit, even in a regional rap scene where and flips it into a hyphy theme song. It’s
“18 Dummy”—but even dudes riding a truck rainbow-tinted goggles and ecstasy grimaces unabashedly, shockingly catchy—and
riding another truck is too earthbound a visual. are considered pretty normal. as such, it’s one of It’s Whatever’s most
The Federation makes music to ghostride Speaking between drinks at a WB barbecue adventurous moments. “It’s not finna go
spaceships to. (“Steven Spielberg just walked by, Seal…hella pop, it is already!” says Doon Coon. “At
“When I first heard ‘18 Dummy,’ it sounded rock bands.”) Rick Rock is nonchalant about his first I was kind of scared people would
like rap meets rave,” says Doon Coon, one of group’s inventiveness. “That’s just the beauty think we were selling out, but…fuck these
the group’s three MCs alongside Goldie Gold of this group that I got—I don’t know if they’re motherfuckers, man! This is gonna be big.”
and Stressmatic. In the song’s first minute, the tightest rappers or if they’re not, but NICK BARAT

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9 0 T H E FA D ER
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LACOSTE www.lacoste.com D&G www.dolcegabbana.it NEW YORK HAT COMPANY www.newyorkhatco.com
DKNY JEANS www.dknyjeans.com OPENING CEREMONY www.openingceremony.us
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JC DE CASTELBAJAC Available at N Harlem in NYC and

FREE LOVE
David Lawrence in Seattle

DOWNLOAD THE LATEST ISSUE OF THE FADER PLUS AN EXCLUSIVE MIX OF MUSIC FEATURED IN THE MAGAZINE, ALL FOR FREE!
1 5 4 T H E FADER GRAB A COMPUTER AND GO TO: thefader.com/podcasts
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APPENDIX
REAL LIVE MUSIC!
UNSTOPPABLE COPPABLES FROM ABOVE AND BEYOND THIS ISSUE’S PAGES.
COMPILED BY DANIEL ARNOLD, NICK BARAT, ERIC DUCKER, WILL WELCH

BILL CALLAHAN POLOW DA DON PRODIGY


“The Rising” “It Don’t Stop” “Hard Times”
pg 72 pg 80 pg 108

Smog Julius Caesar (Drag City 1993) Jim Crow Crow’s Nest (Sony 1999) Prodigy HNIC (Loud 2000)
“Stick In the Mud” is Julius Caesar’s perfect First off, Polow claiming that the debut from P’s solo debut is uneven as a whole, but the
asshole. Sung over a scratchy riff and a his old group is on the same level as Outkast’s gold is worth sifting for even if you aren’t
sarcastically snooty cello, Bill Callahan cuts early albums and Goodie Mob’s Soul Food is a sucker for late-’90s Nautica jacket jamz.
himself down (as usual), but this time he takes ridiculous. (Very little in this world is on the “Keep It Thoro” might be the most definitive
you, Lou Reed and the album he’s ending same level as early Outkast and Soul Food.) Prodigy song not called “Shook Ones Pt II,”
down with him, with all the effort of a half- That being said, there are some definite cool the Cormega collab “Three” shows off P’s
raised eyebrow: There’s nothin I’d rather see/ breezes on here, filled with king-size hooks underrated gift for storytelling detail (Fuck a
Than for you to fail/ And where is the beauty/ and eazy/sleazy production from Jazze Pha, cab/ Let’s take cracked-out Yolanda’s Saab),
That I once had?/ Where is the beauty/ I had Mr DJ and Organized Noise. ED and “Diamond” even shows off some very
just once?/ I hate songs with questions in them/ early Just Blaze board work—but the real
I feel like I’m becoming a stick in the mud/ I feel Gwen Stefani “Luxurious (Zone 4 highlight is “You Can Never Feel My Pain”, a
like I’m becoming a Lou Reed—Mistrial in the remix)” (unreleased 2005) & Fergie heartbreakingly candid account of throwing
mud. DA “Glamorous” (Interscope 2006) IV poles at doctors and growing up “cold
Polow was commissioned to remix the fourth hearted” from sickle cell anemia. NB

PHOTOGRAPHY BY DEREK HENDERSON (BILL CALLAHAN), MATT EICH (POLOW DA DON), LAUREN FLEISHMAN (PRODIGY).
Smog Knock Knock (Drag City 1999) single from Stefani’s Love.Angel.Music.Baby and
Back in ’97, Bill Callahan ditched the city for next-leveled it by adding jetsetter panache. Mobb Deep “Cobra” (white 2005)
Prosperity, South Carolina (pop 1,047) with Stefani used some bogus excuse to reject it, Though the beat got more recognition as an
his then-good-time-gal Chan Marshall. As the but Polow’s take impressed Interscope head instrumental favorite for mixtape soldiers (50,
story goes anyway, Marshall was eventually Jimmy Iovine so much that it got him a gig Peedi and Budden all took turns murderizing
chased from Bill by evil spirits. Out of that as the only other producer on Fergie’s solo it), the DJ-exclusive “Cobra” was originally
break-up came Cat Power’s Moon Pix and album besides Will.i.am. In the end Polow’s intended to quell breakup rumors (Just when
Smog’s Knock Knock. But the epic bum-out track for the “Luxurious” remix (with the you thought it was over/ The Mobb came
that every fan saw coming never came. already existing Ludacris guest verse) became around and put the game in a cobra) after the
Running more on resignation than heartache, the class-conflicted “Glamorous.” So in effect, duo’s sudden departure from Jive Records.
Knock Knock is a rural hip-swinger, complete Stefani’s brush-off resulted in Fergie’s mall hair The wobbly face-smacker is a perfect
with a kiddie choir that opens Let’s move to in the song’s video and “London Bridge” as testament to the creative chemistry between
the country, and closes I hope you found your well. Nicely done. ED Prodigy, Havoc and honorary Mobbster
husband and a father to your children. DA Alchemist, who provided the beat. Check
Rich Boy ft Andre 3000, Jim Jones, YouTube for a European Vacation clip of all
Smog A River Ain’t Too Much To Nelly, Murphy Lee and the Game three performing it on tour, complete with
Love (Drag City 2005) “Throw Some D’s (remix)” bow-throwing caucasians galore. NB
Recently I was talking with a friend on IM (Interscope 2006)
about various Smog records and somewhere A national congress of rappers got a piece of Mobb Deep “Capitol P, Capitol H”
along the way he said, in three successive IM this star-making single that Polow produced. (G-Unit/Interscope 2006)
bubbles, something kind of perfect: “That’s On the remix co-produced with Lil Jon, the Some would argue that Prodigy’s “V-S-O-P,
why River works…Hooks…So awkward.” false minimalism of the original beat remains, A-S-A-P” flow on Mobb Deep’s recent Blood
The point is it takes a tricky and awesome but the playground touches are replaced with Money album is proof that his best work is
kind of artist to make an album full of hooks, cyber swooshes, making it pointless to put behind him. But when he’s not talking about
and to have those hooks make the songs Daytons on the Cadillac’s wheels since they’re being “heaven’s gift, heavy on the wrist,” he
awkward, and to have the awkwardness just going to fold up before the car blasts off drops abstract, antisocial jewels: My baby
of the songs be what makes the album so into hyperspace. In response to the beat, the moms left me, cuz she couldn’t put up with my
incredibly good. WW newly revitalized Andre 3000 takes off in such foul attitude/ I’m so fucked up, and I love it/ It
a lyrical sprint that it takes a minute for the got me to where I’m at dunn/ If I had to do it
present to catch up to the future. ED over, I wouldn’t change a thing. NB

1 5 6 T H E FADER
Björk
Interpol • the Jesus and Mary Chain • Arctic Monkeys
FRIDAY APRIL 27
SUBSCRIBE!
Jarvis Cocker • Sonic Youth • Faithless • DJ Shadow • Peeping Tom • Brazilian Girls
Peaches • Felix Da Housecat • Rufus Wainwright • Stephen Marley featuring Jr. Gong • Nickel Creek
Digitalism • Tokyo Police Club • Comedians of Comedy • El-P • Julieta Venegas • Gogol Bordello
Benny Benassi • Circa Survive • Silversun Pickups • Gillian Welch • Tilly and the Wall
David Guetta • Amy Winehouse • Noisettes • Evil Nine • Busdriver • Brother Ali

SATURDAY APRIL 28
Red Hot Chili Peppers
the Arcade Fire • Tiësto On the
Main Stage • the Decemberists
the Good, the Bad and the Queen • Travis • Kings of Leon • Gotan Project • the Rapture
LCD Soundsystem • Blonde Redhead • the New Pornographers • the Black Keys • Regina Spektor • Hot Chip • MSTRKRFT • !!!
Peter Bjorn and John • Ozomatli • Ghostface Killah • Fountains of Wayne • Jack’s Mannequin • Sparklehorse • the Nightwatchman
Roky Erickson & the Explosives • Cornelius • CocoRosie • Andrew Bird • the Frames • the Fratellis • Justice
Pharoahe Monch • Fields • the Cribs • Girl Talk • Mike Relm • DJ Heather • Yeva • Pop Levi

Rage Against the Machine SUNDAY APRIL 29

Manu Chao Radio Bemba


Sound System • Air • Happy Mondays • Paul Van Dyk
Willie Nelson • Crowded House • the Roots • Kaiser Chiefs • Damien Rice • Placebo
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