A monthly guide to stuff we think is cool

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In review: Solange, Savages, Killer Mike, + more / words + photos by Dan Massoglia, Liz Pelly, and Lou Kishfy

There are a lot of reasons to be skeptical and critical of the music festival industrial complex. (Yes I am calling it that.) All of the overpriced tickets and corporate branding are pretty gross, not to mention the way festivals put musicians who could otherwise play smaller venues onto these enormous stages, turning each performance into a large inaccessible spectacle rather than something individuals can engage with directly. Even when all of the negative aspects of large music festivals are considered, Pitchfork Music Festival is still an annual tradition that I am always pretty excited about. Mostly, this is because the line-up is always exceptional. At least for the three years I have been attending, the festival has continuously been a guaranteed way to see 40+ sets in three days by artists that are incredibly worthwhile, or at least engaging from a critical standpoint. I am also a fan of the books tent (with readings throughout the weekend) and the record fair (which this year featured tables by Don . . .

"The status quo knows that keeping the masses subdued is in its best favor" / by Kerry Cardoza

This is a challenge to the underground.   An underground exists when there are those who do not share the values of mainstream society; because there are people who make art for reasons other than profit; because there are people struggling everyday to make our world a better place - to end violence, to abolish prisons, to support liberation.

This work is hard, as revolution is something that does not happen just once, but something we are constantly pushing towards.  There are many who consider themselves aligned with this culture, who feel they reject the status quo and support the idea of a brighter tomorrow.  This looks different for everyone. There is no one way to get to the revolution, but it is important to continually critique one’s lifestyle and personal choices so as to ensure we are staying true to what we believe.  Or, what we believe we believe.  Even if you know in your heartmindbody that you are living your life mindfully, you must create time to step back and ensure you are always taking real care of yourself.

The current prevailing cultural attitude is largely one of political disregard.  It is not surprising that much of the content of pop culture is more or less apolitical; this is media meant to be consumed for a profit, and the masses do not want to buy things that make them uncomfortable.  Yet it is alarming that much of underground culture today seems averse to politics.  There are few underground bands today that are overtly political; we are living in a time when it is uncool to care.  As Moira Weigel and Mal Ahern wrote in their recent brilliant article in The New Inquiry on contemporary boyish critics, “The Man-Child’s irony may be a part of a generational aversion to political risk: he would not call out a sexist or racist joke, for fear of sounding too earnest.”  I have often been around peers discussing “normal” people with disgust, clearly positing themselves in a different category, and yet embodying many of the same gross capitalist tendencies.  

Like many others, I first became interested in the idea of an alternative culture through punk and hardcore because I rejected the society that didn't care about me.  I devoured the ideas of bands like Bikini Kill and Minor Threat . . .


We <3 Chicago by Jonathan Williger
Mostly instrumental music from Chicago-based bands.

by NM Mashurov
On bike harassment.

by Pier Harrison
Missed connections from P4k Fest.

by Emma Behnke
"Kurt Cobain Was Lactose Intolerant Conspiracy Zine."

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