This week tour dates and flights and meetings were rescheduled in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, and music writers in the Northeast have been preoccupied. And even though the mood is darker, the show did go on; here are three stories to divert and edify you while we all try to get back to normal.
Do misanthropes listen to black metal because they're miserable? Or are they miserable because they listened to black metal? In a three-part documentary by Vice-offshoot Noisey, One Man Metal tracked down three reclusive musicians who make sounds deeper and more messed up than bands four times their size. The Noisey host has about as much charisma as a baked potato, but somehow still gets a real response out of the otherwise interview-adverse dudes behind Striborg, Leviathan and Xasthur. From musical process and unexpected backgrounds (Leviathan's Jef Whitehead was in skate magazines?) to philosophies and disturbed pasts, it's an all-too-rare document of three men trying to escape humanity. --Lars Gotrich
"Trap" is slang for a crack house or drug dealing spot, and "trap music" originally referred to southern hip-hop that was often made and played in these locales, and told stories about life there. Recently the term has come to refer to tracks made by a group of mostly young producers whose backgrounds are far removed from the trap. The "trap s---" Andrew Ryce writes about in RA is an electronic take on the aesthetics of certain hip-hop instrumentals (he calls them "trap tropes") popping up all over Soundcloud and creeping into the sets of headliners at dance-music festivals across the country. Ryce lays out some of the players and conversation happening in the music community around this style, quoting producer Jamie Teasdale disavowing trap and knocking some of its makers for "appropriating social references totally alien to them, sampling lyrics about crack houses, machine gun fire, and most of all, the name of the music itself." --Sami Yenigun
This week Meek Mill released his studio debut Dreams and Nightmares. He dropped mixtapes previously, but here are the songs on which Meek gets the most personal, rapping about his father's death and his own time in jail. In Complex David Drake writes about his lyrics, saying "they draw their power not from breadth, but by embodying a singular contradiction, at once vulnerable in content ('Man, my life's so real/Last week went to sleep and woke up with the chills') and aggressively guarded, even threatening, in style." In this profile of the Philadelphia rapper Dreams and Nightmares sounds like a fitting title for Meek Mill's album, as even while his dreams come true, he bears the scars from his nightmares. "I'm still hurt in my heart," Meek tells Drake. --Briana Younger