Banging the Can

By Rob Rushin-Knopf, Culture Warrior
(Photo of Shara Nova by Peter Sterling, 2022, courtesy of Long Play Festival)

On May Day (workers unite!) I attended the final day of Bang on a Can’s inaugural Long Play Festival. Scheduled to debut in 2020 (but, well, ya know…), the festival delivered three full days of music, with roughly 60 acts across eight venues mostly within a roughly four block radius; two stages were less than a mile distant. On my way to collect my festival pass, I considered the times I had seen BOAC perform, all of them at the Big Ears Festival. I mentioned this to BOAC’s Director of Development Tim Thomas and noted that the Long Play setup – multiple sets run simultaneously among easily-walked locations – was similar to the Knoxville vibe. read more

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Forever Momentary Space

My final installment of my Big Ears coverage focuses on the musical ambassadorship of Damon Locks Black Monument Ensemble during their time in Knoxville. This is a super-condensed introduction to their music.

(Part 1 of the series here. Part 2 here. A little something extra for Part 2 here.)

Black Monument has released two albums on the Chicago-based International Anthem label, 2019’s Where Future Unfolds and the monumental Now. Recorded during summer 2020 – under the shadow of pandemic, social unrest, and an unutterably bizarre political climate – Now qualifies as an instant classic, right down to the chorus of cicadas that accompany the outro to the title track. (Due to Covid, the Now sessions were held in a garden behind the recording studio.) read more

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Love Your Mother

This piece was scheduled to run on Earth Day at the Salvation South website. Unfortunately, publication there is suspended for the time being due to an injury suffered by founder/editor Chuck Reese. We hope to resume publication there very soon.
In the meantime, this Earth Day piece was in danger of aging out, so I wanted to
share in hopes that y’all will check out these worthy recordings.
Thanks for your support here and at Salvation South. – rr-k read more

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Perfect Flat

I dropped a new article on Salvation South yesterday about guitarist Shane Parish, a talented and committed artist who is carving a unique musical path for himself. His determination to follow his own instincts and put in the considerable work required to realize his vision is inspiring, not least because the overwhelming directive of our late-capitalist society is to conform, follow, and obey. read more

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