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Byard Duncan

News, Trans Suicide Hotline Founder Heeds the Call

Trans Suicide Hotline Founder Heeds the Call

It is uncommon for someone to wake up for work each morning and immediately set about looking for ways to terminate her own employment. But that is exactly what Greta Gustava Martela does — every day — passionately. Martela, 46,…
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Music, Points of Anguish: Heartbreak Sharpens Sharon Van Etten's Songwriting

Points of Anguish: Heartbreak Sharpens Sharon Van Etten's Songwriting

In late 2012, nearly a year after the release of Tramp, her acclaimed third album, Sharon Van Etten was summoned to Avatar Studios in Manhattan to record a remake of the 1923 Irving Berlin ballad "What'll I Do." The song…
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News, Feature Puppet Maestros: How Oakland's tUnE-yArDs  Conquers the  World, One Bag of Rice at a Time

Puppet Maestros: How Oakland's tUnE-yArDs Conquers the World, One Bag of Rice at a Time

Barely post-slumber — definitely pre-caffeine — and nearing the exact midpoint between two seven-hour band rehearsals, Merrill Garbus appears both irreparably frazzled and warily content. It's 7:45 on a Thursday morning in mid-April, and Garbus, the 35-year-old creative epicenter of…
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Music, All Hail Annie Clark: How St. Vincent Became Indie Rock's Standard-Bearer

All Hail Annie Clark: How St. Vincent Became Indie Rock's Standard-Bearer

On the evening of Oct. 22, 2009, Annie Clark donned her guitar and stepped onstage at Castaways, a garage-sized dive bar in Ithaca, N.Y. Situated between a muddy canal and a gleaming fitness center, the venue was stippled with garish…
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Music, Angel Olsen's Roots Rock Prizes Feeling Over Certainty

Angel Olsen's Roots Rock Prizes Feeling Over Certainty

Certainties are not easily extracted from Angel Olsen. She does not pluck them from the air like floating candies, nor does she rattle them off in conversation, nor do they routinely bubble up in her songs. If present at all,…
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Music, Hear This Chance: Show Preview

Chance: Show Preview

Tough to tell what's crazier: that we expect more precocity from our young rappers than we ever have, or that they actually keep delivering. When 20-year-old Chance the Rapper's sophomore mixtape, Acid Rap, dropped in May, it landed like a…
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Music, More Is More in Mwahaha's Chaotic Synth-Rock

More Is More in Mwahaha's Chaotic Synth-Rock

It's a few days into this year's South by Southwest festivities, and the members of Oakland-based synth-rock band Mwahaha are 1,744 miles from Austin, sitting on well-worn couches at their Fruitvale studio. They drink shitty beer and smoke nicer-than-average cigarettes.…
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Music, Jailed Heart: Thao Nguyen Finds Inspiration in Prison

Jailed Heart: Thao Nguyen Finds Inspiration in Prison

Last February, just minutes after taking off her jewelry, handing over her Social Security number, and removing her bra, Thao Nguyen found the inspiration for her new album, We the Common. The setting was Valley State Prison for Women, an…
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Music, Folk Singer Jessica Pratt Is Still in Her Own Head

Folk Singer Jessica Pratt Is Still in Her Own Head

Jessica Pratt doesn't remember much about the two months she spent back in 2007 recording her self-titled debut album. The Bayview studio? "It was pretty nondescript, pretty barren-looking," she says. The sound engineer? "I didn't really know the guy too…
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