I’ve Been Playing Music Here Since South L.A. Was South Central

The South Central Skankers' Lead Singer on How His Hometown Shaped His Sound

The ska band in which I serve as lead singer, the South Central Skankers, still has the same name it did when we started 15 years ago. But South Central has changed profoundly, including in its name. And South L.A.’s music has changed with it.

The first songs I wrote in our early days were about going out and partying and having drinks all the time with different cliques in which I moved—the skaters, the nerds, the gangsters, the partiers, the paisas. But I grounded those stories with our personal sense …

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Your Mother’s Favorite Song

It’s that song that makes her
close her eyes and nod her head,
music sending her back to a time

before she had you, reverie
back to that tight-waist hip-hugger
pants …

When Frogs Sing Their Evening Song, Listen for Nature’s Greatest Lesson

Spring Peepers Hijack My Brain With an Arrhythmic Chorus About Chance and Survival

For some people, spring begins with the sound of birds. For me, it’s frogs.

All winter, frogs crouch hidden in the leaves, their outsides frozen so hard they’d make a …

The Sweaty Serenity of a Heavy Metal Mosh Pit

A Photographer Captures Thrashing Headbangers in Their Moment of Bliss

On December 9, 1983, Jacob Ehrbahn rocked out like he’d never rocked out before.

He was 13, a suburban Dane who’d never been to a metal concert. The Scorpions—a year …

Why We Keep Rediscovering the Flamboyant Godmother of Rock

Sister Rosetta Tharpe Was Buried in an Unmarked Grave, But Now She’s a YouTube Sensation

More than 40 years after her burial in an unmarked Philadelphia grave, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, gospel’s first superstar and its most celebrated crossover figure, is enjoying a burst of Internet …

Rain’s Drumbeat Sets Poetry in Motion

Dreary Weather Gives Verse Rhythm and Flow

Living in a desert city like Las Vegas, you can forget about rain—not as in “give up hoping for,” though sometimes that, too, but actually forget. Your umbrella gets buried …