In our music feature this week, Jason Roche dissects heavy metal by subgenre, running down everything from black metal to thrash to death 'n roll and pornogrind.
Yes, all of those are real things, and metal is far from the only musical discipline full of this kind of stuff. In fact, music geeks take pride in name-dropping (and coining) exceedingly obscure handles to describe sound. Which is why, below, we're giving you entree into this exclusive, nerdy club, offering explanations of eleven of the most strangely named musical genres. Thanks to Jena Ardell for her illustrations, and to rape gaze for already having gone out of vogue.
This strain of soupy, sometimes bracing and gorgeous alternative rock was born of yes, mopey Brits staring at their feet. They were probably doing so because of flagship bands like My Bloody Valentine and Ride's walls of echoing noise. (Fortunately, the music is equally ideal for gazing at your naked bedmate as much as bunion-watching.) At its deepest, shoegaze sounds like great songs dunked in water and fed through some kind of sonar tracking device. On Slowdive's seminal "Alison" for instance, the effect is disembodied androgynous voices, or something akin to whale songs. -Dan Weiss
Tumblr rappers barely exist outside of their namesake social networking site, where teens decamped after their parents discovered Twitter. Starry-eyed adolescents upload videos of themselves rapping in their bedrooms; Odd Future paved a path, but many in this subset have never played an actual show in their lives. The genre's budding star is Kitty Pryde, a disarmingly earnest 19-year-old Florida white girl rapper, whose lyrics are like a cross between a diary and a scrapbook -- confessional yet full of references to The Ramones, Waka Flocka Flame, and the Powerpuff Girls. She's a breakout success, and has even played a real concert in New York! It's enough to get A&Rs sifting through Tumblr memes. -Rebecca Haithcoat