Best Noisemaker: TRNSGNDR/VHS

Synth-and-noise provocateur Alexandra Brandon’s stunning EP “Condominium” places industrial percussion and nagging, confessional vocals that are just out of reach atop swirls of narcotic electronic hiss—it’s the year’s most fascinating experimental music release. It breathes new life and updates the politics of noise, which often feels like it’s circling the drain of aggro posturing, you know? But Brandon’s also worthy of praise for making noise when her critiques of Ladyfest caused an uproar in the scene. Brandon announced she would drop off the bill of Ladyfest this year after learning that the festival’s contributions were, in part, going to Baltimore Community Foundation, which if you dig deep enough contributes money to the police. It was a bold and idealistic move and not even one we necessarily agree with all the way, but it asked important questions about “DIY” and scene and Baltimore politics and didn’t feel the need to be “polite” about it.

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