Sound
A Brief History of Noise, Part I

A Brief History of Noise, Part I

In the 1970s, older folks regarded punk as untalented, amateur, and above all, noise. Only a few years after its arrival, British artists affiliated with the punk and postpunk scenes co-opted the “noise” designation, turned it into a badge of pride, and pushed the sonic envelope further than many believed possible. More»

The Postpunk Legacy of Crass Records

The Postpunk Legacy of Crass Records

Record labels are a funny thing. Just like bands, they can be objects of cultish devotion. Factory, Dischord, 4AD, Rough Trade, and others all have fans who look to a label’s branding as an indication of a band’s style, ethics, and quality. This goes back to the days of Sun Records in the 1950s. Crass Records‘ reputation as a purist punk label is due for reexamination. More»

In Search of Lost Tribe

In Search of Lost Tribe

Last year, Lost Tribe received an impressive degree of buzz for a punk band. The dark, apocalyptic quintet play a unique mix of ’80s California punk, deathrock, and UK anarcho-punk. Lost Tribe’s discography so far consists solely of cassette and vinyl-only releases. So, whence the notoriety? I asked the band what they think about all the buzz. And I got them to spill the beans about their upcoming tour. More»

Introducing Tanzkommando Untergang

Introducing Tanzkommando Untergang

Tanzkommando Untergang herald Europe’s new dark punk. Combining a guitar-driven deathrock sound with grim, black and white visuals normally associated with radical hardcore, the politically-minded Berlin band is very much of its milieu, and its moment. More»

Reinventing Punk

Reinventing Punk

In “Diary of An Anarcho-Goth-Punk Fiend,” Alistair Livingston, a member of the British  Kill Your Pet Puppy collective, records the transformational year of 1983 in terse bursts of prose. In clipped entries, he describes how 1983 began with him listening to bands like The Mob and Blood and Roses. By 1984 – the year of punk’s (and Orwell’s) apocalypse — he was trying ecstasy and getting into Psychic TV. More»

Slayer and Me

Slayer and Me

It wasn’t the first time I’ve seen Slayer live. As a metal fan for over twenty years  it’s been hard to avoid seeing them, given the frequency with which they tour. Nor would I want to avoid seeing them. They are after all the ur-band, the mother lode of extreme metal, never wavering in their commitment to a tight-riffing, hyper-disciplined sound. More»

George W. Hardcore

George W. Hardcore

It’s common punk wisdom: Republican presidents suck for America, but they’re great for punk. The Reagan Administration proved to be an ironic boon to hardcore. And so was Dubya. What follows are some of the best moments from hardcore punk’s second great era: 2001-2009, the Bush/Cheney regime. More»

Shock of the Old

Shock of the Old

70s Rock Must Die.” Released at the tail end of the grunge era, you couldn’t help but snicker. Arriving too late to discredit the next-wave power ballad revival led by bands like Nickleback, Lard’s AC/DC parody was a welcome reminder of a forgotten punk value: anti-nostalgia. More»

Athens is Burning

Athens is Burning

Greece is in the middle of a Great Depression. Overall unemployment stands at 22%, while unemployment among young workers is at 50%. The far right has made a return to parliament in the form of the neo-fascist Golden Dawn party, who openly use Nazi salutes. Anarchist riots occur almost weekly. Enter the fiery hardcore punk of Sarabante. More»

Black Metal for Populists

Black Metal for Populists

Umskiptar (“Metamorphosis,” in old Norse) is Kristian “Varg” Vikerenes’ third album since his 2009 discharge from prison. Incarcerated for the murder of former bandmate Oystein Aarseth, and arson attacks on several churches, the one-man black band  (otherwise known as Burzum) remains a lightning rod for controversy. More»

All You Need is Italy

All You Need is Italy

No band is as familiar as The Beatles. Wherever you go, their ‘brand’ is recognizable, and universally loved. Whatever musical subculture you identify with, it’s difficult to develop an active dislike for them, the way, for example, the Sex Pistols stigmatized Pink Floyd, or The Clash, Led Zeppelin. In spite of its limitations, The Beatles’ catalogue seems to have a little bit in common with everything. More»

A Brief History of Deathrock, Part III

A Brief History of Deathrock, Part III

A new crop of deathrock bands has reclaimed its punk roots and is pushing the music in a new and compelling direction. According to to Louder Than War goth “music in the nineties was largely dire, possibly due to the scene’s popularity at the end of the eighties bringing in a lot of people without those punk roots” that had originally invigorated the music. More»