Rock

The first time I saw The Fall live was also the last. I was under tremendous pressure, both at work and at home. The band was late. The club was hot. I tried to distract myself by drinking, but that only made matters worse. I wanted to leave, but knew I couldn’t drive home. It was my birthday. I was depressed. Conditions were perfect. (More…)

When I walked into the Giant Sand show on Boxing Day, midway into the band’s first number, I was taken aback. Howe Gelb, the group’s sole permanent member, is a man of many moods, with performances that vary accordingly. But this time he seemed more interested in playing guitar than in playing himself. The music was still languid, but ferociously so. (More…)

The crowd at Club Congress is sparse. A few true believers and some people who are only here because they happened to be here already. My friend and I don’t fall into either category. I told him we had to see this show because it’s important, because I respect tradition, because it’s Dead Moon. They’re setting up right in front of us, out on the floor. (More…)

Of all the words in the lexicon of music writing, legendary must be about the most over-used.  Yet I am very much of the opinion that it applies here. Anti-Cimex formed in the days when the U.K. punk scene of the late 1970s was metastasizing into the hardcore punk scene of the 1980s. (More…)

Running a record label is a pain in the ass. It always begins with the best of intentions that reside somewhere in the mix of DIY ethics, wanting to support your friends, and simply trying to release your band’s arguably mediocre record when nobody else will do it. (More…)

Larry Livermore is responsible for getting a lot of great songs stuck in my head. Years before I played my first punk show, I memorized choruses on mixtapes gifted from my skater friends, which included tracks from Green Day, Operation Ivy, Crimpshrine and various other bands I had never seen, but would eventually come to know as part of Livermore’s record label. (More…)

In the week following David Bowie’s death, a period my friend Ann Powers referred to as “sitting shiva”, my social media feed was dominated by content related to his career. Personal reflections on his impact, pieces about his career and countless links to clips testified to his cultural significance. At times, this collective outpouring felt like a desperate attempt to assert that we all still had something in common. (More…)

The eldest of the three talented women from Portland that comprise The Ghost Ease might have entered kindergarten in 1991, the year that Nirvana’s mainstream breakthrough album Nevermind was released. (More…)

The Director had ideas for this video. It was called “Qwi Mai Yab”, or ‘Quit My Job’ as might be filtered through the thick Cuban accent of singer-songwriter Jem Marie’s extended familia. The Director was thinking of clever satirical scenarios: perhaps dull office work, or repetitive factory labor, or handling of toxic materials, something static to be upset by the burst of punk energy from the song and its players. (More…)

For nearly four decades, punk was America’s counterculture. The scene was remarkably resilient, replicating itself hundreds of times over, in nearly every part of the country. Punk had a sense of timelessness to it, which made it seem independent of its partnership with pop culture. (More…)

Even if you’ve heard nothing about the new Sufjan Stevens album Carrie and Lowell, the cover should make its purpose clear. But I somehow managed to remain willfully ignorant until the moment when I put it on the stereo. It must have been a defense mechanism, because the minute his voice entered the warbling folk of the first track, I was already in tears. (More…)

I first started listening to punk and hardcore in 1988—not that music’s best period. Many of the great early bands, including the Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, and Crass, had broken up a couple years before, and it seemed that the genre might be at its social and aesthetic end. The politics were fading while metalcore and straightedge hardcore bands were in ascendance. (More…)