Rock
Punk’s Past Alternate Future

Punk’s Past Alternate Future

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»

The Plague Dancers

The Plague Dancers

France is probably not the first place that one thinks of in terms of extreme music. While it has been home to obscure black metal acts such as Deathspell Omega and Blut aus Nord, the country has not, generally speaking, shown the propensity to produce death and grind bands as Britain or Germany (to say nothing of points further north). But in recent years that has begun to change. More»

The Dark Side of Prog

The Dark Side of Prog

Progressive rock was not the sole province of British hippie bands like Yes, and the self-indulgent noodling of ‘virtuoso’ groups such as Emerson Lake and Palmer. It was also identified with artists like Ian Anderson, and his band Jethro Tull, who, while no slouches in the hair department, trafficked in barbed literary diatribes, and dense, More»

Are the Mekons a Meal?

Are the Mekons a Meal?

The other night I saw Skull Orchard, the latest side band of the Mekons’ Jon Langford, in Brooklyn. I was hungry for some good music, and the show was filling—but not the same way even the best reunions, such as Flag’s recent set, or the Avengers show a few years back, have been. More»

Nostalgic for Nirvana

Nostalgic for Nirvana

Over the past month, pieces marking the twentieth anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s suicide have built to a crescendo. For those who remember the initial coverage of his death, when his face stared out from publication after publication, the commemoration inspired a disturbing sense of déjà vu. We were being asked to relive something that wasn’t pleasant to begin with, but also, inevitably, to compare that period with our own. More»

Kiev Calling

Kiev Calling

Blame it on Pussy Riot. Thus far, the music has been a disappointment. The Ukraine, after all, is in decline. With no affluence to speak of, compared to Putin’s oil-rich Russia, culture, of the export variety, is nowhere to be found. You’d have to speak Ukrainian, (or Russian) to detect any national soundtrack, revolutionary, or otherwise, worth listening to. More»

Israeli Hardcore Sampler

Israeli Hardcore Sampler

In the forty years since its inception, punk has almost always been synonymous with radical politics. The very nature of counterculture, of which punk is a mainstay, is to fight against whoever is in power. Even right-wing bands operate within this ethos. On the far end of that, white power music is very much situated in what its practitioners see as a comparative struggle, even if the songs are lyrically backwards. More»

DIY Means Diversity

DIY Means Diversity

Focused on increasing the presence of people of color, transgender, queer, and female-identified people in punk and DIY in Philadelphia, First Time’s the Charm was a 16 band gig held in early November. Each group was playing their very first show, which made for a very exciting and interesting night of underground music. More»

Remembering Screamo

Remembering Screamo

In the mid-nineties, the French hardcore scene was dominated by bands playing  heavy, mid-tempo punk with political and emotional lyrics. Known as screamo – and not to be confused by the current subset of poppy suburban teen hardcore – the music picked up where the original emo movement of American bands like Embrace and Moss Icon had stopped just a couple of years prior. More»

(Don't Just) Print the Legend!

(Don’t Just) Print the Legend!

The legend of the Velvet Underground, which is on people’s minds with the death of Lou Reed, has its roots in what “really happened.” According to the legend, the band was never popular during its lifetime, but the few people who loved the Velvets in those early years became important parts of subsequent music culture. Yet there are other ways to interpret the group’s history, More»

Nostalgic for Nothing

Nostalgic for Nothing

It’s not every day you walk into your local newsstand and find a twelve-year-old zine written by one of your favorite musicians, seemingly abandoned behind a stack of vintage copies of Punk Planet, and way too many issues of Revolver. But I did. Call me nostalgic, but I still can’t get over it. With good reason. More»

Anarchy is Disappointing

Anarchy is Disappointing

Death was everywhere.  A large, jovial Calaveras print greeted gig goers at the entrance to Sacramento’s Sol Collective – a reminder that Dia De Muertos is approaching. Sitting on the floor, I could see the dimly lit St. Joseph’s Cemetery across the street. A painting of a skull, tucked into a deep-sea diving mask, hung above Amy Farina’s drum set. More»