Rock
Styles of Freedom

Styles of Freedom

One of the peculiarities of punk is that its ethos of personal freedom has often been expressed through regimentation. Punk’s earliest exponents had no coherent ideology, yet punk exists today as a congeries of well-defined styles and symbologies. A further feature of its history, whose appearance was roughly coterminous with the emergence of punk itself, is the view that punk is dying or that it is already dead. More»

Fair Trade Music

Fair Trade Music

Few cultural movements have left more of a mark than DIY (Do-it-Yourself) punk. For the last four decades, the scene has had a tremendous impact on both music and radical politics. Best known for its anarchists, little attention to has been paid to its ideological contradictions. For example, even its most politicized form, anarcho-punk, proclaims anti-capitalist goals, yet economically ends up working through market  mechanisms. More»

In Crust We Trust

In Crust We Trust

One of the peculiarities of the early punk scene was the way that certain sounds became associated with certain towns. In mid-1980s, New York became famous for bands with a crunchy, metallic sound, such as Judge, Youth of Today, and the Cro-Mags. Although Chicago has produced a wide range of groups, it’s hard to dissociate the city from dark and angular sounding 1980s bands such as Naked Raygun, The Effigies, and Articles of Faith. More»

We Can Be Heroes

We Can Be Heroes

Leftists often bemoan a perceived lack of progress on the issues they work on. Fighting economic injustice, war or discrimination can feel like a thankless task. On top of the difficulty of the work, too often we fail to celebrate success and lose a longer historical view of how the world has changed for the better. More»

Post-Rock Travel Guide

Post-Rock Travel Guide

Philadelphia’s Rosetta have achieved a lot in their ten years as a band. In addition to three self-released LPs full of lush, intricate, and very noisy post-rock and metal, they’ve toured extensively, especially to spots their contemporaries have yet to visit. More»

Mediterranean Protest Music

Mediterranean Protest Music

Besides their release this year in beautifully packaged vinyl editions, and use of Mediterranean field recordings, Mutamassik’s album Rekkez, and Savage Republic’s Varvakios LP, don’t seem to have a lot in common. However, both come from an aesthetic of fatalistic, yet rebellious, sonic energy, fuelled by an urgency to burst into a future weighed down by ancient history. More»

Oliver's Top 10 for 2012

Oliver’s Top 10 for 2012

2012 was a damn good year for music in general, and for new musical discoveries, personally. I found my own tastes wandering between the seemingly-unrelated-yet-actually-interconnected worlds of hardcore punk, deathrock, postpunk, and neofolk. My “top 10” for 2012 reflects this. More»

Iberian Punk Sampler

Iberian Punk Sampler

Times are tough in Spain. Suffering the aftereffects of the collapse of a speculative real-estate bubble in 2008, debarred from improving its export position through devaluation because of its participation in the Euro, the government of Mariano Rajoy has recently proposed a budget plan involving cuts of over $85 billion in the next two and a half years. More»

Nuggets and The Velvet Underground

Nuggets and The Velvet Underground

“Not again,” I thought, looking over the new releases on display at the record store. The top shelf featured a 40th-anniversary reissue of Nuggets, the classic garage compilation, while the one below offered a 45th-anniversary version of The Velvet Underground and Nico. It annoyed me that I was being asked to buy music I already owned. More»

Making Grind a Threat Again

Making Grind a Threat Again

+HIRS+ is a Philadelphia duo dedicated to harsh noise and queer politics. Their motto, as emblazoned on their t-shirts, is “looks like hell, sounds like shit, no gods, no cops.” The band’s singer, Jenna Pup, sat down with me to discuss sampling, what it’s like being a queer band in the grind scene, and the role of music in delivering political messages. More»

Music for a Dying West

Music for a Dying West

In “The Operable Man,” German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk stated, “It is neither our failure nor our accomplishment that we live in a time in which the apocalypse of man is an everyday occurrence.” The music of Killing Joke is the sonic corollary to this existential predicament. Let me show you how. More»

The Right People's Choice

The Right People’s Choice

NoMeansNo were an acquired taste. Starting out in the early 1980s, they wrote jazzy, complicated songs at a time when the shorter, louder, faster aesthetic was ascendant. The scene from which they emerged in Victoria B.C. was certainly less well-known than others in the Pacific Northwest. More»