Rock

“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…)

+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…)

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…)

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…)

Hard-coded into punk’s DNA is a contradiction worthy of Hegel: A desire to impact the mainstream combined with a disavowal of anything that achieves success. It’s a perfect formula for self-destruction. This core tension has prevented punk from achieving its highest ideals, and has caused the movement to die out several times over. (More…)

“Groundhog Day” is a real pile driver. The first track off of the new Corin Tucker Band LP, Kill My Blues, it’s the perfect context setter coming from the ex-frontwoman of a legendary riot grrrl band, nearing forty. Tucker paints herself as a “Rip Van Winkle in a denim mini skirt” who “took some time to be a mom” and is now distressed that the place of women hasn’t advanced: “We fight the same battle, over and over again.” (More…)

“G-Beat” is a genre tag I first started seeing last year, used by the late Kenneth Duffy (AKA Kenn Kroosaficks) to describe Deathcharge’s 2011 LP, Love Was Born to an Early Death. The hotly anticipated full-length represented a transition from D-beat hardcore to hard-charged gothic rock, emblematic of a larger sea change in punk. What exactly is G-beat, though? (More…)

The previous decade – let’s call them the noughties – showed the punk scene regrouping after the 1990s. Amid the flood of great new music, many full-lengths were inevitably overlooked or were lost in the chaos. Other releases got momentary attention, but were quickly forgotten. Here are some of the best LPs from the previous decade that are worth revisiting. (More…)

Warsaw changed their name to Joy Division to avoid conflict with the band Warsaw Pakt. Coincidentally, the name change also served to mark the break between Joy Division’s punk phase and their later, better-known postpunk era. (More…)

The very first issue of SPIN Magazine in 1985 featured a full color feature on deathrock. Titled “Is There Life After Deathrock?” the article’s tagline warns, “If you thought punk was hardcore, you’re in for a shock.” Almost 30 years later, punk bands have rediscovered the music SPIN warned about. (More…)

Pussy Riot is the first Russian punk band to attain household name status in the West. The reason has less to do with its music than its politics. The subject of global media attention since three of its band members were arrested in February, the all-girl guerrilla group has become the unofficial face of Russia’s pro-democracy movement. (More…)

Not long after 9/11, San Francisco’s best record store began stocking up on reissues of Turkish psychedelia. The third wave of musical imports from the Middle East taken up by US hipsters (beginning with their adoption of Ofra Haza in the mid-1980s,) the timing was entirely appropriate. Amidst the wreckage of the World Trade Center, Americans were finding themselves drawn to the sounds of the Islamic New York. (More…)