Tag: The Clash

People warned me about punk, two in particular. The first was Judith, who was two years older than me and whose father taught computer science at the liberal arts college in eastern Washington state where my father was the dean of the faculty. (More…)

There’s a point in Don Letts’ Clash documentary Westway to the World where bassist Paul Simonon talks about the uncertainty that they all felt about their status after they’d signed their first record contract with CBS Records (for £100,000) in January 1977. (More…)

Between 1976 and 1979, the British punk scene produced some very good albums (Never Mind the Bollocks; London Calling; Damned, Damned, Damned) and a couple of real brilliancies (The Pop Group’s Y, Gang of Four’s Entertainment.) But for sheer transgression, there is nothing to top Cut, the first album by The Slits. (More…)

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…)

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…)

Drummer David Ruffy and bassist John “Segs” Jennings peer out of the poster announcing a German tour this past weekend for their legendary punk-reggae band Ruts DC as members of a unique club within the first-wave punk generation. Theirs is one of the few bands that has endured the slings of mortality during both their salad days and in their later revival years. (More…)

Edited by Titus Hjelm, Keith Kahn-Harris, Mark LeVine, Heavy Metal Controversies and Countercultures presents a wide range of perspectives and approaches to the topic, probing the ways that race, gender, violence, and politics find expression in the wide range of instantiations of metal. The editors of this collection all have serious bona fides in the scholarly study of metal. (More…)

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…)

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…)

This sticker, the first in a series from the German Left Party’s youth outreach campaign that Souciant will be featuring in the weeks to come, provides a biting critique of the career opportunities —The Clash’s song by that name is brought to mind — in Germany’s army, the Bundeswehr. Even as it mobilizes nostalgia for its more egalitarian past: (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…)

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…)