His Nation’s Saving Face

So, where’s the best place to read about Mark E. Smith’s politics? Like, where did he stand on Brexit, for instance? What was that “obliguh-tree (n-word)” line all about? Have to admit, I’ve always been curious — But I’ve also always been either too lazy or too maybe-don’t-really-wanna-know to research it. I mean, I do… Continue reading His Nation’s Saving Face

150 Best Albums of 2012

So hey, were you aware all sorts of new sorts of music came out of nowhere in 2012? I sure wasn’t, but turns out that in The Wire that December a very helpful person named David Wilcox catalogued and explained and/or debunked a whole bunch of them for those of us happily out of the… Continue reading 150 Best Albums of 2012

Crampsy and She’s Kooky

Was never a giant fan of the band myself, but I have to believe the Cramps, of all people, would appreciate the idea of their gravest hit being exhumed zombie-like from the rock’n’roll cemetery to become a smash for teenage googoomucks the world over four decades later — especially when they had exhumed the song… Continue reading Crampsy and She’s Kooky

Smokin’ OPs

So I’m just about to stash away at the top of the closet the super-generous box of early ’80s OP magazines (the predecessor of the much more staid and seemingly market-researched Option) that Clifford Ocheltree gifted me through the mail last month (18 of the 26 alphabetically themed issues, in excellent condition), and I’m sitting… Continue reading Smokin’ OPs

150 Best Albums of 2007

In October 2007 Sasha Frere-Jones published a 3500-word essay titled “A Paler Shade of White” in The New Yorker, lamenting how indie rock had forfeited the rhythmic and vocal inspiration from Black music that had made rock’n’roll special in the first place and later distinguished the post-punk Frere-Jones himself had fallen for during his own… Continue reading 150 Best Albums of 2007

How British is Kate Bush?

Chris Molanphy had a fascinating, typically deep-researched piece up on Slate today about Kate Bush’s four-decade road to a sizable U.S. pop hit, thanks finally to being heard on Stranger Things, one of my favorite TV shows though I’ve still yet to start the new season with “Running Up That Hill” in it. But I… Continue reading How British is Kate Bush?

Post-Punk & New Pop Notes

One thing people really have to understand is that, when Simon Reynolds writes about “post-punk” or “new pop” in Rip It Up and Start Again: Post-Punk 1978-1984, it doesn’t necessarily mean those phrases were widely used when that music actually existed — and if they were, they weren’t always used exactly as he defines them.… Continue reading Post-Punk & New Pop Notes

How Old Are Mix Tapes?

In this week’s episode of Mrs. America (spoiler alert), the Phyllis Schlafly character opens her adolescent daughter’s mail and finds a mix cassette from a boy, which when Schlafly slides it into the tape recorder turns out to begin, shockingly (for her) and hilariously (for us) enough, with “Cherry Bomb.” Later Schlafly explains to some… Continue reading How Old Are Mix Tapes?

8 Indie 45s From the ’00s

Written in retrospective hindsight, as explained in more detail here. Cococoma “6 ¼ – 125”/”Take My Time” (2006) Recorded December 2005 in their hometown Chicago, so my release-year guess can’t be too far off. Either way, this speedy, muffled nugget is the sort of revisionist garage punk that genre addicts pretend rocks harder than it does… Continue reading 8 Indie 45s From the ’00s

Francophone Lands Licks, 2003

Post-script: Bertrand Cantant was eventually convicted of “murder with indirect intent,” and spent less than four years in prison. Three years after his 2007 release, his ex-wife committed suicide with him in the house. In 2012, he appeared on an Amadou and Miriam album. A solo set he released in 2017 charted at #13 in… Continue reading Francophone Lands Licks, 2003