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Pixies

October 3rd, 2016  |  by  |  published in Features | Leave A Comment »

Pixies

Pixies

My favorite moment in talking with fabled Pixies axeman Joey Santiago occurs in the first few minutes of our conversation, when I can hear him turn to his teenage daughter in response to a question about whether he likes the band’s new album, Head Carrier. “Are you annoyed that I listen to it a lot?” Santiago asks her as he drives. “No,” she responds, …

Book of Love

June 23rd, 2016  |  by  |  published in Features | Leave A Comment »

Book of Love

Book of Love

While the music of the ’80s is often disparaged for the plasticity and seeming lack of soul that characterized its most extreme new wave caricatures, the truth is it was a time of top-notch pop and great experimentation, particularly in the realm of electronic instrumentation. Book of Love, a New York–based quartet that formed in 1983, melded the two along with a certain amount of …

Pere Ubu

June 13th, 2016  |  by  |  published in Features | Leave A Comment »

Pere Ubu

pereubuinsideIn the accepted pantheon of punk (or whatever you want to call it), figureheads in New York, London, and L.A. are revered as the innovators of this nefarious genre. But running concurrently and almost continuously alongside the fashionable faces of “underground” music, Pere Ubu has existed as a true alternative. Metabolized out of the remains of Rocket from the Tombs, this innovative group first made …

Travis

May 23rd, 2016  |  by  |  published in Features | Leave A Comment »

Travis

Travis

Hitting their stride in the late ’90s, Scottish four-piece Travis is often depicted as the first of a new wave of British bands to follow once the fervor surrounding Brit-pop earlier in the decade had died and left a lull in its wake. But while they may have shared some of their peers’ penchant for instantly fetching melodies, the band separated itself from the pack …

Miracle Legion

April 18th, 2016  |  by  |  published in Features | 1 Comment »

Miracle Legion

Miracle Legion

Formed in 1983 by songwriting principals singer Mark Mulcahy and guitarist Ray Neal, New Haven’s Miracle Legion crafted a finely tuned blend of jangly pop-rock, folk intricacies, and Van Morrison-esque soulfulness that by all rights should have grabbed the as of yet unrecognized alternative masses by the ears. Indeed, though they couldn’t get a record review without at least a mention of REM, they never …

RJD2

March 27th, 2016  |  by  |  published in Features | Leave A Comment »

RJD2

RJD2

Alone with my headphones and immersed in experimental hip-hop veteran RJD2’s latest release, the eclectic and soulful odyssey Dame Fortune (RJ’s Electrical Connections), my mind drifted to photos I’d seen a few months earlier. The reverie occurred somewhere between track two, a two-and-a-half-minute burst of frenetic then gliding Afrobeat-inflected funk, and track three, a stirring and emotive soul cut featuring the vocalist Jordan Brown.

They …

Robert Forster

October 6th, 2015  |  by  |  published in Features | Leave A Comment »

Robert Forster

Robert Forster

As one-half of The Go-Betweens’ songwriting nucleus, Robert Forster was responsible for some of the most brilliant pop music to emerge from the land down under. But to simply describe what he and partner Grant McLennan created as “pop,” doesn’t do it justice, as the term suggests something disposable or ephemeral. While their music was catchy and frequently sparkling and bright, it was also literate …

X

July 20th, 2015  |  by  |  published in Features | Leave A Comment »

X

X

Emerging from Los Angeles in the late ’70s, X, along with groups like The Gun Club and The Blasters, infused Americana into three-chord rock to create a unique country-punk hybrid. Steeped in an appreciation for poetry as well as folk music traditions, Exene Cervenka and fellow lyricist John Doe inverted the trope of a shiny, happy city of angels on their debut album, Los Angeles

The Pop Group

March 3rd, 2015  |  by  |  published in Features | Leave A Comment »

The Pop Group

The Pop Group

As riveting as the music that sprang up during punk’s assurgency in the late ’70s might have been, the subsequent bands and variations that followed in its wake were perhaps even more astounding. Like many of their contemporaries, The Pop Group was an answer to punk’s DIY call to arms. The Bristol-born band took its vitriolic predecessors’ rebellious attitude and applied it to a hybrid …

Gang of Four

January 26th, 2015  |  by  |  published in Features | 1 Comment »

Gang of Four

Gang of Four

Named by friends in The Mekons after a faction in China’s Cultural Revolution of the late ’60s, Gang of Four is perhaps most widely known as the post-punk provocateurs responsible for songs like “Anthrax,” “I Love a Man in a Uniform,” and “To Hell with Poverty.” Seemingly fueled by punk’s lasting anger-derived energy when they formed in Leeds in 1977, on seminal records like their …