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Staff Picks of 2016: Richard Sanford

January 12th, 2017  |  by  |  published in Features | Leave A Comment »

Staff Picks of 2016: Richard Sanford

Top 10 Albums

10. Miranda Lambert, Weight of These Wings (RCA Records)
In a field with lots of competition, this was the mainstream country record that dug its hooks in me the deepest this year. Songs about dreams of escape and the consolation of fantasy (as well as when those things come up short), along with the dangers of routine and habit—all strapped to the …

Staff Picks of 2016: Matt Slaybaugh

January 11th, 2017  |  by  |  published in Features | Leave A Comment »

Staff Picks of 2016: Matt Slaybaugh

Top 10 of 2016

10. David Bowie, Blackstar (Columbia Records)
What a way to end the story. The timing was incredible in and of itself, but the fact that Bowie recorded his best work in at least 35 years, one of his boldest adventures, makes Blackstar an achievement that might never be matched.

9. Chance the Rapper, Coloring Book (self-released)
It was May in Ohio, …

Staff Picks of 2016: Jamie Pietras

January 9th, 2017  |  by  |  published in Features | Leave A Comment »

Staff Picks of 2016: Jamie Pietras

It’s earned its own hashtag: #WorstYearEver. The music world’s losses started with David Bowie in January and went on to claim luminaries including Phife Dawg, Merle Haggard, Glenn Frey, Keith Emerson, Greg Lake, Pete Burns, Prince, Leonard Cohen, and in a Christmas surprise, George Michael. While fans mourned on social media they also took solace in some incredible swan songs—for Bowie and Cohen, records consciously …

Staff Picks of 2016: Matthew Lovett

January 9th, 2017  |  by  |  published in Features | Leave A Comment »

Staff Picks of 2016: Matthew Lovett

Best Rock Songs of 2016

In 2016, the best rock music went emo. (And no, there were no nostalgic homages to Fall Out Boy.) Though of course some artists are more deserving of this designation than others, emo was never about observing any aesthetic; it was more or less about ripping hearts out. Headlined by the likes of The Hotelier’s Goodness, Pinegrove’s Cardinal, …

Top 10 Reissues of 2016

January 5th, 2017  |  by  |  published in Features | Leave A Comment »

Top 10 Reissues of 2016

#10
White Zombie
It Came from NYC
Numero Group

Vocalist Rob Zombie and bassist Sean Yseult churned through five guitarists and two drummers during the band’s initial four years which are covered on this meticulous (typical of Numero) collection. “Gentleman Junkie” and “Black Friday,” from White Zombie’s debut 7-inch, reveal the first glimmers of the self-aware wink and the head-bang/hip-swivel combo that the band rode …

The Agit Reader Top 10 of 2016

January 3rd, 2017  |  by  |  published in Features | 1 Comment »

The Agit Reader Top 10 of 2016

Fuck 2016. Excuse my French, but there’s no other way to say it. This past year was as horrible as it gets. We not only lost an inordinate number of creative talents, but the morons who make up a large portion of our country’s population elected king dipshit to lead our country for the next four years. Add in a big helping of police murdering …

Grifters

October 10th, 2016  |  by  |  published in Features | 1 Comment »

Grifters

Grifters

It’s been said before in these virtual pages, but we are living in an age where everything old is new again. Indeed, it’s telling that in 2015, reissues and downloads of old music outsold new music for the first time since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991. I haven’t seen any stats, but I wouldn’t be surprised if reunited acts have bested new acts …

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 …