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Prairie Pop: Not Just Noise

The 1980s witnessed the height of the satanic ritual abuse scare, or the satanic panics. One of the greatest musical pranks that emerged from this milieu resulted in Helter Stupid, a record by the sound collage group Negativland. It was a concept album that thoughtfully reflected on the connections between rock music, violence, and media. […]

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Cracking Up the Culture Code

Back in 1992, Seattle was engulfed in an inferno of hype after the commercial rise of Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Kurt Cobain’s little band that could. “Seattle,” SPIN magazine declared, “is currently to the rock ‘n’ roll world what Bethlehem was to Christianity.” The hunt was on for the next big thing, the newest scene.

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Prairie Pop: Major Disappointments

I’m guessing that many of you have never heard of Tommy Keene. He’s a working musician who has accumulated a fairly deep catalog over the past 30 years, but he has never scored major hit and, in fact, the man has had his share of setbacks. Keene’s experience with Geffen Records in the 1980s, for […]

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