Rarely has a lowly rock critic altered the course of popular music history, but Chuck Eddy did. Perhaps that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but bear with me. Back in the mid-1980s he reviewed Aerosmith’s Done With Mirrors, which captured the band at the lowest point in their career. When that album was released, they […]
The Tape-beatles practice plagiarism as an art form. The group, founded in 1987, adopted techniques and ideas from concrete music to create a musical project intended to have broader appeal. In a nutshell, this Iowa City group set itself the task of creating music without… […]
Photo by Benjamin Franzen My editor assigned me to find out, in his words, “Is the Pitchfork Music Festival still fun?” As luck would have it, I’ve been perfecting an algorithm that calculates the objective quality of the festival experience using the Pitchfork website’s well known rating system, from 0.0 to 10.0. Heat is a […]
Dead Kennedys were punk provocateurs that made satire a central part of their concerts, song lyrics and, for that matter, band name. (Lots of baby boomer parents felt it was offensive, but for lead singer Jello Biafra, “Dead Kennedys” was a metaphor for the death of the American dream.) They were political pranksters in the […]
Abbie Hoffman wrote in his subversive how-to guide, “If you don’t like the news, why not go out and make your own? … Guerrilla news events are always good news items and if done right, people will remember them forever.” […]
The 1980s were ground zero for the Satanic Panics, when thousands of children were allegedly kidnapped, defiled and murdered in ritual abuse ceremonies. Even though police statistics made it clear there was no such epidemic, a nation of millions believed the hype. Geraldo Rivera’s 1988 prime-time special on the subject–“Exposing Satan’s Underground”–became the highest rated two-hour documentary in the history of television. […]
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. […]
Fela Anikulapo Kuti is Nigeria’s Bob Marley. Fortunately, up to this point, he hasn’t been turned into the sort of dorm-room-poster-trustafarian-Legend caricature that Uncle Bob became. Lost in the bong haze is another Bob Marley–a global political figure who used music as a weapon, sort of like Malcolm X riding a massive wave of bass all up in your face.
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.
who are bigger overseas than their native country. Effortlessly mining a dark, melancholic aesthetic, she stands as a wonderful example of a genre I have long referred to as “pretty sad music.” Pretty, as in beautiful–and sad, as in pretty freakin’ heartbreaking.