Posted inArts & Culture

Gang of Four

Time has not been kind to the Gang of Four, a band whose angular and extraordinarily danceable instrumental attack and rigid polemicism utterly defined, for a while, the promise of postpunk. Their preeminence, for me, was enhanced by the fact that in the town where I lived at the time, the band’s first appearances were […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Charlatans

A pop generation ago, Manchester, England, produced a crop of bands whose churning dance rock and puree of influences both modern (hip-hop) and ancient (60s classic rockers) combined to create an intense and seemingly portentous branch of pop music. Among these were the Charlatans (the “UK” is a legal nicety in the U.S.), who were […]

Posted inMusic

The 100 Greatest Moments in Rock History

100. Lou Reed in “Coney Island Baby”: “I’m sending this one out to Lou and Rachel…” 99. “Satisfaction.” 98. The lack of inflection in Johnny Cash’s vocals on “Ring of Fire.” 97. The clattery drums and gentle guitar washes in Pavement’s “Summer Babe.” 96. Bob Mould groaning “I’m hardly getting over it” on Candy Apple […]

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Blur/Whale

Blur is the most intelligent of the current crop of British bands; where imports like Bush or Oasis proffer that bottom-heavy rock the kids like these days, Blur’s singer-songwriter, Damon Albarn, places himself firmly in the tradition of social-pop tunesmiths like the Kinks’ Ray Davies. Albarn’s efficient mimicry of pop styles and ready ability to […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Henry Rollins

Henry Rollins’s latter-day career rests on twin pillars of cheesiness. For the first, there’s the onetime Black Flag front man’s “art,” currently equal parts ponderous, strained metal and humorless stand-up comedy–I’m sorry, “spoken-word performance.” The second is his reprehensible work as a tool of advertisers (the Gap, Apple) looking for youth credentials. We’re supposed to […]