Tag: music

  • I Dream a Parade: On Joe Strummer

    I Dream a Parade: On Joe Strummer

    There was a time when all I wanted to write about was the Clash. This, among people of my age group, is not exactly unique. I was twenty when Joe Strummer died, and, having already been raised on the legends of what the Clash meant – for punk, for music, for radical culture, for the world really – I was naturally devastated. Call it my first genuine parasocial relationship, insofar as any parasocial relationship can be “genuine.”

  • I Wanna Be Nostalgic

    I Wanna Be Nostalgic

    It’s 1994. I’m twelve years old, and music is – to my parents’ bewilderment – suddenly the only thing I care about. I’m searching out anything harsh, dissonant, and confrontational, and the louder it is the louder I want it to be. Of course there was plenty of Nirvana given that Cobain had just died, Green Day was just breaking out and exposing my sheltered suburban world to the sounds of the East Bay punk scene. But I was also trying to dig deeper into the sounds that had chewed away at the edges of the mainstream for years. Violent Femmes. The Pixies. Dead Milkmen.

  • Time and Space, Music and Crisis

    Time and Space, Music and Crisis

    Nobody needs to be reminded that we find ourselves in a bit of a state, an impasse, a roadblock in front of our ability to imagine a future better than one of climate catastrophe, and the socialized sadism of far right. Positing that what is missing from our discussions of revolutionary strategy and vision is consideration not for the theoretical, but the aesthetic, the creative, is bound to furrow a few brows. This isn’t because the argument indulges in fantasy, but because it demands of us that we take a more probing view at the fundamentals of daily life and the role that aesthetics and creativity might play in them.

  • Desert Double Bill

    Desert Double Bill

    The Mojave Desert. Brochures have us thinking that its allure is made up entirely of artificial oases. First and foremost being Palm Springs, a city best known as a retreat for the likes of Sinatra and Dean Martin. Insofar as the larger cities are seen as desirable destinations, it’s so tourists can arrogate themselves above nature. But the freaks and stoners of the 1990s Palm Desert Scene – Yawning Man, Kyuss, Fatso Jetson and the like – knew that there was something far more interesting in the desert itself.

  • Godspeed as Bombs Fall

    Godspeed as Bombs Fall

    Godspeed You! Black Emperor at the Belasco in Los Angeles on Thursday, March 3rd, the ninth day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

  • Little Pink Nothing

    I always wanted Ariel Pink’s music to do more for me. The initial allure was mostly there but ultimately I never found he was able to do much with it. His best albums never left me more than lukewarm. I’m not just saying that because he’s now being (reasonably) treated as persona non-grata since he and John Maus were spotted at last week’s putsch, or because of his pathetic interview on Tucker Carlson. Pink has had credible allegations of abuse swirling around him for years, and he’s never really bothered refuting his scummy statements on race and gender. It hasn’t been easy to take him seriously for a while now.

  • You Can’t Escape the Clowns

    You Can’t Escape the Clowns

    Compared to the hellish turn events have taken over the past four years, the Great Clown Panic of 2016 is easy to forget. But as I wrote at the time, this bizarre phenomenon – part prank, part media hype, part soccer mom moral panic – was not as alien to America as it appeared. Far from it, it seemed to be symptomatic of a country whose already threadbare psyche was completely unraveling. If you believed in omens, it would be easy to see this as a preamble to something far more menacing in store.

  • Synthpop, the Left, and the Future That Refuses to Come

    Synthpop, the Left, and the Future That Refuses to Come

    Depeche Mode have long suffered in the synthpop scene from what I call “godfather syndrome.” They aren’t the only act of massive influence who find themselves in such a position. Nor is it entirely, or even mostly, their fault. The irony of popular culture’s nostalgic time-loop is that it never really lets you see even the most influential acts through anything but layer upon layer of distorting filters.