Author Archive

Book Review: World Domination: The Sub Pop Records Story

Author: Gillian G. Gaar Publisher: BMG, 150pp The stories of record labels are intricately woven into the more generalized history of pop culture. Theirs are a mixture of commerce and creativity, especially when focusing on independent labels. One of the most important and consequential indie labels of the modern era is Seattle-based Sub Pop. Part

John Lydon Tells It As It Is (Part Two)

Continued from Part One… In what ways do you think that that realization comes through in your music? I try to be as transparent and honest as I possibly can, with the realization that if you give it all away there is nothing left for yourself. And that would be silly. Because I absolutely understand

John Lydon Tells It As It Is (Part One)

Crawling from the wreckage that was the Sex Pistols, vocalist Johnny Rotten reverted to his given name and put together a new group, Public Image Limited. PiL drew from dub reggae and disco, filtered through sheets of dissonance and Lydon’s trademark vocals. Through fits and starts, the band released a string of albums and unlikely

John Lydon is … Happy? (Part Two)

Continued from Part One… A defining characteristic of most all of PiL’s releases is that – like Black Sabbath, oddly enough – each was critically panned upon release, only to undergo reassessment within a few years, by which time the music would be hailed as relevant, innovative and important. One might expect Lydon to find

John Lydon is … Happy? (Part One)

“Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?” With that question posed to an audience at San Francisco’s Winterland on January 14, 1978, visibly unhappy vocalist Johnny Rotten (neé Lydon) ended his tenure with the Sex Pistols. Not counting relatively brief reunions in 1996 and 2007, that gig marked the effective end of the band, though

The Who’s ‘Who Are You’ at 40: More Songs About Songs and Songwriting

The late 1970s represented an uneasy time for The Who. The decade had begun auspiciously, with the group riding high on a critical and commercial wave; the success of 1969’s Tommy was followed by three smash albums: Live at Leeds (released 1970), 1971’s Who’s Next and Quadrophenia from 1973. But when The Who By Numbers

Album Review: Cedric Burnside — Benton County Relic

As the grandson of famed bluesman R.L. Burnside, multi-instrumentalist Cedric Burnside has quite a legacy to live up to. But as a three-time winner of Drummer of the Year at the Memphis Blues Awards, he’s his own man. And his 2015 album Descendants of Hill Country earned him a Grammy Nomination. But all along he

Album Review: Chris Lastovicka – Fortune Has Turned (Remixed)

The Book of Job, from the Old Testament (or the Ketuvim of the Tanahk, if you like) might not seem the most uplifting subject matter upon which to base a modern classical work. But that’s precisely what New York composer-pianist Chris Lastovica has done for the opening track of his six-piece Fortune Has Turned (Remixed).

Devo’s Debut Album at 40

The passage of time can do some odd things to our perspective. Things that were once radical and groundbreaking can seem commonplace. It’s sometimes difficult, then, to look back upon the release of an album and examine it with the same framework of understanding one had on first hearing it. A good example of this

Jason Isbell on Muscle Shoals, Politics, Religion and Sobriety

If he were so inclined, Jason Isbell could fill his time dusting and polishing the many awards he’s earned as a songwriter and musician. He has won four Grammys, nine awards from the Americana Music Association (including three this year), as well as several other honors and nominations. But instead Isbell focuses on songwriting and