Chris Sabbath

"Why not do something really special?"

Do it the Didimao way
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DIY fever is raging right now, racing across bridges like a maddening epidemic here in the Bay. It's so damn thick that I can feel it leeching onto the back of my throat and sticking there like the unpleasant stench of some urine-soaked thrash pad where 20-odd squatters, each with a dog, are hiding out. But times are tough, as the Bay Area underground music community discovered earlier this month when 21 Grand, the Oakland grassroots platform for experimental art and music, shuttered its doors. Read more »

Year in Music: Throwback or keeper?

Nostalgia called in 2007
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I was born at the dawn of the 1980s, and as I've gradually climbed the aging ladder, the remnants of what I recall from my childhood have slowly faded into a dim star set to expire in some far-too-advanced digital-age contraption. I've been pretty hungry of late for an endless helping of nostalgic pop culture, and nothing satisfies an empty stomach more than watching The Making of Thriller or catching a five-second clip of Hulk Hogan leg-dropping Mr. Wonderful. Read more »

Rock on the sidelines

Feeling on the fringe with This Moment in Black History
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Did Ian Hunter kill rock for Cleveland? Growing up in that blue-collared grime zone of fiery rivers and industrial blur, I never saw much rock rolling through my old haunt, and I never really understood what drove the former Mott the Hoople frontman to patronize us with "Cleveland Rocks" and provide my hometown with a surefire anthem for our flawed sports teams. While the city does get cited for a lot of proto-punk activity (the Electric Eels, Rocket from the Tombs), its influence on the rock world abruptly screeches to a halt there. Read more »

Death balm

Another Kevin Shields
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Thurston Moore–ites still absorbing the noiseless acoustics of Trees Outside the Academy, his sophomore full-length released last month on his Ecstatic Peace imprint, may be unaware of another basement romp from the Sonic Youth guitarist, which the Los Angeles label Deathbomb Arc put out as a vinyl-only split in August. Read more »

Eat skull

Dyed, fried, and straight out of the hospitals
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I knew I was getting into some trouble when I first discovered that Eat Skull — a noisome bunch of skuzz rockers from Portland, Ore. — has two members who used to bring the motherfuckin' ruckus alongside Adam Stonehouse in the Hospitals. But I knew I was in for a treat as well. Read more »

All the rage

No Age: low-tech fuzz and surfy psych-noise
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Los Angeles two-piece No Age — ex of Wives — ply a grimy, low-tech hybrid of fuzz-prone guitar loops, surfy psych-noise, and ear-shattering skate rock that's been hell-raising the SoCal music scene since the band's April 2006 debut.

When they're not generating a shoegazey yet Ramones-channeled noise punk, vocalist-drummer Dean Spunt and guitarist Randy Randall use the band name as an umbrella under which to display their talents as visual artists. Read more »

Against them!

How relevant are Rage Against the Machine?
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So the members of Rage Against the Machine are having themselves a little reunion outing, eh? What a great reason for a massive flock of shirtless, chest-bumping frat boys to jump in place with middle fingers extended while screaming, "Fuck you — I won't do what you tell me!"

It should come as no surprise that the politically charged rap-rock foursome caved in for a supposed one-off performance — their first in almost seven years — at the recent Coachella Festival. Read more »

Party with me, Oh My God

And then blow out my eardrums, fool
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The Toxic Avenger pawing ferociously at his slime-dipped guitar while an army of redneck zombies feasts on a moshing drove of punk rockers — now that's a cool visual. Maybe Giuseppe Andrews — Cabin Fever star and an independent filmmaker who's had a number of his movies distributed through Troma Entertainment — can keep Toxie and his flesh-eating pals in mind for his next music video for Chicago prog poppers Oh My God. Read more »

Free William

Drummer and composer William Hooker follows his bliss
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William Hooker is feeling good right about now. The voice of the 61-year-old composer, drummer, and seasoned kingpin of the free-jazz world doesn't betray an inkling of wear and tear. His utterance is eloquent in delivery and animated in expression and possesses a rather youthful quality coated in optimism. Read more »

Smells like DIY spirit

Calvin Johnson preaches the gospel of ageless rock 'n' roll
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K Records founder and ex–Beat Happener Calvin Johnson once wrote in New York Rocker, "Rock 'n' roll is a teenage sport, meant to be played by teenagers of all ages — they could be 15, 25, or 35. It all boils down to whether they've got the love in their hearts, that beautiful teenage spirit."

That sentiment still holds for the Olympia, Wash., native, who will turn 45 this November. The deep-drawling baritone is probably best known for spreading Beat Happening's jangle-pop gospel from the mid-'80s to the early '90s. Read more »