MUSIC It's typical to want to leave everything behind at times, because everything just seems the same after a while, no matter where you're from. When Bethany Cosentino ventured to New York City for college and hated being walled in by the snow and skyscrapers, she inundated herself with the warm melodies of the Beach Boys, surf music and 1960s girl groups — the soundtrack of her native California. Read more »
MUSIC When Black Sabbath comes on, I'm instantly transported to those high school days of driving myself to class and headbanging to every track on Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (Warner Bros., 1973) so hard I could barely see the road. Led Zeppelin forced me to do ridiculous amounts of air guitar in my room, while the Beatles saw me go through puberty and live in fear of the male species. Read more »
When there is no firm ground, the only sensible thing to do is to keep moving. Lester Bangs wrote that, but countless wandering souls have lived it since the first humans stumbled across the continents. Long after land bridges dissolved and the great cities of the world were mapped, San Francisco the legendary land's-end haven for dreamers, kooks, and hedonists became a butterfly net for the world's drifters. Read more »
PREVIEW Walking around the streets of his hometown Philly, Kurt Vile is on the other end of the phone talking about his various fixations and some of his musical dopplegangers.
"I was obsessed with Springsteen," he says, after pausing to ask for a pack of Camel Lights at a corner store. "I still love Springsteen. I love all the greats. I don't love everything, but usually I get obsessed with everything. And Neil Young! Read more »
PREVIEW A long line of lo-fi troubadours have come crawling over the horizon these past few years. Crocodiles fit right in, but also stand out in more ways than one. The San Diego duo's got its tight, tattered jeans and Jesus and Mary Chain comparisons, its vocals that sound like they were recorded through blankets, and plenty of attitude.
Just like many of the duo's garage-rat contemporaries, Crocodiles' music is a tangle of all things hipper-than-thou. Read more »
PREVIEW Summer nights rife with rolling mists and lamplit fog beg and plead for a proper soundtrack. But the cold, abandoned sidewalks and slanted shadows need a drop of something more brooding and ethereal than, say, that Matt and Kim album you were playing a minute ago.
This is where the drone metal lords of Sunn O))) come in. Over the course of seven ambitious albums, the duo of Greg Anderson and Stephen O'Malley named after the legendary Sunn amps has created entire universes of sunless sound. Read more »
In the Bay Area's labyrinth of low-lit warehouses, cramped house parties, and grimed-out dive bars, it's a cacophonous tug-of-war for the three-chord crown.
This latter-day resurrection of traits from the late 1960s the Sears Roebuck guitars; the off-key, offbeat attack; the onstage fearlessness has brought many unpretentious all-for-one-and-one-for-all shows to the scene. Read more »
PREVIEW Here's a page right out of any rabid metalhead's book of wildest, mind-blowingest dreams: What if the Norse gods Thor, Odin, and Tyr descended from the stormy heavens and formed a power trio? What would it sound like? What earthly buildings would crumble to the ground? What souls would be raised from their shadowy graves? What chaos would ensue?
To answer that first question: what if? What's more metal than thunder, lightning, magic, and Valhalla? Those dudes invented it. They started their band approximately 1,300 years ago, before you or guitars existed. Read more »
Tobacco doesn't like the Beatles, or the Who. And Pink Floyd is "okay." This makes sense for the man whose prolific mind fuels Black Moth Super Rainbow. The Pittsburgh analog synth sorcerers specialize in prismatic albums that swing seamlessly between sunlit repose and hallucinatory freak-outs. They use an array of vintage beat makers, keyboards, and guitars. Read more »
PREVIEW "Less is more" sucks; "more is more" rules. Maybe that's just the indulgent kid in me talking, but it hasn't stopped me from incessantly barking my musical wet dream over a bullhorn to anyone with ears: more fuzz, grit, and grime; more sweat; more eyeballs rolling back into heads; more microphones in mouths. Then one day, Christmas came early. Hark! The herald angels sing. Read more »