Empath’s new age noise-punk will open your third eye

In a Philadelphia basement, four best friends have been mixing sounds to create mind-bending catchy music. Garrett Koloski is distracted. An unleashed mutt just ran into the Brooklyn dive bar where we’re sitting, bounded past the Big Buck Hunter machine, squatted in the middle of the room, and defecated. Instead of joining in on theContinue reading “Empath’s new age noise-punk will open your third eye”

The death and rebirth of Sleater-Kinney

Twenty-five years after practicing for the first time in an Olympia basement, Sleater-Kinney are back — and they’ve created one of the most furious, dynamic records of their career. Janet Weiss lives a few minutes on foot from a cemetery deep in Portland, Oregon’s picturesque, sleepy Northeast region. She has a one-and-a-half-year-old Texas Heeler named DizzyContinue reading “The death and rebirth of Sleater-Kinney”

Chastity Belt’s Julia Shapiro steps out on her own on Perfect Version

Last April, shortly after a show at The Pilot Light in Knoxville, Tennessee, beloved indie rock band Chastity Belt cancelled the remainder of their US tour, citing “health concerns.” Lead singer Julia Shapiro was in the midst of a crisis. She’d recently had half of her thyroid removed — doctors suspected that it might beContinue reading “Chastity Belt’s Julia Shapiro steps out on her own on Perfect Version”

Why are these alt-rock musicians suddenly lining up behind Morrissey?

It is usually best to ignore Steven Patrick Morrissey. The foppish former frontman of The Smiths and recent right-wing blowhard now brays from the fringes, his music all but irrelevant, his views as nuanced as those of a toddler in a temper tantrum. His only worthwhile contribution to pop culture over the past decade cameContinue reading “Why are these alt-rock musicians suddenly lining up behind Morrissey?”

Enigmatic country singer Orville Peck always wanted to be Mercutio

The masked man at the other end of this Skype conversation tells me that Orville Peck has always been around. He says there’s a photograph of the artist as a seven-year-old boy — Jurassic Park t-shirt on his torso, Stetson on his head, handkerchief over his face. That kid was unknowingly playing an antihero, a reluctant savior,Continue reading “Enigmatic country singer Orville Peck always wanted to be Mercutio”

Lee Fields on the past, the future, God, and the cosmos

The house band is absent when Lee Fields walks onto Carnegie Hall’s gilded, wide-open Isaac Stern Auditorium stage for the 17th annual Van Morrison tribute show. A hard-touring 68-year-old soul singer originally from Wilson, North Carolina, Fields spent decades searching for the right back-up — a group of musicians who could match the crackling, achingContinue reading “Lee Fields on the past, the future, God, and the cosmos”

Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” makes genre charts look silly

Five years ago, bro-country pioneers Florida Georgia Line released “This Is How We Roll,” a brazen, almost exploitatively catchy single that strung banjo twangs over cringe-inducing rap bars and stole the darkest corner of my heart before vaulting to the top of Billboard’s Hot Country Song charts. You can watch the video for it now and seeContinue reading “Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” makes genre charts look silly”

Spencer Radcliffe and everything else

Seven hours from now, Spencer Radcliffe will perform in front of a bronze Jesus pinned to a five-foot crucifix beneath a flower-shaped stained glass window at Brooklyn’s Park Church Co-Op. In the middle of his set, he will perform “Trust,” a stark and disconcerting song from his 2017 LP Enjoy The Great Outdoors, and he’ll letContinue reading “Spencer Radcliffe and everything else”

The Walmart Mysticism of Cass McCombs

With an apocalyptic hum, the songwriter tells stories of solipsists and idealists on his new record ‘Tip of the Sphere.’ “I wish to give myself into your hands here, a fugitive from justice, to be held a prisoner until the state authorities of California and the postal authorities of the United States are notified andContinue reading “The Walmart Mysticism of Cass McCombs”