Any attempt to describe what Reggie Watts does onstage will inevitably fail to convey the dizzying heights of absurdity the man regularly achieves, but here it goes. First, the Seattle-via-Montana transplant constructs backing tracks via carefully controlled beat-boxing and judicious use of looping pedals and pitch-shifting, weird-noise generating devices. And then things start to get strange. He might use the ramshackle tracks as the bedrock for a startling accurate imitation of a drunk British professor--or of a squirrel. He might sing a song filled with bizarrely right non-sequiturs like "Your ass crack/butter and toast." Or he might just decide to unleash a wave of distortion that would make TV On The Radio jealous.
Patrick Stickles uses the word "explicate" more than most graduate students and writes his songs like essays, stacking in imagery and narrative until the point is made. What makes his band, Titus Andronicus, great is that he can do this while making his songs compelling the entire way through. Shout-along choruses usually help. The band's new album, Local Business, has an underlying theme of choosing your own value system.
Ted Leo and The Pharmacists have had a tough couple of years. Their previous two record labels, legendary indies Lookout and Touch & Go, both famously (and surprisingly) went out of business without warning, and his personal and creative lives haven't run much smoother.
J Mascis's career has been fairly consistent. Even during the time Dinosaur Jr. had disbanded, he kept busy with his solo project, making sure that every couple of years we got a fresh dose of yearning-to-connect vocals and brontosaurus-sized fuzz-guitar.
It's been a big year for the Screaming Females. After two self-recorded and self-released albums, the New Brunswick trio (guitarist/singer Marissa Paternoster, bassist King Mike and drummer Jarrett Dougherty) signed to Jersey-punk kingpins Don Giovanni and released their third album Power Move, a mammoth slab of unwashed punk.
It's understandable if you're still not over Sleater-Kinney. Those jagged guitar riffs that interlocked like checkerboard squares . . . those drum fills that reject any description other than "awesome" . . . those impassioned dual vocals that aroused your ire against a callous world . . . it's only natural that we all got so attached. A nation of punk connoisseurs openly wept in 2006 upon news of the trio's extended hiatus. But imagine how singer-guitarist Carrie Brownstein felt.
With their savage follicles and beer-soaked, bruised take on punk, Nashville's JEFF The Brotherhood seem like the type of boys that would steal both your whiskey and your sister's virtue, and still earn a standing invitation to play your basement
Last night press representatives of Dave Mustaine sent out a statement clarifying the Megadeth frontman's recent supposed-by-not-really endorsement of Republican Presidential candidate Rick Santorum.
Against Me! leader Tom Gabel is the sort of lyricist that can't stop himself from contemplating the folly of Robert McNamara's foreign policy decisions mid-song, and he's the sort of singer that can find a way to make the former Secretary of Defense's quirky name positively swing.
Should you ever get a chance to interview Stephin Merritt—and I imagine that we all deserve to one of these days—his publicist will explain that when he answers a question, he will take a long pause, answer in a complete thought, take another lengthy pause, and issue a follow-up. It is vitally important that you do not talk during those gaps.
The emotional centerpiece of Ruby Vroom, the 1994 album that introduced Soul Coughing and songwriter Mike Doughty to the world, is a song called "True Dreams of Wichita."
Amy Klein is a busy woman. Her most high-profile gig is playing guitar for Thomas-Paine-for-the-Twitter-Generation art-punks Titus Andronicus, but she makes a diverse plethora of music on her own. Her two-piece noise machine hilly eye recently stole the show at the Knitting Factory's star-studded Kathleen Hanna tribute; she also recently released a solo album of serene folk meditations called I Know What You Want.
A pair of late bloomers, guitarist/vocalist Brian King and drummer/vocalist David Prowse had never been in a band before they graduated from the University of Victoria and started chaffing against responsible adulthood and career jobs.
Don't let the glittery star stickers she wears on her temples fool you: 16-year-old Rachel Trachtenburg is a music industry veteran, and would like it if you treated her as one.
Grant Morrison is a U.K. comic book writer known for known for highly singular—or insane, if you prefer, in a good way—takes on established mainstream properties like X-Men and Doom Patrol as well as his own, peyotesque original series like The Invisibles and Seaguy.