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by Gary Suarez

31 Oct 2012


Lou Reed seems like the kind of guy whose house you don’t take your kids to while trick-or-treating on Halloween. Having spent an entire career appearing unapproachable and intimidating, he just doesn’t give off the sort of neighborly vibe that suggests he’d be particularly generous with the candy. Rather, I’d posit that Reed is more the sort who’d sooner pretend not to be home.

This bit of daydreaming got me thinking about the artist’s varied discography, one frequently filled with horror and fear. From graphic depictions of violence and death to ominous and grating musical atmospheres, Reed has numerous frightening tunes that, while unsuitable for anything but the most progressive and unconventional haunted houses, can comprise an alternative All Hallow’s Eve soundtrack for those who’ve developed a sort of lactose intolerance of the tiresome Danzig and “Monster Mash” listicles every year. Here are ten of them to consider:

by John M. Tryneski

24 Oct 2012


Ted Leo has pretty much done it all in the world of indie rock. He cut his teeth in the New York/New Jersey hardcore scene in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s, playing in Citizens Arrest, Puzzlehead, Hell No, and Animal Crackers before moving to South Bend, Indiana to attend college at Notre Dame. There he picked up an English degree as well as a new band, Chisel. Starting off as another lo-fi ‘90s indie guitar band, Leo’s growth as a songwriter and the group’s interest in mod music eventually led them to evolve to a more fully-realized sound. After moving from Indiana to Washington D.C., Chisel showed off that new sound on two stellar albums; 1996’s 8 A.M. All Day and 1998’s Set You Free. Despite successful tours with bands such as Blonde Redhead, the Dismemberment Plan, and Fugazi, Chisel called it quits in 1998.

Leo’s journey as a solo artist began the next year as he hit the road for what would become a nearly a decade of almost nonstop touring. This resulted in a challenging and often-frustrating solo debut in 1999, tej leo(?), Rx/pharmacists. The next year he recruited a full band for the Treble in Trouble EP, naming them the Pharmacists. At first the group was a rotating cast of friends from across the east coast who helped him tour and record. After releasing the stunning album The Tyranny of Distance in 2001, Leo recruited bassist Dave Lerner and drummer Chris Wilson and began touring (often joined by other musicians) as a set band. Hearts of Oak, released in 2003, followed in Tyranny‘s steps, featuring songs exploring the vast world of pop while firmly rooted in punk. Pruned to a power trio, the Pharmacists released the politically-charged Shake the Sheets just before the 2004 election and the broader, more expansive punk opus Living with the Living in 2007. Now touring as a four-piece with James Canty (of Nation of Ulysses fame) on guitar and Marty Key replacing Lerner on bass, they’ve slowed down considerably. Their most recent record, The Brutalist Bricks, came out in 2010.

by Morgan Troper

17 Oct 2012


I’m going to preface this list by making an admittedly contentious assertion, and that is: The Replacements are the greatest American rock ‘n’ roll band to have ever existed. I’ve expressed this belief to friends of mine before and initially they rebuff it as exorbitant iconoclasm. But think about it a little bit, and I’m sure you’ll find that it’s absolutely feasible (as they eventually do)—bands like Nirvana and the Beach Boys are exempt obviously for falling slightly outside the “rock ‘n’ roll” genus. Tom Petty is whatever (sue me). You are lying to yourself if you believe anything R.E.M. has ever done in any sense of the word “rocks” (although this doesn’t necessarily make it a bad band). Big Star can’t qualify because it was arguably always more of a studio-generated enterprise than a real band, and (Alex) Chilton and (Chris) Bell would likely be the first people to acknowledge that fact.

by AJ Ramirez

10 Oct 2012


Last week, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame made its annual announcement of which 15 names are up for consideration to be voted into the institution. Of the many artists nominated this year, tradition dictates that only five will be honored at the induction ceremony scheduled to take place in April 2013. This year, voters will be spoiled for worthy choices, making the competition to enter the Hall unfortunately fierce for several acts that have been waiting an obscenely long time to be enshrined.

by Joe Vallese

1 Oct 2012


“Boys in the Trees”

“I used to listen to this song over and over, wishing I’d wrote it,” Amos once said of Carly Simon’s poignant reflection on adolescent desire and self-discovery. And Tori indeed assumes a sense of responsibility for this song as though it were own, performing it with great zeal, affection, and care. From the first lyric, all trace of vanity disappears; Ms. Simon would approve.

 

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