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by Eric Klinger

25 Jan 2013


Northern Ireland. The late 1970s. The violence and turbulence of the Troubles are everywhere, along with IRA hunger strikes and crippling unemployment. Meanwhile, the straight ahead three-chord punk model was already revealing itself to be generally unsustainable, and shrewder bands were looking to other forms as a way forward. And in Northern Ireland, a way forward could mean a way out of the turmoil. Against that backdrop emerged the Mighty Shamrocks: singer/guitarist Mickey Stephens, guitarist Dougie Gough, bassist Roe Butcher, and drummer Paddy MacNicholl.

Taking cues from a wide range of music—the New Wave that was ubiquitous at the time, country elements from the pub rock scene, and a hint of reggae (their moniker is a play on roots reggae group the Mighty Diamonds)—the Mighty Shamrocks made their regional name on the strength of songs that brought the political turmoil of the times to a personal level. In 1983, the group recorded an album for the Good Vibrations label, and it looked like the group might well be on their way. But as it so often happens on the road to rock glory, fate made other plans. The Good Vibrations label went bankrupt just as the album was due for release, and the band collapsed under the pressure.

by AJ Ramirez

14 Dec 2012


Despite the presence of Kanye West, Alicia Keys, and Chris Martin, the star-studded bill at Wednesday night’s Hurricane Sandy benefit concert in New York City was staffed mainly by the classic rock contingent, particularly of the British variety. “This has got to be the largest collection of old English musicians ever assembled in Madison Square Garden”, Mick Jagger astutely quipped from the stage, which his Rolling Stones shared with fellow aged countrymen Paul McCartney, the Who, Eric Clapton, and Roger Waters. Waters’ rendition of “Comfortably Numb” with Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder was one attempt to bridge the noticable age gap, but it was McCartney’s team-up with another representive of the grunge ‘90s that is bound to generate buzz over the next few days.

by Steven Spoerl

8 Nov 2012


One of my favorite debut records from this year was Devin Therriault’s solo record as Devin, Romancing, a smart blast of infectiously fun, hook-laden punk-infused, rock n’ roll. After a slew of very strong performances, he caught the attention of Frenchkiss records, who immediately worked out a deal with him. At the midway point this year, he’s showed no signs of slowing, delivering high-intensity live shows (including several high-profile SXSW gigs) and has been continuously pouring himself into his music.

by Greg Cwik

30 Oct 2012


On first listen, ERAAS’ debut—a spectral passerby of an album—is all ghostly mood and atmosphere, songs of agreeable length but expunged of hooks and conventional structure. You probably won’t find it in the Avant-Garde section of your local record store, but its 40 pop-purged minutes don’t pretend to peddle in radio-friendly verse-chorus expediency. Like the Danger Mouse/Daniele Luppi collaboration Rome (a score to a western that doesn’t exist), ERAAS aspires to tell us a story through cinematic aurality, the sounds and score of a gothic horror film that might have graced small screens in seedy theaters in the late ‘60s/early’ 70s in the dark corners of New York, the floors all sticky and the film grainy and scratchy, the seat cushions torn. Maybe it’s because I watched The Innocents the night before the album came out and I had the supernatural permeating my mind, or maybe because it’s the most ghoul-saturated month of the year, but a haunted house quality pervades ERAAS.

by David Ensminger

23 Oct 2012

Photo by
Cynthia Connolly

Looking back at the heady days of the “Revolution Summer” of 1985 in Washington D.C., when punks bands like Gray Matter and Marginal Man tried to merge the deep furrows of their conscience and dissidence with the sonic battering ram of distortion and dissonance, Rites of Spring became the emblem of punk undergoing reconstruction.

Just as punk grew more taut and by-the-numbers in the post-1982 time warp, Rites of Spring felt ad-lib and stretched-out; vital, not humdrum; and convincingly urgent, not merely unctuous, like a depressingly reinforced hard’n’fast template borrowed from others.

Formed in the aftermath of broken bands as a roiling amalgam of Faith and Insurrection (two local iconic teenage hardcore bands), they catalyzed a whole new breed of punk armed with raspy, pummeling, and poetic visions and dogged, anything-goes, slightly ratty musicianship. Akin to a loose-knit version of mid-period Hüsker Dü, their songs feel doggedly literate. Exploring isolation, woe, and the bitter flux of relationships, Guy Picciotto’s verses betray a severe sense of intellect that outmaneuvers the mere muscled flex of hardcore punk music.

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