Music

Speedy Ortiz - "Tiger Tank" (video)

Speedy Ortiz capture an energy that's been lacking in a lot of recent indie rock (see the lucha libre and basement show antics of the video) but to call them "retro" would be missing an essential part of what makes them so exciting.

When first listening to "Tiger Tank," it's hard not to hear the influence of '90s indie rock (Pavement, Unwound) and punk on the music. Yet what makes Speedy Ortiz compelling is their use of that sound as an influence, not a template. Vocalist-guitarist Sadie Dupuis' smart, smirking lyrics and the whole band's tight-yet-fun playing style sound clearly current, if disinterested in the zeitgeist.

The song's video captures what's already evident in the band's music: punk can (and maybe even should) still be fun. It's a standard performance video set at a simulated basement show, except that the basement shows I've attended haven't included several pounds worth of paper streamers, luchadores or people in pig masks.

Speedy Ortiz might not sound like a lot of modern indie rock right now, but their just-released LP Major Arcana is good enough that I won't be surprised if more modern indie rock takes a page from Speedy Ortiz.

Over the Rainbow: An Interview With Herb Alpert

Music legend Herb Alpert discusses his new album, Over the Rainbow, maintaining his artistic drive, and his place in music history. "If we tried to start A&M in today's environment, we'd have no chance. I don't know if I'd get a start as a trumpet player. But I keep doing this because I'm having fun."

Jedd Beaudoin
Music

The Cigarette: A Political History (By the Book)

Sarah Milov's The Cigarette restores politics to its rightful place in the tale of tobacco's rise and fall, illustrating America's continuing battles over corporate influence, individual responsibility, collective choice, and the scope of governmental power. Enjoy this excerpt from Chapter 5. "Inventing the Nonsmoker".

Sarah Milov
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