The Anniversary

Gentlemen Turns 20

By Chris DeVille / October 7, 2013 - 11:44 am

You all know the story: Back in the post-Nevermind ’90s, every band in the underground, no matter how strange or anti-commercial, was getting swept up by major labels, branded as grunge, patted on the ass, and sent off to the trenches. The Afghan Whigs were hardly the weirdest band to benefit from that signing spree… More »

Painful Turns 20

By Chris DeVille / October 4, 2013 - 2:06 pm

Technically, Yo La Tengo existed for almost a decade before Painful. But the Yo La Tengo we know and love begins here, with the record that turns 20 years old tomorrow. It was the first to feature the lineup that continues on today, matching married founding members Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley with most excellent… More »

Speakerboxxx/The Love Below Turns 10

By Chris DeVille / September 23, 2013 - 12:47 pm

While visiting my alma mater last week, I spent some time working from the back room of a coffee shop, the same room where I used to drag my acoustic guitar on stage for open mic night when I was in college. That room dredges up lots of memories, but none of them are a… More »

Judgment Night Soundtrack Turns 20

By Tom Breihan / September 16, 2013 - 4:53 pm

There were precedents for this: Run-DMC with Aerosmith, Public Enemy with Anthrax, the Kerry King guitar solo on “No Sleep Til Brooklyn.” Ice-T was already touring and recording with a metal band, Body Count, and they’d already released one song (“Cop Killer”) that turned out to be way more infamous than any rap records he’d… More »

Cure For Pain Turns 20

By Tom Breihan / September 16, 2013 - 11:21 am

On September 14, 1994, two rock trios — both marketed as alternative, both featuring sad and doomed frontmen — would release really great albums, albums that would linger long after their moment had passed, albums that played important roles in indie/mainstream transitions. One of those albums was In Utero, and you already know about that… More »

In Utero Turns 20

By Tom Breihan / September 13, 2013 - 9:31 am

If you were a music-dork kid in 1993, the kind who read music-magazine articles about albums that wouldn’t come out for months, you were basically expecting Nirvana, one of the most popular bands in the world, to release a Wolf Eyes record. If you believed the magazines, which I absolutely did, then Kurt Cobain, so… More »

Echoes Turns 10

By Chris DeVille / September 10, 2013 - 10:43 am

Dance-punk revival, the early-aughts movement headlined by the Rapture around the time Brooklyn “hipster” culture was metastasizing into a national media sensation, is pretty much an historical curiosity at this point. LCD Soundsystem transcended it, Liars left it behind almost as soon as the dust cleared from digging that trench, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs only made it… More »

An Oral History Of The Wrens’ The Meadowlands

By Timothy Bracy And Elizabeth Bracy / September 9, 2013 - 9:56 am

Ten years ago, three grown men approaching middle age lived in a house together in Secaucus, New Jersey. A recently married fourth was living in a Garden State home to the south. Ostensibly the quartet comprised a band, although they rarely played shows and hadn’t had a release of any sort in more than half… More »

Chaos A.D. Turns 20

By Tom Breihan / September 3, 2013 - 12:55 pm

When I was 13, my family moved from Baltimore proper to the suburbs outside town. And in the first few months I lived out there, I made a weird regular habit of riding my bike a couple of miles to this one strip mall, which had the temerity to call itself a proper mall just… More »

Last Splash Turns 20

By Tom Breihan / August 30, 2013 - 10:21 am

The Breeders’ second album Last Splash was an indie rock album that became a hit. That means something else right now. An indie album that becomes a hit — Bon Iver, Bon Iver, say — dominates critics’ list, racks up summer-festival bookings for the band, maybe wins a Grammy or two. A track might appear… More »

Siamese Dream Turns 20

By Tom Breihan / July 26, 2013 - 10:46 am

Billy Corgan was the first star produced in alt-rock’s early-’90s star-producing boom period who could’ve been a rock star in any less civilized time, too. In the ’70s, Corgan’s gift for triumphal melodic excess would’ve almost certainly catapulted him into Camaro stereos, though he probably would’ve had to wail or bellow instead of doing the… More »

Black Sunday Turns 20

By Tom Breihan / July 19, 2013 - 9:26 am

About a year after Cypress Hill released Black Sunday, their second album, I went to see Pulp Fiction. During that scene when Vincent Vega walks into Mia Wallace’s house, when the opening bars of Dusty Springfield’s “Son Of A Preacher Man” chimed out, I muttered “hits from the boooong” to myself, in my teenage versio… More »

Debut Turns 20

By Tom Breihan / July 3, 2013 - 4:21 pm

At this point, Björk has been so esteemed for so long, and she’s followed her own muse down so many rabbit holes, that she basically exists outside the context of circa-2013 music. She might show up to play your festival, but she’ll do it wearing a gigantic spiky helmet that makes her look like one… More »

Zooropa Turns 20

By Ryan Leas / July 3, 2013 - 1:37 pm

For about a week before I wrote this piece, I was looking for an excuse to go for a long drive at night and listen to Zooropa. That was how I first discovered the album, on late night drives home from my high school girlfriend’s house, the blue and red glow of my dashboard and… More »

Greetings From Michigan: The Great Lakes State Turns 10

By Chris DeVille / July 1, 2013 - 12:11 pm

Before Michigan, Sufjan Stevens was a footnote within a curiosity. In 2003, the Michigan-raised Brooklyn transplant was best known as part of the entourage surrounding Daniel Smith’s off-kilter Christian rock collective Danielson Famile, a group whose costumed insanity presaged the drama club-meets-cheerleading squad shtick that later defined Sufjan’s live show. He’d already released two album… More »

Exile In Guyville Turns 20

By Tom Breihan / June 21, 2013 - 3:55 pm

The past decade of Liz Phair has been a bit weird and awkward. There were the two flawed but intriguing major-label albums, failed crossover bids both, which led to the music press treating Phair like she’d spiked the Bowery Ballroom kegs with ricin. There were all the interviews about how she was never indie to… More »

Covenant Turns 20

By Michael Nelson / June 20, 2013 - 4:55 pm

You gotta remember, by ’93, all hell had broken loose. Major labels had no business getting into bed with death metal, but at that moment it was a free-for-all — free love, free money, everybody in bed with everybody else. Shit had been straight chaos since late ’91, when Nirvana killed hair metal forevermore and… More »

Hail To The Thief Turns 10

By Chris DeVille / June 7, 2013 - 11:55 am

Every Radiohead album can be associated with some watershed moment in the band’s career. Pablo Honey is the one with “Creep,” still their most popular song by far if Spotify streams count for anything. The Bends is the one where they established themselves as guitar deities with staying power. OK Computer is the one that… More »

Recipe For Hate Turns 20

By Tom Breihan / June 5, 2013 - 3:23 pm

Bad Religion have existed for 33 years and released 16 albums, and the vast majority of those fit into one strict template: Rocketing muscular guitar grooves, hoarsely declarative Greg Graffin vocals, weirdly folky backing harmonies, syllable-crammed and vaguely political the-world-is-fucked lyrics, surging fists-up choruses. It’s probably the most durable model in punk rock history, and… More »

Pottymouth Turns 20

By Tom Breihan / June 4, 2013 - 4:06 pm

Has any band ever done unalloyed, sneering contempt quite as witheringly as Pottymouth-era Bratmobile? The only competitors I can think of are the Sex Pistols and the Circle Jerks, and I’m not entirely convinced that either one came close. Bratmobile reveled in the feeling. On “Love Thing,” the first song from their first album, Alliso… More »