Remembering Halloween with The Misfits

With their conspicuously violent, horror-core sensibilities, the Misfits confounded audiences in the late 1970s—mainly childlike onlookers come to witness the primordial fatalism of East Coast punk rock up close. The Misfits greatest songs encapsulated a minimalistic post-Ramones translation of rock ‘n’ roll invoking peculiar 1950s doo-wop harmonies delivered straight from the warm coffin of Elvis Presley…

Continue Reading →

In This Month: DJ Kool Herc Becomes President

While I steer my body through the shimmering heat, my headphones, sunglasses, and mask sealing me off from the world, I think back to another August day when the boundaries of music were buckled and expanded by a man snugly ensconced in his own headphones. He did not know it, but he was about to change the world. The date was Saturday, August 11, 1973. The man was Clive Campbell, also known as DJ Kool Herc…

Continue Reading →

Album Review: “G.I.” by The Germs

In 1977, the Germs set out to destroy the detached, artificial tone of pop. The popular music of their time corresponds with sadly predictable accuracy to what lives on the radio today—like what is propelled like a cannonball from passing SUV windows or crawls from cell phones with the nasal tremors of a vengeful mosquito. Punk rock music, by contrast, was especially vibrant because it was performed by human beings in modest recording studios…and it spoke to the origins of American folk music.

Continue Reading →