Category Archives: artpunk

The Julie Ruin’s Hit Reset is out now

Hit Reset, Kathleen Hanna’s latest installment of her off, on musical project The Julie Ruin, can be ordered online today, but you can still hear it through Spotify and read Ann Powers’ take on the album at NPR Music here.

If you haven’t heard Hit Reset yet, Hanna sounds just as good as the first Julie Ruin album, a bit more reserved than Le Tigre, and with all the fire she’s had since she was 9, when she first heard Gloria Steinem speak.

Watch The Julie Ruin’s video for “I Decide,” with Katie Crutchfield of Waxahatchee, wearing a Yoko T-shirt, walking down a thoroughfare at South By Southwest.

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Filed under artpunk, Feminist punk, Garage Punk, Hardcore punk, New Music, Punk, Riot-Grrrl, Uncategorized, VIdeos

Cathedral organist brings David Bowie’s ‘Life on Mars’ to the sacred masses

Nicholas Freestone, an organ scholar at St. Albans Cathedral in Hertfordshire, England, decided to play David Bowie’s “Life On Mars.”

The video has since gone viral, receiving more than 1.7 million views on Facebook, and Freestone responded.

“I’m the organist playing this – it’s rather humbling to read your comments. Thanks everyone for sharing! x”

St. Albans is the oldest place of continuous worship in England, so it’s fitting that one of rock’s most revered artists has been honored on hallowed ground, with one of his most stellar songs.

See more links at the Telegraph.

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Filed under Art rock, artpunk, British rock, Glam Rock, Rock, Space rock, Uncategorized

LP from new-wave punks Suburban Lawns to be reissued

Light in the Attic Records have put out details on a few of their September reissues.

suburban lawns pic

Sue “Su Tissue” McLane

Among them is a release of the self-titled LP from California new wave art punk group Suburban Lawns, who have been out of print since 1980 — way too long. The band formed in 1978 in Long Beach. That LP was their only release.

This vinyl reissue is the first for the post-punk band, as well as the first time on CD format. New artwork and newly revealed photos and five bonus tracks are part of the release.

Watch a video (with lyrics)  for “Janitor” — The video is classic ’80s avant garde propaganda in all its glory.

Listen to “Flying Saucer Safari”:

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Filed under artpunk, New Wave, VIdeos

Half Japanese’ EP “Bingo Ringo” spits in the eye of song conformity

When noise-punk, lo-fi grunge band Half Japanese formed in a Maryland bedroom in 1975, Kurt Cobain was only a kid. But by Nirvana’s In Utero tour in 1993, Cobain had sought Half Japanese as openers. And when Cobain died, he was also reportedly wearing a T-shirt with Half Japanese’ name emblazoned on it.

Since its early days, Half Japanese’s influence has spread far, to 90s groups like Sonic Youth and Teenage Fanclub, Neutral Milk Hotel and Daniel Johnston.

Mark Jickling, some guy from Nirvana, John Sluggett, Gilles Rieder photo by Mike Galinski

Mark Jickling, some guy from Nirvana, John Sluggett, Gilles Rieder
photo by Mike Galinski

Brothers Jad and David Fair have always kept the band’s DIY roots over the years. Jad Fair continues to prefer untuned guitars, famously saying, “The only chord I know is the one that connects the guitar to the amp.”

Half Japanese’ irreverence, paired with Jad Fair’s half-singing, half-talking off-beats, leads to freeform lo-fi punk songs that revolve around creature-feature monsters and sci-fi freaks, as well as more standard song fodder such as young love.

With its latest six-song EP, “Bingo Ringo,” Half Japanese continue to upend any conventionalities they happen to run into.

In the fruit-infatuated “Stuck On You,” Fair sings of blueberries, lemon-limes and strawberries — the garden that feeds his puppy-love crush.

“Me and you, and you and me are like peaches in an apple tree…… The pot of gold is ours/bless our f*ing lucky stars,” sings Fair. Slashes of noise-punk guitar bitterness slice through the lyric sweetness.

“I feel his fangs in my neck, there ain’t no way out,” he drones and sputters in “Dracula’s Casket.”

And during the country swagger of the uplifting “New Awakening,” Fair forcefully spits out, “Put more pep into your step,” parodying that overused anthem.

Initially, the EP’s title track might seem bred from cookie-cutter pop blandness, but Jad Fair’s comical spoken-word, grit-your-teeth vocals carry it safely away from Top 40 conformity.

fairjad_large half japanese

With “Bingo Ringo,” Half Japanese sticks to what it does best — playing benign melodies that quickly degenerate into rabid vocals and electric guitar recklessness, the conduit through which funky hooks and infectious melodies are found.

Released July 31 on Joyful Noise Recordings, only 173 lathe-cut records have been made of “Bingo Ringo.”

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Filed under artpunk, EPs, Lo-Fi, Noise rock, Post-punk, Punk, Review

Karen O pens Google ode to journalist Nellie Bly

google girl karen oYeah Yeah Yeah’s Karen O has penned a song on Google doodle to celebrate investigate journalist Nellie Bly’s 151st birthday.

It’s under 2 and a half minutes but is purely Karen O. It calls reference to her work advocating for unions, and those going hungry, and her work with suffragists.

karen-o-tribute-nellie-blyOne still-timely headline in the graphic reads: “Should women propose?”

Nellie_Bly_WavesSome of Karen O’s lyrics read:

“Someone’s gotta stand up and tell em what a girl is good for

Oh Nellie, take us all around the world/and break those rules/cause you’re our girl

We wanna make something of ourselves too

Oh Nellie you show us just what you would do”

My favorite line?

“We gotta speak up for the ones who’ve been told to shut up”

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Filed under Acoustic, artpunk, Punk, VIdeos

Watch a man try to stay awake in Parkay Quarts’ video “Pretty Machines”


This guy’s weird mustache: What’s up with that?

The latest video from Parkay Quarts (or Parquet Courts, however you like) for “Pretty Machines” paints a picture of an ordinary day, like any other in one man’s life: Get up, brush teeth, wash dishes, go to bed, repeat. Parkay Quarts manages to blend each of this guy’s already-mundane activities into one long drudgefest.

Besides the overlapping frames that clumsily and jarringly stitch events together: the one weird thing — the off-kilter mustache-y thing he puts on his face every day. What’s up with that?

“Pretty Machines” is from Parkay Quarts’ latest album, “Content Nausea.”

Check out “Pretty Machines” on Youtube, as well as Parquet Courts’ performance on David Letterman.

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Filed under artpunk, Noise Punk, Post-punk, Punk, Punk-rock, VIdeos

Chris Stein’s new book and Blondie’s look

Blondie by Chris Stein

Blondie by Chris Stein

Chris Stein, Blondie co-founder and guitarist, had a front-row seat to the NYC punk-music scene in the 70s and used that lucky access wisely.

Good thing Stein is also a genius with the camera.

Blondie, by Chris Stein

Blondie, by Chris Stein

Stein is releasing a new book this week, “Chris Stein/Negative: Me, Blondie and the Advent of Punk,” on Rizzoli. “Negative” is also in celebration of the band’s 40th (!) anniversary.

The book will be full of many of Stein’s photos of his girlfriend at the time, Deborah Harry, as well as other punk revolutionaries, including music journalist Lester Bangs. Stein’s photos of Harry seem to dominate the book, and rightfully so– Blondie’s look breathed rebellion, youth and DIY glamour.

Lester Bangs, by Chris Stein

Lester Bangs, by Chris Stein

Photo by Chris Stein

Photo by Chris Stein

BTW, check out the video for “Rapture.”

See more photos and a story at New York Times Magazine.

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Filed under artpunk, DIY, News

Got $199 to spare? You could spend it on DFA 1979 denim


Dance-punk band Death From Above 1979, besides recently releasing their second album, “The Physical World,” to critical reviews, have conspired to create 60 Levi’s denim jackets. They went on sale Sept. 18.

According to a press release, the jackets are described as a slim-cut black jacket with hand-stitched chenille patches of “79” on the front and the band’s quite unique human/elephantine/Siamese-twin logo on the back. The patches were designed by Klaxon Howl and Wolff. Again, the price is steep: $199 each, and are only available in the U.S.

DFA 1979 logo

A tweet from @dfa1979 on Sept. 18 makes a reference to glitches being fixed; we’re not sure what that means; either way, they’re fixed, so rest assured.

Here’s a link to the order page.

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Filed under artpunk, News

MySpace takes a shine to Karen O, Ryan Adams and Interpol

This week on Myspace, three artists are featured who’ve all released new albums this week — Karen O, Ryan Adams and Interpol.

karen o red

A story by “Sad Girls Guide To…” is the most in-depth of the three profiles here. The Sad Girls list the reasons why they think art-punk icon Karen O is so influential.  The mini-stories are heavily subjective, but enjoyable to read nonetheless. Stories include links to the music of Karen O as well as her namesake band Yeah Yeah Yeahs, how her solo release “Crush Songs,” came about, and her fashion sense that no one could have predicted.


One story is called “She Doesn’t Give a F*#! Onstage,” which is actually true (she pulled her pants down and everyone saw her bum as she closed down the House of Blues in Boston last year). Interesting fact: After the YYY’s full-length 2003 record “Fever To Tell” blew up the charts, Playboy asked Karen O to pose for the cover. She refused. Good call.


Everybody Loves a List profiles Ryan Adams, whose listed occupations include singer, songwriter, poet and painter. Adams’ hardcore punk album, “1984,” was leaked by a fan who streamed it onto Youtube. The buzz about that album only snowballed from there. Everybody loves a List makes the case that Adams is a mega Deadhead, and it seems they have a point. The writers hunt down these little nuances between Adams’s songs and music from Grateful Dead’s massive catalog.
They mention Adams’ bootlegged track “Abigail” has the same time signature and four chords as the Grateful Dead’s “Friend of the Devil.” The comparisons between the two artists are pretty in-depth. On the other hand, drawing a correlation between Adams’ tweeting pics of his cats and Jerry Garcia’s album “Cats Under the Stars” might be a stretch. The story doesn’t take itself too seriously, and anyway, it shouldn’t.
interpol lonetrip
The last story, by Graphic Content, is more of a list, but probes the name of post-punk band Interpol’s new album “El Pintor” (“The Painter”) and five alternative anagrams to consider. That story speaks for itself.


Filed under artpunk, DIY, Features, Hardcore punk, Indie, New Music, Protopunk