Sonic Youth, They Might Be Giants, and Ice-T livened up a numb 1986

To commemorate 60 years of the Billboard Hot 100, Off The Charts revisits each year since it was established to spotlight songs and artists that didn’t make the cut, yet still made a significant impact. Years are chosen randomly and—to make it even harder on ourselves—rules for inclusion are that neither the songs nor…

Cap’n Jazz and Hop Along team up to take on Sonic Youth’s “100%”

Sonic Youth’s sound is instantly recognizable—it’s loud, unconventionally melodic, guitar-driven noise rock—and it’s possibly best exemplified by the band’s highest-charting song, “100%” from its 1992 LP Dirty. Fresh off reunion stints at Riot Fest and FYF Fest, Chicago natives Cap’n Jazz decided to take on the Sonic…

What’s your favorite guitar solo?

Welcome back to AVQ&A, where we throw out a question for discussion among the staff and readers. Consider this a prompt to compare notes on your interface with pop culture, to reveal your embarrassing tastes and experiences, and to ponder how our diverse lives all led us to convene here together. Got a question you’d…

Revisiting the book that immortalized the ’80s indie punk rock scene

It was sometime around 1997 or 1998 when author and rock journalist Michael Azerrad was sitting at home watching a generic multi-part history on rock ’n’ roll. It was late in the evening, and the episode he caught detailed the history of punk rock—or was supposed to. But something was wrong. “It went straight from…

Director Scott Crawford on why Salad Days is more than a doc about D.C. hardcore

Few music scenes in history have been as influential—and as misunderstood—as Washington, D.C.’s hardcore scene of the 1980s. After Minor Threat introduced its fierce, anthemic sound and attitude in 1980, the band’s label, Dischord, became the epicenter of a subculture that evolved both musically and ethically as the…

What 1995 pop culture would you want to experience again for the first time?

Welcome back to AVQ&A, where we throw out a question for discussion among the staff and readers. Consider this a prompt to compare notes on your interface with pop culture, to reveal your embarrassing tastes and experiences, and to ponder how our diverse lives all led us to convene here together. Got a question you’d…

1995 marked the end of the major-label explosion of weird

History is written by the victors—one of them being, oddly enough, Steve Albini. In 1993, his infamous article “The Problem With Music” ran in The Baffler, and it was disseminated further in 1994 when it was reprinted in Maximum Rocknroll. Written from Albini’s perspective as a staunchly independent frontman of…

No animals—maybe just humans—were harmed in the making of Swans’ To Be Kind

Around the halfway point of “Bring The Sun/Toussaint L’Ouverture”—a 34-minute track on Swans’ new two-hour album, To Be Kind—the sounds of horses can be heard. They whinny, neigh, and clop in panic. This happens during a lull in the song, a nerve-jangling interlude that makes the noise breakdown in the middle of Sonic…