TRACKS (only one entry per artist) [SPOTIFY PLAYLIST]
For all the nasty corporate influence, excessive sponsorship deals, gross product placement garbage, and general ‘selling of ones cool’ that is happening right now in the music press, I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why one would focus the brunt of those complaints on a handful of young female writers who primarily cover diy punk and indie bands that tend to be feminist or at least female-fronted, while simultaneously playing bro-dad to their male counterparts.
When I, the over-zealous editor, commissioned Liz Pelly to write about Speedy Ortiz, Krill, Fat History Month and the rest of the literate, engaged, awesome bands in the Massachusetts scene, I wasn’t thinking about advertisers or brands or credibility or - god forbid - content. I was thinking about how much I love those bands. I was thinking about how excited I had become by a place I’d never been and may never get to go. I was excited by the anarchic, enthusiastic spirit of Liz’s great writing and her genuine involvement in this scene - and others. (When she came to London recently, she knew more about the city’s DIY scene than I did, and while I wish I had had something to show her beyond a decent pub, I love that about her.)
I was also thinking specifically about the young British kids from rural areas who read NME, and who might be inspired by the idea of holding shows in their homes, or trying to become a part of a supportive, generous community like the one Liz wrote about. (Interestingly, the feature ended up in an issue where we surveyed young British bands about how they feel about the UK music industry - mostly negative and unengaged. By coincidence, Liz’s piece proved a crucial contrast.) Whenever I commission a feature for NME, those are the people I think about. When we published a Kathleen Hanna feature a couple of months ago - written by the excellent Amy Rose Spiegel, otherwise of Rookie - I imagined a hypothetical teenage girl or boy far in the north east, or south west, who discovers Hanna, Bikini Kill, Le Tigre, The Julie Ruin and radical intersectionalist feminism for the first time and realises they can change their own life a little.
I’m not overstating the matter when I say that reading Liz and her sister Jenn’s work (and being fortunate enough to work with Jenn for a time) had a real and positive effect on the way I value and approach music. They are two hella inspiring people. It doesn’t matter whether I read their work on Pitchfork and Stereogum or Liz’s Fvck The Media or either twin’s Tumblr. Probably little of the music I discover through them or any similar writer (Maria Sherman, Devon Maloney, Lindsay Zoladz, others I have definitely forgotten) will go on to be “culturally significant” in that it’ll go down in history. If we’re talking “cultural significance”, Arcade Fire and Daft Punk and David Bowie make covers and sell magazines and define “brands” - or have brands rush to define themselves around them. As an editor, I see their guaranteed “significance” as a chance to smuggle in smaller stories behind the front page. These bands and places may not have books written about them, but they may bring about a tiny, key change in a young reader’s life. That’s what I care about, and if it’s naive, bite me.
A Bad Machinery Christmas at Topatoco -
With the giving season imminent, may I make a small suggestion? Give Bad Machinery - The Case Of The Team Spirit to someone you like a lot. Packed with new pages, extra items and added polish in a luxurious large-format book, it’s ideal for just abut anybody. Give it to the young, give it…
so proud to have facilitated this beautiful meeting of minds ;)
Torres - Torres -
I reviewed Torres’ new album for NME. Odd to write about an album you’ve lived with for over nine months!
I’m really proud that my Savages cover story will be in the first issue of The Pitchfork Review. I wrote some new footnotes for it a little while ago. It looks like a beautiful piece of work - I’m so pleased to see it come to fruition.
Post Tour Reflections on LGBTQ Rights Worldwide -
This year we have spent time in many countries we have never toured before. Many do not have legislation that protects or even acknowledges the rights or existence of gay and transgendered people. Our fans in those cities and countries are so very much like those everywhere we go in…
also best press photos