graceful tongue

One girl. Many records.

Category: Crate Digging

Crate Digging #6 – Girlie Sounds: Sex, Race and Phil Spector

The Ronettes, early 1960s

When I initially contemplated this series, I began with the intention of exploring areas of the music world I felt merited reexamination. Occasionally, this means that I choose to focus on genres and artists that have been overlooked in their significance (Twee Pop, Black Flag, New Jersey’s musical legacy) and other times, this means that I try and advocate on behalf of artists I feel have been unjustly maligned or inaccurately judged, as I did with the Grateful Dead. Rarely, and most difficultly, those two strains intersect to create a genre/artist that feels both critically under-appreciated and unfairly appraised as insignificant fluff. Such is the case with the Girl Groups of the 1950s and 1960s. Read the rest of this entry »

Crate Digging #5 – That Was Then, This is Twee

The Vaselines

The Vaselines

Twee. I know, I know. Today, “twee” is often a pejorative term, a dismissal of people and objects that embody a particular mixture of hip nerdiness and self-conscious cuteness. “Adorkability,” if you will. Twee is Zooey Deschanel playing ukelele with Joseph Gordon-Levitt while kittens chase bubbles across her bedroom. It is a polka dot dress with a sweetheart neckline, a hand-knit cardigan, a teacup purchased on Etsy. Twee (or “indie pop”), however, is also a genre of music that deserves our attention. Indie pop began as an exercise in quiet rebellion and became a bonafide musical movement which ultimately, affected much of the music to come after it.  Read the rest of this entry »

Crate Digging #4 – Sounds Like New Jersey

Under-appreciated post-punk/college rock trailblazers, The Feelies

Musically, New Jersey is known for two big exports: Bruce Springsteen and (ugh) Bon Jovi. While reasonable minds may disagree over the merits of Springsteen and gang, the truth of the matter is that New Jersey is home to a rich and diverse music history that warrants further inspection.

Crate Digging #3 – Ladies and Gentlemen, Black Flag

Dukowski, Rollins, Ginn, Chuck Biscuits, Cadena, fall of 1982

If you have ever wandered past a skate park, rock club or a seedy neighborhood in your town, chances are that you have seen Black Flag’s stark, iconic logo scrawled on the surface of a wall, skate deck or t-shirt. If you are older (or just like hanging out with old punks), you have probably encountered a number of poorly-done tattoo replicas of the band’s Ray Pettibon-designed logo on sagging biceps. The band, like the logo, has become an indispensable insignia of punk anti-authoritarianism and underground culture for marginalized kids everywhere. A quarter century since they disbanded, Black Flag continues to have a strong influence on the worlds of punk, indie, and metal music. Read the rest of this entry »

Crate Digging #2 – Fugazi: Most Ethical Band of All Time

The DC legends pose for a press photo, 2000

Though they are not a household name, Fugazi and its frontman, Ian MacKaye, possess a near-mythological status among those within the indie community. Since their hiatus in 2003, Fugazi’s stature among music obsessives has continued to grow and the legend of their live shows has ensnared a new generation of fans. Now, thanks to a combination of technological advancements and a favorably hobbled music industry, Fugazi is primed for a promising second life. Read the rest of this entry »

Crate Digging #1: Reconsidering the Dead

The Grateful Dead, San Francisco, in 1966

In the inaugural edition of “Crate Digging,” we unpack the negative baggage associated with the Grateful Dead and propose revisiting their discography.

Read the rest of this entry »


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