The Week In Music: What To Read Now, Been Around The Block Edition
We took a break for Thanksgiving — which we spent watching and rewatching Bad 25, Spike Lee's documentary about the making of Michael Jackson's follow up to Thriller — so read here the three best music stories of the past two weeks: another anniversary celebration, a conversation about reminiscing and an interview with a lifer.
J Mascis is a man of few words. It's not that he's secretive or cagey, just that he'd probably rather be playing guitar than doing an interview. That's why listening to (instead of reading) Marc Maron — who normally talks to comedians on his crucial WTF podcast — keep at the Dinosaur Jr. frontman with nearly a question-a-minute is like watching a friendly ping-pong match between a gabby superfan and a bemused, but kind musician. Between one- and two-word responses ("Uh, sure," "Sometimes"), Maron pulls out stories about Mascis playing with provocateur G.G. Allin and finding peace in the "hugging saint," Mata Amritanandamayi. --Lars Gotrich
Jessica Hopper's oral history of the making of Bikini Kill's first EP for Spin is funny and honest and kind of terrifying. The voices are edited down to sharp points. And though the passage of time has resulted in some dispassionate language — like musician Justin Trosper saying Olympia shows were "the beginning of a life-long awareness of power dynamics" — the grind of the fight and the need of Bikini Kill's fans reads raw. People often describe the history of this band and riot grrrl in general as messy, and in this piece the emotions felt by the musicians and those around them at that time certainly were. But condensed like this they're also comprehensible and relatable. --Frannie Kelley
If you came of Internet age in the mid-2000s (or at least went to college and had access to a T1 connection), like I did, then your IE bookmarks likely consisted of the following: LiveJournal, a primitive version of Facebook, and a long list of music blogs with borderline twee names like Pop Tarts Suck Toasted. But it was also a crazy time to discover obscure and out-of-print music from decades past, especially records from the infamous Nurse With Wound list. Blogs like Mutant Sounds ripped vinyl and cassettes (or found fellow record collectors with the right software) of these forgotten gems and turned a whole new generation onto the weirdness, and even encouraged a wave of legit reissues. The Awl's roundtable of bloggers and WFMU's Brian Turner catalog the era's influence on current music before trolls took them down. Elsewhere, Casey Newton rebutted the roundtable's focus on the RIAA's role in the fall of these blogs by pointing to the rise of YouTube and services like Pandora and Spotify. But the day that I can find the bonkers '80s Japanese noise of Hanatarash on Spotify is the day I hang it all up. --Lars Gotrich