New "Starter Packs"
now available!

New issues

A talk with Greil Marcus / by Jenn Pelly

I felt very lucky to meet with Greil Marcus last fall. Marcus writes legendary rock’n’roll stories and in the process he has also himself become a legend. If you haven’t read his sweeping books—Mystery Train, Lipstick Traces, The Old, Weird America, Stranded, In the Fascist Bathroom, to name a few—you should read them immediately because they will make your life better.

Marcus’s influence on cultural criticism is immeasurable, but I was introduced to it in maybe an unusual way. Before I got Mystery Train in college, I read his 2007 interview with Cat Power and it made a huge impression on me as a teenager. In that piece, Chan Marshall discussed the meaning of “Nude as the News,” a song about an abortion she got at 20 and the pain she harbored over it: “It meant that I carry the soul of that child in me forever,” she said.

It permanently changed the way I heard the song, which Marcus’s writing always does. Since that moment I’ve felt consistently grateful for his work—his most influential books, but also his pieces on the music I love most, like the Raincoats and Sleater-Kinney, for example.

The occasion of our discussion was partially the release of his recent book, which is called Real Life Rock: The Complete Top Ten Columns, 1986-2014. Each column surveys a month (or so) in culture through Marcus’s ears and eyes, and together they become an inspired encyclopedia of art and ideas. I cherish this book. An excerpt from our talk follows. . .


by Allison Smartt
Mixed Race Mixtape

by Brennan McCracken
Rethinking the cannon at SNARcon

by Brittany Naundorff
On a Tinder date

by Dandy Dextrous
Waxahatchee @ Silent Barn

An interview with Angela Sawyer
/ by Katie Alice Greer

Weirdo Records was the coolest record store I've ever been to in my life. It was the size of a large walk-in closet, never had more than a few shelves of stuff I'd heard of, and the woman who was almost always sitting behind the counter played loud records and mostly looked like she, quite pleasantly, didn't really give a fuck. Still, anything I brought up with questions, she would answer in detail. I learned about Las Chinas, an all girl Spanish new wave band from the 80s, Load records, and mid-00s Boston underground stuff from shopping at Weirdo. I also found a fandom book on Annette Funicello's Beach Party movies and a copy of one of my favorite Lux Interior mixtapes "Forbidden City Dog Food" pressed to vinyl by a mysterious Australian non-label.

One time I brought some tattered Half Japanese and Daniel Johnston tapes to the counter and asked the woman, who I learned to be Angela Sawyer, where they came from. She told me they were hers and that. . .

An interview with Natalie Yang
/ by Faye Orlove

Preface: I’ve been in awe of the artists in my life for quite a while. Liz suggested I reach out to some of them with a new recurring column I’m calling IDOLS.


I met Natalie Yang at an art show in Los Angeles. She told me she liked my shirt, I told her I liked her outfit too. I think that’s how most female friendships are born. She took my photo and we swapped numbers and made plans to drive around Malibu with the windows down and dewy iced coffees. I think I fell in love. Natalie’s photography is powerful in its vulnerability. She takes photos of her friends, of herself, of the scenery around her home in Santa Cruz. The most understated of her photos are her own self-portraits, diffused with natural light, on soft beds or steamy showers. Each one strong. Each one sensitive. On our drive along the PCH, Natalie told me about some backlash she’s gotten from publicizing her own nudity. From making her body part. . .

ABOUT                              CONTACT                              CONTRIBUTORS                              DONATE