An Introduction To

  • An Introduction to Michigan Proto-Punk
    The final stop on our cross-country tour of American garage rock scenes takes us through the Wolverine State. Kick out the jams, as we celebrate Michigan proto-punk.
  • An Introduction to Mid-Atlantic Garage Rock
    Like the rest of the nation, the Mid-Atlantic region was consumed with Beatlemania in the mid-sixties. See what its aspiring young musicians crafted in this feature.
  • An Introduction to Upper South Garage Rock
    The Upper South states produced a plethora of great garage singles, though few that actually achieved national attention. We pick thirty of the best in this introductory feature.
  • An Introduction to Pennsylvania Garage Rock
    Pennsylvania – and especially Philadelphia – was a bustling haven of garage rock activity throughout the sixties. We uncover some of the best that the scene had to offer right here.
  • An Introduction to Upper Midwest Garage Rock
    Garage bands from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and the Dakotas may have stood in the shadow of those from Chicago and Detroit, but they forged an exciting scene nonetheless. Check out thirty garage classics from those states on this feature.
  • An Introduction to Surf Rock
    Like all musical genres and movements, surf rock was the result of a gradual evolution rather than a singular “big bang” moment. Track that evolution in this expanded introductory feature.
  • An Introduction to Mountain States Garage Rock
    There’s no single style that defines the garage rock of the Mountain States, but the expansive region houses a wealth of unearthed gems. Check out some of the best of them here.
  • An Introduction to Deep South Garage Rock
    Garage bands from the Deep South often created their music while facing great resistance from figures of authority. Discover some of the best of what they had to offer.
  • An Introduction to Florida Garage Rock
    Florida garage bands of the sixties refused to be pigeonholed; instead, they represented a wildly diverse state through sounds that were alternately rustic, cosmopolitan, spontaneous, and refined. Check out some of the best of them in this introductory feature.
  • An Introduction to Northern California Garage Rock
    The Bay Area garage scene was home to folkies, psych-crazed rockers, and embryonic iterations of soon-to-be iconic bands. Check out the best of what it had to offer in this introductory feature.
  • An Introduction to New York Garage Rock
    New York garage bands of the sixties reflected the diversity of the Big Apple and the surrounding Empire State. Acquaint yourself with the best of the bunch with this introductory feature.
  • An Introduction to Texas Punk
    Texas bands of the mid-sixties frequently pushed beyond the generally-accepted boundaries of rock music, and what they created collectively was virtually unprecedented. Get acquainted with Texas Punk in this introductory article and playlist.
  • An Introduction to Lower Midwest Garage Rock
    Garage bands from Chicago and the rest of the Lower Midwest carved out a unique style that reflected the region’s reputation as the crossroads of America. Explore their sound in this introductory feature.
  • An Introduction to Los Angeles Garage Rock
    Los Angeles and the surrounding area housed one of the most vibrant garage rock scenes of the mid-sixties. Get acquainted with help from our introductory article and playlist.
  • An Introduction to Nederbeat
    Like the rest of the world, Holland was awash with Beatlemania throughout the sixties. Get a glimpse of the “Nederbeat” scene with our introductory article and playlist.
  • An Introduction to New England Garage Rock
    Garage bands from New England forged their own unique sound during the sixties: one that often mixed jangly guitars, strong melodies, and melancholic lyrics to create miniature masterpieces. Explore the best that the scene had to offer in this introductory article and playlist.
  • An Introduction to Pacific Northwest Garage Rock
    With a potent combination of hooks, grittiness, and volume, bands of the Pacific Northwest created their own unique brand of garage rock in the sixties. Check out our crash course on this exciting scene.
  • An Introduction to Stephen Malkmus
    All Stephen Malkmus has done since the dissolution of Pavement over twenty years ago is craft nine albums of generally-excellent quality. If you’ve missed out on his solo career, this playlist/article will help get you up to speed.
  • An Introduction to David Berman
    Though the frequent characterization as a “Pavement side project” is both misleading and reductive, Silver Jews’ connection to Pavement is central to both band’s legacies. Discover the work of Silver Jews’ leader, David Berman, in this introductory article/playlist.
  • An Introduction to Country Blues
    From the beginning of electrified sound recording in 1925, to the recording ban ushered in by World War II, a wealth of remarkable music was captured by artists working in the so-called “country blues” style. From the mournful tones of the Mississippi Delta, to the folky strains of the Piedmont region, to the sparse sounds of Texas, a diverse and rewarding range of regional blues variants emerged. This feature seeks to collect just a handful of the many highlights of this rich era of American music.
  • An Introduction to Eccentric Soul
    Launched in 2004, the Numero Group’s flagship “Eccentric Soul” series captures some of the great lost gems of the sixties and seventies. Now at twenty-seven volumes, it provides an absolute treasure trove of soul deep cuts. Discover over two-dozen highlights of the series with our introductory playlist and article.
  • An Introduction to the Elephant 6 Recording Company
    Split between outposts in Denver, Colorado and Athens, Georgia, the Elephant 6 collective combined sixties-inspired pop craftsmanship, freewheeling artistic experimentation, and homespun production techniques into an often-thrilling package. Discover the best of what the E6 scene had to offer with our introductory playlist and article.
  • An Introduction to Yé-yé Girls
    Initially appearing as a more youthful update on the sophisticated chanson stylings of the previous generation, the yé-yé scene eventually incorporated the livelier motifs of garage rock and psychedelia. Discover the best of what the yé-yé girls have to offer with our introductory playlist and article.
  • An Introduction to Lee “Scratch” Perry
    Lee “Scratch” Perry was a musical giant – a producer, singer, songwriter, and general embodiment of human creativity. While Bob Marley will always be Jamaica’s most iconic musical ambassador, Perry was arguably its most visionary figure. From his emergence in the mid-sixties, up until the point of his death, “Scratch” was the mind behind many of reggae music’s most beloved recordings. Discover the most rewarding period of his career with our introductory article and playlist.
  • An Introduction to Tropicália
    Few musical scenes have ever burned as briefly, brightly, or brilliantly as Brazil’s Tropicalismo movement. Essentially emerging in March of 1968 with the arrival of singer-songwriter Caetano Veloso’s self-titled second album, Tropicália would be effectively dead within a year. While most musical movements die out as a result of changing tastes and/or the arrival of shinier new objects of cultural intrigue, the downfall of Tropicália was a consequence of something far more nefarious. Discover the rise and fall of this most rewarding of scenes with our introductory article and playlist.
  • An Introduction to Blaxploitation Soundtracks
    Like all quickly-emergent trends, the myriad films and soundtracks that arrived on the heels of ‘Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song’ and ‘Shaft’ yielded both gems and bombs. In some cases, lackluster movies produced transcendent music – most notably the 1972 film ‘Superfly,’ and its corresponding soundtrack by Curtis Mayfield. In others, excellent tracks – often instrumentals – were hidden behind hackneyed theme songs. This playlist seeks to separate at least some of the wheat from the chaff of blaxploitation soundtracks, highlighting twenty songs that stand alongside the best soul music produced during the first half of the 1970s.
  • An Introduction to Space Age Pop
    It’s the mid-twentieth century, and America is locked in an existential Cold War with the Soviet Union. At the center of this conflict of superpowers is the so-called “Space Race.” While the true origins of both nations’ thirst for space exploration were founded in purposes of both a defensive and offensive nature, the social, cultural, and economic implications of journeying beyond the Earth’s atmosphere created a level of excitement among the American people that is hard to imagine today. Everywhere one turned, they were bombarded with images of a future that had once seemed like science fiction, but that now felt so tantalizingly possible. Film, literature, television, advertising, and fashion reflected this fascination. Music was no different.
  • An Introduction to Exotica
    In terms of “kitsch-factor,” few – if any – genres in the history of popular music can compare to exotica. Arriving at the peak of post-war affluence, exotica was an often-fascinating blend of high concept and low – or at least questionable – taste. While its main practitioners were undoubtedly gifted songwriters, arrangers, and performers, even the genre’s finest exemplars mixed inspired soundscapes with a worldview that was short-sighted at best, and exploitive at worst. Still, no examination of American pop culture of the mid-twentieth century would be complete without at least a cursory glance at this intriguing – and often charming – fad.