Defend Its Existence

Defend Its Existence: Incubus

A 20-year-old who worked shitty construction gigs since high school moronically moved to a beach town to live on a sofa at a friend’s brother’s house. He didn’t seek work, but instead pawned instruments to buy beer and tacos. Going. Nowhere. Really. Fucking. Fast. Enter Incubus’s 1999 LP, Make Yourself.

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Defend Its Existence: NKOTBSB

In the mid ’80s, five ever-so-dreamy pubescent boys took the music industry by storm with their nonthreatening white-boy R&B-pop melodies, syncronized dance moves and high-top hair.

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Critic’s Pick: Blood Feathers

Philadelphia’s own vintage rockers Blood Feathers began humbly, as a partnership between two good friends with guitars. Since 2010’s Philebrity Label-released Goodness Gracious, the band’s live set has been brimming with these unfamiliar, yet delightfully fresh cuts, and no doubt, they’ll continue testing the waters, prepping for the release of their third record.

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Defend Its Existence: Crash Test Dummies

No one has much patience for you when you’re not “winning.” For those huMMMing Canucks Crash Test Dummies, the brief ubiquity offered by their ’93 hit was soon greeted like Rick Springfield’s county fair appearances—with momentary incredulity and overwhelming indifference.

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Defend Its Existence: Yellowcard

No one’s ever accused Yellowcard of being great lyricists. But if their faults are glaring, their charms are equally obvious, foremost being musical adventurousness.

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Defend Its Existence: Max Bemis

Emo doesn’t have to be simpering, navel-gazing twaddle. Witness Max Bemis, the anti-Carraba who reconceives Dashboard Confessional’s overwrought, wet-diaper melodrama with canny, self-indicting wit.

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Defend Its Existence: David Johansen

There’s never been anything charming or amusing about David Johnansen’s kitschy lounge-lizard alter-ego Buster Poindexter. His smirking covers of classic crooner standards were flatter and more grating than Saturday Night Live’s last half-hour of over-long one-note skits. Indeed, the entire persona would’ve been better as a medley and be done with it. But that’s the thing—Johansen’s less a musician than a performer. He’s not wedded to the color of the outfit just the role he’s playing. Anyone who’s seen him fronting the New York Dolls can attest to Johansen’s showmanship, electrifying the stage with his charisma and energy like a grimier, other-side-of-the-tracks Mick Jagger. Dovetailing with O’ Brother, Johansen opened the millennium in the new guise of gruff, weathered country-blues singer. If it still sounds a little put on, it’s really in his wheelhouse vocally (and chronologically), succeeding on the spunky verve and magnetism he’s always emanated.

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Defend its Existence: The Guitar

With the ascendancy of R&B and hip-hop as the genres preferred by the masses, the guitar’s reputation has declined. Even within indie rock circles, which once spun from the guitar fury of Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth, club-banging synthesizers dominate.

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Defend Its Existence: Little Feat

It’s entirely possible to have issue with Little Feat’s mid-to-late ’70s jazz-fusion direction; guitarist/founder Lowell George certainly did. But that discounts Little Feat’s amazing first four albums in the early ’70s when George was at the height of his powers.

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Defend Its Existence: MC Chris

Truth be told, MC Chris is a surly little fucker. And it’s difficult to restrain the eyeroll when he decries the nerdcore label. You’re rapping about Star Wars, Robotussin and DQ Blizzards, fercrissakes, not bling, gats and ’caine. Yet insufferable pricks often make great art, and whatever his faults, he’s a talented rapper.

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