Intimate Portraits of ’90s New York City Squatters

During her time as an art student in 1992, Ash Thayer was kicked out of her Brooklyn apartment and found herself living in the See Skwat on New York City’s Lower East Side. Thayer photographed her fellow squatters as they lived and worked to make the community more habitable, learning about demo, electrical work, and more in order to build a home. The images are now part of the fascinating book Kill City: Lower East Side Squatters 1992-2000, the “true untold story of New York’s legendary LES… Read More

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The Surprisingly Diverse History of Skinhead Culture, in All Its Controversial Forms

“You don’t have, like, Coldplay claiming they were skinheads,” tireless punk archivist, curator, and artist Toby Mott explains, “but everyone says they were punk. Everyone. Bono, whoever. Punk was very fashionable — and huge. That’s what’s intriguing about it.”

By the looks of Mott’s new book, skinhead culture is just as intriguing, albeit for different reasons. Released last December, Ditto Press and The Mott Collection’s Skinhead: An Archive explores the sociopolitical ideologies that made England’s skinhead subculture polarizing even internally. … Read More

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Rare Photos of the New York City Punk Scene in the ’70s and ’80s

The progenitors of punk probably never imagined themselves in photographs that would be selling at art auctions, but the New York City scene during the ‘70s and ’80s continues to prove irresistible. Allan Tannenbaum’s rare “punk portfolio” is up for auction — and the kind folks at artnet Auctions gave us a preview of the images. From 1973 to ’82, Tannenbaum was SoHo Weekly News’ chief photographer and photo editor, covering art, music, and political happenings, capturing New York City nightlife at underground clubs like the Mudd Club, CBGB, and Max’s Kansas City. All the familiar players are featured in Tannenbaum’s set, including a very sweaty Iggy Pop, Sid Vicious being dragged off by the police, and a chic Debbie… Read More

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‘No Cities to Love': The Mature Power of Sleater-Kinney at 20

Relief washed over me as I heard the precise, severe riff that intros “Price Tag,” the morally damning opening song on Sleater-Kinney’s new album No Cities to Love. Few bands feel this absolutely crucial 20 years in. Sleater-Kinney remains essential, but for different reasons now than before they went on hiatus eight years ago. Their kick-down-the-door intensity and commitment to sonic evolution meant Sleater-Kinney were not only an important social and political voice, but an enthralling one as well. As a young woman, getting into their music felt like an osmosis of power; being near it elicited the same kind of internal jolt as empowerment pop had for me, but with all the added benefits of having the spirit of activism behind it as well. … Read More

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DIY Record Covers, Zines, and Posters from the ‘70s Punk and Reggae Movement

The fine folks at Boo-Hooray and Milk Gallery have partnered for an exhibition of DIY record cover art in New York City. The focus of DIY OR DIE! is geared toward the ‘70s punk scene in the US, UK, and Australia, as well as the Jamaican Dub/Ska/Rocksteady movement. The original paste-ups of punk fanzines from the collections of John Ingham (the music journalist who first interviewed The Sex Pistols), Geoffrey Weiss (whose record collection would make a grown person weep), and Bruce Griffiths (of Aberrant Records fame) are also on display, along with hand-printed punk posters created between 1976 and 1983. As if this treasure trove weren’t enough, Milk will also feature original stencils from the Crass archive. As the gallery explains: “These stencils are the ground zero of recent urban wall art. They were hand cut and utilized to full effect for the détournement of advertising billboards on the London Underground. They were also the origin for the backs of tens of thousands of punker leather motorcycle jackets.” If handmade silkscreens, stencils, and angsty collages on 12 and 7-inch vinyl sleeves are your happy place, stop by the gallery through August 10 to check out DIY OR DIE!. Here’s a teaser — highlighting covers for The Residents, Sun Ra, and more — to whet your appetite. … Read More

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Tommy Ramone, Last Original Member Of The Ramones, Has Died

It’s the end of an era for The Ramones. The drummer for the influential punk band, Tommy Ramone, … Read More

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Oh Bondage Flyer, Up Yours! Perfect Pussy’s Meredith Graves Calls Out Sexist Imagery in Punk

Jumping into that nearly 40-year-old argument about what punk is will always lead you down an existential wormhole. Attempting to define punk philosophy, music, and fashion will never be productive because no two people will likely agree on what constitutes punk. … Read More

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Photos Documenting the Backyard Punk Scene in East LA

East Los, a new photo series by documentarian Angela Boatwright (part of Vans’ Living Off the Wall project, which includes an East Los companion film), invites viewers into the backyard punk scene of East Los Angeles. Revealing a little known side of the Latino community, East Los takes a look at the lifestyle in the clubs and at home, exploring “youth, catharses, and notions of family.” See a preview of the work in our gallery, and visit the artist’s website for more information. … Read More

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Portraits from the London Underground Spanning 40 Years

The Tube started shuttling Londoners through its vast network of tunnels more than 150 years ago. Photographer Bob Mazzer has spent 40 of those years capturing the London Underground commuters, shining a spotlight on the evolving subcultures that have popped up over time. A former job as a movie theater projectionist found him traveling on the Tube late at night, surrounded by a cast of characters. Mazzer’s work was shown in a Greater London Council exhibition at the Royal Festival Hall in the 1980s, but he’s been sharing his photos on Facebook recently. See more of Mazzer’s funny, touching, and surreal portraits of strangers on the London metro, which we spotted on Kottke, in our gallery. … Read More

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2014: The Year We Stop Arguing About the Death of Punk

Every few years, someone comes along claiming ownership of their own little corner of music and raining down strident rhetoric on anyone who dares deviate from their vision of the One True Path. Just after Christmas, Don Giovanni founder Joe Steinhardt put in a late claim for 2013’s most reactionary screed with an article for The Media, wherein he complained bitterly about how 2013 was “a sad and depressing year for punk, for DIY, and independent voices.” … Read More

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