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Old school: Japan

November 26, 2008

Somehow, as a kid, I got my hands on a copy of the album Adolescent Sex by Japan (on vinyl, of course). Their 1978 debut, it was an excellent example of late glam-rock, in the vein of David Bowie and, especially, Roxy Music. However, while it did well in Japan (fittingly) and got some airplay […]


Old school: Kate Bush

October 10, 2008

Rock music, and especially indie music, is still mostly a man’s game.  But only mostly, and Kate Bush is one of the reasons why women have any traction at all. Her first single, “Wuthering Heights” was the first UK number one single that was not just sung by a woman, but self-written as well. The […]


Listen local, old school-style: Morphine

September 16, 2008

Lots of bands are described as having a unique sound. At the risk of offending high school English teachers, who remind us that ‘unique’ is definitively singular, I submit that some bands are more unique-sounding than others. Case in point, Morphine. Founded in Cambridge, MA, by Mark Sandman and Dana Colley, Morphine really didn’t sound […]


Old school: The Buzzcocks

September 1, 2008

Finishing up our inadvertent long weekend retrospective on (read: obsession with) with British punk, the Buzzcocks are probably my favourite band from the era. Unlike many of their contemporaries like the Clash and the Sex Pistols, their lyrics focused more closely on the personal than the political, in songs like, “Ever Fallen In Love” “What […]


Old school: Comsat Angels, “Independence Day”

July 4, 2008

[embedded YouTube video; if you can’t see it, click here] A slightly-belated celebration of the Fourth of July, via some nice folks from the mother country.


Old school: Bauhaus

June 25, 2008

Depending on how you count, it’s been a generation, maybe two, since the rise of what we’d consider independent music. So there’s a lot of good stuff that you may not have heard if you are new to the scene, either by age or inclination. Following up on my posting of an early-80s punk classic, […]


Old school: Suicidal Tendencies

June 11, 2008

I went to see Air Conditioning Iron Man yesterday (which is definitely a movie calculated to appeal to my geeky comic-book-fan heart, especially the post-credits teaser). But what made me absolutely convulse in my seat was hearing Suicidal Tendencies’ “Institutionalized” over the scene of Tony Stark working in his garage. Suicidal Tendencies were distinguished from […]


Welcome Diesel Sweeties fans!

October 14, 2008

(portrait by rstevens, of course) zed equals zee is a site about indie music. I focus on local music, mostly in Boston and Seattle (about). Occasionally, it gets a little scholarly, sometimes it’s historical, and sometimes it’s just plain fun. Scroll down for some recent additions. Some posts that DS fans might particularly like: The music […]


In praise of our musical mentors

April 26, 2010

My very first musical mentor was my sister, V, and she’s probably the person who bears the most responsibility for my taste in music. When we were both barely teenagers, she turned me away from the dark side that was Top 40 radio, and set me on the path that I’ve followed for the rest […]


Audio fidelity is overrated

April 8, 2010

For most of us, more audio fidelity isn’t better. It’s a bar. And above that bar, you’re fine. My car is old-school enough that it doesn’t have an MP3 input, which means I listen to everything on CD. That means I’m regularly swapping between purchased CDs (LPCM audio) and burned MP3s – it’s not quite […]


Off-topic: Ada Lovelace Day post (kind of)

March 24, 2010

Cambridge-based Science Club for Girls asked a number of women who work in science and technology, including me, to write a letter to our younger selves as part of their celebration of Women’s History Month. Inspired by picking up a soldering iron for the first time in years and making an Atari Punk Console at […]


Music and tech roundup

June 30, 2009

A quick hit of assorted news from around the intarwebs while I’m around the world. Band makes video out of CCTV footage. The Get Out Clause, out of Manchester, performed in front of some of the UK’s ubiquitous surveillance cameras, then requested the footage under the Brit equivalent of the Freedom of Information Act, and […]


Music and tech news roundup

April 27, 2009

Catching up on the miscellany of music and tech happenings around the Interwebs… ‘Pirates’ are the biggest music buyers. A new study out of a business school in Norway suggests that people who downloaded music off P2P services bought ten times more music legally (downloads and CDs) than their non-P2P-using counterparts. This corroborates a 2006 […]


Live stream of Buzzcocks concert

February 10, 2009

Whoa, I’m so stoked about this. Tomorrow (February 11), the Buzzcocks are doing a show in Amsterdam. UK site Fab Channel will be streaming it live on the web, starting at 11:30 am PST and 2:30 pm EST – nothing like a punk show while you’re at your desk working. If you’re not sure if […]


Christmas songs for non-Christmas people

December 23, 2008

So, as you could probably tell from yesterday’s post, I’m not a big Christmas person. My family doesn’t celebrate Christmas, never has. Jonathan Trigell puts it well: “I went to a Christian primary school. We all did back then; it was called “school”. At Christmas time, we prayed little-children prayers and sang jolly songs about […]


Listen local: The Cripples

December 2, 2008

Nothing is forgotten on the Internet. A friend of mine turned me on to Seattle-based synth-punk band, The Cripples, that were around a few years ago when he lived here. As far as I can tell, they are defunct-ish (the most recent update on either their homepage or Myspace page seems to be 2005), and […]


Punk memorabilia at Christie’s

November 7, 2008

I guess it had to happen. On November 24th, Christie’s is holding an auction of punk-rock memorabilia. It includes everything from a signed Ramones test pressing to a Sex Pistols press kit to a bondage jacket. That kick-ass Sandinista poster, above? Expected to fetch between two and three grand. Says a Christie’s spokesperson: The generation […]


Concert Notes: The Mountain Goats and Kaki King

October 21, 2008

[embedded YouTube video; if you can’t see it, click here] [Showbox at the Market, Seattle, WA; October 20, 2008] I’ve seen the Mountain Goats umpteen times, and every show that I’ve been to has been amazing – I’ve never been to a show where I felt like John Darnielle has given less than his best. […]


Coverage: Self, “Ana Ng”

April 22, 2008

Guest blogger Scott says: I have it on good authority from my other purveyor of indie rock opinions that Self is “made of industrial-grade awesome”. This being their only song I’ve heard, I can’t really offer insight into that conclusion, except to say that, were that so, you’d think I’d have an easier time finding […]