David Peisner



  • Dino

    Dinosaur Jr., 'I Bet on Sky' (Jagjaguwar)

    The reconstituting of Dinosaur Jr.'s original lineup in 2005 definitively confirmed the widespread suspicion that no band on earth could resist the reunion bug. Considering that bassist/occasional singer Lou Barlow had spent the better part of 15 years telling anyone who would listen (and many who wouldn't) that frontman J Mascis was a self-absorbed, egomaniacal asshole — and that Barlow himself had suffered lasting emotional damage because of his tenure in the band — these guys didn't strike anyone as prime candidates to let bygones be bygones.So when the trio appeared on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson that April playing early album track "The Lung" (from 1987’s You’re Living All Over Me), it was nice just to see them onstage looking almost convivial.

  • Ken Shipley (left) and Rob Sevier (right) dig through 45s at the Rock Shop. (Photo by Daymon Gardner)

    Diggin' Beyond the Crates

    This is what it's come to. When a man isn't listed in the phone book, when he doesn't respond to emails or letters, when nobody seems to know how to find him, sometimes you just have to roll up to his last known address and holler at him. Literally."Mr. Gibson! Mr. Gibson!"It's 11 o'clock on a Thursday morning and Ken Shipley is standing on the sidewalk outside a tidy, one-story brick house in the Carrollton section of New Orleans. Hands cupped around the sides of his mouth, he's trying to summon Joe Gibson from what may or may not be his home. Shipley surely would've preferred knocking on the door or ringing the bell, but the small home is separated from the street by not one, but two, locking wrought-iron gates."Mr. Gibson! Anyone home?"In the early 1970s, Gibson wrote and produced two 45s by a group called the Soul Emotions, which featured his three young daughters.

  • Rockin' the internet / Photo by Autumn de Wilde

    Ben Folds Five, 'The Sound of the Life of the Mind' (ImaVeePee/Sony Legacy)

    "Oh, if you're feeling small / And you can't draw a crowd / Draw dicks on the wall," Ben Folds sings on The Sound of the Life of the Mind, his first album with bassist Robert Sledge and drummer Darren Jessee in more than a decade. He's spent the majority of his career doing just that, of course: Whether it's been his own tunes ("Army," "Rockin' the Suburbs") or someone else's (he turned Dr. Dre's "Bitches Ain't Shit" into a tender ballad), Alternative Nation's preeminent piano man has never shied away from flying his ribald goofball flag. For Folds, humor has always been a tool to balance the two other main ingredients in his writing: abject rage and startling earnestness. The opening track on The Sound of the Life, "Erase Me," offers a case in point: It's an angry, embittered break-up song played for laughs.

  • Members of OK Go head back to their tour bus / Photo by Nathaniel Wood

    Tour Bus Confidential: Behind Music's Bumpy Road Show

    Dan Gillis has worked many jobs in his life. He's fronted cover bands, he taught at a high school in Maine, and he's driven a truck for a company run by an ex-con who later died, surrounded by hookers and cocaine, in a Nashville hotel room. Between 1995 and 2006, Gillis was Steve Earle's manager. These days, he drives tour buses. "When I was in college, my mother always told me, 'Dan, get your education to fall back on,'" he says. "Well, I always fall back on driving a bus because it's the thing I love to do more than anything." Gillis, 55, is tall and friendly. When I meet him on a warm day in early May, he's on his bus, a gorgeous, fully-loaded, silver 2012 Prevost XLII that retails for about $1 million. It's parked in a spacious lot in the upscale Atlanta neighborhood of Buckhead.

  • Debo Band, 'Debo Band' (Sub Pop)

    There is almost nothing authentic about the Debo Band's version of Ethiopian pop, jazz, and folk music; and that's probably one of the nicest things anyone could ever say about it. Not that there's anything wrong with traditional African music, but for this group — a nine-piece, Boston-based collective led by Ethiopian-American Danny Mekonnen and featuring a diverse cast of characters, many of whom are not remotely Ethiopian — authenticity was clearly never the goal. Mekonnen is an ethnomusicologist by training, which makes sense when you hear the jumble of far-flung sounds on the band's self-titled debut. But he also has a mischievous, highly un-academic side: Nothing here is preserved in amber, worshipped on a pedestal, or otherwise treated as a sacred totem.

  • Kelly Hogan, 'I Like to Keep Myself in Pain' (Anti-)

    Kelly Hogan is a great singer. She was a great singer in the early '90s when she fronted the Jody Grind, an Atlanta band that played a generally unclassifiable mix of pop, country, jazz, rock, soul, and torch songs. She was a great singer when she played rhythm guitar (and rarely sang) in an early incarnation of the reverb-happy garage/surf/blues/punkabilly outfit the Rock*A*Teens. She was a great singer when she released a string of under-heard, alt-country-leaning solo albums in the late '90s and early 2000s, and she's been a great singer for the past decade, backing up Neko Case, Jakob Dylan, Andrew Bird, the Mekons, and Mavis Staples. What she's only rarely been during these past two decades is a songwriter. Once upon a time that wouldn't have made a difference, and if she performed commercial pop, country, or R&B, it still wouldn't.

  • Joel Kaos of Ancestor and 666 Fest co-organizer / Photo by Richmond Lam

    Red Menace: Inside the Hidden World of Extreme Cuban Metal

    The park at the corner of 23rd Avenue and G Street in the Vedado section of Havana isn't much to look at by the standards of fading, crumbling glory that prevail in Cuba's capital city. In fact, it's less a park than a median that bisects the wide expanse of G Street: some patches of green grass, a few paved walkways, and maybe a half-dozen benches, all within about 100 square feet. At 1 a.m. on a warm, windy Friday night in mid-March, the park is a sea of long, dark hair and black concert T-shirts — Slayer, Bathory, Gorgoroth, Megadeth. I've been led here by Amed "Helheim" Olivares, frontman for Abaddon, a young band that, hours earlier, had played a relentless, assaultive 45-minute set at an Art Deco cinema a few blocks away during the first night of the third annual 666 Fest, a weekend-long celebration of Cuban black metal.

  • The Darkness

    Defend Yourself, Justin Hawkins of the Darkness!

    Justin Hawkins, frontman for recently reunited hard rockers, the Darkness, has lived a life that has simultaneously conformed to and satirized just about every cliché rock 'n' roll has to offer. He formed the band over a decade ago with his guitarist brother Dan, and rose to prominence singing wonderful, flamboyant, cheeky odes to love, jealousy and genital warts and performing them decked out in full-body spandex catsuits while occasionally riding a stuffed white tiger. The band's 2003 debut, Permission to Land, made them huge stars in the U.K. and Hawkins reveled in playing the part: He indulged in food, drink and drugs, talked shit about other rock stars, and engaged in an on-again, off-again relationship with the band's female manager that caused problems within the band.

  • Mark Lanegan Band, 'Blues Funeral' (4AD)

    Mark Lanegan Band, 'Blues Funeral' (4AD)

    Is it really possible that Mark Lanegan hasn't already put out an album called Blues Funeral? I mean, shit, that title would work for any of 'em. Which isn't to say that the ex-Screaming Trees frontman's albums all sound the same -- far from it -- but they pretty much all feel the same: bad. Like, wake-up-in-a-cheap-motel-room-head-aching-pour-me-another-drink bad. In his songs, all hope is always lost, yet we press on anyway, or at least he does. Much of this vibe comes from Lanegan's voice -- a smoke-scarred, death-haunted baritone that croaks, rasps, and howls with charismatic relish. The man could turn a Sesame Street sing-along into a deathbed confessional.

  • 111114-huntsville-1.png

    G-Side Launch a Hardscrabble, Regular-Dude Revolution

    Aerospace hub Huntsville, Alabama, used to be about seeing stars. Thanks to G-Side and the rest of a tight-knot rap community, it's now about making them. More From SPIN's December 2011 Issue:• Live from the New Underground: SPIN Celebrates Hip-Hop's DIY Moment• Odd Future: The New Underground's Loud Family Goes on the Road• An Insanely Obsessive Infographic Tries (in Vain) to Diagram the Hip-Hop Galaxy "There it is," says ST, easing his beige Chrysler Concorde onto I-565 in Huntsville, Alabama. "The motherfuckin' rocket." Just off the highway, a 363-foot-tall white Saturn V points toward the heavens, a beacon for visitors to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.

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