Gone Too Soon: RIP Poly Styrene (1957-2011)

Poly Styrene

We are greatly saddened to report that X-Ray Spex singer and punk rock icon Poly Styrene has passed away following a hard-fought battle with cancer.  A true mold-breaker, Styrene created some of the most forward-thinking music of the punk movement.

As NPR’s Robert Christgau wrote, “Poly Styrene stood out in British punk. Female in a male world, heavy in a skinny world, half-African in a white world, flaunting braces that looked like they could dent a lorry, she’s linked in history to a song as iconic as ‘Anarchy in the U.K.’ itself.”

Her final solo album, Generation Indigo, was released today.

You’ll be missed, Poly.

Listen to NPR’s feature on Poly, broadcast only hours before her death was made public. 

Punk: A Beginner’s Guide

Joe Strummer, of the Clash

Joe Strummer, of the Clash

Well Joe, you called it.  The suits did their best to turn your rebellion into money.  To a great deal of people living in the post Hot Topic world, the very idea of punk is viewed as little more than a cute “phase.”  It’s part of life, right?  Infant, toddler, kid, punk, adult?  Oh they grow up so fast!  In all fairness, if all you knew of the genre was green hair, ripped t-shirts and pissy snarls then such a dismissive eye roll might indeed seem fitting.  However, to those who are willing to discover it, punk’s first wave was as much a fiercely intelligent, unapologetic call to arms as it was sarcastic, bratty and crude.

Read on to discover some of the seminal tracks of this often under-appreciated movement.

Continue reading