Can You Name These Bands Based on Their Famous Fonts?

Categories: Commentary

Jena Ardell

Fact: Any band who uses Times New Roman on their album cover isn't going to make it in the music industry. (Feel free to prove us wrong, though). Smart typography selection is as important to a band's image as having a memorable logo.

In 1937, industrial designer and typographer Gerry Powell, designed an extremely condensed typeface named Onyx that became very popular among advertising type in the 1940s because it allowed more characters to be used when space was limited or costly.

Cut to present day and any 90s kid will identify Powell's Onyx typeface as "Nirvana font", thanks to typesetter Grant Alden. According to, Alden was paid $15 to assist the graphic designer originally hired to create the cover art for Nirvana's Bleach in 1989. Nirvana's signature smiley face, drawn by Cobain, is another "mental shortcut" to identify the band.

Time to test your typography knowledge and the following bands' branding skills. Can you identify these famous acts by their typefaces? Answers provided on the last page.

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Social Media is Ruining Music Festivals

Categories: Commentary

Timothy Norris for LA Weekly. More here.
So many cell phones. Too many, even.
I had been waiting more than twenty years to see Pearl Jam live, and last fall, the time had finally come: I was going to see Seattle's finest at the final weekend of the Austin City Limits Music Festival.

It was worth the wait. Eddie Vedder drank a bottle of wine onstage and sang his heart out. Mike McCreedy played the guitar solo for "Even Flow" behind his head. The crowd sang "Alive" in perfect unison.

It was an amazing experience -- right up until the moment a short middle-aged woman in front of me stuck her hands up to record the band's rendition of "Jeremy" for her Instagram account. Every fifteen seconds she'd hold up her phone, not only blocking my view but ensuring that she experienced what was obviously a favorite song, one she'd presumably paid a lot of money to see live, through the screen of her phone.

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The Moment I Feared: A Weed-Fueled Misadventure on Drunken South Broadway

Categories: Commentary

Flickr user Joe Murphy
A South Broadway scene from a few years ago.
One Sunday not too long ago, the homie Jayce "FL" Cabell and I went to South Broadway to see Slick Rick at 3 Kings Tavern. We arrived in the area around nine o'clock and burdened a pipe with broken-down marijuana crumbs before drifting toward our destination.

Rarely do I smoke in public, but when you're hanging with FL, you'd better be ready to light one up: We're talking about a man whose last album was called Young Amsterdam. He's practically a weed ambassador.

See also: Eight Ways Legal Weed Has Changed Colorado's Music Scene

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Laughing at Scott Stapp's Downward Spiral Makes You Even Worse Than Creed

Categories: Commentary

via Stapp's official website
Mental illness isn't funny, you jerks.
In case you haven't been flooded with hundreds of cheering reposts on your social-media feeds, Scott Stapp is having a hard time.

When bad things happen, people laugh. Whether it's out of some sort of genuine happiness for the pain of someone that isn't you or just as a way to cope with an impossibly sad world, we've all laughed at a video of something we probably shouldn't have. Maybe it was that video of the people being thrown around on the boat after going too fast. Or perhaps it was the legendary news reporter who tripped and fell on her face while stepping on grapes at a vineyard. Call it the Hans Moleman "Football in the Groin" effect, if you will.

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Stop Being Indignant on Behalf of Rich White Dude Paul McCartney

Categories: Commentary

Aaron Thackeray for Westword.
Yup, that's a Beatle.
In case you missed it, last week, Kanye West released a new track,"Only One," on which he collaborated with Paul McCartney. Like all events in popular culture now, conversation about the song was happening all over Twitter. Some of those tweets (among the millions probably posted about the release) entailed comments from people saying they didn't know who McCartney was -- and then the backlash in the form of puffed-up chest Beatles' bully rants about the death of the future of music appreciation began.

See also: Shut Up, Dave Grohl

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The Ten Most Underrated Drummers in the History of Rock

Categories: Commentary, Lists

Jean Fortunet/wikimedia commons
Yes, one of the most famous drummers ever is also one of the most underrated.
With all the real injustice on the streets -- and in the courtrooms -- of America currently, you might consider it trivial to examine ten drummers who deserve more credit and attention than they've received. And you'd be right. But music is, if nothing else, a way to make sense of this wicked world through pure release; ostensibly, music geekdom -- enjoying and dissecting -- is a meaningful part of that release.

See also: The Ten Most Underrated Guitarists in the History of Rock

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Why Jennifer Lawrence Is Already a Legit Pop Star

Categories: Commentary

Screengrab via.
Jennifer Lawrence now has a Billboard hit to go along with her lip-syncing genius.
By Jesse Sendejas

Sometimes in life, we normal human beings must shelve our own insecurities and recognize that some among us are simply good at anything they attempt. Like that song from the Annie Oakley play, they can do anything better. Some of us recognize these people with awe and admiration, while others choose to hate.

See also: Miley Cyrus' Bangerz Tour Proves She's Pop Music's Greatest Role Model (Seriously)

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Five Signs You Might Be a Shitty Rapper

Categories: Commentary

Bettina Braun/Flickr
Wiggity wiggity wiggity wack.
Ever since dance music decided to overdose on molly, the only respectable alternative for pop music lovers is hip-hop.

With that said, we're sorry, hip-hop, but we have to start holding you to a higher standard. You don't want to end up like EDM, do you? Trust us, you don't.

Fix up, look sharp. You're pretty sloppy. So please, take a real hard, close, honest look at yourself. And if you're guilty of one of these five symptoms of wack-hackery, well, do the Gandhi and be the change you wish to see in the world. The future of music depends on you.

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Shut Up, Dave Grohl

Categories: Commentary

Jena Ardell for the Village Voice. More here.
Cool story, dad.
I write a lot about the women who have inspired me to make art -- but there are dudes in this mix, too. Steve Albini's stance on music as an industry, Kurt Cobain's feminism, Henry Rollins' staunch ethos on life as a musician, Mike Watt's positive attitude and workhorse musicianship and even most of Thurston Moore's career (before the dissolution of his relationship with one of the patron saints of modern art as music, Kim Gordon, changed the way I felt about him because I realized he was a lame, regular old guy like everyone else,) were all dudes who have navigated the industry in ways I admired and aspired to be like.

Once upon a time, Dave Grohl was one of these dudes I admired, too. But over the last few years, I have seen him become like every other bro in the archaic pantheon of popular music -- a guitar-wanking, get-off-my-lawn, "there's no good music anymore," mildly sexist rock guy. And it is something I'd like to see a lot less of 2015.

See also: Why I Wasn't Quite Ready for My Favorite Band to Make A Comeback

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Eight Ways Legal Weed Has Changed Colorado's Music Scene

Categories: Commentary

Eric Gruneisen
Heaven is real.
It's now been almost an entire year since marijuana was legalized for recreational use here in Colorado. The experiment, by most accounts, has been a successful one, with other states following in our footsteps. It seems inevitable that we'll see the entire country follow in the next decade.

Although, because recreational marijuana has been legal for several years, things didn't change a whole lot here in terms of the availability of pot, the boom has made a substantial impact on all kinds of tangential industries: Music, for example. Here are a few of the ways recreational weed has changed Colorado's music scene.

See also: Photos: Musicians Buying (Legal) Weed in Denver

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