//Only Noise

Every Thursday, ONLY NOISE explores music fandom with poignant personal essays that examine the ways we’re shaped by our chosen soundtrack.

ONLY NOISE: Cat Power Was My Surrogate Community in the Canadian Wild

Steph Wong Ken at fifteen, on the cusp of discovering Cat Power's What Would the Community Think. ONLY NOISE explores music fandom with poignant personal essays that examine the ways we’re shaped by our chosen soundtrack. This week, Steph Wong Ken forges her own community in a frozen Canadian landscape via Cat Power's [...]

By |2018-12-06T17:15:58-04:00December 6th, 2018|COLUMNS, Only Noise|

ONLY NOISE: Laughing at the Apocalypse with R.E.M.

ONLY NOISE explores music fandom with poignant personal essays that examine the ways we’re shaped by our chosen soundtrack. This week, Erin Rose O'Brien pays tribute to a silly song about the end of the world that helped her conquer apocalyptic anxiety and post-9/11 panic. 1. Exactly zero karaoke places have the correct lyrics to R.E.M.'s [...]

By |2018-11-26T15:30:42-04:00November 29th, 2018|COLUMNS, Only Noise|

ONLY NOISE: Finding A New Gospel in Unlikely Hymns

Julien Baker photo by Nolan Knight ONLY NOISE explores music fandom with poignant personal essays that examine the ways we’re shaped by our chosen soundtrack. This week, Tamara Mesko reckons with her evangelical upbringing via songs by Julien Baker, Kevin Devine, and David Bazan. As a child, my world was mostly black and [...]

By |2018-11-12T19:51:16-04:00November 15th, 2018|COLUMNS, Only Noise|

ONLY NOISE: 20 Years Ago, Outkast and Goodie MOB Were the Soundtrack to My Budding Bisexuality

ONLY NOISE explores music fandom with poignant personal essays that examine the ways we’re shaped by our chosen soundtrack. This week, Rebecca Bodenheimer reflects on an important friendship with a fellow fan of Southern rap legends Outkast and Goodie MOB - one that would eventually lead to her coming out as bisexual. Touched what I never [...]

By |2018-11-09T03:49:15-04:00November 8th, 2018|COLUMNS, Only Noise|

ONLY NOISE: Why I Talk to Jim

ONLY NOISE explores music fandom with poignant personal essays that examine the ways we're shaped by our chosen soundtrack. This week, Beth Winegarner revisits her teenage obsession with infamous Doors frontman Jim Morrison, an archetype of both the sensitive poet within herself and the thorny men she encountered. The day before I discovered Jim Morrison, I [...]

By |2018-10-31T15:31:41-04:00November 1st, 2018|COLUMNS, Only Noise|

ONLY NOISE: Like A Summer Thursday

One of my favorite descriptions of summer, particularly its languid, melancholy months, comes from Don DeLillo’s first novel, Americana: “Summer unfolds slowly,” DeLillo writes, “a carpeted silence rolling out across expanding steel, and the days begin to rhyme, distance swelling with the bridges, heat bending the air, small breaks in the pavement, those days when [...]

By |2018-08-09T17:04:12-04:00June 28th, 2018|COLUMNS, Only Noise|

ONLY NOISE: Glenn Branca’s Final Ascension

I wound up at the Kitchen sort of by mistake. It was a Tuesday - February 23rd, 2016 to be precise. It had been a year since the worst week of my life, and sitting at my desk after a long day of designing women’s underwear, I longed for a little culture that evening, a [...]

By |2018-08-09T17:04:23-04:00May 24th, 2018|COLUMNS, Only Noise|

ONLY NOISE: Punk Rock Mom

“Punk Rock Mom” was a distinction of honor my mother appointed to herself, and though the title mortified me on more than one occasion, she’d well earned it. She was the one helming the two-hour, round trip commute between my hometown of Arlington, Washington and Seattle, where any and all rock concerts worth two hours [...]

By |2018-08-09T17:04:25-04:00May 10th, 2018|COLUMNS, Only Noise|

ONLY NOISE: Waterloo

Waterloo always sounded like an exotic place to me, an English garden oasis dotted with fountains and plum trees and those little stone statues of naked angel-babies. The name suggested a swan pond, croquet matches, and crustless triangle sandwiches served at 3 p.m. for tea. Little did I know that the “Waterloo” Ray Davies was [...]

By |2018-08-09T17:04:26-04:00May 3rd, 2018|COLUMNS, Only Noise|

ONLY NOISE: An Audience of None

In what world does this sound like a good time? You are in a dark room, surrounded by drunks you don’t know, and some you know too well. Your favorite song is playing, only it’s a compressed, simplified version void of lyrics. You are holding a cheap microphone, and the fate of the next three [...]

By |2018-08-09T17:04:27-04:00April 26th, 2018|COLUMNS, Only Noise|

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