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Rock Critic Steven Hyden talks with rock stars and the country’s biggest music writers about what’s happening in rock.

Rock Critic Steven Hyden talks with rock stars and the country’s biggest music writers about what’s happening in rock.
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Rock Critic Steven Hyden talks with rock stars and the country’s biggest music writers about what’s happening in rock.




Dean Ween Continues To Wave The Ween Flag

Of course Dean Ween is one of the founders of Ween, a band that has been putting out albums since 1990, though they haven’t had any new albums in a while. But he's also the leader of the Dean Ween Group, which just put out a new record, called "Rock 2." Now, my conversation with Dean is interesting. This was my second time talking to him, and I think he’s generally a friendly, funny, and gregarious guy. But I think you’ll notice that he’s also a little wary about delving too deep into his...


20th Century Boss Part 8: '90s Bruce with Tim Showalter

The '90s are easily the least well-regarded decade of Bruce’s career. If people make note of this period, it’s to illustrate how far he fell without the E Street Band, who finally reunited with Bruce at the end of the decade to great acclaim and popular excitement, and have remained with the Boss ever since. And yet I’ve always had a soft spot for '90s Bruce. This period coincides with my coming-of-age years as a music fan. Bruce had been a fixture in my life since "Born in the U.S.A.,"...


20th Century Boss Part 7: "Tunnel Of Love" with John Darnielle

Released on Oct. 9, 1987, "Tunnel Of Love" has a reputation among some Springsteen fans as his “soft rock, baby boomer divorce record.” It’s true that "Tunnel Of Love" doesn’t exactly rock, and it’s definitely not guitar-heavy. Instead, it’s dominated by synthesizers, drum machines, and Springsteen’s weary, mature croon.If you care about lyrics, "Tunnel Of Love" is every bit as gut-wrenching as "Nebraska." And the music suits those lyrics — this is an introspective record, and the...


20th Century Boss Part 6: "Born In The U.S.A." with Patterson Hood

After the stripped-down "Nebraska," Bruce Springsteen went in the opposite direction for 1984's "Born In The U.S.A.," one of the most popular rock albums ever made. Springsteen was so popular at this time that he was inevitably commodified and turned into a caricature. As much as "Born In The U.S.A." made him beloved, it also instilled overwhelming dislike in his detractors. I was curious to talk to someone who loves Bruce and loves "Born In The U.S.A." but still retains some skepticism...


20th Century Boss Part 5: "Nebraska" with Phoebe Bridgers

In 1982, Bruce Springsteen released "Nebraska," a stark collection of acoustic songs recorded at home on a four-track in one marathon session. It's an album about criminals and economic hardship and flawed father figures, with lots of spooky echo and heavy shadows. While it was considered at the time his least accessible record, "Nebraska" now stands as one of Springsteen's popular releases, particularly with younger audiences raised on indie rock. To discuss "Nebraska," I called up Phoebe...


20th Century Boss Part 4: "The River" with Patrick Stickles

For Bruce Springsteen 1980 double-album "The River," I spoke with Patrick Stickles of Titus Andronicus, whose latest album, "A Productive Cough," comes out March 2. I met up with Stickles at his apartment in Brooklyn right after my plane landed, and there's a definite late-night vibe to this episode that suits the album. "The River" is a fulcrum in Springsteen's career, summing up what he had done on his other albums up to that point, and also providing some clues as to where he was headed.


20th Century Boss Part 3: "Darkness On The Edge Of Town" with Julien Baker

Our Bruce Springsteen series continues with Julien Baker, a wonderful artist whose 2017 album "Turn Out The Lights" was one of my favorite LPs of that year. Even though she was born almost 20 years after it was released in 1978, Baker is a huge fan of the angry, musically ferocious "Darkness On The Edge Of Town," which spawned Springsteen classics like "Badlands," "Racing in the Streets," and "Prove It All Night."


20th Century Boss Part 2: "Born To Run" with Jeff Rosenstock

In episode two of our special Bruce Springsteen series, Jeff Rosenstock dives into the first true masterpiece of Springsteen's career, 1975's "Born To Run." While Rosenstock was raised on punk and ska music, he was also drawn to Springsteen's most uplifting and spirited record, highlighted by classics like the title track, "Thunder Road," and the climactic "Jungleland," which boasts the greatest and most dramatic sax solo in rock history. How did Bruce pull off an album that walks the...


20th Century Boss Part 1: Early Boss with Brian Fallon of The Gaslight Anthem

Welcome to 20th Century Boss, our in-depth series on the albums that Bruce Springsteen released in the '70s, '80s, and '90s. In episode one, Brian Fallon of The Gaslight Anthem joins us to discuss 1973's "Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.," and "The Wild, The Innocent, and The E Street Shuffle." In many ways, these are the "prequel" albums for Springsteen's peak era, which commenced with Born To Run. But Fallon remains a steadfast fan of "Greetings," the album that ushered him into Bruce...


36: Mac McCaughan Explains How Superchunk Has Stayed Great For Decades

As the leader of Superchunk and the co-founder of Merge Records, Mac McCaughan is a key player in the history of American indie rock. He tells Steve about how hardcore inspired him to start his own band in the '80s, and how it also informs Superchunk's new politicized album, "What A Time To Be Alive," which will be out in early 2018. He also talks about how the Internet affected the uniqueness of underground culture — basically, it ruined everything, he says, though it's still possible to...


35: Our Favorite Albums Of 2017

This one is self-explanatory — Steve counts down the best LPs of 2017 with his colleague and friend Caitlin White from URPOXX.com.


34: Jeff Tweedy and John Stirratt on How Wilco Became Wilco

Wilco is now recognized as one of the best and most beloved American rock bands of the last 25 years. But once upon a time, Wilco was a burgeoning project started by Jeff Tweedy in the aftermath of Uncle Tupelo's acrimonious breakup. Teaming up with John Stirratt, who had initially joined the Uncle Tupelo crew as a guitar tech just a few years prior, Tweedy set about forming a new band that would eventually transcend the alt-country label. Before a recent show in St. Paul, Steve met up...


33: How To Celebrate Thanksgiving With "The Last Waltz"

Every year at Thanksgiving time Steve tries to watch "The Last Waltz," Martin Scorsese's classic 1978 documentary about the final concert performed by the original incarnation of The Band. It's his favorite Thanksgiving movie: Other films have used Thanksgiving as a backdrop, but "The Last Waltz" IS Thanksgiving. This week, we invited another "Last Waltz" fan, the critic and poet Hanif Abdurraqib, to talk about the film and why it has extra significance at Thanksgiving. Turns out Hanif, a...


32: An American's Guide To The Tragically Hip

On Oct. 17, Gord Downie died from brain cancer, sparking widespread mourning in his native country of Canada. Across the country for days afterward, there were candlelit vigils in his honor. For Canadians, this wasn't just the death of a beloved rock star. It was the end of a universally respected national institution. For Americans, this might all seem a little hard to understand. The Tragically Hip had only a small cult audience in this country, briefly attaining a high profile in 1995...


31: How Jann Wenner Shaped Rock History In His Own Image

More than any other writer or editor, Jann Wenner has shaped the narrative of rock history from his perch at "Rolling Stone" and, later, as one of the gatekeepers at the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame. In Joe Hagan's new book, "Sticky Fingers: The Life And Times Of Jann Wenner And Rolling Stone Magazine," Wenner's life and career are contextualized in the cultural shifts in America from the '60s through the modern era, showing how Wenner ruthlessly engineered or capitalized on these changes...


30: Revisiting Ancient Teenaged Feelings About Weezer

For several generations of rock fans, Weezer's "Blue Album" and its follow-up, "Pinkerton", are foundational albums of adolescence. What is it about Rivers Cuomo's socially awkward anthems that connects with so many misfits? In the wake of a new Weezer album, "Pacific Daydream", Steve called up Vulture movie critic Emily Yoshida to discuss their mutual Weezer phases, and they wound up delving deep into the band's catalogue as well as the intensely emotional highs and lows of teenagerdom....


29: Julien Baker Will Make You Cry

On Friday, Nashville-based singer-songwriter Julien Baker will release her second album, "Turn Out The Lights," one of the most emotionally overpowering albums of 2017. A native of Memphis, Baker came up in the city's local punk scene, playing in the band Forrister before she started writing stark, confessional songs about on her own. Baker's 2015 debut, Sprained Ankle, was a critical favorite, but "Turn Out The Lights" ought to raise her profile. Earlier this month, I invited Baker on my...


28: The Five-Albums Test With Rob Sheffield

In 2011, back when I was a writer for The A.V. Club, I invented a game called The Five-Albums Test, in which I listed artists and bands that have at least five consecutive very good-to-great albums. Over the years, readers kept bringing up this column, and I was eventually inspired to write a sequel for UPROXX earlier this year. For this week's podcast, I decided to play the Five-Albums Test game with one of my all-time favorite music critics, Rob Sheffield. I figured someone with Rob's...


Season 2 Episode 27: Automatic For The People At 25

On October 5, one of the great albums of the '90s turned 25 years old. R.E.M.'s "Automatic For The People" sold four million copies in the U.S. and spawned hits like "Man On The Moon" and "Everybody Hurts," even though the album's somber chamber-folk scene was utterly unlike the raging grunge sound that was in vogue in rock music at the time. For R.E.M., one of the most acclaimed bands of the era, "Automatic For The People" represented an artistic pinnacle that many fans believe the band has...


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