If you’re a fan of deeply vital punk rock, it’s likely that you’ve heard Tobi Vail’s drumming — either through her work with Bikini Kill, or more recently with the garage punk band The Old Haunts. Vail’s also an astute critic, essayist, and documentarian of all things DIY, and recently contributed this essay on The Who to eMusic.
Matt LeMay is a regular contributor to Pitchfork; he’s also written a book in the 33 1/3 series about Elliott Smith’s XO. He spent the better part of the last decade as the frontman of the smart pop band Get Him Eat Him, who released several albums on the fine, now-defunct Absolutely Kosher; he’s since joined the long-running indiepop band Kleenex Girl Wonder, and has begun work on a number of singles.
Franklin Bruno, recently named the music editor at the Los Angeles Review of Books, has both series academic credentials and a fine ear as a songwriter. He’s written about music for years, and has also released a number of acclaimed albums with Nothing Painted Blue, The Human Hearts, and The Extra Lens—the latter of which is a collaboration with Mountain Goats mainstay John Darnielle.
With Ital’s Hive Mind earning rave reviews, Martin-McCormick’s lengthy and wide-ranging discography
(he’s also a current member of the duo Mi Ami, and a former member of Black Eyes.) You might also know him from his reviews in Dusted, including looks at albums from Matthew Herbert and Walter Gibbons.
Amy Klein, of the bands hilly eye and Amy Klein and the Blue Star Band, and until recently the guitarist of Titus Andronicus, also writes regularly on matters cultural and political. Part of her online Titus Andronicus tour diary appeared in the 2011 edition of the Best Music Writing anthology, and she’s also documented the Coachella festival from a different perspective than most.
Eric Davidson is the vocalist for the long-running punk band New Bomb Turks; he’s also written for the likes of the Village Voice and CMJ. In 2010, he wrote a book on the garage-punk scene, We Never Learn: The Gunk Punk Undergut, 1988-2001, which came complete with a compilation featuring many of the bands discussed in the book. His presence as a participant in the same scene that he documents in his book lends it an immediacy not often found in histories of this type — a quality it shares with Girls to the Front, Sara Marcus’s book on riot grrl.
Though Brannon recently announced his retirement from music writing, Brannon has long balanced coverage of wide range of music with an equally varied musical resume. His mid-90s zine Anti-Matter showed many readers how to balance a love of punk rock with listening habits that veered outside of narrow categories, and his subsequent coverage of everything from punk rock to house music echo the discography of someone who can both pull off a terrific dance remix and played guitar in Texas is the Reason. And even when he’s not engaging in traditional music writing, music still informs much of what he writes, such as this essay on Patrick Stump’s recent work.