Growing up in North London in the 1960s and '70s, Viv Albertine never dreamed that one day she'd be a rock star. For one thing, she says, "There [were] just no role models ... I never heard of anyone, any female playing guitar."
Growing up, punk rocker Laura Jane Grace always felt conflicted about gender. She tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that she felt like two "twin souls" were warring inside of her, fighting for control. "I thought that I was quite possibly schizophrenic," she says.
Punk rock lives on the debut album by a new trio, Ex Hex. The album is called Rips, and it's at once a throwback to bands like the Ramones and the sound of something new. Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker says the three women who make up Ex Hex have created an exhilaratingly energetic piece of work.
Parquet Courts is a Brooklyn by way of Texas band that has just released its new third record, Sunbathing Animal. The quartet has drawn comparisons to New York rock and punk acts as various as the Velvet Underground, the New York Dolls, and Sonic Youth, but rock critic Ken Tucker says this album proves Parquet Courts is an original.
Over the course of 40 years, Iggy Pop has changed from a noisy brat with seemingly no chance at stardom to a widely respected founder of punk. A new box set, Roadkill Rising, collects many of his unreleased bootlegs.
Tucker, a founding member of the band Sleater-Kinney, is back with a new group, The Corin Tucker Band, and an album called 1,000 Years. Rock critic Ken Tucker says the record has an "air of heavy but often beautiful melancholy."
The Plimsouls, an L.A.-based band led by singer-songwriter Peter Case, performed extensively during the early '80s. The new release of a Plimsouls performance from Oct. 31, 1981 (called Live! Beg Borrow and Steal) leaves critic Ken Tucker feeling freshly enthusiastic about the continued vitality of The Plimsouls' music.
Best known as founder and frontman for the Los Angeles punk band X, musician John Doe has always had a weakness for country music — and X's sound, in fact, sometimes had a twang to it. After that band's dissolution, Doe explored his countrified yearnings further, and in recent years he's turned in some eminently satisfying roots rock. With Country Club, Doe dives headlong into the genre, collaborating with the Canadian band the Sadies on a collection of classic covers originally recorded by titans like Merle Haggard, Tammy Wynette and Willie Nelson.