brendan halpin


I was looking over my recent Bandcamp purchases and noticed that most of them happen to be bands with women singers. I didn’t set out to do this as some kind of project—it just so happened that these were the bands I was most interested in supporting. Maybe because women have been historically represented not only in the genres I like most (punk, power pop, garage rock, metal) but also in my own music collection? In any case, it makes a nice theme to tie together a post about some great music I’ve bought on Bandcamp! Buy tomorrow, May 3, and the artists will get an even bigger cut of the purchase price!


I went to my first metal show last night! Well, I guess it was the second if you count that year that Ozzfest was free.

I grew up listening to punk, which is sort of metal-adjacent, but the mainstream conquered punk in 1991, whereas the more extreme versions of metal remain pretty stubbornly un-commercial. I mean, I assume some of these bands make a living making their art, but nobody’s getting rich making black metal.

I’m drawn to art that gathers in misfits, as punk did when I was a kid, and so I have been slowly working my way into metal. I like the theatricality and the musicianship, but I’d still consider myself an outsider to the scene. (I mean, also I’m old as fuck, so). So this is pretty much going to be an outsider’s view of a metal show. Which means I don’t know all the proper names of the sub-sub-sub genres, for one thing, so don’t yell at me about that. Okay, off we go!


I’ve started my own reading challenge! I call it “read all the books you’ve picked up on the street or from little free libraries or from book sales or gifts before you read anything else!” Catchy, right?

First up is a book I think I got on the street when someone was moving or just cleaning out their bookshelves. It’s Tearing Down the Wall of Sound: The Rise and Fall of Phil Spector by Mick Brown.