Sep 232014
 

They Say It’s Your Birthday celebrates an artist’s special day with other people singing his or her songs. Let others do the work for a while. Happy birthday!

When it comes to religion and spirituality, I still haven’t found what I’m looking for. The paint-by-numbers elements of most religious rituals leave me cold. I am not moved by scripture, nor am I frightened by hellfire and brimstone preachers – all fury, self-righteousness, and condemnation, their empty words matched by their outstretched empty palms.

In my darker and much more cynical moments, I wrestle with the notion of a human soul. Does a soul really exist, or is it something that we conjured up to serve as a salve?

And then I remember Bruce Springsteen.
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Oct 192010
 

If you’re a big fan of Bad Religion, you should know this about me up front: I had no idea that they were as influential as they apparently are. I knew them simply as a decent punk band that, for reasons I didn’t fully appreciate, seemed to be on constant rotation on my hometown radio station. So you can imagine my confusion when I heard that a pretty solid lineup featuring the likes of Tegan and Sara, Switchfoot, Ted Leo, the Weakerthans, and others were covering their favorite Bad Religion songs for the tribute album Germs of Perfection: A Tribute to Bad Religion. “Does the world need this?” I wondered.

As it turns out, I was kind of an idiot. Bad Religion’s been around for 31 years—as in, since 1979. Their guitarist for most of that time has been Brett Gurewitz, founder and owner of Epitaph Records and affiliates ANTI-, Burning Heart Records, Fat Possum Records, and Hellcat Records. Germs of Perfection, which was released by SPIN and MySpace Music as a free download today, commemorates the 30-year anniversary of Epitaph, which is as good a reason as any for such a tribute. Continue reading »

Oct 012010
 

Last year SPIN.com gave the world Purplish Rain, one of the best cover albums of 2009. Now, as a part of their celebration of Epitaph Records’ thirtieth birthday, the magazine/website curates another album of all new covers. Germs of Perfection: A Tribute to Bad Religion doesn’t drop until October 19th, but they’ve started debuting tunes online. We’ve got our three favorites below; hear the other two (by Cobra Skulls and Polar Bear Club) along with band commentary on all five at SPIN.com.

A seemingly unlikely choice for a Bad Religion comp, Tegan and Sara strip back “Suffer” to a quiet acoustic duet. New Politics hit a bit harder on “Generator,” adding reggae flair to the punk attack. Frank Turner brings it back down on “My Poor Friend Me” with jaunty finger-picking and some sad-sack laments. Continue reading »