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After several years in the early ‘90s spent in the burgeoning Chicago alternative scene self-releasing audio cassettes under the name Girly Sound, LIZ PHAIR signed with the independent label Matador Records and unleashed her now legendary debut album. Exile in Guyville, a pissed off, wickedly articulate feminist counterpunch to the Stones’ Exile on Main St., remains “one of the sharpest, boldest rock albums of its era, or any era.” (Chicago Tribune) It has been ranked by Rolling Stone as one of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, and two and a half decades after its release, Phair’s influence on female voices in alternative music is still pronounced.
From his early days in the NYC hardcore punk world of the ‘80s and ‘90s, to forays into power pop, to the more mellow territory of his collaboration with Aimee Mann, the hard-to-pin-down TED LEO is “one of rock’s last great intellectual populists.” (Pitchfork) He founded TED LEO AND THE PHARMACISTS in 1999, and the five records they released—from 2001’s The Tyranny of Distance through 2010’s Brutalist Bricks—helped to define the intersection of indie rock and punk.
A recent Brooklyn transplant, CAROLINE ROSE—“impish energy, plenty of venom” (Rolling Stone)—has made waves with her darkly comic, hook-filled second album Loner, a record, as she puts it, “as much inspired by Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears as it was late ‘70s punk.”