“Garage Rock”: Let's All Stop Abusing the Term

Will everyone please stop misusing the term “garage rock”?

The phrase — which once referred to maladjusted social deviants conjuring the feral essence of rock 'n' roll — is now used by fans and critics alike to indicate any group of vintage retail employees recording mild pop music on a low-tech tape machine. When did perky summertime positivity and stoned kitten admiration replace damaged screeds that obliterated VU meters and explored the fringe of rock's primal potential? And who let this happen?

Granted, pop has its own insidious appeal. Syrupy hooks with no frills can satiate a certain desire in almost any human's psyche. We do not mean to disparage pop groups in any sense. It's the classification of pop bands as garage bands — and the increasing encroachment of pop and psychedelic tropes upon traditionally savage music — that we object to.

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