A Brief History of Redlining

Noise and distortion are hardly rock 'n' roll novelties. From the earliest days, the art movement has depended upon amplification and electronics to help deliver sonic booms, the better to pummel young audiences and annoy elders. But there have always been a few performers willing to crank things up past 11, exploiting the limits of technology in order to rattle bones and bust eardrums, the kind of sound terrorists who aren't satisfied until the producer starts warning them about needles dipping into the red (although plenty of producers encourage such redlining).

From blues performers blowing out amps (Pat Hare on James Cotton's 1954 "Cotton Crop Blues" practically invented heavy metal guitar) through high-energy '60s outfits (Blue Cheer), ...Expand ยป

Noise and distortion are hardly rock 'n' roll novelties. From the earliest days, the art movement has depended upon amplification and electronics to help deliver sonic booms, the better to pummel young audiences and annoy elders. But there have always been a few performers willing to crank things up past 11, exploiting the limits of technology in order to rattle bones and bust eardrums, the kind of sound terrorists who aren't satisfied until the producer starts warning them about needles dipping into the red (although plenty of producers encourage such redlining).

From blues performers blowing out amps (Pat Hare on James Cotton's 1954 "Cotton Crop Blues" practically invented heavy metal guitar) through high-energy '60s outfits (Blue Cheer), from lo-fi metal (Venom) to geezers out-blasting youngsters (Neil Young) and electronica out-blasting rock (Aphex Twin's explosive "Ventolin"), up into the ongoing "volume wars" of today (who's louder, Sleigh Bells or Skrillex?), this playlist offers up any number of ways to destroy your speakers. Feel free to adjust your volume knob.

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