Favorite Sessions

Public Image Ltd.: Re-imagining Eden

In the immediate wake of The Sex Pistols' dramatic 1978 breakup, John Lydon shed his "Johnny Rotten" persona and emerged with Public Image Ltd., a new band whose dark, strange sound defined the new direction the U.K. music scene would soon pursue. Post-punk — less a genre than a loose and eclectic coalition of arty, angry and cerebral aesthetic impulses — viewed the scorched-earth sonic violence of the 1977 punk explosion as fertile breeding ground for new sounds (a direct inversion of the Pistols' "no future" ethos).

On early albums like First Issue and Metal Box, PiL crafted a singular style of droning, avant-garde guitar rock, heavily informed by the atmospheric production of Jamaican dub reggae, the repetitive rhythms of disco and the studio experimentation of '70s krautrock. Lydon's jagged rants and wails provided the emotional and intellectual core of a sound that proved massively influential, and remains potent to this day. The band continued recording into the early '90s, undergoing countless personnel shifts as Lydon remained PiL's only constant member.

After a 17-year hiatus, Lydon reformed the group for a brief live stint in 2009. The new lineup, featuring late-'80s PiL vets and new members, proved a success, and in the last few years Lydon and company have toured extensively — and even returned to the recording studio. Earlier this spring, they released their first new full-length album in nearly two decades, This Is PiL, on their own label PiL Official.

Credits
  • Photos/Video: Nate Ryan
  • Audio: Michael DeMark
[+] read more[-] less

More From Rock

Agnes Obel performs live for KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic. Larry Hirshowitz/KCRW hide caption

toggle caption Larry Hirshowitz/KCRW

Favorite Sessions

Agnes Obel, 'Familiar' (Live)

KCRW

The Danish singer performs a song from her gorgeously intimate new record, Citizen Of Glass.

Fawn is Anne Malin Ringwalt and William Johnson. Courtesy of the artist. hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist.

Music

First Watch: Fawn, 'Good Earth'

The Boston-based duo Fawn explores love, sexuality and spirituality in a twisted new song and video.

Alvvays, performing live at Pickathon Woods Stage. Bill Purcell/opbmusic hide caption

toggle caption Bill Purcell/opbmusic

All Songs TV

Alvvays, 'Next Of Kin' (Live)

opbmusic.org

The Canadian band brings infectious energy and danceable jangle pop to the Woods Stage.

Lucinda Williams performs at Lincoln Center Out Of Doors. Ebru Yildiz for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Ebru Yildiz for NPR

Front Row

Lucinda Williams, Live In Concert

Watch the legendary singer-songwriter perform a three-song set at Damrosch Park in New York City.

Back To Top