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

A still from Casket Girls' "Tears of a Clown" video. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

All Songs TV

Casket Girls' New Song Is A Protest Song

The eerie Savannah, Ga pop band wants to express its rage with the current state of our culture.

Japanese Breakfast in a scene for her new video for the song "Jane Cum" Courtesy Of The Artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy Of The Artist

All Songs TV

Japanese Breakfast Shares A New Video

Japanese Breakfast, a.k.a. Michelle Zauner, crafts a creepy video to match the drama of her music.

Lucius performing at the live 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. Colin Marshall/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Colin Marshall/NPR

Front Row

Watch Lucius, Live In Concert

Watch Lucius bring its vibrant pop spectacle to the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C.

Gorgon City performs live in the studio for KCRW. Davis Bell/KCRW hide caption

toggle caption Davis Bell/KCRW

Favorite Sessions

Gorgon City, 'Love Me' (Live)

KCRW

Watch the U.K. house duo premiere its new track, "Love Me," for KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic.

The Kills perform live for KCRW. Dustin Downing/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Dustin Downing/Courtesy of the artist

Favorite Sessions

The Kills, 'Doing It To Death' (Live)

The rock duo plays with musical tension in a throbbing, riff-heavy song, live in KCRW's studio.

Back To Top