A Lester Bangs tribute 

Lester Bangs, the great rock critic, died 30 years ago this week. His voice still echoes through the halls of criticism, even though he could be lazy and trite at times and even though he often contradicted himself. He's still the only rock critic most non-music dorks can name, perhaps because Philip Seymour Hoffman played him in Almost Famous or because his name was Lester Bangs rather than Greil Marcus. Bangs's work appeared in Rolling Stone, Creem and The Village Voice. His Beat-influenced writing could be ranty, nonsensical, seemingly off-topic and ... beautiful. He was a true fan, the kind who argued that the Shaggs were greater than the Beatles. He had beefs with rock stars and became one in his own right. A critic of his ilk might never exist again in any art form. It's hard to imagine The New Yorker's Sasha Frere-Jones smashing a typewriter onstage with Jay-Z, as Bangs did with the J. Geils Band in '74. Whether it was the burly black mustache, the excess or the fights with Lou Reed, Bangs did the things most critics secretly desire: alter the culture and start arguments that may never end. The following reviews are our homage to the man.

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