Riffs for The Apocalypse

PERFORMER: MIDNIGHT OIL

ALBUM: EARTH AND SUN AND MOON

LABEL: COLUMBIA RECORDS

THE BOTTOM LINE: An activist message grafted to a buoyant rock beat produces Mad Max music you can dance to.

In an era when anomie and rage masquerade as meaning for most rock bands, it's easy to forget that progressive politics and music once resonated to the same social vibrations. That has never been a problem for Midnight Oil, the Australian outfit with a knack for turning its ideals into pop anthems for the common man. In the group's 1988 hit, Beds Are Burning, singer Peter Garrett warned: "The...

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