Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

Justin Cober-Lake

Justin Cober-Lake lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, with his wife, kids, and dog. His writing has appeared in a number of places, including Stylus, Paste, Chord, and Trouser Press. His work made its first appearance on CD with the release of Todd Goodman’s first symphony, Fields of Crimson. He’s recently co-founded the literary fly-fishing journal Rise Forms.


Tuesday, May 18 2010

Now Hear This!: mewithoutYou [Philadelphia, PA]

It's unlikely that a post-hardcore band that transformed into an indie-pop act while filling out its complex religious and philosophical traditions would have made the best album of 2009.

Sunday, August 16 2009

Three Days, Forty Years, Six Discs

It's the enticing performances of the smaller acts -- and not the explosions of the big ones -- that made Woodstock such a singular event.

Wednesday, April 2 2008

Salim Nourallah [Dallas, Texas]

Despite intense familiy struggles, Salim Nourallah has truly blossomed into his own as one of the most talented musicians in a too-often overlooked scene.

Friday, August 31 2007

Flower Power: Stepping Back From the Past

After years of talking about how great this music is, it's time we started actually listening to it. For example, does a song sound like the year 1968, or does it sound like Deep Purple?

Thursday, November 9 2006

Our Story Is a Perennial One: An Interview with Pete Townshend

With a new Who album out, Townshend talks about connectedness, the joys and perils of technology, and his thoughts on songwriting.


Thursday, May 24 2007

Little Punk Babies

As Evelyn McDonnell's new book illustrates, motherhood should be neither something done on the side, nor something that pushes everything else away, and it's that balance that our culture and government can be striving for.

Tuesday, January 9 2007

Honey Hush

Popular songs like Da Muzicianz' 'Hush' suggests that it's not only okay, but romantic and positive to assume to know what a woman wants, and to act in her best interests, while she may not say otherwise.

Tuesday, June 20 2006

Talk of the Town

Cober-Lake speaks with Chris Pugmire of the Seattle band Shoplifting about politics' place in punk rock, the role of men in feminism, and the dangerous power of language.

Thursday, May 11 2006

It's Different for Girls

Rounder Records' new tween collective, a manufactured group of girls with inflexibly 'distinct personalities', is little more than harmless fun for a very specific target market. But what potential effects will Girl Authority have on the developing identity of its audience?

Monday, March 20 2006

Gag Order

Pink takes on the popular stupid girls, but only a little.


Tuesday, April 7 2015

The Mountain Goats: Beat the Champ

The Mountain Goats follow up albums about divorce, heartbreak, and scripture with one about professional wrestling.

Monday, March 9 2015

River City Extension: Deliverance

River City Extension almost gets there, and that's the problem.

Thursday, November 20 2014

The Who: Who Hits 50!

It's not a perfect intro nor a set for the hardcore, but this anniversary set shows the Who are still vital after 50 years.

Thursday, August 21 2014

Bishop Allen: Lights Out

At their best, Bishop Allen develop a time and a place through memorable hooks and high craft, but they just can't sustain it for the whole album.

Monday, August 4 2014

Jim Roll: The Continuing Adventures of the Butterfly Kid

It's a rare album that's fun on its first spin for its hooks and revelatory on subsequent listens through its language.

Califone: Stitches [15.Sep.13]
Jason Moran: Ten [7.Oct.10]
Z-Trip: All Pro [18.Jul.07]
NOMO: New Tones [8.May.06]
Clearlake: Amber [23.Jan.06]
Luna: Rendezvous [24.Oct.04]
Dufus: 1:3:1 [9.Dec.03]
Clearlake: Cedars [10.Nov.03]


Tuesday, February 7 2012

Azure Blue Harkens Back to the '80s with "Seasons"

Performing as Azure Blue, Tobias Isaksson looks back to the 1980s for much of his sound on his new release Rule of Thirds.

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