Marginal Utility
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When shopping nirvana shrivels away like the mega mall growing incrementally smaller behind you at the end of a long day, and buyer's remorse begins gnawing at your nerves, and you begin to fret the futility of it all, Rob Horning's blog, "Marginal Utility", steps in to stimulate your woefully neglected neocortex. Read, laugh, weep, but above all: realize. You'll feel smarter again in no time.
More Recent Features

9 Sep 2003 // 12:00 AM

Warren Zevon outlived his doctor's diagnosis by several months. Originally, all he claimed he wanted to do was live to see the next James Bond film; instead, he turned 'four months left to live' into an entire year.

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9 Sep 2003 // 12:00 AM

  Homecoming 2003 or How I Ended Up Onstage With Iggy and the Stooges In 1967, a young, aspiring bluesman named Jim Osterberg left his hometown of

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The Star SpanglesPhoto credit: Howard Thompson The Smithereens   Something Old, Something New . . . A headlining appearance by the Smithereens would have been appropriate 15 years ago.

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9 Sep 2003 // 12:00 AM

Photo credit: John Ballon S E T    L I S T Your Mind and We Belong TogetherOrange SkiesMy Little Red BookAlone Again OrA

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9 Sep 2003 // 12:00 AM

Photo credit: Roger Sargent   The Libertines faced a number of obstacles before they even set foot on stage at Irving Plaza. For one, they

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Photo credit: Bill Groll   The Continental Club is an old hangout on the south side of Austin, the part of town where people believe

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9 Sep 2003 // 12:00 AM

:. e-mail this article:. print this article:. comment on this article Dave Gahan, known the world ‘round as the lead singer of seminal synth-pop band Depeche

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9 Sep 2003 // 12:00 AM

24: Season 2

'This is a red meat show. People kill people and go eat a sandwich right after.'

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9 Sep 2003 // 12:00 AM

Nobody’s Fool (1994)

Paul Newman plays Donald 'Sully' Sullivan, a shiftless 60-year-old forever dodging his responsibilities.

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9 Sep 2003 // 12:00 AM

Lost in La Mancha (2002)

What will most surely whet fans' appetites are the DVD's two 50-minute interviews with Terry Gilliam.

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9 Sep 2003 // 12:00 AM

Identity (2003)

As James Mangold neatly puts it, these characters are running along 'a kind of Möbius strip of hell.'"

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9 Sep 2003 // 12:00 AM

Double Vision (Shuang Tong) (2002)

Shows how the struggle to see and know is an increasingly complex and global one.

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9 Sep 2003 // 12:00 AM

The Day of the Dolphin (1973)

Jake is a '70s-style father, kindly but determined to teach worthy lessons even when he feels his child/dolphin's pain.

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9 Sep 2003 // 12:00 AM

The Core (2003)

While the film probably can't be recuperated, Jon Amiel's commentary on the DVD works some wonders of its own.

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9 Sep 2003 // 12:00 AM

Bulletproof Monk (2003)

'The big challenge we faced in the beginning is that, in the comic book, the Bulletproof Monk really isn't in the comic.'"

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7 Sep 2003 // 10:00 PM

	Nate Sallie: Inside Out

The bio says that Nate Sallie‘s path musically was something that probably wasn’t the main thing on his list of career opportunities. A

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7 Sep 2003 // 10:00 PM

	Enon: Hocus Pocus

Enon make music as gaudy and as busy as their record sleeves. Their roots are in such radically diverse sounds (Brainiac and Blonde Redhead, among

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7 Sep 2003 // 10:00 PM

	eastmountainsouth: self-titled

Sometimes an artist’s background is ripe with quirky anecdotes; the sort of thing that makes for a fun transition between the bio and the

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7 Sep 2003 // 10:00 PM

	Regina Carter: Paganini: After a Dream

Regina Carter hit the newsstands at the end of 2001 by becoming the first non-Classical musician and first African American to play the renowned Paganini violin “

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	June Carter Cash: Wildwood Flower

“What June did for me was post signs along the way, lift me when I was weak, encourage me when I was discouraged, and love

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7 Sep 2003 // 10:00 PM

	Tim Bluhm: The Soft Adventure EP/Colts

Musicians are often criticized for appropriating identities naturally alien to them. A kid from the suburbs singing about the anxieties of city life can be

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7 Sep 2003 // 10:00 PM

	Blue Series Continuum: The GoodandEvil Sessions

The eclectic jazzmen recording for the Thirsty Ear label have spent the last few years as musical mad scientists of sorts. Toiling away in the

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	Various Artists: Matinee 50

Matinee Records is one of the finer purveyors of indie pop currently in the game. Based out of California but specializing in primarily British music

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4 Sep 2003 // 10:00 PM

	You Am I: Deliverance

Australia’s You Am I have been at the music game for about a decade, but it seems like much longer. That impression is hardly

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4 Sep 2003 // 10:00 PM

	Loudon Wainwright III: So Damn Happy

To find the comedy in tragedy is the mark of a mature talent. Loudon Wainwright III has it in spades. When you marry a gift

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4 Sep 2003 // 10:00 PM

	The Stills: Rememberese

The Stills stand at indie music’s paradox of popularity: they’ve reached the threshold of being hip, but they now teeter on the brink

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4 Sep 2003 // 10:00 PM

	Swell: Bastards & Rarities 1989-1994

It’s a good thing that Swell has attached the years 1989-1994 onto the end of the title of this collection of b-sides. If they

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4 Sep 2003 // 10:00 PM

Pulp: Hits

Pulp have a greatest hits record, and it’s about goddamned time. The enigmatic group, fronted by the inimitable Jarvis Cocker, are by far the oldest and wisest of the Britpop behemoths.

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	Junior Senior: D-d-don’t Don’t Stop the Beat

This review needs to do a lot of things. Let’s list them out. 1. Mention that Junior Senior is a Danish dance-pop duo and that

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	The Darkness: Permission to Land

You really start to notice how badly people crave simple, idiotic, happy rock music when you see how many of them are actually paying to

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	The Black Heart Procession: Hearts and Tanks

Some kind of riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma is going on here. Whatever is wrong with this picture seems “wrong” on so

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4 Sep 2003 // 12:00 AM

Fans are forming their own entertainment subcultures, creating their own distinct meanings, and, to steal a phrase from the IWW, creating a 'new society within the shell of the old.'

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4 Sep 2003 // 12:00 AM

Many (children) continue to live with their parents into their thirties and consume the family's savings in college tuition, sumptuous weddings, expensive divorces, and parasitic habits.

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Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star (2003)

David Spade movies are pathetic by definition.

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4 Sep 2003 // 12:00 AM

The Battle of Shaker Heights (2003)

One minute, it's a bumbling adolescent romance; the next, it's a family melodrama; and at still another, it's a schoolboy caper flick.

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3 Sep 2003 // 10:00 PM

	Rima: This World

Domu (Dominic Stanton) is from London and has been building up a solid CV as a DJ and producer within broken-beat and similarly fashionable circles.

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	Phantom Tollbooth: Beard of Lightning

You can call Bob Pollard a lot of things, but lazy isn’t one of them. Pollard, the singer, songwriter, and overpowering force behind Guided

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	Patrick Park: Loneliness Knows My Name

Hollywood has long been referred to as high school with money. The music industry, by comparison, is considered junior high school with money. To me,

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3 Sep 2003 // 10:00 PM

	MC5: Kick out the Jams

The year was 1968 and America was on the brink of socio-political upheaval. Two of its brightest visionaries, Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy, had

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3 Sep 2003 // 10:00 PM

	Kenna: New Sacred Cow

Connecting the dots of Fred Durst, Duran Duran, and the Neptunes into a coherent musical picture isn’t an easy task—but the Ethiopian-born synth-funk

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	Jane’s Addiction: Strays

Over two decades ago, Jane’s Addiction emerged from the convoluted punk/metal/glam Los Angeles scene as a ball of mutated sights and sounds.

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	I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House: Put Here to Bleed

Nashville schtickmeister Toby Keith might sing about the Angry American, but he’s got nothing on Portland, Oregon’s Mike D. As the singer/chief

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3 Sep 2003 // 10:00 PM

	BT: Emotional Technology

Far be it from me or any critic to trash an artist for pushing the envelope. But BT doesn’t so much push the envelope

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One thing investigative journalist Greg Palast is not is some blow-dried cream puff crowing the party line on CNN or Fox News. While America has

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2 Sep 2003 // 10:00 PM

	Beth Thornley: self-titled

There’s a fresh new female voice on the rock scene that takes the stage with a confident sense of self and melody enhanced by

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	The New Amsterdams: Worse for the Wear

Worse for the Wear, the third full-length from Get Up Kid Matt Pryor’s side project the New Amsterdams is aggressively hooky and listenable—as

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2 Sep 2003 // 10:00 PM

	Peter Gabriel: So (SACD)

In 1986, Peter Gabriel was thrust into the unlikeliest of positions. He had been such an excellent cult artist that he had simply outgrown his small

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2 Sep 2003 // 10:00 PM

	Five Deez: Kinkynasti

When the first album from Cincinnati’s Five Deez came out, I gave it about 20 minutes, thinking, “Hmm. Techno-hop. Interesting”, before unceremoniously shelving it. When

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	Bill Frisell: The Intercontinentals

The course that Bill Frisell has taken since his 1997 album Nashville has proven vexing to many who were originally pulled in by the guitarist’s

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2 Sep 2003 // 10:00 PM

	Fats Domino: Blues Kingpins

When rock and roll burst onto America’s cultural landscape in the 1950s, it probably looked to most Northerners like it had simply appeared out

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2 Sep 2003 // 10:00 PM

Cowboy Mouth: Uh-Oh

If the energy of Cowboy Mouth‘s live shows could be bottled up, it would knock Prozac off the shelves. They’re not so much

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2 Sep 2003 // 12:00 AM

The ferocity of tone against gay marriage heartens me as much as it makes me want to barbed wire my front yard.

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2 Sep 2003 // 12:00 AM

Photo credit: Luisa Cinta As if he weren’t already enough of a cipher, Smog’s Bill Callahan has now started cloaking his stage name

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2 Sep 2003 // 12:00 AM

S E T    L I S T 6’1”Polyester BrideRock MeDivorce SongHelp Me MaryExtraordinaryFuck and RunFavoriteJohnny FeelgoodWhy Can’t I?Red Light FeverSupernovaFlower So

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2 Sep 2003 // 12:00 AM

S E T    L I S T Free for AllWango TangoStormtroopin’Snakeskin CowboyWang Dang Sweet PoontangKlstrphnkyRawdogs & WarhogsCraveI Won’t Go AwayHey BabyJust

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2 Sep 2003 // 12:00 AM

“What is Iceland like?” I asked a sea-faring friend of mine a few hours before I was to see a performance by Múm. “Imagine

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2 Sep 2003 // 12:00 AM

Photo credit: Jason King I have this great housesitting gig in the middle of nowhere. But, unfortunately, the rural isolation inflames my latent misanthropy. Silence

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2 Sep 2003 // 12:00 AM

Ledward Kaapana Bob Brozman The Birchmere in Alexandria, Virginia, has been the scene of many momentous performances over the years, but few could compare with

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2 Sep 2003 // 12:00 AM

:. e-mail this article:. print this article:. comment on this article It’s a glum little venue, the Fireside Bowl. League nights were traded for rock

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Photo credit: Valeria Zalaquett Strings Attached: De La Guarda 10 Years On The language is not intellectual, it goes straight to the body, to the senses,

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2 Sep 2003 // 12:00 AM

The Whole Bean

What comes through on this DVD set is Mr. Bean's staunch dedication to childishness, in the best possible sense.

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2 Sep 2003 // 12:00 AM

Profiler: Season One

Profiler's first season was, for the most part, terrific -- innovative, socially progressive, emotionally complex.

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The Best of Designing Women

The situation introduced at the start of each episode served as a catalyst for the women's discussions about issues that mattered to them, namely, their bodies, sex, and men.

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2 Sep 2003 // 12:00 AM

I’m Going Home (2001)

Explores the ageless, ceaseless, and fruitless desire to find a place of peace.

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2 Sep 2003 // 12:00 AM

The Europeans (1979)

The Europeans revisits the usual Merchant Ivory themes, most notably, culture clashes and individual desires to 'connect'.

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2 Sep 2003 // 12:00 AM

The Devil Commands (1941)

Presents a concrete fear of technology blurring the line between life and death.

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1 Sep 2003 // 12:00 AM

Smoking Gun TV

When bad TV happens to good websites, the result is something like The Smoking Gun TV.

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1 Sep 2003 // 12:00 AM

Playmakers

Boring, sexist, and racist: a lethal combination.

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1 Sep 2003 // 12:00 AM

My Life As a Teenage Robot

Teenage Robot is light comedy laced with loving techno-fetishism.

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29 Aug 2003 // 12:00 AM

The Italian Job (2003)

As soon as John utters the words 'last job' to his darling girl, his fate (like the film's) is sealed.

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28 Aug 2003 // 10:00 PM

Neil Young: Greendale

Greendale should be seen as nothing less than a serious achievement by an artist who has never been content to simply rest on his past glories—an achievement worthy of even more acclaim in a culture where nostalgia outweighs iconoclasm on a daily basis.

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	McCoy Tyner, Bobby Hutcherson, Charnett Moffett, Eric Harland: Land of Giants

Everything about this album feels just right. From the initial piano-vibes motif on “Serro Do Mar” to the exquisite reading of “In a Mellow Tone”

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	Simply Saucer: Cyborgs Revisited

It boggles the mind how one of the greatest recordings in Canadian rock ‘n’ roll history originated from the rooftop of a shopping mall. While

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28 Aug 2003 // 10:00 PM

Pole: self-titled

Pole might throw you for a loop if you’re overly attached to the “Pole sound” of the past, but that might be a good thing. It’s an album about forward motion and learning.

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28 Aug 2003 // 10:00 PM

	Peter Gabriel: Peter Gabriel [3] (SACD)

By 1980, the future of Peter Gabriel‘s solo career seemed to be very mysterious indeed. After a strange and messy debut that didn’t exactly

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	Holly Golightly: Truly She Is None Other

For those hip to the neo-garage scene, Holly Golightly has lately been the go-to girl for guest vocals; she turned in a well-received spot on

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	Jeff Buckley: Live at Sin-é [Deluxe Edition]

Jeff Buckley was a singular talent, or at least he had the potential to become one. Of his “finished” work, we received exactly one album—1994’

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28 Aug 2003 // 12:00 AM

Thirteen (2003)

As the girls have picked up from every cultural sign around them, sex is a route to adulthood, but it's also an ordeal.

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28 Aug 2003 // 12:00 AM

My Boss’s Daughter (2002)

Bring on the vile humor and mindless embarrassment.

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28 Aug 2003 // 12:00 AM

Jeepers Creepers 2 (2003)

The bus breaks down and the adults are one by one grabbed up and whisked into the sky, screaming.

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27 Aug 2003 // 10:00 PM

Warren Zevon: The Wind

The Wind is the most unusual of gifts, in this case a final album from a very twisted songwriter, a collection recorded after receiving the most dreadful news, that his life could be over in a few months.

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	The Libertines: I Get Along EP

It’s a tad early to start making music industry predictions for 2004, but to these eyes and ears, there seems to be a shift back

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	The Heavenly States: self-titled

The Heavenly States have recorded a split 7” single with a little known band from England called Coldplay. That should be more than enough to generate

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	Division of Laura Lee: Black City

Okay, so Black City came out a year ago, but the cynic in me gets the feeling that Swedish-garagesters Division of Laura Lee is one

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27 Aug 2003 // 10:00 PM

	Broadway Project: The Vessel

If you’ve ever played the excellent Silent Hill series of video games, you understand how troubling prolonged misery and confusion in a work of

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27 Aug 2003 // 10:00 PM

	Adom: Idiot Savant

It’s not particularly unusual or odd when a British group records an album in the US. In fact, most prominent UK acts inevitably wind

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The charm and fashion sense of the Fab Five also eludes some members and/or advocates of the gay community.

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27 Aug 2003 // 12:00 AM

The truth is, Lara doesn't know who she is anymore, and neither does anyone else. Is she a film star, a role model, a video game avatar or all three?

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27 Aug 2003 // 12:00 AM

White Zombie: Anatomy of a Horror Film by Gary Don Rhodes

The 1932 film White Zombie has been hailed by some as classic horror and derided by others as an incompetent mess. In fact, it is both.

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27 Aug 2003 // 12:00 AM

Vicious Spring by Hollis Hampton-Jones

Hollis Hampton-Jones has produced a svelte, trendy book that is reminiscent of the anything-goes tradition of porno-chic.

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27 Aug 2003 // 12:00 AM

Ten Little Indians by Sherman Alexie

Alexie's latest collection of stories and the best writing he's done since the critically acclaimed The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.

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27 Aug 2003 // 12:00 AM

April Witch by Majgull Axelsson

One of the strangest and most ambitious books in recent memory.

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26 Aug 2003 // 10:00 PM

George Usher Group: Fire Garden

George Usher is a quiet pop poet, a songwriting veteran with decades of experience who takes pride in his craft and great pains to marry the right words and music.

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	Niall & Cillian Vallely: Callan Bridge

Niall and Cillian Vallely can make some very beautiful music when their schedules allow. The sons of Brian and Eithne Vallely, who founded the Armagh

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26 Aug 2003 // 10:00 PM

	Dudley Perkins: A Lil’ Light

Like Bruce Banner and Clark Kent, Dudley Perkins is more than he claims to be. Though he here operates under his birth name, he’s

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26 Aug 2003 // 10:00 PM

	Danilo Perez: . . . Till Then

“(Then) there is the song which inspires a story that you yourself can tell. This song asks you how you feel.” Joshua Redman was talking

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	Marilyn Manson: The Golden Age of Grotesque

Defending his intention to vote for George W. Bush in the 2000 presidential election, Marilyn Manson went on record as such: “I think music and all

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	Raymond Myles: Taste of Heaven

There is something a little sad about this set. On the evidence here, Raymond Myles had a gospel voice to match any of the great

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	The Moving Units: self-titled

It’s a very common mental illness amongst music critics to learn to hate their indie treasures once they become popular. The phenomenon is a

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Whitesnake Warrant S E T    L I S T WHITESNAKE SET LISTBad BoysSlow an’ EasyLove Ain’t No StrangerThe Deeper the LoveJudgment DayCryin’

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More Recent Features
//Mixed media
//Blogs

Beyoncé and When Music Writing Becomes Activism

// Sound Affects

"The overall response to Beyoncé's "Formation" has been startlingly positive, but mostly for reasons attached to political agendas. It's time to investigate this trend.

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