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

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Friday, Mar 28, 2014
And I know you'll never believe I play this as though I’m all right. If life is but a dream, then wake me up. The latest from Queens of the Stone is this week’s Counterbalance.

Mendelsohn: There are a couple of things from my formative years that I still find myself drawn to, despite my better judgment. I’ve long since moved away from the shock rock, the gratuitous riffage, and mindless jabbering of so many of the hard rock, neo-hard rock, alternative rock, industrial rock, and metal bands whose posters used to hang on teenage Mendelsohn’s walls. And yet I sometimes find myself gravitating to those musical elements that, for better or worse, are a part of my musical history. Strike the right tone, bring the heavy guitar licks, and I might give you a chance. If your name happens to be Josh Homme, so much the better, because if it is, I will inevitably listen to whatever album you just made and, more often than not, I will like it — a lot.


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Thursday, Mar 27, 2014
Our K-pop roundups continue with another exciting month. We got the long-awaited return of 2ne1, the unexpected return of Super Junior-M, and a big debut from Toheart. 2014 keeps shaping up to be a strong year for K-pop.

March was an undeniably exciting month for K-pop. With 2ne1 returning around the same time as Girls’ Generation, the two popular girl groups went head-to-head on the charts and the music competition shows (and Girls’ Generation did a little bit better on both). In addition to that “rivalry”, March saw comebacks from Orange Caramel and Super Junior-M, as well as the debut of a new collaboration, Toheart.


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Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014
First Kate Bush announces her return to the concert stage, and then the Pixies get ready to drop their first album in over 20 years. It's been a surprising week in music news.

The last few days have seen some long-thought unlikely musical occurrences finally coalesce into reality. Last week, art rock diva Kate Bush announced she would break her 35-year-long absence from touring by holding a 15-date residency at London’s Eventim Apollo starting this August. Similarly, alt-rock icons the Pixies announced days later that long-mooted plans for a post-reunion album would finally be realized next month with the release of Indie Cindy.


Though these developments are surprising, they are not completely out of bounds of reason, like, say, a Smiths reunion. Even though she has not embarked on a proper tour since a grueling six-week jaunt in 1979, Kate Bush has never been averse to live performance in of itself, having undertaken the odd one-off gig here and there since then. As for the Pixies, word has been that the band has tried to release more new material since reconvening ten years ago, with bassist Kim Deal being the primary hold-out against the notion. Since she exited the group last year, two EPs of brand-new Pixies material have been issued in quick succession; the subsequent unveiling of an full album was only logical.


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Friday, Mar 21, 2014
It's the time of the season when love runs high. In this time, give it to me easy and let me try with pleasured hands to talk about a 1968 psychedelic milestone. A misspelled masterpiece is this week’s Counterbalance.

Klinger: As I said a few weeks ago, I spent my formative years fascinated by the lists and ratings and reviews that issued forth from the typewriters of those earliest rock writers—the early rumblings of what would eventually form the Great List, that conglomeration of Best of Lists that has formed the basis of our little Counterbalance experiment. And all throughout that time, there was one curious little album that would keep popping up as an underrated classic, the ZombiesOdessey and Oracle, which was released in early 1968 but given new life when “Time of the Season” became a surprise hit more than a year later. Back in the ’80s, the LP seemed to be somewhat hard to come by, so I let it slip away from my must-listen list for a number of years. Much later, when access to music became as basic as a municipal utility, I finally got around to digging into it, and I have to say that I fell pretty quickly in love.


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Thursday, Mar 20, 2014
Ted Gioia's piece "Music Criticism Has Degenerated Into Lifestyle Reporting" spread like wildfire, and Jody Rosen's response was equally compelling. While the debate rages on, these two critical titans are highlighting a changing of the critical guard that is happening slowly and begrudgingly.

If you somehow didn’t know Ted Gioia’s name before his article on the Daily Beast, “Music Criticism Has Degenerated Into Lifestyle Reporting”, started spreading around like wildfire, then you most assuredly do now.


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