Columns > Music

Thursday, October 12 2017

Pearl Reaves and Her Retro R&B: The Magical Obscurity of the Working Artist

A generically labeled 45rpm leads to unforeseen connections between an illegal squat, a ramshackle used record outlet, and an obscure R&B outfit that eventually lands at the Mount Olive Temple of Christ in Dorchester, Massachusetts.


Tuesday, October 10 2017

10 Conversation-Shifting Contemporary Books About Music

These are multiple works of genre history and works tackling important issues of race, class, and gender. All challenge dominant narratives of music.


Tuesday, October 3 2017

No Place Like ‘Homem’: Rapper Terra Preta Gives Hip-Hop a Brazilian Re-Think

Preta's chancy way with a honeyed melody and the sensual pulse of Afro-Brazilian rhythms calls to mind the vibrant colours of his São Paulo’s coastal ridges; beautiful and exhilarating all at once.


Monday, September 25 2017

Was the Blues Born on a Vaudeville Stage?

Black creative and economic self-determination within the music industry didn’t begin with Chance the Rapper, or Prince, or even Motown.


Thursday, September 21 2017

On Discovering the In-your-face Glory of the Slits’ Album, ‘Cut’

The iconic cover plus hybrid punky-reggae establishes the Slits' Cut as a significant variation on the British late '70s DIY ethos.


Thursday, September 14 2017

The New Jazz of the 21st Century: A Case Study in Kate Gentile and ‘Mannequins’

Drummer and composer Kate Gentile's debut recording is making a New Jazz splash. PopMatters interviews her to get behind this new direction in improvised music.


Wednesday, September 13 2017

‘Soul Survivor’: On Al Green, Coming to Terms With His Powers

This book is a compelling and exhaustively detailed account of a man at peace with his life, a man who may... be pleased with a final exit that sees him keeling over dead in mid-sermon.


Tuesday, September 12 2017

The Next Hot Music Scene Can Be Found at Twin Peaks’ Bang Bang Bar

One of the most heartening and compelling aspects of David Lynch's approach to this new season of Twin Peaks is his widened musical palette.


Monday, August 21 2017

Being Human: Rag’n'Bone Man and the Authenticities of Voice

Human fits alongside the works of Alabama Shakes and Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, but can Rag'n'Bone Man's distinctive gospel-blues voice find a place on the American charts?


Thursday, August 17 2017

Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, and Myth, Truth, and Anger

Daniel Wolff examines how one tragedy in 1913 Calumet Michigan survived through the anger of topical folk music to be told by self-mythologized characters Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan.


Tuesday, August 15 2017

Dancing the Tango Through Mao’s Cultural Revolution With Argentinian Pancho and His Orchestra

On Shanghai dance halls of the late '30s and a vinyl tango artifact that survived Mao’s Cultural Revolution.


Thursday, August 10 2017

The Riddle in the Middle of Nowhere: Anja Garbarek’s ‘Smiling and Waving’

Impossibly Norwegian in style and substance, Anja Garbarek's Smiling and Waving describes the most ordinary lives lost in the voids of the most extraordinary riddles.


Monday, August 7 2017

Lost Chords, Major Chords, Minor Chords, Dissonant Counter-melodies: ‘Dreaming the Beatles’

This biography of the Beatles illustrates how their personality dynamics served as both a necessary elixir and an addictive poison in the creation of their music.


Monday, July 31 2017

On ‘Art Sex Music’ and Working as an Avant-Garde Artist With Genesis P-Orridge

Throbbing Gristle and COUM Transmissions' Cosey Fanni Tutti's autobiography reminds us that the destructive forces of misogyny and exploitation infiltrate even the most admired of forward-thinking movements.


Thursday, July 27 2017

Whatever Happened to Indie Rock?

As the recent Lawrence Field Day Festival illustrates, indie rock may be artistically benefiting from an increasingly marginalized status in the music world.


Tuesday, July 25 2017

The Teddy Charles/Teddy Cohen Jazz Map of Random Finds and Significant Directions

I take a chance on the unknown used records of Shenzhen and Los Angeles and unwittingly connect the dots, opening up the wide but previously obscured vistas of post-bebop history.


Monday, July 17 2017

Algiers and the Political Structures of Noise

How can there be a political movement if we're unwilling to move? Algiers connects past and present for the sake of the future.


Thursday, June 15 2017

Mind Blowing: Leroy Smart in the Heady Days of 1977

In 1977, reggae music burst out of its Caribbean confines and found its way to a record store in Cambridge, Massachusetts. That's the first time I met "The Don", Leroy Smart.


Wednesday, June 14 2017

Ella Fitzgerald’s Centennial: Is It Possible to Reinvent This Artist?

The First Lady of Song was a seeker, and it's been all too easy to just imitate her: the scatting, the silky melodies. On her 100th, there's a better way to do it.


Monday, June 12 2017

Chastity Belt’s ‘I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone’ and the Power of Termite Art

Chastity Belt's latest is a killer album, laid back but upbeat, honest and laser sharp, a highly unified piece of work by four people who know exactly what they want to say and how to say it.


//Mixed media
//Blogs

Authenticity Issues and the New Intimacies

// Marginal Utility

"The social-media companies have largely succeeded in persuading users of their platforms' neutrality. What we fail to see is that these new identities are no less contingent and dictated to us then the ones circumscribed by tradition; only now the constraints are imposed by for-profit companies in explicit service of gain.

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