Columns > Music

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.


Tuesday, June 6 2017

‘Bop Apocalypse’: What Happened When the Beats and the Boppers Set Out to Change the World

Fifites' jazz and the Beat Generation are often linked. Aside from the drug use, however, this new book on the history begs to differ.


Wednesday, May 24 2017

Roots Remain: A Conversation With Bill Kelliher of Mastodon

Among other things, Mastodon rhythm guitarist Bill Kelliher delves into how loss and life shaped their sixth outing, Emperor of Sand.


Wednesday, May 17 2017

Adolescent Awakening: KC and the Sunshine Band’s “Get Down Tonight”

In 1975, an aimless teenager goes to an obscure discothèque in Boston and discovers “Get Down Tonight” -- just the kind of funk he's looking for.


Tuesday, May 16 2017

Contrary to Popular Belief, the Blues Were Not Born on the Mississippi Delta

Historians Lynn Abbott and Doug Seroff debunk myths about the origins of blues music, locating them not in the Mississippi Delta but in southern black vaudeville.


Monday, May 15 2017

Power Play: Brian Williams, Leonard Cohen, and “First We Take Manhattan”

In "First We Take Manhattan", Leonard Cohen recognized the shared appeal of extremism in politics and art as the allure of power.


Friday, May 12 2017

Passing Masters of Jazz: Arthur Blythe and Larry Coryell

Jazz long ago lost its early geniuses of swing and bebop. Now masters from the '70s and onward are starting to pass, too. Remembering Arthur Blythe and Larry Coryell.


Wednesday, May 3 2017

On Wanting Sly Stone to Take Us Higher Yet Again

Sly Stone was one of the first audacious badasses of modern black pop music, a hero and then an anti-hero to millions.


Wednesday, April 26 2017

Massive Illusions: A Look Back at Gazpacho’s ‘Night’ With Keyboardist Thomas Andersen

Ten years later, Gazpacho's fourth LP, Night, remains the group's best representation of isolation, reflection, and yearning.


Wednesday, April 5 2017

The Personal Find: Bill Doggett’s “Honky Tonk Parts 1 & 2”

A jump blues song that sold over a million copies was nowhere on my sonic horizon until I discovered it in a dusty box at the back of a thrift store.


Monday, April 3 2017

Lana Del Rey’s “Love” in the Era of Trump

"Love" makes me wonder if we've misheard Del Rey's use of nostalgia, mistaking it for the rose-colored (and heart-shaped) variety when instead it produces a fog.


Friday, March 24 2017

The Microscopic Septet: Pioneers Across Jazz Boundaries

In the '80s, "The Micros" mixed tradition and avant-garde jazz with impunity and almost got famous doing it. Today they're just playing the blues.


Friday, March 10 2017

These ‘70s Avant-Garde Jazz Musicians Blew Freely, Fiercely, and Reverently

These cats blew all night and day a new, astonishing page into the jazz lexicon. What they couldn't do was get gigs in jazz clubs.


Thursday, March 2 2017

Slice of Life: Sinkane Lives it Up With His Latest Work, ‘Life & Livin It’

Sinkane’s counterintuitive approach to making (and performing) his music forces his roots to show unabashedly in ways that are almost punkishly defiant.


Tuesday, January 31 2017

Overlooked Jazz Gems of 2016

No matter how much music I listen to every year, I miss some great records, somehow. Here are a half-dozen albums from 2016 that deserve our attention.


Monday, January 16 2017

The Similitude of Dreams: A Conversation With Neal Morse

American prog rock icon Neal Morse delves into the creation of his newest opus, The Similitude of a Dream.


Friday, January 6 2017

Culture and History for the Age of Trump

History doesn’t always tell us how to get it right. It sometimes warns us of the cost of getting it wrong. Art steeped in that history can remind us, if we’re paying attention.


Monday, December 5 2016

George Harrison’s “Savoy Truffle”: Holiday Reflections on Sweets and the Beatles

George Harrison knew that in the time and space that get between us and our food, there's a sense of longing.


//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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