Columns > Music

Monday, May 16 2016

Prince: Never Stop Arguing

Prince's life is over but his music is not, and that music was never just about him, and it was never just about me, and it was never just about you.


Friday, May 13 2016

Ralph Alessi: A Trumpet King for 2016

Quietly, brilliantly, Brooklyn-based jazz trumpeter Ralph Alessi is everywhere at once, defining the music with flexibility and freedom.


Tuesday, May 3 2016

Is ‘Madonna: Tears of a Clown’ a Laughing Matter?

In Madonna's bizarre one-off concert in Australia, she proved that she's still willing to push the envelope with a bold artistic statement. But what exactly was she saying?


Monday, April 25 2016

Kanye and Mingus: Gifted, Complicated and Proud of It

Charles Mingus and Kanye West represent an extreme form of the complicated-and-proud-of-it black man, within a society that prefers its black men as uncomplicated and untroubling as possible.


Thursday, April 14 2016

Bottled Out of Eccentricity: A Conversation With Kavus Torabi of Knifeworld

Knifeworld mastermind Kavus Torabi discusses the positive rewiring effects of LSD, Gong's late Daevid Allen, and Knifeworld's newest, Bottled Out of Eden.


Monday, April 4 2016

Time of Absence: Documenting Kanye West’s ‘Life of Pablo’

The Life of Pablo is an ideological attack against the pop institutions that continually try to mystify art and control the artist's identity for profit.


Tuesday, March 8 2016

Corn in the USA: Hee Haw, Buck Owens and You

Whether he wanted it to be or not Hee Haw was the vehicle that imprinted Buck Owens into the minds of millions of music lovers around the globe.


Tuesday, March 1 2016

The Triumphant Emptiness of Snarky Puppy

If an iTunes library on shuffle needed a house band, Snarky Puppy would be it.


Monday, February 29 2016

The Most Unintentionally Terrifying “Love Songs” Ever Written

From Van Halen to Dean Martin, some of the world's most beloved "love" songs are actually hideously sinister when you dig just below the surface.


Tuesday, February 23 2016

What Does Randy Newman Say When He Talks With God?

One of the less celebrated satirists of religion, a study of some of Randy Newman's key songs reveals a subtle subversive at work.


Wednesday, February 17 2016

As Good As Gold: Lio’s Subversive Euro-Pop

In true Euro-pop fashion, Lio's marriage of risqué innuendo and brightly-coloured pop during the '80s resounded fashionably with the French.


Thursday, February 11 2016

Destined for Greatness: A Conversation With Rikard Sjöblom of Beardfish

Beardfish frontman Sjöblom discusses the makings of his latest solo effort, The Unbendable Sleep, as well as the future of Beardfish, Big Big Train, and more.


Wednesday, February 10 2016

When Is Art Beautiful? When Is It Just Boring?

To paraphrase art critic Peter Schjeldahl, beauty is a kind of action and reaction between the work and the viewer, or the listener, or the reader. Beauty happens.


Friday, February 5 2016

Chaos Does Not Mean Despair in Bowie’s Soundscapes

What Bowie's music describes, again and again, is that we were endlessly, relentlessly killing ourselves.


Thursday, February 4 2016

Bruce Springsteen, ‘The Ties That Bind’, the Working Class, and Authenticity

As we use the term today, authenticity allows no truth from art, only from artists. It visits art the way one visits a subway station or an airport: to get to somewhere else.


Monday, January 25 2016

From Yugoslavia to South India: The Rise of Tamil Turbo-folk

Like its Serbian counterpart, Tamil Turbo-folk masquerades as ethno-nationalist resistance against the dislocations brought to bear by nation building, liberalization, and globalization.


Tuesday, January 19 2016

Celestial Sound: Thoughts on Mahler’s Third Symphony

To listen to Mahler is to claim your soul hasn’t been splintered by postmodernity -- even if you hate Mahler and disbelieve in the soul.


Friday, January 15 2016

The Kamasi Washington Phenomenon

PopMatters' jazz critics didn't include Kamasi Washington's The Epic on their "Best of 2015" list, despite its huge acclaim by mainstream critics. Here's why.


Tuesday, January 12 2016

John Lennon’s ‘Working Class Hero’: Boundaries, Mobility and Honesty

The working class song has to speak of boundaries and ambition, but it also has to say where the performer stands among the people, among the classes—or where he thinks he stands, or wants to stand.


Wednesday, December 9 2015

Yesterday and Today—Jazz Trumpets Across the Divide

Avant garde trumpeter Nate Wooley has chosen to interpret the music of his childhood hero, the conservative Wynton Marsalis. Why not?


//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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