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Thursday, July 24 2014

Ripe with Rich Attainments: Jethro Tull’s ‘A Passion Play’, Reassessed

A Passion Play tends to draw the most resistance from even prog-rock aficionados; it obliges time and attention to let it work its charms.


Wednesday, July 23 2014

The Music That Sprouts Between Empires: Ukrainian Culture Amidst Conflict

Ukraine was once considered the musical heartland of the Russian Empire, its culture thriving between the cracks of various powerful and competing empires.


Tuesday, July 15 2014

Smokin’ Modernism Is Alive and Well in the Upper West Side

Smoke Sessions Records is doing it old-school: recording the best musicians in New York playing mainstream jazz that cooks.


Friday, July 11 2014

Singing the Low-Down, Down-Low Blues

Women in jazz can sing about their same-sex experiences, while men tend to stay deeply in the closet. Odd, considering the genre once embraced such dalliances.


Thursday, July 10 2014

Should Film Music Stand Alone?

In evaluating what makes a great film score, writers, composers, and listeners must ask themselves if the function of cinematic music limits the form it has to take.


Wednesday, July 9 2014

Dirty Diapers Don’t Scare Me Nearly as Much as the Wiggles Do

Parenthood comes with a lot of change, and a lot of decisions to be made, including this one: What’s your musical strategy?


Wednesday, July 2 2014

Shocking the Casbah: The Maghrebi-Noir of Rachid Taha

A furious mix of hip-hop beats, Arabic primal screams and punk-rock guitars, Taha brilliantly battles against the ideologies of both Western and Arab traditions.


Tuesday, June 24 2014

(The Limits of) Football, Samba, and Commonality

The 2014 FIFA World Cup theme song highlights one of the worst trends in a global society: culture boiled down to a sort of triumphant universal human-ness.


Monday, June 23 2014

Bring Back the Beat! What’s Up with Hip-Hop Reissues?

The record industry makes huge efforts to reissue rock CDs, but nowhere near as much effort for hip-hop CDs.


Friday, June 20 2014

The Fascination with Fundamentalism in Hardcore Punk

Some bands echoed the Dead Kennedys' anti-Moral Majority messages; others embodied right-wing religion.


Thursday, June 19 2014

A Wheel Inside a Wheel: Gillian Welch’s ‘Time (The Revelator)’

Time (The Revelator) conjures a hazy post-millennial American dream of disappointment and ambition that's disturbed by what it sees and hears.


Wednesday, June 18 2014

Talent Will Out: Singer-Songwriter Nicky Schrire on Making It in New York

South African jazz singer Nicky Schrire has made three tremendous records, but she isn't well known. That ought to change.


Thursday, June 12 2014

Benighted by Beauty: The Legacy of Opeth’s ‘Still Life’

Still Life's narrative borders on Shakespearean levels of romantic tragedy and social commentary, making it the most poetic and philosophical in Opeth’s catalogue.


Tuesday, June 10 2014

Pronounced Dead: The Art of Cultural Assassination

Two critical catfights are claiming to have buried art-forms which have shaped our civilisation for decades and centuries apiece. Are they entitled to do that?


Wednesday, June 4 2014

David Dondero: A Poet of Vehicles

Living out of step fits right in with Dondero's songs of tough and kindhearted outcasts, eccentrics and survivors who live out of sight, but in plain sight.


Thursday, May 29 2014

What Embers Still Burn in the Beautiful Ruins of Riot Grrrls Past?

Riot grrrls wrote, recorded and produced a wealth of cultural objects. They left trails of scribbles, screams and lipstick traces in MP3 blogs and online archives, awaiting release.


Wednesday, May 21 2014

Bollywood and the Ballot: India’s Shimmery Election

Bollywood stars are essential to the cultural identity of India, but their involvement in the 2014 election have some questioning the wisdom of the "Bollywood-ification" of politics.


Monday, May 19 2014

Drive Me Crazy: The Day the iPhone Took Over My Car

You just want to drive fast and listen to your favorite song. Your "smart" car may have other ideas. Welcome to the future.


Friday, May 16 2014

In Defense Of ... Live Performances That Make the Audience Feel Alive

Artists feed off their fans. Fans feed off the artists. A good live performance leaves the spirit relieved of its hunger. Hear that, Chvrches?


Wednesday, May 14 2014

A Gay ‘Idol’, and We Don’t Mean Judy Garland

It's no secret that American Idol has had LGB contestants before, but the show seemed to adopt a "don't ask, don't tell" policy up until this season, until M. K. Nobilette.


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