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Sunday, February 8 2009

Working in the Coal Mine and Singing About It, Too

The majority of us aren't coal miners, we don't know coal miners, and we wouldn't last a week in a coal mine. Are coal mining songs, then, still relevant?


Tuesday, February 3 2009

Across the Universe, for the Sixth Time

This year's globalFEST was punctuated by performances from Occidental Brothers Dance Band International, La Troba Kung-Fu, Kailash Kher, Watcha Clan, and others -- a brave journey through the world of sounds, guided by open minds and big hearts.


Monday, February 2 2009

Concert Overload

Free-for-all shows are like a "cool" parent trying to be your friend, instead of your authority figure. While it seems like a good situation at first -- no curfew, no rules -- you realize, eventually, that what it really needs is some structure.


Sunday, February 1 2009

Hank’s Other Side: Religion, Radio, and the Roots of Country Music

Hank Williams' recordings for WSM's Mother's Best Flour radio show challenge the modern listener's idea that country music reserves Jesus for Sunday morning.


Thursday, January 29 2009

Art Imitates Death

One of the misconceptions that Graeme Thomson deals with in his book I Shot a Man in Reno is that music about death is somehow out of the norm. In fact, death finds its way into pretty much every type of music.


Thursday, January 22 2009

Middleman: Joshua Redman and Jazz’s Vanishing Division

"The position of not taking a side has endured." Joshua Redman talks about the hoary division between tradition and innovation, the spatial approach to doubled rhythm sections, and jazz's academic antidote.


Monday, January 19 2009

Visions of the World

Three world-music documentaries deserving of your attention detail the unity of Islam through music, the convergence of South Asian folk with modern technologies, and the plight of Saharan desert dwellers.


Sunday, January 18 2009

Seven Ways to Detox

It's 2009, and that means it has now been a full decade since Dr. Dre's last official release. Here are some suggestions for survival while you continue to await his long-gestating follow-up, Detox.


Monday, January 12 2009

Three Icons and the Worlds They Left Behind

Miriam Makeba, Odetta and Eartha Kitt both fully represented and completely transcended their moments in time


Sunday, January 11 2009

Happy-Go-Plucking

Steve Martin, Sufjan Stevens, and Kermit the Frog all know it and you should, too: the banjo is hands-down the coolest instrument out there.


Sunday, January 4 2009

We Don’t Die, We Multiply: Posse Tracks

Having more than one rapper on the scene enhances and galvanizes a song, as the central theme is strengthened with each successive verse. As the saying goes, there's strength in numbers.


Wednesday, December 17 2008

No Piano No Problem

Two new albums by piano-less quartets offer big doses of fun -- urgent rhythms, slabs of blues feeling, melody and invention with hardly any limit -- but also provide thrill-rides of surprise.


Tuesday, December 16 2008

Sold on the Street

The guys selling their hip-hop CD-Rs on the street know exactly where to find their prey: outside the independent record store, in and around shows of like-minded artists. What makes them so hard to resist?


Thursday, December 11 2008

The Politics Inside Black Pop

Will black pop artists still see themselves as outsiders now that a black person is President? Will they use their cultural platform to criticize him if need be, just as they did to help elect him?


Tuesday, December 9 2008

The Best Metal Albums of 2008

It was a stellar year for metal, and an eclectic year, too: Norwegian prog-metal, goth-infused death metal, Swedish thrash, black metal, and stoner rock all make the list.


Monday, December 8 2008

CMAs and the End of Genre or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Kid Rock

This year's CMA winners point to a future where the only thing necessary to be classified as country is a desire to join in and sing.


Thursday, December 4 2008

Life After ABBA: Post-Ironic Swedish Rock

Welcome to the age of post-irony, where guilty pains and pleasures are played out as collective nostalgia through the warped blur of rose-tinted glasses.


Monday, December 1 2008

Tearing Down the Pillars

Enslaved's Ivar Bjørnson talks about the influence of Voivod and Pink Floyd, creative deconstruction and reinvention, and achieving that "futuristic yet retro sound".


Sunday, November 30 2008

The Ubiquitousness of Ubiquity Records

There is no clear-cut definition of what Ubiquity Records produces, unless we go for universal terms like "good" and "dope".


Tuesday, November 25 2008

Who Says Country Can’t Hip-Hop?

Poverty, crime, disenfranchisement, sinning, saving, and no-account women: Stereotypical subjects of the average country song, or the average hip-hop song?


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