Sunday, February 15 2009
Biggie Smalls' mythology hasn't afforded him a dreamy endgame à la Tupac or Elvis. Nobody imagines Biggie pulling the ultimate Machiavellian coup by making the world believe he's dead while he's secretly chillin' in Jamaica.
Wednesday, February 11 2009
As much as Etta James used her songwriting and vocal skills as primary sources for empowerment and critique, her performances and image were equally significant in reflecting a public persona bursting with wit, wildness, and sassy radicalism.
The Grammys suffer from the same problem as the rest of the recording industry: thinking America defines culture.
Tuesday, February 10 2009
"It's definitely going to get a lot weirder." Cannibal Corpse drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz talks about playing to a click track, the changing tastes of musicians, and staying relevant after 20 years.
Sunday, February 8 2009
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
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
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 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
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
"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
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
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
Miriam Makeba, Odetta and Eartha Kitt both fully represented and completely transcended their moments in time
Sunday, January 11 2009
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.