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Wednesday, May 21 2008

New Testament Versus Old

It's a hard road, as a fella named John Osbourne once sang, but the respect that Testament has gained over more than two decades of personal and creative ups and downs is well earned.


Thursday, May 15 2008

Mama Said Knock You Out: Hip-Hop & the Family Unit

There are four hip-hop rules for families. One: Fathers, take care of your children and their mothers. Two: Don't talk about other people's mamas. Three: Be good to your own mother. Four: Repeat as necessary.


Sunday, May 11 2008

Three Nights in France

Beres hits Paris and Bourges to take in the eclectic sounds of Transglobal Underground, Les Primitifs du Futur, Watcha Clan, and Fat Freddy's Drop, and gets pulled into the "sacred space" that solders the connection between sound and human.


Sunday, May 4 2008

When They’re 65…

What will some of today's most well-known hip-hop artists be doing in 2035? Maybe they won't be running the music world, but they'll probably be doing something beyond applying Fixodent to their grills.


Thursday, May 1 2008

The Practicality of the Impossible: John Cage and the Freeman Etudes

John Cage replaces the comforting order of the cosmos with the recalcitrant, indecipherable organization of a part of the universe. Each sound, radically set off from the others, demands that we hear it in isolation.


Monday, April 21 2008

We Dream We’re the People in Songs

Is he strumming your face with his fingers? And singing your life with his words?


Thursday, April 17 2008

Into the Void: John Darnielle on Sabbath, Extreme Metal, and Indie Rock

Begrand dives into metal fandom with the Mountain Goats' John Darnielle, who discusses the Mighty Riff, the uneasy relationship between indie and metal camps, and the life experiences behind his new book on Black Sabbath's Master of Reality.


Wednesday, April 16 2008

R.I.P. Smooth Jazz, 1985-2008?

With two of the US' major "smooth jazz" radio stations defunct to the fickleness of format change, the time to mourn the cheesy sub-genre is now. But what made Smooth Jazz not really jazz at all?


Sunday, April 13 2008

Women of the (Music) World

There is little in this world as beautiful as the female voice. Sometimes it’s necessary to stop and remind ourselves of this.


Thursday, April 10 2008

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: Hip-Hop’s Fight Against Time

Hip-hop fights haters, record labels, rival emcees, and even the law. Time, however, has proven to be a formidable opponent.


Tuesday, April 8 2008

1977: The Year Decency Died - Part I

"I loathe and detest everything they stand for and look like. They are obnoxious, obscene and disgusting."


Monday, March 31 2008

It Ain’t No Joke

Hip-hop, like most other arts, intentionally pays humor less mind because, hey, it's not supposed to be taken seriously! But seriously.


Monday, March 24 2008

TV Commercials: the New, Nonstop Playlist

TV commercials have become a legitimate source for discovering new music -- from Wilco on the Volkswagen ads, to Cat Power hawking DeBeers diamonds, to any number of artists pimping Apple.


Thursday, March 20 2008

Anger With Stoic Dignity

Protest music can go one of three ways: angry, storytelling, or communal. Sowing the Seeds is communal, meant to shore up the spirits of people who are locked together, arm-in-arm, to fight for a common cause.


Wednesday, March 19 2008

Shining in its Evil Splendor

PopMatters' Adrien Begrand talks with Tomas Haake about Meshuggah's State of obZen.


Monday, March 17 2008

Classical Egypt in America

By shining the light on the vast, rich cultures of the Middle East, these musicians are bringing misconceptions and misunderstandings out of the darkness of the past, not to mention the dark corners of our present.


Thursday, March 13 2008

The Ballot or the Beef

It's possible that hip-hop and the US government have been engaged in the longest running beef of all, from the infamous FBI letter sent to NWA in 1998 to the Congressional Hearings in 2007 seeking to investigate hip-hop lyrics.


Monday, March 10 2008

The Gap: Charles Lloyd

Saxophonist Charles Lloyd enjoyed periods of critical acclaim, popular celebration, eccentric withdrawal, and general trivialization. He was easy to ignore if you came of jazz fan age after 1970, and that's a shame.


Monday, February 25 2008

The Best of the Basket Cases: Round 1

Deep down, in spite of all the bad music I have to plow through, I'm still that 17-year-old kid that can't believe he's getting sent free CDs. I know, I know; it's a rough gig.


Wednesday, February 20 2008

Every Good Boy Does Fine

Required to take a music class in high school I signed up for chorus, but the teacher offered me $50 to drop the class – and other ruminations about learning to play the piano.


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