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Thursday, September 20 2007

The Cradle Will Rock

While my wife sings sea chantys to our baby, I'm finding plenty of dark, tranquil passages from Bruce Springsteen to help her sleep. Beats tales of the Black Death, miscarriages, and executions found in traditional nursery rhymes.


Wednesday, September 19 2007

Swept off My Feet by “Newcomer” James Carney

Current musicians like Brad Mehldau or Greg Osby are the equivalents of Albert Pujols or Mariano Rivera: future legends that walk among us today. Now you're on notice: James Carney may just be a master in the making.


Monday, September 10 2007

Many Happy Returns

A little personal, not to mention disturbingly vivid, is par for the course for Today is the Day's music, but when Steve Austin's music is as strong and eclectic as this stack of five discs is, we’ll take anything he’s willing to toss our way.


Sunday, September 9 2007

From Boogie Down to Tinseltown

Rappers in showbiz: Did hip-hop land on Hollywood or did Hollywood land on us? For those in 'the land', some of the 4,079 hip-hop laws of crossing-over.


Thursday, August 30 2007

New Ways to Breathe

Breathing Under Water, a collaboration between sitarist Anoushka Shankar and tablist Karsh Kale, is not only where music is going, it's where it's at.


Wednesday, August 29 2007

Nine to Five

Eager to re-enter the 9-5 work world, before you could even say 401(k), I was halfway to J.Crew and Banana Republic to stock up on office-friendly wear. But adapting to my colleagues' taste in music? Ah, now that's much more difficult.


Sunday, August 12 2007

Bruce Willis, Genghis Khan, and Ravioli: Inside the Red Chord’s Prey for Eyes

Do metalheads dream of Kanye West? Guy Kozowyk, vocalist for deathcore standout, the Red Chord, vividly regales PopMatters with lengthy tales about how the many ideas that dominate the band's latest album came to fruition.


Thursday, August 9 2007

A Critic’s Grab-Bag

The most rewarding work as a critic is not in evaluating the flow of big menu items from established artists, but in sampling the little dishes that come along -- like this quartet of obscure, interesting stuff from 2007's first half.


Tuesday, August 7 2007

The Sounds of Now: Steve Reich and the Transmogrification of the Banal

As human beings, interpretive animals that attempt to navigate the world by coming to some sort of "understanding" of it, we are addicted to purpose.


Sunday, August 5 2007

The Evolution of Africa and Hip-Hop

Pharoahe Monch's new album, Desire, is a complete surround-sense experience, but it's also a reminder that as much as our technologies have improved, what we are communicating is not necessarily the most righteous of information.


Monday, July 30 2007

Out in the Cold

HotHouse, a non-profit arts center in Chicago, embodied how beneficial a commitment to the arts could be, and surely this would override any business issues, I thought. I thought wrong.


Sunday, July 22 2007

Resurrections

The co-founder of the maverick reissue label the Numero Group talks about seeking out the eccentric, saving the unknown, and releasing only what you love.


Thursday, July 19 2007

Now, Check the Method

Brian Coleman's new book on classic hip-hop albums and Saigon's public rant offer rare behind-the-scenes glimpse of hip-hop's creative process.


The Profound Consolation: The Use of Bach’s Music in the Films of Ingmar Bergman (Part 4)

The music in Bergman's Saraband sets up numerous tensions that it never reconciles: listener and performer, individual and group, passive aestheticism and practical enactment. Music in Bergman's world offers hope, but it does not offer answers.


Wednesday, July 11 2007

Family Matters

A well-rounded musical background is crucial -- otherwise, you could end up like a friend of mine, who had never heard Jimmy Soul's "If You Wanna Be Happy for the Rest of Your Life", and so felt lost during some hand-clapping good times at the bar last weekend.


Sunday, July 8 2007

Journeymen

Gypsy Caravan, a new documentary about a six-week tour featuring some of modernity's top Gypsy musicians, is an exceptional peek at life on the road, entwined with the history, and current state, of Gypsy culture.


Thursday, June 21 2007

Hip-Hop at the Crossroad: Time, Testimony, & Identity

In the '90s, X-Clan took us "to the east". This year, the group returns from Mecca in "vanglorious" fashion.


Monday, June 18 2007

Everything Is Permitted

"People have sent me college term papers that they've written about my stuff, which I think is funny because I didn't graduate from college. I guess I must be doing something right if people are connecting to it." Begrand talks with Pig Destroyer's JR Hayes about writing and recording the band's new album, Phantom Limb.


Thursday, June 7 2007

On Lexus, Hairapy, and the Scherzo from Beethoven’s Ninth (with a nod to Kubrick)

By making Beethoven's Ninth an image of our humanity, we have conditioned ourselves to filter out all of those elements in the music that make it a worthwhile (if troubling) listening experience.


Thursday, May 31 2007

Mixed Messages

I want the music I love to speak for me, but I can't control what it's going to say.


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