Columns > Music

Wednesday, December 20 2006

How an Unremarkably Wonderful Work Is the Most Successful Jazz Album, Ever

How can it be, in fact, that Vince Guaraldi's A Charlie Brown Christmas is perhaps the only universally adored record in jazz history -- the Sgt. Pepper's of improvised music?


Tuesday, December 19 2006

2006, Through Roots-Colored Glasses

It's the same old complaint every year, isn't it? You do what you can, you hear what you can, and you wait to see what takes root in your brain as a keeper.


Wednesday, December 13 2006

Racism Killed Rock: Part II

The subliminal suggestion is that Sly Stone was this schizo black musician who needed chemical stimulants to transform his simple R&B tunes into bonafide rock anthems. In other words, black people can't rock without getting high.


Thursday, December 7 2006

Desert Trance

These are the sort of flowers that bloom in the Sahara Desert: thumb pianos, distorted amps, muddy blues, and traditional chants.


Wednesday, December 6 2006

Racism Killed Rock: Part I

I believe to my soul that a blue man can sing the whites; that when the Big Music is rocked epically by a musician who feels/claims it as birthright, he or she will render ethno-cultural-lingual-racial barriers moot every damn time.


Tuesday, December 5 2006

Who Owns What?: Engaging the Fog of Hip-Hop

How do the "artist" and "critic" reconcile each other's presence? How literally must one walk this way in order to talk that way?


Tuesday, November 28 2006

Jock Jams

I'm getting giddy imagining Chuck Klosterman and Cam'ron having a two-minute bull session on the Who's return to relevance, or, better yet, figuring out a logical way to deal with Lil' Kim.


Wednesday, November 15 2006

The Profound Consolation: The Use of Bach’s Music in the Films of Ingmar Bergman (Part 2)

In the second installment of an ongoing discussion of Bach and Bergman, Jenkins examines the communicative power of Bach's sarabande in Through a Glass Darkly.


Wednesday, November 8 2006

Open Wide, the Gates of Hell

The enigmatic Danes in Mercyful Fate took such a straight-faced, deadly serious approach to its satanic themes that we were unsure whether it was all a big piss-take, or if they really meant it.


Monday, November 6 2006

Party Train: The Gap Band Story

Bringing the heat and creating refrains that still haunt brokenhearted romancers to this day, the Gap Band's potent mixture of party and pain was stunning.


Sunday, November 5 2006

Please Call It a Comeback

That scene in Superman III, with the boy yelling words of encouragement to the struggling protagonist? That's how I feel when I think of Lauryn Hill.


Thursday, November 2 2006

From the Mop-Top to the Walrus: Some Funny Sides of the Beatles

Manifested in child-centered humor, the Beatles offered candy for the kids, tapped into the regressive escapist instincts of the arrested adolescents of the hippy subculture, and offered "seemingly" unthreatening fare for adults.


Wednesday, November 1 2006

A Reluctant ‘Jazz’ Hero: An Interview with Trumpeter, Composer, and Arranger Steven Bernstein

The prolific trumpeter talks shirking musical definitions, finding challenging middle ground between 'fake jazz' and 'real musicianship', touring with They Might Be Giants, and turning down Jay-Z.


Friday, October 13 2006

The Profound Consolation: The Use of Bach’s Music in the Films of Ingmar Bergman (Part 1)

In Bergman's films, Bach's music functions to give access to a rarified atmosphere of revelation and emotional depth; it reveals something previously inaccessible within a character.


Thursday, October 5 2006

Blind Guardian’s Twisted Myths

For Hansi Kürsch, lead singer of Germany's Blind Guardian, there's no Justin Hawkins flash, no DragonForce pub chants, no hipster-pandering irony. If he's going to sing about faeries and orcs, he's going to do so and mean every damned outlandish lyric.


Monday, October 2 2006

Unsung Heroes: The Band of Extraordinary Women

Huff fantasizes about wielding Diddy-like power to create a supergroup of underrated, under-the-radar female musicians. Danity Kane, eat your heart out.


Wednesday, September 27 2006

It Shall Be Released

Rubenstein looks back at the release of a number of highly anticipated albums to contrast his opinions then and now. How much does personal expectation factor into our ultimate enjoyment of music?


Monday, September 25 2006

Wild Abandon

It may seem quaint now, even after punk's scorched-earth campaign, to think of '50s rockabilly as a danger to Western Civilization, especially in light of pop culture's rampant envelope-pushing since then. But a closer inspection would make even the seen-it-all cynics take pause.


Sunday, September 10 2006

An Overheard Conversation Concerning Musical Taste

'But who determines the criteria by which one determines if something is well formed?' A debate of taste rages in a small field outside Maryland.


Wednesday, September 6 2006

Notes from Underground

Begrand hits the traveling metal show Sounds of the Underground for nine hours of mayhem, moshing, and merch. And though this town's put the kibosh on mosh, there's plenty of familiar sights and sounds, from Metallica wannabes to papier-mâché phalluses.


//Blogs

Authenticity Issues and the New Intimacies

// Marginal Utility

"The social-media companies have largely succeeded in persuading users of their platforms' neutrality. What we fail to see is that these new identities are no less contingent and dictated to us then the ones circumscribed by tradition; only now the constraints are imposed by for-profit companies in explicit service of gain.

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