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Wednesday, April 10 2002

Freedy in the Aftermath

Something of this clumsy love can get us through a season of war. By way of the benefit concert, pop has seemed like a parade of virtue; by way of everything else, it has sounded like knee-jerk nationalism.

A Cynic’s Demise: Billy Wilder (1906-2002)

To the movie maven, Billy Wilder was the last of his kind, the most visible link to the Golden Age of Hollywood . . . he epitomized the professional spit and polish that the factory system of the major studios promoted.

Thursday, April 4 2002

Eight Years After: A Remembrance of Kurt Cobain’s Troubles and the Music They Inspired

At the start of the '90s, Kurt Cobain appeared to be the savior of rock 'n' roll. He was a beacon of hope to the black and flannel set, who saw him emerge from the fog of macho groups like Guns N' Roses as the only guy who could wear liberalism on his sleeve, begging sexist, racist, and homophobic rednecks not to buy his records, while still gaining their admiration by rocking fucking hard.

Art Forms

When talking about movies, the phrase 'based on a video game' does not have to mean simply 'dumb'.

Tuesday, April 2 2002

Dueling Banjos: Scruggs-style vs. the Clawhammer

What Earl Scruggs brought to banjo was a 'little something extra', that being his middle finger . . . In fact, it can be said with a straight face that Scruggs is the father of industrial music, because his home environment had everything to do with his sound.

Sunday, March 31 2002

Czech New Wave Cinema: The Children of Marx and Kafka

Czech New Wave film was able to hold up a mirror to the other side of the Iron Curtain, and to demystify the influence of the West.

Thursday, March 28 2002

South by Southwest Film Festival 2002

Indications are that the SXSW Film Festival may be soon outgrowing the Music Festival's shadow and stepping into a light all its own.

Friday, March 15 2002

Irish Music, Roots and Branches

Irish traditional song reflects the cultural cross currents and historical conflicts that long have linked Ireland and the British Isles. So what makes Irish traditional music 'Irish', and for that matter, what might distinguish it as 'Celtic'?

Oisin’s Arguments with St. Patrick

Taken together, the St. Patrick and Oisin tales constitute a dialogue that is also a theological battle between Christianity and Celtic paganism.

Cadence to Arms: the Dropkick Murphys

[The Dropkick Murphys are] quite possibly the most brilliant and exciting live band around today, really. And if they don't make you start thinking patriotically about Irish-American heroes like Mother Jones, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Michael J. Quill, and George Meany, then they haven't done their job.

Bono Re-finds His Inner Yeats

We knew, just 'knew', that U2 was so political and fiery and impassioned because they were Irish.

Wednesday, March 13 2002

Smooth Jazz Not Jazz Shock!

The fact is that this saccharine child of our times [smooth jazz] bears no more relation to modern jazz than Glenn Miller's sound did to Count Basie's or George Shearing's to Bud Powell's.

Wednesday, March 6 2002

Oh, what heights…: Chuck Jones [1912-2002]

During the 20-plus years he spent making cartoons for Warners, alongside such other luminaries as Fred 'Tex' Avery and Bob Clampett, Jones left an indelible mark on popular culture.

Brits Take Pride in Their Pop

Pop music has long had a strong hold on British airwaves. But the national obsession seems to have reached new heights this year with the success of star making series like 'Popstars' and the even bigger 'Pop Idol'.

Friday, March 1 2002

The Case for Gay TV

We don't need to be entertained; we are actually quite good at entertaining ourselves, and we are quite accustomed to reframing 'straight' tv and films for our amusement.

The 2002 Indies

If they were not just noisemakers in funny clothes with funny voices, then what exactly did the Velvet Underground do that was so important?

Monday, February 18 2002

Mainstream Variations

If a blues artist stays 'true' to the blues, it viewed as a plus. Jazz with its emphasis on innovation is less easily pleased. Hence the recent rows. The musician has to be both radically innovative and belong to an unproblematised lineage that stretches back to New Orleans.

Tuesday, February 12 2002

An Interview with Clinic

Clinic is nothing if not unconventional. They specialize in three-minute pop songs, but what other so-called pop songwriters would look to the grimy textures of The Velvet Underground and obscure jazz artists for inspiration?

Thursday, February 7 2002

The Velvet Underground in New York, New York in the Velvet Underground

If they were not just noisemakers in funny clothes with funny voices, then what exactly did the Velvet Underground do that was so important?

Sunday, February 3 2002

Fans on the Run: Flickerstick, The Strokes, and the Art of Instant Stardom

But in the end, I wanted to see more Flickerstick in the Strokes -- an aggressive stage presence rather than a haughty stage attitude; a carefully crafted setlist rather than a rendition of songs in the order they occur on the record; a physical immersion in the music rather than a mere recitation of words and notes.

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