Recent Features

1 Oct 2009 // 8:59 PM

They Came From Detroit

From Marshall Crenshaw looking spiffy in a powder gray suit with matching fedora to ... Carnival Cruise ship reggae?

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Alligator Lizards in the Air: In Search of the Sublimely Awful Lyric

When it comes to identifying truly awful lyrics that are the result of neither idiocy nor ambition, it’s best to consider the soft and mushy center between those two poles.

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Kris Kristofferson: Leonard Cohen-esque

Kristofferson at times evokes Leonard Cohen, with a voice that pulls the listener into the depths of darkened barrooms, whether to share a sob story or a bit of tongue-in-cheek sagacity. His 20th album is out soon.

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Hey Buddy, Got a Spare Time Machine? Ask Pepe Deluxé

The day will come when Spare Time Machine is revered as the masterpiece it is by the crowd it deserves. Luckily, Tomi Paajaanen and James Spectrum have this happy pill to keep them sane until that day arrives.

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30 Sep 2009 // 8:59 PM

Wedding Players

When it comes to controlling the behavior of revelers at a wedding fest -- or rather, rolling with the behavior of revelers at a wedding fest -- a live band can adapt far better than the average DJ.

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“Play Four Chords and Try to Make It a Soul Record”: An Interview with the Gaslight Anthem

The Gaslight Anthem's sudden rise to fame has been a bit of a whirlwind for the New Jersey-based quartet, but when Bruce Springsteen wants to duet with you on stage, perhaps it's time to acknowledge that you're on to something big ...

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Truck Drivin’ Songwritin’ Man

Trucking songs, with their heart-of-gold waitresses, foggy nights, heavy loads, and rolling tires, must hit some modern emotional sweet spot, and musicians on the road share a kindred spirit with truckers.

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Bulletproof Within the Music: An Interview with David Gray

For his first new album in four years, David Gray decided to go for broke, sacking his entire band, calling up friends like Annie Lennox and Jolie Holland, and -- for the first time in a long time -- no longer being self-conscious about what he's doing, describing himself as feeling "liberated" now ...

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Now and Then, Smells Like Teen Spirit: The Death of Kurt Cobain

There was a stretch when Nirvana was the soundtrack for our Friday nights. No, check that. There was a stretch when Nirvana was our Friday nights.

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Various Artists: Factory Records: Communications 1978-92

Factory Records was as influential in design, sound production, and defining what a label could be as it was in music.

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23 Sep 2009 // 8:59 PM

Christy McWilson: What Dudes Won’t Tell

I felt like a schmuck for holding my notebook in front of me like a choir girl and for stopping mid-song to cry, but I felt better when I remembered how McWilson feels when she first plays a new song.

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Michael Jackson: A Thriller in His Own Right

The pulse of the world has skipped a beat. The world is in a state of shock -- you, the indomitable Michael Jackson, is dead.

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Luther Is Drag: The Death of Vandross

Luther took full ownership of the music. He loved the music and massaged fans’ eyes, ears, and sentiments with his arrangements, taking the plain, factory-produced, mundane regular pop hit to new, unfounded heights.

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Jack on Fire: Jeffrey Lee Pierce, 1958–1996

He was as unlikely a candidate to don the mantle of rock and roll cliché as anyone; he was just a child's drawing of abject gloom, a stocky fireplug frame, dark, insomniac eyes skittering beneath the damp straw tangle of his anime-angular hair, an upside-down sorrow-mouth.

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Double Dutch: An Appreciation of David Byrne

His Luaka Bop label was the bridge between Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music and Ry Cooder’s Buena Vista Social Club. His early dance music collections show up on all the cool kids’ iPods. He helped make Alison Krauss and Robert Plant pitchable, let alone profitable.

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Brazilian Funk and Cuban Soul Heat Up the Northern Climes

A killer samba beat and an irresistible Cuban Sway: Brazil's futuristic Otto and Cuban expat Alex Cuba deliver soulful sounds.

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From Scatter to Cantor: Lisa Sokolov Defines Herself

The vocalist explains, "In the commercial world, music can be very shallow, but music as service and language gives its full due."

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John Lennon, In My Life

I began identifying with the songs John was writing. His wit, his grittiness and his candor were reflections, not just of my own life, but of life in the world.

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My Friend, George Harrison: Reflections on the Cool Beatle

The minute I saw George in those blue jeans, work shirt, and those sand-colored boots, I had to have them, and that was exactly what I wore for the months that followed.

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A Love Letter from Lisa: To Paul McCartney, My Confession

As I recall historical events, I can’t imagine a timeline existing without your presence, without your warm smile and those careful words that I’ve heard in interviews and television shows and movies.

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Moving Pixels Podcast: The Best Games of 2016

// Moving Pixels

"The Moving Pixels Podcast counts down our top five games of 2016.

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