Recent Features
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 // 9:59 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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Bruce Springsteen: Still Going Strong at Age 60

The key to his success is that Springsteen believes in what he does, but doesn’t try to live inside the rock ‘n’ roll fantasy that glorifies wealth, fame, and superstardom.

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17 Sep 2009 // 10:00 PM

No Sympathy for the Devil

Over time, "Sympathy for the Devil" has been treated with huge fanfare and has become the common denominator fan favorite, but in actuality "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" gets to the core of what the Rolling Stones were.

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Jazz Cellist Peggy Lee’s ‘Fever’

Peggy Lee—the cellist, not the late singer—is nevertheless all about singing of a sort. She talks to PopMatters about creativity and collaboration in the beautiful city of Vancouver.

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Happiness Is a Warm Band: An Interview with Emily Haines of Metric

Haines fled to South America, Metric scrapped their new songs, and everyone realized their well-considered Fantasies.

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In Circles: Sunny Day Real Estate Reconsidered

In anticipation of a reunion tour, the two albums produced by the original Sunny Day Real Estate lineup get remastered and repackaged with extra tracks and expanded liner notes. They are ripe for revisiting.

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Music Scrobbling as a Panopticism of Taste

Among social networking sites, it's only Last.fm, only scrobbling -- which, once activated, operates entirely on its own, as an unconscious background function -- that channels the essence of Foucault's social panopticism.

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//Mixed media