Recent Features
Classical Radio Communities: Thoughts on Mediation

Classical music radio gives rise to a prophylactic form of community: we are somehow participating with other listeners without having to engage directly with those others. The music becomes a pretense for communal participation.

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Out of Shadows, Shining Ever-Bright

After catching the reunited '80s-era, Ronnie James Dio-helmed Black Sabbath on tour in Canada, Begrand looks back on an oft-neglected period in the metal titans' career.

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24 Apr 2007 // 11:00 PM

Bound Stems: A Portrait in Perseverance

As a member of Harvey Danger, Evan Sult found instant success, and just as instantly the band became a record-industry afterthought. With his new band, Bound Stems, what keeps him fighting against anomie and anonymity and indifference to make his music heard?

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Sounding the Call for Equality: An Interview with Mavis Staples

Staples: "What has really changed? I'm 67 years old, and I was here the first time around and it's still not fixed. We can't let Dr. King shed his blood and die for us trying to get justice and live in a world like this."

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Found Genres: The One-Off Noise Fest

When musicians go postal, the results can be fascinating: crazy, explosive works of art spring forth and cause record-company executives to cringe and casual fans to cower.

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Branching Out: An Interview With Ted Leo

America's last remaining old-style punk rocker revisits his hardcore, pop, mod, soul, celtic and reggae roots in his fifth and latest full-length. "I knew going into it that I didn't want this record to be as concise as the last one," he says.

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Getting Sick in a Foreign Language

There is something familiar to me in that idea of an abandoned past; in a place like Beijing, you too can become anybody, literally. Because of the disconnect between here and Back Home, you can create for yourself the identity you've always wanted.

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Ghost Stories: Masaki Batoh on Life, Death, and Stormy Nights

Japanese psych-folk master Masaki Batoh of Ghost talks life, death, improvisation and plasma balls ... and why he and his band won't be touring the US any time soon.

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17 Apr 2007 // 10:59 PM

Grappling with NIN’s noise at Year Zero

Trent Reznor is becoming a very narrowly defined auteur. His entire output could play like one long album, and Year Zero is no exception.

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Fountains of Wayne: Too Smart to Be a Rock Band, Too Smart to Be Anything Else

A self-aware songwriter, Adam Schlesinger still finds a way inside everyone else's head. PopMatters talks to the ingenius popsters about their new album and more.

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The Beautiful & Damned [Los Angeles]

Embodying the labyrinthine decay and assured swagger of their Hollywood home, the Beautiful & Damned are fueled by a bit of literary pretension and a drive to expose the grandeur in the intimate and ugly.

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The Little Label That Could: An Interview With Cryptogramophone’s Jeff Gauthier

"I want every album I produce to take the listener on a journey, perhaps to places they've never been before." Cryptogramophone Records founder Gauthier talks L.A. jazz, musical community, and embracing change.

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A Long Way from Wonderland

In 1980, Donna Summer walked away from disco's strobe-lit boogie wonderland on The Wanderer. Critics embraced her bold statement; audiences less so. Where exactly was Summer going?

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10 Apr 2007 // 10:59 PM

Brazilian Minister of (Counter) Culture: Gilberto Gil

Tropicalia fused nationalistic interest in native cultural forms with the heady changes of international pop culture -- it mixed samba and rock. As Gil said recently, it was "the last modernist movement and the first postmodernist one."

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8 Apr 2007 // 11:00 PM

Fun Is an OK Thing: An Interview With LCD Soundsystem

James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem and DFA Records talks corporate sponsorship, German pronunciation, and why the kids who don't dance aren't alright.

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4 Apr 2007 // 11:00 PM

The Marleys and Mind Control

The efforts of major corporations to disarm their consumers is a reminder that music used to be judged by how it made the listener feel, not how many times it was downloaded.

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4 Apr 2007 // 11:00 PM

Springsteen’s Other Tracks

In 1998 Bruce Springsteen released Tracks, a four-disc set that you'd have thought had cleared his archive of the best unreleased studio material. But that barely scratched the surface -- here, the best of the rest

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Since He Last Recorded: An Interview With RJD2

The former hip-hop producer explains the evolution of his sound and his inability to be like Steven Tyler.

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1 Apr 2007 // 11:00 PM

Sly’s the Limit

Sly & the Family Stone, a group that riddled pop music's consciousness with a concentrated dosage of exploding possiblity, finally get the expanded reissue treatment from Epic/Legacy.

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Inspiration, Integration, and the Soul Children: The Resurrection of Stax Records

Listening to songs like "(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay" and "Do the Funky Chicken" is like taking a stroll through the garden of sublime American soul music.

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