Sean Murphy loves music, books, and movies and can’t imagine a world without sub-titles. He was born in northern Virginia and has never found a compelling reason to leave. He studied English at George Mason University and has an MA in Literature. One of his thesis papers dealt with the utopian impulse in ‘70s rock (which, depending upon one’s perspective, at least partially explains why he opted not to purse that PhD in Cultural Studies). During his time at PopMatters he has written music and movie reviews, along with the occasional essay. Despite living just outside DC, he remains recalcitrant in his conviction that paychecks mean less than personal fulfillment and that the pursuit of peace is not ironic. Endorses, in no particular order: anyone who is similarly allergic to right-wing radio and reality TV, the Red Sox, miniature schnauzers, Pho and Blanton’s single barrel bourbon. Ambition: to write the pretty-good American novel. Other stuff, too: http://bullmurph.com/
Wednesday, May 15 2013
Kathryn Schulz’s failure to appreciate F. Scott Fitzgerald’s masterwork, as professed on Vulture.com, is a contemporary case study for how not to assess literature.
Monday, April 1 2013
If Neil Young had once been inclined, or tempted to say either/or to the burn out/fade away options, he is now declaring neither/nor.
Friday, November 2 2012
Since truth is invariably stranger -- and scarier -- than fiction, some of cinema's most unnerving scenes come from movies not found in the Horror section.
Monday, August 27 2012
Almost half a century later, The SMiLE Sessions fully vindicate Brian Wilson's obsessive efforts: the material is complex but accessible, intense but assured, the fully realized vision of a unique talent.
Wednesday, August 8 2012
In Olympic action we hope to see perfection. With jazz improvisation we want something beyond even that.
Wednesday, May 8 2013
Although they became hugely successful, Pink Floyd championed a type of integrity that seems uniquely associated with progressive rock: they never imitated anyone else or copied their own previous efforts.
Tuesday, April 9 2013
Rush, as much as any rock band, represents the eternal present tense: they adapted and evolved in real time, reflecting the issues, sounds and styles of their day.
Thursday, March 7 2013
If 1967 characterizes a high point where rock music could be appraised as Art, it also initiated an explicit realignment of what was henceforth possible.
Thursday, February 7 2013
Somewhere between the first hit of acid and the last ray of light from the disco ball, rock music got ambitious. What we would come to know as prog rock would go on to launch a million air guitars.
Friday, April 9 2010
These guys were geniuses at life: living fully on their own terms, and after all the broken glass, bludgeoned livers, and wrecked relationships, the sum shined brighter than the scattered bits and pieces.
Friday, April 19 2013
Certain albums, such as Inspiration Information, never quite find the audience they deserve, failing to connect due to fashion or fate, or because too many souls have been sold in the service of crossover pop candy.
Friday, March 8 2013
For Hendrix enthusiasts, and the historical record, this latest (and hopefully not last) installment is priceless in its way.
Thursday, December 13 2012
By the time they got to Texas, in 1975, The Who had nothing to prove except the undeniable impact they could still make, any place, any time.
Thursday, December 6 2012
Steven Wilson's magic touch graces these reissues, and whether you’d like the familiar versions made slightly better, or are keen to enjoy slightly remixed versions, or want to see how these chestnuts translate in 5.1 Surround Sound, these are the discs you’ve been praying for.
Tuesday, November 13 2012
They Live is like The Matrix, without the billion dollar ballet routines.
Wednesday, March 20 2013
If 1967 characterizes a high point in rock music, it also initiated an explicit realignment of what was possible in the genre -- for better or worse.
Tuesday, January 8 2013
Permanent Waves is, on multiple levels, an unblinking stride toward the future, while it effectively shuts the door on the ‘70s.
Tuesday, November 20 2012
If you have a chance to check Clark out live, do so. He sounds fine in a studio setting, and I encourage you to grab his new disc. But like most of the better acts, especially of the jazz and blues idioms, he needs to be seen to be appreciated, and believed.
Thursday, September 20 2012
Celebrating the great lost (and never found) Love single from the Summer of 1967.
Thursday, September 13 2012
I use music as a viable source of empowerment: it is capable of conjuring up words and concepts that are oblique, or pretentious, or all-too-easily invoked, expedient for folks who ardently need a way to articulate the feeling they either can’t quite explain or desperately wish to get in touch with.