Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past


Monday, September 10 2001

Stefon Harris and Jacky Terrasson: Kindred

Bruce Lundvall is a very intelligent man. He has single-handedly revived Blue Note Records to its former position as the most interesting label in jazz

Ben Folds: Rockin’ the Suburbs

For most of his career, Ben Folds has thrived on examining those things that needle and surprise us from within -- even in his fictional narratives, you can sense very real experiences whispering from the shadows. Beneath the versatile Tin Pan Alley flourishes and Randy Newmanesque pop sheen of his songs, Folds's attitude ranges from heartfelt to smirking to unforgiving (sometimes all three at once).

Dead Kennedys: Bedtime for Democracy

“Alternative Tentacles will not carry these CDs in our mail order. I will not sign them. I don’t even want them in my collection”.—

The Derailers: Here Come the Derailers

A happy marriage would move these guys from Saturday Night to Sunday Morning. But with the bride running from the altar, well, that means the Derailers are back in the honky-tonk, right where they belong.

Johnny Carson: On Comedy

It’s right there in the liner notes. I’m referring to the problem with Johnny Carson On Comedy, a new CD from

The Chemical Brothers: It Began in Afrika

Boy, do I feel like an idiot. After enjoying the hell out of 1999’s rock-electronica opus Surrender, I jumped when a new Chemical Brothers disc

Joyce Cooling: Third Wish

Having had some unpleasant encounters with rock guitars lately and a blazing row with a “real” jazz fan—who was mortified by a deep house

The Charlatans UK: Wonderland

The Charlatans have never been the most original band, but their combination of every cool-sounding musical style ever approaches an original sort of derivativeness.

Jack Bruce: Willpower: A Twenty Year Retrospective

It was with John Mayall’s Bluebreakers that Eric Clapton first accrued status as Britain’s premier guitar hero. His groundbreaking electric blues playing made

Beulah: The Coast Is Never Clear

Undoubtedly the oldest adage offered to writers is the trite “write about what you know”. San Franciscans Beulah seem to have taken the phrase to

Babyface: Face 2 Face

First there was the banging introduction. Clearly them Neptunes were up to their usual brew of post-millennial digitized funk. I’m thinking Mystical, who they

The Apes: Fugue in the Fog

You can see ‘em creepin’ out of the swamp. Dragging their wet, murky feet through the mud and onto the abandoned dirt road just on

Monday, September 3 2001

PJ Harvey

Apparently, I’d heard correctly—and the critic was the gangling boy behind me, piping up shortly after lead singer Polly Jean Harvey joined her

    Various Artists: The Best of Sessions at West 54th: Volume 1

Public television’s Sessions at West 54th series has spent the last few years providing healthy doses of high quality, intelligent music in an intimate

Various Artists: Yoyo a Go Go 1999

For over 60 years, citizens of Olympia, Washington, have gathered at Lakefair, a city carnival that takes place during the second week in July. Since 1994, Yoyo

    Vibrolux: self-titled

I suppose if the title of this review caught your eye, then you’ve come here expecting something special. Well, I’m happy to say

3 Mustaphas 3: Play Musty for Me

The 3 Mustaphas 3 concept can be most readily comprehended by listening to “Radio Szegerely”, the first cut on Play Musty for Me. Imagine it’s the

    Space Ballerinas: If Goth Was Pink

The musical texture of that opening story-song, “Ballerina Fell…”, is supplied by keyboards and a powerful voice that is both angelic and eerie. Both that

    Erik Sanko: Past Imperfect Present Tense

From the opening moments of “While You Were Out”, Erik Sanko’s Past Imperfect Present Tense is a quiet exercise in nervous melancholy. His music

Mike Stern: Voices

I was sitting with Carl, who isn’t a music enthusiast, but who is interested in these music reviews I write, and the strange and

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