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


Monday, June 18 2001

Chicago Underground Quartet: self-titled

Start with Chicago trumpeter/electronician Rob Mazurek. He’s cool; he’s played on albums by Tortoise and Stereolab and Isotope 217 and all those cool

Burning Spear: The Ultimate Collection

More than a quarter century after achieving his first major success with the 1975 album Marcus Garvey, Winston Rodney—better known as Burning Spear—remains one

Betty Already: Amerimaniacs

I wish Betty Already’s Amerimaniacs were as funny or interesting as the band would like me to believe. Instead, it just sounds like obnoxious

Michael Brecker: Nearness of You—The Ballad Book

Why is it that some talented people strive to do the opposite of what, to them, comes naturally? Ask many comic geniuses what they’d

Thursday, June 14 2001

Built To Spill

Built To Spill Tunes Up (Again and Again) Sometimes you’re too good for your own good. That’s not something that many fans of

Beans: Crane Wars

Beans. They’re from Canada, don’t you know. They make music. Sort of. I think they might be artsy. Then again, they might just

Wednesday, June 13 2001


successfully wooed a near sellout crowd for it's first D.C. show on this tour. The crowd loved the band; the band loved the crowd. We all loved one another.

Monday, June 11 2001

    Various Artists: Dublab Presents: Freeways

Los Angeles is a big city. That’s an understatement, of course, but it’s an understatement worth repeating: Los Angeles is a big, big

    John Vanderslice: Time Travel is Lonely

John Vanderslice seems to have grown up in the time between Mass Suicide Occult Figurines and Time Travel Is Lonely. He still has the same

    Tesla: The Best of Tesla: The Millennium Collection

Had Tesla risen to fame ten years earlier they would’ve have been heralded as a great, gritty rock and roll band taking their place

    Toby Dammit: Top Dollar

Yeah, I used to frequent the dance clubs when I was younger. Back in ‘93 and ‘94 it was not uncommon at all to see me at

    Brian Setzer ‘68 Comeback Special: Ignition

Somehow, throughout Brian Setzer’s long career, it’s escaped a lot of people’s notice that he’s an absolutely phenomenal guitarist. Part of

    The Silos: Laser Beam Next Door

From his interviews, lead Silo Walter Salas-Humara appears to dislike being associated with folk or roots music. Which, for anyone, who has ever heard the

    Stereo MC’s: Deep Down & Dirty

Nine years later, the British band returns with a millennial update of their horn-and-drum laden sound. Deep Down & Dirty adds a few twists to

    Sugar Ray: self-titled

One person’s marketing dream is another person’s hellish nightmare. Welcome to the dichotomy that is the current self-titled release from the Southern California

    Super XX Man: Volume V

If you’ve been keeping up with yours truly this year, then you know I absolutely frothed over Those Peabodys. So it was with much

    The Philadelphia Experiment: self-titled

With a bevy of releases and forthcoming projects from the likes of Jill Scott, Music Soulchild, Res, The Roots, Amel Larrieux, Ursula Rucker, Black Thought,

    The Pearlfishers: Across the Milky Way

Can we talk for a minute? Let’s transcend this music reviewer/audience dichotomy—that’s not what human relationships have come to today, is

    Neotropic: La Prochaine Fois

Riz Maslen is somewhat of an enigma in electronic music. For starters, she’s not that electronic. In the past she’s leaned toward creating

Willie Nelson: Rainbow Connection

Over the course of a long and winding career, Willie Nelson has been a lot of things: gifted songwriter, outlaw country singer, concept album master,

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