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


Saturday, December 31 1994

Bobby Short, How’s Your Romance

He’s a national treasure, no doubt about it. In his 50 some years of performing American popular song, Bobby Short has built a 5,000-song repertoire.

Adam Sandler, Stan and Judy’s Kid

I can still remember the first time I heard Adam Sandler in his post-Saturday Night Live celebrity status. It was Christmas, 1994, and one of my

    Bobo Stenson Trio: Serenity

I’m a sucker for a good piano player, and Bobo Stenson is a fantastic pianist. He has a way of traveling the keys that

Frank Sinatra, A Swingin’ Affair, Songs For Swingin’ Lovers, Songs For Young Lovers/Swing Easy, Com

Sinatra didn’t just sing great songs, he took them off the market by making each performance the definitive interpretation of the song. He was

    Straw Dogs: any place at all

Perhaps it only seems that acoustic guitar playing, perfectly harmonizing, grizzly bearded campfire singers are old hat. Then again, maybe it’s all too common

Satisfact, The Third Meeting At The Third Counter

Often unjustly tagged as 80s new-wave-wannabes because of the analog synthesizers that weave through their songs, Satisfact is really more of a fully modern post-punk

Ryuichi Sakamoto: BTTB

Wow. This music is so extraordinarily beautiful that you won’t believe it. If any of the following reads as though I am speaking in

Sonia Dada: Lay Down and Love It Live

On its latest recording, Lay Down and Love It Live, Chicago based blues/soul/funk/whatever group Sonia Dada rocks its way through 13 tracks of

    Sviraj: Cigannine

Though Sviraj (pronounced SVEE-rye) is from the United States, it’s virtually impossible to tell. Their name captures their sound well. Sviraj means “play on”

Tommy Smith: Bluesmith

Sax player Tommy Smith comes billed as “legendary.” This is probably the usual press-agent puffery, but Smith is a wonderful player of impressive accomplishments. Born

Jimmy Smith: Dot Com Blues

With all due respect to organ royalty such as Milt Buckner, Shirley Davis, Wild Bill Davis, Bill Doggett, Brother Jack McDuff, Dr. Lonnie Smith and

Slow Poke: Redemption

So this, they tell me, is freeform jazz. Slow Poke is Michael Blake, Tronzo, Tony Scherr and Kelly Wollesen. Blake plays saxophones, Tronzo guitars, Scherr

Swag: Catch-All

Pop quiz: What’s the scariest word in rock and roll? It’s “supergroup”, and rightfully so. For the few that work (Electronic, New Pornographers),

Signing Einstein: self-titled

The opening strains of Signing Einstein are promising enough, sounding like a prog rock fantasy with feet in Pink Floyd’s general sound. When Gina

Snapcase: Designs for Automotion

Last week I found myself hanging out with a bunch of English hardcore kids (one of whom had no teeth), watching videos of hysterically terrible

Spring: The Last Goodbye

Fashion designers and models take many approaches. There’s the look that stuns you with its absurdness: dresses made from chandeliers, women wearing trash can

Shalabi Effect: self-titled

You might not be able to get past the prog-ish allusions on the Shalabi Effects debut CD. A by now ubiquitous image gleaned from the

Spoozys: Astral Astronauts

Spoozys’ press release declares that its subjects “are not from outer space; they come from Tokyo, Japan.” It is probably not an indispensable fact that

    Antoine Silverman: Blue Moods

The short review comes first: kudos to Silverman for taking his instrument in the direction he has, yes, even coupling the words “jazz” and “violin”.

    The Soundtrack of Our Lives: Extended Revelation

Here’s one of my favorite stories about Sweden’s The Soundtrack of Our Lives: They were hanging out at home with Sonic Youth (presumably

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