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


Monday, October 8 2001

    Soulstice: Mixed Illusions

Musical talent must run thickly through the veins of the Rene siblings. Gabriel and Gina Rene, along with Andy Caldwell and turntablist Mei-Lwun Yee, form

Bubba Sparxxx: Dark Days, Bright Nights

Neither Eminem nor Bubba Sparxxx actually raise that many real questions -- except about the importance of image and marketing in what is supposed to the form that represents the authentic voice of Now.

    The Soundtrack of Our Lives: Behind the Music

Ah, Sweden. Home of high taxes, red candy fish, universal healthcare, Bergman, and heavy drinking. Every year my high school would host two Swedish students—

The Soundtrack of Our Lives: Welcome to the Infant Freebase

First, I’d like to devote a little time to talking about schizophrenia. There are those who toss the word around often, especially those whachamacalit

Rae & Christian: Anotherlatenight

Manchester is the Madonna of music towns—brilliant, mercurial, by turns trend-chasing and trend-setting, but always managing to come up with something startling and relevant

The Rembrandts: Lost Together

If it weren’t for their largely clean-cut image, the Rembrandts would make a good subject for a movie. Their career has progressed as if

Kid Ramos: Greasy Kid Stuff

If you missed this one last fall, you still have time to catch up with one of the best blues records of 2001. A 17-track “blues

    Jonathan Richman: Her Mystery Not of High Heels and Eye Shadow

For 25-plus years now, Jonathan Richman has been expressing love through his songs. He’s in love with people, places and things, with smells, sights

    Leona Naess: I Tried to Rock You But You Only Roll

The extent to which you will enjoy this album depends in great part on your reaction to writing such as this selection from the liner

    The Lilac Time: lilac6

Thank goodness for the double wonders of Stephen Duffy’s midlife crisis and his creative procrastination. Much has happened since 1999 and the critically acclaimed Lilac

Half-handed Cloud: Learning About Your Scale

The very idea of threading Christian messages into pop music that we’re free to buy or ignore still bugs enough believers and non-believers to

The Helio Sequence: Young Effectuals

Here’s my best case against the pompous crust that is known as Radiohead. I ask myself from time to time if people would actually

Kelly Hogan: Because It Feel Good

In the post-Celine Dion universe, women with big, booming voices tend to be viewed with suspicion. It’s like how no one wants to wear

Freeloader: Custom/10

The guys in Freeloader obviously have to know how much they sound just like the Stones on a couple of their songs here. And that’

Dead Red Sea: Birds

Dully self-indulgent, Dead Red Sea seems to be going through the motions on Birds. With its uninspired basement rock, Dead Red Sea is that band

Laura Dawn: Believer

Alongside the edgy girls of Elastica, Garbage and The Cranberries, and the feel-good sounds of girls like Emm Gryner, Lisa Loeb, and Shawn Colvin is

Death Cab for Cutie: The Photo Album

Death Cab for Cutie’s songs live in a tiny, claustrophobic, brilliant space. Every sound matters. Ben Gibbard massages every word he sings, exacting the

Guy Clark, Steve Earle and Townes Van Zandt: Together at the Bluebird Café

Could this be a win-win-win situation, a trio of the finest Texas songwriters taking turns strumming their tunes in a casual sitting? This collection, the

Beachwood Sparks: Once We Were Trees

Beachwood Sparks is a California band; it is the Byrds and the Beach Boys, Love and Buffalo Springfield, the Minutemen and Rank and File. Country-rock or alt-country might be the easiest tags to hang round the band's neck, but it doesn't follow the rules of that genre or any other, it offers more than any pigeonhole could hold.

Aveo: Bridge to the Northern Lights

Aveo is a band that doesn’t know quite who it wants to be. At times, it shares the quiet adolescent misery of bands like

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