Sometimes it's difficult to capture the power of performance through writing. There's something inherently silly about using words to illustrate the way a singer convulses or the way the different instrumental sections interlock to form a tight danceable beat. Language is notoriously ill-equipped to convey feeling. But it's particularly problematic in this case, both because the Music's music is so defiant to easy categorization, and because the slight awkwardness of the band's delivery is precisely what makes them such a compelling live proposition. To begin to make sense of the Music, you've got to start with Robert Harvey. Harvey is the singer and supporting guitarist on paper, but his primary role in the Music is to provide spiritual guidance -- not in a sanctimonious or overtly religious manner like, say, Bono or Scott Stapp. Harvey instead reacts to the grooves laid down by the band: dancing, jumping, shadowboxing. He's an emotional barometer of sorts, constantly relaying the ebbs and flows and of the music through movement. His indie-boy dance steps weren't always pretty, but there was never a hint of self-consciousness either way. That was the essential message: this was music to be felt, not reasoned. Whereas most performers must implore the audience to let loose (and even then are met with stiff resistance), Harvey simply willed the audience to movement through sheer charisma. By the end of the night, every concert-goer was possessed, surrendering to the beat and moving with reflex-like speed. As for the musical content, the band has quite obviously spent some time listening to the first Stone Roses album, but there seems to be an equal fascination with the early works of Led Zeppelin, U2, and even Oasis, minus the bombastic choruses. Most of the songs were characterized by fevered, epic builds and releases -- like Mogwai without the pretension. As you might expect, these influences are not the easiest to combine. But it's a testament to the immense skill and precision of the individual members (the guitar work of Adam Nutter deserves special mention) that the band managed to rise above the sound of a well-stocked jukebox. The Music have taken all these disparate elements and formed not only a coherent whole, but an original one as well. Of course, the Music don't come without their share of baggage. As good, young, and original as they are, they're still a bit lacking in the song department. "Take the Long Road and Walk It" is a good, proper anthem, as is "The People", but most of their other songs, while never failing to impress on a technical level, fall short of memorable. The group also seems to be a poor judge of their own material since the best songs they played on this particular evening -- including "Jag Tune" and "The Walls Get Smaller" -- aren't even on the debut album. Still, there's no question that the group possesses an enormous amount of potential. If they continue to mature in the right areas and at a reasonable pace, this is a band that could easily become the first important British band of the new millennium. I wouldn't bet against them.
In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.
Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.
Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"
Encounter Across the Abyss: Examining the Ontology of the Self in Toni Morrison's 'The Origins of Others'
Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.
It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.
When drummer Jimmy Chamberlin quit or was fired from the Smashing Pumpkins in 2009, he announced that he was going to focus his attention on the Jimmy Chamberlin Complex. This was good news. The Complex's 2005 debut Life Begins Again was freewheeling and colorful, filled to the brim with psychedelia, heavy pop, and heaping dose of post-rock. Billy Corgan was there, Rob Dickinson was there, even Bill Medley contributed to a track.
If you were born in the '80s or '90s, you may relate to the experience of picking up a videogame -- one frowned upon by the gaming community for being too difficult or frustrating -- and finding it delightfully to your taste, as it recalls the unwieldy and impractical adventures you grew up with. Such a game, you might feel, belongs to another age.
I could say the same of Jesús Carrasco's debut novel Out in the Open, the original edition of which caused quite the sensation in 2013, when it was first published in Spain. Reading it now, in Margaret Jull Costa's translation, feels very much like reading a book from another age, with a pace and a sense of focus that are quite unlike those of most published fiction today.