December 07th, 2016 | Category: Headline, Reviews
Five Fives: Top 25 Records, 2016

2016 was a year of monster releases from veterans and relative newcomers alike. Weirdly, three of the top five were neatly stacked side by side. N-bands Nails, Neurosis, and Nothing put out three of my most-listened-to and most revered records. My friends and heroes, emcess/producers Aesop Rock and dälek round out The Five Best. It’s not a huge drop off from there, but these were definitely my five favorites. Let’s run them down along with the other worthy candidates in five sets of five: The Five Best, Five More, The Five …

Read on »



November 09th, 2016 | Category: Essays
Divine and Conquer

Upon his frustration with the usefulness of social media, specifically Twitter, a friend of mine wrote a few weeks ago, “Either my patience is thinner or there are just more and more people for whom the medium is less about bridging the gaps and more about staking out ground.” He acknowledged the foulness of the current political air, but also stated that none of that was likely to change any time soon.
More prescient he could not have been.

Tucked away in the alleys and valleys of our own interests, we stay …

Read on »
September 23rd, 2016 | Category: Essays
My Two Days in Television

Two clichés describe the experience of making television shows fairly accurately: It’s always “hurry up and wait” for people on both sides of the camera, and the production side is always “herding cats.” Hundreds of people of different backgrounds and skill-sets have to coordinate their efforts and come together in precisely the same moment — over and over again. There are so many junctures at which mistakes and frustration could take over, so many opportunities for things to go completely wrong.

Based on the original 1971 novel by William Peter Blatty …

Read on »
August 01st, 2016 | Category: Reviews
Genre Trouble: Post-Rock and Other Lost Sounds

Even with a space seemingly cut out for them by a family of description-defying groups, ready-made genres, and audiences lying in wait, some sounds still just seem to don’t fit anywhere. As I wrote previously about another post-something band, when genre-specific adjectives fail, we grasp at significant exemplars from the past to describe new sounds. Following Straw (1991), Josh Gunn (1999) calls this “canonization” (p. 42): The synecdochical use of a band’s name for a genre is analogous to our using metaphors, similes, and other figurative language when literal terms fall …

Read on »
June 21st, 2016 | Category: Reading Lists
Summer Reading List, 2016

If you’re like me, you haven’t even read all of last year’s recommendations, but here’s another great pile of pages to read! This year’s list boasts contributions from newcomers Rita Raley, Gerfried Ambrosch, Pat Cadigan, Emily Empel, Alexander Weheliye, André Carrington, Douglas Lain, Christina Henry, Alfie Bown, Charles Mudede, and Joseph Nechvatal, as well as veteran listers Janet Murray, Lance Strate, Peter Lunenfeld, Ashley Crawford, Lily Brewer, Dave Allen, Rick Moody, Alex Burns, Patrick Barber, Michael Schandorf, and myself.
As always unless otherwise noted, titles and covers link to the book at …

Read on »