Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.
The line above has been attributed to several voices — Elvis Costello, Miles Davis, Frank Zappa, and Lester Bangs, among others — but if the roof is on fire, I say we dance. Continuum’s 33 1/3 Series, helmed by the insightful and inimitable David Barker, is good books all about good records. Not just “good” records, but records that changed the face of music in one way or another — records that set the roof aflame, and the two I just read — …
Melodic punk rock with strong views and a solid spine might not be a rare commodity, but it sure doesn’t come around like this very often. Naked Raygun has consistently taken the punk sound to new places. They are as catchy as they are aggressive, as loud as they are intelligent, and as fun as they are serious.
Steve Albini once said of Chicago that “things like music, art, and other creative pursuits tend to be done as passions and for camaraderie rather than as careers. Careerism brings with it an …
In the early eighties, American hardcore brought extra speed and confrontation to the DIY punk-rock game. Radio Silence: A Selected Visual History of American Hardcore Music (MTV Press) documents a big chunk of the beginnings of this genre and its culture. Authors Nathan Nedorostek and Anthony Pappalardo opened up their archives of letters, original artwork, records, tapes, fliers, t-shirts, zines, and photographs — all the the sacred ephemera of the movement.
With the widespread adoption of formalized social networks (e.g., Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, etc.), there is a need to assess our sense of identity — intentionally and unintentionally — revealed in these public profiles. You might not be your khakis, but to some people you are.
I’ve been holding off on writing about WALL-E as I felt it needed to marinate for a while. There are so many things to comment on, I scarcely know where to start. I’ve seen the movie twice now, and it could definitely stand several more viewings. The accolade is often used recklessly, but WALL-E is the very definition of an “instant classic.”
Though I don’t care for Disney otherwise (or particularly any other animation outfit), I’m a dedicated Pixar fan. After last year’s absolutely abortive and formulaic Ratatouille, WALL-E is a …
No band has been more consistent while simultaneously being more experimental than Sonic Youth. Ever. When it comes to making great records while still pushing the limits of themselves and their listeners, Sonic Youth are the reigning ensemble. I doubt that anyone in the know — fan or foe — would contest that. In Goodbye 20th Century (Da Capo), their first authorized biography, David Browne wades through waves of feedback and gets behind the amps of the nearly three decades of noise from this veritable institution of American music.
My friend Ben Hiltzheimer once said that riding a motorcycle was a such head-clearing experience because while riding all you could think about was not dying. Riding a fixed-gear bicycle is similarly head-clearing. It’s chess not checkers. Being connected to the bike and its motion feels right in a way that riding bikes with freewheels and brakes never did, but you have to think several moves ahead.
Somewhere in a dark corner of rock and roll’s junkyard, there’s a carnival going on. An old white blues man is noisily trying to shake off his demons. His once-shiny suit is dusty from the melee, and the twisted metal of his soul is on display. As a crowd gathers in the night, the carnie growls in delight. That ol’ devil’s got ‘im in fevers and fits, howling his gospel to any and all who’ll listen.