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Music Criticism News

Nothing Has Been Done Before Has a Website

I created a website full of resources for my new book, Nothing Has Been Done Before: Seeking the New in 21st Century American Literature. Go here and bookmark: http://nothinghasbeendonebefore.com The site includes audio and visual, a complete discography, outtakes, and more. Those resources won’t update much–though I’m still building the annotations for the discography–but I’ll […]

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Music Criticism News

The Latest: Shake It Up and Twin Peaks

A day late and a dollar short, as usual, but here we go: My review of the rock ‘n’ pop writing anthology SHAKE IT UP is live at Los Angeles Review of Books, one of my favorite sites for criticism. A lot of leftovers from this one which I hope to get posted here in […]

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Music Criticism News

Lana Del Rey’s “Love” In a Time of Trump

My new music column is up at PopMatters today. It concerns pop chanteuse Lana Del Rey’s recent single “Love” and listening to her use of nostalgia in a time of Trumpism. In many ways, this is a catching-up-with-things essay, and also very personal since it concerns, in part, my students at CCAD. I should be […]

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Music Criticism News

Nothing Has Been Done Before To Be Published by Bloomsbury

So I can finally announce the big news I’ve been keeping hush-hush: Next fall, Bloomsbury will publish my book of music criticism! The working title is NOTHING HAS BEEN DONE BEFORE. The book explores the concept of the “new” in American popular music since 2000 and argues for a different way of engaging with that […]

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Music Criticism News

Summer of ’16: Fantastic Negrito’s “Working Poor”

My new column is up at PopMatters. It’s one of those survey-the-land kinds of pieces, reflecting on where we’re at as a country. Specifically it considers Fantastic Negrito’s song “Working Poor” from his new album The Last Days of Oakland and what the song does–not just what it’s about. I want to clarify that my […]

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Music Criticism This Week's EP

This Week’s EP

Once again I’m trying to keep my pencil sharp by reviewing single tracks from wherever, whenever, most of it fairly new unless otherwise stated. This time around I’m calling it “This Week’s EP” because the EP is a lovable form: brief, intense in its focus compared to an LP, but spacious enough for some noodling around. The idea is that the included songs would fit on an EP. If that means six songs, or two, so be it. The point is to write this off-the-cuff, no planning, typos okay, lots of semi-colons, perhaps.

The endeavor to create a weekly update, or even any kind of regular update, on this site has failed before, and I expect it to fail again.

Track 1. “Complicated,” Fitz and The Tantrums, from their new self-titled album (Elektra/WMG)

The zenith/nadir of indie pop in the sense of highly compressed synth-crunch made with the “spirit” of indie-rebellion-something-or-other, this song, on the heels of the band’s single “HandClap,” reminds me of the white-collar bar near the Short North Market called Brothers, a meat market kind of place I wandered into once years ago and will never wander into again. “Kissing like a car crash” is a good lyric, though. My rating: three half-smoked cigarette butts on a sidewalk.

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Music Criticism

Documenting The Life of Pablo

My latest column at PopMatters has posted. It’s about Kanye West’s new album, The Life of Pablo, and its evolving nature. I was reading a recent essay by the philosopher Boris Groys concerning contemporary art and the internet, and something clicked. West’s constant revising of his album has been treated like a novelty, so I […]

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Music Criticism

Day Late, Dollar Short

If I’m not updating the website, it means I’m busy, which is good, right? Continuing developments goin’ on in the background, but here in the foreground, my PopMatters column from last month about Donald Trump and propaganda music. May have some announcements coming up. Blind Engineer continues its work on the EP; we’re getting close […]

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Music Criticism News The Blind Engineer

Catching Up: Ties That Bind and More

My latest column at PopMatters is up: “Bruce Springsteen, ‘The Ties That Bind,’ the Working Class and Authenticity.” Which pretty much explains what the column is about. Also, I didn’t post my previous column here. That one was part 2 of this series on working class music and focused on John Lennon’s “Working Class Hero.” […]

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Music Music Criticism News The Blind Engineer

Blind Engineer Shows and a Springsteen Review

The Blind Engineer has two shows coming up. I’m playing Friday Dec. 11 at the Mingo Town Music Acoustic Holiday Party, a five-hour extravaganza featuring pretty much all the artists on MTM: Harvest Kings, Heartbreak Orchestra, Devil Doves, Al Smyth’s FBnCC, Apple Bottom Gang, Jake Follrod, and Jon Schaer. Eric and Jesse will join me, […]