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 back… Continue reading Lana Del Rey’s “Love” In a Time of Trump

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 interest… Continue reading Summer of ’16: Fantastic Negrito’s “Working Poor”

PopMatters: The Flea-Market Music of the Felice Brothers

My new "Ties That Bind" column is up at PopMatters, this time around concerning The Felice Brothers' music which I lovingly think of as "flea-market music":With the release of “Plunder”, there are now two new Felice Brothers singles in advance of the group’s forthcoming album, Life in the Dark. Both songs sound like they were… Continue reading PopMatters: The Flea-Market Music of the Felice Brothers

Extended Thoughts on Prince: Never Stop Arguing

When Prince passed away on April 21, I knew that my next column at PopMatters would be about him. That column, "Prince: Never Stop Arguing," is up now. Read it before reading any of what's below.

The problem was that I didn't know what to say. For me, trying to write about Prince has been like trying to walk around an ocean. Where do you even think about beginning? I've been a Prince fan since I was thirteen and first heard Purple Rain. As a young musician I was blown away by his talent, his soul, his ambition, his dedication. I traded for bootleg tapes. When my truck was broken into one night, I was more pissed about the thief taking my Paradiso live CD than I was about the shattered window. I've been trying to write about Prince for years, either for a PopMatters column or something else; I have a few stalled essays, one dating back to the album 3121, one as recent as last year.

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… Continue reading Documenting The Life of Pablo

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 to… Continue reading Day Late, Dollar Short

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." Read… Continue reading Catching Up: Ties That Bind and More

Updates: Ties That Bind, Blind Engineer and More

My new column is up at PopMatters here. "A Town Called Malice" takes a look at the state of working-class music from the US to the UK. As you might guess, it grew out of thinking about The Jam, one of my favs, after watching the recent documentary About the Young Idea. I hope this… Continue reading Updates: Ties That Bind, Blind Engineer and More

Ties That Bind: Sound Is Our Weapon

My new column is up at PopMatters this morning. Titled "Sound Is Our Weapon: Protest Music and Black Lives Matter," it started out as me simply listening to Janelle Monae and Wondaland's "Hell You Talmbout" and Rhiannon Giddens' "Cry No More" and, as you can read, it became something more than that.

Ties That Bind: Rockists v. Poptimists

My new "Ties That Bind" column is up at PopMatters today, so as the Tom Tom Club said, check it out y'all. The subject this month is the fabled "rockist v. poptimist" debate, which I generally think impoverishes the way we talk about music despite the major benefit of more inclusivity brought about by the… Continue reading Ties That Bind: Rockists v. Poptimists