My latest column at PopMatters concerns the great band Protomartyr, from its first album to its latest, Relatives in Descent. Here's an excerpt:Relatives in Descent is, musically, a more contemplative and less full-throttle Protomartyr album than the three which precede it. I almost wrote "intellectual", which in some circles -- (some) punk, pop country, the… Continue reading Protomartyr at PopMatters
My July column, "Algiers and the Political Structures of Noise," is up at PopMatters: read it here. I've been a fan of the band Algiers since their debut self-titled album. Nobody else sounds like they do: a bucketful of warm soul and cold techno-punk...or is it cold soul and warm techno-punk? Their fusion is utterly… Continue reading The Latest: Algiers at PopMatters
My new column is up at PopMatters. Read it here. One of the more interesting discoveries in researching this piece was finding the videotaped interview from Toronto 1988 from which the prominent quote about "First We Take Manhattan" is taken. The quote from Part I of the interview that I included sheds a little light… Continue reading Power Play: Brian Williams, Leonard Cohen, and “First We Take Manhattan”
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
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”
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
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.
My new column for PopMatters went up today. Titled "A Nightly Ritual: Bob Dylan's Never-Changing Set Lists," it reviews his May 16, 2015 show here in Columbus and examines the mini-controversy over his set list, which is very heavy on recent songs. I didn't end up cutting much unless you count everything I left out of the review--which, as LeBron James has been saying lately, is "everything." The challenge of writing about Dylan isn't just saying something new, it's choosing how to narrow down your focus when there's so much his music touches.
My new column went up today at PopMatters, which has been going through a significant site redesign. The end result is sharp-looking."Spectacle of Empty Gestures: Rihanna's 'American Oxygen'" concerns the song and the video, both of which strike me as either confused or simplistic, or both. Unless there's obvious reason or proof, I never doubt… Continue reading Ties That Bind: Rihanna’s “American Oxygen”
The return of my PopMatters column "Ties That Bind"--which usually focuses on the intersection of American culture, politics, and art of some kind--takes a look at the film The Voices. Up today! Here's an excerpt:The guy in the seat behind/above me seemed like he was about to vomit on my head—“Oh,” he muttered helplessly, “Oh… Continue reading Ties That Bind: The Voices is an American Nightmare