Midnite Vultures – Beck

He's the prolific one-name artist known as much for his homegrown musical experiments as his full-band funkadelic workouts. Despite well-publicized battles with his record company, he's back with a new album and a few new tricks up his sleeve. What's his name? If you guessed Prince, you need a  ...

Mer de Noms – A Perfect Circle

At this point, approximately fifty years into its existence, it can be fairly expected that "rock" is not going to cough up a new paradigm anytime soon. The advent of digital sampling technology and turntable manipulation, both of which slunk in through the back door of white hip-hop fandom,  ...

I Have Been to Heaven and Back – Mekons

Mekons I Have Been to Heaven and Back Ever since there have been rock critics, there have been critics' bands. The Velvet Underground set the standard: their every move was met with an avalanche of good press, yet they never sold any records. It's an insult to  ...

Me Talk Pretty One Day – David Sedaris

In his best writing, David Sedaris suggests a visiting anthropologist from a distant galaxy or some future civilization, observing and chronicling contemporary life with a mixture of curiosity, disgust, and outright befuddlement. His stranger-in-a-strange-land approach succeeds without undue mean-spiritedness, because time and time again he proves more than willing  ...

Patti LuPone: Matters of the Heart

.. Patti LuPone starred on Broadway as Evitaand as Reno Sweeney in the Lincoln Center revival of Anything Goes. Earlier work included the original productions of The Baker's Wife and The Robber Bridegroom. In London she created the roles of Fantine in Les Miserables and Norma Desmond in Lloyd  ...

Everything, Everything – Underworld

Even after almost thirty years (possibly less depending on whether you want to count the ascendance of disco, or the emergence of Kraftwerk, as the beginnings of electronic music’s pop presence), it’s still difficult for many listeners to imagine a ‘live’ show that doesn’t involve guitars, grimacing, and histrionic  ...

Let It Blurt Book Review

If writing about music is like dancing about architecture - a sentiment attributed to various disgruntled musicians and smartasses - then rock critic Lester Bangs was James Brown doing Frank Lloyd Wright. While even the brightest lights of his profession were awkwardly grafting intellectual, sociopolitical and stylistic frames onto rock  ...

Leading Men of Musicals and Cabaret

Suggested reading: Intimate Nights: The Golden Age of New York Cabaret (1992), James Gavin Discovering Great Singers of Classic Pop: A New Listener's Guide (1992), Roy Hemming, David Hajdu (Editor) Jazz Singing: America's Great Voices from Bessie Smith to Bebop and Beyond  ...

Born to Entertain – Lisa Richard

The last few years has seen something of an explosion in the release of recordings by relatively young and little known performers on both the Broadway stage and cabaret circuit. While it is most gratifying to see a number of specialist labels taking an interest in such artists, sadly  ...