Earlier this year, Tom Ewing published what I consider the definitive “So Your Fave Has Been Cancelled” report – vividly describing the way we can rationalize and ignore unacceptable behavior, and finally the idea that a conscientious listener can opt for a song or artist to be “put beyond use.” I’m not so arrogant to […]
The Minutemen’s 1983 LP What Makes a Man Start Fires? begins with a fast, jittery bass riff. At the 7-second mark, the drums and guitar kick in, the latter sounding even more agitated. At 13 seconds, the vocalist begins to declaim, more than sing, the first verse, which is two lines long. I’m waitin‘, in […]
Perkus Tooth dealt in occult knowledge, and measured with secret calipersJonathan Lethem’s 2009 novel Chronic City concerns the friendship between Chase Insteadman, a former child actor turned idle New York celebrity, and Perkus Tooth, a writer and critic who spends most of his time in his walkup apartment, surrounded by the cultural ephemera he has […]
On selling out, and how the Human League inadvertently changed my life.
There’s such a deep well of British pop eccentrics that you could field a team of just Kevins – the lineage runs from Ayers to Coyne to Shields. Even Swell Maps’ late Epic Soundtracks was born a Kevin. But there is no greater (or more eccentric) Kevin than the once, future and forever frontman of […]
Let’s honor the year of my birth with a song about what happens when you die. A disco song, no less. Sparks are a group that some are fated to love, the band you might graduate to from They Might Be Giants. Both consist of two American nerds who coat a protective veneer of humor […]