Tender Buttons: Jan Jelinek’s Sensual Data

Hmm… there’s something seductive going on around here. Jan Jelinek’s mysterious and subtle collection of clicks, pops and hums is sexy in the way that libraries are sexy. This is a designated quiet zone in which the normally drowned-out sounds – pages turning, chairs creaking, and shoes padding across carpet tiles – are amplified into […]

Fly Me Free: Songs From Suicide Bridge

No review is objective. Everything you are – your race, age, gender, nationality, your fondness for raspberry jam – all of it informs your reactions and perspectives. For this reason, music that seems to “not care” whether you like it or not is very attractive. It’s an unselfconsciousness, an unwillingness to pander and a total […]

(Almost) Loving Vincent

What do we mean by “Style over substance”? Sometimes it’s a criticism, sometimes it’s merely an observation. Great action movies like The Raid don’t need all that much substance because of the sheer amount of visual flare, and the same goes for whizz-bang animated spectacles like Disney’s Fantasia. These are not great movies in spite […]

300,000,000 m/s and falling

Art takes over when words fail. There are times when it’s the only worthy analogy for how we feel. The intensity of emotion and its process from explosion into dissipation can be earth-shattering, eclipsing logic and arresting the senses. The fourth LP by electronic retromaniac Oneohtrix Point Never (say it “one oh tricks”) shattered every […]

God: Optional

In 2006, sweet-natured and very sincere peddler of Americana Howe Gelb released one of the all-time great American folk albums. Relocating from his desert hometurf, he walled himself in a snowy wood cabin with a band and a Canadian gospel choir. The result that emerged is the kind of record that can soften the spiritual […]

Total resentment forever

A critic once said that one great song can make an album but one amazing song can kill it. I’m told that ‘Polydistortion’ – the second album by Icelandic electro-art-pop collective GusGus – is really really good. I’m fairly sure it is, I’ve heard most of it. That being said, ‘Believe’ is such a singular […]

It’s not vanity / It’s my sanity

Sister Sledge – We Are Family A bizarre time in American history which looks darker and darker with each passing year was the “Disco Sucks” movement. The 20th Century never saw such a violent backlash against a genre of music, culminating on July 12th 1979 when a pair of shock-jock-rock DJs staged “Disco Demolition Night”. […]

England, now

Richard Dawson – Jogging (single)How old is Richard Dawson? He sounds somewhere between 50 and 500 years old, but has the freshly-bruised innocence of a gentle baker in a folk-tale. To screw with this question even more, he’s just followed an entire album about 6th Century Anglo-Saxon society with a single that captures a distinctly […]