It’s Too Late to Stop Now: The Quest for Better Sound

Feb 21st, 2017 | By

I got bitten by a few bugs early in my adulthood. One of them was a passion for great sound at home. I would have likely led a normal life, satisfied with my Lafayette speakers and receiver and Garrard record player, but for the fact that a block away from my undergrad college was the
[continue reading…]

Salon des Refusés: Kraftwerk

Jan 24th, 2017 | By
Logo for Salon des Refusés. background image by via Creative Commons license.

In 1863, the Salon des Refusés was launched to counter the conservative aesthetics enforced by the Academy of Fine Arts in the annual Paris Salon. That year, the “rejects” included such later revered painters as Manet, Courbet, Whistler, Pissarro and Cezanne. Perhaps it is now time to establish a Salon des Refusés for the Rock & Roll Hall of
[continue reading…]

Let’s Stay Physical: The Case for CDs and LPs

Nov 1st, 2016 | By

I recently spent several months packing up most of my house for a move that fell through at the last minute. I’ve had more enjoyable experiences in my life. Back when I used to move much more frequently — during the college years and shortly thereafter — I followed a simple rule of packing. The
[continue reading…]

(Not) Giving Us What We (Don’t) Want

Sep 7th, 2016 | By

I will always remember the day in the late 1980s when I walked into my local record shop to pick up a new release. I easily located it on CD, but the LP — my preferred format — was nowhere to be found. I found a clerk and asked him if I had somehow missed it,
[continue reading…]

End of the Purple Reign: Remembering Prince

Apr 22nd, 2016 | By

I was introduced to Prince by Rolling Stone‘s gushing lead review of Dirty Mind in February 1981. I immediately bought the album and could not stop playing it.  As Ken Tucker observed, “At its best, Dirty Mind is positively filthy.” Perhaps more important, though, “Dirty Mind jolts with the unsettling tension that arises from rubbing complex erotic wordplay against clean, simple
[continue reading…]

When Every Day Was Record Store Day

Mar 29th, 2016 | By
Record Store Day 2014 by D Double U via Creative Commons 2.0 license

April 16 marks the ninth annual Record Store Day. Started as a way to get people back into record stores after downloads (legal and the not-so-much types) sapped the desire for physical media, the event proved wildly successful. Around the globe, people line up in the early hours hoping to leave with special records available nowhere else. Some store
[continue reading…]

Remembering Keith Emerson 1944-2016

Mar 15th, 2016 | By
Photo by Surka, used under Creative Commons 3.0 license

For millions of music fans all over the world, 2016 has been an incredibly cruel year so far — and it’s only March. The death of Keith Emerson on March 11 has pushed me beyond the realm of sadness to a mixture of anger and resignation. Anger that so many musical icons from my formative years
[continue reading…]

Overlooked and Unappreciated: Five Artists You Need To Hear

Feb 29th, 2016 | By

Remarkable artists often wallow in obscurity for any number of reasons. Uncovering such artists is one of the great joys of writing about music. In this piece I want to bring to your attention five artists/bands that deserve greater recognition. To most of you, I’m certain these artists are unknown, and though some of you
[continue reading…]

Perfect Sound (Destroyed) Forever

Feb 15th, 2016 | By

Stop into your local Urban Outfitters, and you can grab a vinyl copy of The 1975’s I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It for $40.  Not a fan of that band? There are plenty of other choices; UO is second only to Amazon as the leading seller of
[continue reading…]

David Bowie: A Star Has Gone Out

Jan 22nd, 2016 | By

I’ve been struggling all week to write about David Bowie’s death. He was a bright star in my personal constellation of rock and pop stars (sadly, the rumor that a lightning bolt constellation was named after Bowie turns out to be a false wish upon a star), a Blackstar, in light of the title of his final
[continue reading…]