The Same River

Somewhere (Now and Again) in Summertime

Sep 13th, 2016 | By

To be alive is to know something about ebbs and flows. Sometimes everything feels stale and blocked, and the challenges come one after the other. But then a switch flips and doors open, and the challenges give way to opportunities. Half a lifetime ago, I heard the switch flip. Early in my career as a
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An Affectionate Look Back at The Associates

May 23rd, 2016 | By

Not a day goes by that I don’t stop by to read the latest from Paul Sinclair at, which focuses primarily on expanded deluxe releases and reissues. I rarely buy anything I read about there, as I am not a completist who needs every rejected take and poorly recorded live track a band has committed
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One Generation Got Old: Jefferson Airplane’s Call to Action

Feb 2nd, 2016 | By

No year in memory compares with 2016 in terms of how many musical greats we have lost. David Bowie, of course, but also Glenn Frey of the Eagles, Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots, and Paul Kantner and Signe Anderson, two of the charter members of the Jefferson Airplane. For music lovers, it’s been a tough slog.
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Watching for Jethro Tull’s Forgotten Storm

Mar 14th, 2015 | By

The band is well-known enough, but the album isn’t.  For some reason, Jethro Tull’s Stormwatch is off the radar for most music fans.  This is an anomaly; it certainly isn’t one of those “pantheon” albums, but it’s not bad. The album continues Tull’s tradition of mixing prog and Celtic rock.  Jigs and piping mingle freely
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How the Future Used to Sound

Mar 4th, 2015 | By

This is how electronic music sounded 40 years ago, when it was still far-out and futuristic and before it picked up a beat and an “A” on the end, and stepped into the dance clubs. Now, this music sounds several different ways.  I’ll discuss what I can because my old vinyl copy has an extraordinary amount
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A Phair to Remember

Mar 4th, 2015 | By

The 1980s was a great decade for women in pop music. A brief stroll down Memory Lane calls to mind the Bangles, Go-Go’s, Eurthymics, Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, Pat Benatar, Bananarama and many more slick confections. Even the few female leads who made it onto the Pitchfork best of the ’80s list (Kate Bush, the Cocteau Twins and the
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Is It Dub or Is It House?

Mar 3rd, 2015 | By
Haunted Dancehall cover

Before late 1996, when MTV’s Amp began playing electronica (what EDM was called back then) videos in the middle of the night on weekends, the only way to discover dance music was by tracking down recommendations in specialty record stores. Which is why I was in Music Now in Georgetown in early 1995. I was looking for the
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He Blinded Me with Nostalgia

Feb 25th, 2015 | By

A year ago this week, a headline in the local news snapped me to attention: “’She Blinded Me With Science’ singer named Hopkins’ 1st Homewood professor of the arts.” My first thought was, “Really? Thomas Dolby will be teaching at Johns Hopkins University?” And my second was. “Huh, I really liked his music once upon a
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Solar Flairs and Silence: Takemitsu Piano

Feb 17th, 2015 | By

The music of Toru Takemitsu (as “realized,” not “played,” by Roger Woodward) is, at fist listen, a far cry from Bach and Mozart – but it is a continuation of that tradition into uncharted territory.  Or, it was uncharted then.  In retrospect, there’s a lot of Debussy in this experimentalism.  I couldn’t stop listening to
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An Old Cat Worth Catching Up With

Feb 16th, 2015 | By

Can music enter your DNA? With some albums, listened to obsessively for months or continually throughout one’s life, I have to think that the answer is “yes.” Otherwise, how to explain the involuntary foot tapping and singing along that I engaged in when I pulled out Cat Stevens’ Tea for the Tillerman, an album I loved
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