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  • Article

    A Very Good Year

    Want to know why I do this, over and above it's a living? Because as of August 14 or so I thought it was a lousy yearuntil the grading discipline made me come to terms with just how good the new Sleater-Kinney, Mekons, and Spoon albums are. THE ...

    by Robert Christgau on September 3, 2002
  • Black Arthur's Return - Arthur Blythe's Western Wind, Part II


    Black Arthur's Return - Arthur Blythe's Western Wind, Part II

    Arthur Blythe's story may not make a movie, but it certainly works as jazz allegory. He came to New York from San Diego in the magical mid '70s, and on his second night out sat in with Elvin Jones. Although he was critically neglected at home, at 34 ...

    by Gary Giddins on August 27, 2002
  • Steadfast in Style


    Steadfast in Style

    "Nobody cares like I do/What can I do?" Bryan Ferry warbles on "Goddess of Love," from the British singer's new album, Frantic. A bewitched plaint about Marilyn Monroe, the song first depicts her in familiar terms as glamorous but lonely, then addres...

    by Rob Tannenbaum on August 27, 2002
  • Article

    On-Ramp to Style

    At first glance, the cover of the Gentlemen of Leisure CD seemed like a boring attempt at "style," but now it strikes me as a charmingly austere attempt to pretend to evoke opulencethe two gentlemen, each wearing an expensive dress-up suit, are stan...

    by Frank Kogan on August 27, 2002
  • Music



    Amen to the E-man Jimmy Castor is no has-been. Harlem's own Everything Man, who birthed subwoofing novelties like "Troglodyte (Cave Man)" and "Bertha Butt Boogie," has been sampled over 3000 times, lending raw funk boom to cuts by bands from the ...

    on August 27, 2002
  • O Fiction, My Love - Jacqueline Humbert, Smoothest Chanteuse on the West Coast


    O Fiction, My Love - Jacqueline Humbert, Smoothest Chanteuse on the West Coast

    I've got a crush on someone, but it can never work out. She's fictional. It's Linda, the abandoned heroine of Robert Ashley's opera Improvement: Don Leaves Linda. Linda is imperturbable in crisis, endlessly vulnerable and endlessly unafraid, distrust...

    on August 20, 2002
  • Striving for Ease - Randy Travis Stays With Us


    Striving for Ease - Randy Travis Stays With Us

    Randy Travis is so much not an original that even his new traditionalism was a copy. Although many claim he saved country music from Urban Cowboy, that flick blighted 1980 and his chart blitz began in 1986, well after bluegrass boy Ricky Skaggs, chic...

    by Robert Christgau on August 20, 2002
  • Take the Long Way Home


    Take the Long Way Home

    "They're all so happy to hear that I've done wrong," Neko Case once sang about nosy neighbors titillated by rumors of scandalous extracurriculars, "I'm surprised they don't come over and thank me." The title of her third solo album might portend more...

    by Jessica Winter on August 20, 2002
  • Article

    Show Me the Way

    Peter Frampton never asked Shuggie Otis and Brian Eno to mess with Frampton Comes Alive, but supremely zealous rap-metal flagbearers Linkin Park essentially do just that with Reanimation. The new album sells itself as remixes of songs from this era's...

    by Christopher O'Connor on August 20, 2002
  • Article

    Open Arms

    Lately, while the thriving New York band and international subculture known as the Strokes have redesigned garage scruff into the audio emblem of exclusive cosmopolitan chic, five guitar/bass/drums guys from Kentucky seem to have taken it into their ...

    by James Hunter on August 20, 2002
  • Techno Grows Up


    Techno Grows Up

    When in late 2000 Nick Hornby wrote that Radiohead's Kid A was a record fit only for teenagersbecause adults don't have time to sit in our bedrooms trying "to decipher elliptical snatches of lyrics"you had to wonder: What cranky record clerk fed hi...

    by Philip Sherburne on August 20, 2002
  • Article

    Mild Salsa

    In junior high, that truncated Red Hot Chili Peppers star patch sewn on the small pocket of a Jansport backpack was a sign to stir silent nods and glimpses of recognition in hallways during recess and lunch. They were the authors of the "Special Secr...

    by Jaime Lowe on August 20, 2002
  • Continuing Education - Marian McPartland Accrues Style Bit by Bit


    Continuing Education - Marian McPartland Accrues Style Bit by Bit

    Marian McPartland's learning curve is apparently infinite, an Escher-like, Velcro-covered loop that keeps picking up incremental details as it winds its way through jazz for six decades, turning what began as a generic approach into something persona...

    by Gary Giddins on August 13, 2002
  • Family Men


    Family Men

    There's a story floating around about how Noreaga got his namethe type of tale that doesn't require reality to bolster it, because it's the myth that matters. At Collins Correctional Facility, where Queens-born Victor Santiago met collaborator Capon...

    by Irin Carmon on August 13, 2002
  • Article

    Their Time - Imperial Teen Motorvate the Bowery

    Forget talent, which is cheap no matter how many bands don't have it. Imperial Teen always projected like a party because they were excited. Gay guys weren't supposed to master Velvets strum-drone-noize, and back when they started, just as the alt bu...

    by Robert Christgau on August 13, 2002
  • Alt Is Long


    Alt Is Long

    Alanis Morissette had a bunch of hits, Jgermeister shots made me sick, and the fly summer girls in Sea Bright, NJ, macarena'd in lime green dresses and sparkly silver shoes and tiny backpacks all 1996 long, or at least well past Labor Day. Slinking...

    by Keith Harris on August 13, 2002
  • Music



    Andmoreagain Jim Morrison and Robert Plant worshiped him, he used Hendrix as a sideman, and he was recently honored by the British Parliament. But unless you're a '60s cult freak, you might not know who the self-proclaimed "original nigger hipp...

    on August 13, 2002
  • Music



    Tough Cookie Me'shell Ndegeocello's head is a barometer. She plays music in time signatures even Stephen Hawking couldn't count, and when her unstable soul-jazz fusion fizzes and frays, she sets her brow into a pair of parentheses, as though conc...

    on August 6, 2002
  • Let's Retroactive!


    Let's Retroactive!

    When a record's irony has more layers than an onion, it almost makes you want to cry. There is a lot to peel away before reaching the essence of the shagadelic soundtrack to the recent film CQ, though its core will more likely elicit a smile (or a sh...

    by Eric Demby on August 6, 2002
  • Article

    Almost Peas in a Pod - Sarah Vaughan and Tony Bennett Fight for the Right

    Tony Bennett is a pop singer who records extensively with jazz musicians but always comes off as a pop singer with a keen appreciation of jazz. Sarah Vaughan was a jazz singer who made dozens of pop records but always came off as a jazz singer who co...

    by Gary Giddins on August 6, 2002
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