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  • Taking Communion

    Article

    Taking Communion

    She carries her left hand vestigial, dangling at the wrist, her elbow crooked like some prehistoric bird, as if waiting for it to grow a wing. Alanis stops to let the song course through her. A moment to deliberate. On a stage that evokes a biblical,...

    by Lenny Kaye on November 17, 1998
  • Article

    Swede and Sour

    Don't believe a word Nina Persson says. The pouty lead singer of Sweden's Cardigans, who appeared at the Bowery Ballroom on Thursday to promote their new radio-friendly yet thematically alienating album, Gran Turismo, has, along with other insouciant...

    by James Hannaham on November 17, 1998
  • Article

    Urgency Emergency

    Was it possible? Could the tall blond under the Madison Square Garden spots be responsible for unleashing Jewel, Sarah, Paula, Alanis, Shawn, and a couple of Natalies on us? Funny, she didn't look cruel. She actually looked pleasant, not at all the s...

    by Steve Anderson on November 17, 1998
  • Article

    Built To Spill Over

    The German word for it is Konsumterror the fear that there's something you ought to be consuming and aren't. This year's CMJ Music Marathon was four straight days of Konsumterror. No matter what you were seeing, you had to be missing out on somethin...

    on November 17, 1998
  • Drip, Drip, Drip

    Article

    Drip, Drip, Drip

    To be an opera composer, Aaron Copland wrote, "The urge has to be so strong that because of some inner drive, little else in music attracts you--and then you are an honest-to-God opera composer. I am not such." My generation doesn't believe it. Opera...

    by Kyle Gann on November 10, 1998
  • Now Is Their Hour

    Article

    Now Is Their Hour

    Picture a game of dress-up where everyone agrees to act out Little Women, and you'll get the concept of The McGarrigle Hour: fun by the book, steeped in love and history, a sentimentalization of family that in other hands might have been suspect, and...

    by Georgia Christgau on November 10, 1998
  • Mall of Blues

    Article

    Mall of Blues

    These days, the blues seems to exist outside popular music, partitioned off to clubs full of worker bees unwinding with a few beers and a Grammy category they don't even telecast. Which is why you've probably never heard of Little Charlie and the Nig...

    by Lissa Townsend Rodgers on November 10, 1998
  • Monster Mash

    Article

    Monster Mash

    My favorite residual effect of electronica is how it's opened up loud rock to sounding hypnotic. The stateliest swirling lately (like Rammstein's keyboards) comes from Central Europe, but a couple of the more barbaric and salable mechanical-metal sta...

    by Chuck Eddy on November 10, 1998
  • Article

    The Hill Is Alive

    Inflated to the size of a Macy's parade balloon, the da de los muertos skeleton Cypress Hill's mascot for nearly a decade sat on a throne center stage at Roseland on Halloween, a ghoulish reproach to skeptics who think the appeal of this singular ...

    on November 10, 1998
  • Keeping Scores - Good old-fashioned movie music is as healthy as it ever was

    Article

    Keeping Scores - Good old-fashioned movie music is as healthy as it ever was

    A decade ago, bestselling multiartist compilations and their smash singles redefined how millions of people use movie soundtracks. Flashdance! Beverly Hills Cop! Vision Quest! Reacting against the incursion of Bombay procedures into the American ente...

    by James Hunter on November 10, 1998
  • Article

    They Luv Mekons

    Dennis Anderson and Lois Kahlert stand alone in the feckless cult of Mekons fans. Not because they claim to have seen the band "around 1000 times," but because they cling to a vision of superstardom even the Mekons have surrendered. "They have great ...

    by Josh Goldfein on November 10, 1998
  • Article

    Consumer Guide

    Hip hop is rich and unexpected enough these days to shore up a curmudgeon's faith in musical youth. Not that he sees any percentage in following the lead of a "hip hop community" that, insofar as it exists, makes no allowances for curmudgeons. Queen ...

    by Robert Christgau on November 3, 1998
  • Pure Presentation

    Article

    Pure Presentation

    Judy the artist, Judy the icon, Judy the obsession: Trying to tell them apart can seem an uphill struggle. The eternal little girl who was born Frances Ethel Gumm in 1922 would have been 76 this year, and the obsession is in fuller bloom than ever. A...

    by Michael Feingold on November 3, 1998
  • Article

    A Diva's Desires

    The day after Deborah Grace Winer pounded a nail into cabaret's coffin with a gloomy Times report, Audra McDonald turned the hammer's head around to the claw end and extracted that nail with a swift, elegant gesture. Unleashing a warm soprano that c...

    by David Finkle on November 3, 1998
  • 38 Special

    Article

    38 Special

    I can hear you/Can you hear me?" Michael Stipe sang on the first R.E.M. album, and he's probably spent a chunk of the past 15 years wishing he'd kept his pretty mouth shut. Few rock stars have been mind-read and decoded over the years like Stipe, the...

    by Rob Sheffield on November 3, 1998
  • Stormin' Norman

    Article

    Stormin' Norman

    Start with a chunky funky beat. Layer in a mind-bendingly catchy sample that screams, "This is fun! This is fun! This is fun! This is fun!" Add a few rap'n'diva bits to increase memorability. A recipe for Puff pop pastry? Nah, it's the basic formula ...

    by Barry Walters on November 3, 1998
  • The Iceman Cometh Back

    Article

    The Iceman Cometh Back

    Yo V.I.P., let's kick it: Vanilla Ice has this amazing bucktoothy rube smile he flashes when he's really proud of himself. He looks like his own mascot--a pumped-up plastic Aryan action figure, biceps covered with Celtic tattoos, blond goatee, Caesar...

    on November 3, 1998
  • Article

    Drip, Drip, Drip

    To be an opera composer, Aaron Copland wrote, "The urge has to be so strong that because of some inner drive, little else in music attracts you--and then you are an honest-to-God opera composer. I am not such." My generation doesn't believe it. Opera...

    by Kyle Gann on October 27, 1998
  • F(reakiness) M

    Article

    F(reakiness) M

    In hip-hop terminology, though it dates back much further, "country" means unsophisticated, backward, i.e. Not From New York. Chris Rock once slagged the Atlanta bassfest "MyBabyDaddy" as the most "ignorant, country shit" he'd ever heard. And he was ...

    by Sia Michel on October 27, 1998
  • Article

    Still Standing

    Tammy Wynette's "Stand by Your Man" first seared the country charts 30 years ago this month, Elton John sings it on the current Tammy Wynette Remembered (Asylum), and there would seem to be no more relevant song in America today. In 1992, of course,...

    by Daniel Cooper on October 27, 1998
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