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  • Old Man Rivers


    Old Man Rivers

    A funny thing happened to Sam Rivers on the way to his 68th birthday last Friday--he turned 75. Every reference book and liner note states his birth year as 1930. He professes not to understand why, cheefully affirming the correct year as 1923, a dif...

    by Gary Giddins on October 6, 1998
  • Ain't No Light


    Ain't No Light

    One of the packaging perks of the new 10-CD box set The Complete Hank Williams is a series of postcard reproductions of recent art about Hank. A more useful inclusion might have been a refrigerator magnet with a toll-free number for Alcoholics Anonym...

    by Sarah Vowell on September 29, 1998
  • Article

    Hanky Panky

    The Complete Hank Williams is an amazing document, with 53 previously unreleased tracks. It is not complete, however, because it doesn't include anything from a 1951 Hank Williams radio series sponsored by Mother's Best Flour. There are 180 or so Mo...

    by Mark Schone on September 29, 1998
  • Gray Line--Off Rhyme


    Gray Line--Off Rhyme

    Suicide wallpaper. That should be right: background music that keeps you up at night. And yet. Wallpaper gets a bad rap, because it's two-dimensional and decorative and lower-middle-class. Background doesn't get much respect either, like somethin...

    by Jane Dark on September 29, 1998
  • Consumer Retorts


    Consumer Retorts

    Tom Z's peculiar contribution to the Tropicalistas' still-thrilling 1968 collaborative album Tropiclia: Ou Panis et Circencis was the satiric antidevelopment anthem "Parque Industrial," which sang of a Penny Lane industrial park where laughing chil...

    by Richard Gehr on September 29, 1998
  • Article

    Border Crossings

    Preserving its central element of willing torture, Stereo Total have turned karaoke into an art form. At the Bowery Ballroom last Wednesday, singer Franoise Cactus had the stiff demeanor of a woman whose boyfriend had just pushed her on stage and en...

    on September 29, 1998
  • Consumer Guide


    Consumer Guide

    In the biz, September is boom time, and you'll find several brand-new albums below, with other late-month releases certain to follow. But in my life, it's also time to put a summer's pleasures on paper. I don't know how the Garbage sounds on the radi...

    by Robert Christgau on September 29, 1998
  • Article

    Who's Beautiful Now?

    My Marilyn Manson connection began with a T-shirt. As I was standing in line for a Tricky concert, kids fresh from Manson's Antichrist extravaganza the night before arrived wearing his Satanic Army togs--a spoof of the Salvation Army. I knew I'd gone...

    by Barry Walters on September 22, 1998
  • Article

    MTV Goes Gray

    Rumors of a Lewinsky appearance melt into air. So instead, the Slut in Recovery role is taken up by Ex Spice, who claims the MTV Best Video winner "was my idol growing up." Sylvester? Tina Louise? Madonna! Duh! Lookanyone who doesn't love her is ...

    by Jane Dark on September 22, 1998
  • Article

    Blemishes Be Damned

    Why do certain people--quite often brainy, scruffy, and with a collection of mulled-over heartaches to match their accumulations of scratched vinyl and Fiestaware--love Amy Rigby with a nearly irrational devotion? Could it be the way she transformed ...

    by Katherine Dieckmann on September 22, 1998
  • Article

    Fix It in the Mix

    Simon Reynolds's new book on dance culture comes in two versions. The American, Generation Ecstasy: Into the World of Techno and Rave Culture, is simpler and more linear. The British, Energy Flash: A Journey Through Rave Music and Club Culture, loops...

    by Simon Frith on September 22, 1998
  • Article


    In The Weatherbox, a peculiarly likable though rough-around-the-edges meditation on the American family from Rattlestick, playwright Travis Baker hits so many uncomfortably true-to-life notes that his play frequently makes you feel like you forgot to...

    by James Oseland on September 15, 1998
  • Article

    Words Worth

    I'll make you question any and everything you've ever believed in--Lost Boyz f / Canibus, "Beast From the East" Words. It's all about the words with Canibus. We could fill the page top to bottom with quotes from Germaine Williams, a/k/a The Guy...

    by Sasha Frere-Jones on September 15, 1998
  • Article

    Winter of Their Youth

    In a certain light (the hazy glow of late-summer afternoons, for instance), obsession seems like the only reasonable response to Belle and Sebastian. Introspective and introverted, deeply artful and fiercely protective of their art, these young Scots...

    by Dennis Lim on September 15, 1998
  • Article

    Rock & Roll - Blues, In Progress and Motion

    Although Taj Mahal is not an artist who shows up on anybody's honor roll of '60s originators, maybe he oughta. That sure was how it looked when he visited Tramps with his young heirs Corey Harris and Alvin Youngblood Hart August 28. For decades he'd ...

    by Robert Christgau on September 15, 1998
  • Article

    A Terrible Beauty

    Couldn't say which color most becomes her, but Courtney Love's best vowel is u. She throws herself into them all, of course, like a stage diver--wrings everything out of a tonality, then leaps on to the next. "Celebrity Skin," her liposuctioned new s...

    by Eric Weisbard on September 8, 1998
  • Article

    Swing, Kids! - A Revival Tries To Make History of Its Own

    Khakis swing. So do Chips Ahoy! cookies and Toni Tennille. So do legions far too young to have experienced it first-hand, people whose parents didn't listen to swing. Tattooed punks are swapping leather jackets, mohawks, and Doc Martens for double-br...

    by Jesse Berrett on September 8, 1998
  • Article

    Educating Lauryn

    A Critical Confab on the Year's Most Ambitious and Multifaceted Debut Sound, Style, and Steel Lauryn Hill has given birth once more. This new child may be more lament and redemption song than soft skin and baby chuckles, but it is a child of Laur...

    on September 1, 1998
  • Article

    Consumer Guide

    An awful lot of gnarled, dissonant music is dear to me, but if music has to be ugly to be authentically 20th-century, then I for one will wave goodbye to the 1900s with unmixed relief. So I am unapologetic about giving "Pick Hit" to the prettiest maj...

    by Kyle Gann on September 1, 1998
  • Article

    SYM Seeks Audience

    Why are gloomy guys with guitars so groovy again? Pop has been on such a female empowerment trip--radiating feminism and marketing in the same dance step, pumping out chest-thumping divas as if MTV were one never-ending Star Search episode, go-on-gir...

    by Barry Walters on August 25, 1998
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