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  • Article

    76 Trombones in the Big Paradise

    Just when it seems like there's nothing new under the sun in American vernacular music, along comes living proof that there is. A couple years ago, Arhoolie Records introduced the sacred steel guitar players of the black, Pentecostal, House of God, w...

    by John Morthland on August 24, 1999
  • Article

    Children of the Rose

    It only takes 3:49 for Sheryl Crow to plow through her cover of "Sweet Child O' Mine," a song I swear used to last a good half hour when it came on the radio in '88. She recorded it for the soundtrack to Big Daddy, the not-quite-as-funny-as?Billy Mad...

    by Matt Ashare on August 24, 1999
  • Music For Theremin


    Music For Theremin

    By all rights, that whacky, eerie-sounding box called the theremin should be as dead as the brachylosaurus and as quaint as the bustle. Instead, it's undergoing a renaissance that threatens to legitimize its status as a standard instrument. One lesso...

    by Kyle Gann on August 24, 1999
  • Me Jane! Me Ride Elephant!


    Me Jane! Me Ride Elephant!

    Toy-Box is a swell new hit Danish bubble-pop act, already drawing endless comparisons to global-megahitster neighbors Aqua. Anila does the squeaky femme lead vocals, just like Aqua's Lene, and Amir does the entire repertoire of goofy male vocals, jus...

    by Metal Mike Saunders on August 24, 1999
  • Scrambling On Eggshells


    Scrambling On Eggshells

    The Wu Tang genus of the species paranoid-conspiratorial pomo-negritudus is broad enough to encompass everything that Sun Ra, George Clinton, the Nation of Islam, the Black Panthers, and the Black Arts movement stood for while redressing Amiri Baraka...

    by Greg Tate on August 24, 1999
  • Jugs and Jive


    Jugs and Jive

    Jug-band music with its roots in itinerant southern folk culture, quirky homemade instruments, and turn-of-the-century minstrel shows is a peculiar pursuit in the 1990s. Its well-known connection to blackface performances makes it particularly prob...

    on August 24, 1999
  • Article

    Multi-Personalities on the mic, all shook up - The missing link between Sun Ra and Zapp?

    Kool Keith Black Elvis/Lost in Space Ruffhouse/Columbia Drive south on Highland Avenue, past Sunset, and into the heart of Hollywood these days, and an odd billboard demands your attention. Two figures vibrate on a color field of Kool-Aid green, c...

    by Alec Bemis on August 17, 1999
  • Article


    It's not a comeback, just an album, called Karma. "It's always something," coos Rick Springfield, recovering teen idol turned Zen philosopher. Springfield made his first break from heartthrobdom with his late-'80s album Tao. Could he have known t...

    by Judith Basya on August 17, 1999
  • Gag Reflex, 35 Cents Off


    Gag Reflex, 35 Cents Off

    "Weird Al" Yankovic just might be the world's most receptive celebrity, so long as he's not having to fend off suggestions about what new song he should skewer. I once demanded he remake the Offspring's "Come Out and Play (Keep 'em Separated)" as "Cl...

    by Marc Weisblott on August 17, 1999
  • Article

    Zooted, Blooted, Sclamslooted

    It was 1988 when my life turned Strictly Business, when both EPMD and I made our debuts on the scene, and that shit was dope. I smoked weed with Felicia in the stairwells of the mall's parking lot. I got really drunk on Cisco with Paco and Riley, w...

    by Nwaanda Full Force on August 17, 1999
  • Sex and the Singles Girl - Pubescent Genie Tops Pop Chart; No New Zapp Remixes This Month


    Sex and the Singles Girl - Pubescent Genie Tops Pop Chart; No New Zapp Remixes This Month

    America, you're at a sexual impasse. This business of being really into it, and having to pretend you're not because fucking is somehow really serious voodoo, just gets weirder every year. By this point, dragging the line between fictional erotic pro...

    by Jane Dark on August 17, 1999
  • Ladies Marmalade


    Ladies Marmalade

    In my hometown, Philadelphia, the best radio station to listen to in a car is Jammin' Gold (that's Jammin' Oldies for you New Yorkers). Which means about 10 tons of disco, with little bits of Motown, Philly Sound, and all the early-'80s r&b hits that...

    by Sara Sherr on August 17, 1999
  • Article

    Long Time Coming - Africa Fete Welcomes a Zimbabwean Star

    Since 1993, minus a 199697 hiatus, the annual summer Africa Fete has provided a dependable if formulaic showcase for the unfor- tunately dwindling number of African artists with tour-justifying American releases. Sponsored by afrosario Chris Blac...

    on August 17, 1999
  • Article

    Consumer Guide

    MARYANNE AMACHER: Sound Characters (Tzadik) Since she's famous for building-sized three-dimensional sound sculptures, I was re signed to never hearing Amacher on disc, but this sampling of installations and mind-altering textures captures her better ...

    by Kyle Gann on August 10, 1999
  • Article

    Unholy Regional Hit, Batman!

    How is it possible for someone to sell over a quarter of a million records and remain all but unknown outside his home state? The Detroit rapper Esham has moved 195,000 CDs and tapes on his own and another 64,000 with his group Natas, according to So...

    by Douglas Wolk on August 10, 1999
  • Article


    Odds are your mama doesn't know who Todd "Too $hort" Shaw is and neither does your daddy, but the Oak land-born rapper has made a viable career out of proffering street science to those who don't mind laughing at his subjects, the dregs of societywa...

    by Asondra Hunter on August 10, 1999
  • Article

    Baby Gets Back

    Get Back didn't work as a career strategy when the Beatles invented it. But Get Back has become such a widespread pop-veterans' gambit that it powers the three most stimulating recent African pop releases, all with ties to Mali: Ali Farka Toure's Nia...

    by Milo Miles on August 10, 1999
  • Article

    Make the Music

    Because human beatboxes are anomalies in the same genus as spoon-and-wineglass players, I guess it's not surprising that the first solo album by a "vocal percussionist" arrived 16 years after Doug E. got fresh on the beatbox and the Fat Boys dumbfoun...

    by Kembrew McLeod on August 10, 1999
  • Article

    Jazz Fission

    In 1992, Brooklyn's Gang Starr paired with the Dream Warriors, a promising young rap duo from Toronto, to record "I've Lost My Ignorance (And Don't Know Where To Find It)." Obscurely released on the U.K. compilation Re birth of Cool, the song was a s...

    by Joseph Patel on August 10, 1999
  • Article

    Beat and Variation

    Autechre, the English duo of Sean Booth and Rob Brown, don't so much write songs as program ecosystems. Within electronica, where everyone says Autechre have spawned a genre unto themselves, their clopped rhythm strings and clipped melody shards epit...

    by Eric Weisbard on August 10, 1999
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