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  • Article

    Wrongs of Spring - Five Radio Presets, Five Formats, Five Songs, Go

    MODERN ROCK: Rufus Wainwright is the apple of rock crits' eyes because he's a smart-but-sensitive prep-schooler turned scruffy guy-like Elliott Smith, he could pass for a rock critic. At least he's less a heartmiser than Elliott. Maybe his airs seem ...

    by Jane Dark on April 13, 1999
  • Article

    Uncle Dans Bands - Knockoff Singles: Chips off the Old Block?

    Sometimes the only way to get what you want is to buy something else. That's what Uncle Dan taught me. He's quite a guy, if not quite a guy. Actually, he's the spirit of giving (and taking), a sport and a pastime. "Uncle Dan" is the official trade ...

    by Don Allred on April 13, 1999
  • Article

    Abb Pater

    A major record label doesn't often sign a new artist who's 78 years old and nearly bald. But this performer is unusual. He's got a girl's first name, he draws crowds of adoring teens whenever he tours, he's a trained dramaturge, a poet, and a virgin....

    by Rob Tannenbaum on April 13, 1999
  • Article

    Just Walk Away

    Kelly Willis has the most uncomfortable-making way of saying "thank you." Live a few weekends ago I heard her say it at least a dozen times, tossed off after songs, every time rolling off as the most deferential, sweetest gull-darned sign of apprecia...

    by R.J. Smith on April 13, 1999
  • Article

    Windmills of Her Mind

    Beth Orton, meet Dusty Springfield. At first glance, it seems the underground rave-troubadour and the raccoon-eyed Queen of Blue-Eyed Soul would keep a distance between themselves at any party. But the cosmic resonance of Dusty's death a mere six day...

    by Natasha Stovall on April 6, 1999
  • Article

    Pyramid Scheme

    These songs, derived from an as-yet-unfinished musical that pops open the Verdi opera, are only putatively set in Egypt. Nor, despite being financed by Disney, whose president is directly compared in lyricist Tim Rice's liner notes to Verdi's 1871 pa...

    by Eric Weisbard on April 6, 1999
  • Article

    Out of the Vinyl Deeps

    All music lovers become record lovers and many record lovers become collectors. Records are like Malraux's museum without walls, offering an inexpensive opportunity to pursue not only masterworks and favorites, but oddities that fill the side galleri...

    by Gary Giddins on April 6, 1999
  • Article

    Trunk Show

    One detects the saplings of an Elephant 6 backlash these days, or as I overheard one fellow record store customer put it, "It sounds better than it sounds." And one might wonder what differentiates Olivia Tremor Control and Elf Power E6 wheelbarrow-...

    on April 6, 1999
  • Article

    Dancer in the Dark - JoJo Fingered?

    JoJo Dancer had a bone to pick, a big bone, hell, a mastodon's femur. He was settling old scores, kicking ass and naming names. But to the chagrin, fury, and general amusement of both those named and those left unscathed, JoJo Dancer, a/k/a The Gay R...

    by Jeff Howe on April 6, 1999
  • Article

    Wet Behind Ears

    Hi, I am drunk and my finger hurts. I will try my best. Rock criticism is hard work, even harder for those who do it for a living because they have to live in the space of people who tell them what they are supposed to feel, and then make you feel c...

    by Sara Sherr on April 6, 1999
  • Article

    Get Back, JoJo

    I have now finally seen a copy of the "JoJo Dancer" Rock Critical List thing, which is less vicious than I'd expected which isn't to say that it isn't vicious. I mean, what is this about people being fat, or bald? What difference does that make? I g...

    by Frank Kogan on April 6, 1999
  • Article

    Tender Mercies

    It may not surface in a Nike ad anytime soon, but Blur's new single, "Tender," is the real bittersweet symphony. Floating in on a brittle folksy twang, given maximum Appalachian resonance by guitarist Graham Coxon, it evolves into a gospelized eight-...

    by Dennis Lim on April 6, 1999
  • Work To Do


    Work To Do

    A decade ago, I replaced a late-canceling Elvis Costello as the keynote speaker at SXSW 89, the Austin music conference whose status in its third year can be gauged by its willingness to settle for me. Back then New York's New Music Seminar was the w...

    by Robert Christgau on March 30, 1999
  • Rock's Living End


    Rock's Living End

    "ROCK IS DEAD!" reads the large type in ads for the upcoming Korn/ Rob Zombie tour. Right below are three textbites about rock's dire state, drawn from prominent American publications, followed by $100,000 questions: "Huh? Who you gonna believe? Crit...

    by Matt Ashare on March 30, 1999
  • Article

    Ad It Up

    Here's your second chance to catch statuesque Sevendust front-stud LaJon Witherspoon's gorgeous smile, shoulder-length dreads, and naked bust. The biracial mosh-metal band five tattooed-in-all-the-right-places Atlanta dudes who toured with rapcore ...

    by Rebecca Segall on March 30, 1999
  • Article

    Screeching Old Dixie Down

    People who remember Nazareth at all seem to have strong feelings about the band; when my friend Naomi heard that I was reviewing them she asked, "Do you have to wear a disguise when you walk into Tower and buy a Nazareth album?" And my friend Leslie ...

    by Frank Kogan on March 30, 1999
  • Die Old Stay Pretty


    Die Old Stay Pretty

    While so many of the manjacks in my fiftysomething-else cohort may have rushed out for a Viagra script the minute the ol' missionary did a paradigm shift on them, I find that pure rock 'n' roll still keeps the jeweled erector set functional to a T. W...

    by Richard Riegel on March 30, 1999
  • Phased & Konfused


    Phased & Konfused

    Steve Reich's music hums with vibrating waves of our century's ocean of sound, an ocean that swallows up Charlie Parker and Junior Walker, African drums and Manhattan abstraction, gamelan trance and looping magnetic tapes. But Reich's experiments als...

    by Erik Davis on March 30, 1999
  • Y Not 2K? - As the millennium ends, Modernist Music is making a comeback. Why are we suddenly nostalgic for the formerly new?


    Y Not 2K? - As the millennium ends, Modernist Music is making a comeback. Why are we suddenly nostalgic for the formerly new?

    The music that has constituted the "contemporary music" of my lifetime so far is a music violently opposed to nostalgia. As Pierre Boulez, one of its leading architects, wrote, "If you do not negate, if you do not make a clean sweep of all that you h...

    by Kyle Gann on March 30, 1999
  • The Great American Opera - The vast increase in operatic venues reopens an old unsettled question


    The Great American Opera - The vast increase in operatic venues reopens an old unsettled question

    Choosing the single, genuine Great American Opera seems even more of a quandary than choosing the Great American Novel (Moby Dick? Sister Carrie? The Sun Also Rises?) or the Great American Play (Long Day's Journey Into Night? A Streetcar Named Desire...

    by Leighton Kerner on March 30, 1999
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