Out of love

After a hasty revisit, the second side of R.E.M.’s Out of Time does contain their most melancholy material, no? Certainly the sequence from “Shiny Happy People” through “Me in Honey” shows a willed accommodation to uncertainty; it’s “Crimson and Clover” extended to almost thirty minutes, beginning with phony optimism and, in the Michael Stipe andContinue reading “Out of love”

Walk in silence

Watching Grant Gee’s excellent documentary Joy Division (which offers more insight into dreary Manchester and the perils of getting involved with Ian Curtis than Anton Corbijn’s Control), I remembered how gleaning any scrap of data about New Order when I was younger felt like a triumph. I became a fan in 1991 after buying aContinue reading “Walk in silence”

The stupidity of George F. Will

George Will is such a sucker for power that he undercuts his professed elitism. He has a talent for making contrarianism look like sycophancy. He’s useful only when he’s useful, such as his opposition to the Iraq war (on which he demurred only when the bodies started to mount and the chatter at Cokie Roberts’Continue reading “The stupidity of George F. Will”


In this week’s batch, Vampire Weekend unload some manure that smells like an exotic drink, an attempt at pandering to their new audience; Animal Collective are apparently influential enough to deserveĀ  answer songs by bands named after shrubbery; Rokysopp almost scrubs my brain clear of Fever Ray; and Major Lazer makes his first below-average singleContinue reading “Singles!”

“He was so vile”

This Bronson Pinchot interview has circulated over the interwebs the last few days. The former star of “Perfect Strangers” dishes on the continuing mystery of Tom Cruise’s sexuality and the public manifestations thereof, and the meanness of Denzel Washington (“Denzel Washington cured me forever of thinking that there is any amount of money or anythingContinue reading ““He was so vile””

War porn

The excellent Digby revives this Rick Perlstein (of Nixonland fame) review of a couple of appalling “revisionist” takes on the Vietnam War, none of which, I trust, are on Barack Obama’s nightstand (I can’t speculate about Gen. McChrystal). Americans, even “neoconservative” ones, are prone to liberal sentimentalizing about the possibility of “good” wars. But warContinue reading “War porn”

His friends are gone, his hair is grey

Let’s make this clear: Leonard Cohen can sing. Stamina, gravitas, braggadocio, and any other noun in a foreign tongue applies. That’s not what I expected when I saw him last night at the Bank Atlantic Center: the guy has recorded music generated by a couple of $80 Casio keyboards since 1988, and to my earsContinue reading “His friends are gone, his hair is grey”

“Higher Than The Stars”

The first band whose original songs use huge swelling Cure keyboards without smothering their sentiments. This is a minor band, but a really good one, and Saint Etienne once again show their shrewdness as remixers by highlighting the rhythmic underpinnings of TPOBPAH’s post-shoegaze core. At their best they cross The Boy with the Arab Strap-eraContinue reading ““Higher Than The Stars””