Dennis Hopper R.I.P.

Not much to add to the tributes and obits I’ve read in the last couple of days.¬† My own experiences are a little different from Matos’. In high school I knew him for his gonzo turns as Marlon Brando’s addled hagiographer in Apocalypse Now and the coach in Hoosiers, two performances which look different onContinue reading “Dennis Hopper R.I.P.”

Take this, sister, may it serve you well: Janelle Monae

Except for a handful of comments fluttering through the Internets, I haven’t said much about Janelle Monae’s opus. The ArchAndroid is aptly titled: its cybernetic soul-rock hybrid is clever in a self-congratulatory way, in the manner of someone who wants to wow the audience with her range of interests. Heard in one sitting, the albumContinue reading “Take this, sister, may it serve you well: Janelle Monae”

“Matronly equals trustworthy”

Semiotics matters to Beltway insiders, as this profile on Elena Kagan’s wardrobe makes clear. How discombobulated would folks be if a male nominee walked the Hill wearing a Thom Browne suit with trousers that ended at the ankles or if a woman strode purposefully down the marble corridors in a pair of platform Christian LouboutinContinue reading ““Matronly equals trustworthy””

Album is Whatever

The vague, slightly evocative title is a clue. Heaven is Whenever is the Hold Steady’s weakest album. I won’t know until their next release whether the departure of Franz Nicolay, the band’s Mike Garson, has affected their chemistry and songwriting; but Tad Kubler hasn’t come up with any good riffs, and the rest of theContinue reading “Album is Whatever”

Singles 5/19

Big Boi gets this week’s apology for underrating his single, which I’ve now road tested for nine days straight and haven’t gotten tired of. As for Justin, if he hired The National’s string section and drummer to play around with his patented production and songwriting mannerisms he’d cause a minor sensation. The lowest ranking singleContinue reading “Singles 5/19”

“The bottom line is, art really is uncool”

Donald Fagen’s take on critic “Sascha Frere-Jacque” is a cool dress rehearsal for a possible Steely Dan song. Frere-Jacques is besotted with a noise act called CapGras (whose rhythm section, Frere-Jacques rhapsodizes, creates a bottom¬† so powerful it sucks the crowd “like the viscous mouth of a giant lampray”).