Performance by numbers: Bryan Ferry

Exhaustion, boredom, a Campari and soda guzzled backstage – Bryan Ferry can no longer sing. At last night’s Fillmore Miami Beach performance in support of an album he supposedly cut last year called Olympia, Ferry confronted the problem with admirable forthrightness: when a Roxy Music number demanded high notes he could no longer hit orContinue reading “Performance by numbers: Bryan Ferry”

“A dick record” — R.E.M.’s Monster

J. Edward Keyes’ review of Monster comes closest to explaining that blighted record’s continuing fascination for me: Arriving on the heels of the dignified Automatic for the People, Monster was a hand job in a seedy theater, and the album that got R.E.M. out of the cabin and back into the arenas, and asserted theirContinue reading ““A dick record” — R.E.M.’s Monster”

Givin’ the world some bonhomie: Kid Creole

Late to the lifeboat party, I bought my first Kid Creole and the Coconuts album in 2008. A compilation of Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band, leader August Darnell’s more profitable disco-era project, didn’t impress me as much as the numbers on 1982’s Wise Guys. And numbers they were — productions in the Old Hollywood sense,Continue reading “Givin’ the world some bonhomie: Kid Creole”

Faith and devotion: Of Gods and Men

An entry on Trappists in Wikipedia: “Strict Observance” refers to the Trappists’ goal to follow closely St. Benedict’s Rule, and take the three vows described in his Rule (c. 58): stability, fidelity to monastic life, and obedience. As Benedict also insisted on silence, it has some importance in their way of life. However, contrary toContinue reading “Faith and devotion: Of Gods and Men”

Two strikes: Moneyball

Defying years worth of expectations, Billy Beane (Brad Pitt), general manager of the Oakland A’s, assembles a team whose ailments, deformities, and acumen matter less than their ability to accumulate runs, thanks in large part to the prodding of Yale graduate and Jonah Hill-double Peter Brand, played by Jonah Hill. I will trust the sportsContinue reading “Two strikes: Moneyball”

Ros-Lehtinen: It’s personal

If this is true about my representative, it explains a great deal. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is the only Republican supporter of the “Respect for Marriage Act,” designed to repeal the odious Defense of Marriage Act. Why? For Ros-Lehtinen, the move has been gradual, thoughtful, and painfully personal. Her daughter Amanda publicly came out as a transgenderContinue reading “Ros-Lehtinen: It’s personal”

Musicsexlovesoundz: Wild Flag

I’ve been too hard on Carrie Brownstein since she published an entry in her “Monitor Mix” column for NPR on the shallowness of Madonna. Naturally — she sang “Entertain” on Sleater Kinney’s 2005 swan song The Woods and “Combat Rock” on 2002’s One Beat. I didn’t mind their didacticism — Sleater Kinney were at theirContinue reading “Musicsexlovesoundz: Wild Flag”

It’s the end of the band as we know them: R.E.M.

Dan Weiss: “R.E.M.’s attention was never centered around one sound at a time, or else its members would’ve played a whole lot more mandolins.” Among those sounds Weiss didn’t mention but are favorites: funk-metal more arch than the Roxy Music of Flesh + Blood on Monster, ARP synthesizer on 1996’s “Leave,” discovering that you canContinue reading “It’s the end of the band as we know them: R.E.M.”

Takin’ thrills: Pistol Annies

A friend who snagged a review copy of Miranda Lambert’s forthcoming album called it lackluster, which is a pity; even on the hysterically overmixed Revolution the country artist still sounded like she was searching for nuances in familiar material or finding buried strength in the new. Maybe Lambert exhausted her energy recording the terrific PistolContinue reading “Takin’ thrills: Pistol Annies”

Wage stagnation

Middle-class wage stagnation began in the early seventies, says John Quiggin: Real wages for high school educated males haven’t risen since 1970, on the standard measures, but a man born in 1950 would not only earn more lifetime income than his father, assuming both had high school education, but would be much more likely toContinue reading “Wage stagnation”