At last

Good news. However, note John Cornyn’s qualification at the end of this excerpt: “We’re not mere supplicants to the executive branch, we are a coequal branch of government,” Cornyn said during discussion of his amendment in the Senate committee hearing last week. “So it is insufficient to say pretty please, Mr. President, pretty please, Mr.Continue reading “At last”

My favorite things

Expanded editions of Sugar’s two albums and one EP get the reevaluations they deserve. Siding with Bob Christgau, Dan Weiss posits File Under: Easy Listening as their masterwork, and certainly Bob Mould made no stronger case for his pop mastery (imagine “Believe What You’re Saying” getting a Richard Marx production); but bassist David Barbe’s GeorgeContinue reading “My favorite things”

“Pink flamingos and Tide boxes”

Before triumphing as the Beltway’s favorite bad girl (Poppy Bush, ever the gentleman, said he used to laugh out loud at how devastatingly she skewered him), Maureen Dowd was a reporter. The Awl remembers her pioneering AIDS coverage. It also links to a terrific NYT magazine story about Manhattan nightlife in 1984. I hope sheContinue reading ““Pink flamingos and Tide boxes””

Ignoble savages: Beasts of the Southern Wild

The title could refer to either the extinct aurochs — boar-like creatures that six-year-old Hush Puppy (Quvenzhané Wallis) imagines will trample the earth once the ice caps melt — or the bedraggled dwellers of the Louisiana bayou who ignore warnings about an imminent hurricane and awaken to find flora and fauna under several feet ofContinue reading “Ignoble savages: Beasts of the Southern Wild”

Singles 7/27

It must have been dandy to be sixteen in 1996 when No Doubt, exploiting the infallible Rumours marketing strategy, unleashed airplay hit after hit from Tragic Kingdom, most notably “Don’t Speak,” the “Dreams” of my sister’s generation. Pop radio in early ’97 rested in an interzone as opaque and impenetrable as the one in whichContinue reading “Singles 7/27”

If you build a house, then call me POLL

At the time I’d collected these songs I’d just become acquainted with the Bob Welsh-Danny Kirwan-Jeremy Spencer interregnum and Mystery to Me. I still need to check out those Peter Green records and the other funny-looking ones I’d spot in Camelot Music with big-nosed apes on the longbox art. But I’m happy to love 2003’sContinue reading “If you build a house, then call me POLL”

These are the hands we’re given

I heard “Throwing It All Away” this morning. Even if you accept the argument that Genesis and Phil Collins had become indistinguishable with the release of the best-selling Invisible Touch, this ballad sounds different fron most Collins material. The nagging rhythm hook, the synth patch thundering over the chorus, the ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-AHH’s; the humility of theContinue reading “These are the hands we’re given”

Coffee’s fer closers

The AV Club gives the Alec Baldwin scene from the film version of Glengarry Glen Ross a closer look: All hail young, skinny Alec Baldwin. His character—inexplicably called Blake in the credits, rather than Fuck You—doesn’t exist in the play, and he only appears in this one scene. Yet he arguably sets the tone forContinue reading “Coffee’s fer closers”

More figurative than musical

The best part of David Remnick’s New Yorker profile of Bruce Springsteen: Patti Scialfa showed up after a while, trailed by two big, shambly German shepherds. A tall, slender woman in her late fifties with a startling shock of red hair, she was warm and smiling, offering water in the modern way; she also seemedContinue reading “More figurative than musical”