Author Archives: humanizingthevacuum

Cold War masterpiece ‘Stalker’ gets fresh airing

A wish granted is not a life changed. In Stalker, the chance for three citizens of an industrial, quasi-totalitarian present to enter an out-of-time space called The Zone produces no satisfaction. Part of the joke in Andrei Tarkovsky’s beloved 1979 … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

X-rated music, and adult books too — the best of X

The L.A. equivalent of Fleetwood Mac, X boasted a powerful rhythm section and a bassist and singer who sang to and about each other, even when the scenarios were fiction. Meanwhile a guitarist in Billy Zoom with a bag full … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Getting the details right: Jason Isbell and 2 Chainz

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – The Nashville Sound Intelligent songs intelligently performed, with a songwriter at the microphone conscious of his limitations as a performer, as a member of the human race; this is Jason Isbell’s best realized … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Waiting for people to die

I actually heard a flak on Morning Joe a couple hours ago claim that Medicaid spending under the American Millionnaires Bailout Act will increase in the next ten years. I expect this to be a talking point in the next … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Missouri legislators to women: stay home

Should you have the luck to land a job in Missouri and you’re a woman, you best hope your landlord doesn’t ask for medical records. Its senate has legislation that allows bosses and landlords to “discriminate against women who use … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

I’m counting the grains and they’re so sharp: the best of Wire

Well, I figured Graham Lewis and Colin Newman deserved a snotty reappraisal. My piece on Wire’s 154 triggered a a week’s worth of hate (e)mail when such things existed. Intended as provocation, the essay pretends the rest of Wire’s career … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Can’t you see what you have done?! — the best of Genesis

“Same difference,” a friend in high school groused when I corrected him about who sang “Tonight, Tonight, Tonight.” By spring 1987, after three straight years in which a Phil Collins or Genesis tune danced a little jig on the American … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A slave empire in a nation, and a colony in a nation

Chris Hayes – A Colony in a Nation Last time out the MSNBC host of All In wrote what amounted to an elegant master’s thesis elongated into unforgiving book form. His second book uses the metaphor of the Colony versus … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Singles 6/23

Today I’d have awarded Halsey and Lauren Jauregui’s “Strangers” a 7 for the chorus hook, and what Eleanor Graham calls its “sophisticated” boringness, which I take as a compliment — most good synth pop boasts a boring blank at the … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

The politics of cowardice

Thanks to the wizardly Mitch McConnell and his aides, the Affordable Care Act is set to transform into a bill authorizing tax cuts for millionaires and the vaporizing of Medicaid, the dream of the Ayn Rand-ites since 1964. Before readers … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Don’t patronize me: the best of Bonnie Raitt

“Because Raitt has never sounded young or shown much interest in courting the youth market, she has stood in place waiting for us to age into the experiences depicted in her best material,” I wrote in a Red Bull Music … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Comebacks: Big Boi, Ride, and Alison Moyet

Big Boi – Boomiverse When Antwan AndrĂ© Patton released his last good album, Barack Obama was in the White House and the Democrats still controlled both chambers. This native Georgian can’t be too happy about the results in the Sixth … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment