Fighting them by joining them: What Happened, Miss Simone?

When she finally appears onstage after seconds of enthusiastic audience applause, she has a glazed look, as if she had just awakened from a mummified state. The expression deepens. Does she know where she is? Does she know who she is? In closeup the head is as solid and massive as a marble statue’s. Teachers… More Fighting them by joining them: What Happened, Miss Simone?

Yeeeargghhhaaaahh

A few weeks after Ornette Coleman’s death, I wanted to honor him with a little known recording. Besides, it’s never a wrong time to praise Yoko Ono’s early seventies peak. Happy Sunday

Madonna and the problem with ‘aging gracefully’

I liked Rebel Heart. I wish “Unapologetic Bitch” had been a #1 hit; it’s better than “Justify My Love,” but because her cultural moment looks as dowdy as baggy jeans no one will acknowledge it. Getting hits is hard for everyone, chart watchers will say. But because she’s the icon to whom pop stars still… More Madonna and the problem with ‘aging gracefully’

‘A compromise is what I can never accept.’

Neil Peart drinks Macallan 12 — with ice. There they are, my feelings for Rush exemplified by anecdotal evidence — the garish note, the lapse into poor taste, bless’em. Yet another example of my generation grabbing what’s left of music journalism jobs is the interviewing of Rush for a Rolling Stone cover story. I wanted… More ‘A compromise is what I can never accept.’

‘So much goin’ on, I just can’t hear, hear’

No one knows where John Fogerty came from. When Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Suzie Q” appeared in 1968, it sounded like a belch from Appalachia. Fogerty and brother Tom traded riffs: one spindly and trebly, the other a burst of feedback. The only other contemporaneous band recording music so drenched in old, weird America yet staring… More ‘So much goin’ on, I just can’t hear, hear’

‘But for now I want my feet on the ground’ — a Yo La Tengo best

I came to Yo La Tengo late. Rob Sheffield’s lead review in Rolling Stone did the persuading. The Blue Mask? I’m there (his Lovesexy analogy crumbles though). Confident in its smarts to use declarative sentences, employing guitars and vibes and synths to shape sounds commensurate with the relationship it’s celebrating, And Then Nothing Turned Itself… More ‘But for now I want my feet on the ground’ — a Yo La Tengo best

Capsized in excess — if you know what I mean

Anthony’s evaluations of Neil Young through the lens of the Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll is a hoot. I wish he’d rated Eldorado, an EP released before the Freedom comeback containing two tracks so insane that Young’s never bothered collecting them. He overrates After the Gold Rush and underrates Zuma, but not so’s… More Capsized in excess — if you know what I mean