Favourite Pieces Of Music Writing

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This - or something very similar - got talked about at rockcritics.com. We talk about music writers quite a lot here, and I wondered if people would like to tell other people about the individual pieces - articles, reviews, interviews, whatever - that they have really loved. It can be hard to remember individual pieces but I suppose that if you can't remember them then they can't be as fantastic as you thought.

Tom, Friday, 11 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

penman on tricky in THE WIRE- writing is better than the album, bangs on funhouse, i found it amazing - i know its obvious - but those are all i remember - YOUS WRITAZ SHOULD UP YOUR ANTE :) especially NME bods who can't extrapolate shit

geordie racer, Friday, 11 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

I really enjoyed Simon Reynolds' interview with Adamski back in the early 1980s where Reynolds was enthusing about 'Killer' and Adamski was saying 'Yeah, that was alright, but I've really made my mark with 'The Space Jungle'.

The Dirty Vicar, Friday, 11 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Taylor Parkes's destruction of S*M*A*S*H was good. Price and Parkes's rhetoric on Romo was often appallingly-written but it stuck in the mind. Reynolds's interviews with Public Enemy in '87, Morrissey in March '88 and the Stone Roses (of all people) in '89, the Studs with PE in May '88. When I was new to the Wire I was stunned by Ben Watson's piece on Bill Drummond. Parkes in fact was always more memorable in negative mode (assassinating Julian Cope's "20 Mothers", and the summary execution of Billy Bragg, which earned a place in my pantheon for defining diehard socialism by invoking black-and-white Granada programmes; a cultural link which diehard socialists would have nipped in the bud by banning commercial TV in 1955, the foolish puritans) than he was in positive, though he and Price on Saint Etienne still holds in my mind. Neil Kulkarni's praise for the Wu-Tang Clan (but disdain for their live shambles), his evangelical reaction to the Brotherhood and his slaughter of Julian Cope / the entire Glastonbury / neo-hippy clique were all v. influential for me.

The Frog's Wooing, Friday, 11 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Any part of Meltzer's 'Aesthetics of Rock' that mentions 'osmotic tongue pressure'. Many of Peter Guralnick's 'portraits' of musicians, esp. his v. moving one on Charlie Rich in 'Feels Like Going Home'. Red-faced (left-wing then, right-wing now - spot the difference) loon Paul Johnson's superbly splenetic piece on the Beatles collected in the Kureshi/Savage 'Faber Pop' bk. All of the Jerry Lee Lewis stuff in Nick Tosches' 'Country', and his Louis Prima article in 'Unsung Heroes of Rock'n'Roll'. Paul Morley's Peter Gabriel interview, which I think is collected in 'Ask: The Chatter of Pop'. Lester Bangs on Elvis in the 'Psychotic Reactions' collection. Greil Marcus on 'Holidays in the Sun' from that big red Rolling Stone 'History of Rock' (or whatever) volume. Alan Licht's La Monte Young history from an old Forced Exposure; Steve Albini's article about his 'career' as an engineer in the same mag. etc etc

Andrew L, Friday, 11 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

*I* wrote a good thing abt Billy Bragg, for a magazine which no longer exists, and I don't have a copy (I lent it to my mum, and she threw it away by mistake). I *think" it (the mag) was called FIVE: it was part of the Observer. I was nice about him, of course: I always used to be nice abt everyone — AND LOOK WHERE IT GOT ME!!! Bandying words with uber-railwayboy abt Alan "the Paul Johnson of Dadrock" McGee. Knock me on the head and put ME in that time-capsule....

mark s, Friday, 11 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Johnson is always good for outrageous reactionary hackery. I remember the Torygraph, at the time of "Free As A Bird", reprinting "The Menace of Beatlism" and even "W.F." Deedes responded (in '95) by saying that Johnson had been wrong and far too pessimistic. The funniest thing about it was Johnson's assertion that the teenagers listening to the Beatles would and could never occupy positions of authority, an assertion disproved by the current Cabinet and every council hall in Britain.

*And* his son thinks David Beckham has, in himself, killed intelligent political debate in this country.

The Spanker of the Spectator, Friday, 11 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Love him or hate him, Everett True pulled off *the* definitive assassination of a band in 1993 with a live review of the Smashing Pumpkins. Brilliant, brilliant bile (and given that I worship SP, that says something), and supposedly it rankled in Corgan's mind for the next year or so -- a sign that you've scored a direct hit.

Collectively, Chuck Eddy's _Stairway to Hell_ and Simon Reynolds' _Blissed Out_ were revelations for me. And when it comes to musicians doing the writing themselves, Marc Almond's autobiography is a treat and a half. Honorable mention goes to Gregg Araki, who wrote music reviews in the _LA Weekly_ in the late eighties when not making his early films -- he had some good ones.

In the meantime, Tom, Ally, Mike Daddino and Josh have all written things about music that have made me insane with jealousy at their talent, producing bitter thoughts in my head. BUT ONE DAY THEY'LL PAY. Er, maybe?

Ned Raggett, Friday, 11 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

And didn't Billy wear a clown suit on stage in response to ET's article? In doing that, he shouted to the world "Hello, I am a pathetic loser" much more effectively than even railwaychild ever could. Yeah, so props to ET for that even though for the most part I think he is extremely ungifted.

I am having a hard time coming up with a specific piece, I mainly think of all of the great writers I have come across...mainly from the Melody Maker: Reynolds, Price, Parkes, Kulkarni, et. al...And a few others, like Ian Penman and David Cavanagh. And to echo Ned, most of the great writing I've come across recently is from the net, Tom, Mike and Tim's writing especially.

Wish there were more good female writers, I loved the article Barbara Ellen did with the Manics in the NME but apart from that I'm having a hard time thinking of anything that stands out. Apart from Caitlin Moran annoying me.

Nicole, Friday, 11 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Bangs on Astral Weeks/White Light-White Heat and the Funhouse article. Eshun's essay on Drexciya in The Wire (best article on techno artist ever) Reynolds interview with B.Gillespie circa 'Higher than the Sun'(oh the possibilities, catching the feeling of entering a new era). Reynolds' "Wasted Youth" (brilliant reflections on Butthole Surfers) Reynolds/Press chapters on Oceanic Mother Boys in 'The Sex Revolts' Price interview with Richey from the Manics in Paris (Melody Maker)

But...I just re-read it and hands down the best thing ever is Ian Penman's essay on Tricky. Utterly mindblowing. (Can be found on The Wire's website btw)

Omar, Friday, 11 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Yes, Tim too. My mind was clearly wandering.

When it comes to female writers, of the early nineties MM crowd, I always like Cathi Unsworth and Ngaire-Ruth a lot, they were fun to read, and Cathi in particular didn't hold back when she thought something sucked (usually anything British and weedy). And my friend Jen Vineyard's a very good writer, bless her.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 11 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

hold on, hold on, wait for it...


and i'll put in the good word for the wrongly snubbed otis wheeler too.

fred solinger, Friday, 11 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Honestly, I'd have to nominate ILM. Sure, it's different, it's a forum. Still, I feel this credit is due.

K-reg, Friday, 11 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Hell, everybody! Feel love!

Ned Raggett, Friday, 11 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

fred, I would have mentioned you, but you *never* update your page so I arbitrarily decided to withold my praise.

When you do write, it is usually quite good; funny,heartfelt and classy, without ever getting pointlessly bitchy and bitter.

There, is that good enough? What a crybaby! ;-)

Oh, and I while I'm at it I should have also mentioned Josh in there the first time.

Nicole, Friday, 11 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

I am surprised that so many people on the email lists I get talk about rock critics/writers quite frequently. I've never even thought to look for the author's name until very recently. They all sound similarly pompous and I tend to take their opinions with a grain of salt, until I see several other reviews saying the same sorts of things. Like, now if I see a sticker that lists NME, Rolling Stone, Spin, CMJ (as they're doing more frequently) and quotes them, I'll be genuinely interested, but one critic doesn't really make any difference to me. What makes a difference is downloading song samples from the website or listening to a good friend's advice. And, no matter how familiar with a rock critic I got, I wouldn't consider him a "ghost" friend. Critics always have the ability to love something I hate. And the reverese, there, too.

, Friday, 11 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Greil Marcus' essays on the Beatles and UK punk in the Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock and Roll. His Sly & The Family Stone chapter in Mystery Train. "Repetition Repetition Repetition Repetition Repetition Repetition" in Chuck Eddy's Accidental Evolution of Rock and Roll - though almost any chapter would do, really, the book is that ridiculously great. Frank Kogan's big Disco Tex piece in issue 5 of Why Music Sucks.

Patrick, Friday, 11 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Not as well-versed in this stuff as a lot of people posting, but the writing that’s really stuck with me over the years would have to include:

The Bangs/Reed tete-a tetes in the early Seventies. I was probably about 12 when I read them. They seemed so scary and confrontational-I was thrilled.

Bangs again (hohum, I know) on the racist tendencies of NY Scenemakers. Can’t remember the title, it’s in the anthology. Very compassionate, soul-searching, self-deprecating, a little confused. All the things I love about him. I identified strongly.

Oh, it’s New York again. I was so happy when NY Rocker appeared on the scene. Hey, they like pop! They like disco! They like noise! They like fags! Such a relief after that macho stoopid Punk Magazine bullshit. Can’t remember specific articles, though, sorry. But the attitude was very right on. Actually I remember one particularly scathing interview with 18-year old Lydia Lunch where she dissed every other female punk singer, with the exception of Siouxsie and Exene. Exene Cervenka, give me a fucking break.

A Thurston Moore Tour Diary. From Forced Exposure, I think? I’m usually not particularly interested in these things, but this one was very funny and anarchic. Come to think of it, I like everything I’ve ever read by Thurston.

As for recent stuff (yeah, there are big gaps in my rock reading-I wish I was more familiar with the NME/MM writers you all refer too) did anyone else love Momus’ Synthetic Pierrot essay on his website as much as me? It pretty much defined my taste these days and took it to another level. Although I imagine he was joking in parts. Just who is this Electronic Harlequin? Does he really exist? And can we do a Mylene Farmer Search and Destroy? Anyway, love on ya, Nick. And my ex-roommate Kristian Hoffman sends his regards, too.

Maybe there should be a music writing by musicians thread.

Arthur, Friday, 11 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Yeah, the Synth Pierrot piece was way cool, mang. And I've heard about Mylene Farmer for years, but not heard her. *Clearly* Momus needs to license a best-of for his label. :-)

Ned Raggett, Friday, 11 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

At the risk of giving the "clever, clever" answer, the most affecting stuff about music that I've read came about two years ago when I used to browse through online journals. Occasional entries which fit the music so tightly into the rhythm of someone else's life and led me to understand why it mattered to them. Completely demolished any notion on my part of musical hierarchy or absolute quality. As a side note, I still occasionally read Stagnant Underground which can now and then bust out with a turn-of-phrase that makes my day. Also, useta have entries about feeling depressed, crying, then listening obsessively to Pink Floyd or U2 or, well mainly Pink Floyd. Great stuff. As far as "professional" criticism goes -- I'd go with the Meltzer piece where he describes how music-bullshit and crit-theory-bullshit "even then, they were already the same thing". Also, the AMG entry on Romo. And first and foremost the Tosches interview with Patti Smith where he starts the interview with "the question all good interviews should start with" -- "Patti, were you a horny teenager?" And then the interview just keeps getting better. Also, the Reynolds piece on UK Garage (expanded version on his website) which I think is a methodological guide to good music-crit. Unfortunately, I'm not conversant in the same way with the constantly cited brit-crit pantheon. (Any anthologies I can pick up?) I did read the Penman thing on Tricky though, and thought it frustrating and incredibly vague, like he was still simply wishing the song he wanted.

Sterling Clover, Friday, 11 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

"Any anthologies I can pick up?"

The Savage/Kureishi guide: tho there's no Penman in it (Sav and IP are deepest enemies from WAY back). NME did a take-that-Rolling-Stone- Guide pop culture sampler in c.1982/3: _Cool for Cats_, ed.Tony Stewart. Until abt 77, NME put out an ANNUAL! Stocked alongside Beano or Topper or Judy Annuals! It collected best pieces of the year... Dr C, d'you remember that? David, you? I think Morley's Bolan obit got into the final one (not that it was any good: he was like 19, and his utter God had just guttered... plus of course his dad committed suicide the same month, which none of us knew till last year).

Clinton Heylin did one too, didn't he? But he hates the UK rock press — at least, the Pretentious-till-we-Shed-the-Last-Drop wing, who fashioned us ("us"). (OK, "Me".)

mark s, Friday, 11 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Not writING, but a wriTER - Dave McCullough (sp?) was my fave. Made Crispy Amblance, Blue Orchids and Section 25 seem as important as the Beatles. Which they were to me. I wonder if any of his reviews are on- line anywhere?

Morley/Penman/Reynolds/Roberts - good, but not as good as some folks round here think. It's the music that matters.

Dr. C, Friday, 11 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

McCullough was great — but he blew it for me in a way that perhaps says raw-ther abt me than him.

1st: didn't he give the first Raincoats LP an iffy review? Strike One.

Then he and Garry Bushell wrote a JOINT review of 'Vibing Up the Senile Man', pointing out that it was wanky avant-garde toss and everything punk had been invented to eradicate, and why the FUCK did Mark Perry — who had after all sent them personal copies — think that they were going to help him foist it on the world (not exact words, probably, as I crumpled and tossed it 23 years ago...)?

And I stopped buying Sounds forever. And — ten years later — Sounds shut its doors forever. Hurrah!!

I've no idea where McCullough went. Bushell was already evil, and already clambering: part of my rage went to the fact that DM had shared a byline with him. (Checks heart: I'm actually still angry.)

mark s, Friday, 11 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Oh god. Yes. I know. Was he banging on about St George's Day yet?

Robin Carmody, Friday, 11 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

"It's the music that matters."

Nah...writing about music first, then drinking, then footie, then maybe music ;)

re: that Heylin anthology. I has some good stuff, like that Bangs meets Hendrix-beyond-the-grave thing. But in the end useless in a Limeys-don't-know-shit sort of way.

Now as for Savage vs. Penman...interesting, what's the deal with that? And did this Morley fellow ever do an anthology?

Omar, Friday, 11 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Morley — "Ask: the Chatter of Pop"

Sav vs Penman: not interesting, no, more tiresome — just two big sharks in a too small playground-pond.

mark s, Friday, 11 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

The NME Annual - omygod I remember it! I have it somewhere, possibly at parents' house.

Dr. C, Friday, 11 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Two pieces come to mind, both from the NME of the '70s. One was Charles Shaar Murray's demolition of "Sgt Pepper" back in May 1974 - it was the first NME I ever bought, entirely due to the Monty Python flexidisc on the cover. The other, which also involved CSM, was the double-header review of Kid B's "Low" in January 1977; positive from Ian MacDonald, negative from CSM. Inspired me to read "The Dice Man" and thereafter thereafter . . . Should also mention the jazz pages of the Melody Maker in the '70s (which were quite substantial) in which Richard Williams, Steve Lake, Val Wilmer and others pretty well educated me in the arcane world of free improv, SoHo lofts, London Musicians' Collective, ECM, etc. Now there's a "Taking Sides" for you - Ogun versus Incus - tho' I suspect only Mark S would respond.

Marcello Carlin, Friday, 11 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

I read a piece in mean magazine where Mike Watt and Harmony Korine interviewed each other. They both take some digs at each other's art forms..it was great. Plus, its the only interview where Harmony isn't treated like a freaky contagious bacterial specimen by some asshole journalist.

SlepTilItHurts, Friday, 11 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Ned - You'll find a bunch of Mylène Farmer records on www.archambault.ca . No best-ofs, apparently, but there's a collection of dance remixes.

Patrick, Saturday, 12 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Marcello: My instinct says Incus (and I own more Incus); my imp therefore says Ogun (but of course less Ogun existed than Incus, no?) I think that I think John Stevens had a muso sensibility before he had an improv sensibility: but this is fairly aged kneejerk, not present- day thought. Of course like everyone else ("everyone else") I'm waiting (a bit queasily) for the arrival of BenW's D.Bailey biog. Furfly time...

Incus had a better logo than Ogun's ho-hum African Mask: a bone in the ear, but it also looked like a small dog looking over its shoulder at us, having just done a big poo. Fraid I always found this amusing.

mark s, Saturday, 12 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

In 1991, for the 25th anniversary issue of Rock&Folk, cathedral of french rock mags, Pascal Racicot-Loubet made a wonderful article called "Je Me Souviens" tracing back his musical and personal evolution from his teenage raids to London's record shops on the hunt for "all of Lou Reed, Bowie and the Velvet" through the days of the house explosion in gay nightclubs. Starting to write for R&F and meeting Laurie Anderson. The Late 70s, (when it wasnt "fashionable anymore to be modern, one now had to be contemporary") when "we showed up to bourgeois parties dressed up in vinyl pants and plastic gloves, wearing welder's goggles and requesting that the chic hostess play repeatedly "The Robots". I think that his story being one I would have loved to live adds to my endearment for the piece, which I read regularly.

Simon, Saturday, 12 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Dr C said that those old MM hacks weren't as great as we thought. It's true, they weren't that great, but they were still better, no, they still feel like they were better, than anything else that I can think of in the field. Two things come to mind now:

1. Roberts' review of the first Sundays LP, January 1990

2. Reynolds' interview with Lloyd Cole, February 1990

They can go down in history for that. And the other stuff, of course.

the pinefox, Sunday, 13 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Lloyd Cole AGAIN ;)

Dr.C, Sunday, 13 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

FWIW, Mark, what was your take on Bragg?

Robin Carmody, Sunday, 13 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

- just remembered : - ritchy manic's diary in select - lloyd cole's spicy beanburger confession - tony parsons on why women shouldn't get drunk

geordie racer, Sunday, 13 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

He did a cool thing: old-skool punk-y. After the show, he would go to the stagedoor and — as well a signing T-shirts blah blah — would discuss with fans how good the show had been, whether his new LP was good or not: generally just ask them what THEY thought. I liked that.

mark s, Sunday, 13 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Cool. Shame I didn't stick around long enough at Tolpuddle. But, really, the man brought it on himself ...

Robin Carmody, Sunday, 13 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

If anyone's got that S*M*A*S*H interview handy, could they scan it/photocopy it and get it to me somehow? I don't have it any more, I remember it was quite good, and I need it for something. I could go down to IPC and photocopy it from their files, but you know, blessed is the man who walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly.

Taylor Parkes, Sunday, 13 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

I just e-mailed Taylor, but for all -- I'll go ahead and transcribe it and post it. More info later.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 14 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Okay, article is transcribed and up -- I'll start a new thread, for the sake of things, and in case anyone else interested in the article hadn't seen this discussion here.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 14 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Practically the sole exception in the NME's year-long chart music blowjob has been Sylvia Patterson's "interview" with Westlife. It's been a long time since something in a music mag made me actually laugh so hard I blew coffee out my nose, but that one did. Especially the ::throws self out window:: comment towards the end.

masonic boom, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

I'm no big fan of the NME, but what else should they be writing about right now? The Strokes? Ladytron?

Given the state of the indie music scene, I don't think they have a lot of options besides writing about chart music to a certain extent.

Nicole, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

They should be writing about *us.* We're the new rock and roll, dammit!

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Or even better, the new Romo !

Patrick, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

The Stokes? Oh give me a break... Don't let's start this thread again. Go back and find the last time I started ranting about "if you can't find good indie, you ain't looking hard enough".

masonicboom, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

I only wish I was the new Romo, then that would mean I could wear make-up easily and wear it well. As long as I wasn't Plastique Fantastique.

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Well, Nick Rhodes and Tin Tin are working on a new album together and were seen *buying makeup* together, so maybe a men-wearing-makeup in pop revival is on the way. The odds are only 50,000,000 to 1.

Nicole, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Favourite pieces of writing - well, let me mention a book that's not been mentioned a lot round here: Michael Bracwell's ENGLAND IS MINE. I come back to it a lot. It is flawed, I think, yet stimulating; and an unusually good attempt to think about pop in terms of things that aren't pop. Does anyone agree or disagree?

the pinefox, Wednesday, 23 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

I wanted to like it, but it came across like Bracewell was wearing his learning on his sleeve. Like he'd only ever read books so that he could hold his own in arguments with fuddy-duddy snobs. "Of course Blast was very much the Sniffin' Glue of its day". "Of course one can draw a direct line between Wilde and Morrissey" blah blah. It all just seemed a bit flimsy, but yes, I admired its ambition. I'm trying to remember how Goldie fitted in.

Nick, Wednesday, 23 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

"England Is Mine", which I think is about 75% successful, is one of those books which sometimes goes *so* far in making unexpected connections that it falls off the rails in the process. I admire Bracewell simply for having such a wide range of reference points, though, and the book stimulated me no end when I first read it in September 1999 - definitely an influence on my writing over the subsequent winter and spring.

Robin Carmody, Wednesday, 23 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

one month passes...
I'm only 18 and have just discovered the writings of Morley/Penman etc thru hard research. They beat ANYTHING available toda, no doubt about that.

Problem is: people above were lionizing Simon Price of all People!! I am a culture-vulture when it comes to biographies/journalism: Simon Price's book on the Manic Street Preachers was the worst pile of drivelin history of all hacking. There's a line in that book where he describes Riichey Manic's increased popularity in 1994. Price quote: "It was a case of OH WE DO LIKE TO BE BESIDE THE SUICIDE."Is that 'so bad its good'/ or maybe somthing very very poor indeed? Email me your answers.

Nicola Strain, Wednesday, 27 June 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Well, I wouldn't know about the Manics book...to be honest I felt like I already knew more than enough about them from the sheer tonnage of press interviews and articles that had come before. He'd have to have had a shock revelation about Nicky Wire actually being a rhesus monkey to have raised an eyelash of interest in this book.

However, his articles in the Melody Maker could be pretty witty and insightful.

Nicole, Wednesday, 27 June 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Chris Roberts comparing My Bloody Valentine's guitars to "the sound of gazelles shagging" in a live review in about 1989 always stuck in my mind. Also Jonh Wilde's interview with the Stone Roses about the same time.

flowersdie, Thursday, 28 June 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

A review of Lou Reed's 'Berlin' from RS, circa '73 - "This is one of those rare works of art that makes me want to perpetrate physical violence on it's creator. Goodbye, Lou."

tarden, Thursday, 28 June 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Reed review by author-to-be of Hammer of the Gods, I *think*

mark s, Thursday, 28 June 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

one month passes...
No, I think it was actually by Stephen Holden, though I'm not sure.

Frank Kogan, Thursday, 9 August 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

ten months pass...
Interview with Primal Scream in Select just before 'Kowalski'. The band were evidently in a "bad place", and it ends up with Bobby G playing 'People Get Ready" the writer. He talks about the year dot. "How big is the dot?" But the writer is heroic in his attempts to make it all seem quite natural.

Lemmy Caution, Thursday, 13 June 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

one month passes...
David Howie has a site called Shazam - he posts infrequently but what he does post is always really good. Except - his recent Ryan Adams article, well, very recent, I just finished reading it and it's just up - blew me away. I'm not sure I understand it all - but... hubba... That and Lester Bangs on Astral Weeks. Also, honorable mention to Marcello Carlin (his page, The Church of Me) who has been posting up a storm recently. All very good.

jennifer, Wednesday, 31 July 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

wow you like a ilx groopie?

Karl J Kretzschmar, Wednesday, 31 July 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Huh? I just like David's piece - how am I a groupie? I was googling for "favourite music writing" and it led me to this page. I thought I'd join the discussion. A groupie? :-o

jennifer, Wednesday, 31 July 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Thank you - I am flattered. Though it's missing a line that would help it along a lot. I'm not sure if people will 'get it'. Haha, if anyone reads it that is. I think that Shazam! is the place where I find my feet - and if I'm totally honest, it's the best writing of mine available. I was thinking today - what if blogs didn't exist? Who would publish that piece on Ryan Adams? Anyone? I kinda got onto that after thinking abt Marcus abt Creem on Bangs ie they gave a home to a lot of his writing that would have been homeless otherwise. Where is our generation's Creem? Blogs aren't because they are self-edited so anything goes in - so where? "Let me get my pen."

I am really really glad you enjoyed it - and I've been thinking abt it all day: that missing line and how much I'm proud of it because I think it works, whether it is allowing anyone to see it work is another problem hah.

david h(0wie), Thursday, 1 August 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

I've been meaning to write something about Heartbreaker for agggggggeeeeees but I never could find that angle.

david h(0wie), Thursday, 1 August 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

haha DG to thread

mark s, Thursday, 1 August 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Hehe, I just read this thread through for first time and can only say:


david h(0wie), Thursday, 1 August 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

two years pass...
Today, I am reading one of the best books on pop I have ever read: Mike Marqusee's Chimes of Freedom: The Politics of Bob Dylan's Art.

the chimefox, Thursday, 9 September 2004 13:34 (eighteen years ago) link

five years pass...

This is just terrific. From 1957:


progressive cuts (Tracer Hand), Monday, 6 September 2010 14:58 (twelve years ago) link

"umbrous, ill-ventilated underground caverns"

progressive cuts (Tracer Hand), Monday, 6 September 2010 15:00 (twelve years ago) link

"the sickly orange-juice tastes of musical illiterates"


grandma: smells and textures :: 180 (dayo), Monday, 6 September 2010 15:10 (twelve years ago) link

that's brilliant

and the writer doesn't even get a credit?!

i am legernd (history mayne), Monday, 6 September 2010 15:14 (twelve years ago) link

Howard Phillips Lovecraft?

Poldark City (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 6 September 2010 21:01 (twelve years ago) link

two years pass...

just got reminded of this piece (i think i first read it in a de capo) by slate's longform thing:


always loved that piece. my fave part:

Belief and nonbelief are two giant planets, the orbits of which don't touch. Everything about Christianity can be justified within the context of Christian belief. That is, if you accept its terms. Once you do, your belief starts modifying the data (in ways that are themselves defensible, see?), until eventually the data begin to reinforce belief. The precise moment of illogic can never be isolated and may not exist. Like holding a magnifying glass at arm's length and bringing it toward your eye: Things are upside down, they're upside down, they're right side up. What lay between? If there was something, it passed too quickly to be observed. This is why you can never reason true Christians out of the faith. It's not, as the adage has it, because they were never reasoned into it—many were—it's that faith is a logical door which locks behind you. What looks like a line of thought is steadily warping into a circle, one that closes with you inside. If this seems to imply that no apostate was ever a true Christian and that therefore, I was never one, I think I'd stand by both of those statements. Doesn't the fact that I can't write about my old friends without an apologetic tone just show that I never deserved to be one of them?

Mordy, Monday, 24 September 2012 13:51 (ten years ago) link

he's the best. in the u.s. there are none better. at what he does.

scott seward, Monday, 24 September 2012 14:00 (ten years ago) link

nobody even comes close.

scott seward, Monday, 24 September 2012 14:00 (ten years ago) link

He just wrote a good essay on Cuba.

taking tiger mountain (up the butt) (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 24 September 2012 14:04 (ten years ago) link

link? i'm up for reading a good essay on Cuba.

Mordy, Monday, 24 September 2012 14:09 (ten years ago) link

Uh, I thought that Cuba article meandered and ultimately did not say too much new and insightful (I got bored with it and may have missed something. Although admittedly I was trying to read it after having finished the David Carr interview with Neil Young in the same issue, so maybe I need to give it another shot).

curmudgeon, Monday, 24 September 2012 14:31 (ten years ago) link

i didn't finish the cuba thing either. will finish later. though yeah not my fave thing by him. i read the neil young thing the other day and thought it was really boring. neil is kinda boring.

scott seward, Monday, 24 September 2012 14:33 (ten years ago) link

I liked it a bunch, especially the interaction between him and the in-laws.

taking tiger mountain (up the butt) (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 24 September 2012 14:35 (ten years ago) link

Yeah, seemed like a good collection of illustrative anecdotes; I also liked his description of wondering what his daughter would think of being Cuban and what that would mean for difference between them.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 24 September 2012 14:37 (ten years ago) link

I suppose I can't separate my feelings from it.

taking tiger mountain (up the butt) (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 24 September 2012 14:40 (ten years ago) link

How dare you be Cuban. (Loved your blog response to it.)

Ned Raggett, Monday, 24 September 2012 14:41 (ten years ago) link

aw thanks!

taking tiger mountain (up the butt) (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 24 September 2012 14:43 (ten years ago) link

he kinda blamed cuban exiles in miami for inadvertently keeping castro in power, no? the whole thing is ridiculous. this country is ridiculous.

no, the family stuff was good, and if you have roots there i can definitely see it being illuminating. i just don't think its his strongest piece. and it DOES meander and ramble.

scott seward, Monday, 24 September 2012 14:57 (ten years ago) link

link to blog here, als.

scott seward, Monday, 24 September 2012 14:57 (ten years ago) link


The photos of Cuba in the NY Times piece were gorgeous.

curmudgeon, Monday, 24 September 2012 15:05 (ten years ago) link

^^^ yes

taking tiger mountain (up the butt) (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 24 September 2012 15:07 (ten years ago) link

As long as we're talking Cuba -- and this has to do with music too!


Ned Raggett, Monday, 24 September 2012 15:28 (ten years ago) link

three months pass...

what i love best about this is her mastery of the tone of mingled disgust and desire and delight, of hyperbolic ambivalence, WHAT IS THIS I DON'T EVEN, #everythingisembarrassing: it's a language i've only seen women use, on tumblr (and before that, a little, on livejournal). I've heard it spoken a bit but only by people already familiar with the internet use. That feeling of being personally affronted by your own reactions - whether to a song, a band, a person - of being aghast at yourself and overjoyed by it, of something that requires high-flown and/or extreme description that's simultaneously 100% serious and 100% facetious.

a language in which you can describe a person as wearing "gravely upsetting tank tops"! a language in which it is possible to express the fact that a song that you kind of despise is precisely the song that affects you the most.

c sharp major, Friday, 28 December 2012 04:28 (ten years ago) link

yeah isabel's one of my favorite writers, i wish she did it professionally or regularly in some capacity. whenever she tries it's just O_O

passive-aggressive dn change (zachlyon), Friday, 28 December 2012 05:05 (ten years ago) link

ten years pass...

this piece on pfork from years ago has turned into something fairly influential on the direction of my music interests ever since, and by proxy my life.

shoutout to nitsuh. i know they used to post here. definitely one of the best pieces i've ever read.

''can be prusuaded to show gayness'' (Austin), Thursday, 16 March 2023 15:59 (two weeks ago) link

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