Posted inArts & Culture

Fetchin Bones

Three or four years ago, Fetchin Bones was just another guitar-strewn group of rural rockers cutting their studio teeth with the assistance of laid-back demi-wizard Don Dixon (R.E.M., etc). On that record, Bad Pumpkin, they romped around the fringes of hard rock, toying with cowpunk on one side and zanier stuff (a Television-at-the-beach instrumental) on […]

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Camper Van Beethoven/Souled American

From their beginnings as a funny, sometimes snotty band with a fondness for odd instrumentation and strange beats, Camper Van Beethoven has progressed into a strong live outfit, postpunk’s leading absurdists. But no one expected the explosive power of last year’s Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart, and now comes an equally powerful Key Lime Pie, the […]

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Exene Cervenka

The vicious and unrelenting X defined a genre and a scene (LA punk) in a way few bands ever get the opportunity to do. Singer-songwriters Exene (Cervenka) and John Doe, sickened romantics, celebrated nausea, poverty, and spit and violently assailed love and sex in the rawest imaginable terms (“Johnny Hit and Run Paulene”). Ten years […]

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Verlaines

The plaintive, percolating, drawing-room rock of the Verlaines was formed in far-off Dunedin, New Zealand, a remote town in a country whose name is synonymous with remoteness. Strangely enough, Dunedin has produced a refreshingly eccentric alternative rock scene, including the exquisite Chills and a number of other reputedly worthwhile bands. The Verlaines, a three-piece outfit […]

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Ordinaires

Those of us who love rock ‘n’ roll on the usual blindered, tautological level (because it is rock ‘n’ roll)–and can never really “get” jazz, or classical, or whatever simply because the idiom seems alien–can take heart in the Ordinaires, a nine-piece group from New York’s Lower East Side. This unholy aggregation–two guitars, two violins, […]

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Jules Shear

You have to admire Jules Shear’s career of the last 10 or 12 years–his work is rather inconsistent (fine-to-OK work with the Funky Kings, Jules and the Polar Bears, Reckless Sleepers, and solo) but through it all he’s remained committedly tuneful and relatively thoughtful: his insistent search for redemption through songwriting qua songwriting has given […]

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Jonathan Richman

Jonathan Richman’s babycakes enthusiasm has subtly but undoubtedly grounded popular music’s excesses over the past 15 years: singers of elephantine pretentiousness, from Emerson, Lake and Palmer to John Cougar Mellencamp, have had to keep an eye looking over their shoulders as Richman has not only filled his albums with songs like “I’m Nature’s Mosquito” and […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Bridge Stories

“This reminds me of a story,” said Dorothy Truscott. “There were these two bridge players, and you know what these bridge players do all the time–they sit around and talk about how bad their wives are at bridge.” Truscott, a friendly, birdlike woman known both for being a former U.S. women’s bridge champ and, ironically […]