Posted inArts & Culture

Agendas Ahoy

Villains of All Nations: Atlantic Pirates in the Golden Age by Marcus Rediker (Beacon) After the runaway success of Pirates of the Caribbean, you’d think the craze for all things piratical would have waned a bit. But pirates are still hot. You can buy pirate gear at the McSweeney’s-run store at 826 Valencia in San […]

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Prophet of Paranoia

I Am Alive and You Are Dead: A Journey Into the Mind of Philip K. Dick by Emmanuel Carrere Henry Holt Philip K. Dick died in Santa Ana, California, in 1982, but he’s enjoying a long second coming in Hollywood. Blade Runner, Total Recall, and Minority Report were all based on his work, and the […]

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Molemen

The Molemen are to Chicago hip-hop what Eddie Murphy was to The Nutty Professor: they’re everywhere, even when you don’t realize it. Founded in 1991 and still going strong, the crew has played multiple starring and supporting roles both in the local scene and abroad. PNS, Memo, and crew leader Panik (formerly His-Panik) are best […]

Posted inNews & Politics

In Brief

AMAZONIA: FIVE YEARS AT THE EPICENTER OF THE DOT.COM JUGGERNAUT James Marcus New Press James Marcus’s amusing memoir tells how it was to be in the right place (Seattle) at the right time (the 90s). Personally interviewed by Jeff Bezos, Marcus was the 55th hire at then ramshackle Amazon.com. Tired of starving as a freelance […]

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Decemberists

On their most recent release, The Tain (Acuarela), the Decemberists have cast a pall over the relatively sunny pop that’s won the band such a dedicated following over the past two years. The Tain is a five-part, 18-minute song cycle loosely based on a pre-Christian Irish epic, whose young hero, Cuchulainn, turns the tide in […]

Posted inMusic

Safe Sex

Kelis Tasty (Arista) On the back of her third CD, Tasty, Kelis Rogers poses in girlish white undies atop two pink scoops of ice cream the size of beanbag chairs. Inside the jewel box, she’s licking a big, round, red lollipop. In case all this was too subtle for prospective consumers, Arista at one point […]

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Frogs

Brothers Jimmy and Dennis Flemion infiltrated popular consciousness in the early 1990s via superstar fans and collaborators like Billy Corgan, who produced some of their records, Beck, who’s sampled them, and Pearl Jam, who put them on the B side of one of their singles. After a self-released debut in ’88, the Frogs got on […]

Posted inMusic

Caught Between God and the Boss

Jesus Sound Explosion Mark Curtis Anderson (University of Georgia Press) On the one hand, there’s Jesus; on the other, Led Zeppelin. Jesus Sound Explosion, Mark Curtis Anderson’s memoir of growing up Christian in the 70s, is about a life spent bouncing between the two like a pinball. The certainties of the Baptist four spiritual laws […]

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Greg Trooper

Greg Trooper’s songs have been recorded by the likes of Steve Earle, Billy Bragg, and Vince Gill, but I’d say they sound best sung in his own rough-hewn voice. On his latest release, Floating (Sugarhill), Trooper treads a fine line between cynicism and idealism, experience and hope. He tends to write about people who’ve been […]

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Glen Campbell

Everyday housewives, your dreams have come true. Glen Campbell’s brush with the law last month won’t keep him from taking his Rhinestone Christmas extravaganza on the road. The Cowboy, who was arrested for driving drunk and leaving the scene of an accident, is also accused of giving one of the officers a charley horse, but […]

Posted inMusic

Hybrid Vigor

Jackie Mittoo & the Soul Brothers Last Train to Skaville (Soul Jazz) Cedric “Im” Brooks & the Light of Saba The Light of Saba (Honest Jons/Astralwerks) Jazz purists often couch their arguments in terms of authenticity. Marriages between jazz and other genres are by definition suspect, the argument that jazz itself is a bastard music […]