The new Zagat guide to music lets the mob rule.
Music Guide (Zagat Survey) Rock criticism might still be a viable organism, but it’s hard to tell: how do you know if something is moving on its own when people keep dragging it around and kicking it? Neal Pollack has devoted a whole novel to the proposition that writing about music is a pathetic waste […]
Fannypack So Stylistic (Tommy Boy) Fannypack’s debut, So Stylistic, is a seriously confusing album. No doubt you’ve heard the single “Cameltoe,” a hip-hop novelty record in which a couple of teenage girls razz a “middle-aged lady” whose pants are too tight. It’s no substitute for the Neptunes, but this summer you just couldn’t avoid that […]
Eminem The Marshall Mathers LP (Interscope) In one of the more startling scenes from The Filth and the Fury, Julien Temple’s recent Sex Pistols doc, the band plays a benefit for the children of striking firemen. The audience seems to be made up primarily of the beneficiaries, preteens done up in Never Mind the Bollocks […]
Simply Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad About the Loser’s Lounge (Zilcho) Knitting on the Roof (Knitting Factory Records) By Josh Goldfein The tribute album is the celebrity roast of recordings, with an equally ignoble history: inferior performers tackling undeserving subjects, note-for-note covers or pointless reinventions, star turns where the joke’s over as soon as you’ve read […]
Beck Midnite Vultures (DGC) Ol’ Dirty Bastard N***a Please (Elektra) By Josh Goldfein Nineteen ninety-nine was the year the devil himself felt overwhelmed by sleaze: in the year’s best movie, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, Saddam Hussein chased an intimacy-deprived Satan around hell at the point of his engorged penis. Even the most mainstream […]
The Artist Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic (NPG/Arista) By Josh Goldfein This year should’ve belonged to the artist once known as Prince, and not just because he wrote the theme song. Prince Rogers Nelson is a millennial figure in his stature (not to be confused with his height) among the greatest composers of the century, […]
Touch and Go v. the Buttholes: Case Closed Law geeks hoping to hear conservative U.S. Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia utter the word butthole from the bench this term are out of luck: Corey Rusk, founder and head honcho of Chicago indie label Touch and Go, has allowed the deadline to pass for appealing the […]
Magnetic Fields 69 Love Songs (Merge) Holy Modal Rounders Too Much Fun! (Rounder) Randy Newman Bad Love (Dreamworks) By Josh Goldfein In this post-queer, post-feminist, post-rock, post-enthusiasm age, when nothing can’t be said and everything has been, it’s awfully hard to be a self-aware pop artist. Can’t shock ’em, can’t rock ’em, can’t tell ’em […]
Pavement Terror Twilight (Matador) Mekons I Have Been to Heaven and Back: Hen’s Teeth and Other Lost Fragments of Unpopular Culture Vol. 1 By Josh Goldfein The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing. –Archilochus In his 1953 essay “The Hedgehog and the Fox,” liberal humanist Isaiah Berlin described two kinds […]
New York hip-hop is shaking up and waking up to a new electronic music that’s both innovative and commercial. The new style is not so much a sound as a strategy, a cold fusion that maps a middle ground between tripped-out Wu-Tang science and overeager Puffy pop.
After nearly 20 years of putting out records without lawyers or contracts, Corey Rusk was forced by one disgruntled band to defend his system in court. The outcome may change the way the underground does business.