Posted inArts & Culture

Sleepy LaBeef

Not just another tired rockabilly relic, Sleepy LaBeef is one hulking bear of a singer/guitarist who ranges menacingly across the wide open spaces of American roots music, attacking country, blues, gospel, and rock ‘n’ roll with equal aplomb. He’s been at it for 30 years–through a long stream of honky-tonks and obscure record labels–and now […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Nicholas Tremulis

Although Nicholas Tremulis is billed by Island Records as a solo act, I’m nonetheless convinced it’s actually the band that makes his shows special. They’re quite simply one of the most overwhelming R & B outfits around, approaching the sound and feel of an old-fashioned soul revue but laced with a few quirky 80s twists. […]

Posted inArts & Culture

King Sunny Ade

A friend of mine, asked once by me what he thought of Sunny Ade’s Nigerian juju music, made a face and sniffed, “Too much rhythm.” Which I guess makes as much sense as complaining that your lover is too sexy. But then some people are afraid of sex, and some people are afraid of rhythm […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Mekons

After enduring literally dozens of personnel changes since their punk-era (1977) beginnings in Leeds, England, the Mekons have only recently matured into a band of real importance. Having digested lots of American Cajun and country and British folk music, they infuse that roots stuff with their own dark, screaming energy to paint a surreal picture […]

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Snakefinger

Snakefinger is a wonderful musician who tends to get overshadowed by the Residents, the mysterious and disturbing band for whom he has often played hired gun. A shame, because while the decidedly outre Residents are mostly about “concept,” Snakefinger himself is completely about music–and is a good deal less creepy too. Feel free to dig […]

Posted inFilm

A Rock Grows in Athens

ATHENS, GA.–INSIDE/OUT ** (Worth seeing) Directed and written by Anthony Gayton With R.E.M., the B-52’s, Dreams So Real, and Love Tractor. Athens, Georgia — 60 miles from Atlanta — is home to 45,000 people, the University of Georgia, and one of the most critically acclaimed rock ‘n’ roll scenes of recent years. The B-52’s and […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Brave Combo

Imagine yourself transported to a parallel universe, a bizarro world, where the hip culture listens not to rock ‘n’ roll or R & B but to polka music, which is considered sexy and dangerous. That’s the kind of world Brave Combo would fit into perfectly, being the oddballs they are in this world. What’s especially […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Miles Davis

Let’s take a moment to restate the obvious. Miles is unquestionably one of the supreme figures in jazz. Like Pablo Picasso, he has metamorphosed through an astonishing variety of periods and styles; from his 1940s apprenticeship with Charlie Parker to his current pop/funk preoccupations, his has been a career of constant searching, both outward and […]

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Peter Case

Peter Case used to be in the Plimsouls. However, not only is his recent debut LP a good deal more interesting and full-bodied than I remember his former band’s work to be, but it also made him one of the freshest and most warmly hailed “new” arrivals of last year. While Case has not forsaken […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Golden Palominos

I once saw a wild-eyed Anton Fier (in Richard Hell’s band at the time) jump out from behind his drum kit in midset to attack an audience member who was apparently flipping lit cigs at the bandstand. So I have no trouble believing persistent reports of what a moody, intense guy he supposedly is. Besides, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

John Cale With Chris Spedding

What a pair! John Cale and Chris Spedding have worked together before, and one of the things they have in common is that they’ve both built their reputations largely on collaboration with others. One of rock’s most chillingly idiosyncratic performers, singer/producer/songwriter/electric violist Cale has worked with species as disparate as Lou Reed, LaMonte Young, Phil […]

Posted inMusic

Eleventh Dream Day

Over the past couple of years Eleventh Dream Day has gradually built up a raging head of steam, a blistering one-two guitar attack that sounds like somebody throttling down an empty highway at 3 AM. Frontman/songwriter Rick Rizzo likes to write about people driven over the edge by their irrational urges, but he also constructs […]