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This Wreckage Was No Accident

Stooges 1970: The Complete Fun House Sessions (Rhino Handmade) By Monica Kendrick A seven-CD box set chronicling the making of a 36-minute album–was this really necessary? Back in 1970, with Elektra footing the bill for the casual slaughter of oxide particles and brain cells alike, it’s not shocking that they recorded everything and taped over […]

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Writing Off Rock

Flowers in the Dustbin: The Rise of Rock and Roll, 1947-1977 by James Miller (Simon & Schuster) Even if there were a definitive history of rock ‘n’ roll, it would be useless to most people. Given that rock has featured prominently in the personal lives of more currently living English speakers than perhaps any other […]

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Stayin’ Alive

Isley Brothers It’s Your Thing: The Story of the Isley Brothers (Epic Associated/T-Neck/Legacy) By Frank Youngwerth A list of the artists the Isley Brothers have influenced reads like a brief history of cutting-edge pop: the Beatles covered their fist two hits and emulated their three-voice group sound; Jimi Hendrix patterned the vocal-instrumental interplay of the […]

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In the Spirit

Bad Livers Dust on the Bible (Quarterstick) By Linda Ray This summer the Nashville-based Gospel Music Association revamped its standards for the Dove Awards, the Christian recording industry’s equivalent of the Grammys. Previously the only prerequisite for nomination was that one’s record be sold in Christian music stores, but apparently the GMA was disturbed that […]

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Stolen Thunder

Creation Making Time Biff Bang Pow! (Retroactive) Pretty Things S.F. Sorrow (Snapper Music) By J.R. Jones Rock historian Pete Frame created a cottage industry for himself in the early 80s by drawing fanatically detailed rock ‘n’ roll “family trees,” most of which were collected into a book in 1993. Printed in his neat little hand, […]

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Rhythms of Life

Boukman Eksperyans Revolution (Tuff Gong) By Monica Kendrick Buying any of the many “world music” samplers on the market right now is like collecting messages in bottles without reading them. Whether they’re plucked from Tangier or Tibet or anywhere else in the world where people don’t speak English, the mysterious and exotic tunes that score […]

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Stolen Thunder

Bentley Rhythm Ace The Future Sound of the United Kingdom Three (Ministry of Sound) Chemical Brothers Brothers Gonna Work It Out (Astralwerks) and Live at the Social, Volume 1 (Heavenly) Fatboy Slim On the Floor at the Boutique (Skint) Freestylers The Future Sound of the United Kingdom Two (Ministry of Sound) As big beat becomes […]

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Huck Meets Chuck

The New Yorker Out Loud Volume II (Mouth Almighty) By J.R. Jones When I was teaching American literature at the University of Alabama, one of my first chores every year was to reread The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. If you were ever an undergrad earning a liberal arts degree, you almost certainly read it too: […]

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Still Hungry

Patti Smith Group at the Riviera Theatre, November 22 By Monica Kendrick Nympholepsy–the state of violently longing for impossible ideals–is best known in its most sensationalistic form, nymphomania; it’s been most commercially viable when it manifests itself as rock ‘n’ roll. But every poet has it too, and every politician and every preacher–in short, every […]

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True Blues

Devil in a Woodpile at the Hideout, November 10 By Pat Daly Sweet home Chicago. So sweet my tummy hurts. For anybody who has scoured the city’s blues emporiums during the past ten years in search of some shred of the rumor of the ghost that was the Chicago blues, those three words undoubtedly cause […]

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Monstress of Rock

PJ Harvey at the Vic, October 28 In the October 26 issue of the New Yorker, in the occasional department called “A Critic at Large,” Hilton Als wrote such a misguided meditation on PJ Harvey and the dire state of popular music that I found myself wondering what exactly a writer has to do to […]

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Craven Images

Liz Phair at the Vic, October 25 By Warren Sentence In The Last Rock Star Book or: Liz Phair, a Rant, the new first novel by New York guerrilla rock critic Camden Joy, the protagonist (also called Camden Joy) is hired to write a quickie biography of Liz Phair. The novel is set in the […]

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Two Great Tastes That Sound Great Together

Elvis Costello & Burt Bacharach at the Chicago Theatre, October 16 By Tim Sheridan Maybe it’s fear of mortality that has some folks freaking out about the recent musical marriage between Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach. Despite the new martini craze, many thirtysomethings associate Bacharach with their parents–whom they’re trying desperately not to become right […]

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The Pioneer’s Spirit

Pine Valley Cosmonauts Salute the Majesty of Bob Wills (Bloodshot) By Linda Ray When a Tulsa Tribune reporter asked him what he thought of rock and roll in 1958, country legend Bob Wills said, “Why, man, that’s the same music we’ve been playin’ since 1928!…We didn’t call it ‘rock and roll’ back when we introduced […]

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Pounding Out History

Generation Ecstasy: Into the World of Techno and Rave Culture by Simon Reynolds (Little, Brown) By Michaelangelo Matos Nineteen ninety-eight is the tenth anniversary of rave culture, and though it hasn’t elicited the kind of hoopla that, say, the 20th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper’s did, it hasn’t gone unremarked either. But while ravers may be […]