Posted inArts & Culture

Hardship Post

Although Hardship Post’s stock-in-trade is pop music, you won’t find any sweeping melodies, rousing choruses, or lush arrangements on their recently released debut LP, Somebody Spoke (Sub Pop). Instead the trio’s songs display a punchy, no-frills guitar-bass-drums attack and a fondness for brittle, bittersweet melodies that recalls the early work of new wavers like Elvis […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Private Meanings

David Russick: New Works at Carl Hammer Gallery, through July 22 Andean Paintings at Fourth World Artisans, through July 23 David Russick’s somewhat cerebral art dwells at the intersection of his sparse, often puzzling imagery, the explanations one imagines for it, and the explanations he himself provides (if one knows them). There’s little of the […]

Posted inMusic

Rock the Casbah

Sif Safaa: New Music From the Middle East (Hemisphere) The Islamic world may not seem particularly fond of the West, but the sounds of popular music in places like Egypt, Kuwait, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, and even Iraq provide an interesting glimpse of how Western fashions have seeped into ancient traditions. Sif Safaa: New Music From […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Despite their sweet songs and sweeter sounds, the Jayhawks may be the hard-liners of alternative country. Where cohorts like Wilco and the Bottle Rockets gain their cred by drawing from punk and hard rock, respectively, the Jayhawks go their own way. They feel their fondness for tense, burnished harmonies and old-fashioned touches of swelling strings […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Jennifer Trynin

From the slurry chords that introduce “Happier,” the flat-voiced portrait of urban dissonance that leads off her Cockamamie album, to the remarkably catchy choruses dotting most of the songs to the unhappy lullaby that ends the record (besides the now obligatory hidden track) Jennifer Trynin impresses. Her voice is supple, she writes hooks, and she […]

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Formed by Moonshake’s former vocalist/guitarist Margaret Fielder, its former bassist John Frenett, and noted producer Guy Fixsen, Laika belongs to the swelling ranks of rock bands, mostly English, that immerse themselves in dance-music technology and deconstruct it: Techno Animal, Scorn, God, Ice, Chicago’s Tortoise, and the current lineup of Moonshake. On their striking debut album, […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Right to Rant

To the editor: It seems to me that Michael V. Timble should take up a hobby or something. If his letter concerning Elizabeth Weil’s “Good-bye, Girl Friend” (“Sassy’s Demise,” June 23) is any indication, his ferociously pointless attack on the left (one, apparently, in a continuing series which apparently transferred over from the New City […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Joel Futterman

Some free music has the impact of a knockout punch: it swells and explodes with ballistic intensity. Joel Futterman approaches the piano with precisely this pugilistic power, but he does so with real dexterity, like a giant gently cradling a baby. You can hear this gentle thunder on his recent solo outing, Silhouettes (Progressive), where […]

Posted inArts & Culture

We Have a Problem

Jeff Wall at the Museum of Contemporary Art, through August 20 Creating paradoxes around the issue of representation is a familiar modernist ploy. Jeff Wall’s photos–18 of which are now on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art–do more, because of his provocative subject matter; carefully constructed compositions, some of which are computer composites; and […]