Maggie Rogers’ ACL Snub: She IS Sensitive, and That’s Okay

Maggie Rogers stands onstage alone, acoustic guitar in hand, to begin her encore at Austin’s Moody Theater. In a heartfelt speech about gratitude, Rogers thanks the 24 people who worked on the set and lighting, and the fans who brought her music to light. She has barely been home in three years, thanks to her…

Surviving, and Thriving, While Freelancing

Some people dream of being “their own boss.” I suffer the proverbial fear of the blank page, and I wish just one person would give me a place to work and a time to do it. The more you freelance, the more self-discipline and organization you need. Most freelancers report back to someone, but freelance…

How To Write About Music: A Definitive Method

This is a technique I learned in music school, from one or maybe two teachers who taught a class on musical analysis. It can work on any body of music in any style: I’ve used it to talk about “New York, New York” by Frank Sinatra, the sociological importance of A Tribe Called Quest (using the album People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm as an example), and a Ghanian folk song I had absolutely no background on, including a lyrical translation. The Music Map lets you dissect and diagram every part of a song and assign meaning to it. Then, when you’ve fully formed your understanding of the core essence you want to talk about, it gives you a chart of exactly how to write about it.

25 Songs Rolling Stone Forgot About This Century

18 and 1/2 years into the 21st century, Rolling Stone, celebrating a visual rebranding of the print magazine, decided to take a tally of the era’s greatest songs. The magazine was careful to point out the list does not reflect its editorial views, but the votes of “a large group of artists, producers, critics and industry…

Shimmy: The Shakedown on NU Belly Dance

Originally published in Tastemakers Issue #49. (See link or scroll down for full spread.) Passing the Curry Dance Studio on Mondays, one might mistake it for an Egyptian dance party. Well, it wouldn’t be much of a mistake, except that the people inside are still just learning to party like an Egyptian. Or anyone else…

Whiskey In A Teacup: The Yankee’s Guide to Great Country Music

Originally published as the cover story of Tastemakers Issue #49, “Southern Comfort: Reconciling Yourself With One Of America’s Oldest Traditions.” (See link or scroll down for full spread.)   When country and western, formerly called “hillbilly” music, started its ascent into the mainstream after World War II, its listeners made up a full third of…

Gogol Bordello: Smuggling in the Immigrant Culture of Gypsy Punk

Originally seen on Tastemakers Online, September 20, 2017 Gogol Bordello is what might happen if a drummer and a bassist put out a call for an exceptional frontman, and took five of them. The real story is this: the Ukrainian immigrant frontman Eugene Hütz (who you might already know as the life of the movie…

Audiovisual and Assorted Thoughts on Blade Runner 2049

This is a casual collection of significant or intriguing audiovisual relationships from Blade Runner 2049, since I found the artistic direction of this film to be quite moving, and noteworthy. This is by no means a complete list, or even review. Just assorted thoughts. Please feel free to leave some of your own in the…

Feel It Still: Why My Dad Shares My Spotify Account

Modern culture likes to paint dads as very simple creatures. (“Why, in cartoons, is the dad always an idiot?” my dad used to ask.) The family collective, and each member individually, tends to learn him for a few tried-and-true points of contact. Aside from being Boat Dad, Hockey Dad, and Construction Dad, mine is Classic…

New Earworms and Heartworms from The Shins

The Shins are back again after a five-year absence with a second single from Heartworms, “Name For You”. The new album produced by frontman James Mercer, is out March 10th and available for preorder. Some people (your author, for instance) who love vaguely gruesome, trip-inducing tattoo art might spring for the slightly overpriced, but charming lithograph poster….

An Urban Tribe Called Quest

Tomorrow alternative hip hop legends A Tribe Called Quest will release their sixth and final alum, We got it from here… Thank You 4 Your service, featuring guests Kendrick Lamar, Jack White, Elton John, André 3000, Anderson .Paak, and Busta Rhymes. After thirty years and a shift to an increasingly neotribalist society, is A Tribe Called…