Music

RECENT REVIEWS

Prophets of a Noisy Heaven

Prophets of a Noisy Heaven

I STARTED LISTENING to country music with serious intent about a decade ago, when a friend showed me a video of S.E. Rogie’s “I Wish I Was a Cowboy.” Rogie was playing live on Dutch television a...

Telling the Damn Truth

Telling the Damn Truth

PETER GURALNICK is the author of Sweet Soul Music, Lost Highway, and Feel Like Going Home, about the great artists at the heart of American Roots Music; the two-part biography of Elvis Presley, Last ...

Ancient Iraqi Stories, Retold

Ancient Iraqi Stories, Retold

THE ALBUM OPENS with a drum solo. Booming wreckage. Then, as the dust settles and the sun starts to rise, a band begins to play. Crisis (Pi Recordings, 2015), the third album from Amir ElSaffar’s T...

Facing the Music

Facing the Music

MEMOIRS BY MUSICIANS you’ve loved feel like unnecessary souvenirs. The musicians have already given you life-changing songs; seen live, they’ve given you moments of transcendence. What more would ...

John Cage’s Endless Project

John Cage’s Endless Project

JOHN CAGE was very creatively productive up until his death in 1992 and yet is best known for his early work, such as the silent composition 4’33’’, first performed in 1952. Still a powerful sou...

Lou Reed and the End Times

Lou Reed and the End Times

IN 2015, work continues apace on the phenomenology of doom. The circumstances for art are that adjuncts are applying for food stamps, student debts continue to accrue, political and financial systems ...

Pop Music, Not Confession

Pop Music, Not Confession

“THE ONLY BOOK I can write,” Elvis Costello says in the 2014 documentary Mystery Train, “is the one that nobody else can know but me.” I can’t help but wonder if Costello said this with his ...

The Madness of Gangsta Rap

The Madness of Gangsta Rap

IN 1991, two poignant frames hung in the exhibition “Black Youth and Mental Health.” Both by black British photographer Dave Lewis, the first photograph shows gradients of radiant yellow that crop...