So Bad They’re … Still Bad

Part of my role as a music journalist is to be a critic. While these days I focus more on features, interviews and essays, I still review quite a lot of music. And I’ve done so since the very beginning. But my approach to the task has gone through a number of stages. In my

Brian Wilson: Do It Again

The standard take on Brian Wilson is also the most accurate one. It can be neatly divided into two parts. First part: The man is a genius. There’s simply no denying that Wilson is a force of nature; his command of the recording studio-as-instrument is almost beyond compare, which itself is fascinating in light of

Weird of Scotland: Jack Bruce’s ‘Songs for a Tailor’ at 50

Sixties supergroup Cream had at least five things that made it special: guitarist Eric Clapton, drummer Ginger Baker and bassist-vocalist Jack Bruce were the three most obvious assets. But producer Felix Pappalardi and Bruce’s lyricist Pete Brown deserve major credit as well. For all of Cream’s excesses onstage – seemingly endless guitar soloing and “Toad”

Righteous Jazz: A Conversation with Jeff Lorber and Mike Stern (Part 2 of 2)

Continued from Part One … [To Jeff Lorber] What is the most significant difference between your approach to your instrument today as compared to the way you played at or near the beginning of your career? Jeff: It’s funny you should mention that because I’ve just been listening a bunch lately to this recording I

Righteous Jazz: A Conversation with Jeff Lorber and Mike Stern (Part 1 of 2)

Nominally a jazz fusion keyboardist and composer, Jeff Lorber is known for a particular kind of highly melodic and accessible jazz. Detractors might cal lit “smooth jazz,” a term that – unsurprisingly – Lorber dislikes. But there’s no denying the wide appeal of Lober’s music; his debut, 1977’s The Jeff Lorber Fusion, reached #30 on

Your Favorite Thing: Sugar’s ‘File Under: Easy Listening’ at 25

By the time Bob Mould debuted his rock trio Sugar in 1992, he was a well-known figure in music. With his previous group, Hüsker Dü, Mould had been a key figure in the hardcore/underground rock scene of the 1980s. But the Minneapolis band always stood apart from some of its more one-dimensional compatriots; the songs

Jeff Sipe’s Mystical Vibes

There’s a spiritual, almost mystical quality to the drumming of multi-genre musician Jeff Sipe. A world-traveled musician with an extensive body of work to his name. He has performed and played with some of music’s most innovative and boundary-pushing artists, yet he’s equally at home in an informal living room jam with friends. Though he’s

Patrick Moraz and the Poetry of Creation

Swiss keyboard virtuoso Patrick Moraz was one of the earliest musicians to explore the sonic possibilities of the synthesizer. He combined those explorations with more conventional instrumentation – grand piano, organ – as a member of Refugee (with former members of the Nice) and then with Yes, and later still with the Moody Blues. He

Hiss Golden Messenger: Deeply Personal Yet Inviting

The music of Hiss Golden Messenger illustrates the point that the distance is not as great as one might think between folk music and other musical forms. Formed in North Carolina in 2007, Hiss Golden Messenger has long been more of a collective – with various temporary members coming and going – more than a

Album Review: Negativland — True False

Note: According to Wikipedia (one of very few even potentially reliable sources of information about Negativland), current and founding member Mark Hosler “may currently reside in or near Asheville, North Carolina.” His LinkedIn profile suggests as much. To some, creating works of artistic value by (in part or in whole) appropriating the work of others