Author Archive

Scholars Consider Metallica, Part Two

Continued from Part One… “Metallica creates emotionally intense music, both sonically and lyrically,” Swanson points out. “It’s so intense that it creates a ‘virtual violence,’ one that creates a release valve for despair and violent feelings.” By his estimation, some of society’s pent-up rage can be lessened by experiencing the music of the Bay Area

Scholars Consider Metallica, Part One

This story was part of a larger feature – a collaboration with Nick Veronin – previously published in SF Standard. Metallica: Counter-cultural Critics, Vehicle for Catharsis As Metallica prepares to celebrate its 40th anniversary with December’s “San Francisco Takeover” – concerts plus a raft of related events – it’s the perfect time to take a

Reviving the Old Guard: The Palace Guard, Part Two

Continued from Part One… Far better was the A-side of The Palace Guard’s second single, the moody, minor-key “A Girl You Can Depend On.” The flip side of that single – released as a promo disc only – was a credibly soulful cover of Wilson Pickett’s “If You Need Me.” Moser says that recording sessions

Reviving the Old Guard: The Palace Guard, Part One

Emitt Rhodes’ pre-pre-fame band The Palace Guard gets a career-spanning compilation Emitt Rhodes was something of a cult figure in music. The singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer never achieved widespread commercial success or fame, but his music inspired and influenced many who would follow him. Hailed in his early solo artist years as a “one-man

Album Review: John Mayall — The Sun is Shining Down

John Mayall is widely acknowledged as the godfather of British blues. And that’s not the result of any sort of revisionism; it’s a title he earned long, long ago. As far back as 1981, I was writing an essay for my college freshman English class on the “British blues boom,” and the piece centered around

30 Days Out January 2022 #2: Ben Phantom, Cory and the Wongnotes, Dogs in a Pile, The Fritz

This roundup of “30 Days Out” features two Asheville-based acts and two nationally touring ones. Artist: Ben Phantom Venue: Highland Brewing Downtown Date: Saturday, Jan. 29, 6 p.m. Door: free Some artists incorporate the visual medium as a kind of auxiliary component, a sideline, to their main creative/artistic thrust. Ben Phantom seamlessly combines them, as

Album Review: Hushdrops — The Static

Hey, remember the ‘90s? No, not the hair metal-lite of the era, and not the flannel-wrapped grunge of the Pacific Northwest. Well, maybe a little of that. What I’m thinking of is the rise and codification of “alternative rock,” a loosely-defined but distinctive style that combined the best of power pop, hard rock and good

Boxed Set Review: Fuzztones Salute the Greats

For decades now, The Fuzztones have been doing the important work of keeping the garage punk flame burning. Originally a New York City aggregation, the band led by Rudi Protrudi resettled in Germany many years ago, and there they remain. The band’s body of work is extensive, and in recent years has been appended by

Album Review: Memphissippi Sounds — Welcome to the Land

The blues featured guitar-and-drum duos long before that lean and mean lineup became a popular approach in other musical idioms. So there’s a long and proud tradition for what Memphissippi does. Yet the duo – Damion Pearson on vocals, guitar and harmonica, joined by drummer Cam Kimbrough (who also plays guitar and sings) – has

Four Thousand.

Today represents a landmark of sorts. I’ve recounted the story elsewhere, but in the mid ‘00s I was Editor in Chief of a (then) quality monthly national print magazine that covered the music scene. When it went belly up – for reasons having nothing to do with its content – I found myself with the