COMMON BRINGS GLORY TO THE GRAMMYS (AND THE OSCARS): An Interview

Common_Glory_Grammys_2015_Selma

What 2015 Grammy moment moved you?   Kanye West’s cut in on Beck’s acceptance speech for "Album of the Year" garnered most of the headlines.   How sad to a stunt overshadow Annie Lennox’s rousing rendition of “I Put a Spell On You” with Hozier.   Pharrell reimagined his sunny single, “Happy,” into an intriguing protest echoing the "Hands up/Don’t shoot" posture that accompanied events in Ferguson, Missouri.   Prince slipped in the best one-liner of the night, “Albums still matter. Just like books … [Read more...]

A BLACK MESSSIAH ARRIVES–THE YEAR IN MUSIC 2014

dangelo-black-messiah-release

Just as most music critics had wrapped up their best of 2014 lists, D'Angelo dropped a musical gift anticipated for over a decade.   Torn up by the death of Eric Garner in New York, D'Angelo rush released "Black Messiah" with almost no advance notice.   Taking a page from Beyonce's surprise December 2013 release, D'Angelo snuck up on everyone with the funkiest and finest sounds of the year.  "Black Messiah" proved to be more than worth the wait.His liner notes link the title to "people risi … [Read more...]

Musical Healing in God Help the Girl

God Help the Girl movie

Where does music come from? Is there a deity who bestows the perfect pop songs?   Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian desperately wants to craft the ultimate three minute single.   From “If You’re Feeling Sinister” in 1996 to the “The Life Pursuit” in 2006, Murdoch has polished his songwriting chops, updating the sixties sounds of Burt Bacharach through an arresting Scottish lilt.   Murdoch’s effervescent new musical, God Help the Girl, melds psychosis and spirituality into an arresting mélange … [Read more...]

MUSIC 2013: DANCING TO THE APOCALYPSE

Vampire Weekend Unbelievers

With a daughter in high school, I am officially well behind the curve when it comes to new music.   She’s old enough to love alternative rock, but too young to have a driver’s license.   So I’ve been the designated driver to all kinds of concerts where I am not just double, but triple the age of the average fan.    From Walk the Moon to Twenty One Pilots, upstart indie bands are surfacing with a frequency that rivals the garage bands of the original rock era or punk eras.   Their synth-driven sou … [Read more...]


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