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The Sob in the Spine

The Sob in the Spine

I. That Guy IT IS A TRUTH universally acknowledged that young male writers, in a shadowed corner of their dream selves, would much rather be rock stars. And not (just) for the girls, fame, and money....

The Escapes and Escapades of Rick James

The Escapes and Escapades of Rick James

THERE’S NO LOGICAL REASON Rick James should have lived as long as he did. That he didn’t die in prison, overdose on crack, commit suicide, or get shot by a jealous husband or lover is a secular ki...

Three the Hard Way: The Return of Sleater-Kinney

Three the Hard Way: The Return of Sleater-Kinney

WITH THE ANNOUNCEMENT of Start Together, the limited edition vinyl box set of the seven albums Sleater-Kinney had released since 1995, a few months back, probably most of the critics planning to cover...

Photographer Spotlight: Guy Webster

Photographer Spotlight: Guy Webster

Photo Credit: © GizaraArts.com The career of many a photographer is as much a matter of serendipity, the good fortune of a timely and privileged vantage point, as artistic virtue. Guy Webster was...

Dancing with Dictators

Dancing with Dictators

WHEN I WAS A YOUNG GIRL in Leyte, I danced for Imelda Marcos. The effect of that on my psyche, an obeisance innocent and obscene, came back to me in the nightclub setting of David Byrne’s oddly cath...

How I Got Over: The Soul of Aretha Franklin

How I Got Over: The Soul of Aretha Franklin

DAVID RITZ’S new biography of Aretha Franklin, Respect, is not the book Franklin wanted written. The Queen of Soul already published the book she wanted, From These Roots, which Ritz himself ghostwr...

Adventures in Cultural Appropriation

Adventures in Cultural Appropriation

YET ANOTHER WHITE pop star has wandered into the thorny world of racial drag. Taylor Swift, in case you missed her, is an American musician who began her career in a calculated blend of country crosso...

Duane Allman, Skydog, Explained

Duane Allman, Skydog, Explained

JIMI HENDRIX lived nearly three years longer — that’s the kind of premature we’re talking about when we talk about the premature death of Duane Allman, who died less than a month before he would...

Bobsession

Bobsession

WE DON’T CHOOSE our obsessions; our obsessions choose us. If we chose them, then they wouldn’t be obsessions; they’d be pet projects or hobbyhorses. They wouldn’t be ways of life. They’d be ...

Living Fast: Revisiting Oasis's "Definitely Maybe"

Living Fast: Revisiting Oasis's "Definitely Maybe"

THE YEAR 1994 had solid significance for the direction 1990s Britain eventually took. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the mutually destructive, deadlocked certainties of the 1980s had given way to ...

The Last Donut of the Night

The Last Donut of the Night

J DILLA WAS NOT well as he worked to finish his now widely heralded Donuts. Friends recall him frail, tirelessly tinkering with the final tracks from his hospital bed. A lasting photograph reveals the...