Music

RECENT REVIEWS

Crying with the Cosmic Cowboy

Crying with the Cosmic Cowboy

I AM IN MENDOCINO, driving through a light rain, towards a grove of redwoods. The road ahead drops off into the mist, into the ocean. I drive slowly. I am in Mendocino to do research for an essay abou...

I Am Not a Cheese

I Am Not a Cheese

I RECENTLY WENT to see Alan Cumming give a lecture about his career. He came out on the stage, took his place at the podium, and looked directly at the audience. “People always ask about my process ...

The Method Singer

The Method Singer

THERE SHE STANDS in the spotlight on a dark stage, an elegant woman wearing a white gown and a white gardenia in her hair. Depending on the year, Eleanora Fagan is either young and fresh and radiant, ...

Dancing with Michael Jackson

Dancing with Michael Jackson

image: Dimitri Reeves in Baltimore, April, 2015. Come and see, the moon is shining. Come and see, the moon is walking. Come and see, the moon is dancing. — Ladysmith Black Mambazo Got a feeling ...

The Significance of Philip Glass

The Significance of Philip Glass

“MAIS CE N’EST PAS LA MUSIQUE.” Philip Glass seems to beam with pride when remembering this phrase (“But it’s not music.”), tossed almost pityingly at him by some of Nadia Boulanger’s ot...

Exquisite Failure

Exquisite Failure

WHEN I WAS A TEENAGER in suburban New Jersey, drowning in late-’80s malaise, my lifeline was the legendary radio DJ Vin Scelsa. On Sunday nights he hosted Idiot’s Delight, one of commercial radio...

You Better Work

You Better Work

TOMB RAIDER pulled her in. As she listened to Nathan McCree’s music for the 1996 game, Winifred Phillips decided she might compose music for games herself. So that’s what she did. A pianist and v...

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Bird

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Bird

1. THE LOGO for LA rock band The Airborne Toxic Event is a black bird, flying alone through an arid winter sky, that’s been shot through with an arrow and is spraying blood out of its right side. I...

No Wave Feminism

No Wave Feminism

What’s it like to be a girl in a band? I don’t quite understand That's so quaint to hear I feel so faint, my dear — Sonic Youth, “Sacred Trickster,” The Eternal (2009) IN HER LYRICS to th...