Torch Ballads & Jukebox Music

August 31, 2009

Matt & Kim, Beat & Beckett 3


Matt and Kim’s “5K” video speaks much more intelligently of our culture’s resurgent love of vampires than does the idiotic and thieving Twilight series.

July 24, 2009

Torch Ballads & Jukebox Music #4: Serenaded by Jonathan Richman 2


Jonathan Richman, along with his long-time drummer Tommy Larkins, took the stage, strummed his acoustic guitar and began to sing. Nothing. The mikes weren’t working. Where other performers, and indeed lesser legends, might have turned diva, Jonathan simply announced – loudly, to make up for the microphone – that he and the techies would confer […]

July 23, 2009

What’s Not to Like? The Pains of Being Pure at Heart 2


Oh, to be so winsome as The Pains of Being Pure at Heart! All aspects of the unwieldily named indie pop quartet are uniformly captivating – their music, their lyrics, their persons, their demeanor on stage and in interviews – and newspapers and blogs from their home city (New York) to LA and San Fran […]

July 10, 2009

From Wilco, With Love 11


For this latest record, Tweedy seems ready to accentuate the positive, even if that old bleak outlook does occasionally cloud over the proceedings.

April 27, 2009

Musical Exercise: Creating Literary Soundtracks 5


Some books just demand a soundtrack – they either are about music and musicians or music is threaded through the book like a character. Pandora, one of several sites where you can create your own radio stations, has long been a daily musical companion of mine, but recently I’ve been thinking of it as a […]

April 6, 2009

Torch Ballads & Jukebox Music #3: Sidelined By Pete Doherty 1


This isn’t the music post I’d planned on writing today. I was going to tell you all about the time a certain British guitar legend from the 60s shouted at me and a friend (yes, at us – specifically at us) across a packed hall in Greenwich Village eleven years ago. I was all set […]

March 4, 2009

Today: Neko Case. 3


Middle Cyclone, the new album by my favorite redheaded crooner, Neko Case, was released yesterday. At the time of this writing, I’ve listened to the album twice as I worked on my novel, and then I repeated a few songs so that I could dance and swoon around the apartment. My friend Robin Benway, fellow […]

February 3, 2009

Torch Ballads & Jukebox Music #2: Haunted By Bob Dylan 1


Whenever I tell someone that my favorite songwriter is Bob Dylan, the response I usually get is some kind of respectful acknowledgment of his status as a lyricist. And there’s no question that Dylan has written some of the most extraordinary lyrics – depending on the period, and on his mood – they’re wise and […]

February 3, 2009

Torch Ballads & Jukebox Music #1: One Man’s Bliss… 0


There’s a scene in Fawlty Towers in which innkeeper Basil Fawlty, played with misanthropic relish by John Cleese, is having a moment to himself in the hotel office – away from his shrill, domineering wife Sybil, away from the pesky guests. For one brief moment, the cacophony of his life is neutralized by the glorious […]

January 27, 2009

What’s on Bruce Springsteen’s Bookshelves 2


As we noted yesterday, Carolyn Kellogg has an interesting piece up at Papercuts about Bruce Springsteen and Walker Percy. Carolyn expresses some surprise at finding out that the Boss is an avid reader. To us die-hard fans, however, evidence of Bruce’s bookish leanings is legible as far back as the late ’70s. There’s the song […]