Music Review: Age Against the Machine...

by

     As a Connecticut boy born and raised, Atlanta music came to me in three helpings. In non-chronological order: First came the dubstep, during a three-night tour through my old friend’s current life as a club promoting hustler savant, from the nightclub where we watched the crowd’s supplication to the DJ from our perch on the stage, to the bar where I watched blissed-out kids bob and weave in pharma-enforced unselfconsciousness to fat-assed bass. Second came the car-sheared-in-half-black metal that a second friend semi-professionally records, music so harsh and dirty your only recorded choice is a cassette tape. And finally were the two lodestars of southern hip-hop, Outkast’s Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik and Goodie Mob’s Soul Food. Did I hear these diamond-hard classics at an epic sweaty house party? Did I discover them in a stack...

read more

Concert Review: Same Trailer, Different Tour...

by

     On the kickoff night of her "Same Trailer, Different Tour", performing at the Bowery Ballroom, Kacey Musgraves drove home a particular belief of mine; good country should be like good liquor. Each taste should land on the palate and linger in a dozen different provocations before it fades. You should serve it in moderation to appreciate the full effect. When you consume it in a crowd it should bear you all up into collective joy, and when you’re alone, it should make you think about every ex you ever lost.      I wasn’t sure what kind of crowd to expect going in; it’s the rare country show I hit up in New York, and I hazarded “folks who look like me and old white dudes.” I was part right. Before the lights dimmed...

read more

Music Review: Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience...

by

     The dead roamed the plains and taigas and deserts and they hunted and they died. When we dug up the ground to build our towns and cities we found their trapped bones, and we crushed what we found and mixed it into our roads and our furnaces and our engines. When we grew and our ranks stretched out to touch the compass points, we journeyed overland to find more of the trapped dead, and when we found them we made terrific weapons to shatter them free from rock that knew no possible threat. The dead were limite, and we knew this, but still we burned and melted and refined into a million iterations that lingered in the air and the water. One day a man burned a handful of the dead into soot...

read more

Television Review: The Bridge...

by

     The Bridge was just picked up for a second season. I’m far too used to betting on TV underdogs, the heart-shredding feeling I get from the tweets or headlines that regret to inform me how an exciting and original piece of programming just got murdered in the cradle. Plus, one of the actresses on the show favorited my tweet, so this is all officially exciting.      An American-set remake of a Danish/Swedish series, The Bridge duplicates the original’s premise for much of the first season; a gruesome scene is discovered on the bridge connecting two nations, namely the remains of an American judge and a young Mexican woman placed exactly on the halfway juncture of the Bridge of the Americas connecting Juarez and El Paso. While this second season pickup excites me purely...

read more

TV Review: Nashville

by

     I went on a terrible date last week. If you could harness our total lack of connection into a turbine, you could have powered the whole bar. One of the worst disappointments was when she told me, in quick succession, that she had lived in Nashville and that she didn’t watch television. I was all ready to start gushing about Nashville on ABC, but my words died on the vine, and I suffered through a rocky series of abortive conversation and awkward silence until we both scurried from the bar, relieved it was over. Then, I went home and made cookies and you damn well better believe I watched Nashville.      One obvious bridge to Nashville is Friday Night Lights; while Nashville doesn’t rise to that show’s level (nor is it meant to), they both...

read more

Music Review: Pushin’ Against a Stone...

by

     Valerie June’s got a near-stunner in Pushin' Against a Stone. Near enough, really that I’m willing to round up. Memphis makes good again, and for real.      Give her this at least, regardless of your tastes; June’s ambitious. Here’s a marinade, parts country blues string band folkmericana gospel, slapped over a thick slice of analog warmth by producer Dan Auerbach (from the Black Keys). Here’s a sound that’s retro but doesn’t scramble for every shred of dusty similarity to something pressed before 1965. Mournful “Twined & Twisted”’s opening “Thought I had your number/stuck in my phone” makes me shake my head, clear my eyes; I’m not listening to a Motown demo off a rarities box set, I’m listening to 2013 lyrics and an unstuck-in-time sound you’d hear in the rehearsal nexus where Joanna...

read more
s2Member®