Though Your Heart Is Breaking
(0n first finding Brian Wilson's "Smile" in the wasteland of 1985):
Eventually you begin to suspect that they aren't really talking about "Smile" as much as their own collections of fragmented dreams and broken ambitions. You like to think your ongoing interest is more intellectual than emotional.
You may be kidding yourself here. But fortunately you have chosen to become a journalist, a pursuit which not only gives you license to turn your fixations into assignments but also actually encourages you to do so.
James Wolcott critiques the critics who are heavy into the dithery-doo
. (Caution: Wear protective goggles when moving closer in to the rest of his acid-churning reaction to a mere book about Bob Dylan):
"The critic who does not make critical distinctions is no longer a critic, he is an enthusiast--hardly the worst thing in the world, since many enthusiasts have their own tough grading systems and sore spots. As any reader of Nick Hornby's novel High Fidelity knows, rock-and-roll record collectors are among the pickiest pedants around. But Ricks is an easy grader, so avidly receptive it's as if he has Mouseketeer ears. This fan doesn't differentiate between minor Dylan and major Dylan, the lightning strokes and the lazy doodles; he flosses himself up to the same level of gleeful appreciation no matter which number he is disassembling."
An intriguing piece by Laila Weir (SF Chronicle) on Palistinian rap
From Will Youmans, the Iron Shiek himself: "I think [rap] appeals to them because of that ... It's a way of distinguishing yourself from what you believe is a culture that doesn't give you your rights."
Suspended in space at that blissful intersection, when music inspires the written word, "Writing to a reggae beat":
Channer believes that reggae lyrics offer Caribbean writers a model: "The American Motown tradition is 'oooh baby baby, you're the greatest thing and I'm going to give you this and that.'
"But the Trenchtown tradition is about the complications of love. You have these working-class black men who are welders in their day jobs who can find in themselves these tender places from which to write about women in their neighbourhood. Like when Gregory Isaacs sings, 'Although she wasn't the best girl/ She brought happiness into my world.' "
Ellen Creager while on assignment for the Detroit Free Press unearths some of Detroit's overlooked gems, like the Motown Historical Museum and the International Gospel Music Hall of Fame & Museum (though even the Hard Rock Cafe's already gone missing in Motor City). See her amazing "Hidden Detroit".
Young people in Kenya are finding their voice as government censorship abates and media proliferates and diversifies. Andrew Strickler in today's Namibian
on the blossom of youth as official censorship wanes, East African hip-hop, and some of the topics that now make their way into today's new music made by Kenyan youth.
If you've coughed up your dough for a membership, the Avant Guild has a tasty interview exclusive for your eyes only:
"Breaking into Music Journalism"
(courtesy of Media Bistro)
"We are born, live and die by music. Music expresses joy, hopes, fears, and sadness and gives encouragement for people to persist."
-- Kofi Mawuli
Music still breathes life into human beings in the world. What certain styles of music mean to a music journalist in Africa.
Can't Stop, Won't Stop Dept.
Do yourself a big favor, and check out Jeff Chang's upcoming October '04 class on "So You Want to Be A Music Journalist"
(courtesy of the Media Alliance)
Pittsburgh newspaper looks at what's become a local institution, the night club known as Moondog's
. "It's not about the four walls. It's about what goes on inside of them."
Sorry, I meant to mention before I left that I was leaving. Which is a sincere if feeble sounding gesture of apology to help explain away the dearth of posts over the last month.
In catching up on my reading, Rock and Roll Report
reminds me of the good old days, when radio was something more than it is most places today. To revisit that bygone era, if only vicariously, check out malcolm's freeformradio.org
and freeformradio's blog
. In the meantime, even if you never heard freeform radio and don't know what it might even be, you can pretend and imagine you do -- as he has great things you can wear or stick on, all developed in a Secret Mountain Laboratory. He's also promised a book on freeform radio and we will hold him to that promise.
I happen to remember underground and freeform radio. In fact, when KSAN was first broadcasting in the wee wee hours, I not only had a radio to listen to it from, but I knew someone who had a reel-to-reel tape recorder. I tried to talk him into putting a microphone in front of the radio speaker and taping every show, because I suspected we all might need it some day.
(International Association for the Study of Popular Music) always has a fascinating list calling for articles about music. There's an upcoming punk and hardcore anthology
in the works, and a look at how humans might express themselves through music with a series dedicated to "Imagining terror locally: music in the post-9/11 world."
I was also reminded of CHAPTER&VERSE
, a new web journal that explores the creative intersection between popular music and the written word - novels and short stories, plays and poetry, journalism and criticism.
If Chapter&Verse is of interest to you and you have articles - or ideas for articles - that might fit the brief, please write to Simon Warner at firstname.lastname@example.org
Today's online version of Charleston's Post and Courier
(registration required) features an in-depth look at the online world of Queensize
, a website devoted to music journalist Larry Queen's thoughts about ... music. His site originally started just as a place for him to post his interviews. Since then, Queensize has grown to mammoth proportions, likely devouring most of the creator's sleeping and waking hours, even though Queen readily admits "There's a part of me that wants to do something more sociopolitically important."