Tag Archives: The A.V. Club

Essay: “Mr. Big Stuff” by Jean Knight

There are two kinds of one-hit wonders: The first is where you hear the famous song and think, Of course they didn’t have another hit. The song is so dumb, so stupidly ephemeral, there’s no way the people responsible could have bothered to try it again. The second is the kind that makes you think […]

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Essay: Why MTV Unplugged matters

During R.E.M.’s Unplugged set in 2001, Michael Stipe glanced at himself in a nearby monitor that was playing a video of the band’s first Unplugged show in 1991. He cringed, laughed, and remarked about how “earnest” he looked. He urged the show’s producers to turn the damn thing off, though not before remarking coyly, “What […]

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Album review: Nikki Nack by Tune-Yards

In some respects, Merrill Garbus has come a long way since 2009, when she released her debut as Tune-Yards. That record, the eclectic Bird-Brains, was a homemade delight full of tape loops, faraway vocals, and found-recording snippets. In contrast, Nikki Nack, Garbus’ third effort, is polished, meticulously produced, and very much a studio effort. [ […]

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Interview: The Both

At first, the combination of Ted Leo and Aimee Mann seems incongruous. Leo got his beginnings in the New York hardcore scene, and he founded the mod-punk band Chisel before branching out to pop-punk with the Pharmacists. Mann, meanwhile, is primarily known for ballads, waltzes, and slow-burning pop songs. Excepting their respective beats-per-minute ratios, however, […]

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Essay: Paul Simon’s “Thelma”

Just as Hearts And Bones is unfairly dismissed as Paul Simon’s misstep before Graceland, The Rhythm Of The Saints is too often described as the lackluster follow-up to the 1986 masterpiece. Though it’s understandable that the records are considered companion pieces—both Graceland and Saints find Simon taking cues from other cultures, and the records share […]

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Album review: All Hail West Texas by the Mountain Goats

A split-second of silence, followed by the whirring of gears. For many years, this is how most Mountain Goats songs began. John Darnielle’s Panasonic RX-FT500 boombox is almost as famous as the man who pressed record to document songs that, whether fictional or autobiographical, seemed intensely personal. The fact that the boombox recordings sound like […]

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Essay: Longpigs’ “On and On”

The “alternative” boom of the ’90s produced all kinds of bands. Some pushed themselves through MTV Buzz Bin territory to great artistic rewards; others burned bright and quickly flamed out, not even reaching a sophomore slump. Then there were bands like Longpigs, who were somewhere in between. [ Click here for more ]

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Album review: Major Arcana by Speedy Ortiz

Major Arcana, the first full-length from Massachusetts indie-rock outfit Speedy Ortiz, proudly bears its influences—the clean guitars of Liz Phair, the dirty ones of Sonic Youth and Pavement—but dwelling on those touchstones distracts from the record’s fervent drive to unsettle and have fun in novel ways. [ Click here for more ]

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Interview: Brother Ali

Brother Ali hit the national radar with 2007’s The Undisputed Truth, on which the Minneapolis rapper tossed out barbed, perceptive, and often deeply personal lyrics like bombs, from his joy at being a father on “Ear To Ear” to incisive and controversial political critiques like “Uncle Sam Goddamn.” He’s gained even more recognition for the […]

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Interview: P.O.S.

Decider: The first line on Never Better is “Sorry it took so long.” Was there pressure to do this record? P.O.S.: No, not at all. It’s just been a lot of years between the release of Audition and Never Better. I just wanted to let my fans know that I didn’t forget about them. [Click […]

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Interview: Brother Ali

Brother Ali burst onto the Minneapolis hip-hop scene in 2000, when he released his cassette-only demo Rites Of Passage. He soon signed to Twin Cities label Rhymesayers Entertainment, which has released his two acclaimed records, Shadows On The Sun and the Champion EP. It’s been three long years since hip-hop fans heard from Brother Ali, […]

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