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Tag: Music

Wallace Stevens and the Mandolins of Spring

Wallace Stevens and the Mandolins of Spring

Rod Stewart’s Mandolin Wind   So, I’m up in the mountains again, and I’m reading Wallace Stevens — reading about him, reading his poems. I take music with me, listen to it before and after the readings. It’s very windy on the top of the mountain. Actually, the winds are ferocious at times. Merciless. And because I heard the Rod Stewart song in the car before I went to my place, my perfect spot, near the beautiful jagged rocks and…

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MUNA: Lay Down Your Weapon

MUNA: Lay Down Your Weapon

The young are lucky in so many ways. They haven’t seen too many expressions of youth. They haven’t passed through the labyrinth yet, looked back on their younger years, looked back on it again and again. If they try — better yet, if they don’t — they can be who they are, who they really are inside, without being crushed by the world and the idea that it’s all been done before. It has. Kinda. But not really. It hasn’t…

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Classic Contrapuntal: Panic at the Disco

Classic Contrapuntal: Panic at the Disco

Some songs follow a course that makes sense, mathematically. As if someone raises a hand, lowers it, raises it higher again, and forms a pattern you can count on, anticipicate. You basically can hear the next movement in your head before it happens, but that’s not a bad thing, or a boring thing, if the music can match emotion with the math. Panic at the Disco, a Vegas band I had not bumped into until this year, does that with…

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Dylanesque Mountains Blowing in the Wind

Dylanesque Mountains Blowing in the Wind

I go to my spot. It’s my spot though it’s everyone’s. It’s everyone’s though it’s really just mine. Because I say so. Because I believe the rocks, the trees, the birds, the clouds all speak for me. They are my eyes and ears and voice. Voices. Plural times plural. So close to infinity, but not quite. Again, because that is my thinking and I don’t really want to take the easy way out. The easy way out would be to…

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Ian Hunter: Epic Poet of Rock ‘n’ Roll

Ian Hunter: Epic Poet of Rock ‘n’ Roll

Known by most as the lead singer of Mott the Hoople, Ian Hunter was already a seasoned vet of 30 when he took the helm of that quintessential Glitter Rock band. I became a much bigger fan when he struck out on his own with his first solo effort in 1975, Ian Hunter, and continued to follow him through subsequent efforts — with All-American Alien Boy and You’re Never Alone with a Schizophrenic being favorites. For me, Ian Hunter was like…

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Haley Reinhart’s Creep, from Postmodern Jukebox

Haley Reinhart’s Creep, from Postmodern Jukebox

The scars of being boxed, packaged and sold by corporate machines can last all too long, but if this video is any indication, Haley Reinhart has managed to overcome this in resounding ways. If her time with Postmodern Jukebox tells the tale, she’s not only overcome her stint on American Idol (2011), but used it the right way: to launch what appears to be a unique and promising musical career, while doing it her own way, independent of corporate pressures and…

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Alabama Shakes

Alabama Shakes

Alabama Shakes formed in 2009 in Athens, Alabama, with Brittany Howard on lead vocals and guitar; Zac Cockrell on bass guitar; Heath Fogg on guitar and backing vocals; and Steve Johnson on drums, percussion, backing vocals. Their offbeat, highly idiosyncratic sound draws from blues, rhythm and blues, roots revival and, surprisingly, heavy metal bands like Led Zeppelin and AC/DC. But what drew me to their music was the crazy, raw and beautifully strange voice of Brittany Howard. Able to warp…

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4 Non Blondes: What’s Going On?

4 Non Blondes: What’s Going On?

To avoid any conflict with the song by Marvin Gaye, Linda Perry and company renamed their beautiful, angsty, anthemic (1993) single to “What’s up?” But it’s all about that question from 1971, and about the knowing confusion, the justifiable frustration and alienation of the young. That’s at least how it sounds. One of the original 4 Non Blondes, Christa Hillhouse, says it’s a mistake to read too much into it. Linda was just playing guitar down the hall from Christa…

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