Category Essays

NOTES FROM THE MEMORY MOTEL: Half A Century of Stones in Two Days

To truly consider the Rolling Stones, it’s simply not adequate to ponder a clutch of hit singles or a few best-selling albums, or even an epochal moment or movement in music history. No, to properly contemplate the Stones is to throw a wide net across the stretching seas of the decades encompassing music, fashion, and culture that’s informed their existence (and vice versa). And bring your magnifying glass and microscope.

REGARDING THE END: Life, Death, and The Wondrous World of Robert Fisher’s Willard Grant Conspiracy

Robert Fisher’s Willard Grant Conspiracy conjure a mostly deserted world of long, lingering shadows where guys like Nick Cave and Mark Eitzel brood in a half-light that’s either salvation or damnation — a distinction that depends on whether you think being alone is solitude or isolation. A world where the songs thread through a musty room and gather there like settling smoke. Eventually, if you’re lucky, a cracked window swings open from the wind, bringing a new beam of sound and a fresh light with it to remind you that you’re alive.

FLASHING STAR: The Gorgeous Gospel of Kevin Junior’s Chamber Strings

Not nearly enough people got the chance (or took the time) to listen to the music Kevin Junior made during his short lifetime, which ended one year ago today at age 46. But there’s a good chance that most of those who did have never forgotten what they heard. And hear still. Today we’re remembering […]

FROM STARMAN TO STARDUST: The Singular Sound, Voice & Vision Of David Bowie (1947-2016)

Originally posted on RPM: Jonathan Perry's Life in Analog:
Reblogged on WordPress.com Source: FROM STARMAN TO STARDUST: The Singular Sound, Voice & Vision Of David Bowie (1947-2016)

TRUE BLUES: The Stones Get Back To The Bedrock

Ultimately, despite (or perhaps because of) being bashed-about and knocked-out off-the-cuff, “Blue & Lonesome” firmly and expansively situates itself in time and place. Like most good albums, it captures and distills a mood and a feeling, a frame of mind, a state of being, and it’s a welcome, if relatively brief (at 42 minutes), escape.

BOBBY KEYS & IAN McLAGAN: Sounds Of Stones Sidemen (and Rock ‘n’ Roll) Silenced

MAC & KEYS: Two years ago this week we lost two titans who helped shape the sound, course, and texture of roughly a half-century of rock music, not to mention that of their frequent collaborators and employers, the Rolling Stones, who benefitted greatly from their skillful, soulful mastery on the horns and keys. I’d like to […]

THE KING IS DEAD (But Johnny B. Goode Lives On): Chuck Berry, Rock ‘n’ Roll’s Pioneer Architect of Youthful Abandon, Dies at 90.

Chuck was/is a progenitor of the gloriously messy swamp of cross-pollinated sounds we call rock ‘n’ roll. With his own influences as disparate as T-Bone Walker and Nat “King” Cole, Berry burst on the national scene in the early 1950s as a five-tool artist who wrote, sang, played, performed, and created an exciting new form from existing traditions, effortlessly fusing elements of nascent Teenage Pop (which he helped invent), Tin Pan Alley, Blues, R&B, Rockabilly, Swing, and even Country and Western.

THE OTHER “NEW YORK, NEW YORK”: Ryan Adams’ accidental anthem for a stricken city

Originally posted on RPM: Jonathan Perry's Life in Analog:
The cover of Ryan Adams’ second solo album, “Gold,” released Sept. 25, 2001. By tragic coincidence, the album’s lead single, “New York, New York,” dropped Sept. 11, 2001. The jarring image of an American Flag turned upside down on the album cover,  and the single…

A HIT OF SYMPHONIC BLOTTER ACID: Forever Changes But Love’s Masterpiece Endures

The “Summer of Love” it may have been, but much of the music on those iconic records of 1967 contained a far more complicated series of emotions and refracted a darker reality shot through with chaos and doubt, turmoil and altered perceptions. Unlike some of its contemporaries, the music on Love’s ‘Forever Changes’ – not to mention the mystique that continues to surround the work — seems only to have deepened with time.

IT WAS 40 YEARS AGO TODAY: The Stones and the Spirit of ’76

It’s now almost farcical to consider that for a spell during the mid-1970s, the Rolling Stones were not only grappling with questions of relevance as a creative and cultural force, but struggling to just stay afloat (even with that inflatable phallus – or perhaps in spite of it) as a working unit.

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