Recently put some old AFX back on the phone, incredible how good so much of it is, including this. Relentless, brutal stuff, def. made the subway ride home tonight weird and exhilarating. 

Posted at 11:47pm and tagged with: aphex twin,.

Posted at 7:30pm and tagged with: pharoah sanders, vinyl sunday,.

247 plays


In 2008 I was working for Pitchfork and our office was on North Street in Chicago, in Wicker Park. We were about five doors down from Quimby’s, an amazing book store that I love, and I was very happy to pop in there at lunch or after work. Our office was above a yoga/massage/bodywork studio. One time later I saw our office building used as an establishing shot in an episode of “Mike & Molly” and I yelled at Julie “Hey!” but she didn’t find it very interesting. 

I have another Tumblr that I post to once in a great while.

Posted at 12:32am and tagged with: invisible music,.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor: Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! | Album Reviews | Pitchfork

This is probably one of my favorite bits from a critical piece that I wrote in the past few years, but a person I respect very much, who used to write for Pitchfork and is now a professor, took issue with it, and that helped me to see an aspect of my own experience with music with more clarity. This person’s POV, basically, was that GY!BE’s politics are inseparable from their music, and that the political ramifications of their music don’t necessarily negate my point anyway. Which seemed fair. And it made me realize that I experience so much of music from a sort of abstracted and aestheticized place, and also made me realize that whatever interesting observations I might have probably also come from that place, which is certainly not “universal.”

Posted at 11:56pm.

But the focus on the band’s politics obscures something important: Godspeed You! Black Emperor are making art, not writing editorials. And the fact that they are making art gives them leeway to do things that wouldn’t work in the context of pure rhetoric. It allows them to find magnificence in destruction and build an aesthetic out of decay and loss. So for all their political slogans, pointed titles, and references to global doom, engagement with Godspeed’s music can feel exceedingly personal. When listening to their music, I’m not necessarily thinking about the downtrodden transcending their place in the capitalist hierarchy or the end of the world; I’m thinking about the idea of transcendence, the raw grace of noise, and the tragedy of endings. Godspeed’s music works so brilliantly because it can be abstracted and scaled, blown up into an edifice that towers over a continent or shrunk down to something that feels at home in a bedroom. So mapping the contours of their grand music onto your own ordinary life can feel both natural and inspiring.


Writing about the new Godspeed album I once again found myself thumbing through the inserts that come with their first album. Always treasured that packaging. It feels so essential to the music, sound rendered it into something I can touch, the crushed penny, etc. This drawing esp. A puzzle where the pieces will never fit together. 

Posted at 11:37pm.


Writing about the new Godspeed album I once again found myself thumbing through the inserts that come with their first album. Always treasured that packaging. It feels so essential to the music, sound rendered it into something I can touch, the crushed penny, etc. This drawing esp. A puzzle where the pieces will never fit together. 

Lightnin’ Hopkins: “Shaggy Dog”. I’d probably call this one of my 50 favorite songs of all time, definitely top 100, anyway. I first heard it in the mid-1990s, on a mixtape that my wife Julie had. A former boyfriend had made this mixtape for her and all the music on it was amazing. There was a lot of darker stuff on it like Siouxie and the Banshees and Nick Cave and Snakefinger so when this song came on it was like the window was thrown open and a cool breeze came rushing in. Everything about this song is perfect to me; the guitar tone, that trombone—it sounds like a beautiful American landscape scrolling by. I heard it on this tape and for several years wanted my own copy, but the internet barely existed and Google was still a few years away so I didn’t know how to go about doing that. I’d flip through Lightnin’ Hopkins CDs when I went record shopping without much luck. In the early 2000s I found a comp that had this on it and mail-ordered it, I think from CDNow.

All you have to do is hit “Play.”

Posted at 12:22am and tagged with: lightnin hopkins,.


1. THE NOW: This is the moment and this is what matters.

2. THE PROPHECY: The moment has just now passed. This is our wager on what remains important.

3. THE FULFILLMENT: We remember the moment, but it passed some time ago. What matters in it are the seeds of the new moment we now live in.

4. THE STORY: The moment is a story passed down to us. We retell it in our own words.

5. THE ARCHAEOLOGY: The moment is lost. By scraping away the story we can recover it.

Posted at 12:06am and tagged with: one column,.

Posted at 9:43am and tagged with: vinyl sunday, vinyl sundays, bob dylan,.

Royal Trux, “Blue is the Frequency”. Easily one of my favorite guitar jams of all time. 

Posted at 7:03pm and tagged with: royal trux,.

Interviews: David Lynch | Features | Pitchfork

Once I interviewed David Lynch about the sound in Eraserhead and I got to ask him about what Henry was thinking when he listened to music.

Posted at 1:06am and tagged with: david lynch,.

Pitchfork: I watched the film again last night and noticed that Henry actually listens to the music; he’s got his little turntable. I was trying to figure out what the music was doing for him, whether it relaxed him.

DL: He loves Fats Waller. I think it depends on what track he’s listening to, but it has a melancholy and it has a romance. It has mystery. It just expanded Henry’s world and his thinking.
Lately i've been thinking about the distinction you made between art and design in your review of Balam Acab's Wander / Wonder. I'm hoping you can recommend me other music that seems to exist somewhere in between these two categories.

Boy, good question, this statement made sense in the context of that review I think, but it’s a little harder to extrapolate from that to music as a whole. Maybe I’ll just try and explain a little better what I mean by that. It really comes down to rules. I feel like “design” in its pure sense always has in mind somewhere the rules of the form. Sometimes the designer breaks those rules, to brilliant effect. But the rules are in mind. And the individual work is created with the rules in mind, either conforming to them and trying to do something new within them or consciously rejecting them to go somewhere else. But I think art can be created without necessarily keeping the rules in mind. Much art conforms to the rules, some art breaks it, but ideally the artist is thinking more about expressing themselves and less about how their work exists in relation to form. This is possibly half-baked. But two other examples of music that exists between art and design for me are DJ Shadow Endtroducing and Brian Eno Discreet Music.

Posted at 12:58am.

How have your expectations and thoughts about live shows changed over the years? After seeing hundreds of bands, I find my memory always drifts back to a handful of shows where I felt something special. What are some of the best live acts you remember?

Last year I answer this question thusly: My Most Memorable Live Shows:

  • Flaming Lips at Slim’s in SF, 1996
  • Kraftwerk at 930 Club in DC, 2005
  • Beastie Boys at the Phoenix Plaza in Pontiac, 1992
  • Animal Collective at the Vic in Chicago, 2007
  • My Bloody Valentine at the Roskilde Festival, 2008
  • Girls at Bowery Ballroom, 2011
  • Tune-Yards at Lincoln Hall, 2011
  • Modest Mouse at The Breakroom in Seattle, 1998
  • Jonathan Richman at Alley Katz in Richmond, 2002
  • DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist doing 45 set at a club in Bayview, SF, whose name escapes me, 1999
  • Ponytail at some shitty club in Austin during SXSW, 2007
  • Nirvana, Breeders, and Melvins at the Golden Spike Arena, Ogden, Utah, 1993 (for strange reasons that I will write about someday)
  • LCD Soundsystem at Madison Square Garden, 2011

Posted at 12:52am.