Third
Music

Third

Alex Chilton was to Chris Bell as Lennon was to McCartney. He put a kink in Bell’s gift for bangle and build. And there is no substitute for mystique: Big Star got props for power-pop long after they broke up, turning a cult band cult. Bell was gay and God-fearing. Chilton was a Box Top … Continue reading

Death Proof
Film

Death Proof

The premise: Stunt babes versus Stuntman Mike (as played by Kurt Russell, icy hot and deliciously duck-tailed). The movie elevates the exploitation-device-as-feminist-tract. It’s a guy flick for chicks, a valentine to the drive-in, the Vanishing Point car, and the breakout star (Zoe Bell); but this is Kurt’s ride all the way. Death Proof was the most fun I had … Continue reading

Lick My Decals Off, Baby
Music

Lick My Decals Off, Baby

Captain Beefheart is an acquired taste. He approaches the blues from the outside in: Straddling the avant-garde, forgoing at times the “mama heartbeat” rhythm so germane to pop, his freak-outs range from musical free fall (e.g., the superficially untutored Trout Mask Replica) to gutter-garage (e.g., Safe As Milk).1 The overall effect is instructive if not wholly satisfying. Rarely … Continue reading

Bryter Layter
Music

Bryter Layter

At the age of 26, Nick Drake died from an overdose of antidepressants. There was something vaguely adolescent about him:  His suffering could be insufferable, his mannerism mannered.  Yet he was more than a doomed romantic.  He was an enigma. His musical technique is assured.  And it’s not really folk music: odd tunings and a … Continue reading