The Velvet Underground
Music

The Velvet Underground

The Velvet Underground (1965-1970) — what a group. They were the pillars of Manhattan, confirming several truths: Mistakes are good. Intricacy should be simple. It does not have to be limited to the concoctions of pure adornment. “The nub sustained is the true epic.” – Professor Hans Proebing Rock & roll achieves its highest meaning … Continue reading

SMiLE
Music

SMiLE

The Beach Boys are about calculated innocence. They mean it. Now too old to hit the high notes, Brian Wilson pines for the eternal image of Pet Sounds (1966) — youth as a paradise lost. There’s a frog in his throat. His influences are integral; he uses the music of his childhood to bop the present. By … Continue reading

Black and Blue
Music

Black and Blue

The Stones are a primeval source of rock & roll. They are what sired them (i.e., venerated blues purists), but they don’t have the prestige of being obscure. Nowadays the vanguard has become a rite. That’s why I don’t care much for the new rock resurgence. (Admittedly past their prime, if not defunct) bands like The Strokes and … Continue reading

Parade
Music

Parade

The biggest musical force since The Beatles, Prince was a funky little knot — of race, noise, God, and sex. Good or bad (or both), he grabbed you. He was funny. He used space more creatively than almost any other musician. Parade is the cat’s meow. The tone of “naked funk” cools the tropical weight on … Continue reading