“Perfecting Sound Forever”: great book on history of recording

perfectingsoundcover

I’ve written a bit here about the curse of over-compression in recorded music: For those of us already unhappy with the music industry’s bungling of the transition to digital distribution, here’s another thing we can blame them for. Seeking to have their products “stand out,” they entered a sonic race to the bottom… The irony […]

“Failsafe” is an oxymoron: BP’s Gulf spill and the St. Francis Dam

I listened to this interview yesterday with BP director Robert Dudley on the News Hour: ROBERT DUDLEY: …The blowout preventers are something that are used on oil and gas wells all over the world, every well. They just are designed not to fail with multiple failsafe systems. That has failed. So, we have a crisis. […]

The decade in tunes

I’m not interested in the argument over whether this new year’s marks the end of the decade-with-no-name. Since we celebrated the end of the millennium 10 years ago, I think we’re stuck. And you can bet that when 2019 rolls over to 2020 we’ll do the same. My list, for your pleasure, is the decade […]

Richard Thompson’s work songs

For the past few years I have been making a pilgrimage to Villa Montalvo in Saratoga, through what are inevitably cold December rains, for solo acoustic shows by Richard Thompson. (I wrote about the trip back in 2005.) This year I picked up tickets way in advance for a Sunday evening show, figuring the traffic […]

Feelies redivivus

I discovered only by chance that Glenn Mercer, one of the key figures in one of my favorite bands of all time, the Feelies, put out a new solo album last year. This led me on a whole rediscovery-tour of the post-Feelies bands: Wake Ooloo, Wild Carnation (just ordered their 2006 Superbus), Speed the Plough, […]

Singing in Code

OK, this one is just for plain fun: it’s the first Wordyard playlist. When I was planning my campaign of global domination for Dreaming in Code I had visions of a multimedia onslaught. I’d pull together video clips that epitomized the nightmare of software scheduling, from A Brief History of Time to Groundhog Day to […]

“Heretic Pride” from the Mountain Goats


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Earlier this week I received my (pre-ordered) copy of the new Mountain Goats CD, “Heretic Pride.” My enthusiasm for the music of John Darnielle now dates back four years, and this is one infatuation that has only grown deeper with time. I am, unabashedly, a fan. And yet I think I’d love “Heretic Pride” even […]