Review: Nas – Life Is Good

“Before there was an audience to watch us / I assure you, there was a process.” Nas has had one of the longest and most tumultuous careers of hip-hop’s mainstream, and as the he claims above, he’s been loyal to his methodology regardless of his circumstances. Instead of running from or flaunting his wealth, he embraces the contradictions inherent in being a multimillionaire who still raps about the problems of …continue…

Review: Twin Shadow’s Confess Explores the Art of Escape

The act of riding a motorcycle puts before safety and stability, impulse, adrenaline and image. For George Lewis Jr., it’s a vehicle not for traversing physical spaces so much as those of the mind, and it seems to work best when ridden solo. The ride is then somewhat egotistical and nihilistic, and that combination apparently makes quite a good muse for a pop album. Confess, Lewis’s second LP under the …continue…

REVIEW: The Tallest Man on Earth’s There’s No Leaving Now

Kristian Matsson first became well-known as the Tallest Man on Earth for the simple power of his performances. He seemed a pure troubadour of the venerable American folk tradition, performing alone on stage with just his voice and guitar. It’s a mode that works when the performer exudes an air of prophetic mystery, when the music is beautiful and any apparent meaning gets tucked behind a shroud of symbolic imagery. …continue…

For I is Someone Else: A Review of Who Is That Man? In Search of the Real Bob Dylan

“For I is someone else,” wrote Arthur Rimbaud in one of his famous “seer letters” of May 1871. “If the brass awakes as a horn, it can’t be to blame.” France was just out of its war with Prussia, and Paris was controlled, for the rest of the month at least, by the Marxist Commune. Living in his childhood town, Rimbaud seems to have gone mad from boredom as uncertainty …continue…

Mixed Emotions: A Review by Matt Conover

Mixed Emotions is one of the most vivid break-up albums in recent memory. It actually feels like going through a breakup; it feels, at times, gleefully absurd, but at others, irritating, moody and incomprehensible. Is that a good thing? Depends on how sadistic/masochistic you’re feeling when you put the record on. It really doesn’t feel like it is going to be such an album at first, either. The album opener and …continue…

The David Mayfield Parade: A Review

Criticism can be just the projection of the critics’s preferences onto someone else’s art.  That said, the best critics are like the zookeepers of art, explaining the why and how but never pretending to be what’s actually of interest, thereby allowing a deeper enjoyment and/or understanding of the work criticized. Critics have their areas of specialty, allowing them to develop a deeper understanding, or at least familiarity, of the art …continue…