Dream to the Rhythm

A brilliant Grace Jones and David Bowie mashup.

Why I don’t read (or write) music reviews

“It’s music inspired by Disney films.” — Annie Clark on her new album, Actor (recorded as St. Vincent)


Each day in March I’m going to Blip a song. 31 days, 31 songs, ordered sequentially. I’ll update this post throughout the month, and you can also follow this little experiment on and Twitter. Each song will remain available online as long as Blip is able to find them. The blipiography is a fleeting gesture, I guess.

2008 Mix

If the Side A/Side B thing seems pretentious, there’s at least a little method to my (nostalgic) madness. See, ideally, one who listens to this mix will take a short break after Nina Simone’s “Mississippi Goddam.” Frankly, I don’t know how anyone could hear that song and not need to stand up, walk around, pour a stiff drink, smoke a cigarette, something.

Strange Waters: A Conversation with Bruce Cockburn

A recent post at Pop Dose devoted to “If I Had a Rocket Launcher” reminded me of this interview I did with Bruce Cockburn nearly four years ago.

Riff Raff

I bought Powerage rather than one of the other, more obvious choices because it includes “Riff Raff,” hands-down my favorite AC/DC song. There’s much to love about this song — the opening crescendo, Angus’s riffs, the driving 8th-note bassline, the unimpeachable beauty of a 3-chord song

Seeking Suggestions: Great Guitar Songs

If an alien landed on your doorstep and asked you what a guitar sounds like, what songs would you play?

Seven Songs

The Seven Songs “Boots of Spanish Leather” by Bob Dylan “Inside a Boy” by My Brightest Diamond “Spirits (Having Flown)” by Bee Gees “A Letter to Both Sides” by The Fixx “Elegie in C Minor, Op. 24” by Gabriel Faure “Tel Que Tu Es” by Charlotte Gainsbourg “Revolution Earth” by The B-52s Bob Dylan Professor […]

Magic and Loss

How’s this for a strange association? While marveling at Lou Reed’s performance Wednesday night, I kept thinking of Michel Subor.

40 Hours in 18 Images and 3 Songs

The Duke Spirit, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Sonic Youth, and Last Year at Marienbad.

Saturday Night at Church

I was sitting so close I could never get all four performers — Patty Griffin, Emmylou Harris, Buddy Miller, and Shawn Colvin — in a single shot. I was sitting so close, in fact, that the only two people in the theater sitting closer to Emmylou were Patty and Buddy (sorry Shawn).

2007 Mix CD

18 songs from 18 albums I enjoyed this year.

In Rainbows

Couldn’t find any official cover art, so I’m going with this.

David Byrne Does K-Town

“At the Holiday Inn in Knoxville, I saw a sign for the historic town center. Thinking it might contain some character and restaurants, we head there in search of dinner. There’s no one on the streets — not metaphorically, but literally not a single soul is out and it’s not even 8 o’clock.”


“I think it’s Mars Volta. . . . Rush for the new millennium.”

Friday Five: Want-To-See Concerts

What are your Top 5 To-See Concerts?

Mix CD: It’s Beautiful Now

I made this mix for a group of friends, nearly all of whom are about a half-generation older than I am. We all grew up listening to the same music, though. They bought vinyl in the new releases bin; I saw the reunion tours.

By the Time It Gets Dark

First great show of 2007: Lambchop and Yo La Tengo. Unfortunately, YLT’s last visit to Knoxville was memorable for reasons having little to do with the amazing music that was played that night. But they came back anyway, God bless ’em, and this time they played to a large and rapt audience at the Bijou. […]

Mix: Needle Drops

This mix began with a single iTunes download. My all-time favorite needle drop accompanies my favorite sequence in what also happens to be my favorite film, Andrei Tarkovsky’s Mirror.

Waist Deep in the Big Muddy

William Wyler’s The Big Country (1958) is one of those westerns about men proving themselves in the unforgiving and sublime conditions of the American southwest.

Aimee Mann at the Bijou

I’d brought along Joanna’s bite-sized Sony Cyber-shot camera in hopes of getting some decent stills, but the light was too low (even from the third row) and, as a result, all of the photos were streaked by motion blurs. So, instead, I experimented with the video capture, and I’m really pleased with the results — especially with the sound.

Live Music

This post is about the years I spent as a broke-ass graduate student, unable to afford to see the shows that came through town.

The Origin of Love

This is the second time “The Origin of Love” has been a Long Pauses Song of the Moment. Again, I was inspired by seeing a live performance of Hedwig and the Angry Inch — this time here in our own “scruffy little city,” Knoxville, Tennessee. K-Town did me proud. The Actors Co-op’s production is funnier, […]

Drunken Butterfly

Or, Random Observations Provoked by Seeing Sonic Youth Live for the First Time

David Sancious

About three-and-a-half minutes into “Kitty’s Back,” just after Springsteen’s blaring, horn-backed solo, Sancious steps in with a squirrelly run on his Hammond organ, followed by a slew of percussive figures and arpeggios. Harmonically, it isn’t an especially interesting solo, but it’s exactly the kind of Booker T-inspired playing the song needs.

Electrif Lycanthrope

For years, I’ve heard and read about Electrif Lycanthrope, an unofficial live release from 1974. Original vinyl copies still show up on the market from time to time, though at prohibitively steep prices. But now, thanks to the wonders of the Internet Archive, it’s right there, just waiting to be downloaded for free.

Music Hall MMF 2.1

I have no will power. Barely two weeks after deciding that I’d like to pick up a turntable, I now own a Music Hall MMF 2.1.

The Tyranny of “Shuffle”

There’s no effort required to shuffle. And, even worse, no creativity. Listening becomes a wholly passive act, and the music suffers, dissolving into the atmosphere like so much Muzak.

Inner City Blues

If I’m remembering theory notation correctly, the change for “Inner City Blues” is i-IV. Two chords. It opens with twenty-four straight measures of the minor root before finally changing to the major IV, where it stays for all of four measures before returning to the root. Would have bored me senseless a decade ago; now, I’ll be damned if that change ain’t transcendent. The song is a chant-like, soul-filled lamentation. An angry prayer.

A Session of Dance Music

One of my goals with this latest mix, “A Session of Dance Music,” was to gather some songs that wouldn’t inspire Joanna to take sarcastic jabs at my piss-poor taste. We just got back from a long drive, during which we listened to the entire disc, and her opinion seems to hover somewhere in the “Well, at least it doesn’t suck” range. So mission accomplished, I guess.

Dinner Music

We have a five-disc changer in our living room, where we expect most of our neighbors to congregate during the cocktail hour. Because I don’t have the time to program a mix of music, I’m just going to drop five CDs in the player and hit “Random.”

iMix Nostalgia

I remember sitting in my 9th grade art class with some guys who, during the previous summer, had apparently decided that they would become “skaters” and listen to The Dead Milkmen, Fishbone, and Suicidal Tendencies. I’d listen to ‘HFS every afternoon and try to keep up.

Silence (and a New Mix)

I had two main goals with this mix. First, I decided to divide it evenly between older and newer music. There’s always a jump of at least 15 years from tune to tune. But I also wanted the mix to be coherent, so I was looking for a tone that could maybe be described as “Songs that might actually sound better if they were played on an old, hissing record player.”

A Few Words on . . .

Week in Review: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, John Vanderslice, DeLillo, Hornby, Jarmusch, and The Battle of Algiers

Everything is Copasetic, Now

At Girish’s request, I’ve pasted together a mix of music that features the Fender Rhodes.

Also Sprach Zarathustra

I only know of Deodato because of Being There (1979). Hal Ashby drops his needle on “Zarathustra” during the long sequence near the beginning of the film when Chance leaves his now-dead employer’s estate and wanders, umbrella and suitcase in hand, through the streets of Washington, D.C.

A Good Man is Hard to Find

Sufjan Stevens’ recent performance on Morning Becomes Eclectic is now available in streaming video. It’s a fantastic set.

Goodnight for Real

In a relatively short time Beauty Pill has gone through a few members, and with a couple singers and songwriters in the band there is a surprising amount of variety on display. The Song of the Moment, “Goodnight For Real” is representative only in that it features clever lyrics, solid playing (including some fun synth parts), and a really catchy chorus.

Ten Years Gone (and other things)

I’m afraid that Long Pauses is fast becoming an outlet for end-of-the-week rambles, written while I drink away a Friday afternoon. The following is an incomplete list of topics I would cover at much greater length and with much greater insight given the time, energy, and inclination.

Safeway Cart

The new Song of the Moment, Neil Young’s “Safeway Cart,” scores a scene in which the Legionnaires march through a rocky desert, one of their many meaningless exercises in the film. It plays like a dirge and is one of Beau Travail’s few explicit references to the Christian allegory at play.


“Missing” won Song of the Moment honors in a close race with “Black Tambourine” and “Hell Yes,” both of which, it must be said, are even more ass-shaking than “Missing” but not quite as perfect. All three sound even better in multi-channel.

Watching Music

We seem to be marching at a dizzying clip toward the fusion of media, and discs like Play and Guero offer us a taste of the media-gumbo that is likely to emerge. It’s fun to imagine what effect this might have on our visual literacy. Peter Gabriel brings artists like Robert LePage into our homes, and D-Fuse gives us art house abstraction.

Evening on the Ground

Joanna and I just made what we hope will be the last of many recent trips to southern Alabama. It was another rough one — the type of experience that is supposed to give us “closure.” Everytime someone says that to me (and always with the best intentions, I know), I think of Philip Roth’s […]

Riff Raff

The Song of the Moment was supposed to be Mark Kozelek’s version of “Riff Raff” from What’s Next to the Moon, his album of Bon Scott-era AC/DC covers. Something in that combination of Kozelek’s voice and his tasteful acoustic guitar arrangements unearths the roots in AC/DC’s rock. That album is borderline bluegrass–not the arrangements or […]

Strange Waters

I asked Bruce about “Strange Waters” yesterday, and his answer was a tense, beautiful sermon.

Musical Interludes

Last night I discovered that, by borrowing the chord progression from Henry Mancini’s theme from The Pink Panther — E minor 9, C9, and F9 — you can knock out a swingin’ version of Pink Floyd’s “Welcome to the Machine.”

Multi-Channel Goodness

As Rubinson mentions often in his “Music in the Round” column, the explosion of home theater has been good and bad for audiophiles. The rapid developments in hardware technology and sound processing algorithms has put mid-fi sound well within reach of most budgets. But as TV monitors and projection screens — the new focal point of most systems — have grown and grown, our front speakers have moved further and further apart. And that does bad things to the fidelity of good two-channel music.

God Rest His Soul

iTunes just landed on “God Rest His Soul” by The 31st of February, which was a happy coincidence given the content of yesterday’s post. Recorded in 1968, it’s a beautiful prayer for Martin Luther King, Jr., sung by Greg Allman of all people.

Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy

Yeah, I know. There’s nothing less hip than Elton John, but while walking through Toronto last month, my iPod randomly landed on “Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy,” and it was, at that moment, the single greatest song I had ever heard.

Shut Up and Listen

So, imagine that Ira Kaplan invites you over to his apartment one night for some music and political debate.