Writing for Pitchfork

I started contributing to Pitchfork last year, and I just want to flag the reviews here. (You’ll also find them collected at the Journalism & Criticism page.) I meant to do so sooner, but my WordPress had gotten pretty gnarly over the last couple years. Anyway, back in business! So far, I’ve only reviewed reggae […]

Read More →
Prisma Tropical Liner Notes

As I mention below, I’ve been a Balún fan for over a decade, so I was utterly thrilled when the band wrote to me earlier this year and asked if I would write the liner notes for their stunning new album, Prisma Tropical. It was a dream(pop) assignment, especially since it’s their best work to […]

Read More →
Listening to the Sound of Culture

Last summer I was invited by Small Axe, a journal I have long wanted to write for, to take part in a book discussion of Louis Chude-Sokei’s engrossing, ambitious The Sound of Culture: Diaspora and Black Technopoetics. I’ve enjoyed Chude-Sokei’s perspectives on dancehall, Nigerian 419 scammers, and Bert Williams for years, and I was already […]

Read More →
Arcademish Ish

Last year I published a couple reviews that land somewhere between the realm of ethno/musicology and music criticism — a netherworld I obviously like to explore. One piece engages with the multimedia work of Arca; the other with a cheeky French rap video. One appeared in an academic journal devoted to Latin American art and […]

Read More →
Legions of Book

As published in issue 377 of The Wire (July 2015), here’s my joint review of two recent books about soundsystem/DJ culture, each of them impressive efforts of deep documentation and deliberate framing even as each takes a rather different approach to the project. Together, they further round out our understanding of the soundsystem as global […]

Read More →
The Amplification of Souls (review)

Gilles Aubry’s The Amplification of Souls is a meticulously composed and conceived “audio-essay” (Aubry’s term) on Kinshasa’s charismatic churches and the broader soundscape they inhabit and inflect. I reviewed the CD, along with its 80 page booklet, in Issue 371 of The Wire (January 2015). As usual, I am posting the final draft I sent […]

Read More →
Tropicalia: Ou Panis Et Circencis (review)

I reviewed Tropicalia: Ou Panis Et Circencis, a re-issue of the classic salvo in Brazil’s tropicalia movement, for Issue 367 of The Wire (September 2014). Happily, this one’s also a nice chunky review; nice to get a little leeway on the wordcount for a verbose dude like yours truly. Here’s a director’s cut of sorts, […]

Read More →
Rolê – Novos Sons Do Brasil (review)

I reviewed Rolê – Novos Sons Do Brasil, a new compilation from Brazil’s Mais Um Discos, for Issue 365 of The Wire (July 2014). Given my prolix proclivities, I was glad to get a little longer leash (i.e., wordcount) for this one. Nice to be able to stretch out a bit — and dig in […]

Read More →
Salvadora Robot (review)

I reviewed Salvadora Robot, the latest album from Colombia’s Meridian Brothers, for Issue 364 of The Wire (June 2014). Meridian Brothers Salvadora Robot Soundway CD/DL/2xLP Cutting their own odd swath though a tangle of urban musicians now embracing their country’s regional, grassroots popular traditions, Meridian Brothers’ newest offering is a genre-hopping, funhouse reflection of the […]

Read More →
Beyond Addis (review)

This past year I began reviewing records regularly again, mostly for the wonderfully serious London-based publication, The Wire, which has been pushing lots of interesting releases across my desk. It’s been a great experience working with the editors over there and trying to bring my prolix, punny, occasionally-too-precious style in line with their more exacting […]

Read More →
Groovin’ on Groove Music

Appended below is the “director’s cut” (or unabridged author’s version) of a book review I wrote almost a year ago, which will soon finally see the light of day in the Journal of Popular Music Studies. The book is Mark Katz’s Groove Music, and I say enough below that I needn’t say more here, but […]

Read More →
No Logos?

Ok, rounding things out, here’s the 3rd review/polemic in the 3-part series I’ve been running here (see parts 1 and 2). This one’s the most recently published, hardly a year old! (That’s not bad for lag, as these things go.) On the surface, it’s a review of 2010’s Anthology of Rap (Yale); but again, while […]

Read More →
Dances With Words

Following up on the last post/review, I’m running the next in the triad I described there: a series of book reviews written over the last few years which together bring matters of form — and its institutional (re)production — to the fore. This one — a review of Mark Butler’s Unlocking the Groove: Rhythm, Meter, […]

Read More →
How To Wreck a Nice Book

This Thursday at MIT, Dave Tompkins will be giving a talk based around his book, How To Wreck a Nice Beach: The Vocoder From World War II To Hip-Hop. I’ve not given the book a full treatment on the blog, but I’ve been recommending it to anyone I talk to about music or technology or […]

Read More →
What Lamin Did

Last week Dutty Artz released a lovely, largely unpredictable set of 4 tracks produced by longtime blog/label staple but debuting artist, Lamin Fofana. (You can hear & buy individual tracks at Amazon and elsewhere around the web.) I wasn’t sure what to expect, never having heard any of Lamin’s productions. Sure, I’d heard mixes and […]

Read More →
Review: Ayobaness! The Sound of South African House

Continuing my tradition of posting “director’s cut” versions of the reviews I freelance from time to time, here’s the latest: a review of a recent compilation from Germany’s Outhere records, Ayobaness!, which showcases the rich, vibrant South African house scene. This one was an interesting endeavor, as my editor, Derek, pushed me to foreground a […]

Read More →
Review: Dancehall (Vol. 2)

As some readers of both this blog and The Wire might have noticed, I’ve started to contribute now and then to their reviews section. As per my usual practice, I’ll be reprinting the reviews here on the blog, once they’ve enjoyed their print run, usually offering something of a “director’s cut” (more words! glorious words!), […]

Read More →
Disco Stew

Been a while since I did any freelancing, but I’ve got a review in the most recent Fader (#53). Mucho props to J Shep for the invitation. I’m glad I came to mind when Funky Nassau arrived in the mail. I’ve pasted my take below, where, as I’ve done in the past, I’m publishing my […]

Read More →
Taking the Boat to the Bank

Got a brief review of Pitbull’s El Mariel in this week’s Phoenix. As it happens, I also have a quotation in another, longer review by Jose Davila for the Miami New Times, also published this week. In short, I like the album, esp any tracks propelled by Mr.Collipark’s ATLien Afro-Cubist crunkstep, and i admire Pitbull’s […]

Read More →
Studio One Stocking Stuffers

Got a piece in this week’s Phoenix reviewing the latest offerings in Heartbeat’s ambitious Studio One reissue series, running the gamut from ska to dub. Check it out. As usual, see below for the “director’s cut.” Studio One Love, pt. 2 by Wayne Marshall Heartbeat Records’ Studio One reissue series continues not only to shore […]

Read More →