The Discography
One characteristic of Mr. Guralnick’s work, on display in the video content as well as the books, is that he likes to talk not just to the stars, but also to the people that work with them behind the scenes: sidemen, producers, songwriters, managers and even, in the case of the singer Bobby (Blue) Bland, his valet and driver. That is an approach increasingly rare in an era obsessed with celebrity and seemingly bored by process.

Larry Rohter, “Music Writer’s Opus, Now with Sound" (New York Times)

Good, interesting piece (and certainly congruent with my own work right now), but I have to roll my eyes at this assertion. Funny—every seriously weighted music history and biography I’ve read in recent years (by Dan Charnas, Will Hermes, Jesse Jarnow, Preston Lauterbach, Craig Marks & Rob Tannenbaum, R.J. Smith, and Mark Yarm, among others) does precisely this kind of deep interviewing. (Needless to say, my forthcoming book does too.) Furthermore, so are the majority of longreads and oral histories that proliferate in magazines and on websites. (And many of them are, in fact, about nuts-and-bolts processes: cf. Sean Howe on the making of Madonna, or Phillip Mlynar on the first Wu-Tang album.) Mistaking gossip blogs and clickbait with real journalism is throwing the carts in with the horses, and makes a fool of everyone who does it.

That’s the thing about Insane Clown Posse. Like when people get mad about the Gatherings of the Juggalos, I’m almost like, I’m happy that they’ve been gathered in one place. I actually like that. Rather, what would you prefer? The scattering of the Juggalos all over the place? That’s a good thing that’s happening. They’re being contained in a small place. “No, I want them everywhere.” Well, I don’t.
Christopher R. Weingarten, “How Patton Oswalt Learned to Stop Hating and Accept Justin Bieber" (Rolling Stone)


Audio for what appears to be the complete party, both rooms, from the 2000 Miami Winter Music Conference, in eight parts. As I learned the hard way (hahaha “hard way”), the download links for parts 4-8 are just repeats of part 3. So do this: open the audio files in another tab, then copy-paste the URL somewhere you can right-click and save. Then change the last numeral in the URL to 4, 5, 6, etc. Then right-click to save. Voila!

Comment on Saul Austerlitz & poptimism


Um, nah. I mean, what’s there to say? That piece is incredibly stupid and very pull-your-head-out-of-your-ass embattled old white man type shit. This Jeremy Gordon post here pretty much nails why it’s dumb and clueless.

About the only thing I’d add to this discussion: A big fuck you to Austerlitz for trying to temper what is so clearly a white male perspective on popular music by nodding to some non-white male artists he digs like Speedy Ortiz and Ka. To me, that kind of cloying pseudo-inclusionary attitude just makes his flimsy argument worse (cherry picking a female and black artist he likes to bolster his credibility while promoting a very exclusionary vision of popular music that is known to dismiss female and black artists is fucking gross!!!) and kinda says to me that he realizes he’s full of it, you know?

Some Frankie Knuckles writing
Who are these upstarts, anyway? Do they really call underground rock fans ‘elitists’? Where, exactly, have they done this? Are there really critics out there who dogmatically privilege only music that they consider inauthentic and that features guitars the act didn’t play or lyrics the act didn’t write, and who look down on all music by important artists considered part of the historical canon? Or might such critics more likely be figments of somebody’s imagination? And beyond all that, what exactly are today’s alleged poptimist youngsters doing that, oh I dunno, Chuck Eddy and Frank Kogan and Rob Tannenbaum and Ted Cox and Ken Tucker and Tom Smucker and James Hunter and Carol Cooper and Michael Freedberg [a/k/a J Michael Here] and Deborah Frost and John Leland and Barry Walters and Lester Bangs and Richard Meltzer and Greil Marcus and Dave Marsh and Robert Christgau, say, hadn’t?…”Look, there is no poptimism,” an exasperated Kogan wrote in 2009. “Unless by poptimism you mean every interesting rock critic ever.”
Chuck Eddy on “poptimism.” Which, by the way, means having faith that there is always something interesting to be found going on in pop music (of whatever type and from whatever background), NOT blanket approval of all of it.


For the last few days I’ve been unable* to escape the heated discussion about an op-ed that appeared in the New York Times about poptimism, and why it’s bad. Whatever salient points the author may have had are obscured by a bunch of easily deflated arguments, so I won’t go into it. But there’s…

Read to end. (FWIW, Vince Lawrence, who actually was ushering at Comiskey Park the day of the Demolition Derby, is pretty definite that the crowd was mostly racists from the north side.) 

Silicon Valley is a meritocracy in the same way that the Ivy League schools are: it helps to be smart, but it helps just as much or more to have the right connections. The game is rigged. The pathology of Silicon Valley is that the winners have so much ego invested in pretending that it isn’t. It’s hard for people who pride themselves on their exceptional smartness to acknowledge the fact that they are much luckier than they are smart.

Gang Starr feat. Nice & Smooth, “DWYCK” (Chrysalis, 1992).