DUST AND GROOVES BOOK OUT NEXT WEEK

That’s what’s up.

HOLY GHOST POSTS: APOCRYPHAL HYMNS

Numero’s latest in the Good God! series of gospel soul/funk albums might be my favorite yet. I’m, of course, slightly biased by the fact that they ended up using a song from an album that, years ago, I had suggested they reissue and I ended up helping them with the album scan that’s in the comp (Religious Souls). But really, this is absolutely up my alley in terms of gospel’s dip into deep soul. The fact that I even owned one (let alone three) of the albums/singles featured on here is partial evidence of that (on the […]

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THE MOP HAS LANDED

The Mop began life as a post on Soulstrut, written by Alan Simpson, who used to work at a porn shop in Sydney. …Piecelock 70 just put it out, complete with a promo 7” featuring the voices of, I assume, Simpson himself and PL's Thes One, playing a cranky porn shop owner (will his talents never cease?). […]

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DUST AND GROOVES PHOTO BOOK CAMPAIGN

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Y’all know Dust and Grooves, right? AKA the most beautifullest photography/interview blog dedicated to vinyl junkies.

Seriously, I’ve always thought of record collecting as something only intrinsically interesting to other record collectors (speaking as one) but D&G has done a marvelous job of really getting at the aesthetic beauty of not just records, but the spaces dedicated to them. I mean, if we can big up book store design and mock modernist architecture, surely there’s a space in between there to fiends like us.

D&G has a Kickstarter campaign to raise money […]

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THE DEFINTIVE JAMES BROWN BIOGRAPHY

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RJ Smith’s The One

This is written by a good friend of mine in L.A. who researched it for years. The reviews have been superlative and I’m very much looking forward to finally reading this myself after having heard about the ongoing process for ages. Don’t sleep!

(I’ll also be interviewing RJ for a future podcast!)

LA REVIEW OF BOOKS PODCAST WITH SIMON REYNOLDS AND ANDY ZAX


One of the side projects I’ve taken on has been helping working on the podcasts for the Los Angeles Review of Books, both in terms of recording and engineering.

I’m very proud to direct people to this podcast between two good friends, Andy Zax and Simon Reynolds, talking about Simon’s Retromania, which has gotten praise for being one of the best music/culture books of the past year. I didn’t conduct the interview but I did all the post-production editing (and believe me, this one was a challenge) but all in all, I’m pretty happy with […]

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2010 REVIEW (NEW)

ALBUMS. Major caveat: over the last few years, I’ve really relinquished any claim to being a “pop critic” in the broad sense of the term. I don’t make a living nor pursue a hobby in staying on top of pop music trends (and truly, even at the height of my freelance career, I was always writing about specific genres, never “pop” at large). That’s not to say I’ve abandoned pop at all; I love pop music but I feel no compunction to be in the mix with every major release. As a result, this list below […]

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THE BIG PAYBACK: REVISITED


It took me about a week but I finally finished all ~700 pages of Dan Charnas’ The Big Payback. Some (extensive) thoughts…

First up, I’m not exaggerating when I say I think this isn’t just the most important book on hip-hop that’s come out in years; it’s one of the most important books on pop music, period. After all, hip-hop has been the most powerful musical force – in the world – of the late 30 years and The Big Payback enriches our understanding of the music and its global impact through the vastness of its scope, its insanely meticulous detail, and the richness of its stories.

Keep in mind: the book doesn’t replace or supplant existing books covering rap’s rise. Rather, it fills in a crucial blank that’s existed; the actual mechanics and wheeling/dealing that made hip-hop’s success and visibility possible. Of course, the talent is key. Hip-hop would be nothing without the artists and music who inspire our interest. But culture doesn’t just sprout magically forth in a vacuum; it requires a complex infrastructure that helps fund, promote, distribute and circulate it. Most of that history hasn’t been well documented, let alone assembled into one comprehensive tome.

And all this in a package that’s as enjoyable as it is dense. If you know anything about hip-hop at all, you’ll be delighted at how Charnas give detail to stories most of us only heard about in whispered rumors or partially sketched in too-short magazine features. Some personal favorites:
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THE BIG PAYBACK: JUST IN TIME FOR THE HOLIDAYS


Dan Charnas: The Big Payback

Just from word of mouth, I knew this book, at the very least, was going to be pretty good. Charnas has been making the book tour rounds, including a great interview on Fresh Air the other week and listening to him run down a few stories I knew about but didn’t have all the details for made me run out to a local bookstore and buy it. That’s right, I wasn’t even patient enough to order it online and save 33% (and I’m usually cheap!)

And so I started reading […]

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NUMERO GROUP’S 33RD RELEASE

Light: On the South Side.

You need this.