SHARON JONES: AN APPRECIATION

My readers know how much I respected Sharon Jones and adored the music her and the Dap-Kings recorded. I can’t say her death last Friday was a shock – we all knew her cancer had come back and was very aggressive – but it felt unbearably cruel in a year where so many musicians we love have left us. NPR asked me to turnaround a quick essay about her and the group’s legacy and while I wrote it faster than I would have ideally liked to, I still hope I did them some justice in it.

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SONGS I/WE LOVE

I’ve been busy the past month with all kinds of writing assignments and that’s slowed me down from posting here but thought I’d share a few pieces I published since it’s all very much Soul Sides-inspired/related:

Songs We Love: Charles Bradley, ‘Things We Do For Love’
For NPR.org (Mar. 17, 2016)

Songs We Love: Million Dollar Ecstacy, ‘Burning Inside’
For NPR.org (Mar. 31, 2016)

We like it like that: the songs that defined New York City’s boogaloo craze
(Annotated Playlist)
For The Guardian (Apr. 5, 2016)

Songs We Love: J Dilla, ‘F*** […]

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GET STONED

Do you like Sly? Of course you do.

I put together a 20 song playlist on Sly and the Family Stone’s “essential” records for Rolling Stone’s website.1 Could have probably been twice that.

If I had to pick a favorite song off that list…it’d either be “Rock Dirge” (which is “off-canon” for some folks but f— that. DRUMS) or the so-very-slick-and-fonky “If You Want Me to Stay.”

With research assistance from David Ma. Thanks man! ↩

NPR REVIEW OF GLORIA ANN TAYLOR’S “LOVE IS A HURTIN’ THING”

Got to review the new anthology of Gloria Ann Taylor’s Selector Sound catalog. As folks here know; I love her work.

BABY’S FIRST RECORD (AND RECORD PLAYER)

I review Light In The Attic and Third Man’s new This Records Belongs To _______ record + turntable bundle for Cuepoint.

(Spoiler: cool LP, flawed record player)

TO PIMP A BUTTERFLY

I reviewed Kendrick’s new album for NPR. I got more to say but just throwing this up here for now .

THE ULTIMATE

Robbie Ettelson put in some %#()! work on this oral history of the UBB series. SALUT.

MY FAVORITE STORIES OF 2014

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Every so often, I update my online portfolio to keep track of my music/cultural criticism and journalism. I finally updated it for 2014 and in doing so, I briefly revisited some of the stories from the year that I’m most proud of. Thought I’d share these in case you missed them the first time around.

Gimme The Beat (Box): The Journey Of The Drum Machine
(Story)
For NPR’s Morning Edition (January 17, 2014)

The Internet and the R&B Upgrade
(Profile of The Internet)
For KCET’s Artbound […]

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ERIC DUCKER ON THE STORY BEHIND “PISTOLGRIP PUMP”

“Pistolgrip Pump” is one of my favorite L.A. hip-hop songs and now Eric Ducker has written a thorough history of how the song came to be (and truly, the many ways in which it could have NOT come to be). Great music journalism at work here.

(Also a sobering reminder of how the song ended up defining Volume 10’s style as something that was actually quite different from what it actually was. Listen to practically anything else on the album and his Good Life bonafides are instantly obvious).

AN ILL PILL

Whereupon I admit that 20 years ago (last Sunday), I said something stupid on the interwebs: “Rap journalist Oliver Wang denied that Illmatic was a classic twenty years ago. We all have our regrets.”

Thanks to Wax Poetics for letting me get this off my chest.

One thing to add (that didn’t fit into the theme of this piece): I wasn’t a journalist or critic in 1994…just a college senior who had access to a primitive version of the internet.

But alt.rap and later, rec.music.hip-hop were completely formative spaces for me to work out ideas […]

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