Bert Berns: Accidentally, Like a Martyr

20BERNS1-master675

Dear New York Times, As Larry Rohter's lively and illuminating article ("Many-hit Wonder, Out of Obscurity: Bert Berns, Songwriter and Producer, Remembered," July 20) demonstrates, obscurities like Berns deserve a bigger place in rock history. But too many people forget that while his " trademark … [Read more...]

A Thousand Times Yes, Zacharek on Hard Day’s Night

"...Ringo is the language mangler who says exactly what he means, usually inadvertently—though sometimes his eyes, good-natured but also ringed with dark circles that suggest excessive worry, say more: On a train, he passes a glass-windowed compartment where a stunning young woman sits, stroking a … [Read more...]

Where Links Roam Free

NOT THE ABC SATURDAY MORNING BEATLES CARTOONS: thebeatoons, Episode 1-2 ”You Can’t Do That” Forgotify | 12 Bagatelles, Op. 13: No. 9. L'Abeille (The Bee) (arr. for cello and piano) by Various Artists Related articles Forgotify Helps You Discover Unloved Music On Spotify Forgotify: The Tool … [Read more...]

Today in HeadButler.com

Lennon page

Guest Butler Joe DePreta, a New York marketing consultant and writer on cultural trends, is a student of musicology from Sinatra to the Sex Pistols.When I was a kid, my friends and I sat on a park bench and debated and talked over each other like a Robert Altman ensemble about the important … [Read more...]

Why isn’t this bigger news?

Screen Shot 2014-05-04 at 5.14.27 PM

From Jeff Goodell in Rolling Stone: ...Although no final decision has been made, two high-level sources in the Obama administration told me recently that the president has all but decided to deny the permit for the [Keystone] pipeline – a dramatic move that would light up Democratic voters and … [Read more...]

PARLOR GAME: FIVE FAVORITE CONCERTS

weissberg

Off My Rocker, by Kenny Weissberg [Weissberg wrote a Friday column called "Hot Licks & Rhetoric" for the Boulder Daily Camera that I devoured while growing up in Colorado. He also hosted Bill Murray on a Sunday night KCRW radio show one night just a Murray started to break on SNL. We recently … [Read more...]

The Absurdist Beatle

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 11.56.11 AM

James, I've always loved MacDonald's book even though I carry one major critical gripe: he structures it song-by-song in chronological order, arguing that understanding the "correct" sequence of recording helps trace thematic and musical development. But never quite follows through on this theme: … [Read more...]

Steely Dan’s Magisterial Sleaze

Screenshot 2014-04-01 16.03.58

You either swoon to the jaunty guitar lick that rips Steely Dan’s “Reelin’ in the Years,” or you hold your ears. Same with that eerie figure at the top of “FM,” or the sly, cribbed piano vamp to “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number.” Steely Dan tracks can seem not just overproduced but overplayed, … [Read more...]

Ghosts of Deportees

75px-Woodie_guthrie

"...Woodie Guthrie’s famous ballad Deportee about a 1948 plane crash in California that killed the pilot, crew and passengers, who were Mexican nationals being deported back to Mexico at the end of the harvest season.  Guthrie had read about the crash in the New York Times, which described the crew … [Read more...]

riley rock index relaunch

rributton125

Behold the new riley rock index, now an extension of the timrileyauthor page, where it's been condensed, reformatted and reconcieved as a monthly tip sheet with album. We start with Drive-By Truckers, hard on Beck, and early Click Hits include: Beatles Roundtable BigOZine dBs Holsapple on … [Read more...]

Wes Anderson in Chart Form

Screen Shot 2014-03-01 at 3.52.08 PM

Also: 21 Writers Tell Us Which Books They’d Add to the Canon – Flavorwire. Wes Anderson Related articles Charting popular words in music over the last half-century [charts] Fascinating Graphs Trace Words' Appearances in Songs, 1960-Present … [Read more...]

American Hustle’s Music of Swindle, by Geoffrey O’Brien

Screen Shot 2014-03-01 at 4.06.36 PM

Bale and Adams fall in love to the strains of Duke Ellington, and dance while Jack Jones croons “I’ve Got Your Number”; the hapless Cooper pursues his doomed amour fou as Donna Summer chants “I Feel Love” at Studio 54; Lawrence lip-syncs “Live and Let Die” in close-up as she boils with rage against … [Read more...]

So Hip It Hurts: Penman on Steely Dan

steely-dan

Penman enjoys Eminent Hipsters a lot more than I do (watch this space), but he gets off some very fine licks: "It’s a portrait of the artist as an embryonic Florida retiree: grumpy, fidgety, fond (his hotel room iPod plays nothing but old Verve jazz or Stravinsky), ungrateful toward fans, … [Read more...]