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Pluck and determination

Joanna Newsom's masterful Have One On Me
People have always thought that Joanna Newsom was indulgent. At first, it was about her voice — the kind of nasal yelp that usually keeps a performer from getting on stage at all. Then, on her second album, it was about her vocabulary and her instrumentation.
By: RICHARD BECK  |  March 09, 2010

kaki list

Song of herself

Kaki King adds her voice to the mix
"Listen, I will go on record saying I love Feist, I love Neko Case. I love that music. But that shit's easy listening for the twentysomethings. It fucking is. It's not hard to listen to any of that stuff."
By: RICHARD BECK  |  August 05, 2009


DJ Quik and Kurupt | BlaQKout

Mad Science (2009)
LA hip-hop has two threads, and DJ Quik pulls both of them. The first is g-funk, a production style that relies on deep, open grooves and an endless parade of funk samples.
By: RICHARD BECK  |  June 15, 2009


Flipper | Love

Flipper (2009)
Flipper formed in San Francisco in 1979, and they're remembered three decades later because of a song called "Sex Bomb" that's one of the funniest pieces of music I've ever heard.
By: RICHARD BECK  |  May 26, 2009


St. Vincent's Actor gets a run-through

St. Vincent, live at the Somerville Theatre, May 19, 2009
There were not one but two clarinets on stage at the Somerville Theatre on Tuesday night, and that gives you some idea of how intricate Annie Clark's chamber-pop compositions can be.
By: RICHARD BECK  |  May 26, 2009


Local color

Grizzly Bear try to break out of the blogosphere
It's become a commonplace to say that "indie" is too vague to mean anything useful, but that's not actually true.
By: RICHARD BECK  |  May 28, 2009


The return of Swirlies

The Sneaky Flute Empire strikes back
I'm on the phone with Damon Tutunjian, one founder of the Boston indie-rock band Swirlies, and he's helping me to understand the Sneaky Flute Empire.
By: RICHARD BECK  |  February 27, 2009


Noise Night at Willoughby and Baltic

Circuit bending with Jimmie Rodgers
Circuit benders are people who customize electronics (frequently toys) to make them sound bad.
By: RICHARD BECK  |  February 18, 2009


Smooth operators

The year in Auto-Tune
The year in Auto-Tune
By: RICHARD BECK  |  December 24, 2008


The Big Chill

A feast of heartbreak and isolated introspection
The crowd coming in from the cold was young, excited, and wrapped in flannel — as though the Wilbur Theatre had been given over to a village of wimpy lumberjacks.
By: RICHARD BECK  |  December 19, 2008


Review: Kanye West | 808s and Heartbreak

West Coasts
Roc-A-Fella (2008)
By: RICHARD BECK  |  December 15, 2008


Sweet Dichotomy

No Age at the Middle East Downstairs, November 24, 2008
No Age are a punk duo from Los Angeles. A week ago Monday at the Middle East downstairs, their clothes helped explain what they were up to.
By: RICHARD BECK  |  December 02, 2008


Harvard nips fun in the bud

Girl Talk at Harvard Yard, November 20, 2008
Harvard is not a fun place. Girl Talk was going to change all that.
By: RICHARD BECK  |  November 25, 2008


Ghost story

Toni Morrison's colonial America
Toni Morrison's colonial America
By: RICHARD BECK  |  November 24, 2008


Peaceful Easy Feeling

Calexico at the Somerville Theatre, November 16, 2008
The members of Calexico look like dads. They play a little like dads too.
By: RICHARD BECK  |  November 18, 2008


A meme deferred

Michael Eric Dyson changes the subject at Harvard
Nobody knows exactly what Obama means yet, but Dyson is having a great time figuring it out.
By: RICHARD BECK  |  November 14, 2008


Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell

A somewhat revelatory documentary
There’s no explaining Arthur Russell. It’s best just to listen to his music. I hope Wolf’s documentary will encourage people to do precisely that.  
By: RICHARD BECK  |  October 25, 2008


Get around to it

Belated props to Arthur Russell
You would not guess, listening to his music, that Arthur Russell grew up in Oskaloosa, Iowa. In fact you might not guess that he came from anywhere.  
By: RICHARD BECK  |  October 25, 2008


Tricky | Knowle West Boy

Domino (2008)
Who is not glad to have Tricky around?  
By: RICHARD BECK  |  October 08, 2008


Positively Phil

Roth goes back to college
We all know Philip Roth’s preoccupations.
By: RICHARD BECK  |  September 16, 2008
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