Prefix

As a contributor to the music website Prefix I wrote feature articles and album reviews. Click below to scroll through some of them…

ryan adamsIn the past few days everybody has been thinking and talking about where they were and what they were doing on 9/11. What about how we picked up the pieces on 9/12?To be sure, there were many head-on musical responses to the events of September 11, 2001. But these direct reactions turned out decidedly mixed results. They almost can’t help it: the enormity of what had happened may have been too much to address in a forced anthem. And with the benefit of hindsight, when we view them on their own merits they can suffer the strains of no longer being in the moment — though Bruce Springsteen’s The Rising, which Gawker’s John Cook in a story last week called a “mawkish assortment of clichés” always seemed like sort of a bad idea.But, as cable news talking heads are so fond of intoning, it was “The. Day. That. Changed. Everything.” And in its immediate aftermath one of the things it changed was the way we heard the music we were listening to at that moment in time.By their obliqueness, songs that already existed before 9/11 that we ascribed meaning to and that took on new resonance in the aftermath of the tragedy are possibly more fitting and moving (and, let’s face it, less maudlin) inadvertant responses than any material intentionally addressing the event could be. Herewith, a few songs that sounded completely different then they had before in the new light of September 12.Read the list on Prefixmag.com …

sgt-pepperhd_jpg_640x422_q85Each November, Men around the world let their upper lips go furry, enduring stares, ridicule and the ire of mates. They post pictures of their bristles online and support each other throughout the month, all leading up to gala parties and events.It’s not nearly as silly as it sounds — or maybe it is, but it’s all for a worthy cause: The lip caterpillars are grown in the name of raising awareness offend funds to fight prostate cancer. And they do raise an awful lot of both — nearly $15 million to date.But not all mustaches are scraggily pedophile alarms.In honor of the month formerly known as November and henceforth to be called Movember, we present a list of some of the greatest living mustaches in rock. And remember, for every “attempted mustache” (the only way Loudon Wainwright III was making this list) theres a punk blessed with gypsy blood. Take them as your inspiration.Read the list on Prefixmag.com …

starlight-girls_jpg_640x420_q85If “A Coney Island of the Mind” had a house band, it might very well be the Starlight Girls. While their name is evocative of the group’s sound — waves crashing under boardwalks, seedy ’40s piano lounges, cheap thrills, film noir soundtracks and Hollywood cocktail parties all come to mind — it’s also partially misleading. For starters, they are not a girl group, per se.The band consists of singer and keyboardist Christina B, who also writes the songs and takes on additional instruments such as flute in the studio; her fellow “girl” Karys Rhea on backing vocals and drums; bassist Mark Brickman (who played on the self-titled EP, though he’s no longer with the band) and guitarist Shaw Walters. Walters’ East Williamsburg digs also serve as something of a headquarters, where the band rehearses and sometimes hosts shows with other local bands, including a series coyly titled “Live Girls,” a nod to the proliferation of “girl”-titled bands.Continue reading on Prefixmag.com …
west_jpg_300x300_crop-smart_q85The knock on Wooden Shjips is that if you’ve heard one of their songs, you’ve heard them all. And that might be the knee-jerk reaction to their latest release West, but dig through the layers of distortion, feedback, fuzz and reverb and there’s more than meets the ear.Scoff if you must, but the band has opened its scope, geographically speaking at least, since the days when it once (assumedly) demanded “Dance, California” on a 7-inch single, but also sonically. The new record takes in a more vast landscape. The subject matter, the mythology of the American West, certainly suits the band’s vast and driving sound, which has always been one very-fast-car-with-no-top away from the classic road trip.Continue reading on Prefixmag.com …
dj-shadow-less-better_jpg_300x300_crop-smart_q85Oddly, “The Less You Know the Better” sounds like it could be a greatest hits album, if such a thing made sense for DJ Shadow. And just as a hits comp wouldn’t make much sense for Shadow, neither does this album. There are nods to Entroducing’s smooth jazz-funk grooves and beat-heavy hip-hop instrumentals (the stuff his fans seem most stuck on) along-side a decidely mixed bag of guitar mash-ups a la The Private Press, shades of UNKLE (though nothing approaching that Shadow-produced project’s power), disappointing guest raps and nods to Bay Area Hyphy circa The Outsider, and the moody instrumental soundscapes that have been Shadow hallmarks throughout his career. What’s it all add up to?A kind of mix tape of DJ Shadow’s lesser stylings. Not awful, bot not exactly vital either.Continue reading on Prefixmag.com …
ldr_btd_LP_cover_20111202_54204_jpg_300x300_crop-smart_q85It must be disappointing to many that the title track on Born to Die uses a cleaned-up version of the line “I wanna fuck you hard in the pouring rain.” Though it must be universally agreed upon that “kiss you hard” sounds more natural coming from those famously puffy lips than the vulgarity that had blogs buzzing when the live version of the song first made the rounds a few months back. Lyrics cannot be considered one of Lana’s (nee Lizzy Grant, as she is listed in the writing credits, and under which name she had previously recorded) strengths, anyway. The team of songwriters on the album includes Rick Nowels who wrote the Belinda Carlisle hit “Heaven is a Place on Earth” (which, not incidentally, is also a line from “Video Games”). Many of the tracks come off like pop culture word collages with product names, lines from other songs, lines from her own songs and lines from Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita all vying for space.Continue reading on Prefixmag.com …