You Will Know Love

Posted: April 12th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Skinny Mirrors At A Glance

Posted: February 6th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

The debut EP from Skinny Mirrors is a compelling paradox—a collection of sugar-in-the-raw pop songs, short in the making yet long in the finishing.

The group, a collaboration between singer-songwriter Robert Cherry and producer/multi-instrumentalist Craig Ramsey, took shape one winter in the basement studio Ramsey had set up in Cherry’s Mid-Century modern ranch home, mere blocks from a slate-and-olive Lake Erie, then ringed with wave-shattered sheets of dirty ice. Read the rest of this entry »

Skinny Mirrors Album Art

Posted: January 27th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Here's a preview of the album art from the forthcoming Skinny Mirrors EP. The artist is the amazing Cherlyn Varga Toth.

Pete Yorn

Posted: January 10th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Background note: I interviewed Pete for one of the local Cleveland papers at the time of his debut, Musicforthemorningafter. I still appreciate that album’s successful marriage of Americana and British post-punk. His new one, Arrangingtime, seems to be a return to form. Worth a listen.

Manchester, So Much To Answer For

No one forgets his or her first time. Pete Yorn was 12 when he surrendered to a lifelong passion. The memory remains ultra-vivid.

“I was on vacation in the Bahamas,” he recalls, “and some cute little blonde girl walked right up to me and said, ‘Do you like the Smiths?’ And I’d heard of them, but I hadn’t heard them. But I was like, ‘Well… yeah.’ I went home after that and bought their first record. When I first heard Morrissey’s voice, I was like, ‘Man, what the hell is this?’ But as I listened more and more, I became super into it.”
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Never Mind the Duty, Here’s Plastic Ants

Posted: January 7th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Flouting the long-simmering tensions between the United States and Canada, Plastic Ants have tunneled through, crossed over, and crawled out—and now threaten to take over the world, albeit with tiny strides. Their first communiqué? The hard-jangle pragmatism of “Tough Girls (Got To Tough It Out),” out now on The All Night Party. Read the rest of this entry »

The Birth, Death & Rebirth of Hair Metal

Posted: January 1st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Round And Round

Background note: This originally ran as a cover story for “Guitar One,” in 2004. My inner 13-year-old was totally stoked to interview the era’s guitar heroes.

“Round and round! What comes around goes around! I’ll tell you why… why….” –Ratt’s Stephen Pearcy

Dig. Many thought it was dead and buried. Many even danced on its grave and packed on a few extra shovelfuls of soil by way of coolness-affirming jokes (e.g., What do you call a hair-metal guitarist without a girlfriend? Homeless). Hair metal… poodle metal… glam metal… cock rock… party rock… the names alone are pejorative enough, describing everything about the ‘80s pop-metal sensation except the music itself. What was so wrong about a musical movement that incited us all to have nothin’ but a good time, preferably while soloing along on air guitar, wasted? Read the rest of this entry »


Posted: January 1st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Rock ‘N’ Roll Anima

Background note: Several weeks after I conducted this interview for Alternative Press, singer Brian Molko phoned asking if my group Ether Net would open for Placebo in Canada. A definite first in all my years as a journalist. We had recently lost our drummer but of course I said yes, then hustled to find a replacement. Weeks later I found myself vomiting backstage in a fit of pre-show jitters at Toronto’s sold-out Kool Haus, then stepped onstage to perform for three thousand or so Placebo fans. They were very kind. I subsequently made some lifelong Canadian friends on that mini tour, which also included Montreal and Ottawa.

Hang out with Placebo for a night and you’ll begin to understand what Lou Reed meant by his challenge in Metal Machine Music’s liner notes: “My week beats your year.” Even severe jet lag doesn’t impede Brian Molko and his “two husbands,” as he calls bassist Stefan Olsdal and drummer Steve Hewitt, from juicing the Big Apple. At the Soho Grand hotel bar, orders for double Sea Breezes keep pace with Molko’s candid responses to queries regarding Black Market Music, the corrosive, more political follow-up to 1998’s break-through Without You I’m Nothing.

Detailing Placebo’s coincidence-riddled history, the openly bi-sexual Molko recalls his impression of the openly gay Olsdal when they first encountered each other at school in Luxembourg: “I thought you were an aloof snob, and you thought I was a pot-smoking fag. How ironic life can be.” Read the rest of this entry »

Rufus Wainwright

Posted: January 1st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Cliff Notes

Rufus Wainwright wants it both ways: to make extravagantly creative music that also sells to the masses.

You can certainly hear his lofty musical ambition in the lush production of his three acclaimed albums, which blast the high drama of his openly gay social life through the prism of his musical taste. Read the rest of this entry »

Duran Duran

Posted: January 1st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Back To The Future

The ’80s were the best decade ever.

At least that’s the impression you get if you saunter into a club or party these days. From hotel lounges to hipster soirees, when a DJ spins one of the decade’s percolating synth-pop numbers, the dance floor suddenly floods with revelers busting herky-jerky moves not witnessed since Molly Ringwald’s heyday.

Add to that phenomenon a host of new ’80s-influenced bands, like Interpol, the Faint, the Rapture and the Epoxies, to name just a few among a flock of sequels, and we’re in the throes of a full-on revival. Need further proof? Even leg warmers have returned as a must-have fashion accessory, thanks to Karen O., the art-damaged vocalist for New York’s Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Read the rest of this entry »

Lloyd Cole

Posted: January 1st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

The Long Goodbye

“I don’t want to water down my career,” says Lloyd Cole. “We all know artists who’ve gone on and on, and each album is slightly less interesting than the last until you get to a point where you don’t want to hear an album by that person anymore. I would rather get a job than have that happen.”

Well-read, wryly funny, emotionally aloof, sullenly handsome… if Cole hadn’t become a successful songwriter, helping to define college rock in the ’80s fronting Glasgow’s The Commotions, he could’ve made a charismatic English professor. Perhaps it’s still a career option he’d consider, if it weren’t for the fact that the self-described “two-time drop-out” has even less patience for campus life now that he’s reached middle age. Read the rest of this entry »

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