Back That Pazz Up

Cracking Zeppelin’s Coda

Coda, if you want to get merely factual, comprises eight odds and sods recorded in 1970, 1972, 1976, and 1978 (all even numbers!), almost none of which had shown up on any previous Led Zeppelin album; the only exception is a live 1970 soundcheck of Mississippi bluesman Willie Dixon’s “I Can’t Quit You Baby,” which… Continue reading Cracking Zeppelin’s Coda

150 Best Albums of 1982

Go ahead, call me a Teutonophile — You wouldn’t be the first, and I’ll readily admit to a fondness for jagerschnitzel, currywurst, spaetzle, oompah accordions, lederhosen, drndls and dachshunds, not to mention a nostalgia for all the imbißes, rathskellars, gasthäuser, bierhallen, bahnhöfe and (most obviously for our purposes) plattenläden I once whiled away my time… Continue reading 150 Best Albums of 1982

150 Best Albums of 1973

Hate to be a killjoy or spoilsport, but I’ve never much cared about circuses. Sideshows I can get with — P.T. Barnum invented American popular culture if anybody did — but those three Ringling Brothers rings not so much. And I can’t even blame cruelty to big cats and elephants; it’s more that the whole… Continue reading 150 Best Albums of 1973

150 Best Albums of 1996/’97

Me at the end of 1997: The old-timey and barndance-oriented cuts on Anthology of American Folk Music have way more eccentric pizzazz than the blues-and-gospel oriented ones. My favorites — “Peg And Awl,” “A Lazy Farmer Boy,” “Moonshiner’s Dance,” “King Kong Kitchie Kitchie Ki-Me-O,” the Uncle Dave Macon tunes — feel an awful lot like… Continue reading 150 Best Albums of 1996/’97

150 Best Albums of 1979

I was working in a Fotomat booth in the middle of a parking lot outside a strip mall (“shopping centers” I guess they were called more often then) on Orchard Lake Road in the summer of ’79, taking in undeveloped rolls of film and handing out envelopes of developed photos, when I realized that my… Continue reading 150 Best Albums of 1979

Did Indie Rock Rock in 2005?

Written at the ’00s’ end for an emusic roundup comprising one indie essay per every year of the decade. I honestly hadn’t been paying close attention, but I halfway managed to wing it anyway. To learn where albums discussed rank among my 2005 favorites, click here.

Kid Rock review, 2012

I’ve written about him as much as any musical performer out there starting in the late ’90s, including an extremely long Village Voice piece on Eminem and him that was re-printed in my third book. I was even asked to write his authorized biography (can’t say that about any other artist) when I was a… Continue reading Kid Rock review, 2012

150 Best Albums of 1966/’67

1966 and 1967, years in which I respectively turned six and seven years old, are often considered the time when rock’n’roll “grew up” and became “rock” thanks to the pointedly unrolling and perhaps theoretically conceptual nature of albums such as Pet Sounds and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band; when Elijah Wald named his often… Continue reading 150 Best Albums of 1966/’67

Josie Cotton –> Katy Perry

One of the more contrived regular columns of my rock-crit career, the idea of this one was to take a current star and show how somebody maybe not quite as star-level from the past inadvertently paved the way, which usually required extremely forced logic. Spin ran a handful of them on its website, circa 2012-2013.… Continue reading Josie Cotton –> Katy Perry


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