If your favorite summer activities include listening to music and reading on the beach, then there's no better place to read about these things than right here on Blogcritics. This week we have some outstanding reports from the live music front (in addition to our always eclectic mix of CD reviews), and reviews of some good books you might want to tuck into your beach tote. If your idea of summer fun extends to the political realm, then we've got that covered, too. As always, start right here for what caught our collective editorial eye this week.
Let me remind those of you who are chosen that you are invited to submit your own pick for next week (due to space considerations, please limit it to one). Please feel free to email me your picks (including the URL) by next Tuesday.
From Music Editor Connie Phillips:
In CD Review: Bruce Hornsby – Intersections 1985-2005, Mat Brewster remembers a long-ago concert as well as dissects the music. With clever style, he delivers the information necessary to make the reader want to check out this box set.
I tried to play along with Eric Berlin, I really did. But I just couldn't narrow my personal list like he did in Five Favorite Bands of All Time: Take the Challenge. Check out his favorites and leave your top five.
A. L. Harper takes the reader along and explains all the ins and outs of how to enjoy a music festival in Festival Review: The Wickerman Music Festival, Scotland. Oh, and she fills us in on all the great music as well.
DJRadiohead takes us along on his long and winding journey, which instead of being "the review that wasn't" became Concert Review: Guster & Ray LaMontagne with Fruitbats, Birmingham, AL (Alabama Theater) July 23, 2006. The detailed background and show review is well worth the read.
From Asst. Music Editor A.L. Harper:
Mat Brewster's mum goes off her head when she hears Lou Reed singing about giving head in Bootleg Country: Lou Reed – 12/16/72.
Joan Jett is all grown up now. And Connie Phillips walks us through that maturity when she reviews the CD, Sinner.
From Editor DJRadiohead:
Mark Saleski has written another excellent article about an obscure jazz artist I have never heard, but his review of Wayne Horvitz Gravitas Quartet – Way Out East is a more than worthy read.
From Editor Gordon Hauptfleisch:
Not only is Mat Brewster's Bootleg Country: Lou Reed a well-written and evocative overview of the influential Reed's focus on "the darker personalities…on the outskirts of normal society," but his mom sounds like my mom, and, well, I'm such a sentimentalist… Not so much that I would have a Hootie and the Blowfish tape within reach, though.
From Books Editor Natalie Bennett:
Often the hardest part of writing a review is thinking of an intro – once you're up and typing, impressions of a book can just tumble out, and mysteriously take on some logical flow. Where beginners often get stuck is finding a way to start the review. (Hint: "I think" is almost never the way to do it, and just reciting the title and author is less than exciting.)
Two reviews this week did a lovely job of dragging you into their accounts. Richard Marcus, reviewing Lessek's Key, by Robert Scott and Jay Gordon, began "what I'm about to do is highly unfair, taunting, and in some circles might even be considered legitimate cause for disembowelment". How could you not read on?
I felt the same as my eyes lit on Bonnie's review of Noisy Outlaws, Unfriendly Blobs… "Okay, let's start by getting the complete, unabridged title out of the way," she begins. I'm intrigued, and guessing that it is going to be a long, and probably amusing, title. But I got this idea without being thumped over the head with the obvious.
No picks this week.
From Executive Producer Eric Berlin:
Suri Cruise Exists To Some, But Baby-Daddy Tom Still Weird To All by Dawn Olsen. I wasn't obsessed with the Mystery of Suri prior to reading this piece. Now I am. 'Nuff said, as it is said.
From Editor DJRadiohead:
If The Duke DeMondo had stopped with just the title, Pop Cult Mind Wax – Old Age, Memory, Penile Mutiny, I still would have picked him. But he didn't. This is a must read.
From Editor Gordon Hauptfleisch:
Pop Cult Mind Wax – Old Age, Memory, Penile Mutiny by Duke De Mondo. Just being resourceful – I may need to borrow a cup o' 'postrophes someday. And I'm also currying favor so I can get Duke's go-ahead to use the following phrases: "cacophonous industrial gargle," "ashen-hued jaws all a-slackened," and "barbed clusters o' rustic lung-juice." Oh, and because it's Editor Pick-worthy.
From Politics Editor Dave Nalle:
Hooray for the Supreme Court! by Drew McKissick. Good comments on what may turn out to be a very important court decision which was largely overlooked.
From Asst. Politics Editor Mark Schannon:
It's Painful, But the ACLU Should Defend Fred Phelps, by NewsFitToPost. It's always difficult to support the rights of hate mongers and idiots, but we do so to ensure our own rights are never compromised.
The Moral Evil Of Iraqi Terrorism, by Bird of Paradise. It's so obvious, it shouldn't need to be said, but it does – it's not the U.S.'s fault that Iraqis are killing each other in ever-increasing horrific ways.
Solving the Middle East Crisis? Build a Casino in Ramallah! by Candye Kane. Good historical analysis of the problems of the region as well as highlighting the hypocrisy of so many blindly supportive of the Arabs and critical of Israel. There's plenty of blame to spread around.
Satire: Bush Urges Congress To Raise Border Security Budget In Order To Eliminate Forest Strangers, by Jet In Columbus. Another bizarre but charming twist of the nose of our president.
From Sports Editor Matthew T. Sussman:
Zach Baker asserts that former baseball player Buck O'Neil should be
in MLB's Hall of Fame. Don't know who Buck O'Neil is? You might want to read this and ultimately agree with him.
From Gaming Editor Ken Edwards:
Gaming Expo To Light Up Pennsylvania Aug. 26 and 27 by Aaron Auzins. Rob Faraldi gives the low-down on what it is like co-organizing the show.
Accessory Review: Griffin's iTrip PSP by Matt Paprocki. A little pricey, but now you can finally stop using your PSP speakers.
From Sci/Tech Editor Lisa McKay:
In his most recent Healthy Skeptic column, Sal Marinello raises some intriguing questions about sports injuries, surgeries, and recovery times that anyone with an interest in sports or medical science will undoubtedly find interesting.