For the past year, Alex Steyermark and Lavinia Jones Wright have led The 78 Project, a New York-based operation that aims to create an archive of the whole of contemporary American folk music using 1930s-era recording equipment. Inspired by the field recordings of Alan Lomax, Steyermark and Jones Wright use Presto machines that directly transcribe the recordings onto an acetate disc—it's a one-take, one-track recording technique. These sessions, which so far have included such musicians as Rosanne Cash, Richard Thompson, and Loudon Wainwright III, are also filmed and posted online as part of a web series. The two recently completed a recording circuit in the South, and [...]
Christmas songs are designed to be catchy, annoying and vaguely reminiscent of winter. The most successful are horrible holiday earworms, such as "Wonderful Christmastime" and "Heat Miser/Snow Miser." But one song is so overplayed and over-covered and so mediocre to begin with that it makes the rest sound like "White Christmas." Its recent exclusion from the A/V Club’s recent list of worst Christmas songs is a gross injustice to the holidays and to musicdom in general.
"Last Christmas," written by George Michael and first performed by Wham! in 1984, is a wallowing mess of a song. It mistakes self-indulgence for closure. It contains a synthy falseness [...]