Awl pal Seth Colter Walls talks to the executive director of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, whose recent purchase of a series of radio broadcasts from the '30s, many never heard since, caused so much excitement here. There are also some new audio excerpts, including performances from Count Basie, Benny Goodman and Lionel Hampton. Do check it out.
Grossly talented indie-rock shredder Marnie Stern has a song on her forthcoming record called "Female Guitar Players Are the New Black." This title has the double-edged benefit of being true as well as wry-since it preempts (one hopes) a lot of lazy "think pieces" on the subject.
Still, even for underground kids who grew up swooning over the plodding-on-purpose instrumental technique of mid-90's Kill Rock Stars bands, there is now an undeniable pleasure in seeing women give off true, hot-shit guitar grind. (For more of this, watch Marissa Paternoster of the Screaming Females rip through "Bell" here.) So while people are keeping score on this level, we [...]
Over the weekend, Liz Phair had a surprise: 11 new tracks, collected under the title Funstyle, available for purchase at her official site. This release was surprising for reasons that went far beyond its semi-stealth timing! Seth Colter Walls and I decided to figure out "the deal."
Maura: OK, I am ready!
Seth: Well if you "are ready" to talk about this then you are ahead of 99% of the people who have listened to this record from Liz Phair, called Funstyle.
Seth: Maura — why did this happen?
Maura: I think I might be one of the few people who doesn't see Funstyle as a total [...]
Soprano Renee Fleming, "one of the most beloved and celebrated musical ambassadors of our time," according to her website, has just released Dark Hope, a collection of pop covers of songs by groups such as Arcade Fire, Death Cab for Cutie and Leonard Cohen. How is it? Seth Colter Walls and Zachary Woolfe discuss the album and the artist, who it might appeal to and what it means for opera.
A young woman's first time is special. It should be with an opera that cares, that wants to understand—well, no, really her first time should be with a sensually profligate, super-modern piece of crazy. And so, Mary HK Choi attended composer Alban Berg's 1937 opera, "Lulu" at the Met on Saturday. In it, she witnessed the tale of a woman whose unparalleled ability to manipulate members of the so-called "stronger" sex leads, ultimately, to a grim finale, with lots of lurid 12-tone music throughout.
Sweet fuck, am I ever tired of this wind and snow and cold and sniffling. I've been eating over half my meals at the diner that's 20 steps away from my front door, because walking anywhere-save for the subway line that takes me to work-has become untenable. The gym? The one that's two blocks away? Haven't seen it since January. And yet, this week, I plan to leave my apartment, post-sundown, for a non-work related engagement. It better be worth it. My whole reason for persisting through that entire awful month of February is riding on it. I suspect we're talking about the kind of awesome that makes a [...]