Author: Sam Chapman

Listen To This Music

Since I write one of these pieces a week, there’s no possible way to stay on top of all of the worthwhile music being released. So, in order to remedy all of my oversights, I decided to compile some of my favorite releases of the year. Hopefully you’ll forgive me for not mentioning some of these earlier.

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Lisa Prank: Antidote To Rational Adulthood

It’s hard to be a teen. No generational group receives quite as much bad press as teenagers. They’re derided as impulsive, dramatic, petty, pretentious, reckless, and shallow. As an experiment, I typed news about teenagers into Google. Here are a sample of the results that came up on the first page:

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A Soundtrack for Critical Thinking

As consumers we have economic, and therefore cultural and political, power. Refusing to critically examine the content that you consume, simply because it’s uncomfortable, is, at the very least, irresponsible.

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The Divine Revelation of Raven Matthews

Raven Matthews. Photo by Ivan Mršić. There’s a lot of bullshit music floating around on the internet. The fact that any kid with a synthesizer and Soundcloud can produce and disseminate their work in an instant is incredible, but for every M. I. A. or Grimes that burst out of obscurity with groundbreaking sonic experimentalism, there is a veritable mountain of musical garbage to sort through. Sifting through so much crappy DIY music means that discovering a singular artist can seem like some kind of divine revelation. Such was the case with Raven Matthews. To be fair, I first...

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How Could You Possibly Be Disinterested In Tacocat?

Whenever we talk about aesthetic judgment, we’re gonna have to talk about Immanuel Kant. Even here, in an article about a Seattle punk band, there’s no ignoring the big, 18th century, German elephant in the room. In his Third Critique, Critique of Judgment, Kant outlined an aesthetic framework which has gone on to become one of the most influential in Western aesthetic philosophy. Whether or not they realize it, pretty much anyone who publicly passes judgment on a work of art owes a debt to Kant–this reviewer included. After all, what’s a concert write-up if not an aesthetic judgment...

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The Question of SOPHIE

Late on Sunday night, stumped on how to begin this concert review, I did what any truly great music critic would do in a time of need–I got on the internet. I found myself on YouTube, watching (for what I believe is the 3000th time) Madonna’s 1990 MTV performance of Vogue. In what would become one of her most iconic moments, Madonna appears onstage, dressed as Marie Antoinette in full Rococo paint and ball gown, surrounded by a cavalcade of dancers wearing cravats and hot pants. It doesn’t seem like anything wildly inventive or interesting, and in some ways...

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Kacey Musgraves Made Me Love Country

It’s often hard to like country. In the pantheon of American music it’s right up there with metal in the most-likely-to-get-sneered-at category. Truthfully, it’s not hard to understand why. There is a lot of terrible country music. A large chunk of mainstream country music tends to be overly-sentimental, deliberately folksy and dull. Country and conservative politics also often seem irrevocably married. For listeners who may feel may not agree with sentiments like “we’ll put a boot up your ass/ that’s the American way,” this can be understandably off-putting. When I was younger, I used to tell people that I...

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