“what even is a review?”

A formidable question, posed by Mark Sinker at Freaky Trigger, and a fetching/daunting examination of its many contours and contradictions. The surgery begins with a complaint (from a friend of Mark’s) about Nick Tosches’ review of Black Sabbath’s Paranoid in Rolling Stone, I think because Tosches seems to not address the record itself. Which leads to a trail of thought that includes Flaubert, the Grotesque … Continue reading “what even is a review?”

Lester on Ringo & George (Hi-Fi Stereo Review)

The above appeared in the June 1975 issue of Stereo Review (formerly Hi-Fi Stereo Review), now archived here. The letters are in reference to a Bangs twin review, from March ’75 (one I’ve never seen before) of Harrison’s Dark Horse and Ringo’s Goodnight Vienna (a “metal-flake glow-in-the-dark music box”). More links to HFSR stuff ahead. Continue reading Lester on Ringo & George (Hi-Fi Stereo Review)

Interview with Raul Sandelin (dir. A Box Full of Rocks)

Because he’s so closely identified with Creem magazine and Detroit on the one hand, and New York City and post-punk on the other, it’s easy to forget that Lester Bangs’s roots lie somewhere else entirely, in the small-ish (current population less than 100,000) town of El Cajon, CA, just outside of San Diego. Raul Sandelin’s feature-length documentary, A Box Full of Rocks: The El Cajon … Continue reading Interview with Raul Sandelin (dir. A Box Full of Rocks)

Critical Collage: Metal Machine Music

“This record is not for parties/dancing/background romance. This is what I ment by ‘real’ rock, about ‘real’ things. No one I know has listened to it all the way through including myself. It is not meant to be. Start any place you like. Symmetry, mathematical precision, obsessive and detailed accuracy and the vast advantage one has over ‘modern electronic composers.’ They, with neither sense of … Continue reading Critical Collage: Metal Machine Music

“Fear of Everything”

So of course I always thought Talking Heads were about the individual human units (ha!—and fuck you, Fripp) response to cybernation, depersonalization, the effect of corporate consciousness on individual identity, all those great contemporary questions nobody can seem to come up with any real or workable answers for. Richard Hell was about the same thing on a darker, more hermetically selfenclosed/obsessed/possessed level, in fact the … Continue reading “Fear of Everything”