Sideways Moves

I wrote about the new album from the rapper Rick Ross, titled Master Mind. (Here’s hoping he names the next one Minder Mast.) Ross put out a powerful album in 2010, Teflon Don; since then, he’s been moving sideways. How long can an artist tread water?

See the piece here. Below, one of the singles from the new release, “Devil Is A Lie,” which features the best guest verse Jay-Z has delivered in some time.

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Loveless

I wrote about two new albums from Dawn Landes and Lydia Loveless for Splice Today. Both women get a lot of mileage out of classic pop themes–Landes leans towards folk and country, while Loveless works more in the Tom Petty/Pretenders/Stevie Nicks mode. Below, the title track to Landes’ album “Bluebird.” Read the piece here.

(The dancer in this video, Storyboard P, recently earned a profile in The New Yorker.)

Babyface

I wrote about Babyface–a songwriter, producer, and singer who has a Motown-like ability to get smooth black pop accepted by white audiences–for Splice Today. Babyface recently put out an album with the singer Toni Braxton, a frequent collaborator. Read the piece here and check out a Babyface-Toni Braxton #1 hit from the ’90s below.

Vocal Weirdo’s

I wrote about three new rap mixtapes that all play around with vocals for Splice Today. See the piece here.  “Dirty Dancing,” from Young Hoodchiano, below.

Strong Chemical Feelings

I wrote about two new country-leaning albums from Doug Paisley (Strong Feelings) and Robert Ellis (Lights From The Chemical Plant) for Splice Today. See the piece here. For the Times‘ Jon Caramanica on Ellis, see here. Ellis performs his grim “Only Lies” below.

Lonesome, Down, and Out

I wrote about Jason Eady’s excellent new country album, Daylight and Dark, for Splice Today. Read the piece here. I got to interview Eady for the piece as well. A live performance of Eady’s “Lonesome, Down, and Out” below.

 

Chez Les Ye-Ye

A new book came out that that focuses entirely on female French pop singers–mainly the Ye-Ye girls that captured the international imagination for a brief time during the mid-’60s. See my piece on the book here.

A classic number from Frances Gall:

 

Wigging Out

I wrote about Stephen Malkmus’s new album, Wig Out Jagbags, for Splice Today. See the piece here. Malkmus has now put out more albums solo or with his group the Jicks than he did with Pavement, the ’90s rock band that made him famous. Check out “Summer Babe” from Pavement’s first album.

Marci Beaucoup

I reviewed Marci Beaucoup, the third album from the New York ’90s hip-hop loving rapper Roc Marciano. Read here.

 

High Hopes

Springsteen’s newest album, High Hopes, works in the same mode of pretty much every Springsteen album since 1978. I wrote about it for Splice Today. Here’s a live version of one of the more tragic songs on the album, “The Wall.”

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