The Zags: Power-Pop Perfection

 

One of my favorite bands of the moment is the Zags, a hook-infested Portland group headed by veteran songwriters David Ricardo and Stanton Hall. They have the pop concision thing down; in all of their work I sense a continuous…

Five Books That Influenced Begin the Begin

The following five books have greatly influenced my writing and thinking about music. This is the best nonfiction I've come across on rock 'n' roll, but I say that with a caveat: I have not yet read Life by Keith…

DC Reading and Book Signing

Washington DC Event

I will be doing a reading and book signing for Begin the Begin: R.E.M.'s Early Years at the Mansion on O Street on June 25 at 6:30 PM. The event is free, but you will need to…

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Glenn Watson

Really enjoying How's the Weather There?, the new EP from Australian songwriter Glenn Watson. This is ostensibly a debut, but he has clearly been doing this for a while. The songcraft is assured, drawing from the likes of R.E.M., Tom…

Begin the Begin: Artwork Outtakes

I had this harebrained idea that I would illustrate my own book. This despite the fact that I haven't taken art seriously since high school. As it turns out, it's not like getting back on a bicycle; I bailed after…

New Book Announcement: "R.E.M. The Early Years"

I have waited a long time to make this announcement. My forthcoming book is R.E.M. The Early Years. This deep-dive into the origins of a great American band has been in the works since 2012 and will see release in…

New Les Biches Track and Blurt Piece

A big highlight of 2017 for me was the opportunity to work with one of my musical heroes, Keith Joyner, in promoting his new band les biches. Blurt posted a piece this week that includes excerpts from the band bio…

Political Beats: Hall and Oates

It was a huge honor to be invited onto National Review's new music podcast "Political Beats" this week to discuss the career and legacy of Hall and Oates. If, like me, you have been earnestly seeking that sweet spot where…