No One Else Sounded Like Ronnie Spector

In Ronnie Spector's 1990 book Be My Baby, there's an interesting chapter about her singing voice among the jaw-dropping allegations of brutal torture. She claims she was intimidated by the other female vocalists in Phil Spector's stable: she didn't have Darlene Love's or Fanita James's huge, gospel-trained voices. The producer, on the other hand, had […]

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‘A Trip Through Time': Missing Palestinian Revolutionary Music Gets Restored

In the spring of 2020, when Covid-19 swept the globe, Mo'min Swaitat, a Palestinian actor and filmmaker based in London, found himself stuck in his birthplace of Jenin, West Bank. He was lured to the shuttered Tariq Cassettes, a music store and record label he knew from his boyhood that had closed down years ago, […]

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Wet Leg on Music, Silliness, and Their Unexpected Success

How can a song by an unknown band acquire 6.5 million listens? It was difficult to tell in the days before streaming, when we still used "popular" instead of "viral," and it's much more perplexing today. Facebook would have created an algorithm for it if they had known. That hasn't prevented reviewers from spinning their […]

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Covers Review: Converting Magnificence Into Sufficiency

If Chan Marshall's 11th album included all of Cat Power's songs in their original form, it would be a fantastic playlist. It would be genre-spanning, taking in everything from forgotten classics (country superstar Kitty Wells' It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels) to beloved classics (Nico's These Days), from obscure numbers by obscure artists […]

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The Forgotten Heroes of English Music

My play started in an epiphany, but it would take me ten years to complete. I had written it off as a failing effort until Roxana Silbert of Hampstead Theatre prompted me to revisit it. Covid intervened, and the production was delayed, leading me to believe it would never be broadcast; nevertheless, BBC Radio 3 […]

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