A Year of “Wichita Lineman” Covers

Back in 2017, I spent the year trawling the internet for interesting cover versions of the Jimmy Webb composition “Wichita Lineman.” Here’s a list of the versions I listened to and my notes on what I learned listening… Read More

A Year of “I’m Waiting for the Man” Covers

Back in 2016, I spent the year trawling the internet for interesting cover versions of the Velvet Underground song “I’m Waiting for the Man.” Here’s a list of the versions I listened to and my notes on what… Read More

“Not Artifacts but Traces”: Dreamlife on the Road

Road trips are inherently circular, right? You go in one direction, and then, unless you’re moving somewhere permanently, you have to turn around and come back again. There’s the promise of the return even in the first seeds… Read More

Tim Hecker’s Harmony in Ultraviolet

January is secretly my favorite time for listening to music. I mean, I’m exaggerating a bit. I’m always listening to music, and there’s no bad time to listen to music, ever. But over the past thirteen years that… Read More

Qodèxx Recording Diary

One of the best possible examples that my dad set for me, as a creative person, growing up, was that he collaborated with people. As I’ve talked about before, it’s hard to explain exactly what kind of musician… Read More

On The Divine Comedy’s IN MAY

To the best of my knowledge, In May is this: a chamber opera for one voice, its narrative unfolding as a series of letters from a youngish man dying of cancer to his father who is living in… Read More

Fifteen Thoughts About Jimi Hendrix on the Occasion of His Birthday

1. Rock music has, stylistically and technically, never moved beyond Jimi Hendrix. Fact. 2. My dad was a keyboard player with a trumpet fetish who mainly listened to jazz, show tunes, and doo-wop around the house, so I… Read More

The Perfect Cupcake

Late in the summer of 2010, I found myself participating in a two-day silent Zen meditation retreat. The temple that I belong to periodically hosts silent retreats of varying length—typically either two-day shorties or five-day intensives. This was… Read More

White Denim, The Cult of “Peg,” and My Musical Continuum

OK, wow, my extreme, deep, immediate love for this video of the band White Denim playing a cover of the Steely Dan song “Peg” puts me right at the center of a Venn diagram that I previously wouldn’t… Read More

Finding My Personal Best in My Best-Of Mixes

Surprise! 2015 is the bonus-track year! As I’ve documented before elsewhere, I started making year-end mixes back in 2004 as a way to avoid spending a ton of money on Christmas presents and to share some of my… Read More

What Bono Taught Me About Mesmerizing an Audience

I’ve never considered myself the biggest fan of the band U2. I mean, I’ve always liked them well enough—the big hits never fail to get my blood pumping when I hear them on the radio—but I think I’ve… Read More

Amy Winehouse and the Wholeness of Song

This is probably the dumbest thing in the world to admit out loud, but—I actually thought the recent Amy Winehouse documentary Amy was going to be about the music. After weeks of trying to get myself to the… Read More