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13 shots to the dome

The 10 hours and 29 minutes of LL Cool J’s career
What to do with LL Cool J?
By: RICHARD BECK  |  September 03, 2008


Okkervil River

The Stand Ins | Jagjaguwar
The real problem with taste here is that Sheff doesn’t have any.
By: RICHARD BECK  |  September 02, 2008


Death Vessel

Nothing Is Precious Enough For Us | Sub Pop
My only criticism of Death Vessel’s second LP is their trouble with slow songs. Otherwise, it's an astonishing forward leap for this Brooklyn-based folk group.
By: RICHARD BECK  |  August 19, 2008


The play’s the thing

The audial oddities of Blevin Blectum
“I like rhythmic structure,” Bevin Kelley says on the phone from Providence, where she lives.
By: RICHARD BECK  |  June 30, 2008


Silver Jews

Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea | Drag City
Wry, witty, and weird, this not-quite-coherent set of songs is a more freewheeling tour of lead singer David Berman’s increasingly playful lyrical sensibilities.
By: RICHARD BECK  |  June 24, 2008


Diminishing returns

The Hold Steady make it hard to Stay Positive
For a while, Hold Steady lead singer Craig Finn wrote terrific stories.
By: RICHARD BECK  |  July 09, 2008



Kanye West and Rihanna at Tweeter Center, May 15, 2008
Kanye’s music more than lived up to his visual and conceptual audacity.
By: RICHARD BECK  |  May 29, 2008


Bangers + Mush

Dizzee Rascal and El P at the Middle East Downstairs, May 11, 2008
About five years ago, when grime came crashing through the gates, many thought that England had finally found a homegrown answer to American hip-hop.
By: RICHARD BECK  |  May 21, 2008


The Roots | Rising Down

Def Jam
Def Jam
By: RICHARD BECK  |  May 12, 2008


Here's the beef

MIT's Steer Roast at Senior Haus at MIT, May 2-3, 2008
Standing underneath a leaky tarp, I looked across the courtyard and saw a guy pushing mud around with a stick. That was kind of a low point.
By: RICHARD BECK  |  May 06, 2008


Pimp and circumstance

Wu-Tang Clan at Harvard University "Yardfest," April 18, 2008
Some 45 minutes into the Wu-Tang Clan’s afternoon performance in Harvard Yard, Raekwon took a moment to describe his audience.
By: RICHARD BECK  |  April 22, 2008



Black Habit | Paw Tracks
The members of the Brooklyn-based trio Rings — Nina Mehta, Abby Portner, and Kate Rosko — are hippies with focus.
By: RICHARD BECK  |  March 05, 2008


The low end

The bassline house invasion
The British rave revolution of the late ’80s/early ’90s is accurately viewed as the source of the ever increasing number of dance genres in the UK.
By: RICHARD BECK  |  February 26, 2008



Free at Last | Roc-a-Fella
The Philly native isn’t the popster they hoped he would be.
By: RICHARD BECK  |  February 05, 2008



Digital Shades, Vol. 1 | Mute
M83 do something unexpected on Digital Shades, Vol. 1 , diving headlong into ambient music.
By: RICHARD BECK  |  December 26, 2007


Fiery Furnaces

Widow City | Thrill Jockey
There’s plenty in the way of ambition on Widow City, but little substance to back it up.
By: RICHARD BECK  |  December 03, 2007


August Rush

An antidote to intelligence and insight
Kirsten Sheridan’s movie is about Music: how Music connects all of us, how Music is everywhere, how all Music is uplifting, dammit, no matter what.
By: RICHARD BECK  |  November 20, 2007


The Cool School

An uncool conventional film
It’s interested in the scene — and as scene movies go, it’s a clunker.
By: RICHARD BECK  |  October 31, 2007


Tierney Gearon: The Mother Project

An art film about family
Gearon garnered enormous amounts of attention — both good and bad — when nude photos of her young kids went up in a London gallery.
By: RICHARD BECK  |  October 31, 2007


Heavy metal overdrive

High on Fire, Middle East Downstairs, October 11, 2007
Metal can be one of pop’s funniest, loudest, most compelling genre exercises.
By: RICHARD BECK  |  October 15, 2007


The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

One of the year's best movies
In Andrew Dominik’s revisionist Western, Jesse James is not a character.
By: RICHARD BECK  |  October 05, 2007

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