Author: Jon Caramanica

  • STILL GLOWING

    Billy Corgan couldn’t have looked more bored than he did playing playing the new Smashing Pumpkins single “G.L.O.W.” on the Jimmy Kimmel show last month. It’s a profoundly dour song, though it’s unlikely anyone will wonder about Corgan’s motivations too intensely: The song was recorded exclusively for “Guitar Hero World Tour.” (And given that, it’s […]

  • HOWDY BROOKLYN!

    This is the fifth year of the Brooklyn Country Festival, and what began with a scene rooted in simulation now has a feel of its own. No one here would say they don’t take their country seriously, but almost everyone peppers their faithfulness with heavy splashes of humor, especially the Newton Gang (Friday), Alex Battles […]

  • BLAZE IT UP

    Once, there was a time when Elephant Man headlining Hot 97’s reggae spectacular On da Reggae Tip was cause for abandon—he’s a consistently invigorating performer, with a proper disregard for taste. But this year, his name at the top of the bill feels like a concession to nostalgia, especially because his most recent album, Let’s […]

  • RHYTHM & SOUL

    The sound of Daptone Records is everywhere these days—unfortunately, that often means their affiliated band, the Dap-Kings, providing the soul engine for Amy Winehouse. But lest the label itself be overlooked, it’s collecting its artists for this all-afternoon Daptone revue. Headlining are Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, a vibrant retro-soul outfit who are at times […]

  • Body Count

    How does Ice-T find the time? One day he’s recording lo-fi dis videos aimed at Soulja Boy and posting them to YouTube. The next he’s acting on Law & Order: SVU. (OK, “acting”) Then he’s on Celebrity Family Feud! All that three-strike aggression must be coming out during this show by his not-as-bad-as-you-remember rock band […]

  • TEEN BEATS

    JoBros at MSG? OMFG. But take it slow, kiddies: That’s Only Made For God. The crypto-Christian pop rock made by the troika of brothers from upper New Jersey is unrelentingly clean and more musically astute than you might expect—and based on the few singles released thus far, their forthcoming album, A Little Bit Longer, will […]

  • SOUTHERN COMFORT

    A Kenny Chesney show is like a vacation for people who don’t allow themselves vacations—for a few hours, you can pretend you’re on a Caribbean island (at an all-inclusive, of course, heaven forbid you explore further), sip a little Cruzan Rum, and let the man serenade you with fantasies about trips you’ll never take. But […]

  • GRIME TIME

    A few years ago, UK grime star Dizzee Rascal began public life as an inscrutable live performer with tremendous songs. Over the years, he’s matured into a commanding stage presence, even if his latest material lacks the urgency of his debut. On last year’s Maths & English (mysteriously released in material form this year by […]

  • RISING UP

    A few weeks ago, Washington, D.C. rapper Wale played to a sweaty, packed Soho gallery in celebration of his Seinfeld-themed mix tape, The Mixtape About Nothing. As a conceit, the release was clever, but more interesting was Wale himself, an intricate rapper very visibly coming into his own. Being from D.C., he sometimes flirts with […]

  • LIGHT IT UP

    Eek-A-Mouse fans be warned: The legend got himself booted off this lineup for making racially insensitive remarks aimed at some of his fellow performers at the Carifest C.A.R.E.S press conference. Can you blame him, though? The other headliners are Matisyahu, the wildly popular Hasidic Jewish reggae artist, and Slightly Stoopid, who’ve been fusing reggae into […]

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