Prairie Pop: An interview with Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo’s brand of drone-rock is certainly hypnotic—narcotizing even—but their live shows are never boring. That has much to do with this threesome’s restless desire to switch up their act with each tour. I’ve seen them stage a variety show with comedians, perform straight-up rock shows in clubs, use a spinning wheel that lets […]

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Prairie Pop: For those about to pop

Regular Prairie Pop columnist Kembrew McLeod has turned over this month’s edition to Umläut Nideldick—the famous German song doctor and rock and roll life coach. The following text is drawn from Nideldick’s keynote address at the 2012 conference of the Eurovision Academy of Musical Arts. […]

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Prairie Pop: Girls got game

In the classic Destiny’s Child song “Say My Name,” the protagonist suspects that her man is cheating on her because his voice has changed: “Every other word is ‘uh huh,’ ‘yeah,’ ‘okay.’ Could it be that you are at the crib with another lady?” The woman, voiced by Beyoncé, demands reassurance through spoken language. Fully rejecting the idea that “actions speak louder than words,” Beyoncé argues for the importance of words themselves and the voices that speak them. Who else is there? What is your voice hiding? And why can’t you just say my name? […]

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DOWNLOAD: The “ILLBOARD” Hot 100 playlist – Kembrew’s guide to going (instru)-Mental this Christmas

DOWNLOAD THE PLAYLIST If you’re like me, Christmas songs probably send you into a murderous rage that ends with a trail of bloody reindeer and a decapitated Salvation Army Santa (those incessant ringing BELLS!). Fortunately, I have a plan to combat this musical menace that does not involve bloodshed. What you need is an impenetrable […]

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Prairie Pop: The Chump and the Champ

At the beginning of his professional boxing career, Cassius Clay was primarily known for winning an Olympic gold medal and possessing a loud mouth. Most sportswriters hated him, especially the old guard, who felt he was not properly deferential. The racist treatment by boxing crowds and journalists certainly would have justified Clay throwing his Olympic […]

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Brain Waves: MP3’s and the Science of Sound

“One of nature’s greatest wonders is the ability of the human ear to distinguish among the millions of sounds around us. Each sound has a distinctive pitch, loudness, and quality….these characteristics are determined by the frequency, intensity, and of sound waves which your ears pick up and analyze.” So begins The Science of Sound, a […]

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