Matthew Ozga is a writer living in Manhattan.
Passionless PlayBy Matthew Ozga
Merritts entire songwriting project has more than a hint of cynicism to it. He churns out his love songs with assembly-line efficiency, a fitting work schedule for a guy who idolizes prolific, professional tunesmiths like Irving Berlin, Stephen Sondheim, and anyone who ever toiled nine-to-five in a Brill Building cubicle. His songs are his product, and he makes no attempt to hide thatrather, he emphasizes the artifice of his songs by compartmentalizing them in thematically tidy albums.
Wolf Eyes: Trashing Eardrums in Red HookBy Matthew Ozga
Wolf Eyes, a Michigan-based trio, are the current stars of the noise scene. Theyve made major fans in Sonic Youth, who have invited them on tour; theyve played high-profile gigs at the All Tomorrows Parties festival in 2004 and 2006; and theyre even signed to a record label youve heard of (Sub Pop, the label that made Nirvana famous and vice-versa.) They are, perhaps, the deepest musically of all the current noise bands. Their latest album, Human Animal, has all the requisite moments of brutality youd expect; listening to the title track through headphones is like rolling down a jagged mountainside in a flaming barrel.
Atrocity ExhibitionsBy Matthew Ozga
At some point during the next couple of years, Keith Moon, Janis Joplin, Joey Ramone, Freddie Mercury, Darby Crash, Dusty Springfield, Bob Dylan, the Notorious B.I.G., Doris Troy, Jeff Buckley, Iggy Pop, Brian Wilson, and James Brown will all, as they say, get the biopic treatment.
Punk, with Occasional GlockenspielBy Matthew Ozga
The band of the year is Los Campesinos!, a crew of seven enthusiastic Welsh college kidsfour guys and three girls, each with a Ramones-esque pseudonym (Harriet Campesinos!, Aleksandra Campesinos!, Ollie Campesinos!, etc.)
Outernational: Rockin in the Unfree WorldBy Matthew Ozga
Last October, Marxist agit-rappers the Coup headlined a show at Southpaw that also included Livesavas, Tom Morello, and an unsigned band that Id never heard of called Outernational. ...
Sad Songs for the Sad PartsBy Matthew Ozga
Pop-music geeks are fickle, hyper-opinionated boys and girls whose idea of a good time is endlessly debating such heady topics as, What’s the best Smiths album?
Gauging the Pitchfork EffectBy Matthew Ozga
On the off chance you haven’t heard of Pitchfork, here’s the backstory: In 1996, teenage slacker Ryan Schreiber launched pitchforkmedia.com from his parents’ house in suburban Minneapolis, writing all the CD reviews himself. Interviews and features (mostly top-100 lists) followed, but the meat of the site was, and remains, the reviews, which grade records on a ten-point scale. Pitchfork grew in size and influence, soon becoming notorious for the “Pitchfork Effect”—a rave from Pitchfork can thrust an unknown band onto center stage at the Hammerstein; a bad review means “Nice knowin’ ya!” Pitchfork now averages 160,000 visitors each day. It’s a safe bet, however, that of those 160,000, zero would admit to actually liking Pitchfork.