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Matthew Ozga

Matthew Ozga is a writer living in Manhattan.

Passionless Play

Merritt’s 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 that—rather, he emphasizes the artifice of his songs by compartmentalizing them in thematically tidy albums.

Wolf Eyes: Trashing Eardrums in Red Hook

Wolf Eyes, a Michigan-based trio, are the current stars of the noise scene. They’ve made major fans in Sonic Youth, who have invited them on tour; they’ve played high-profile gigs at the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival in 2004 and 2006; and they’re even signed to a record label you’ve 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 you’d expect; listening to the title track through headphones is like rolling down a jagged mountainside in a flaming barrel.

Atrocity Exhibitions

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 Glockenspiel

The band of the year is Los Campesinos!, a crew of seven enthusiastic Welsh college kids—four guys and three girls, each with a Ramones-esque pseudonym (Harriet Campesinos!, Aleksandra Campesinos!, Ollie Campesinos!, etc.)

Outernational: Rockin’ in the Unfree World

Last October, Marxist agit-rappers the Coup headlined a show at Southpaw that also included Livesavas, Tom Morello, and an unsigned band that I’d never heard of called Outernational. ...

Sad Songs for the Sad Parts

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 Effect

On the off chance you haven’t heard of Pitchfork, here’s the backstory: In 1996, teenage slacker Ryan Schreiber launched 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.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

All Issues