All the News That Didn't Fit

On the Record

The Olympia Connection, Or Lack Thereof


The Numbness Is Just a Bonus

Hiphop City


Soul by the Pound


Incest is Best

The Rise and Fall of the N-Word


If You Don't Have Anything Nice to Say, Tell the Truth Anyway

You Don't Own Me

Summer Lovin'

Stagger Lee

Music to Lose Your Job By

Boy, You Sure Can Take the Fun Out of Music


Stuart Braithwaite From Mogwai

Going to New York City?


A Whole N'other Level

Who Says Morrissey Fans Don't Get Laid?


Not Modest Enough

Readers of the New York Press have long since figured out that one of their music columnists is none other than M. Doughty, singer for Soul Coughing, writing under an assumed name. Besides writing gosh-darn-catchy songs, M. seems to have a talent for writing a weekly music column without ever talking about bands. But in the 2/16 issue, he broke several precedents, writing under his own name, and writing about an actual band: his own, naturally.

Doughty writes not so much to plug his own band, but to complain about his rock star life. Basically his problem is that his band's label, Slash, was a division of Warner Bros. before it was sold to London, which was in turn sold back to Warner Bros. He's so confused about the whole deal, he doesn't know who to ask for more money. Plus, he's such a devoted rock star that he lies awake at night wondering which enormous corporation is going to be bankrolling, distributing, and promoting his next album and making sure it gets on to MTV and the radio. You know, M., I had to squander my insulin money to put out a 7" that got reviewed in two zines and sold five copies, but I really feel for you, man. The guy's a whiner, but at least he's a decent writer, which is more than I can say for a few music critics I can mention....

Like, for one, my old pal Eric Weisbard, taking a break from his Village Voice gig to write this about the Smashing Pumpkins in Spin: "Yes, [Jimmy Chamberlain's] drug addiction played a direct part in the 1996 fatal OD of touring keyboardist Jonathan Melvin, an unforgivable embarrassment. But you need him to rock, you want to rock, you have to rock." -- And AC/DC salutes you. But to refer to a man's death as a mere "embarrassment"? I'm sure that was the first thing on his family's mind when they heard the news: how embarrassing.

It's bad enough that Seattle Weekly had to name their music column with the painfully bad pun Metro Gnome. Can they at least stop whoever writes the thing from making it worse by saying things like, "It's Gnome-body's fault but mine, you might say."?

"This band Spite is the realest thing I ever saw on a stage. So. Does that mean I 'like' these four gentlemen's 'music'?" -- Do you think L.A. Weekly's Greg Burk ever makes "quote marks" with his "hands"? Or uses "words" like "realest" that don't really "mean" "anything"?

"Upon rereading Lolita, you'll be prepared to make a convincing case that the allusive sexual ephemera surrounding [Britney] Spears make her the fleshy actualization of Nabokov's text." -- Alec Hanley Bemis in L.A. Weekly, trying and failing to prove that he isn't wasting his Master's degree by writing about teen pop stars.

Here's a highlight from Jeff Chang's interview with Scritti Politti's Green Gartisde, from the San Francisco Bay Guardian: "GG: A long time ago now! It was recorded, what, two and a half years ago. JC: Does it feel like the past to you now?" -- You mean the stuff that happened a long time ago? How could that feel like the past?

Greg Kot, in Rolling Stone, does a fine job of eulogizing Mark Sandman, but makes the puzzling choice of calling Sandman's band Morphine "an introspective funk band" -- That's kind of like calling Belle & Sebastian a cheery hardcore band. The Mothership would have to veer pretty far off course to wind up in Sandman's territory.

And finally, the Sampler would like to give an honorary mention to someone who isn't a music critic, but is just as incapable of using the English language. I'm speaking of our likely next president, George W. Bush.

"Dubya" on education: "Is our children learning?" -- They're not learning grammar, apparently.

On the Cold War: "It was a dangerous world, and we knew exactly who the 'they' were." -- No, we knew who The The were. Or are you thinking of Van Morrison's old band Them?

On an anti-Bush website, and the freedom of speech that protects it: "There ought to be limits to freedom." -- This could very well be W's "nothing to fear but fear itself."

On compassionate conservatism: "...most importantly, making sure that government is not the answer to people's problems." -- That's what this country's been waiting for; the "don't expect anything from me" candidate.

He may not write about albums, but he butchers the language with style, and he's done enough coke to be a rock star, so George W. Bush, you're our honorary Music Critic of the Month! MIKE VAGO