Sasha Frere-Jones on Muck Rack

Sasha Frere-Jones Verified

Background image by Hugh Moss
Music Critic — The New Yorker
As seen in:  The New Yorker, Guardian

Depth on the Dance Floor: The Music of DJ Sprinkles — In 1970, when he was twenty-one, Gil Scott-Heron released his début album, "Small Talk at 125th and Lenox." The opening track, "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised," was an instant classic, but the album also featured a song that many fans would rather forget, called "The Subject Was Faggots."

This Charming Man — Considering how American the feeling is, there should be a word in English for the despair that attends our moments of racial atomization. Every few years, an event flares through the unsheathed wiring of our collective guilt, enmity, and shame, and it feels like we have fewer words than ever.

Bob Dylan’s “The Basement Tapes Complete” — On July 29, 1966, Bob Dylan became distracted while riding his motorcycle. Nobody knows what caught his eye-he told Sam Shepard that it was the sun; he told the biographer Robert Shelton that he hit an oil slick-but he ended up at the bottom of a hill in Woodstock, New York, with his Triumph beside him.

What’s Lost When the Cloud Replaces CDs — Recently, while moving my CD collection to new shelving, I struggled with feelings of obsolescence and futility. Why bother with space-devouring, planet-harming plastic objects when so much music can be had at the touch of a trackpad-on Spotify, Pandora, Beats Music, and other streaming services that rain sonic data from the virtual entity known as the Cloud?

I Am a Camera: An Interview with Rachel Kushner — "The Flamethrowers," Rachel Kushner's second novel, has been widely and justly praised, including in this magazine. The book brings together the seventies art world, the First World War, motorcycle racing, and political upheavals in the U.S. and Italy without forcing any connections.

The Bush Doctrine — In 2001, the former Sex Pistol John Lydon called the British singer and songwriter Kate Bush "fucking brilliant," and earlier wrote a song specifically for her to perform (she declined). In 2004, the Atlanta rapper Big Boi told the Observer that Bush was his favorite artist of all time.

Ambient Genius - The New Yorker — In January, 1975, the musician Brian Eno and the painter Peter Schmidt released a set of flash cards they called "Oblique Strategies." Friends since meeting at art school, in the late sixties, they had long shared guidelines that could pry apart an intellectual logjam, providing options when they couldn't figure out how to move forward.

Eric Church and Luke Bryan’s Expansive Country Music — In July, Nielsen SoundScan released its midyear sales figures. The top-selling album, at 2.7 million records, was the soundtrack of the animated movie "Frozen." Second, selling almost two million fewer copies, was Beyoncé's self-titled album. Third, not far behind, was Eric Church's "The Outsiders," released in February. At No.

Object of Interest: The Vocoder — The vocoder-part military technology, part musical instrument-has had quite a history. In our new Object of Interest video, we explore the vocoder in settings ranging from the Second World War to Kraftwerk parties, featuring interviews with Laurie Anderson, Cozmo D, Dave Tompkins, and Frank Gentges. Nate Lavey is a video producer at

What Can’t Be Sung: Xiaolu Guo and Nellie McKay in Conversation with Sasha Frere-Jones — Do novelists, poets, and musicians explore culture in different ways? How do they tell stories of introspection? Do the processes of writing music and writing literature speak to each other? How do they map the past and present in our increasingly connected world?
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Nov 23, 2014

Tonight is when we warm up for Sam Smith winning all the things this year

Nov 23, 2014

My freshman year roommate had a hand painted keyboard taped to his desk and would play along to George Winston / I loved him

Nov 23, 2014

the stakes are incredibly high in Big Country songs I feel like I am letting them down somehow

Nov 22, 2014

men in black t-shirts folding up mic stands while men in sparkly skirts nap on monitors

Nov 22, 2014

Late to this but happy: Junior's is not disappearing, and the building is not being sold. (via @amNewYork)

Nov 22, 2014

@sleafordmods hhaa thanks. All the wonky bits have now been corrected. It will go into tubes of history now.

Nov 22, 2014

@earlboykins I counted only three when I left / we did not make it until 8 AM but a few were out for the count

Nov 22, 2014

@sleafordmods all being fixed online / garden variety copy mayhem / our collective bad

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