Shorter Writings

I contributed stories and pop culture observations to many alternative weeklies throughout the U.S., beginning in 1991. Several of these works still reside online; a few have been collected in Lost Joy.

“How Sinatra Affects Us”

This American Life, February 21, 1997. Ira Glass of NPR learned I was a Sinatra fan and asked me to write something for TAL’s Sinatra episode. Around the same time, Sarah Vowell profiled me on TAL.

“Recently a roomful of people were almost killed by Frank Sinatra. I was there.”

“Love Tracks: Sloan’s Soundtrack for the Heart”

Boston Phoenix, February 27, 1997. I must have been feeling nostalgic when I wrote this.

“Abruptly it hits you: they’ve written a concept album about you, using the songs of your childhood!”

“Gone Today, Here Tomorrow: the Souled American story”

Boston Phoenix, July 8, 1999. This article discusses the band Souled American and provides some context for the postering project we conducted on their behalf in New York City in 1997.

“It’s hard to overestimate how indescribably different they sounded from other bands at the time.”

“Chance Encounters with Local Treasures: An Appreciation of Boston”

Boston Phoenix, August 5, 1999. Thanks to editor Jon Garelick for the rare opportunity to write about something other than music.

“The beast’s luminous blue skin had temporarily receded. I could the workers shelved between its ribs…”

Total Systems Failure

Village Voice, January 18, 2000. I only wish I could have complimented Spoon more. Year by year, they only get better.

“We had some good times, didn’t we, back when smart, sloppy groups had their shiny moment, back when the paying public seemed to’ve come over (at last!) to our way of thinking.”

“Ghost Town”

Village Voice, March 7, 2000. This piece about Califone was expanded into a novella called Hubcap Diamondstar Halo, soon to be republished in 3 by Camden Joy.

“Lying like some rebel soldier he imagines he is on the verge of remembering a great deal.”

“The Way The Cracker Crumbles”

Village Voice, March 28, 2000. Every time David Lowery recorded with producer Dennis Herring, good things resulted.

“‘I Hate My Generation’ turned out to be the single bad track on The Golden Age, a record so otherwise brilliant it hurt to look at for long.”

“Rattled by the Rush”

Chicago Reader, December 28, 2000. I was hired by Sia Michel at Spin to write about Pavement so I hung out with them. This story resulted.

“He’s very familiar with this part of town, where the sugarstalls are now…”

“Allan Wood’s 1918 Red Sox”

Seven Days, May 30, 2001. I really admired Allan’s work on this book.

“As with Shakespeare or Elvis, the Babe simply pounced from the shadows into the public eye.”

“The Almost Revolution”

Perfect Sound Forever, 2002. At last, my chance to write about Donovan!

“Back before life was okay imbeciles with feathered hair parted down the middle and no acne organized school dances, where everyone bumped and gloriously French-kissed while vomiting hard liquor down one another’s champion throats…”