Does anyone else feel like 2010 has been particularly flush with big-name indie-rock bands getting back together? Pavement and Guided By Voices aside, another seminal outfit reassembling for a tour this year is Cap'n Jazz, a midwestern group that helped establish emo back in the early '90s. For our print edition this week, Marc Hawthorne spoke to Cap'n Jazz guitarist Davey VonBohlen
, who explains what broke the band up in the first place, and says relearning 15-year-old songs is a strange form of self-discovery.
It's common knowledge that Jewish songwriters reworked classic black Americans songs into 20th-century pop hits. But the other side of the story -- the Jewish influence on black music -- isn't so well known. Ezra Gale writes this week
about a high-tech new exhibit at the Contemporary Jewish Museum
that unearths long-lost songs from black greats like Johnny Mathis, Aretha Franklin, and Nina Simone, revealing just how much classic Yiddish music shaped the legends of American soul, jazz and R&B.
Does Freddie Gibbs mark the end of gangsta rap? Writer Phillip Mlynar argues this week
that the lack of anything particularly controversial about Gibbs sets him apart from previous titans of the subgenre, whose music, lifestyle, or politics always found a way to offend the mainstream. Gangsta rap is supposed to be music one hides from their parents, Mlynar writes, but even Gibb's rhymes about violence and drugs won't shock many people anymore.