Almanac Page One

If you are reading this, there’s a good chance that you already know most of what I’m about to write. But on this big Internet there is still a chance that a stranger will darken the digital doorway, and if that’s you, I’m happy to have you here. My name is Tris, and I am […]

i had to say this

Think of your favorite movie, or your favorite book, or your favorite painting, or pop song. Think of an argument that reached you through print, or a scene that moved you through the power of celluloid. It is a dead cinch that not so long ago, that scene, or that speech, or that argument or […]

Critics Poll XXVI — Results

Consensus worries me. When I was seven, a strong consensus developed at summer day camp that I was funny-looking. Nobody wanted to sit with me. This consensus opinion may well have been accurate; current conditions around the orbit of my face suggest to me that it was. But you can see how I might be […]

Critics Poll XXVI — Singles

I used to think of Pitchfork as the critical equivalent of the Outback Steakhouse — not a destination in itself, but a place you might wind up at for reasons beyond your control. There you’d be served up something thick and oily, overseasoned yet somehow bland, and you’d consume it joylessly. At the end of your visit, you’d wonder why […]

Critics Poll XXVI — My Ballot

KRS-ONE once said that he didn’t understand how a person who didn’t know hip-hop could call himself an American. This is the sort of inflammatory (not to mention self-serving) rhetoric we all expect from the Teacher, but I expect you know what he means, and you might even agree. Hip-hop is American culture. If we didn’t have hip-hop, […]

Critics Poll XXVI — My ballot, part II

Single of the Year 1. Ezra Furman — “Lousy Connection” 2. Chvrches — “Clearest Blue” 3. Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment — “Sunday Candy” 4. Tame Impala — “Cause I’m A Man” 5. The Decemberists — “Make You Better” 6. Drake — “Hotline Bling” 7. Kendrick Lamar — “King Kunta” 8. Natalia Lafourcade — […]

Conspiracy!

Although his killing made the news and was officially acknowledged by the President, I’d wager most Americans don’t know who Ahmad al-Awlaki was. Members of our government sure did, though: before al-Awlaki’s death by drone strike and maybe even after, he was counted among the most dangerous people in the world. The San Bernardino mass […]

Trembling Blue Stars — Alive To Every Smile

Act: Trembling Blue Stars Title: Alive To Every Smile Year: 2001 Format: Ten song LP. From: London. That’s rainy suburban London, mind you — the London where the architecture is monotonously pretty, and a double-decker bus splashes muddy water all over your trousers. Genre/style: There’s good reason to call Trembling Blue Stars a tweepop band, and […]