Seth Colter Walls

David Foster Wallace: On Line

It's easy to miss the small things when trying to scale a mountain all alone, obsessed with simply planting one foot after another. Same goes for books so long that reading them seems like scaling K2.

A McCartney Tour Guide

Usually, when a music legend announces, "And here's a song from my latest record," the unspoken response from the audience is "OK, but you'd better follow it with some hits." Sometimes this dynamic makes sense; mega-artists tend to draw big crowds even after the muse of inspiration has long since left the building.

Seth Colter Walls Responds to Commenters

NEWSWEEK's music critic Seth Colter Walls wrote a piece last night describing how Michael Jackson's music failed to win him over as a fan. A lot of you commented, most of you stating (like stuff mcgee) that "while you give him [Jackson] some credit, you fail to recognize the level of sheer genius that MJ possessed."  Others, like stanbrakhage, wrote that "while I totally agree with you, I'm not sure our voice--the voice of the condescending hipster--makes for a necessary addition to all the...

Elvis Costello: An All-American Boy

You don't have to listen to the music of Elvis Costello (born Declan Patrick McManus in London) to know he's obsessed with Americana. First, there's that stage name.

Kanye West: Author

Feel the world is beating you down? Kanye West, a man frequently at battle—with, say, the president, or with Grammy voters—has written a short volume of aphorisms titled Thank You and You're Welcome.

A Song and a Chat With Elvis Costello

By Seth Colter WallsIn his more than 30-year career, Elvis Costello has partnered up with everyone from Johnny Cash to Paul McCartney and the Charles Mingus Big Band.

Jazzy Mash-Ups

If Ellington went indie, he'd sound something like Darcy James Argue.

Steve Reich on Winning the Pulitzer for 'Double Sextet'

By Seth Colter WallsMinimalist composer Steve Reich, a true giant of American music, was finally given a Pulitzer Prize this week. Still in a hurry, at age 72, to finish his latest piece, the speed-talking Reich spoke with NEWSWEEK's Seth Colter Walls.

Worth Your Time: German Composer Bernd Zimmerman

When David Foster Wallace hanged himself last year, mourning quickly gave way to talk of an unfinished novel. But while we wait for the book, I've been taking comfort in Wallace's early, exuberant fiction, which—compared with his bleak, later work —clearly delighted him nearly as much as it has delighted me.Wallace's creative and emotional trajectory brought to mind German composer Bernd Alois Zimmermann, who killed himself in 1970.

Indie Interview: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

The tension in music between innovation and devotion is particularly tight on Indie Avenue, where a band's work can be harshly evaluated based on its influences, while a simultaneous pressure to define a unique sound is undeniably stronger than in the Top 40 universe.

Listen to Bob Dylan's Album, 'Together Through Life'

Bob Dylan is on a roll. After taking seven years to pen "Time Out Of Mind," another four to make "Love and Theft," and then touring for half a decade while musing on "Modern Times," he is delivering a follow-up album of new material faster than at any point since 1990.

Q+A: Bob Mould On Staying Vital, and Accepting His Legacy

Punk legend, alt-rock mainstay, "Daily Show" theme song composer: Bob Mould has got the icon thing covered. In April, the veteran musician is set to release his eighth solo studio album since the 1988 implosion of Hüsker Dü. (That tally doesn't even count Mould's other influential band, Sugar.) If the title, "Life and Times," suggests an artist in reflective mode, that's not too surprising: Mould is currently toiling on his memoirs, to be published by Little, Brown in 2010.

First Audio From Sonic Youth's New CD, The Eternal

Photo: Andrew Kesin A couple weeks back, we received an invitation from Matador Records to come listen to Sonic Youth's latest record, "The Eternal," over at the label's Manhattan HQ, and I was happy to accept on behalf of NEWSWEEK.

A 'Terrible, Horrible, No Good' Media Trend

The wave began in the spring of 2007, as then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales prepared to face an inquisition over the U.S. attorney firings scandal. The licking of liberal chops was so heavy that predicted in advance a "terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day" for Gonzo. (And so it was.) Since then, according to Nexis, that same "terrible, horrible" string of words has appeared in news stories nearly 50 times.They're all allusions to Judith Viorst's classic 1972 children's book...

Classical Music at the Grammys: Championing the Underdogs

Compared to the play-it-safe pop music instincts of Grammy voters -- rightly derided by Joshua Alston below -- the winners on the classical side reflected a surprisingly cutting-edge taste Sunday night.As in: Are you for serious that the Los Angeles Opera's slick DVD of Kurt Weill's "Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny" (see trailer below) took home both the Best Classical Album and Best Opera Recording awards?

Obama's Affirmative Action Test

How will the Democratic candidate deal with potentially divisive ballot initiatives calling for an end to affirmative action?

Deal Close for 2nd Fla. Primary

A plan to raise soft money to pay for a second Florida Democratic primary--this one by mail--seems close to approval, according to Sen. Bill Nelson.