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Reviews published during 1998.
1998 Deconstructing Beck
Charlie Bertsch
Deconstructing Beck is an @ark/Illegal Art/Seeland Records release.
1998 Symptoms of Culture
Matt Wray
Symptoms of Culture is a book about how to read. In fact it's a convincing argument for the value of advanced literacy, with an eye towards uncovering the hidden politics of everyday life.
1998 How We Know What Isn't So: The Fallibility of Reason in Everyday Life
Steven Rubio
While Gilovich is concerned with the fallibility of human reason, his book is not anti-reason. Far from it.
1998 In Clover
Matt Wray
Tired of post-punk anthems of social dysfunction? Had enough of guitar-driven angst and anomie? Maybe you're ready to give The Lookers a chance.
1998 Matrikamantra
Mike Mosher
Lydia Lunch's lyrics cite solitude, stoicism, corpses and death, but no imagery really sticks. It's more bombastic, in the tradition of H.P. Lovecraft's horror than the subtle Romanian pessimist E.M Cioran.
1998 Ally McBeal
Steven Rubio
Ally McBeal is my most complicated guilty pleasure of the recent television season. If a television series is going to rise above the guilty pleasure, it must resonate beyond the show itself.
1998 A New Hope: Less Rock, More Talk
Megan Prelinger
Less Rock, More Talk has promise, but overall lacks consistency of depth, coherency of theme, and quality of production value.
1998 Who Bombed Judi Bari? and Mumia Abu-Jamal: Spoken Word with Music by Man Is The Bastard
Megan Prelinger
Who Bombed Judi Bari? and Mumia Abu-Jamal: Spoken Word with music by Man Is the Bastard are two benefit records that are being sold to publicize and financially support the legal battles of death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal and the late Earth First! activist Judi Bari.
1998 912 Greens
Steven Rubio
Ramblin' Jack Elliott had just turned 22 in the summer of 1953, when the events took place which he chronicles in Greens (assuming they did take place, which is somehow both irrelevant and crucial).
1998 No Exit for Seinfeld: A Consideration of the Final Episode
Annalee Newitz
Seinfeld ended its nine-year run on television as bleakly as it began, in a world where humorous one-upmanship is our only possible form of satisfaction. It's a perfect message for the economically and culturally depressed final decade of our second millennium.
1998 Futurist and Terraform
John Brady
Futurist and Terraform are the ninth and tenth releases by Shellac, Steve Albini's musical follow-up to his noiserockfuck project Big Black. More experimental and abstract than usual, both albums represent a departure from the band's previous material.
1998 Musical Perspectives EPs
Charlie Bertsch
All three discs foreground those aspects of the Sonic Youth sound that are least likely to appeal to impatient fans of what was once 'alternative music'...
1998 Jello Hits Stockholm
Devin Wilson
Outside the small, intricately decorated theater in southern Stockholm the assembled groups snubbed out their cigarettes and prepared for the performance. A group of red-faced, over-excited teens finished their cans of Jolt and bottles of Red Bull energy drink -- a mind-enhancer for the underaged.
1998 Mapping the Beat: Popular Music and Contemporary Theory
John Brady
Space is sexy. Not outer space, although that's quite popular. No, the space that's 'in' at the moment is the space we move through in everyday life: the urban space we travel through on the way to work, the public space that is the stage for our political protests and the space of cultural consumption we inhabit every time we get new vinyl in our hot little hands.
1998 Dance of the Headless Bourgeoisie and Super Milk
Megan Prelinger
Super Milk sounds like a soundtrack for a fast paced adventure through a bare urban landscape peopled by frantic folk shouting their ills through voice-distortion boxes accompanied by electric guitars.
1998 Ecology of Fear: Los Angeles and the Imagination of Disaster
Matt Wray
Whether he's writing for The LA Weekly, The Nation, Grand Street or the New Left Review, Mike Davis always writes to provoke.
1998 Live at the Hotel Utah
Megan Prelinger
The white-masked figure turned on the television and watched. His body language showed mock amazement and astoundedness at the fantastic deals the home shopping network was offering on autographed football merchandise.
1998 The War Against Parents
Scott Schaeffer
Once again, Cornel West takes on the world. This time, teamed with Sylvia Ann Hewlett, head of the National Parenting Association, West examines the sad state of parenting in America.
1998 Psyence Fiction
Scott van Till
It makes an odd sort of sense that the savior of hip hop, the musical soundtrack of the urban multinational technofuture, would come not from the big cities which claim the music as their own (like NYC and LA) but from the tiny outpost of Davis, CA, an agricultural township whose biggest claim to fame is its agricultural research.
1998 Sam McPheeters/Catholic Church 5
Megan Prelinger
"Give me liberty or give me death!" exhorts Sam McPheeters (of Born Against and Men's Recovery Project) in his rousing rendition of Patrick Henry's historic speech. I wish this monologue were clearer, the recording is fuzzy, and so is the intent.
1998 The Golden Triumph of Naked Hostility
Megan Prelinger
The Residents meet Born Against, then meet Tangerine Dream, then meet B-movie Sci-Fi film soundtracks... it is impossible to generalize about this record.
1998 Empty Bottles Broken Hearts
John Brady
Empty Bottles is a scorcher, offering up twelve songs of alcohol-fueled, blistering punk rock.

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