Illusion of the Cage

Rainy night

Through splintered, fraying edges, the nerves entwined, crisscrossed wire thatch, a crooked window standing akimbo, mist sprinkled on the sill. A light wind sweeps the drops across the room. A forearm is grazed, my eyes fixated on the… Read More

Death of the Espresso Elite


Pete and I have an ongoing debate. He likes to hit up Cielo on Main St; I prefer Intelligentsia on Abbot Kinney, or, not wishing to deal with the line, Deus ex Machina on Lincoln and Venice. I… Read More

Aloe Blacc’s Ticking Bomb

Aloe Blacc in San Diego. Photo by Derek Beres

In 2005 I was turned onto Aloe Blacc via his song, ‘Bailar—Scene 1.’ It was a hot track, with its funked out trumpet and guitar meshing with his whispery, matter-of-fact swagger, bubbling into a sung-rapped Spanglish flow. While… Read More

Getting High with…Snake Venom?

Snake Venom Milking by flickr user Orin Zebest.

When I first saw the title ‘Getting High Injecting Snake Venom,’ part of Vice’s exceptional mini-documentary series, I recoiled from a cavalcade of thoughts, none of them positive. Perhaps it was a childhood fear of snakes, which I… Read More

Confused at Coachella


The thrill of musical discovery has long played a huge role in my life. Part of the reason I became a world music journalist was to help expose Americans to music they had no idea existed, to sounds… Read More

Never Make A Hungarian Laugh


“Do you have anything by Beata Palya?” The clerk had a plump red face that looked out with annular eyes. He turned to the man with a cane, perched upon a bar stool chair behind him. The pair… Read More