CCAD prof, author and frontman reveals musical loves from Protomartyr to Prince
Robert Loss is an assistant professor in the Writing, Literature, and Philosophy Department at Columbus College of Art and Design and the frontman of local band Blind Engineer. Next week, Bloomsbury will publish his book of music criticism, “Nothing Has Been Done Before: Seeking the New in 21st Century American Popular Music.” The book launch takes place at the new Two Dollar Radio HQ bookstore, 1124 Parsons Ave., on Thursday, Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. Here are a few things he loves.
Last fall I blasted Protomartyr's The Agent Intellect in my car every day to keep myself from going insane during the presidential campaign. It didn't work, but it was fun to try. All of their albums, from No Passion All Technique to the new one, Relatives in Descent, are honest. Lead singer Joe Casey comes across like the brutal stand-up comedian we need these days.
Hearing music in public
The way a song spills out of an open car window, a marching band practice drifts through neighborhoods in late summer or — and this really happened — a flugelhorn playing "This Land Is Your Land" echoes through an airport. You're forced to hear things differently in a public space. Sometimes the music is horrible, but occasionally it's like overhearing someone's dream.
Ellen Willis, “Out of the Vinyl Deeps”
The late Ellen Willis was the first pop music critic for The New Yorker but grew tired of the music journalism biz by the 1980s. “Out of the Vinyl Deeps” collects her reviews and essays, and I come back to it all the time for her wisdom and style. She wrote with a scalpel.
The music in “Twin Peaks” Season 3
The Chromatics playing "Shadow" as we returned to the Roadhouse in the first episode was a perfect update of the series' aesthetic. Bonus points for Nine Inch Nails, Rebekah Del Rio, the Veils and the Platters' "My Prayer."
I devote a chapter of my book to Prince. He begins the prologue. He begins the epilogue, where I write that when he died in 2016, it felt like newness died with him. For however much his studio recordings faltered in the 2000s, he remained peerless live. Montreux Jazz Festival 2009 is still on YouTube. Don't tell anyone.