Ken Tucker

Ken Tucker reviews rock, country, hip-hop and pop music for Fresh Air. He is a cultural critic who has been the editor-at-large at Entertainment Weekly, and a film critic for New York Magazine. His work has won two National Magazine Awards and two ASCAP-Deems Taylor Awards. He has written book reviews for The New York Times Book Review and other publications.

Tucker is the author of Scarface Nation: The Ultimate Gangster Movie and Kissing Bill O'Reilly, Roasting Miss Piggy: 100 Things to Love and Hate About Television.

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Music Reviews
9:09 am
Tue May 13, 2014

Ray LaMontagne Finds The Bright Side On 'Supernova'

Ray LaMontagne's new album is called Supernova.
Samantha Casolari Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue May 13, 2014 1:02 pm

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Music Reviews
6:33 am
Mon May 5, 2014

tUnE-yArDs: Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing

tUnE-yArDs.
Holly Andres Courtesy of the artist.

Originally published on Mon May 5, 2014 9:43 am

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Music Reviews
8:51 am
Wed April 23, 2014

For Jessica Lea Mayfield, Sometimes Sanity Is The Better Option

Jessica Lea Mayfield.
LeAnn Mueller Courtesy of the artist.

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 10:44 am

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Music Reviews
7:57 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Jon Langford Sings Our Impulse To Destroy

Jon Langford with Skull Orchard.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 10:54 am

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Music Reviews
10:15 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Vertical Scratchers: Slashed Chords, Fractured Poetry

Vertical Scratchers.
Joseph Amario Courtesy of the artist

The members of Vertical Scratchers don't have to pretend: They are free spirits, making music that is at once tightly composed, whimsical and anarchic.

The vocals on a Vertical Scratchers song tend to be high-pitched and yearning. John Schmersal creates harmonies from his vocal tracks that have a keening romanticism. His guitar lines are a series of slashed chords — vertical scratching, and thus the band's name. At the same time, there's a compressed intensity to the tunes, which uncoil with a snap, again and again.

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