Tom Moon

Tom Moon has been writing about pop, rock, jazz, blues, hip-hop and the music of the world since 1983.

He is the author of the New York Times bestseller 1000 Recordings To Hear Before You Die (Workman Publishing), and a contributor to other books including The Final Four of Everything.

A saxophonist whose professional credits include stints on cruise ships and several tours with the Maynard Ferguson orchestra, Moon served as music critic at the Philadelphia Inquirer from 1988 until 2004. His work has appeared in Rolling Stone, GQ, Blender, Spin, Vibe, Harp and other publications, and has won several awards, including two ASCAP-Deems Taylor Music Journalism awards. He has contributed to NPR's All Things Considered since 1996.

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First Listen
7:03 pm
Sun February 15, 2015

First Listen: Dan Deacon, 'Gliss Riffer'

Dan Deacon's new album, Gliss Riffer, comes out Feb. 24.
Frank Hamilton Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed February 25, 2015 6:07 am

The glissando (gliss for short) is a musical term describing the sound of an instrument as it glides from one pitch to another. A favorite trick of jazz hornmen and slide guitarists, the gliss can be a woozy, gleeful sound or a mournful one. When executed by a virtuoso violinist, the notes between the start and the finish of the gliss blur together into a gorgeous, ribbonlike swoop of sound.

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First Listen
7:03 pm
Sun February 8, 2015

First Listen: José González, 'Vestiges & Claws'

José González's new album, Vestiges & Claws, comes out Feb. 17.
Malin Johansson Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue February 17, 2015 5:42 am

He asks a lot of questions, this José González.

He opened his last album, 2013's band project Junip, with a thought experiment Nietzsche could love: "What would you do if it all came back to you?" The song, "Line Of Fire," dwells in a mood of idle 3 a.m. musing; González tosses out existential/metaphysical conundrums like he's feeding bread to ducks — casually, without worrying much about concrete answers.

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First Listen
7:03 pm
Sun February 1, 2015

First Listen: The Districts, 'A Flourish And A Spoil'

The Districts' new album, A Flourish And A Spoil, comes out Feb. 10.
Ryan Farber Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue February 10, 2015 10:16 am

Countless bands perform a variation on the medium-uptempo edge-of-rage eruption perfected by the likes of the Pixies and Green Day. It's become so ubiquitous, you almost don't have to listen: It's possible to get a headline-news sense of the song without fully apprehending the words. The spike in the guitar attack and the rawness of the vocal help telegraph the outline of a narrative: Here we are in the aftermath of a relationship in turmoil. Trust is broken. Someone's been wronged. Wounds are fresh.

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First Listen
7:03 pm
Sun January 4, 2015

First Listen: Dan Mangan + Blacksmith, 'Club Meds'

The new Dan Mangan + Blacksmith album, Club Meds, comes out Jan. 13.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 6:39 am

You can tell a lot about a songwriter by what occurs in the space between verses. Many writers — hacks and gifted souls alike — will treat an instrumental expanse as a kind of please-stand-by strumming wallpaper, a palate cleanser for the ear. In this strategy, derived from folk music, the focus remains forever on the narrative; the "action" in a song directly depends on the voice.

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Music Reviews
10:16 am
Tue November 18, 2014

Bryan Ferry Slinks Home

Bryan Ferry's new album, Avonmore, revisits his Roxy Music heyday.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue November 18, 2014 2:32 pm

The opening groove in "Loop De Li," the first song on Bryan Ferry's new album, Avonmore, might as well be a "Welcome Home" sign.

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