Strange Currencies Blog

  • Year Three in Review
    Since Strange Currencies was inaugurated on December 31, 2019, it’s become something of a custom to send each year off with a look back at the site’s previous twelve months. The shorthand version that one might find in such a recap of our third year would go a little like this: first five months = lots of activity, focused on the continuation of the “theme months” that we began in 2021; next three months = Strange Currencies almost becomes an exclusively garage rock site; last four months = mostly crickets… In September, I laid out the rationale for the relative… Read more: Year Three in Review
  • A Sort of Hiatus…
    I’d like to think that when I started Strange Currencies at the beginning of 2020, I did so with few delusions. I figured that supportive friends would check it out regardless; that those who were particularly into music would continue to read from time-to-time and share it with others who might be interested; and I assumed that, occasionally, certain articles might find their way beyond the realm of my friends and acquaintances. Not only have all of these things transpired, but the site has maintained a modest, loyal readership, and has seen growth in virtually every month since its founding.… Read more: A Sort of Hiatus…
  • Another Year of Strange Currencies
    Today marks the second anniversary of the founding of Strange Currencies Music. Coming into year two, I had several goals for the site – each of which was met with at least some degree of success. The most tangible of these was to increase the site’s readership, and I’m happy to report that Strange Currencies experienced 500% growth from its first year to its second. More importantly, we’ve continued to define – and refine – our own niche among the plethora of music-centric websites. Most notably, our embrace of “theme months” has given us an opportunity to create a sense… Read more: Another Year of Strange Currencies
  • On Rejuvenation, Community, and Album Ratings
    I registered the domain for Strange Currencies in the final minutes of December 31, 2019. It was on that same date that officials in Wuhan first reported a concerning cluster of pneumonia cases. By the time that the first article appeared on this site a few weeks later, COVID-19 had been identified, and had already spread from China to Thailand. Needless to say, the year-and-a-half that this site has existed within has been unprecedented. From a musical standpoint alone, we’ve adapted to curbside pickup at record stores, livestreams replacing concerts, and artists finding both inspiration and limitation in a world… Read more: On Rejuvenation, Community, and Album Ratings
  • Strange Currencies Re-Dedicated
    Today marks the beginning of a new era for Strange Currencies. For the past sixteen months, this site has largely served as my own outlet – partly by design, and partly by circumstance. When other voices have appeared – as in the In the Wilderness feature and the Strange Currencies Podcast – they have been accompanied by mine. With the conclusion of the A Century of Song project, the time has come to expand Strange Currencies into something new. In my original “Prospectus” for this website, I spoke of my lack of an angle. It’s through a year-plus of solo… Read more: Strange Currencies Re-Dedicated
  • Phil Spector, 1939-2021
    To be an obsessive fan of any artistic medium forces one to often wrestle with the “separating art from artist” argument.
  • A Year of Strange Currencies
    It was on New Year’s Eve last year that I secured the domain, and began putting a years-in-the-making plan into action. I never could’ve predicted the backdrop that would end up accompanying the first year of this endeavor, but if I could find a personal silver lining to spending much of 2020 in a state of quarantine – that’s a major if – I suppose it could be that I was afforded a lot of “extra” time to further cultivate my own little corner of the online world. It wasn’t until late January that I actually got around to… Read more: A Year of Strange Currencies
  • The Empires Strike Back
    I don’t come from a family of musicians. I have memories of my great uncle and uncle (neither blood-related) playing guitar at family gatherings, but – aside from a keyboard that I had as a young kid – it wasn’t until my older brother bought a guitar and drum set during my seventh grade year that I was a part of a “musical family.” In fact, of the three sons in my family, I was the last of us to have a guitar – but the only one who stuck with it. While I don’t have musicianship in my bloodline,… Read more: The Empires Strike Back
  • All Roads Lead to R.E.M.
    “Why Strange Currencies?” Because it had to be an R.E.M. reference. There were other options that I liked just as much, or perhaps even more, but none that checked off the most important box: that the site would be named after the band most responsible for my lifelong obsession with music. R.E.M. wasn’t the first band that I loved – that would be U2 – but they were the first band that I loved that I never felt the need to apologize for. They aren’t the band whose catalog is most thoroughly seared into my long-term memory – that would… Read more: All Roads Lead to R.E.M.
  • Prospectus
    About a year ago, a friend of mine asked a perfectly reasonable question when I told him that I was thinking about starting a music website. “What’s your angle?” I hadn’t really thought about an “angle,” per se, but essentially, the question – at least my interpretation of it – came down to “why?” Why me? What authority did I have as a writer, or as a music critic? Why did the internet need another middle-aged, white, middle class, suburban male sharing his opinion on anything – especially something so common as music? I had no answer. I still don’t.… Read more: Prospectus