Milo Miles

Milo Miles is Fresh Air's world-music and American-roots music critic. He is a former music editor of The Boston Phoenix.

Miles is a contributing writer for Rolling Stone magazine, and he also writes about music for The Village Voice and The New York Times.

Music Reviews
12:51 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Fight Sound With Sound: Grateful Dead's Arena Combat

Dave's Picks Volume 9 features a 1974 Grateful Dead concert played in Montana.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 3:47 pm

The same week that Neil Young introduced his Pono music player designed to spark a huge boost in audio fidelity, I listened for the first time to a recording of a Grateful Dead concert I attended almost 40 years ago. And I realized that passions about good-sounding music go through cycles. Today, the lo-fi medium is MP3s through earbuds.

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Music Reviews
4:15 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Before He Joined Congress, A South African Janitor's Disco Past

Penny Penny.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 5:12 pm

The appearance of Penny Penny's Shaka Bundu in the American market is welcome not only in itself, but also as a sign of a larger trend. Five or six years ago, it was clear the music business was going into long-term sales decline, and I was certain that a prime victim of that would be African pop. The established imports of the '80s and '90s would be available as MP3 downloads, but surely new discoveries and reissues would slow to a trickle, if not cease altogether. I'm grateful that that has simply not happened.

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Music Reviews
1:04 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

Will The Real Llewyn Davis Please Stand Up?

Dave Van Ronk at the 1968 Philadelphia Folk Festival.
Diana Davies Courtesy of Smithsonian Folkways

Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 2:15 pm

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Music Reviews
4:32 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Europe Swings The Body Electric

The members of Caravan Palace are practitioners of electro-swing.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 5:46 pm

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Music Reviews
1:40 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Sylvester: 'Mighty Real' Disco Star Deserves A Modern Spotlight

Sylvester's 1978 album Step II resulted in a couple of smash singles, "Dance (Disco Heat)" and "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)."
Fantasy Archives

Originally published on Tue July 16, 2013 4:29 pm

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Music Reviews
10:48 am
Thu May 30, 2013

Festival Au Desert: Music Of Peace Not Silenced By War

Tartit performs at the Festival au Desert.
Chris Nolan Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 9:20 am

Long ago, one of my college history professors hammered home a durable truth: "If you love art," she said, "you should hate war." Because some art is always among war's victims.

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Music Reviews
12:02 pm
Mon February 4, 2013

Yo La Tengo: Decades In And Far From Fading

Yo La Tengo's new album is titled Fade.
Carlie Armstron Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 1:19 pm

Yo La Tengo wouldn't seem to be very rock 'n' roll, given that it's a very stable and long-lasting operation. Since 1991, the lineup has consisted of a married couple — drummer Georgia Hubley and guitarist Ira Kaplan, along with bassist James McNew — and all three play additional instruments as needed. Yo La Tengo has been with the same label, Matador, since 1993. But if the band lacks rock dramatics, I would argue that it knows as much about the modes and manners of rock 'n' roll as anyone who has ever played the music.

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Music Reviews
1:06 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

Analog Players Society: A Party Cooked Up In A Studio

The Analog Players Society was assembled by a producer and percussionist in his mid-30s who calls himself Amon.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 1:58 pm

Albums made by collections of professional studio players once had a bad reputation with the traditional rock audience. Such works were supposedly arid and chilly — more like the results of a board meeting than the recorded adventure of an organic group of fabulous friends. Some music fans may still feel that way, but they are few. Nowadays, a tight-knit gaggle of session musicians like the Analog Players Society gets points from traditionalists simply because the music is made by flesh and blood.

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