Elevate Difference

Reviews by Peter Piatkowski


The sophomore set from the Texas-hailed band is a challenging listen that may tax some listeners due to the consistent, if sometimes, monotonous sound.

The Annie Lennox Collection

There are some striking facts that become evident when listening to this collection of the former Eurythmics frontwoman: first, how similar her music sounds to her work with Dave Stewart— lots of thick, fat synthesizers and glassy dance beats.

Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South – An Oral History

The African-American community and the gay community have come under scrutiny since the passing of Proposition 8 banning gay marriage in California. Black voters reportedly came out in unprecedented numbers to support the ban, furthering the stereotype of rampant homophobia among the black community.  Northwestern University professor E.

Tibet Travel Guide (7th Edition)

The torch-lighting ceremony in Paris, disrupted by protests highlight the still-contentious controversy of Tibet’s relationship with China. A cause of activists for years, pro-Tibetan demonstrators argue that the Chinese government’s heavy-handed policies and treatment of Tibet result in gross human rights violations, including unfair imprisonment, torture and death. Such troubling events could make Tibet a questionable destination for your next trip.

Lonely Planet: Los Angeles & Southern California (2nd Edition)

Writing guide books for cities as widely visited as Los Angeles can be challenging. One is faced with the question: what’s left to write about? All the usual suspects make an appearance in the _Los Angeles & Southern California _entry of Lonely Planet’s guide series: Universal Studios, Disneyland, Rodeo Drive, the Ivy. For readers – most notably L.A.

Hard Candy

The great thing about following Madonna’s musical career is to see just exactly what sort of musical guise she’s going to adopt next. She’s always been heralded for her chameleon-like ability to change her image, but she’s equally restless with her musical style, letting her brand of dance-pop change along with her image. Her latest, her last for long-time label Warner Brothers, before her switch over to the record-breaking deal she inked with Live Nation, _Hard Candy _partners Madonna with some of the best urban-pop producers working today.

Remixed and Reimagined

Billie Holiday has been lauded along with Joni Mitchell, Judy Garland, and Aretha Franklin as one of the greatest female artists of the 20th Century. The appeal of Holiday was her pained and pinched vocals; she did not have a pretty voice, and the biggest part of her appeal laid in the rough edges of her whiskey-sour pipes. Because one listens to Billie Holiday for emotional truth, it is a little disconcerting to think of Billie Holiday dance music.

Franchise Player 02

Joey Youngman’s Franchise Player 02 is an excellent collection of dance songs marketed for sophisticated urban hipsters, who prefer their dance music steeped in brainy jazz music.

Downside Up

Alison Ray’s debut, Downside Up is obviously influenced by Melissa Etheridge and Sheryl Crow. Besides the bland production, Ray’s voice is problematic: while it may be charming, it sounds terribly unripe – imagine if Paula Abdul got her hands on Sheryl Crow’s backing tapes. The best songs on the album are the ones that take advantage of her thin vocals. The album’s first single, “Does the D.J.

Franchise Player 01

Dance music, by definition, is meant for dance floors, but it would be mistake to assume that dance artists are lazy or unskilled. JT Donaldson is known as an important house music producer and remixer who not only creates music that is enjoyable to dance to, but also is compelling and aesthetically intriguing. The work of dance music producers often is undervalued because they are lumped in with disposable genres, like disco or dance-pop, but Donaldson deserves the acclaim he’s garnered for his work.