Oliver Wang

Oliver Wang is a music writer, scholar, and DJ based in California. Since 1994, he's written on popular music, culture, race, and America for outlets such as NPR, Vibe, Wax Poetics, Scratch, The Village Voice, SF Bay Guardian, and LA Weekly.

Wang begins work as an assistant professor in sociology at Long Beach State this fall; He also hosts the renowned audioblog soul-sides.com. For more information, visit o-dub.com.

4:32pm

Wed October 22, 2014
Music Reviews

Music Review: 'You're Dead!' By Flying Lotus

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 6:28 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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4:36pm

Fri October 18, 2013
Music Reviews

The Poets Of Rhythm: A Troop Of German James Browns

Originally published on Sat October 19, 2013 10:33 pm

The Poets of Rhythm were a group of young retro-soul musicians from Germany. An anthology of their work was recently released.
Julian Rosefeldt Courtesy of the artist

1:42pm

Tue June 18, 2013
Music Reviews

Kanye's 'Yeezus' Packs A Bite

Originally published on Tue June 18, 2013 6:18 pm

Kanye West at his album listening party at Milk Studios last week in New York City.
Shareif Ziyadat FilmMagic

4:25pm

Tue June 4, 2013
Music Reviews

Shuggie Otis: 40 Years Later, Still An 'Inspiration'

Originally published on Wed June 12, 2013 11:25 am

Shuggie Otis' Inspiration Information was first released nearly 40 years ago.
B+ Courtesy of the artist

This isn't the first time Shuggie Otis' masterpiece, Inspiration Information, has been reissued — but that's OK. It's an album that absolutely deserves to be rediscovered every decade or so.

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3:09pm

Wed May 15, 2013
Music Interviews

Laura Mvula's Velvet 'Moon' Is A Revelation

Originally published on Fri May 17, 2013 9:33 am

Laura Mvula's debut is ambitiously confident, as if she and her band had perfected their sound years ago.
Courtesy of the artist

The very first notes on Laura Mvula's new album feel like a powerful invocation. You're not sure for what, but the moment is awesome — with an emphasis on awe.

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4:14pm

Wed May 8, 2013
Music Reviews

On Two New R&B Albums, An Old Soul Sound That Glows

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 5:55 pm

Charles Bradley was signed by Daptone Records partly because of a James Brown act he used to perform. His new album is Victim of Love.
Darren Bastecky Courtesy of the artist

It's tempting to describe the voices of Charles Bradley and

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6:00pm

Thu March 14, 2013
Music Reviews

Lady: Two Soul Stalwarts Find A New Groove Together

Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 8:59 am

R&B singers Nicole Wray and Terri Walker have teamed up as the duo Lady.
Courtesy of the artist

R&B singers Nicole Wray and Terri Walker both had promising starts to their careers more than ten years ago. Wray came up on the Virginia coast under the wing of mentor Missy Elliott. Walker, a Londoner, was classically trained yet released her debut on a Def Jam subsidiary. Both enjoyed early critical success but by decade's end struggled to find a wide audience. Instead, they found each other.

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1:26pm

Mon November 19, 2012
Music Reviews

Bill Withers: The Everyman Singer With A Poet's Soul

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 11:38 am

Bill Withers onstage in 1973.
Fin Costello Redferns

Bill Withers' very first single became a breakout hit in 1971. He would go on to record nine albums over the next 14 years, and all of them are now available on a new box set, The Complete Sussex and Columbia Masters.

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2:58pm

Tue September 18, 2012
Music Reviews

Two Attempts To Turn Summer Platinum Into Fall Gold

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 9:47 am

Carly Rae Jepsen and the cover of Kanye West's latest album, Cruel Summer.
Vanessa Heins Courtesy of Universal Music Group

3:52pm

Mon June 4, 2012
Music Reviews

'Personal Space': Relics From Synth Soul's Early Days

Originally published on Mon June 4, 2012 7:44 pm

Electronic soul artist Jeff Phelps with his synthesizers.
Courtesy of the artist

Early synthesizers were supposed to imitate or re-create other existing sounds, but as anyone can tell you, they mostly sounded like synthesizers. That distinctive whine and wheeze captivated all manner of pop artists, from prog-rockers to classical composers to soul musicians. However, back then, synthesizers were so expensive and bulky, you needed a major-label budget and an entire studio wall to install them.

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4:37pm

Tue March 20, 2012
Music Reviews

'The Medium Is The Massage': A Kitchen Sink Of Sound

Artwork for The Medium Is the Massage.
Courtesy of the artist

Few 20th century thinkers predicted the 21st century era of social media and the Internet better than Marshall McLuhan. Beginning in the 1960s, the Toronto-based philosopher and scholar began to theorize about how television and radio were changing society, creating what he termed the "global village."

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3:28pm

Tue February 21, 2012
Music Reviews

A 'Giant Anthology' Of Profile Records, Rap's Early Champion

Originally published on Wed February 22, 2012 12:59 am

Profile Records never meant to get into the rap game, but the label launched the careers of rap groups like Run-D.M.C.
Frank Micelotta Getty Images

Before the rise of Def Jam as hip-hop's definitive record label, there was Profile, which helped shepherd in some of the genre's early shifts in sound and style. A new two-CD anthology, Giant Single: The Profile Records Rap Anthology, chronicles the label's 15-year history and legacy.

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