The Riff

Introducing The Riff. A place to share your musical story.

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Photo by Jisu Han, Unsplash

We started The Riff out of frustration.

It was at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis and I was reading Anthony Kiedis’s memoir Scar Tissue.

I’ve always liked the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but my connection with their music fell deeper after reading the book. I wanted to write about that connection.

Unfortunately, I was not able to find a good place to do so.

As a listener who doesn’t play instruments, I feel that writing is another art form I could take on to enhance my intimate connection with music. …

Album of the Week #8

Discussing the Cincinnati-based superstar’s debut, +NSTYNCT.

Chloe Hotline’s latest album recently landed on my radar. Since following her career for the past few months, I was really excited to hear what she had in store: and have not been disappointed.

Image of Chloe Hotline’s Debut Album +NSTYNCT
Image of Chloe Hotline’s Debut Album +NSTYNCT
Photo by Chloe Hotline from Bandcamp

+NSTYNCT is Chloe’s debut album, following a string of singles, EPs, and a previous full-length project in 2018, Cynthia. Chock full of eclectic features, varied instrumentals, and engaging hooks, it’s a moody, and moving record that has an iridescent sheen to it. …

Live Concert Series PT 7

A B-52's experience

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Photo by Tony Shostak on Unsplash

As a grad school student in the 1980’s, I often found myself in places I couldn’t have imagined an hour before I arrived. In one of these places — a house one street over and down from my apartment — I remember entering a large room, and in it were a bed, a dresser, an old chair, and several people sort of lounging as if the day, or the year, had totally depressed them.

Everyone wore a variation of black, and no one much was talking or even that interested that a stranger to them had shown up. …

I want to feel like the baddest chick in the game — don’t you?

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Screenshot from “Cry Baby” video

These days, I’m listening to more female rappers than ever before. I think my brain just got sick of male rappers constantly putting down women — and especially Black women.

Songs by male rappers usually zap my energy if I think about them too hard. Whenever I listen to female rappers, I feel like the baddest chick on the planet.

Guess I need to switch up my Spotify playlists — don’t you think? Below are a few of the songs I’ve got on repeat.

1. Buss It — Erica Banks

When I first heard “Buss It” I immediately understood why it went so viral. The…

Swift continues to dominate the music industry with an acoustic guitar, relatable lyrics and an unforgettable image.

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Photo by Raphael Lovaski on Unsplash.

When 16-year-old Taylor Swift released her debut song “Tim McGraw” in June 2006, no one thought this blonde Pennsylvanian would become a dominant force in the music industry.

She’s arguably one of the most influential musicians in recent years. Whether you like her or not, there’s no denying Swift has taken the music world by storm.

In 2014, she completely switched from country to pop with her critically acclaimed album “1989,” initiating her image as a pop star.

Since then, four more album followed, including 2017’s “Reputation,” 2019’s “Lover” and in 2020, two new unexpected sister albums called “Folklore” and…

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The 1960s was a watershed era for blue-eyed soul, with multiple hits by the Rascals, Mitch Ryder and the Righteous Brothers. Add the Box Tops, whose 1967 “The Letter” became a number one single that would sell four million copies.

The band had been together four years before they were discovered by Memphis DJ Ray Banks, who asked Chips Moman of American Sound Studio to give them a break. Moman passed the group onto his assistant Dan Penn, who was anxious to produce his own records.

When the Box Tops arrived at American Sound in 1967, Penn was surprised that…

Shades of Computer Blue

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photo by Joseph Rodriguez

(Note: In the spring of 2020, COVID-19 quarantine began and everything else stopped. Live concerts stopped. The world stopped. I wrote this piece during the first couple of months of the pandemic. The isolation was just sinking in. A year later, it still rings true. Now, more than ever, the memory of live music is worth preserving.)

Prince played a show to 40,000 people in my hometown last week. And I missed it.

Yes, I’m aware the performance occurred some 35 years ago. But it felt live, like something communal and immediate, because the Prince Estate had just released a…

The music of my coming of age

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Photo by Namroud Gorguis on Unsplash

I was born in 1982, so in terms of music, the ’80s hold no interest for me. I’m not into hair bands. I appreciate a good Whitney Houston power ballad as much as the next person, but she’s not making my road trip playlist. I contemplate murder when my husband blasts Huey Lewis (sorry, Christopher Robin). Maybe I was too young for the ’80s since they never really got a hold on me’ (throwback reference there, thanks, Smokey Robinson).

The ’90s, though? The ’90s were it.

First music memories

My first real memory of being interested in music was in 3rd grade. We…


B-52's- “Legal Tender”

A black and white photo of the band The B-52's.
A black and white photo of the band The B-52's.
Photo: Richard McCaffrey/Getty

When you think of hotbeds of music, certain cities stand out; New York, Chicago, London. Sometimes Seattle gets a nod. But a unlikely college town in Georgia has also gifted us several bands. REM, Pylon, and the B-52's all got their start in Athens Georgia.

Starting in the mid-Seventies, the B-52’s have always been known for their unique sound and party band atmosphere. When you think of the them, popular songs like “Love Shack” and/or “Roam” probably first come to mind. You likely also either love or hate them, and the odds are pretty good you’ll hear one of the…

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MF DOOM/King Geedorah. Flickr@Kmeron.

King Geedorah, Garfield Fleming, Dry Cleaning

These 3 tracks come straight out of the queue for the recycling centre on a typical Saturday morning. With bags of garden waste piled up to my neck around me in the car, I’ve got a guest DJ spot to a very receptive crowd of one.

These are the tracks I’m spinning for myself.

Obviously though, with the window cracked in the hope that someone else will hear and we’ll share that nod of knowing approval that music heads do.

1. King Geedorah, “I Wonder”, 2013

There’s no bigger thrill than discovering a new artist. Stumbling across this 2013 hip hop album, Take Me To…

The Riff

A new publication on music and how it’s impacting our lives ❤

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