The New Yorker has a great new profile on singer-songwriter / human treasure Phoebe Bridgers, whose new album, Punisher, will be released on June 19. Any interview with Bridgers is a delight, even if you're not a fan of her work. But what really makes this article stick out is its relationship to coronavirus quarantine.
Author Amanda Petrusich initially follows the standard form for one of these type of marquee-musician magazine profiles — embedding herself in the subject's life over the course of a few months, getting them to open up about personal stuff as the journalist explores their home and discusses the creative process, et cetera. I don't mean that to sound flippant; Petrusich is an absolute master of that form. Except the form itself is threatened when Petrusich and Bridgers both end up quarantined (separately) shorter after the initial embedding begins. But Petrusich endures, and finds a way to make it work, using FaceTime to tour through Bridgers' life in Los Angeles and even speak with the singer's mother in her childhood bedroom. This is almost certainly made easier by the fact that Bridgers is already a candid and confessional artist, but it still makes for a very unique profile that illuminates both the artist at the center of it, and the unprecedented time at which the journalism was happening.
It's also available to listen to on Audm.
Phoebe Bridgers’s Frank, Anxious Music [Amanda Petrusich / The New Yorker]
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Nardwuar the Human Serviette has been a music journalist since the 1980s. Some musicians don't appreciate his unusual personality (look at members of Blur bullying him*), but no one has ever accused him of not doing his homework, as evinced in the video above.
Here's Nardwuar at TEDxVancouver in 2011 explaining how he does his work:
Punk Rock Journalist Nardwuar the Human Serviette wants to take you on a journey into his do-it-yourself world of investigation and adventure. Through hard work, meticulous preparation and a tremendous passion for finding out interesting facts and tidbits, he sets the stage for unexpected situations and spontaneous reactions. It is an upfront and unconventional style that has resulted in verbal attack, physical threats, desertions, and some the most insightful and genuinely engaging conversations with the biggest names in music and popular culture you might ever witness.
[*Update 6/21/2107: In 2011, Blur drummer Dave Rowntree (who became a politician for London's Labour party, apologized for bullying Nardwuar. He wrote:
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There has been some speculation as to why I accepted a recent blog comment linking to a clip of me bullying the Canadian journalist Nardwuar in 2003.
The reason is, that I can't take the credit for the things I've done that I'm proud of, without taking the blame for the things that I'm ashamed of.
And this is definitely one of the things I'm ashamed of.
There's no excuse for my bullying, and the reason I did it is perhaps nearly as sordid.
As I've written in the past I became addicted to cocaine during the nineties.