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.

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Music Reviews
5:49 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Lady: Two Soul Stalwarts Find A New Groove Together

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

Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 7:59 am

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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Music Reviews
12:26 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

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

Bill Withers onstage in 1973.
Fin Costello Redferns

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 10:38 am

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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Music Reviews
1:58 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

Two Attempts To Turn Summer Platinum Into Fall Gold

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

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 8:47 am

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Music Reviews
2:52 pm
Mon June 4, 2012

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

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

Originally published on Mon June 4, 2012 6:44 pm

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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Music Reviews
3:37 pm
Tue March 20, 2012

'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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