Milo Miles

Milo Miles is Fresh Air's world-music and American-roots music critic. He is a former music editor of The Boston Phoenix.

Miles is a contributing writer for Rolling Stone magazine, and he also writes about music for The Village Voice and The New York Times.

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Music Reviews
11:09 am
Wed December 21, 2011

El Rego: A Singer From Benin With Soul And Funk

El Rego, the godfather of Benin funk, and his band The Commandos.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 11:16 am

It may seem counter-intuitive, but the history of world music proves that unfamiliar instruments and rhythms cross borders much more readily than vocal styles. There's no question that, starting in the late '60s, soul and then funk became very popular in sub-Saharan Africa. Decades of reissues show that a lot of players found their way into electric guitar, and that enriching the big beat of the West was a cinch for African percussionists.

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Music Reviews
10:00 am
Fri November 25, 2011

Iron Butterfly Stretches Its Wings On 'Fillmore East'

Iron Butterfly circa 1970.
Michael Ochs Archives Getty Images

Before Led Zeppelin, there was Iron Butterfly — these days, a very misremembered band from Los Angeles. Maybe it was the movie industry all around, but '60s garage-rock in L.A. had an expansive, almost cinematic streak. Iron Butterfly was not the most inventive band on that scene, but it became the most famous because of a single, durable, out-of-nowhere hit, "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida." The song was 17 minutes long, and the proper thing to do on underground radio stations was the play the whole thing.

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Music Reviews
9:36 am
Tue October 18, 2011

'Turkish Freakout': A Musical Turkish Delight

Bouzouki Joe Records

The relentless quest to reissue every decent piece of rock 'n' roll from the '60s and '70s long ago exhausted the U.S. and U.K. warehouses. The new trend for the past couple years is to dig up all sorts of so-called "funk" and "garage rock" from countries around the world. This has worked fine in Africa and South America, though few potent new performers have come to light. The surprise has been Turkey, forever underestimated and overlooked in the Western market.

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