Jesse Jarnow

Hi! I’m Jesse. I’m a writer and a DJ on WFMU. The Frow Show airs live late-night every Monday from 9pm to midnight on WFMU–91.1 in NYC, etc.–and wherever in time-space you are through my playlist page. I’ve got a highlights reel of favorite articles and miscellaneous writing.

You can follow along with whatever I’m currently doing by way of Twitter. I occasionally publish a more personal newsletter, dispatched judiciously, with book news, recent articles, Frow Show updates, links, and other ephemera. For the past few years on Twitter, I’ve been posting the results of a tape-by-tape Grateful Dead listening project, compiled starting here.

My newest book, Wasn’t That a Time: The Weavers, the Blacklist, and the Battle for the American Soul came out on Election Day 2018 via Da Capo Press. Recent liner note projects include Grateful Dead LPs of 2/28/69 at the Fillmore East, as well as the Dead at Giants Stadium (both the big box and the standalone release of 6/17/91), the 2019 Woodstock box sets, and the forthcoming Garcia Peoples album.

Heads: A Biography of Psychedelic America was published by Da Capo in 2016, and–as of September 2018–is available in the universe as a paperback.

Big Day Coming: Yo La Tengo and the Rise of Indie Rock came out in 2012 via Gotham Books. You can acquire it via Powell’s or other fine book purveyors. A Spanish translation by music journalist Ignacio Julià is available through Sones. I’ve posted lots of other YLT related material on this site, including Hanukkah notes and a reader’s guide to the book.

All episodes of the Frow Show are archived. I hosted a season of the Alternate Routes podcast, spotlighting independent music not available on Spotify and major streaming services.

I’ve written liner notes for the Grateful Dead, Numero Group, Rhino Records, RVNG, Phish, Jäh Division, Garcia Peoples, and others, and talk about that and related/unrelated topics in an interview I did with

A few years ago, I helped assemble and wrote lots of notes for a DVD of my father’s animation, called Celestial Navigations: The Short Films of Al Jarnow, produced by the truly excellent humans at Numero Group, collecting the films he made for Sesame Street and elsewhere.

Some pieces I’ve done have been featured in collections. I’ve also done a bit of educational writing. There’s lots of material scattered around this site, mostly under the category headers on the right-hand column.

I play in a band. We have an album called Useless Smile. You can follow our adventures on Twitter, which is also where I’m at most of the time.

Some recent work:
A Guide to African Country Music (Bandcamp Daily, 9/19)
Gem Spa Rally Turns Beloved East Village Institution Into Mock “Schitibank” (Gothamist, 9/19)
Bob Dylan, Totally Normal Buddy, on Louie Kemp’s Dylan & Me memoir (Aquarium Drunkard, 9/19)
How To Weird Your Mind, on new psychedelic books by Erik Davis, Mike Jay, Brian Blomerth, and Simeon Wade (Aquarium Drunkard, 8/19)
Woodstock 250 (, 8/19)
Why Rolling Thunder Revue is a Terrible Documentary But A Great Bob Dylan Film (Aquarium Drunkard, 6/19)
Jake Xerxes Fussell, Out of Sight (Pitchfork 6/19)
Can Instagram & Colorful New Egg Cream Flavors Keep Gem Spa Afloat? (Gothamist, 5/19)
From the Eagle Mall to Terrapin Station: A Skeleton Key to Robert Hunter (Aquarium Drunkard, 4/19)
Chris Forsyth, All Time Present (Pitchfork, 4/19)
Beyond Vaporwave: How Memes Became the Folk Music of the New Weird Internet (Perfect Sound Forever, 3/19)
Jerry Garcia Band: Electric on the Eel (Pitchfork, 3/19)
The Great Lost Dead Archive, a visit with Dan Healy & his t-shirt collection (GQ Style, 3/19)
Neil Young, Dead Man Original Soundtrack (Pitchfork, 3/19)
Dave Harrington Group, Pure Imagination, No Country (Pitchfork, 1/19)
Jeff Tweedy: Normal American Kid (Relix, 1/19)
Ryley Walker: Busted Stuff That Has Been Sung (Relix, 12/18)
Best of 2018, new music & more (Google Doc, 12/18)
The Golden Age of the Invisible Hit Parade (Wired, 11/18)
How Apple Created Music’s Best Device (And Then Ruined It) (Pitchfork video, 10/18)
The Ballad of Spike & Jerry: The Frequently Secret & Always Misbegotten Adventures of Bob Dylan & the Grateful Dead, 1971-2003 (Doom & Gloom From the Tomb, 8/18)
Ned Lagin, Seastones (Pitchfork, 7/18)
The Ghost of John Perry Barlow Lives in His Posthumous Memoir (Wired, 6/18)
Sarah Louise, Deeper Woods (Pitchfork, 5/18)
Jerry Garcia, Before the Dead (DownBeat, 5/18)
Brian Eno, Music For Installations (Pitchfork, 5/18)