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    Killers' Brandon Flowers: Style Icon or Just Insane?

    When Brandon Flowers took the stage for the Killers' Saturday Night Live appearance, I think I spoke for most viewers when I gasped: "What is he wearing?" A black tuxedo jacket festooned with huge plumed epaulettes? What is that? Taxidermy chic? Showgirl cool? The next day, I couldn't remember the songs they played. I couldn't remember if guitarist Dave Keuning even wore pants. All I could think about were those two downy shoulder pads, slung like pheasants over his body, fresh from the kill. Clearly the man was insane. Then again, I thought, it's probably a one-time thing. A momentary indiscretion. He probably wants to forget about it as much as I do. But just as my bird nightmares were subsiding, the jacket returned: this time in the video for their first single, "Human," as a sort of sartorial rhyme to a soaring vulture the camera follows across the sky.

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    "Why I Hate Katy Perry"

    Here's what I know about Katy Perry: Her album One of the Boys went gold, her single "I Kissed a Girl" went double-platinum, and her boyfriend is Gym Class Heroes cutie Travis McCoy. Here's what I don't know about Katy Perry: How any of this is remotely possible. I know I'm not alone in my antipathy for Ms. Perry. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of allmusic.com wrote that she "distills every reprehensible thing about the age of The Hills into one pop album." My favorite blog, Go Fug Yourself, regularly berates her for deeming ensembles like a 1950s bathing suit and fishnets appropriate eveningwear. And I'm sure Zooey Deschanel must hate Perry for taking her wide-eyed stare, raven locks, and pinup figure so far down market. How often must look-alike shots in Us Weekly or In Touch force Zooey to call up friends to say, "That wasn't me!

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    President Barack Obama's Inaugural Playlist!

    January 20, 2009. Our 44th Commander in Chief spends his first night in the White House. Flush from victory and aglow with anticipation, he needs a proper musical backdrop to set the mood. Holding a cup of jasmine green tea, President Barack Obama strides across the eagle on the Oval Office rug, gazes pensively out the window, and considers the nation now under his charge. Then he walks over to the presidential stereo system, scans through the Executive iPod, and calls up a playlist specially created for this moment:Obama's playlist: "What Barack is Cookin'" 1. "Yes We Can," Boy George2. "Can We," Brandy3. "Problems," Sex Pistols4. "We Didn't Start the Fire," Billy Joel5. "It Ain't My Fault," Silkk the Shocker 6. "Don't Blame Me," The Everly Brothers7. "Over My Head," A Flock of Seagulls8. "In Too Deep," Genesis9. "Drowning Man," The Cure10.

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    SPIN.com's Presidential Playlists!

    January 20, 2009. Our 44th Commander in Chief spends his first night in the White House. Flush from victory and aglow with anticipation, he needs a proper musical backdrop to set the mood. Holding a cup of jasmine green tea, President Barack Obama strides across the eagle on the Oval Office rug, gazes pensively out the window, and considers the nation now under his charge. Or... cracking open a Coors Light, President John McCain sits down at the mighty desk, puts his feet up, and feels his eyelids growing heavy. Then, McCain/Obama walks over to the presidential stereo system, scans through the Executive iPod, and calls up a playlist specially created for this moment. Read their playlists below -- and listen to some of the songs:McCain's playlist: "I Am the Champion" 1. "Top of the World," The Carpenters2. "Triumph," Wu-Tang Clan3. "Celebration," Kool and the Gang4.

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    Britney. Naked. Why?

    Last week I was lamenting the fact that Britney Spears is naked in her new video. You'd have thought I complained about Burger King pushing Whoppers. "How else is she going to sell records?" one of my fellow (male) editors responded. The other two (male) editors in the room nodded. I heard a tumble of grandmotherly syllables coming from my mouth: "Um, maybe her music would sell records?" Everyone looked at me like I just shaved my head in the Hustler store. "Do you really think the music matters?" the (still male) editor responded. That's the crazy thing. I do. And I'm actually not convinced that Britney's full-dorsal, steam-room nudity in the video for her new single "Womanizer"–- a less Zen, more gyrating version of Alicia Silverstone's nude ad for PETA -– will help her reclaim the pop throne. It's not that I don't get the Britney product.

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    Eddy Current Suppression Ring

    Having recorded their first album in three hours, Eddy Current Suppression Ring decided to take their time on their second, Primary Colours: a whole day. "Our songs aren't really brain surgery," says guitarist Mikey Young. "You've got one riff, maybe two, and everything's pretty much written in half an hour." But somehow, those spontaneous riffs, coupled with singer Brendan Huntley's rowdy pub-stool harangues, have landed them continental acclaim Down Under with sold-out gigs and an ARIA Awards (Australia's Grammys) nomination for best rock album. No one is more surprised than the band. Five years ago, Mikey, Huntley, and Young's drummer brother, Danny, recorded their first song, still beer-buzzed after a Christmas party at the Melbourne vinyl-pressing plant where Mikey worked.

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    Indie Rockers Find New Fans in the Preschool Set

    This weekend I watched Feist's "1234" video at least 15 times. My two-and-a-half-year-old niece is obsessed. As soon as I arrived at my brother's house in Louisville on Friday, Rilla requested we play "the blue dress song." I figured she was referring to some Disney princess tune with talking birds, but she quickly put me in my place. "Feist," she said, the duh implicit. The video took a minute to load on my brother's ancient iMac, causing Rilla to thoughtfully announce, "It's buffering" (no joke). But as soon as the gentle guitar strumming began, Rilla was off, matching Feist move for move and word for word, spinning around the living room with a giant grin stretched between her dimpled cheeks. After a while, I was invited to join her.

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    End the Trend: The Lumberjack Look!

    My friend Emily and I went to see Fleet Foxes play at New York's Webster Hall on Sunday night. After procuring two Bud Lights (because we're classy), I came up with a fun drinking game: Every time we saw a guy with a bushy beard, we'd take a gulp; for a bearded guy in buffalo-check flannel, two gulps. I'm still nursing a hangover. Enough with the lumberjacks! Fleet Foxes, Band of Horses, My Morning Jacket, Bon Iver, and Modest Mouse all show some signs of the syndrome. I'm not sure who's to blame. Part of me wants to pin this on Mary Kate Olsen, who paired an oversize plaid flannel with skinny black jeans two years ago, causing countless celebrity rags to praise her revolutionary "lumberjack chic." I realize that's insane: Jim James is not taking fashion tips from Full House's Michelle Tanner. And, besides, M-K's look was more grunge.

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