• Reliving Live Aid

    By: Jessica Grose In the hopes of raising awareness about global hunger, Bob Geldof, who organized 1985's blockbuster Live Aid concerts, is launching a new concert series, Live 8, on July 2nd. There are already concerts scheduled in Philadelphia, London, Berlin, and Rome, with ongoing negotiations for a Paris venue. Not surprisingly, rock's elder statesman Bono is scheduled to play in London, along with Madonna, Paul McCartney, and R.E.M. P. Diddy, Dave Matthews, and Stevie Wonder are scheduled for the Philly show, while Lauryn Hill and Brian Wilson will rock Berlin. Live 8 is scheduled right before the leaders of the G8 convene in Great Britain. According to the Associated Press, Geldof says that, "[the G8 meeting is a] unique opportunity for Britain to do something unparalleled in the world ... to tilt the world a little bit on its axis in favor of the poor."

  • Matson Jones

    Cellos have never sounded quite so badass as they do accompanying the wounded vocals of Anna Mascorella and Martina Grbac in the Denver-based art-punk quartet Matson Jones. Mascorella and Grbac sound like a couple of PJ Harvey disciples with a penchant for chamber pop a la Matt Pond PA, except angrier to the extent that Matson Jones boasts what seems to be the second biggest Goth following in the state of Colorado. In addition to insistent cellos, an upright bass played by Matt Regan, and drums by Ross Harada, the band has girl-punk lyrics akin to the Donnas--if the Donnas had all been committed to the asylum. In the second song off Matson Jones' self-titled full-length debut, the cryptically titled "N.E.S.F.T.O," Mascorella and Grbac sing, "Daddy lock your girls up," and follow that up with, "Mama lock your boys up," as if their rampage will be all encompassing.

  • In Semi-Defense of Britney

    I watched the first episode of Britney and Kevin: Chaotic with baited breath. I am an admitted pop culture whore. Though I probably watch most of the shows I claim to adore with a condescending measure of ironic distance, I still enjoy them on a very basic level. I read in one review that the show is like a very slow car crash: completely boring but somehow mesmerizing. Nothing really happens. Britney prances around her hotel suites, asking her entourage over-excited questions about sexual positions and more importantly, her hair. The car crash metaphor is an apt one, mostly because it's so painfully obvious to everyone but Britney that Kevin, as my roommate would put it, is riff raff. At one point her rotund bodyguard expresses his discontent with this Federline character. "I didn't like anything about him.

  • Sonic Youth Having a Goo Time

    Though Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon and the rest of the Sonic Youth crew are settling comfortably into middle age, they still know how to rock: The indie darlings are preparing a deluxe reissue of 1990's Goo, a classic in the alt-rock pantheon. According to Sonic Youth's website, the reissue will include B-sides and remastered 8-track demos. In addition to the re-release, the band has a European tour set for this summer, with dates as far flung as Paris, Reykjavik, and Istanbul. The tour kicks off on May 28th in Barcelona. For more SY info, check out: sonicyouth.com.

  • Off the Wall

    As I write this column, the Michael Jackson trial remains in progress. By the time you (read: society) see this column, it's possible that his guilt or innocence will have already been resolved. However, the court of public opinion (read: E!) has already delivered its verdict on a related topic: Michael Jackson, it seems, is a "weirdo." And this is no longer an insult that critics lob as an incendiary anti-Jacko projectile; this is now an accepted designation, no different from "Nazi chess legend" Bobby Fischer or "noted orangutan enthusiast" Clint Eastwood. More than any public figure since Howard Hughes, Jackson is officially weird; you can now refer to his weirdness without any ancillary evidence. In fact, Jackson actively makes other things weird.

  • Idol Worship

    The story rubbed me the wrong way, and not because it was poorly written (Shepard is a true master of the short story form) and not because it was unbelievable (bassists, besides my beloved Kim Deal, often go unnoticed in the wake of outlandish lead singers and guitarists). "Won't Get Fooled Again" bugged me because I don't want to know about the pedestrian neurosis of rock stars. Part of my love of music has always been about worshipping at the cult of the idol. When I first started liking things, it was because there was something magnetic about the personalities of the stars. I want to know about Hammer of the Gods-style debauchery and shooting up Jack Daniels like Nikki Sixx did. I don't want to see the inside of the rock star, only the glossy projected surface. This is why I never want to meet Kim Deal.

  • Maria Taylor

    Call it revenge of the guest vocalists: First there was Leslie Feist, of the Broken Social Scene fame, who recently released her solo debut Let It Die. Now Maria Taylor, one half of Georgia's Azure Ray and back-up singer for the likes of Conor Oberst, the Faint, and Crooked Fingers-and whose soft, supple voice flits in and out of Moby's 18--is forging her own path. Taylor's solo debut, 11:11 was released on May 24th on Oberst's Saddle Creek label. The similarities with Feist do not end with their impressive collaborations. Both women have the same sexy quietness to their voices and deceptively simple arrangements that flirt with folk, indie rock and fuzzy, looped electronics. But while Feist's influences are more European, Maria Taylor takes cues from her straight Dixie background (she was born and raised in Alabama before relocating to Georgia).

  • Mary Timony's Ex Hex

    By: Jessica Grose On her new album, Ex Hex, former Helium lead singer Mary Timony sounds like Liz Phair's older, wiser sister, circa Phair's 1993 grrrl-powered debut, Exile in Guyville. Timony has a similarly disaffected, take-no-bullshit alto, and she covers similar lyrical ground--fighting, screwing, and passing out on the bathroom floor in "drool and despair." In an exclusive interview Spin.com talks to Timony about Washington, D.C., working with ex-Fugazi drummer Brendan Canty, and Dungeons and Dragons. SPIN: So you just moved to D.C. from Boston, How do you like it there? Timony: It's really good. I actually started out here; it's kind of like coming home. When I first started out I was in a band called Autoclave, so this is the first place where I got into playing guitar and knowing people in the rock world. The music community in D.C.

  • White Stripes, Pixies, Death Cab, Kasabian, and Killers Headline Street Scene Fest

    The sun has barely set on Coachella and another Cali Fest has been announced, with the Pixies and the White Stripes headlining. The Street Scene Festival, now in it's 22nd year, is boasting a killer line-up, with Snoop Dogg, the Flaming Lips, the Killers, Hot Hot Heat, Death Cab for Cutie, Kasabian, and a staggering number of other acts. According to Pitchforkmedia.com, the Festival is set to take place on July 29th and 30th at the Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. It ain't Woodstock, but it'll do. For more info on the Street Scene Festival in its So-Cal goodness, click here

  • Afghani Woman VJ Slain

    Shaima Rezayee, the former host of a controversial music show on the Afghan network Tolo TV, was shot in the head at her home in Kabul last Wednesday. Rezayee had been fired from the network in March after Muslim clerics had publicly denounced the fledgling independent Tolo. According to the AP, conservatives objected to Rezayee's so-called "liberal" on-air behavior. Police suspect that Rezayee was shot by her own brothers. A representative for the international media rights organization, Reporters Without Borders, said, "This horrible murder proves that press freedom still cannot be taken for granted in Afghanistan." For more information from Reporters Without Borders, click here

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