• Three Snakes and One Idol

    Most of what they have churned out-and Clarkson is the very, very special exception-has run the gamut from middling (Reuben Studdard) to boring (Clay Aiken) to invisible (Fantasia, where you at?) to fully awful (pick anybody who wasn't Kelly from the first season). As a consequence of my disdain, I pay no attention to the show --save for the curious eye I cast at it during the finals, just to see what is going to be sold to me for the next couple of months. So I tuned in the other night expecting to see the normal pap, and for the most part it was true-Vonzell Solomon and Carrie Underwood are exactly the type of wide-smiling, pleasant-sounding, uncontroversial performers that America loves to get behind, probably because unlike most musicians, they seem so remarkably average.

  • Four Tet

    On the second track off Fout Tet's new album, Everything Ecstatic, a simple-yet-persistent drumbeat and a cute humming voice that sounds something like a bumblebee chorus make "Smile Around The Face" onomatopoetic-it's a bit like a child diving off of a swing set into a pile of cotton candy. Often on albums of such esoteric electronic music, song titles, frequently boasting oblique symbols, have little bearing on the content of the track at hand, but somehow the London-born Four Tet (ne Kieran Hebden) manages to bestow the perfect name on each track. Following the critical success of his last album, Rounds, Hebden paves new ground with Everything Ecstatic.

  • The Oranges Band

    The Oranges Band's second LP, The World & Everything In It, is a variety pack of indie-rock charms. Lead singer Roman Kuebler sounds like a more mellifluous version of the Shins' James Mercer, and even affects British inflections like Mercer does (though the Oranges are from Baltimore and the Shins are from Albuquerque--not exactly the Isle of Wight). Roman Kuebler, along with drummer Dave Voyles, guitarist Daniel Black, and bassist Tim Johnson create pretty, straightforward indie pop that sounds a bit like the work of a different James--the one with no surname. Catchy numbers like "Ride the Nuclear Wave" come off somewhat like James' one U.S.

  • Coldplay Stock Rises in NYC

    By: Peter Gaston Sometimes in pop music, artists come along that unify normally disparate factions, creating points of similarity among folks that would never otherwise mingle or share in a common experience. Tuesday night at New York's historic Beacon Theater, when Coldplay launched into "In My Place," replete with its lilting, tear-jerking guitar-led twinkle, submission was the only answer. Kangol-topped bridge-and-tunnel folk, black-pants girls, middle-aged soccer moms, and downtown cool kids joined together to help ebullient frontman Chris Martin yelp that giant "Yeah" in the song's chorus. It was a verbalized confession for all, and an awe-inspiring demonstration of how a great band taps into such universal emotional wells. It's not just the fans these days that hang on every crescendo in Coldplay's music.

  • Beleaguered CBGB Fights to Stay In Bowery

    There is nothing good New York lefties love more than historical preservation...except maybe homeless people. Both sides of the fight involving CBGB have liberal goodwill in their corner. The club's status has been in danger since the landlord, the Bowery Residents Committee (a nonprofit for the homeless) raised the rent. The current owner of the club, Hilly Kristal, is trying to keep the punk landmark alive by putting it on the national historic register, while the BRC is trying to get the back rent they feel they are owed. In response, Kristal has announced a tentative concert series to raise money for the club. According to Billboard.com, Kristal hopes to include acts like Patti Smith and David Byrne in the series. A local candy store, the Chocolate Bar, has joined the fray by donating funds from a CBGB-branded chocolate bar to support the ailing club.

  • Super Furry Animals Back for Cuddles

    Although SFA member Gruff Rhys made waves with his solo project, Epynt, earlier this year, he's returned to the fold to release another album with his bandmates, titled Love Kraft. NME.com reports that the first single off the forthcoming album, Super Furry Animals' seventh full-length, will be "Laser Beam." The band will play a number of shows in the UK, but no news yet of a US tour. For more information on Gruff n' Stuff, check out www.superfurry.com

  • Weezer live in NYC

    By: Henry BowlesMay 12 Despite the band's post-Pinkerton pretensions to the contrary, Weezer finally seems resigned to its role as the Godfather of Emo. As with any show put on by one of the band's derivatives, chanting along is not reserved for a few hooks on the singles: Every word that comes off the stage must be sung by every member of the crowd, and in dead earnestness. But most emo bands' fixation with fear and social anxiety is missing when it comes to Weezer. Instead, the band demonstrates the painful self-consciousness of those smart enough to know they're not cool. Weezer is about defiantly lamenting whiteboy un-hipness.


    The selections are all over the map: There was one tape that consisted of all those insane animated versions of Dr. Seuss stories (upon further review, The Lorax is seriously fucked up, isn't it?); another cassette featured a bunch of old episodes of WWF Primetime Wrestling, from when I was way into pro-wrestling (as opposed to now, where I'm only moderately into pro-wrestling). But the real find over the weekend was a tape full of stuff ganked from MTV. Carbon dating and some feverish Googling demonstrate that most of the stuff was broadcast some time in the summer or fall of '95.

  • Shout Out Louds

    In the grand tradition of the Cardigans, Ace of Base, Abba, and other former and extant members of the Swedish invasion, the Shout Out Louds are starting to make their mark like Vikings striking out across the great Atlantic. The Stockholm five-piece was born in a self-described "drafty rehearsal space" in 2002, and burst onto the American scene earlier this year with the release of a three-track EP, Very Loud, in February. There is a bit of lovelorn '80s crooning on the Shout Out Louds debut full-length, Howl Howl Gaff Gaff, due out on May 24th.

  • Lucero

    If Lynyrd Skynyrd were less Deliverance and more The Sound and the Fury, they could be Nashville, Tennessee's own Lucero. Lucero's new album, Nobody's Darlings, covers much of the same southern rock lyrical pantheon. Lead singer Ben Nichols sings of "double bourbon on the rocks on the weekend, "little girls down in Georgia," and "bloody knuckles...fought in a bar." But instead of pure, unfettered "Sweet Alabama" style love for his homeland, Nichols and company maintain a measure of distance from their southern heritage. Many of the songs off Nobody's Darlings are cheerful, anthemic combinations of punk and country ("punktry," anyone?). Singer Nichols, bassist John Stubblefield, guitarist Brian Venable, and drummer Roy Berry seem to be as influenced by Johnny Cash as by Sid Vicious.

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