• 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

  • 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.

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