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Smart is chic. The hottest bands today are displaying an intelligence that just a few years ago would have gotten them bound and gagged with flannel and tossed into the dumpster of the local TCBY. But the geeks are winning this time, and bona fide morons like Evan Dando or strung-out half-wits like Perry Farrell are nowhere to be found. The smart movement, led by the ever-changing Radiohead and lesser-known bands like Sigur Ros, Tortoise and Godspeed You Black Emperor!, is gaining legions of fans who are unabashedly proud of their brains.
Robert Kelley's tenure as music editor is over. Gone will be his lovingly crafted missives about obscure bands that may or may not ever hit mass consciousness. Gone, too, will be his impeccable music taste (though he's got an able replacement). But before Robert rides off into the sunset, here are his 10 favorite music events of the Recess year.
Because I felt bad about all the hate mail I received about my review of Aerosmith's Just Push Play [not Just Press Play, like Robert said the first time], I decided to try to understand how in the hell somebody could listen to such worthless garbage. So, like a good whiskey-swilling Aerofan, I got really drunk and popped in the CD to see how it sounded under the influence.
I changed my mind.
ore than 40 years ago, a white boy from a working-class southern family picked up a guitar and started playing the music of black artists like Chuck Berry. He was enormously successful.
he "neo-soul" movement has been in full swing for a few years, but now Durham is getting in on the action-in a big way. YahZarah, a Durham resident and former NCCU student whose debut album, Hear Me... is set to hit stores later this month, heralds the arrival of a new force in the Durham scene.
Some things get better with age, like wine. Others get worse, like sushi. Red House Painters' Old Ramon, recorded in 1997 but kept from distribtion because of the collapse of the band's old record label, falls somewhere in between.
In the face of declining revenues and refusal by administrators to restructure a $650,000 lease plan with the University, owners of the Hideaway are signaling that the campus bar may close its doors at the end of the school year.
I stood in line outside of a coffeehouse last Friday in Austin-I got used to standing in line that night. After having failed to get into two of the hottest shows in town-NYC rockers The Strokes and Austin faves ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead-I couldn't believe I was waiting to see a band I had never heard of called Explosions in the Sky.
Music publications around the world have taken to ridiculing Daft Punk's new album, Discovery. The reviews often declare the album-described as "overkill" by Rolling Stone-a disappointing follow-up to the Parisian duo's classic 1997 debut, Homework.
This past fall, computer geeks on somethingawful.com began Photoshopping the phrase, "All your base are belong to us"-a bad-English quote from the Sega game Zero Wing-into all sorts of photos. Then, Kansas City-based one-man act The Laziest Men on Mars wrote the song, "Attack of the Gabber Robots," which appears as the soundtrack to a slide show of the Photoshopped photos on www.planetstarsiege.com/allyourbase. Embracing gabber-a techno style that's kept countries like Holland and Denmark in the world's cultural lunatic asylum for years-the song has swept through the Internet with fascinating force. In a recent e-mail interview, the man behind the song launched himself into the Recess Hall of Fame by proclaiming his love of umlauts.
or the second straight week, Recess is handing an "F" to an established band. But please, understand! Just Press Play is appalling. The album is heartbreaking, especially considering the role Aerosmith played in securing slow dances for impressionable seventh graders back in middle school. Caught up in denial, I imagined all the possible scenarios that could explain how Aerosmith made such a horrible record-just so I wouldn't be giving an "F" irresponsibly.
We at Recess love Wales. That little non-country next to England has brought us Catherine Zeta-Jones, rock band Super Furry Animals and the best sheep in the world. And you know how we love sheep.
If there's one thing a reviewer can say about a band that will cause everyone to buy their record, it's to say they sound like Radiohead.
The theme of this week's Recess is gay and lesbian life in the Triangle. What can you tell us about lesbian life around here?
They're the next big thing. The Chicago hipsters dig their groove. The British music press fawn over their every guitar strum. They're about to go on tour with one of the biggest names in indie rock.
How does a British musician adapt when he grows tired of making intelligent music? Easy: He forms a band that makes sleepy American music.
"They sound just like the Dave Matthews Band!"
Over a bottle of champagne on New Year's Eve, one of Recess' anonymous sources with close contacts to the entertainment industry divulged one of the best kept secrets in popular music: the Gin Blossoms were the most influential band of the 1990's. Music critics have long held that Nirvana, with their pivotal album, Nevermind, changed the face of popular music, but those tapped into the musical pulse of the nation have come to recognize that no album sounds more like what we hear on the radio today than the Gin Blossoms' 1994 opus, New Miserable Experience. Decide for yourself:
Recently, it seems a fever of nostalgia has gripped the hearts and minds of our fickle nation. We yearn for the past. Motor Trend named Chrysler's PT Cruiser-which resembles automobiles from the first half of the twentieth century-its 2001 Car of the Year. Scarcely any girls walk around in jeans that aren't flared in the style of the sixties and seventies. And many are predicting that economic catastrophe-which was all the rage in the 1930s-might be making a comeback soon.