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State of the Airwaves

Remy, Rancid, and Radio TDK

By Daniel J. Katz

First up on the commendations list for the week is a wonderful site I just discovered on the Internet called Imagine Radio ( Imagine Radio allows you to create your own online “radio station,” selecting artists and how often they’re played in random order. The idea seems a little bit half-baked at first, but once you try it out you’ll see that it’s really something. The artist list is extremely extensive and hits every musical genre. The actual songs range from singles to more obscure album tracks to rarities, like a pre-OK Computer live performance of Radiohead’s “Subterranean Homesick Alien” before the chorus was added. And most importantly, the sound quality is absolutely amazing. The songs play through RealPlayer, but the audio is easily mp3-quality. I recommend you try it out yourself, or check out my personal station; go into the Soho section and look for “Radio TDK.” You won’t be disappointed.

* First up on the rant list for this week? “Bruckout,” by Buccaneer, featuring Rancid. This single’s essentially a rap-reggae tune with Rancid punk rock laid into the background. I have no objection to rap, reggae, or punk, but they simply don’t go together. The result is a disorganized song that sounds thrown together and constantly rushed; this one definitely needs to go back into mixing.

* It’s nice to see an excellent up-and-coming band that’s sure to get airplay. Taxiride’s “Get Set,” a great power pop tune with well-layered vocals and three good guitar players, has been getting airplay on the radio and MTV. The good news is that the song is the first single off the soundtrack to Election, the next film from MTV Pictures, which is surprising given the band’s obscurity. If Harvey Danger’s cover of “Save It For Later” is any indication, Taxiride should see a lot of MTV exposure.

* And speaking of catchy guitar songs off of movie soundtracks, Jimmy Eat World’s “Lucky Denver Mint” is another excellent one. The chorus gets stuck in your head easily, and the guitar playing is insanely fast considering the relatively slow pace of the song. A nice package.

* Last week, discussing Buckcherry I mentioned the energy the Black Crowes used to have. I forgot to point out that the current Black Crowes single, “Only A Fool,” is a perfect example, with its slow-as-molasses pace and predictable horn part, territory that has been covered hundreds of times. Honestly, the first time I heard this song, I didn’t think it was new. Now I know it is, but I wish it wasn’t.

* Remy Zero’s Villa Elaine was an overlooked quality album last year with two standout tracks. The first, “Prophecy,” did all right as a single toward the end of the year, and the second has just been released. It’s an extremely haunting arrangement of eerie guitar effects and happy piano chords, creating an atmosphere that starts to ascend to heaven before being dragged down on a nose-dive to the underworld.

* Mainstream confessions: On the first listen to “Kiss Me” by Sixpence None The Richer I thought it was halfway decent. After the second listen, I realized how nauseatingly cute it is. Also, No Doubt’s “New” has been running through my head at random for two weeks now... Actually, I don’t apologize for that one. It’s a well-written song, and a step in the right direction for a previously mundane imitation ska band.

* Remember, your input is always appreciated! Let me know what you think at Until next week, keep expanding your horizons.