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MUSIC REVIEW

State of the Airwaves

Marvies, Maida, and Mixfest: The Untold Story

By Dan Katz

Staff Writer

My recent acquisition of a dorm room computer and RealJukebox (it’s about time) has led me down the same road as most other wired music fans: the search for MP3s. There’s been major controversy over the last year about the uploading of copyrighted music on the internet in MP3 form; ironically enough, I’ve found that some of the best material out there consists of perfectly legal files posted on official band sites. These range from mainstream singles (<http://www.creednet.com> stocks everything from “My Own Prison” to “Higher”) to Internet-exclusive tracks (like a fabulous Marvelous 3 cover of “Always Something There To Remind Me” available at <http://www.themarvelous3.com>.) Perhaps Self, who are fast becoming one of my favorite bands, stocks the best treasure trove. <http://www.spongebathrec.com/self> features 15+ rare B-sides, ranging from a stripped-down demo of “Meg Ryan” to the wonderful rock tune “Titanic,” which admiringly proclaims, “What a great big sea / what a hunk of boat.”

So after my oratory last week about the free day of Mixfest, I got some correspondence from Random Hall suggesting that I check out the Nields, another group playing the side stage tomorrow at City Hall. So I followed the lead, and I like what I’ve heard. The band’s on the same label as Moxy FrÜvous and has a sound similar to Indigo Girls, combining acoustic guitars with female vocal harmonies. They also show a lot of versatility, moving deftly between ballads like “The Heartbreak,” to more upbeat tunes like “Georgia O.” Boasting the Nields, Fleming and John, and rising star Dido, the side stage could be the site of some of the highlights of Mixfest. Show up early and don’t miss any of the action.

In my continuing effort to find an excuse to mention Our Lady Peace every week, I finally saw the video for “One Man Army,” and it’s fabulous. In contrast to the band’s previous dimly-lit videos, the clip alternates between scenes of the band performing in a windowed living room and outdoor shots of Raine Maida helplessly hurtling through the air at high speed. It’s a nice contrast to earlier efforts, which tended to seem overdramatically angst-ridden.

In other music video news, Live and Blink-182 score respectively on the serious and silly side. Live’s cut for “The Dolphin’s Cry” matches the intensity of Maida’s flight. The video features a two-story wave crashing through an alley onto the band, who bravely stand their ground. Meanwhile, Blink-182, who seemed to have lost their touch for making hilarious videos (I found the streaking in “What’s My Age Again?” funny for almost eight seconds) are back in form with “All The Small Things.” Although the song is extremely derivative, it fits perfectly with the band’s collage of Backstreet Boys/Britney Spears video parodies. This one is sure to be in heavy rotation overnight.

On one hand, Fiona Apple’s new single, “Fast As You Can” sounds a little bit too much like Imani Coppola’s “Legend of a Cowgirl.” On the other hand, it sounds much better than anything else Apple has ever put together, shying away from the throaty pseudo-blues she usually wastes her voice on. And if you ever want to waste some free time, try saying the name of her upcoming album in one breath: When the Pawn Hits the Conflicts He Thinks Like a King What He Knows Throws the Blows When He Goes to the Fight and He’ll Win the Whole Thing ’Fore He Enters the Ring There’s No Body to Batter When Your Mind Is Your Might So When You Go Solo, You Hold Your Own and Remember That Depth Is the Greatest of Heights and If You Know Where You Stand, Then You Know Where to Land and If You Fall It Won’t Matter, ’Cuz You’ll Know That You’re Right. (Gaaasp.)

And finally, for those of you who didn’t stop reading halfway through Fiona’s album title, my plea for a decent punk pop song has finally been answered. After weeks of panning the likes of Showoff and Unwritten Law, I have been blessed with Feeder’s “Insomnia,” a fast-paced melodic punk tune with one of the catchiest choruses of the year. Hmmm ... a song about drinking and sleep-deprivation with the lyrics, “My brain, my poor brain.” MIT finally has a theme song!

I don’t have a theme song, but I’ve got a nifty E-mail address for you to write to. Enlist some publicity for your favorite band (see above), vote for your favorite clause of Fiona’s album title, or share some recipes. Whatever you want to say, say it at <airwaves@the-tech.mit.edu>. Until next week, keep expanding your horizons.