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MUSIC REVIEW

State of the Airwaves

Durst, Dido, and Dad

By Dan Katz

Staff Writer

Welcome back, folks. Hope you enjoyed your holiday and ate lots of turkey. Concertwise, it’s hard to top last week’s one-two punch of Rage Against The Machine and the WBCN Christmas Rave, but if anybody can pull it off, it’s the headliners of the Airwaves Show of the Week: Train, who bring their special breed of energetic roots-rock to the Paradise Rock Club tonight. The Paradise is, in fact, pretty busy all weekend, showcasing Christian pop superstars Jars of Clay tomorrow, acoustic dictatorship Days of the New on Sunday, and a very promising alt-rock show with Splender and Shades Apart on Monday. Also notable this week is the beginning of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones’ annual five-show run at the Middle East, and a WFNX show at the Roxy on Tuesday featuring Moby, Basement Jaxx, Dido, and Shootyz Groove, which misses out on the concert of the week crown for being one of those “win tickets on the radio only” that I despise.

Being home for the holidays, I learned new appreciation for two music video directors looking to expand into film. The first is Fred Durst, the lead singer of Limp Bizkit, whose willingness to enter mature society fluctuates wildly between holding an executive position at Interscope and kicking security guards in the head. A few months ago I ripped apart the video he directed for Staind’s “Just Go” as being too dark and aimless. Consider his rendition of Korn’s “Falling Away From Me” a second draft; it utilizes the same eerie red and green lighting, but has a much more captivating story, fits the music better, and actually comes close to being cooler than the revolutionary clip for “Freak On A Leash.” The other director is a man named Spike Jonez, who created Fat Boy Slim’s “Praise You,” the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage,” and Weezer’s “Buddy Holly.” This weekend, I finally got around to seeing Jonez’s first foray into motion pictures. You may have heard of it -- it’s a film called Being John Malkovich. Damn, is this guy talented.

I’ve been getting quite a bit of mail (which in itself is amazing) in support of System of a Down’s “Sugar” (or should I say, “Sug-aaah!”) and it’s actually a song I meant to mention a while back and never got around to. I really appreciate this song which is based around a very fast and pokey riff of high guitar notes, because it breaks out of the stereotype of the neo-metal movement and proves that not every song has to be driven by crunchy power chords on a seven-string guitar. I was very disappointed when SoaD were taken off Filter’s club tour. As far as I’m concerned, the two bands are quite possibly the future of hard rock.

So now that we’ve experienced the revivals of ska, swing, and metal, what’s next? How about eighties British new wave? That’s one of my favorite genres, and it’s certainly embraced by Gay Dad’s “Joy,” which travels through perky scattered keyboards into a retro guitar chorus that comes oh-so-close to ripping off the Cars. The band itself is actually as much a science experiment as a performing group. The founder of the band, Cliff Jones, claims that the musician selection, the songwriting for the album, and the band’s name were all based on careful analysis of what makes a successful record. Clearly he noticed all the other successful bands named after family members with alternative lifestyles.

And as always, time to address my associate across the arts section. Your list of vegetarians from two weeks ago was not quite as effective as you’d like it to be; while I have nothing but respect for Moby and the Chemical Brothers, I find the Indigo Girls and Fiona Apple so consistently boring, and their diets are probably to blame. Face it, meat has been good to the music world, giving us gifts ranging from Primus’s “Shake Hands With Beef” (a video sure to convert you from your heinous herbivore ways...) to part of Buckethead’s wardrobe. Meat is inspirational and yummy, and anyone who tells you otherwise is probably the leader of a cult. (Oh, and incidentally, Korn is not a vegetable. Korn is arguably five vegetables who scream a lot.)

My usual pleading for mail actually has a point this week: State of the Airwaves will be presenting year-end music awards next month, and I invite you to vote for your own winners in the categories of Album of the Year, Single of the Year, Live Act of the Year, Music Video of the Year, and Most Annoying Personality of the Year (this can be a musician, a music journalist, or Katie Jeffreys.) Send your votes to <airwaves@the-tech.mit.edu>, along with your input, responses, raves, pans, and anything else connected to the world of rock music. Until next time, slaughter a cow and keep expanding your horizons.