The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 57.0°F | Partly Cloudy and Breezy

MUSIC REVIEW

State of the Airwaves

Bush, B-Sides, and Bohemia

By Dan Katz

Staff Writer

Welcome to State of the Airwaves, your favorite part of The Tech and mine. Alas, I’m not feeling particularly witty at the moment, so let’s roll right into your upcoming concert schedule.

Hope you weren’t planning to pick up tickets in the near future for A Perfect Circle at the Avalon ... the show’s sold out. You’d better cheer yourself up by taking in a freebie at the Hatch Shell; as usual the radio stations are dueling over the territory, as WFNX presents Christian punk stars MxPx on the 17th along with Mest, and then the next week WBCN brings out Fenix TX on the 24th. Elsewhere on the 24th, the “Bush And Gore Tour” hits the Linwood Grill, a multi-artist show notable for the presence of Snake River Conspiracy, whose cover of “How Soon Is Now?” is receiving sporadic radio play. At The Drive-In show up at TT The Bears this Friday, and Tonic & Stir arrive at Axis on Tuesday the 22nd.

Napster, Napster, Napster. I’m not going to debate whether Napster is right or wrong (actually, I think I did that a few months ago) ... I feel it’s important to have an open forum to exchange music (especially live tracks and rare B-sides), but that at the same time it’s impossible to avoid trafficking of copyrighted material in said forum. But look at it this way: thanks to open-source file transfer utilities like Gnutella, Internet music has reached a point of no return. People are always going to be able to obtain whatever music they want online and there’s nothing the record companies can do to stop it. Napster is being penalized for being the most popular, which is in turn because it has the best interface. The moral of our story is that the more effort you put into making your software as efficient and user-friendly as possible, the more likely you are to be sued.

Frankly, when the Dandy Warhols put out a video for “Godless” to promote their new album, Thirteen Tales of Urban Bohemia, I was very concerned. The band’s last album produced a number of great upbeat tracks, including “Every Day Should Be A Holiday” and a song that produced one of history’s most memorable music videos, “Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth.” “Godless,” on the the other hand, is very moody and forgettable. Thank goodness radio has decided to instead embrace “Bohemian Like You,” a mid-tempo rocker that once again provides a satirical nudge at the idle hip. (They’ve gone from “Heroin is so passe” to “Yeah, I wait tables too, no I haven’t heard your band.”) With a good video, this song could catch on.

On the other hand, Mest’s “What The Dillio” is likely to become big primarily because the title and chorus contain the words “What The Dillio.” Also because it’s got kind of a bouncy, reggae, Sugar Ray, dude-let’s-rock-and-chill-at-the-same-time mentality. As far as I’m concerned, the music is uneven and discontinuous and the lyrics are meaningless. Worth hearing once or twice for humor value, and then worth avoiding like the plague.

Here’s a reason to look forward to September besides starting classes: Self, winners of last year’s Airwaves Album of the Year Award, have finally set a date for their upcoming album, Gizmodgery, which was composed entirely on toy instruments. The disc hits record stores September 5, adding to an excellent early fall music lineup which includes new material from the Marvelous 3, Barenaked Ladies, Placebo, and Fuel. If they all tour in Boston (the Marvies and BNL are sure to be around, and Self is trying to book a date in the area) I’ll be a happy camper throughout autumn.

And finally, a quick correction; for some reason, I referred to BT in my review last month as Brian Thiessen. His name is Brian Transeau. I haven’t a clue where I picked up that other name from.

The address is <airwaves@the-tech.mit.edu>. Send stuff to it. It’s been lonely recently. You can talk about new music, old music, the local concert scene, Napster ethics, or why Sakai is by far the coolest of the Iron Chefs. (I think it’s because his voiceover actor sounds like he’s doing a bad Jack Nicholson impression.) Til next time, hug a convention protester and keep expanding your horizons.