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MUSIC REVIEW

State of the Airwaves

Papa, Pearl, and Poe

By Dan Katz

Staff Writer

Salutations. Hope everybody had an enjoyable rush, from EC’s recreation of a failed political system to the strychnine Senior Haus injected into the lobster at -- Oh, wait, I’m not supposed to tell you about that. But it doesn’t matter if you got in where you wanted, or if you got enough freshman pledges for the year. What matters is that there’s music in the air, and I’m here to cover it for you.

The title of Airwaves Show of the Week goes to Colonel Les Claypool’s Fearless Flying Frog Brigade, primarily because they are called Colonel Les Claypool’s Fearless Flying Frog Brigade. Claypool, the bassist-vocalist of Primus, has had a lot of success in the past with side projects; this one’s a jam-band featuring members of Ratdog that arrives at the Somerville Theater Friday night. The same night, Papa Roach (who singlehandedly brought straight rock back to MTV) headlines a bill at Axis that also includes (hed)pe. Wednesday, see the neo-metal band that Fred Durst said lots of horrible things to .... No, it’s not Creed, it’s Taproot at the Middle East. And oh, how the mighty have fallen, as Fastball, who used to play ampitheaters, have lost “the way” and wind up at Lilli’s in Somerville Thursday night.

Biggest release of the week (in my mind) is from my favorite band, Self, who unleash Gizmodgery onto the world this Tuesday. This disc is similar to Beck’s Mutations in that it’s not really the band’s next official album, it’s an “in the meantime” effort which happens to be recorded entirely on toy instruments. Man Or Astroman? delivers an album this week called Spectrum of Infinite Scale, and Pearl Jam puts out some live material. In the form of 25 double CDS. Yes, recordings from every stop on Pearl Jam’s European tour are going to be available separately in stores, confirming that all that fighting with Ticketmaster has done something to Eddie Vedder’s brain.

Speaking of Beck, of all the people who I would have expected to make a track as convoluted and intense as Beck or BT, but with a tinge of Our Lady Peace, Poe would come pretty much last on my list. But the “Angry Johnny” siren has done exactly that with “Walk The Walk,” the first single off her upcoming album Haunted. The song’s rhythm section brilliantly combines an industrial drum line with a pulsing acoustic guitar, while in the foreground, Poe combines stuttering samples with quick rhythmic lyrics, achieving an effect similar to BT’s “Never Gonna Come Back Down,” but leaning further toward rock than toward house. I haven’t liked Poe’s previous albums, but if her new one is filled with songs like this, I may be converted.

I felt obligated to check out Tsar when I found out they just got finished touring with Duran Duran, and will soon be opening for the Marvelous 3. Those names set some pretty high expectations, which weren’t met by the band’s first single, “I Don’t Wanna Break Up.” The vocals and guitar playing are well executed, but the song doesn’t have very good lyrics or a pleasing structure. Tsar seem to be a talented band that need to work on the songwriter’s craft. On the bright side, their music sounds like it has a lot of live potential, and touring with the Marvies, one of the best live bands in America, they’ll learn a lot in that realm.

I sincerely apologize if I encouraged anybody to check out the 3 Doors Down show at Axis last week. What a waste of my time ... the lead singer had no charisma or energy, and I think one of the guitarists never looked at the audience. Frankly, I could have put on the band’s album and gotten a similar experience. Ironically, the openers, Mile have probably done far fewer shows and already understand how to put on a concert and connect with their audience. More power to them and let’s hope next time the bill is reversed.

I apologize that one of the pro wrestling catch phrases I stuck into the column last week was edited for grammar, killing the joke. Editors totally reek of heinosity. You’ll reek of heinosity too, if you don’t send lots and lots of e-mail to State of the Airwaves, at <airwaves@the-tech.mit.edu>. Let me know what you like or don’t like about the column, what you like or don’t like about the local or national music scene, or ask me if my refrigerator is running and ask me to go catch it. With that, I’m out. Have a week and keep expanding your horizons.