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State of the Airwaves

BNL, ’BCN, and BMM

By Dan Katz

Staff writer

Yeah, that’s right, I’m on Tuesdays now. I realize it’ll seem different and unbearable at first, but I’m sure you’ll eventually get used to it. Kind of like what the admins keep saying about cancelling Rush.

The concert scene for the week kicks off Thursday at Axis, where Fuel celebrate the release of their new album (more on that below), accompanied by techno-rockers Vallejo, whose “Into The New” could be a breakout hit.

Friday, the immaturity level at the Palladium will be high, as Goldfinger team up with much less talented newcomers Dynamite Hack and Mest. The weekend sees two radio festivals: Mixfest, a sold out affair on Saturday featuring Barenaked Ladies, Guster, and Vertical Horizon; and the once again badly named WBCN College Rave on Sunday with The Get Up Kids, Kittie, Nickelback, and Kottonmouth Kings. The Second Annual Mark Sandman Benefit is Sunday afternoon outside the Middle East; it’s a free show featuring Orchestra Morphine, and donations will be accepted toward the fund in the late Sandman’s name, which supports school music instruction. Finally, it’s well worth noting that the Marvelous 3 have, in fact, found a location for their Boston gig; it’s September 27 at Axis, it’s only $10, and it may be one of the best shows of the year.

What’s the best thing about Airwaves moving to Tuesdays? It means rather than telling you what new albums you should look for four days from now, I can tell you what’s hitting the shelves today. High on my wish list is the second disc from Fuel, Something Like Human, which features the impressively epic-sounding “Hemorrhage.” Fastball contribute to the theory that they still exist by releasing The Harsh Light of Day, while more high-profile albums come from Madonna (Music) and Bjork (Selmasongs.)

Punk-poppers Good Charlotte contribute a self-titled debut album, while Moby’s current opening act, a buzzworthy electronic quartet called Hybrid, have a disc out today called Wide Angle.

Of course, release dates are becoming increasingly insignificant as Napster use becomes much more widespread, and the people with promotional copies of CDs have the ability to put them on the Internet. As I speak, Radiohead’s Kid A (U.S. release October 3) and Placebo’s Black Market Music (expected U.S. release in December) are already available on the Internet in their entirety. While this isn’t really news, a more notable trend is the authorized pre-release of albums on the Internet from artists who realize the future is inevitable. Kid A officially hits the web September 18, and The Offspring’s Conspiracy of One will not only come out a month early on the Internet, but the band will give one million dollars to someone who downloads their first single. Their record label is not pleased and is currently trying to stop them (the money belongs to the band), so soon we’ll see just how much power a band’s label has over them.

So much ranting about the music industry and not enough about the music...

How about we discuss Papa Roach’s new one, “Broken Home”? I love the use of delay/echo on the main riff in this song, but just like their last song, “Last Resort,” the cool guitar parts aren’t enough to salvage the horribly whiny lyrics. Sure, many of us used to write songs about suicide and feeling alienated by our parents ... when we were fifteen. Papa Roach has some great musical skills, and I wish they’d put them to use on a song with a more complex theme than “Gee, I sure wish I was dead.” And on a happier note, Caviar’s “Tangerine Speedo” might be able to create a new genre: “lounge-punk.” It combines a very catchy shuffling verse rhythm with a more traditional punk chorus, and as stupid a name as “Tangerine Speedo” is, it seems to work with this song. I haven’t heard anything else from Caviar, but I certainly intend to.

Hope some of you made it to Travis and Remy Zero last Saturday. A great show as always from the boys from Scotland, but Remy Zero in particular demonstrated why they’ll be turning some critics’ heads when they get around to releasing another album. Some bands have three guitars for no particular reason; Remy Zero use them to their fullest potential, combining haunting rhythm parts and lead lines that contrast but still gel. Their set was a very pleasant addition to the show.

That’s all I’ve got for this week. If you’ve got something you want me to touch on, or a band you want me to listen to, or you just want to say, “Hey, Dan, you’re the coolest guy alive,” all issues can be addressed to <>. Now, I’ve got to clean up a mess on my hall, and you’ve got to have a good week and keep expanding your horizons.