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State of the Airwaves

Creeper, Cooper, and The Conspiracy of One

By Dan Katz

Staff Writer

So the Essential Vegetarian returns. Those of you who were around last year may recall a certain grey-box war, in which, via a steady stream of diatribe, abuse, and meat jokes, I drove Tofu Girl out of The Tech’s arts section. Alas, it seems that some herbivores never learn, as the column made its “triumphant return” last week, opposite one of my articles no less. Freshmen and new readers alike should be aware that the Essential Vegetarian is a devious spreader of propaganda who has connections with the vegetarian hamburger industry and seeks to convert innocent omnivores to her evil ways. Do not fall under her spell! (I’ve also been told that she worships Satan and makes weekly human sacrifices, but that may just be a rumor.) That said, I think this used to be a music column ....

Believe it or not, back when “One Of Us” was on the radio twenty-four hours a day, no one had the sense to fire Joan Osborne, who appears tonight at the Avalon. There’s a very good chance that next year I’ll be saying the same thing about Wheatus (“Teenage Dirtbag”), who’ll be opening an Eve 6 show tomorrow night at Axis that also includes OPM. Friday night’s performers are much more palatable; always at the forefront of alt-rock innovation are the Flaming Lips, who’ll be doing a gig at the Roxy with or without the audience headphone system they brought on their last tour. Last year’s State of the Airwaves Live Act of the Year and heirs to the TMBG “nerd music” crown, Jim’s Big Ego, celebrate their new album release at TT The Bear’s. And Jill Sobule (you remember her: she kissed a girl and she wants to be a supermodel) hits the Avalon Ballroom.

On Saturday night, the pop atmosphere switches over to rock, as the Dandy Warhols have a promising set at the Middle East with Creeper Lagoon in tow. It’s a tough choice between that show and Elastica’s first US tour in years, which stops at Karma the same night. Saturday at Avalon there’s more local favor with the Push Stars, Orbit, and Splashdown, and if you’re hanging around Worcester, you can catch the Get Up Kids at the Palladium. Finally, Alice Cooper is usually not a notable performer with respect to this column ... but his supporters Sunday at the Orpheum are some of the best songsmiths in the “new metal” genre: prison-system activists Dope.

Most discerning music fans would say the most high profile release of the week is Radiohead’s fourth LP, Kid A. Never underestimate the power of adolescent imitation-punk fans. That’s the demographic that’s likely to propel Green Day’s Warning to the top of the Billboard charts this week. Even in the UK, Radiohead will have stiff sales competition from Robbie Williams, whose current single “Rock DJ” should pave the way for big numbers from Sing When You’re Winning.

In the hard-rock-electronic crossover department, there are releases today from Grand Theft Audio (Blame Everybody), and Reeves Gabrels (Ulysses), the always innovative guitarist who’s worked with David Bowie, Tin Machine, and the Cure. Recent Foo Fighters tourmates Blonde Redhead release an EP called Melodie Citronique today, and for the indie fan, there’s a new album from The Sea & Cake called Oui, as well as a rerelease of one of Beck’s earlier discs, Steropathetic Soulmanure. And if you really want to die in terrible pain and anguish, Yanni’s got a new album out called If I Could Tell You. Buy it if you have an enemy whose birthday is imminent.

An update on Offspring Free Album Mania: Columbia Records has said ixnay to the hombres on releasing The Conspiracy of One online before its release. That’s a brilliant move by the record company, since it makes them look like fascists publically, while the band, who are huge Napster supporters will probably put the tracks on the Internet anyway. As for the new single, it shows the band’s awareness of the style that got them to the top of Total Request Live; it’s not as goofy as “Pretty Fly,” but it uses the same vaguely lounge mid-tempo beat that turned off the band’s old fans and turned on a legion of new ones when Americana was released. Can’t blame them for going with what works.

I must be getting wordy ... seems like I’m covering less and less in the same amount of space. But isn’t an anti-veggie rant, a concert update, a new release report, and an “in-depth” analysis of the Offspring worth what you paid for this newspaper? If you wish to answer this fairly mindless rhetorical question, or you have any other comments, address them to <>. Your feedback counts, and helps to shape this column. Unless you want it to be pentagonal, as that pisses off layout. Until next Tuesday, have a week and keep expanding your horizons.