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MUSIC REVIEW

State of the Airwaves

Sunna, Sitta, and Scissor

By Dan Katz

Staff Writer

Thanksgiving for vegetarians? What a hideous concept. I found myself sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner with haunting visions of Katie Jeffreys’s “tofurkey” running through my head, and I almost lost my appetite. Almost. Everybody knows that the first Thanksgiving was an occasion on which the pilgrims and Native Americans gave thanks for not being vegetarian, and we shouldn’t forget that hallowed tradition. Man, next thing you know, Katie’s going to suggest that vegans should have the right to vote.

Once a year, WBCN shows its Christmas cheer by booking a whole bunch of nifty concerts on the same night and laughing at you because you can only go to one of them. Happy holidays, you sadistic bastards .... At the very least though, the WBCN Christmas Rave means there’s probably at least one show you’ll be interested in seeing tomorrow night: the spotlighted show takes place at the Orpheum and features Collective Soul, the underrated Fuel, and the overrated Dust For Life.

The best bets for my money are the Paradise Rock Club (Orgy, VAST, and 6Gig) or TT The Bear’s (The Dandy Warhols, whose live show rocks, as well as SR-71 and Good Charlotte.) Disturbed headline at Axis, accompanied by Union Underground and Linkin Park; the rap side of neo-metal rears its head at Avalon with Crazy Town, P.O.D., and the Insane Clown Posse. Other shows include the Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Seventeen at Lilli’s, C60 and Sunna at Bill’s Bar, and Rancid at the Middle East. Pick your poison.

After tomorrow, the concert scene becomes sparser. The innovative trio of Medeski, Martin, and Wood have a gig Thursday at the Orpheum and Friday at the Somerville Theater, and the Middle East presents godspeed you black emperor! This eccentric Canadian band (yes, the lowercase letters are intentional) were rumored for a long time to be appearing on Radiohead’s album, Kid A. That didn’t pan out, but the bands have a lot of respect for each other, and I’m told godspeed’s live show is spellbinding. Saturday night, go out and support your local scene, whether you’re catching Canine at the Middle East or the Sheila Divine at the Lucky Dog in Worcester.

I picked up Harvey Danger’s latest album this weekend: one of those discs I’ve been meaning to get for a while but never got around to. I was very pleasantly surprised. ... the band gets a bad critical rap for the stripped down simplicity of their big hit “Flagpole Sitta,” but on King James Version, their second major release, they manage to create a lot of neat musical ideas without fancy instrumentation -- just good old fashioned guitars, drums, and the occasional organ or rockabilly piano line. If nothing else, the album contains a lot of Song Title of the Year candidates, including “You Miss The Point Completely, I Get The Point Exactly” and “This Is The Thrilling Conversation You’ve Been Waiting For.” But there is in fact more than that, and the frantic pace of “(Theme From) Carjack Fever” and the awkward but tight rhythms in “Meetings With Remarkable Men” make this a disc I’ve been listening to over and over again to wrap my head around.

Just when MTV seems to have turned over any interest in indie rock to the airplay engineers at M2, they make things interesting by adding At The Drive In to their buzzworthy list. “One Armed Scissor” has in fact been getting more and more exposure on rock radio, despite the awkward structure of incomplete measures that dominates the song’s verses. Personally, I feel the same way about At The Drive In that I did about Rage Against The Machine: they’ve got terrific musicians and a knack for intense songwriting, but I just wish the lead vocalist would do more singing than talking and screaming. On the other hand, he does it in a much more melodic fashion than Zach De La Rocha, so I’ll mark it as an improvement.

The work I should have done over the long weekend awaits, so I must now bid you all goodbye. Here’s the usual routine: Write me with comments and questions at <airwaves@the-tech.mit.edu>. Particularly clever e-mails will receive fabulous prizes, such as Oreos or Tastykakes (imported from exotic Philadelphia). Until next our paths cross, I encourage you as always to have a pleasant week and keep expanding your horizons.