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MUSIC REVIEW

State of the Airwaves

Nullset, Nada Surf, and New Found Glory

By Dan Katz

Staff Writer

I know the majority of you have been keeping track and won’t have to be told this, but this week marks the grand second anniversary of the debut of State of the Airwaves. Yes, for two years, the gray box of musical justice has graced the pages of The Tech. Here’s some collectors’ trivia: a complete set of State of the Airwaves is worth $3,500 in auction, the most prized column is the notorious misprint “Sundgarden” issue, and I have praised Self and the Marvelous 3 a total of 73 times. For those of you who keep coming back, I thank you, and for those of you venturing within for the first time, welcome and enjoy.

No Tuesday Tech next week, which means I’ve got two weeks of concerts and albums releases to hype for you. Tonight, if you like your rock bizarre and heavy, Wes Borland’s Big Dumb Face is at Axis; if you prefer it lighter and more melodic, Semisonic are at the Paradise Rock Club. Tomorrow night, Australian punksters The Living End make an appearance at the Paradise. Friday, Nada Surf, who are regrettably better known for their novelty hit “Popular” than their excellent follow-up album, The Proximity Effect, stop at the Middle East, while Papa Roach, Snapcase, and Alien Ant Farm are at the Orpheum. Sunday, I highly recommend the bill at the Middle East, featuring Rocket From The Crypt and the International Noise Conspiracy.

Next Wednesday (that’s the 18th) Duncan Sheik shows off his artsy side at the House of Blues and Ours play TT The Bear’s. The day after, The Orb are at Avalon, and MTV’s Campus Invasion Tour, featuring Saliva, Sum 41, and American Hi-Fi, rolls into Brandeis. Friday the 20th, New Found Glory are in Worcester at the Palladium, and the Roxy features Linkin Park and Nullset. On Saturday the 21st, moe do the Palladium and Seventeen take the stage at Lilli’s. Finally, on Monday the 23rd, mega-rock-influences Sonic Youth check in at the Roxy, and the only member of Dire Straits with a dinosaur named after him, Mark Knopfler, has a gig at the Orpheum.

Shipments arriving in CD stores today will include a two-CD Ani DiFranco set called Revelling/Reckoning, Mojave 3’s Out of Tune, and Les Claypool’s Frog Brigade’s Live Frogs - Set I. Spacehog return with The Hogyssey, and Glen Phillips, formerly of Toad The Wet Sprocket, presents Abulum. Next week has a couple of promising releases; J.E.E.P. by the Welsh band Stereophonics, and Creeper Lagoon’s awkwardly titled Take Back The Universe (And Give Me Yesterday).

So what’s been on the radio lately? First of all, I completely misunderstand the success of Lifehouse and Powderfinger. For two bands that basically seem to be regurgitating Creed and U2 respectively, their climb up the airplay charts has been fairly disheartening. I’d rather see airplay for more unusual tracks like Big Dumb Face’s “Rebel,” which has an irresistible beat and chorus, even though it sounds like it was recorded on a toy keyboard by a very small man with a Southern accent. Thankfully, one of the top adds to alternative radio last week was Depeche Mode’s new single, “Dream On,” a gorgeously mysterious integration of synthesized sound and acoustic guitars.

The song I truly can’t get out of my head, however, is Jurassic 5’s “The Influence,” which I caught on MTV2 while I was home for break. The background samples are wonderfully hummable, and the rhythms of the rapping fits perfectly with the backbeat. I’ve found myself randomly spitting out the scat chorus at least once every few hours for the last two weeks, and the track still hasn’t gotten old.

It would be extremely unprofessional for me to abuse my access to publicity and discuss non music-news-related issues within the confines of the columns; for example, it would be inappropriate to invite you to come see my directorial debut, “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown,” this weekend. So I won’t do that and I’ll just remind you to send me feedback at <airwaves@the-tech.mit.edu>. Thanks for a great two years, and keep expanding your horizons.