Mylene: Queen of Pop
This week in the fishwrap, Charles Taylor makes the case for French pop, through the lens of the latest Mrs. Johnny Depp album. Below, longtime Phoenix critic Michael Freedberg, whom we consider our resident expert on the topic, provides his own master-class in variete francaise -- one that is necessarily weighted towards Mylene Farmer, who is the Reed to his Bangs, the Kixx to his Eddy.
What goes around (goes around, goes around) comes all the way back around
We have no idea who pitched who on having the Stooges covering Madonna's "Burning Up" at the RNRHOF induction last night, but we want to have this person inducted into the Rock N Roll hall of fame, and quickly. Ironically, we missed this live last night because we were watching a rerun of last year's "Fashion Rocks," on which the Stooges play "I Wanna Be Your Dog" -- and, later on the same show, the Gossip turn the end of their "Yr Mangled Heart" into an impromtu disco cover of "I Wanna Be Your Dog."
DOWNLOAD: Hooray for Earth, "Warm Out" (mp3)
Hooray for Earth: odd band. Get 'em drunk, and they're liable to belt out a Justin Timberlake hit, or maybe one of Jacko's. Left on his own, their singer has been known to crank out Magnetic Fields covers. In their own right, HFE have carved out a unique niche that's equal parts indie breadth and metal brawn, like a second coming of Queens of the Stone Age.
DOWNLOAD: Medicated Kisses, "Kill the Queen" (mp3)
When we told you last year to keep an eye on Medicated Kisses, we were thinking that frontwoman Alanna V's soul-fired belt might carry them to the top of the emo-pops: their "A Wolf Among Lilacs" sounded like Paramore with more metal and an even better singer.
P&N: Putting the amp back in ampersand
DOWNLOAD: Pretty and Nice, "Grab Your Nets" (mp3)
Pretty and Nice? No and no, actually -- ugly and raucous is more like it -- but they've got "Your New Favourite Band" written all over 'em. This Boston-via-Vermont foursome (or maybe threesome? MySpace is inconclusive) infuses thrill-crazed power-pop with the mad-noisy, chimp-like energy of juvie-hardened teenage degenerates.?xml:namespace>
We were way late to the Paramore bandwagon, and only picked up on them a few weeks before Riot! hit stores this year, but for shit's sake, you knew we were gonna love this band: shamelessly pop, adorable teenage girl singer, and a hit song that bounds onto Top 40 radio despite being a) complicated, b) sung by a girl in a rock band who's not Avril Lavigne, and c) a song that casually smashes to smithereens a host of stereotypes about what nice girls are supposed to sing about.
Sure, it was only two songs. (Turns out they had a third ready to go, but decided against it. What, the applause wasn't loud enough? "Exactly," said Chris Brokaw.) But since this was the first time Come have performed since their 2 1/2-hour farewell gig at the MidEast's downstairs room back in -- what, 1998? -- well, this was pretty fucking rad.
VHS or Beta stopped by the FNX studios last week to play a couple tracks from their neu new record Bring on the Comets. And you thought those guys would be lost without their sequencer.
The Rat's Last Stand: November 15, 1997
Any good scenester can tell you that November 15, 1997 was the date of the final gig ever played at Boston's legendary, notorious punk club, the Rat. The final band onstage was, appropriately enough, Gang Green, who probably drank (and sold!) more beers at that joint than anyone.
Foreground: Yoni. Background: the national phallus.
DOWNLOAD: Yoni Gordon and the Goods, "Buried in the Basement" [mp3]
Remember when Brett Rosenberg's first record came out and you thought he might be the next Ted Leo? Remember how wrong you were? Are you ready to play this game again? Because here comes Yoni Gordon, another cocky little prick with an album's worth of songs that're twice as smart as they need to be and catchier than the clap.
It wasn't that long ago that the National sold out the Roxy, so we didn't expect to see them back this soon: turns out they came back for a fans-only gig put on by WFNX -- which, as frontman Matt Berninger acknowledged from the stage, is one of the few commercial radio stations to play their music.
Josh Homme stopped by to play a few songs for us and about 35 other lucky stiffs on Boylston Street last week before QOTSA's proper gig. We had our doubts about what the hell Homme would do without an electric guitar, and we were doubly dubious when we found out he'd requested no amplification of any kind: no wires, no monitors, no PAs, just two guitars and singing into the wind.