Posted inArts & Culture

Julie Roberts

Julie Roberts’s voice, already as bluesy as any currently allowed on country radio, may even have deepened a bit since her eponymous 2004 debut. And as befits this singular instrument, her new Men and Mascara (Mercury) is high on sadness and low on what I’ll call spunkiness, that indomitably sassy feminine pluck that’s always been […]

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The Reader’s Guide to the Pitchfork Music Festival

This summer’s festival schedule started with the frisson of a behind-the-scenes flap: Most of the credit for the success of last year’s inaugural Intonation Music Festival went to its curators at Pitchfork Media, not to organizer Mike Reed and the events-planning and publicity company Skyline Chicago, who got the whole thing off the ground. So […]

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LL Cool J

He’s been here for years, but ageists take note: LL Cool J doesn’t turn 40 till 2008. Granted, he’s still a little long in the tooth to still be compulsively sweet-talking dissatisfied honeys, and you’ll know if you’re still game for his game from the opening couplet of his new album, Todd Smith (Def Jam): […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Treatment

Friday 14 CAKE When these novelty rockers released their Caucasoid flattening of “I Will Survive” ten years ago, sobersides dismissed them as a one-joke wonder. Turns out the joke was on the naysayers. Cake is a gag that not only survives but thrives. They’re still recording for Columbia and have a live disc due this […]

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Avant

Avant is R. Kelly minus the megalomania, the sensitive-thug contradictions, and the courtroom melodrama. That leaves just a voice–and though Avant’s has grit in it, his smooth cadences are all effortless Isleyisms, lithely gliding over unobtrusive hi-hat skips and muted guitar moans. Kelly’s music is now too slathered in subtext to be good for nooky […]

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Intonation Music Festival

Last year’s inaugural Intonation Music Festival was a collaboration between indie-rock Web site Pitchfork, concert promoter and musician Mike Reed, and event-planning company Skyline Chicago, but despite the festival’s spectacular success its organizers split up before the start of planning for the 2006 installment. Pitchfork and Reed have launched the Pitchfork Music Festival, which debuts […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Treatment

Friday 16 DIAGRAM-A Diagram-A is Providence-based noise artist Dan Greenwood, who builds apocalyptic-looking sound-making devices out of detritus like industrial surplus telephones, a flak jacket laden with switch boxes, and a gas mask vomiting ropes of copper-wire robot guts. One track from an RRRecords CD-R released a few years back sounds like a radio communication […]

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Madonna

Madonna’s always been a terrible disco singer: she lacks the suitably brassy gospel pipes, and she’s rarely been willing to make herself an anonymous part of the music’s cheesy grandeur. In fact, one of the notable achievements of her earliest hits was the reduction of dance music to a human scale, where even her squished […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Treatment

Friday 2 BE YOUR OWN PET This Nashville quartet seems determined to make punk rock sound fun again, without sacrificing a sense of musical adventurousness. The short, raucous, and playful tunes on their latest EP, Summer Sensation (Ecstatic Peace), are hardcore without the grim political machismo, garage rock without the self-righteous authenticity fetish, and emo […]

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The Coup

Boots Riley is one of those guys who can ferret out the political subtext of just about anything. On the Coup’s Pick a Bigger Weapon (Epitaph), the ostentatiously Afro’d producer and MC returns repeatedly to the notion of sex as an act of protest–a perfectly natural choice given the retooled P-Funk bump he favors, which […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Treatment

Friday 26 OREN AMBARCHI In a 2002 interview for the Web zine Perfect Sound Forever, this Australian multi-instrumentalist listed some of the albums he found in his grandfather’s secondhand shop as a kid that turned his head around–including an Iron Maiden sleeve with a copy of Miles Davis’s Live Evil inside. Since cofounding the spastic […]

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Rainer Maria

Predictably enough, indie twits en masse struck Caithlin De Marrais from their crush lists after Rainer Maria’s 2003 album, Long Knives Drawn. No longer content to poetically twinkle amid Kyle Fischer’s guitars, the singer began to articulate her personal and sexual prerogatives–something that was bound to happen to a nice midwestern girl who’d moved to […]