NADA SURF I like ‘em well enough. Their last couple of albums off the Barsuk label, Let Go and The Weight Is a Gift, are good standard alt-rock fair. But, the name Nada Surf. Dumb. Other dumb names they could have had – No Straw Hat, Zip Tacos, No Way Jose Tea Cozy.

MAGNETIC FIELDS You must listen to 69 Love Songs. Magnetic Fields’ (aka Stephen Merritt’s) album that is at the zenith of the Magnetic Fields’ creative energies. Three CDs, chock full of swell pop songs with oodles of goofy lyrics, different styles and with a multitude of different themes based on l’amour. I told my granny, […]

LATEEF, YUSEF A tenor sax great, Yusef Lateef (born William Huddleston in Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1920) has played with the best, including Milt Jackson, Paul Chambers and Dizzy Gillespie. He found Islam in the 1950s and changed his name. A note, now, from the White House: He’s a terrorist! Watch out America! Fear him! His […]

Keane From East Sussex in the UK they started as a cover band. They played Oasis, U2 and Beatles songs. U2, okay. They’re pretty good. “LEMON!” Oh yeah, U2’s sweet, and sour (“LEMON!”). The Beatles? Well, they’re icons, dude. “Eleanor Rigby” – I dare you to find a finer song. But singing Oasis covers? Ummm…Not […]

Jack Johnson The Jack Johnson who sang the “Curious George” soundtrack, the Jack Johnson who was a professional surfer before picking up the guitar to great success, the Jack Johnson who recorded “Brushfire Fairytales” is NOT the same Jack Johnson who was the first African-American to be a world heavyweight champion boxer. I looked like […]

Braille “I” ICELANDERS They know how to rock, our Icelandic brothers and sisters. Bjork, of course. But Sigur Rios?Awesome. And Emiliana Torrini? Neato! And the rap group Quarashi? Honestly, tell me a better Icelandic rap group. Seriously. Come on! You can’t even think of one. That’s because Quarashi is the end all and be all […]

HALEY, BILL He sang “Rock Around the Clock.” When that song was popular Elvis had yet to chart nationally, Chuck Berry’s first single had barely been recorded, and Roy Orbison and Buddy Holly didn’t even have contracts. Haley was at the time, in other words, the only white rock ‘n’ roll star in the world. […]