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Music News, Reviews, and Gossip on
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    Amigos, it’s been two months since our first expedition south of the border in search of Mexican music. Now that we’ve shaken off the mezcal hangover, it’s time to return to Mexico lindo y querido to have a look-see at two smart alt-rock bands that defy the multiple Mexican stereotypes I (impressively, no?) have managed…

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    Houston band Wild Moccasins will be playing two shows in Brooklyn this weekend: Friday at Death By Audio and Saturday at Union Hall. I wrote a feature about them last summer in relation to local music scenes, and it seems that a year later they’ve shed the cocoon and are flying like beautiful butterflies across…

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    Andy Stack and Jenn Wasner of Wye Oak are either two of the most talented musicians currently out there right now, or they’re aliens from a distant planet where all beings are born with the inherent ability to produce songs that are equal parts intelligent, emotional, challenging, and fun. Quite frankly I’m starting to think…

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    The disadvantage of being an "actual college student" while covering CMJ is that you have to, you know, go to college. When I got home from the Beach House show at 2:30 a.m. Thursday, I had to write my recap post then and there because I had class starting at 9:30. Which means that I was facing last night on three hours of sleep and a full day of school. Under the circumstances I decided to take it as easy as possible last night, so I headed over Pete's Candy Store in Williamsburg hoping it would be a hype-free zone with seating. The good news is that I was right on both accounts; the bad news is that people are still trying to drive me slowly insane with generic folk. A more nuanced assessment of that situation, plus some Western swing, after the jump.

    The post CMJ Day Three: A Triumphant Return To Mediocrity appeared first on idolator.

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    After much begging, pleading, questioning of press credentials, and discussion of karma, the doorman at The Annex mercifully let me--and my hands, each of which was decorated with a massive "X"--into Friday's "Sounds of Spain" showcase. I went in expecting to find mostly mediocre psychedelia and mumbly alt-rock (Spain's genres of choice), and came out pleasantly surprised. I'd like to dedicate this post to that reluctant but accommodating door man; he was the only one to let me in anywhere on Friday. Join me after the jump for hot Spanish dudes and the unfortunate experience of being an actual 20-year-old college student at CMJ.

    The post CMJ Day Four: Idolator Goes Back To Spain, Gets Carded appeared first on idolator.

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    Saturday's Daytrotter/Take the Handle/SnowGhost Music showcase at Brooklyn's Glasslands Gallery had two things going for it: Wye Oak was on the bill, and it was in the afternoon. Hoping it might end my CMJ coverage on a much-needed high note, I camped out for most of the afternoon and heard some genuinely recommendable music at a lovely, mercifully couch-equipped venue.

    The post CMJ Day Five: In Search Of A Happy Ending appeared first on idolator.

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    This weekend, Jimmy Buffett will strap on his boat shoes and head down to Tampa so he can play a free concert in support of Barack Obama's attempt to take the crucial swing state of Florida on Election Day. But what will the slogan for this show be? Oh wait, I know.

    The post Jimmy Buffett To Swing Florida’s Vote With Nothing But An Acoustic Guitar And A Handle Of Rum appeared first on idolator.

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    I spent part of my summer traveling around the country and talking to bandom writers (bandom, in case you are lucky enough to be out of the loop, is fan fiction about emo bands). The overwhelming consensus among my subjects was that the characterization of Panic at the Disco's Ryan Ross (not the lead singer, the other one) had taken an abrupt turn from fragile emo kid to twee hippie. Judging from this video for their new single "Northern Downpour," he seems to be angling for yet another shift: Middle school graduation attendee in 1975, complete with goofy haircut.

    The post Panic At The Disco Go Pastoral appeared first on idolator.

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    If there's one thing you can be absolutely sure of, it's that Michael Jackson's "Thriller" will never, ever die, thanks to awesomely crappy early-oughts pop-punk, bad rom-coms, and silly world record attempts. So it's no surprise that rumors are now surfacing about Thriller: The Musical!

    The post MIchael Jackson May Lead A Pack Of Synchronized Zombies Down The Great White Way appeared first on idolator.

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    Well, I no longer live in student housing, Rilo Kiley is unfortunately not in the building, and I'll play the modesty card and argue that I'm not nearly as hilarious as Maura suggests, but yes, here I am again in the mtvU blogging pit (of doom). Oh, it's not all that bad. The music is really loud and the table is far too high (or maybe it's the chairs that are too low) to type comfortably, but the staff is very friendly and there are free mini-hamburgers so we'll call it even.

    The post Idolator Live-Blogs The 2008 mtvU Woodies: Yes, For Real appeared first on idolator.

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    What is it about the spooky shell of a human known as Michael Jackson that inspires people to make such monumentally misguided decisions? Some people entrusted their children to him; now comes word that someone had the genius idea to advance him huge sums of money for an album he never produced and was never going to in the first place because he's not capable of earthly functions anymore. Sheikh Abdulla bin Hamad Al Khalifa of Bahrain, apparently operating under the assumption that Jackson could somehow be restored to his previous glory, pumped millions into a record deal for Jackson in the hopes of reviving his career. Now Jackson claims that the money was a "gift" and Sheikh Abdulla is taking him to court in London for the sum of £4.7 million. Hold on, though--that whole series of events may be pretty sketchy, but it's just not weird enough to be a Jackson story yet.

    The post Michael Jackson Continues His Journey Toward Infinite Creepiness appeared first on idolator.

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    It's been four years since Blink-182 petered out after their peculiar Robert Smith phase (which was not terrible, but just something of a death rattle). In the interim Mark Hoppus has been blogging heavily and producing generic pop-punk, while Tom DeLonge has dedicated himself to exploring the deepest depths of nauseating self-importance. It seemed for a while that the once fantastically crude duo would never reconcile their divergent life paths. But! According to Hoppus' latest blog post there may actually be a glimmer of hope for a second Belle Époque of fart jokes.

    The post Mark Hoppus Cranks The Blink-182 Rumor Mill appeared first on idolator.

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    It used to be that you had to lurk on fan sites and wait for someone to post a concert bootleg to hear unreleased material from your favorite bands, but that process has since been boiled down to a single YouTube search. Case in point: "I Want for Nothing," an unreleased track by Baltimore's Wye Oak.

    The post No. 78: Wye Oak, “I Want for Nothing” appeared first on idolator.

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    In addition to choosing our 80 favorite musical recordings, people, places, movements, and events of the year, Idolator has also chosen eight of its least favorites of 2008. In the first Heartbreak, Kate Richardson looks at a movie that misses an opportunity to immortalize Sweden's greatest pop group—and its greatest '70s fashion plates—on the big screen.

    The post Heartbreak No. 1: “Mamma Mia” Misses The Essence Of ABBA appeared first on idolator.

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    In the era of Autotune, Jenny Lewis went analog. Acid Tongue is a testament to the sheer power of true musicianship. An organic, forceful album that feels like the upswing of a good beer buzz, it hops from folk to country to blues with impressive ease and effortless charm, and the title track is its triumphant centerpiece.

    The post No. 74: Jenny Lewis, “Acid Tongue” appeared first on idolator.

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    2008 will go down as the year that fan fiction and tribute videos finally realized their inevitable, terrifying synthesis. "Jobromance" is a generic term for a mashup of sorts, one made of a video consisting of Jonas Brothers content (which could consist of a picture, several pictures, or a video clip) and a corresponding narrative featuring the Jonas Brothers and other various teen stars, which is pasted into the clip's "about" field.

    The post No. 43: The Curious Rise Of Jobromance appeared first on idolator.

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    "L.E.S. Artistes" may be the punchy, widely hyped lead track on Santogold's self-titled debut, but the real gem of the album is "Lights Out." There's an effortless appeal about the song that both enhances and downplays its greatness. Singer Santi White's breezy vocals drift over the hefty bass line, while other hooky background elements—a fuzzy guitar riff, some floating backup harmonies—weave in and out of the track, creating an irresistible, almost maddening pop song.

    The post No. 23: Santogold, “Lights Out” appeared first on idolator.

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    Let's face it: Wonky Pop has not exactly moved mountains in the past year. America has not yet gone down to its collective river to pray to the shiny Nordic purveyors of high quality throwback pop, and at this point it appears as if this country likely never will be saved by scary-good Scandinavian music. (No, not even Annie.) But that certainly doesn't detract from Alphabeat's aggressive charm.

    The post No. 12: Alphabeat Gets “Wonky” appeared first on idolator.

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    It seems that the understandably pallid career trajectory of nobody's favorite tweensploitation group, the Clique Girlz, is maybe, finally going to pick up with a promotion deal for Baby Bottle Pop, aka "nipple-shaped candy." But one fan site is disseminating the rumor that Ariel Moore (the blonde one (haha!)) plans on leaving the group before she can shill Michael Eisner's sugary anatomically correct wares. At this point it's just a rumor, but were it to come true (heaven forbid!), what would this mean for the Girlz? A giant purple nurple on their promotion deal? Resetting the Autotune to "two-part harmony" and forging ahead? Crassly casting a replacement? The Internet has a few ideas.

    The post The Clique Girlz’ Sugary Sisterhood Might Be Turning A Bit Sour appeared first on idolator.

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    Recently the New York Times ran a feature about working-class Mexican immigrants using their cell phones rather than iTunes to buy and listen to music, which, as you can imagine, has sent both music and telecommunications types into a tizzy. The poster children of this new era of regional Mexican cell phone music are the members of Los Pikadientes de Caborca, a ragtag group of musicians from rural Sonora whose song "La Cumbia del Río" went viral via cell phones and eventually landed them a record deal with Sony. The song is fun and bouncy and exactly the kind of thing that one should play through a cell phone, but Mexico is a huge country of almost 110 million people and it's, you know, right next door. So I figured it was high time that coverage of Mexican music delved a little deeper than business models built on novelty songs.

    The post La Búsqueda De La Música Mexicana: Part 1 appeared first on idolator.