From the time I left campus last spring until June 14, I had Radiohead on my mind. Mine was an obsession that verged on downright mania, transforming my usually tepid opinions into axioms and outright platitudes.
After opening for indie rock sensations the Arcade Fire and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, it was only a matter of time before the Atlanta-via-Athens, Georgia group Snowden got picked up by a prominent independent label.
In the wake of Ashlee Simpson's lip-synch debacle on SNL nearly two years ago, Kelefa Sanneh wrote a diatribe against its most strident critics in The New York Times. "The Rap Against Rockism" asked "Could it really be a coincidence that rockist complaints often pit straight white men against the rest of the world?" (A rockist, of course, being a subscriber to the creed of authenticity and a strict guitars-drums-bass worldview.) In other words, is "alternative rock," in all its monikers, yet another white boys' club defined by its own exclusivity?
Coachella, a documentary on the six-year-old Indio, California music festival of the same name, incessantly begs such questions by refusing to play to its strengths.
Much of the hype surrounding the Flaming Lips' long-in-the-works 12th album jumped on frontman Wayne Coyne's murmurs about "more guitars." The Oklahoma City veterans' last two albums, 1999's brilliant The Soft Bulletin and 2002's kinda brilliant Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, eschewed the band's tattered punk threads for heady, orchestrated prog.
Their music has been dubbed new-wave, pop-punk and various combinations thereof, but stellastarr* just likes to call it "rock." Between watching soft-core porns and touring to promote their album, Harmonies for the Haunted, stellastarr*'s pretty busy these days.
Street: How would you define your music?
Dov Kogen began singing and writing songs at the ripe age of three, when he took the tune of Jewish hymn "Adon Olam" and set it to the one-word lyric "guitar." "I didn't actually play guitar back then," the psychology major and music minor says, "so I sort of strummed my aunt's 30-year-old classical guitar," which he would actually learn to play in the fourth grade.
Hopping the pond makes for strange bedfellows. Though the Subways had an early U.S. breakthrough this fall on that great cultural arbiter, The O.C., a February release date has lumped their debut with the latest wave of British musical exports.