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Music

Badly Drawn Boy

Born in the U.K., the fifth album from Badly Drawn Boy (a.k.a. Damon Gough), sounds like a rock 'n' roll musical.

by JONATHAN LIEBEMBUK

Straight Outta Heathrow

Lady Sovereign is a girl who knows how to take her criticisms with a healthy grain of salt. "They can fuck off," said the 20-year-old British rapper of her detractors.

by VINCE LEVY

Press Play, Playa

Diddy and his Bad Boy camp taught hip-hop how to spend loot. Not some gambino-type Infiniti shit, I am talking Maybach shit.

by ,

Fresh and Funky

If there is a white picket fence along the rock-star trajectory, Chris Funk has likely found it. The Decemberists' jack-of-all-instruments (guitarists first and foremost; banjo, mandolin, bouzouki, pedal steel, glockenspiel, and hammered dulcimer follow suit) has a few weeks to spend with his family in Portland, Oregon before casting off on full tours of the U.S.

by VINCE LEVY

Bloody 'ell!

With a new album out and a national tour, Ben Kweller certainly is a busy fellow. Sacrificing valuable time for baby clothes shopping at a Cincinnati Old Navy, the one-man band takes a few moments to talk to Street about bloody noses, intellectual property, and even his music. Street: On your new album you play all the instruments yourself, was that something you planned on doing much prior to recording, or when exactly was that decision made? Kweller: It happened at the last minute.

by JOE YEAKEL

Fairy Godfather

In the shadow of the massive success of his former band, Pixies frontman Frank Black has been diligently recording under his own name since 1993.

by ALEX JACOBS

Reviews

Chin Up Chin Up This Harness Can't Ride Anything Listening to This Harness Can't Ride Anything, the sophomore album from Chicago's Chin Up Chin Up, is much like a visit to the Midwest - forgettable. This Harness, recorded with producer Brian Deck (Modest Mouse, Iron & Wine), begins with promise.

by 34TH STREET

Booty Rock

Featuring nothing but the gyrations of a particularly impressive female behind, the video for "Backyard Betty," Spank Rock's debut single, has a clear purpose: to get them asses shakin'. But the music is far from standard club hip-hop fare; in fact, the MC at the helm, 24-year-old Naeem Juwan, would rather avoid classification altogether. YoYoYoYoYo, Spank Rock's first full-length album, is a detailed collaborative effort: Naeem raps over beats ranging from Baltimore house to Hendrix, artfully layered by his childhood friend and producer, Alex "Armani XXXChange" Epton. Naeem attributes the eclecticism of the music to his move from Baltimore to Philly to become a Drexel student (and one-time Penn partygoer). "We come from Baltimore," he says, "and the cultures don't really mix up too much." Though early exposure to traditional hip-hop and the ecstatic phenomenon of 'B-more' club house continue to be profoundly influential on the pair, it primed Naeem for a musical awakening. "I really didn't know much about rock or punk or '80s, so when I went to Philly, things were a lot more diverse.

by CLAIRE STAPLETON

A Long December

It's a brave new world for Decemberists fans. The release of their new album, The Crane Wife, marks the group's shift to Capitol Records from indie Kill Rock Stars.

by VINCE LEVY

Home at Last

Political activism and artistic integrity go hand in hand," said a calm and composed Salim Washington over the phone from his New York office.

by TAYLOR HOWARD

No Man is an Island

By all accounts, life on the road is nasty, brutish and long. And on the eve of a North American tour, Islands' Nick Diamonds is sick in a Toronto hotel room, speaking in low tones to protect his voice.

by ALEX JACOBS

Weird Science

Beck is a man known for wearing many hats at once. He has built his career upon shapeshifting, evading classification, seamlessly blending the unlikely with the illogical.

by STEVE MCLAUGHLIN

Emily Haines

Some good CDs make you smile, some make you dance, and some make you cry. Emily Haines's Knives Don't Have Your Back belongs in the last category: bittersweet, but infectious all the same.

by SARAH BIRNBAUM

Sorority Life

At a time when pop culture phenomena like Paris Hilton and Hulk Hogan's daughter are relentlessly promoting their debut albums, the idea of the remake doesn't sound all that bad. Take Johnny Cash's cover of Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt," for instance.

by LAURA AMANN

A two-hour vigil with student radio

The outer room of WQHS is the most organized it's been in a long time. Rows and rows of CDs and LPs stand ordered alphabetically and by genre.

by GABE CRANE

Sandi Thom

Smile... It Confuses People is the kind of record that really makes you wonder. Whatever happened to the idyllic, innocent rebellion of our parents' generation?

by STEVE MCLAUGHLIN

Sparklehorse

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. It's a motto that most aptly describes Sparklehorse's latest, a merely competent album that explores little new ground.

by RAFAEL GARCIA

Mad Tea Party

If you thought that the twang of country couldn't be combined with tedious sound effects and mild musical enthusiasm, then the monotonous sounds of Mad Tea Party's latest, Big Top Soda Pop, will quickly prove you wrong.

by ,

Music Reviews of: The Slats, The Mooney Suzuki, Kasabian, The Avett Brothers, Alexisonfire

The Slats Boom Patrol 4.5 Stars If you're on the prowl for something epic, progressive, and tasteful, don't look to the Slats.

by 34TH STREET

Separation anxiety

After three years of collaborative projects and live albums, Will Oldham returns with his first proper solo album since 2003's Master and Everyone.

by JOSEPH YEAKEL

PennConnects

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