Music Happenings

Most likely, you’ve been distracted lately. I certainly have. Iknow that whole three-ring political circus that’s been going onthis week – or for the last four years, depending on how you lookat it – has a way of sucking your attention away. Though you mayhave been hopeful for a positive change, it’s a fact that America’sproblems run too deep to be solved by a figurehead of powerfulinterests. But now that it’s all over, the wholly predictableresults are in and it’s time to turn your attention back to moreimportant things, namely art. Other than bashing Bush and urgingyoungsters to vote, what have the musicians of the world beendoing?

According to NME, Manic Street Preachers bassist Nicky Wire hasunleashed a mighty spew of vitriol against garage revivalists likeThe White Stripes. “The White Stripes – I just don’t get that atall,” Wire opined. “When they say ‘we recorded the whole album intwo days’ its like, yeah it sounds like it – it sounds fucking crapbecause you recorded it in a second.” Others were not spared, asWire went on to lambaste Jet for having music with “the mental ageof a fetus.” Although Jet may well be the worst band to break inthe last few years, I don’t know many “fetuses” that can rip offKinks songs note for note.

Speaking of horrible bands, whine-smith indie darlingsThe Postal Service have reached a “cross-promotion” agreement withthe United States Postal Service, who had been after the simperingelectro-pop duo’s ass for using the giant government entity’s name.Luckily, The Postal Service’s label, Sub Pop, managed to conjure upa mutually beneficial deal, according to ad industry But why would the Post Office wish to sully their goodname and reputation by collaborating with these hacks? Simply, thekids. “It’s a great way for us to extend our brand into new areas,”says USPS’s manager of communication services Gary Thuro. “Theyreach a young audience that’s very important to our future, andmusic is such a powerful medium.” To that end, USPS is consideringusing TPS’ music in advertising, while Sub Pop may use post officesas distribution points for Postal Service albums and send the twoto play for the government suits at their annual conference.Hopefully, this will damage The Postal Service’s precious “indiecred,” make Pitchfork stop liking them and send them into thediscount CD rack where they belong.

What’s better than one great box set? Two, obviously. Along withthe eagerly awaited (by me) Nirvana box set, cornily titled WithThe Lights Out, Pavement will release a hugely expanded version of1994’s Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain much like the beefed-up Slantedand Enchanted of 2002. Due on Nov. 15, the two disc set willinclude 11 single B-sides, 11 unreleased album outtakes, four PeelSession tracks and a slew more, for a whopping total of 39 extrasongs. A booklet of flyers, set lists, photos and other miscellaneawill accompany it.

Nirvana’s offering, out on the Nov. 22, has even moregoodies. Filling up four discs will be a total of 81 tracks, 68 ofwhich are unreleased demos, covers and outtakes, plus DVD footageof rehearsals, home movie hijinks and 20 full-length videoperformances. You also get 60 pages of extensive liner notes byThurston Moore. That sounds great to me, but if you aren’t excitedto read all of that, just be thankful Courtney Love didn’t try andcontribute anything. I’m still mad about that shitty Greatest Hitsalbum, and it’s a miracle that she didn’t get her shaking junkiehands into this box set.