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In the anxiously libidinous "Buick City Complex,"
Old 97's frontman Rhett Miller encapsulates an entire relationship with the telling proposition, "Do you wanna start it off/Just to see how it'll end?"

WEAK-END PLANNER
SLOUCHES INTO SPRING

And Speaking Of Slouching, Sit Up Straight, For Pete’s Sake! We’re Paying You Good Money!
The migrating birdies are winging northward as the crack of the bat is heard again in Florida and Arizona, the wasted weasels have returned from their expense-account bacchanal in Texas, college hoops are preempting prime-time shows on CBS… What's that tell you? Yes, kiddies, it's springtime. And naturally, our underpaid cretins are just dying to tell you how you should spend the first weekend of the new season. As usual, you're free to ignore any or all of the drivel below. Thank you for your patience.

ALBUM OF THE WEEK
Old 97's, "Satellite Rides" (Elektra):
Self-proclaimed "Nervous Guy" Rhett Miller is always hedging his bets, hoping for the best while expecting the worst. In the anxiously libidinous "Buick City Complex," for example, he encapsulates an entire relationship with the telling proposition, "Do you wanna start it off/Just to see how it'll end?" The elegiac "Am I Too Late," meanwhile, finds him peering into the Great Unknown with a nod and a wink: "Now I hear that you have gone to heaven/If there's one I'm sure that's where you are." A fierce melancholy fueled by uncertainty and balanced by a sly, dry attitude provides the Old 97's' third major-label release with a knock-on-the-noggin wallop that recalls the Replacements in their prime, along with echoes of Chuck Berry, Mott The Hoople and the Faces in its interplay of boyish bonhomie and worldliness. In a series of taut, unfettered rock & roll songs, Miller and his mates draw emotional complexity from the simplicity of conversational language and familiar chord changes, as they ponder life's choices: self-belief versus self-loathing (first single "King Of All The World"), being in the moment versus running out of time ("Am I Too Late"), a quick thrill ("Designs On You") versus lasting commitment ("Question"). Even more than its predecessor, 1999's darkly delightful "Fight Songs," "Satellite Rides" wears its heart on its sleeve and dares you to knock it off. —Bud Scoppa

TRAKIN PONDERS THIS WEEK'S NEW MOVIES
"Heartbreakers":
From the advance word, this comedy is "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" meets "The Sting," with Sigourney Weaver and Jennifer Love Hewitt as a mother-daughter duo of con artists who try to pull a swindle on a quirky cigarette tycoon played by Gene Hackman. Hewitt, of course, ends up falling in love with the ultimate boy-next-door, played by Jason Lee, Stillwater's lead singer in "Almost Famous." There's a vengeful ex hot on their heels, a dead body in the trunk and a screwball finale in which mom and daughter are forced to confront their sleazy ways. The movie's directed by David Mirkin, a three-time Emmy winner for his work executive-producing "The Simpsons," so there have to be some laughs. The cast includes Ray Liotta, former Oscar winner Anne Bancroft, one-time "SNL" star Nora Dunn, character actor Jeffrey Jones and card sharp Ricky Jay. Check out http://www.mgm.com/heartbreakers/ for more info.

"Say It Isn't So": Produced by those wacky Farrelly Bros., this film examines incest with the duo's patented lack of good taste. Chris Klein enters a passionate romance with Heather Graham, only to learn, in a classic mix-up, that they are brother and sister. Or not. Longtime Farrelly colleague J.B. Rogers makes his directorial debut from a first-time screenplay by stand-up comics Peter Gaulke and Gerry Swallow. Sally Field plays the potty-mouthed, trailer-trash matriarch who persuades her daughter to give up her newfound love in favor of a shady millionaire played by Eddie Cibrian, with veteran character actor Richard Jenkins ("Me Myself & Irene") and Orlando Jones ("The Replacements") co-starring. The Farrellys' trademark gross-out animal scene appears in the film's trailer, where Klein receives, ahem, oral gratification from a cat. Click www.sayitisntsomovie.com for the elaborate, tabloid-style website.

"The Brothers": Described by its writer/director, Gary Hardwick, as "Refusing To Exhale," the film traces the "hilarious journey of four African-American men (Morris Chestnut, Bill Bellamy, D.L. Hughley and Shemar Moore) as they take on love, sex, friendship and two of life's most terrifying prospects—honesty and commitment." The story launches with an emergency meeting at their local bar, where reformed playboy Terry (Moore) tells the others he's decided to tie the knot, which the other three use as a jumping-off point to work through their own romantic troubles. Accompanied by the requisite R&B/hip-hop soundtrack on Warner Bros. Records. For more, check sony.com/thebrothers.
—Roy Trakin

THE BOOKS WE READ
"Dream Brother: The Lives and Music of Jeff and Tim Buckley":
This dual biography by Entertainment Weekly music critic David Browne starts off with a marvelous narrative structure, juxtaposing the parallel lives of folkie singer-songwriter Tim in the '60s and his estranged son Jeff in the '90s, overlaid with the ironic fatalism of their deaths at the age of 28 and 31, respectively. It's a case of like father, like son, with the latter unable to avoid his dad's fate despite fighting his entire life against comparison. There's plenty of good history here, especially of the early L.A. pop-rock days, featuring colorful manager-mogul Herb Cohen. Also compelling is the depiction of the height of the early-'90s alternative movement, especially Jeff's resistance to a Columbia hierarchy that tries to promote him as a legacy artist in the mold of Dylan and Springsteen—only to run up against his flighty intransigence. The notion of rock & roll as a life's ambition—and the pitfalls therein—rings through loud and clear. —Roy Trakin

QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"A dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance and to turn around three times before lying down."
—Robert Benchley

IVANA'S ONLINE SHOPPING TIP
Inseam Schemes:
Shopping for jeans can be a traumatic experience. There's nothing quite as uplifting as explaining to the salesperson at Fred Segal, accustomed to selling jeans to models with a 27-inch waist and a 34-inch inseam, that yes, my waist and my inseam are the same. So much for "symmetry" being a sign of beauty… I've found two websites that sell made-to-measure denim in a variety of colors, fabrics and detailing: www.jeangenie.com and www.ic3d.com. Both sites are extremely easy to navigate (once I stopped trying to take an inch or two off every measurement) and offer a full refund if you're not happy with the jeans. I ordered similar pants from both companies and I'll let you know how they turn out. In the meantime, I keep tweaking the design of the custom sneakers I'm ordering from www.customatix.com. I'm opting for one of their new designs, the "Snapper," but I haven't decided on the best color combination/ornamentation yet. You can also custom-design a variety of "sk8" shoes, "das boots," and "running roadrage" sneakers for less than $80. Let your creativity run wild without having to ask, "Does my ass look fat in these?" —Ivana B. Adored

PRESIDENTIAL FACT OF THE WEEK
Gerald R. Ford, our 38th president, was born July 14, 1913, in Omaha, NE. "Jerry," as a nation would come to know him, was the first man to occupy the White House without being elected either president or vice president. (He was the first vice president chosen under the terms of the 25th Amendment.) Ford's path to the presidency was paved by the forced resignation of Richard Nixon's Vice President Spiro Agnew, after he pleaded nolo contendere to a charge of income tax evasion, and the ultimate resignation of President Nixon following the Watergate affair. Best Anagram Of His Name: Red lard frog. Best Anagram Of Spiro Agnew's Name: Grow a penis.

BELOW THE RADAR
David Garza
: Those hardy SXSW attendees who caught Austinite Garza's set at Stubb's opening for the Black Crowes were treated to some heady power-trio rock. Buoyed by Living Colour's incendiary rhythm section—bassist Doug Wimbish and drummer Will Calhoun, both at the top of their game—Garza (his first name is pronounced Dah-VEED)uncorked a stunning batch of tunes that balanced hard-charging PoMo psychedelia, rootsy funk and evanescent beauty. If you're real nice to somebody at Lava/Atlantic, maybe you can land an advance of Garza's killer sophomore album, which fulfills the promise of his '98 debut, "This Euphoria," a terrific record you may have missed (just about everybody did). Go find it this weekend. —Simon Glickman

LP'S PLAYSTATION 2 GAME OF THE WEEK
EA Triple Play 2001: First and foremost, I have to let all ya playa hatas know that I'm an official San Francisco Giants fan, & I got no luvvv for any Dodgers fans, period. Since baseball season is around tha corner, I feel tha need to talk about this incredible new game. Coming off a winning history on PCs and other consoles, EA Triple Play baseball signs up with the PlayStation 2. Triple Play takes another leap in realism, from tha ultra-sharp graphics with real players' faces and stadiums to the advanced AI that enables authentic and flexible gameplay. The Dualshock 2 controller's analog features are now a key element of the batting, pitching, and fielding control for a truer sports gaming experience. To get tha game right, EA once again turned to the pros—American League MVP Jason Giambi of the Oakland A's and National League Manager of the Year Dusty Baker of the S.F. Giants. Of course, in baseball, what it all boils down to is tha showdown at tha plate—the pitcher facing off against tha batter for all tha money. Triple Play baseball again refines tha game with a power zone/contact zone batting cursor—power hitters may have a tiny cursor, but it'z all power zone, while more dependable sluggers will have a larger cursor and a smaller sweet spot. Batters are going to need all that control if they're hoping to tee off tha pitching this year, which is also improved in control to give them every trick in tha books. Players' skills are accurately based on player stats from last season, so if you see Mark McGwire at tha plate or Randy Johnson on tha mound, expect bad things to go down. —Latin Prince

MARK YOUR CALENDARS!
Upcoming Birthdays

March 23-29
23—Ric Ocasek (52) & Chaka Khan (48)
25—Elton John (54) & Aretha Franklin (59)
26—Diana Ross (57) & Chico Marx (would have been 115)
29—Eric Idle (58) & Lucy Lawless (33)

Special Events
March is Women's History Month
24—Wurstfest (Hermann, MO)
25—Mothering Sunday (U.K.)
26—Moharram (Islamic New Year) & Kuhio Kalanianole Day (Hawaii)
28—Teacher's Day (Czech Republic)
29—Youth Day (Taiwan)

YOUR WEAK-END WEATHER
It's A Lot Like Mir Landing On You
It is officially spring. Try to contain yourself. For those of you unlucky enough to be in New York, you won't even notice the difference. Friday will be cloudy and windy, with highs in the upper 40s and lows in the mid-30s. Golly. Saturday will cloudy, with rain and similar temps. Sunday will be cloudy with…similar temps. And so will Monday. In Los Angeles, it will also be cloudy all weekend, though no rain. Temps will be in the mid-60s Friday and Saturday, low 70s on Sunday. Lows will be in the mid-50s all three days. Whoo-hah! And just in case you're daydreaming about cutting out next weekend and going to the Final Four games in Minneapolis, here's a reality check: Friday, scattered snow, temps ranging from the teens to the upper 20s. Saturday and Sunday, highs in the mid-30s, lows in the upper teens. Better to go to Vegas and watch the games on TV. —David Simutis, apprentice meteorologist

"FACTS OF LIFE" SUMMARY FOR THE WEEK
Blair and Sue Ann decide to join an exclusive group of girls whose favorite pastime is smoking marijuana.

 

1 TRENDING TOPIC:
THE CAT’S PAJAMAS
Doja claws her way toward stardom. (4/16a)
NEW & DEVELOPING ARTISTS: Q2 EDITION
Who's next? (4/16a)
STREAMING SONGS:
POLO'S SOLO
"RAPSTAR" is accurately titled. (4/16a)
HITS LIST: RULES
FOR ENTRY
It's exclusive, but you're invited to come on in. (4/16a)
U.K. CHARTS: SWIFT TOPS THE BEATLES
She's huge on both sides of the pond. (4/16a)
RHYTHM, BLUES AND THE FUTURE
The musical tapestry we know as R&B.
WHO'S NEXT?
Predicting the next big catalog deal.
JUST THE VAX, MA'AM
Once we all get vaccinated, how long before we can party?
WORLDWIDE GROOVE
How is globalization bringing far-flung territories into the musical mainstream?
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