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"Wait a doggone minute," ah says. "Them hillbilly sons-a-bitches is doin' Pink Floyd's The Wall in its entirety, cousin Merle," ah says, "only old-time country style."
WEAKEND PLANNER SALUTES THE OSCAR...MAYER WIENER
Pre-Oscar Nosh, Serious Hoops, NASCAR Subplots, Must-Have CDs, IRS Procrastinating and the Joys of Brooklyn
Just kidding. In truth, the only wieners you’ll find in this week’s planner are the losers tapping out the far-from-meaty verbiage below. But we digress. The point is, a vibrant weekend like this one, beginning with the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Tournament (Duke is out! Whoa), culminating in the Academy Awards and generally representing the first flowering of spring, is as far away as one can get from the dog days of August, so enjoy it while it’s here. And hey, before you read any further, check out our clueless staff’s Oscar picks.

THE GREAT UNKNOWN?
OK, I’m fully hooked. It happens every once in a while—the album that I need to hear at least once a day, preferably more—but it’s rare that such a set comes from an unsigned act. Colorado-bred troubadour Patrick Park probably won’t be without a deal for long, as manager Jason Reynolds ([email protected]) is already taking major meetings. And no wonder, given the depth and versatility of this full-length, which recalls Elliott Smith, Ryan Adams and even Jackson Browne but manages to weave a world of its own. Park turns out consistently solid melodies that move in unexpected yet satisfying directions, and he sings them with warmth and vibrancy. Though the as-yet untitled album (co-produced by the artist and the inspired Dave Trumfio) mixes mandolin-tinged roots-pop, spooky, stripped-down rock and even horn-and-strings-tinged uplift, Park unites it all with the honesty and invention of his songwriting gestalt. Though this baby plays beautifully in sequence, I’d have to single out the mesmerizing “Past Poisons,” the dark, slide-driven “Sons of Guns,” with its surprise knockout of a chorus, the gorgeous “Silver Girl,” the rough-and-tumble singalong “Bullets by the Door” and the bittersweet “Your Smile’s a Drug.” This disc’s a drug, too. Score now.
Simon Glickman

ROOTS RE-PLACEMENT
Grandpa Boy, Mono/Paul Westerberg, Stereo (both Vagrant):
Paul Westerberg is back to his natural pitch-black hair color, just the most obvious sign of a return to roots for the legendary leader of '80s punk darlings the Replacements. A major-label casualty—his last album, '99's Suicaine Gratification, hit the streets the day his patron, Capitol President Gary Gersh, left the company—Westerberg has chosen to release this double-disc CD on L.A. emo-core indie Vagrant (the first few Replacements records were on the local Minneapolis Twin/Tone label). Home-produced, with Westerberg playing all the instruments, the two records are divided like Grin's 1+1—one swaggering, unashamedly adolescent garage-rock (Mono under the pseudonym Grandpa Boy), the other more reflective, adult, folk-confessional (Stereo as Paul Westerberg). It's no surprise the former, recorded just like it says, kicks in first, which should please diehard Replacements fans concerned that Westerberg's last solo album began to veer off into awfully generic singer-songwriter territory. (A limited edition run of 10,000 of Mono is out now, but the disc will be available along with Stereo as a two-CD set which comes out April 23.)
          Mono is more than a nod to the glory days, it's a re-examination of primary Mats elements—the Stones by way of Chuck Berry, the Who, Big Star, Neil Young's Crazy Horse and early Cheap Trick, to be exact. The swamp-rocking “Anything but That” could be an Exile outtake, the Chicago blues of “Eyes Like Sparks” evokes 12x5, while the drawling “2 Days 'til Tomorrow” is right off Sticky Fingers, with a nod to both Westerberg's alt-country fans and those recent Ryan Adams comparisons. With the typically self-effacing “Silent Film Star" and the nod to his Velvets/Stooges/Dolls punk pedigree ("Knock It Right Out"), this is as close to a 2002 Replacements record as we're going to get.
          By comparison, the joys of Stereo are more subtle, with fellow Minnesota poet Dylan providing the inspiration this time. After awhile, the colorings—a lightly wheezing harmonium and a burst of distorted guitar on "Baby Learns to Crawl," the overdubbed gospel vocals haunting "Call That Gone,"—begin to burnish themselves. And while it doesn't quite evoke vintage Replacements like Mono, the story-of-my-generation plaint "We May Be The Ones” is a worthy successor to such Mats anthems as "Here Comes a Regular" and "Bastards of Young."
          Like his old pal Alex Chilton—to whom he once paid tribute in song—it may well be that Paul Westerberg is doomed to be no more than a pop cult figure—beloved by few, ignored by most. "As long as there's blood/In my veins/I will search," he vows in "Dirt to Mud." Just be grateful he hasn't been discouraged from continuing to wear that rock & roll heart on his sleeve. —Roy Trakin

PLAYING CATCH-UP
Nobody can listen to every one of the 10,000 or so albums that come out annually, not even Grand Poobah Bob Christgau—although his Consumer Guides in the Village Voice suggest that he comes close. Like many observers of the contemporary music scene, I rely on tips from people whose taste I respect as a way of cutting to the chase. Nonetheless, I inevitably miss some records that would’ve been in my regular rotation had I heard them or known about them.
         The most impressive album from the 2001 crop that I missed the first time around has gotta be the self-titled album from Buddy & Julie Miller (Hightone), a talented couple best known for their support of Emmylou Harris (who guests here on one track). The album, which sports songs from Richard Thompson, Bob Dylan and Utah Phillips as well as eight originals, would be a perfect follow-up purchase for anyone whose musical passions were reawakened by O Brother, Where Art Thou? What’s more, the blend of technical prowess and expressiveness in Julie’s vocals is redolent of Sheryl Crow’s best work.
          The Millers show they can summon up those high, lonesome Appalachian harmonies with the best of them (Julie’s Little Darlin’,” Dylan’s “Wallflower”) but there are also moments that vividly evoke Emmylou’s seminal work with Gram Parsons (Julie’s gorgeous “That’s Just How She Cries”), as well as Thompson’s timeless ’70s recordings with then-wife Linda Thompson. In fact, Buddy, who plays in Harris’ band Spyboy, shows off guitar chops that approach those of the prodigious Brit, injecting even some of the pastoral numbers here with testosterone. I’m especially partial to the album’s pair of flat-out rockers, Julie’s Exile-like “You Make My Heart Beat Too Fast,” which crunches like beef jerky, and the jointly written “Dirty Water,” a loping, sinewy homage to the Creedence of “Susie Q” and “Born on the Bayou.” Buddy & Julie Miller isn’t some esoteric art project—it’s an ebullient embrace of American roots idioms, and if you connect with any of the touchstones I mentioned, you should own a copy.
          Other belated discoveries: Julianna Raye’s Restless Night (3 Crows Music) is essentially a collaboration between the smoky-voiced, L.A.-based singer and producer/multi-instrumentalist Ethan Johns (best known for his work with Ryan Adams). Raye displays an elegantly understated sultriness that owes a bigger debt to Peggy Lee than to Portishead, while Johns shows that his range extends uptown on torchy, loop-driven tracks like “The Man That Time Forgot” and “Dark Night of the Soul.”… People had been telling me that Pink’s Missunaztood (Arista) was surprising in its stylistic range and emotional depth, but it was hard to believe that this 22-year-old seeming kewpie doll could pull off such a coup—until I heard the record. Informed in equal measure by hip-hop and rock & roll, the album turns out to be a remarkably forceful and coherent hybrid that signals the arrival of an expansive post-millennial style and the emergence of a major new talent. All that plus the irresistible “Get the Party Started,” which hooked me from the first NBA promo on TNT. I mean, codpiece funk from Linda Perry of 4 Non Blondes infamy alongside power ballads from the likes of Dallas Austin—and it’s as effective as it is incongruous. Whaddaya know. Bud Scoppa

SOME FELLERS NAMED FLOYD
Luther Wright & the Wrongs
Rebuild the Wall (Back Porch/Virgin): Well, dang! Ah was at mah cousin Merle's t'other night and we commenced to drankin' a whole mess uh beers an' ah told him how much ah loved that ol' O Brother soundtrack he burned fer me with his CD-burnin' still. So he says to me, he says—and Merle kinda spits when he talks, so ya gotta kinda tilt yer head so he can tell you're payin' attention but the spit don't get on ya too much—"If yew lahk that, wait'll yew hear this!" An' he fires up this here CD, an' it's got that good mountain mojo with the fiddlers fiddlin' an' the mandolins a-cryin', but them songs… they sounds so dang familiar. "Wait a doggone minute," ah says. "Them hillbilly sons-a-bitches is doin' Pink Floyd's The Wall in its entirety, cousin Merle," ah says, "only old-time country style." An' dang if it don't shuffle along real good, so's mah foot got ta tappin' right off. But there's a real serious message that spoke right ta mah heart: Eddy-cay-shun skrews yew up but good. "Teachers, leave them kids alone!" Amen to that. Everything ah need to know ah learned offa the back of a feed bag. The Guy That the Guy With the Goggles Stole Them Doggone Goggles From

NAYSKAR PREEDIKSHUNS, Y’ALL
Holy dee-vorse court! Now we all know what’s been wrong with that damn purdy boy. Danged ole Jeff Gordon’s track-ho wife is tryin’ to pull a fast’un on the five-time champ, claimin’ he done broke they marriage and it cain’t be fixed. Somethin’ about he done strayed or whatever. That’s raht: Ever’body’s favorite Rainbow Warrior is now shacked up with a “bidness associate,” and, obviously, the last thang on his mind these days is racin’. Course, if I was about to lose $700 million, ah might be a tad dee-stracted mah own sef.
          Anyhoo, back ta paint-tradin’: Didn’t ah tell y’all that some Dodge or other would win that dang Dodge Dealers 400 last week in Darlington? Well ah’ll be pink an’ purple horny toad of questionable sekshul prefrince if Sterling Marlin didn’t take the Chip Ganassi Racing #40 Coors Light Dodge (under the tender wrench of Lee McCall) across that there finish line first. Now, this here week it gits a tad more compleecated, cuz there ain’t no Food City car entered in the Food City 500, set to go off Sunday at the .533-mile high-banked concrete oval of Bristol, Ten-oh-see’s Bristol Motor Speedway. But jes’ a-holt on to your John Deere caps, conspeeruhsee fans—that there particular wrinkle ain’t throwin’ us off the scent. We jes’ gots ta do a little extra figgerin’, is all—git below the surface and inta the meat o’ this partikuhler sitcheeayshun, if you will.
          Now: Where the heck is Food City’s home office? That’s raht, Virginny. And what drivers is from Virginny? That’s raht, them gol-durned Burton boys. So, if ah wuz a-gamblin’ and a-whorin’ (and not on mah week off), ah’d be looking for Ward Burton in the Bill Davis Racing #22 Caterpillar Dodge (under the tender wrench of Tommy Baldwin Jr.) or cousin/brother/uncledaddy Jeff Burton in the Roush Racing #99 Citgo Ford (under the tender wrench of Frank Stoddard) to be runnin’ up front. If’n either of ’em’s got the magic engine, ah cain’t say fer sure, but them southern bonds o’ loyalty is mahty strong, if ya follow. Howsoever, if fer some reasin neither o’ them boys git the job done, watch out for Rusty Wallace in the Penske Racing #2 Miller Light Ford (under the tender wrench of Bill Wilburn) and Kevin Harvick in the Richard Childress Racing #29 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Chevy (under the tender wrench of Kevin Hamlin.
          Besides them boys, it’d be smart to keep an eyeball on that Robby Gordon in the Richard Childress Racing #31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet (under the tender wrench of Gil Martin), ’cause in case you ain’t noticed, that boy shore likes his groceries. And don’t fergit this week’s longshot pick, which would have to be owner/driver Hermie Sadler in the #02 Autism Awareness Chevrolet. Definitely a Chevrolet. Definitely. A Chevrolet.
—Guy W.T. Goggles

TRAKIN’S PICKS TO FLICK
Blade II
(New Line Cinema): Wesley Snipes returns as the only successful black superhero to date, a half-man, half-vampire who attempts to save the earth from a race of super-vampires. This is the sequel to the 1998 flick adapted from the Marvel Comic of the same name and now directed by Guillermo Del Toro, the acclaimed Spanish horror filmmaker of such movies as Cronos, Mimic and The Devil’s Backbone. Kris Kristofferson, fresh from his role in Planet of the Apes, returns as Blade’s mentor and weapons master, who has now developed a serum that allows the guy to walk in the daylight. The Immortal/Virgin soundtrack features tracks from rappers and DJs in the mode of Happy Walters’ previous Judgement Night (sic), including Eve & Fatboy Slim, Mos Def & Massive Attack, Ice Cube & Paul Oakenfeld, Cypress Hill & Roni Size, Redman & Gorillaz, Bubba Sparxxx & the Crystal Method and Mystikal & Moby, among others. The www.blade2.com website is exhaustive, with trailers, message boards, photo gallery, concept art, exclusive videos and all the synergy AOLTW has to offer.

E.T. (Universal): As if Spielberg wasn’t rolling in enough dough, here comes the 20th anniversary, digitally enhanced version of the 1982 classic, with “never before seen footage,” a newly re-mastered soundtrack on MCA/UMG, updated special effects and more than a few alterations for political correctness. Among the changes: the kids aren’t chided for dressing as “terrorists” for Halloween, but “hippies”; the cops chasing Henry Thomas’ Elliot have had their guns digitally replaced by walkie-talkies, and the comeback “penis breath” has also been eliminated. A scene with Elliott in the bathtub with E.T., made possible by digitizing the original puppet figure, and an elongated Halloween scene, featuring the always-adorable Drew Barrymore, have been added. It’s probably enlightening to compare and contrast Spielberg’s cuddly view of extra terrestrials with his rather darker view of artificial intelligence in A.I. The latter seems to incorporate much of creator Stanley Kubrick’s more cynical view of the family unit, as seen in both The Shining, which preceded E.T. by two years, and Eyes Wide Shut, adding a rather chilling, psychotic father figure to Spielberg’s usual absent patriarch. The website, www.et20.com, has all the bells and whistles you might expect from a big-budget reissue like this one, including downloadable images, all the facts you ever wanted to know about the original production and plenty more.

Sorority Boys (Touchstone Pictures): OK, so it’s not Some Like It Hot, but cross-dressing comedies are always a hoot, and from the trailer, it looks like maybe there a few in this one. The plot, as it were, involves three rowdy college students who are kicked out of their fraternity and forced to dress in drag to live in the DOG house, where all the unattractive girls live. If that’s not politically incorrect enough for you, the movie stars 7th Heaven heartthrob Barry Watson, Disney’s perennial goofball Harland Williams (Rocket Man, Freddy Got Fingered) and Michael Rosenbaum (Lex Luthor in TV’s Smallville) as the three guys forced to be chicks. The movie was directed by Wallace Wolodarsky, whose credits include producing such TV shows as The Simpsons and The Tracey Ullman Show. The website, www.Sororityboys.com, is as cheesy as the movie looks, so buyer should definitely beware. For fans of Super Troopers and the collected works of Jim Varney only.

Stolen Summer (Miramax): This is the movie that was the subject of HBO’s hilarious documentary Project Greenlight. Newcomer Pete Jones, who won a nationwide Internet contest to film his self-penned script, has directed an oh-so-earnest tale of two young Chicago boys who embark on a spiritual journey of discovery in 1976, with a cast that includes Aidan Quinn, Kevin Pollak and Bonnie Hunt. The plot revolves around a third-grader told by his Catholic school teacher he will endure the wrath of God if he doesn’t clean up his act, then strikes up a friendship with a terminally ill Jewish boy he tries to get into heaven. The movie was executive-produced by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, and the HBO documentary showed everything that could go wrong with a movie going wrong, so it was a surprise to see this film actually get made and have its gala premiere at this year’s Sundance. Advance word has been decidedly mixed, with supporters claiming the movie’s quite affecting, and detractors saying it’s every bit the mess Project Greenlight would have you believe. For fans of the HBO show, viewing the completed project is a must.—R.T.

A NEW YORK/NEW JERSEY MINUTE
This weekend is filled with so many good shows, I couldn't just pick one a night so I've decided to list them all. Friday night, choose from Dimitri From Paris at Centro Fly, J Mascis at North 6 or Holly Golightly at Maxwell’s. Saturday there's Girls Against Boys and the Pattern at North 6, the Eels at Irving Plaza, the Dirtbombs and Yeah Yeah Yeahs at Bowery Ballroom or the Moldy Peaches at Maxwell’s. Sunday, Mos Def is at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and Zero Zero is at Brownies. For those keeping track, that's three mentions of Jersey this week. Unrelated yet totally recommended, is the "Baseball As America" exhibit at the Museum of Natural History, which opened this past week. It's a little bit of Cooperstown (which I like to call "the most magical place on earth") brought right here to Manhattan.
Heidi Anne-Noel

BOROUGHING DEEPER
In case you hadn't heard, Brooklyn is the place to be. In the last few years, dozens of musicians, tired of paying Manhattan rents, have migrated to the borough and are now enjoying the comforts of spacious rehearsal spaces and home studios at an affordable price. That being the case, the talent pool has shifted as well, and many national touring acts now count Brooklyn as another essential stop in the tri-state area. Beneficiaries of this newfound interest are two clubs that consistently score high points for quality acts: North Six (66 N. 6 St. in Williamsburg), whose weekend lineup includes J Mascis on Friday and Girls Against Boys on Saturday [Great minds think alike.—Ed.], and the Warsaw at the Polish National Home (261 Driggs Ave. in Greenpoint), whose upcoming shows include Cat Power (4/2), Guided by Voices (4/9-4/10), Sparta and Thursday (4/11). It's only a subway-ride away, Manhattanites, so why not come out and support your Brooklyn brethren?
          OK, you lazy asses, if you insist on staying put this weekend then head on down to Irving Plaza on Saturday night for the Eels' New York appearance. Those of us who saw them at SXSW can attest to the fact that they continue to deliver with their head-bopping pop ditties with frontman E's trademark quirky take. It's sure to be a jolly good time; why not bring a date?
          On an indier tip, Philadelphia art-popsters the Bigger Lovers are playing Brownies on Saturday. You may know the Lovers' drummer, Pat Berkary, or at least have seen his byline—he's quite the prolific music critic (Philly City Paper, Magnet, CDNow) and an all around stand-up guy. Check out www.biggerlovers.com for the latest on their almost-finished album (produced by Thom Monahan of Pernice Brothers renown).
          On Monday night (not the weekend, but still weak), a bunch of music-industry folks who call themselves the Mishpucha (Yiddish for "family" if you're not in the know) are getting together at record store/bar Halcyon as part of a regular gathering intended to stimulate discussion on the business. Spearheaded by TVT A&R guy Adam Shore and freelance music writers Eric Demby and Andy Gensler, this week's Mishpucha forum features a screening of Money for Nothing: Behind the Business of Pop Music, a documentary produced by the Media Education Foundation (www.mediaed.org) whose aim is to "succinctly explain how pop music is produced and marketed and offer an accessible critique of the current state of popular music." You don't have to be Jewish to attend, but we like you more if you are. Tape starts rolling at 9 p.m. sharp, Halcyon is located at 227 Smith St. in Brooklyn (what d'ya know?). For more info on Mishpucha, check out http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mishpucha
—Shirley Halperin

IVANA’S SECRET
As one who has elevated procrastinating to an Olympic event, April 15 has always signified the day my accountant files for an extension on my tax return. This year, I’m determined to have my taxes submitted early, but there are just SO MANY DISTRACTIONS! First, there’s a week’s worth of Trading Spaces episodes waiting for me on my TiVo. Then I had to waste a few hours tracking down the red sofa I saw in Kelly Osbourne’s bedroom on The Osbournes. I found it on www.totemdesign.com. It’s the Omni sectional sofa by Karim Rashid, selling for a mere $12,401. The countdown to IRS Day had to wait until I shopped for new jeans on www.shopbop.com. Look at this selection! Earl, Seven, Mavi, Jill Stuart—all my faves, whose unforgiving styles mean I’ll never be able to fit into any of them. Must check out www.ediets.com. Endeavor to run on the treadmill, but not until I finish my taxes. I need further motivation, so I spend the next hour trying to decide whose biography to buy on www.amazon.com and use as a blueprint for my own chaotic life. Rule out Sylvia Plath and Dorothy Parker. Jack Welch? Nah, he let his pre-nup expire. Oh well, time to figure out my Oscar picks for the Sunday-night pool. If I win the same amount as I did last year ($150), I’ll have more than enough money to pay for Oscar party food. This year I’m going to feed “the gang” with barbecue from The Pig. Check out their menu at www.labarbequeking.com. Before I leave today, I have to buy Jayn at KNRK a copy of Television’s Marquee Moon. How will I ever find time to do my taxes? —Ivana B. Adored

ANOTHER BILLIE BANGER? (UPDATE)
Are you free Wednesday afternoon? (11/12a)
BIEBER BY CHRISTMAS?
How's that for a tease, Bieber Nation? (11/12a)
NEAR TRUTHS: MEET
THE NEW BOSSES
Not the same as the old bosses (11/12a)
CMA CENTERPIECE
CARRIE UNDERWOOD
This sure feels like her moment. (11/12a)
WHO'S GETTING ZERVAS?
It's down to two bidders. (11/12a)
THE GRAMMY NOMINATIONS
They'll soon be here, and then we can start obsessing about who'll win.
U.K. SPECIAL
Forget Brexit--it's our yearly survey of doings in Blighty. And if you still can't forget Brexit, try drinking.
ZERVAS STATION
Who's going to land the hottest unsigned property in music?
WEED!
That's what Hollywood smells like. Seriously. 24/7.
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