Music Dump - Wilco's TLC Beastie Boys Rock Duran Duran's Lambert

A recurring weekly feature where we unearth some of the best music articles from across the web.

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What 'Yankee Hotel Foxtrot' Said by Spencer Kornhaber (The Atlantic): Wilco's most critically acclaimed album is Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, and part of the album's appeal, as Kornhaber suggests, is that it's an album about being unable to communicate; thus the cryptic lyrics, and how Jeff Tweedy makes "I am an American aquarium drinker / I assassin down the avenue" sound profound. Considering that various philosophers hold that true communication is impossible, thus its mass appeal.

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Buy An Adam Lambert Album, Strike A Tiny Blow For Gay Rights by Chris Molanphy (The Village Voice): 61% of North Carolina residents voted this week to ban gay marriage (or even civil unions or visitation rights in hospital, etc), and so perhaps it's not surprising that an 'out' gay singer has never had a #1 album in the US. Molanphy looks in fascinating detail at the stats here: there have been a small amount of out gay number one singles (Elton doing 'Candle In The Wind '97' for example), and some gay singers have had albums (Melissa Etheridge's album Yes I Am) that have sold a lot. Elton never had a #1 album in the US after coming out in 1976, and before too long he tanked commercially, becoming a cautionary tale for other artists. But times are changing in the US, even in North Carolina, and Adam Lambert - who came out before he was successful - has a chance of getting to #1. Will it get there?

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In Praise Of Moms Who Rock by Tobi Vail (eMusic): Tobi Vail, who was one of the big names in the riot grrl movement, has kids now. Here she talks to a variety of women with kids who play rock music about the challenges involved in trying to juggle two very demanding roles. Interesting to hear Kristin Hersh discuss finishing packing up at a show at 4 a.m. and then being awoken by her child at 6 a.m. - ouch! - and Kim Gordon's delight at her child, Coco, finally being interested in music.

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Big Star's Third: 'It's Hard To Nail The Chaos' by Michael Hann (The Guardian): Excellent, detailed album about Big Star's third album - sometimes called Third, sometimes called Sister Lovers. Whatever it's called, it is an enigma of an album. Is it actually an album? Is it even actually by Big Star? It was recorded between 1974 and 1976 by a not-quite-fully-with-it Alex Chilton, and it eventually got released a couple of years later, in 1978, by an indie label. But the 1978 version has a completely different tracklist to the 1993 CD release that claims to be definitive.

By the time it came out, Alex Chilton had moved on from all this; he didn't care any more. So what he actually wanted to be on the album is a bit of a mystery, and it was also a bit of a mystery if he wanted to come out as a Big Star album. What is certain is that it's an eerie, beautiful album, with songs like 'Holocaust' and 'Kangaroo' impact all who hear it.

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The Lonely Futurism Of TLC's Fanmail by Lindsay Zoladz (Pitchfork): TLC have been experiencing something of a revival lately, 10 years after Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopes's unfortunate death -- what with cool things like Grimes and Night Jewel saying they're a major influence. Pitchfork are in on the act; Zoladz explains her love of their album Fanmail, the one with 'No Scrubs' on it, explaining that the futuristic milieu of the album seems eerily prescient in this world of Tumblrs and such easy miscommunication.

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Hold On Magnolia by Tim Coyle (Quoth The Popinjay): Often if you think of Jason Molina's lyrics, you think of the archetypes and symbols he populated them with - 'the dark', wolves, moons, highways, etc. But the symbols are not as important as what they're symbolising. And what they symbolised was his battle with depression. Coyle writes evocatively here of how he relates to Molina's song 'Hold On Magnolia', as someone who suffers from depression; for Coyle, 'Hold On Magnolia' is where Molina starts to seem as if he's finding a way out of the murk.

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Cherry Ice Cream Smiles: Duran Duran's Rio Revisited by John Freeman (The Quietus): This article has a bit of the one-eyed about it - at one point he says that "Duran Duran were, perhaps, the UK's last proper pop group", as if the U.K. has been silent ever since. But it does well to explain the delights of an 80s pop confection that you may have overlooked, and why they're worthy of critical reflection (apparently the band's aesthetic was meant to be a cross between the Sex Pistols with Chic).

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Spod On Adam Yauch: 'He Was The Real Situation' by Brent Griffin (Mess+Noise): You're probably aware by now that Adam Yauch (MCA from the Beastie Boys) passed away from cancer. Like Sydney musician Brent Griffin, I found it hard not to find out about it on Facebook and Twitter et al. But Griffin's tribute to him here - about why some rapper from New York might matter to some kid from the Australian suburbs - is the kind of thoughtful reflection on why you might care about the guy's death, that perhaps you wouldn't expect from the guy behind Spod's 'Letz Dance!!!'. Although perhaps it also makes perfect sense. Elsewhere, read excellent tributes from questlove (from the Roots), from Oliver Wang at NPR's The Record, and from Amos Barshad at Grantland.

Tim Byron
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