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Juliette Lewis Rocks Harder Than You and She Knows It

June 10, 2009

Following the lead of such sultry starlet actresses turned singers as Zooey Deschanel, Scarlett Johannson, and Jenny Lewis, the semi-famous Juliette Lewis has decided that deep down she’s really a rock star.  By some freak of nature, she’s landed herself in a tour with The Pretenders and Cat Power this summer to push her solo debut Terra Incognita.  Reports are that Juliette is psyched about the tour, but she’s had to be repeatedly reminded that this isn’t a stage show where she gets to play a young Chrissie Hynde.  In a recent Spin interview, Lewis describes her new album by saying that it “captures many flavors of my emotional life and voice.”  When told by the interviewer that this statement makes absolutely no sense at all, Lewis closes her eyes, hums a few bars of “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” and falls asleep.  After the interviewer snaps his fingers a couple of times to wake her up, she mumbles dreamily “Terra Incognita means unknown territory—and that’s where I wanted to go musically.”  The interviewer again reminds her that she has drifted into incoherence, to which Lewis replies “Incoherence starts with the same letters as Incognita, wow…they rhyme!”  At this point the interview ends abruptly.

On to music that is actually good…

How about that Declan MacManus?  Not only is he married to one of the hottest jazz singers on the planet—Diana Krall—but he just keeps putting out great album after great album.  Once again, he proves why musicians like Jenny Lewis continue to spurn other opportunities just to play with him.  Oh, who is Declan MacManus, you ask?  None other than the one and only Elvis Costello.  The original Napoleon Dynamite himself released Secret, Profane and Sugarcane this week to mixed reviews.  This album teams Costello with producer T-Bone Burnett and a veritable supergroup of folk-country talent, including dobro master Jerry Douglas.  This is yet another album that showcases why Costello is the reigning king of pop songcraft, but unlike last year’s Momofuku, he is working with a team that as accomplished as he is.  This means that Costello leads without dictating and Burnett’s crisp production style makes the music sound great.

In non-Jenny Lewis related news, I gotta tell you that The Roots are quickly becoming my favorite band on the planet.  First, they play a great set with Paul Simon on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.  Then, they back up Public Enemy on a live beginning-to-end rendition of It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back.  Next up:  resurrecting John Lennon and making the Beatles the opening band on their summer tour.

Finally, as the summer moves on, I’ll try to keep you updated on upcoming festivals.  One to keep an eye on is the All Points West festival happening at the Liberty State Park in Jersey City, NJ on July 31-August 2 2009.  Some of the acts playing APW are the  Beastie Boys, The National, Vampire Weekend, Coldplay, My Bloody Valentine, Neko Case and more.  My must-see recommendation this year is Akron/Family.  They’ve got my vote for the best album of 2009 and they absolutely blow the stage up when they play.

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