The Metro Gnome

Politics and music don't mix much these days, unless it's a crusty conservative in a blue suit lambasting Eminem lyrics, so the Gnome's happy to see sniping in the wake of Indecision 2000. Moby has stepped up his attacks on Nader supporters such as Eddie Vedder now that it's evident the Green Party candidate affected the election. You'll remember that Vedder turned up at Key Arena and Madison Square Garden in October to sway misguided souls to the cause; a cause which may, the Gnome would like to point out, make something called "President Bush" a reality—again. Nice job, Eddie. Meanwhile, the core members of R.E.M.—Stipe, Buck, Mills—are recording their next record in Miami, and they're taking breaks to check out the Floridian voting frenzy and report on their Web site ( Our own Pete Buck still keeps one eye on the recording process, however, writing: "In a time of constitutional crisis, making the record has been an interesting experience. We'll see how both things turn out." Hmmm. Maybe the Gnome's not too psyched about politics and music mixing again.

In nice-guy news, Death Cab for Cutie played two shows at the Crocodile Saturday then returned Sunday to perform at a wedding for a couple that met a while back at a Death Cab show. If the Croc sounds like a shoddy place for a reception, you shoulda seen how pretty the place looked with the tables all lined up and set and with the floor all mopped. Quite classy, unlike Friday's sold-out J Mascis show at the Croc, which was all ugly and ragged and loud.

LOUD! The crazy Dinosaur Jr. guitarist had about seven giant Marshall speakers behind him, and he changed guitars between nearly every song. Not that you could tell the difference: Everything he played was turned up to 12, with his fingers crawling all over the fretboard like ants at a picnic. Not that the Gnome was displeased; J's guitar prowess is an amazing thing to witness, even if doing so requires stuffing multiple earplugs into one's ears. Oh yeah, and Mike Watt's no slouch on bass, either.

As nifty as that show was, your buzzing-eared correspondent enjoyed another performance more. Thursday at Graceland, Sweden's (International) Noise Conspiracy rocked hard, with front man Dennis Lyxz鮠twirling the microphone and twisting his body and singing his Scandinavian heart out. Playing a lot of songs off their fab disc Survival Sickness, the gray-suited quintet exuded some sort of Mersey Beat-meets-MC5 vibe with a political edge. Their Web site offers hybrid influences such as the Who, Guy Debord, the Jam, and Noam Chomsky. Politics and music, together again. You betcha!

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