The Gnome's as happy as a clam that Radiohead rose above the Britneys and Korns to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard charts with Kid A last week—a most shocking development. And your usually active columnist cuddled up to his TV to watch these British wonders cash in on their sudden acceptance by whoring themselves out to Saturday Night Live, with Thom Yorke practically giving himself shaken baby syndrome as he danced to his band's caffeinated beats. But discerning music fans like the Gnome know that the real Britpop breakout of the week was Badly Drawn Boy's The Hour of Bewilderbeast, which finally got released here after winning hearts, minds, and the Mercury Prize in England, home to Damon Gough, the frumpy guy behind the clever name. You want a smartly titled song that also rocks, rolls, and sticks in yer noggin? Try "Everybody's Stalking," which sounds like DJ Shadow spinning a Flaming Lips B-side in an empty airplane hangar. At any rate, put aside that Radiohead for a while and give the Boy a chance.
Or you can stick closer to home for your off-kilter pop with wacky titles and hunt down a copy of the limited edition Minus 5 album, The Minus 5 in Rock, which features, among others, a song called "The Night Chicago Died Again." The Gnome was distressed to find that it's not a sequel to Paper Lace's 1974 hit, but hey, you can't have everything. That frizzy-haired, sunglasses-at-night maestro Scott McCaughey rounded out his all-star band on the disc with Peter Buck, John Ramberg, Bill Rieflin, Ben Gibbard, John Wesley Harding, and Chris Ballew. On stage at the Croc Saturday night, the Minus 5 featured Buck, Harding, Rieflin, and Ramberg, as well as Ken Stringfellow and Skerik (that makes three-fifths of R.E.M.! Doesn't anyone care anymore? C'mon, people.) McCaughey did double duty, opening the show on keyboards as part of the mind-blowing Mudhoney-based Sonics cover band the New Original Sonic Sound. You consumers out there might be able to find a copy of the group's album full o' Sonics covers and other garage hits. While you're at it, ask for Here Comes Sickness, a spectacular new collection of 22 Mudhoney live performances from the BBC vaults. It's fuzztastic!
OK, the Gnome's aware that a lotta you scenester types don't give a fig about the baseball, but let's all join together in chastising Mariners management for jinxing the team. Yes, the first home game of the American League Championship Series featured a national anthem performance not by one of Seattle's many accomplished players, but Chuck Mangione (!), in town to blow his horn at Jazz Alley. The Mariners, devastated, lost 8-2. The Gnome can't blame 'em. You betcha!
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