If Elliott Smith were still alive and happy to be alive he'd make music like Joshua James, a native Nebraskan who now lives in Utah. And if Madonna were 25 years younger and less urbane, she'd be fucking King of Leon. For now, if the tabs are to be believed, Madonna is content to indulge her Latino baseball player fetish by way of spray-tanned ex-Mariner Alex Rodriguez (Canseco was there first, asshole). Jessie Baylin, however, has a rock on her finger, courtesy of Nathan Followill. But unlike Madge, the girl can play. In fact, she sounds like a cream-dream cross between Leona Naess and Kristen Hall (how's that for your obscure female folkie references). James, meanwhile, released a stunner of a debut, The Sun Is Always Brighter, earlier this year. It's sort of emo, but with the sunny side up, if that makes any sense. And there's a song about cocaine. She don't lie.
Sun., Aug. 3, 8 p.m., 2008