America, F yeah!

51 stars looks pretty dope.

51 stars looks pretty dope.

U.S.A.! U.S.A.! Did you know last Monday was Flag Day? I didn’t until I read it early that morning on the calendar in my kitchen. The realization propelled me into the hall closet, where I grabbed the pole with the Stars and Stripes already attached, walked outside and placed it in its bracket on the side of my garage.

It seems ludicrous to say, but that last paragraph was a little scary to write. I mean, I’m an editor at the CN&R, what am I doin’ owning an American flag, let alone letting red, white and blue shamelessly wave outside my own house? I can see the letters now: “Was it at least hung upside down?” “You first tagged the flag ‘No blood for oil!’ then pissed on it, then set it on fire, right?”

It’s fascinating to consider—especially as I watch Portugal and Côte d’Ivoire go at it in an early-morning World Cup match—how, unlike in other countries, displaying the flag of the country in which we live signifies for many Americans that the one doing the flying/waving/wearing is a right-wing fanatic.

Despite the preponderance of nut-jobs who inform the stereotype, I like the flag. And I am as liberally disposed as you might imagine an arts editor at an alt-weekly might be. I also like my team, and not just in the realm of international sports, but also because it’s the team on which I was born to be a player, for better or worse. I guess if I could find a preferable squad, I might seek a trade, but I don’t think anyone will ever top our team’s band, so I’m probably staying put (and you probably are too).

I’m also keeping the flag up. We may have tied the Brits in the opener, but we still have to look sharp for Slovenia and Algeria in the coming week.

Janelle Monae

Oooooh! This one is hot. It just might be The One—the jam of the summer: “Tightrope,” by Janelle Monae (feat. Big Boi).

Before I start in, though, I gotta say that some of these new releases deserve a proper CD review. And normally, I might give ’em one. But when you’re talking summer jams, you gotta have freedom to ditch analysis in favor of giddy hyperbole: Monae is like a female James Brown who has hijacked Andre 3000’s genre-mashing sensibilities to give us this supercharged dance jam. “Tightrope” just might clean up the BP oil spill before the end of the summer!

More new summer jam contenders: “Younger Us,” by Japandroids (extremely strong!); “Power,” by Kayne West (very strong—don’t be a hater … he still hits hard); four leaks from the soon-to-be-released (Aug. 3) Arcade Fire album, The Suburbs (pretty strong: not as much of a lock as I’d predicted—the brisk “Month of May” and the super-rad “Ready to Start” are my faves so far) … and a pretender: Christina Aguilera’s Bionic (weak—too much sterile electro-dance beats, not enough sweat … or face-melting belting). Summer starts next week, so official jam will be BBQ-ready by next week’s issue.


• The letter C: CAMMIES creator Chris Caraway releases his solo disc, A Clear Vision of a Clouded Mind (10 songs—half chunky rockers, half energetic acoustic rockers) Friday, June 18, at Café Coda. Ali Battaglia and Dave Elke open.

• Culturejammer: Big, BIG, BIG!!! ups to Arts DEVO friend and CN&R Ad Manager Alec Binyon, whose poem “Old Man” was published in the July/August issue of Adbusters magazine. AB founder Kalle Lasn obviously saw a kindred anti-corporate-media spirit running through our badass cohort and gave his poem a full page. Pick up the issue at one of its local corporate or non-corporate outlets, and listen to a reading of “Old Man” by a creepy-sounding old man at the Adbusters site: