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It’s been far too long since I mentioned Zooey Deschanel on this blog. Thus I bring to you a new cotton advertisement featuring the beloved actress/songstress, via Videogum:

One of the bands that literally shaped my formative years was Weezer. Subsequently, I am also a fan of former Weezer bassist Matt Sharp’s project The Rentals. They formed in 1994 and released two albums, but had a large gap in activity until about 2 years ago when they came out with a new EP and did a couple of tours with a revamped lineup. It wasn’t anything to write home about, but getting to see them live twice was totally rad. I saw them in Atlanta with Ozma, and again here in Nashville at City Hall (now Urban Outfitters). See more pics from that show on my flickr here. RCRD LBL features a download from the first installment of their new multi-media project called Songs About Time. The project also includes a photo series by Matt and a bunch of short films.

Speaking of RCRD LBL, I noticed that they also have a download/blurb about local star-tangled indie rock lady Cortney Tidwell. It’s a track called “17 Horses” from her upcoming album Boys. (The download page incorrectly states that the track is from her previous album.)

SNAKES ON A PLANE! IN REAL LIFE! Thanks Kelly.

Nashvillest posted a bunch of great links/ways to help victims of the Murfreesboro tornado that struck last Friday. Check it out.

This is both terrifying and fascinating. The stats for “since you started watching” really hit home. I’ve had the tab open for a good hour or so now- ~28,000 people born and ~11,500 people died. Population control will soon happen everywhere. It’s only a matter of time.

Vanderbilt’s Rites of Spring festival is happening this weekend. I’ll be there both days taking photos. Here’s the lineup/times:

Friday:
Battle of the Bands: 3:20-3:40pm
Battle of the Bands: 4:00-4:20pm
Run With Bulls: 4:40-5:10pm
Blueskyreality: 5:30-6:00pm
K’NAAN: 6:20-7:05pm
Okkervil River: 7:25-8:10pm
Santigold: 8:30-9:10pm
Q-Tip: 9:30-10:30pm
T.I.: 11:00-12:00am

Saturday:
Pico vs. Island Trees: 3:20-3:50pm
Stardeath and White Dwarfs: 4:05-4:35pm
Erick Baker: 4:50-5:20pm
Sara Watkins: 5:40-6:10pm
Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears: 6:30-7:10pm
Grand Ole Party: 7:30-8:10pm
N.E.R.D.: 8:40-9:55pm
The Flaming Lips: 10:30-12:00am

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Image via Time.com

Apparently Pitchfork founder Ryan Schreiber is on the list of TIME magazine’s candidates for the 100 most influential people. You can vote to rank each individual’s influence on a scale of 1 to 100. Seriously? Everyone’s heard of the “Pitchfork effect,” but I think it has become less relevant over the past 2 years or so. It just seems to me that people start regarding over-hyped “blog-buzz” bands as “Pitchfork bands,” and rightfully so, because most of the bands they’ve hyped over the last couple years have had little staying power. Ex.- Vampire Weekend, Deerhunter, TV on the Radio, etc… Hipster Runoff has a take on this issue.

Rapper T.I. has been confirmed as the “other” headliner for this year’s Rites of Spring, and it will probably be one of his last performances before starting his 1-year jail sentence. Kinda weird but kinda cool at the same time?

In other festival news, the 2nd All Points West lineup has been announced, and it includes Nashville/Bowling Green act Cage the Elephant. These guys have a very festival-friendly live show from what I’ve heard, so it’s really no surprise, especially since they’re also playing Coachella and Bamboozle.

It had to be invented eventually… shoes that grow with children’s feet.

President Obama signed a very important environmental bill into law yesterday called the Omnibus Public Land Management Act. This protects wildnerness areas in California, West Virginia, Idaho, Colorado, New Mexico, Michigan, Utah, Virginia and Oregon. It also protects a thousand miles of rivers. This act has been in the works for many years, so one can only credit Obama with the final push to make it law. Still, a big win for our country’s natural beauty. Via the Daily Galaxy.

NASA unveiled a mock-up of the Orion Crew Vehicle yesterday on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. For some reason I can’t find any photos of this in the public domain, but it basically looks just like the Apollo modules from the 60’s. Technologically, though, it’s vastly more advanced than the Apollo modules. The new Constellation project (of which the Orion Crew Vehicle is a part) will carry astronauts to the ISS beginning around 2015, to the moon in the early 2020’s, and hopefully to Mars in the mid 2030’s. I really hope that I’m still around when that happens.

Finally, the National Weather Service in Nashville has completed their assesment of the storm damage from this past Saturday. As you probably know if you’re from here, a tornado warning was issued for western Davidson and eastern Cheatham Counties around 5:30pm. The storm that prompted this warning did indeed drop an EF1 twister that hit northern Cheatham County. Also, another storm that hit Rutherford County dropped an EF1 twister that hit very near downtown Murfreesboro. This tornado was orginally thought to be and EF0, but further damage assesment prompted the NWS to upgrade it to an EF1. They have very good aerial survey methods that can determine whether damage was caused by straight-line winds or a tornado. The Enhanced-Fujita scale uses damage to estimate the wind speeds in the tornado. There is still no direct way to measure the wind speeds inside the actual funnel, unless the tornado happens to directly hit a wind vane and it somehow miraculously survives. But the chances of that happening are slim to none. If you know me I’m sure you’re wondering whether I chased either of these storms, and the answer is yes, I did attempt to track down the one in Davidson County, but chasing in TN is very difficult, mainly because the roads are not laid out in nice, easy-to-navigate grids like they are in the plains, and also because the storms around here tend to be High-Precipitation Supercells, rather than Low-Precipitiation Supercells which are more common in the plains. This means that most of the tornadoes in TN are shrouded in rain and thus very difficult or impossible to spot from a distance. So no, I was unsuccessful in seeing/documenting this tornado.

Copyright Vanderbilt University

Copyright Vanderbilt University

The initial shortlist of artists playing at this year’s Rites of Spring festival at Vanderbilt has been released. The Flaming Lips will likely be headlining friday night, with another yet-to-be-announced headliner that will likely play saturday night. The friday/saturday thing is purely an educated guess on my part. Also announced: Okkervil River, N.E.R.D., Santigold (formerly Santogold), Q-tip, Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears, and Grand Ole Party. Personally, aside from Flaming Lips, I’m looking forward most to Santigold and Okkervil River. Source: the Vanderbilt Hustler.

MGMT is apparently suing French President Nicolas Sarkozy because his campaign did not compensate them properly for usage of their song “Kids” as the Sarkozy campaign soundtrack.

Remember those literal music videos of “Head Over Heels” and “Take On Me?” Well they’re at it again, this time with Billy Idol’s “White Wedding.” I must say, it’s really hard to top “Take On Me.” I don’t think it’ll ever be done. It’s one of those things where the humor just is never the same after the first time.

The Explorer’s Club did a session on Daytrotter. These live takes are pretty good, but I must say that these songs need the polished production that’s present on their full-length album. It’s evident that some of the vocal harmony arrangements are VERY difficult and they guys hit some odd notes on these live recordings. But the fact that they’re even able to pull off any of those harmonies is utterly amazing, and these guys deserve major kudos for even being in the ballpark. I highly reccomend seeing this band live because they are a lot of fun, and you will thoroughly enjoy it.

In the science world, some good news for NASA comes from Obama’s first budget propsal which was released yesterday. Overall, NASA will (hopefully) see a $2 billion increase in funding in 2010. I’m quite pleased to see this, even in these tough times. Cutting-edge science and research is one area that should be way down on the list of things to get cut when facing tough economic times. Don’t get too excited though; this is not the final version. It was also evident that Obama plans to go ahead with the retirement of the Space Shuttle next year, and continue with Bush’s vision of returning to the Moon by 2020. (The only thing on which I actually agreed with Bush.) Source: Universe Today.

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