mojo-photo-bonnaroo.jpgI know you; you were just sitting there thinking, "Boy, I'd really like to go to Bonnaroo, the long-running Tennessee music festival, this year, but I just don't think one Phish performance will be enough for me." Well, don't fret: Phish will be playing two shows at this year's Bonnaroo, set for June 11-14, way out in the woods or wherever that thing is. You'll be so full of Phish you'll—what, I can't make a joke about "barfing up a tilapia?" Damn you Mother Jones and your editorial standards...

The 'roo has always been the dirty hippie cousin to Coachella's expensive-sunglasses-wearing LA fashion brat, but in all honesty their lineup gets better every year. In addition to that Phish deal, Bonnaroo 2009's got Bruce Springsteen, the Beastie Boys, Nine Inch Nails, Wilco, Snoop Dogg, Erykah Badu, and Paul Oakenfold, as well as Party Ben faves TV on the Radio, of Montreal, Santogold and even Robyn, whose haircut is much more Coachella-y.

An interesting development in this year's festival circuit is an apparent acknowledgement of the tough economic situation: you can now pay for your ticket on the installment plan. Both Coachella ($269 + service fees + $3 charity) and Bonnaroo (from $224-$249 + service fees + $3 charity) offer the ability to spread your payments out over time, with Bonnaroo offering five easy payments and Coachella giving you the option to pay in two or three payments. Maybe they should start offering lower-class tickets, where for half price, we'll promise to sit in one spot and not take up room in the beer line?

Full Bonnaroo lineup after the jump.

mojo-photo-lilyallenfearcd.jpgBritish singer-songwriter Lily Allen's second album, It's Not Me, It's You, isn't out 'til next week, but you can listen to the whole thing at her MySpace page, and I recommend you do: it's a charming, affecting album with a subtly edgy electro-pop style.

Allen is just 23 years old, and both her life and her creative output straddle adult wisdom and childlike innocence in a peculiarly 21st-century way. Back in 2005, she was one of the first artists to ride MySpace to mainstream fame, posting demos to her page which quickly ranked up huge numbers of listens. Rock critics looked down their noses at this chirpy pop starlet going about stardom the wrong way, but she slayed them easily with the release of her debut album, Alright, Still, a remarkably astute revivification of the British ska and reggae style of the English Beat era, combined with clever, contemporary lyrics.

Unfortunately, over the last two years, it's seemed like Allen's tabloid fame began to eclipse her talent. Drug and alcohol problems surfaced, and then, most tragically, the singer suffered a miscarriage in early 2008, splitting with the father, Chemical Brother Ed Simons, soon afterwards. After suffering through so much turmoil, it's easy to understand why Allen might turn in a completely different musical direction, and indeed, she seems to have abandoned those loping Jamaican rhythms entirely.

Just imagine! Someday, far in the future, before you jet off in your hovercar to your job on the moon, your robot maid will bring you your morning paper on a computer, where you can read about universal health care! Okay, only one of those things actually ended up happening, although I do pay my house cleaners extra to talk like Twiki. But back in 1981, anything seemed possible, as evidenced by this news report from KRON-TV right here in San Francisco. They describe how, um, the San Francisco Chronicle "programmed" their paper into a computer in Columbus, Ohio (?!!) which one guy in North Beach could access via a gigantic red rotary phone to look at on his TV, "with the exception of pictures, ads, and the comics," after spending two hours to download it, at $5/hour. It's almost too good to be true.

Paul McCartney to Headline Coachella

mojo-photo-coachellamccartney.jpg

Hey, look at that, Goldenvoice has finally announced the lineup for America's Favorite Music Festival and Hipster Haircut Showcase, and it turns out all these random rumors about Britney Spears and Katy Perry were just red herrings (thank God) since all the while they were negotiating with none other than Sir Paul. The former Beatle will headline Friday night at the 3-day event set for April 17-19, and he told the LA Times that he's "really excited to get out there and rock." Neat, but the Times seems a little skeptical about the whole idea, saying it's a bit of a gamble:

Booking the former Beatle, who is listed in the record books as the most successful musician in pop history, would be the safest choice imaginable for most music festivals. But the internationally respected Coachella festival, which is set for April 17-19, has been pulling in crowds of more than 140,000 fans by taking an edgier path with alt-rock heroes you would hear on a college town's pirate radio station. … What remains to be seen is whether the choice will cost the festival credibility with its core clientele: young fans who are more likely to listen to the White Stripes than the "White Album" and who are far more familiar with Rage Against the Machine than "Band on the Run."

Hey, actually, some of us not-so-young fans were really annoyed with the Rage crowd too. Also on the bill are a couple festival veterans, including The Cure (2004), The Killers (2004) and Morrissey (1999), as well as the finally-reunited My Bloody Valentine (on Cure day, natch). Your ridiculously-named DJ is especially excited about Buraka Som Sistema, TV on the Radio, Friendly Fires, Leonard Cohen, and having margaritas in the hot tub. Full lineup after the jump.

mojo-photo-antonyalbum.jpgNew York combo Antony and the Johnsons have made what Billboard magazine is calling "a dramatic debut" at No. 1 on their European Albums chart with their new full-length The Crying Light. The album is a Top 5 smash in countries from Sweden to Spain, and beats out both Duffy and Pink in the pan-Euro chart. Light is Antony and the Johnsons' third studio album, coming nearly four years after the Mercury Prize-winning I am a Bird Now, but its popularity may have something to do with singer Antony Hegarty's part in Hercules and Love Affair, whose "Blind" was one of the biggest dance songs of 2008.

The Crying Light, released last week, is getting good, if not stellar, reviews: Pitchfork gives it 8.6 out of 10 hipster points, but most other reviews come in below that. Rolling Stone and The Guardian both offered three out of five stars, with the latter saying the album feels familiar, stuck under "its predecessor's shadow," while acknowledging that Hegarty's voice is an "acquired taste." The album has yet to make much of an impact in the U.S., showing up only at #38 on the iTunes Alternative Albums chart. I'm kind of with the Guardian: I'd listen to Antony, with his rich, strange warble, sing his way through the phone book, but after the blast of shocking originality and heartrending emotion that was I Am a Bird Now, perhaps they could have pushed forward musically just a smidge. It's still beautiful music, though, by anyone's standards. Check out track one below.

"Her Eyes Are Underneath the Ground"

LOST: Slowly, Answers Are Coming

Last night's LOST episode, the second of the season, "Jughead," was full of answers. Or not even answers, but new information that gives reasons for answers. Now that the writers have an end date in sight, they seem to be picking up the pace and wrapping things up more tidily than last season. So what did we learn last night? Here are the highlights.

John Updike: RIP

Updike2Resized.jpgThe biography at the end of John Updike's novels was always the same:

John Updike was born in 1932, in Shillington, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Harvard College in 1954, and spent a year in Oxford, England, at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art. From 1955 to 1957 he was a member of the staff of the New Yorker….

Then his life story stops, in 1957, landing him in the Merrimack Valley region of Massachusetts.

And there he remained, for the rest of his life, raising his four children, becoming a New England gentleman even as he unflinchingly exposed the sins and hypocrisies, particularly with regard to adultery, of the American success story.

Updike, 76, died yesterday of lung cancer. An incredibly prolific author, like other fruitful writers he faced mixed reviews and the lingering suggestion that his writing served a sort of masturbatory function. Like Philip Roth or Gore Vidal, his readers came to suspect that—with more than more than 50 books—there was nothing else much to learn. "Has the son of a bitch ever had one unpublished thought?" David Foster Wallace wrote, somewhat uncharitably, in a review of Updike's Toward the End of Time.

Updike's works included several series (the Rabbit Angstrom and Henry Bech novels), A Month of Sundays, about the midlife crisis of an Episcopal priest, Terrorist, about an American kid attracted to Al Qaeda (sort of a John Walker Lindh of working-class New Jersey), several short stories , and numerous books about adultery among the prosperous couples of suburban Massachusetts.

"Sex is like money; only too much is enough," said Piet Hanema, the protagonist in Couples, the 1968 novel that made Updike rich and put him on the cover of Time. This obvious, and somehow unsatisfying kind of realization, appeared often in Updike's work. Those weird insecurities, characters uncomfortable with their own lives, occurred over and over in his fiction. Updike was forever surprised and sort of fascinated that he was not still stuck in Pennsylvania, the son of a retail clerk with literary aspirations. Having reached the pinnacle of his profession early on, Updike was keenly aware that the neat, ironed out existence of haute-bourgeoisie America, of the two martini lunch and unacknowledged adultery, was often shallow and unsatisfying.

Unlike the characters of John Cheever, a writer to whom he was often compared—who quietly and tastefully go insane—Updike's protagonists just muddle through. Miserable in their jobs, worried about their children, unhappy with their wives, they serve as telling and honest commentary on the discomfort many Americans felt about their own accomplishments.

Because so many of Updike's characters represented Nixon's "silent majority"—white, conservative, vaguely resentful of political change—Updike was sometimes called a racist, a misogynist, and a defender of the status quo.

All of this, while possibly true, entirely misses the point. Throughout his life Updike was a committed, though not particularly outspoken, supporter of progressive causes. The fact that his characters were often old-fashioned and bigoted is to his credit. It is not, after all, the duty of a writer to show the world as it ought to be; it is to paint a compelling picture of the world as it exists and the people who inhabit it.

He was not a writer of my generation. The sort of world he observed—of Oldsmobiles and after-dinner cigarettes, of post-war success and geriatrics—is not one I inhabit. But those things always seemed to me like mere details. An incredible researcher, Updike created a diverse cast of characters: painters, preachers, computer scientists, writers, dentists, actors, building contractors—the whole gamut of 20th century American professional success. But what he managed to do for all of this characters was demonstrate that everyone had AN inner life. He created a world, over and over, in which the mundane was made complicated and compelling.

With the death of John Updike America has lost a selfish, prejudiced, and astoundingly talented man, the sort of person who could see through the barriers Americans put up and tell readers what was truly going on.

—Daniel Luzer

Image by flickr user John McNab

mojo-photo-madbarack-sm.jpgOkay, SNL, see, you've had so much trouble trying to get your Obama impersonation off the ground, and various editorial cartoonists, you seem to revert to jaw-dropping racial caricatures in place of humor, but Mad Magazine, I congratulate you, since this here is pretty funny. Mad's latest cover features our fresh president losing it in his "First 100 Minutes," smoking five cigarettes at once, his desk covered in scary newspaper headlines and top-secret files, a bottle of Pepto dripping onto a graph of the rising national debt. See, this is my theory for Obama comedy ("Obamedy"?), you have to go for the opposite, unlike with Bush where you just had to basically repeat what he said. Exaggerating the "cool," like that little SNL sketch from December, can only take you so far, but make Obama secretly neurotic and you've got comedy gold.

Check out a larger version of the Mad cover and the aforementioned SNL sketch after the jump.

Poll: Do You Miss Bush Lingo Yet?

We've had a highly articulate president for a full week now. Lest you forget just what an accomplishment English fluency really is, we at Mother Jones invite you to check out our favorite verbal missteps from the former Decider-in-Chief. (We had a hard time cutting the list down to this—as Jacob Weisberg at Slate knows, there are a lot to choose from.) What's your favorite Bush quote? Vote below.

Animal CollectiveAnimal Collective is nothing if not honest: they're a loosely-defined collaboration between a couple musicians of Baltimore heritage that includes at least one nominal critter, Panda Bear. Between 2000 and 2008, the combo produced eight albums of sometimes noisy, sometimes delicate music, stepping easily over the boundaries of genre as if they were painted in a lower dimension. Their Wikipedia page lists their musical style as "Experimental/Noise pop/Freak folk/Indie rock/Neo-psychedelia," just to cover all the bases, but their sprawling output has been unified by a dedication to pure, pleasurable melody, a world view, shared by many, that puts The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds at the center of the universe.

With that kind of pedigree, it's understandable that Animal Collective have always been critical darlings, but their just-released ninth album, the more electronic-based Merriweather Post Pavillion, is getting some of the best reviews of their career. Pitchfork gave it a 9.6/10, describing the album as the culmination of the band's musical searchings, "a new kind of electronic pop." Entertainment Weekly called it "joyful, pure, and best of all, totally inclusive," Drowned in Sound gets all James Joyce-y, burbling about "the rush of life, the rush of electricity, the rush of joy, joy unbounded," and Uncut actually said "it feels like one of the landmark American albums of the century so far." If these critics don't look back from December and change their minds, Pavillion will be 2009's album of the year. So, is it really, or did the album's eye-straining cover art (the product of Japanese psychologist Akiyoshi Kitaoka) just hypnotize everybody?