Laura Mojonnier

Bona fidelity

A trip to Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy Camp
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PREVIEW Lots of people want to be rock stars, but life usually gets in the way, and one day they wake up as midlevel managers commuting from suburban Milwaukee. While Joe and Suzy Chief Purchasing Officer may not have fame and glory, they definitely have disposable income, and now they can buy their high school dreams for a day.

Since 1997, Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy Camp founder David Fishof has recruited bona fide rock stars from Roger Daltry to Slash to act as counselors to wannabe musicians, helping them perfect their instruments and perform as a band at the end of the session. Read more »

Into the wild

Singer-Songwriter Issue: Kaki King dreams in guitar and goes from there
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I first heard singer-songwriter Kaki King when a friend returned from a three-month stint traveling in the Pacific Northwest with her third CD, ...Until We Felt Red (Velour, 2006). She accidentally left the disc at my apartment and for the next few weeks before I, ahem, remembered to give it back, my world was filled to the brim with King's ethereal, rhythmic compositions, all centered around her virtuosic guitar playing.

King, who turns 29 Aug. Read more »

International Youth Music Festival

Talented upstarts storm the chamber
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PREVIEW How brilliant my high school music career was: I got to travel around the world to impress international audiences with my mad piano skills, take master classes with professional musicians, and play and network with European wünderkinder whose gifts were equivalent to mine.

Oh wait, my high school music career actually consisted of taking weekly piano lessons from a 65-year-old German woman in a church basement, figuring out ways to make her believe I had actually practiced that week. Read more »

Tokio Hotel

Screaming in German for pretty boy emo heartthrobs
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PREVIEW When I think of German music, Kraut-rock innovators and industrial metal gods usually come to mind. I always assumed Americans generated enough angsty, guyliner-donning teenage emo superstars to go around, but a quaint four-piece from Madgeburg, Germany, has proved me wrong.

Tokio Hotel released their debut, Schrei (Universal), in their native Deutschland in 2005 three weeks after the lead vocalist's 16th birthday. Their first single, "Durch den Monsun," instantly reached No. Read more »

New wave reunion

Human League and ABC back-to-back
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PREVIEW I'm too young to know for sure whether or not it's normal that so many older bands are re-forming to record novelty albums and go on reunion tours, but it certainly does seem strange. Read more »

Download festival

Jesus and Mary Chain headline the seductively-priced annual one-day throwdown.
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PREVIEW If there was an contest for the most cringe-inducing festival name ever, Download would win handily. This is the future, I guess: international corporations sponsoring Wal-Mart-style festivals that pack as many bands as possible into oversize, out-of-the-way suburban locations with deals that are hard to ignore. Aye, there's the rub.

Scottish noise punk pioneers the Jesus and Mary Chain headline the seductively-priced one-day throwdown. Read more »