What you missed over break

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By: Kristin Helf, Columnist

In case you spent your spring break catching up on sleep or partying on a beach in Cancun without a single moment to spare, here’s a “best of” compilation of what went down in the music world.

South by Southwest (SXSW) happened, Rolling Stone came out with a definitive list of the best emo albums of all time, and a few young men itching for a rap battle wreaked havoc in Charlton, Massachusetts.

Not really, but Albany’s local news station WRGB did run a story with the headline, “Cops warn residents of men challenging others to rap battles.” Apparently, several men in their early twenties who drove a black SUV approached a group of teens.

One of the men got out of the car and started rapping, and another asked the group of kids if they wanted to “spit some bars.” The teens weren’t up to the challenge and called in the incident to the police, who reported there “doesn’t appear to be any attempted abduction, but the boys were frightened.”

On St. Patrick’s Day, Rolling Stone issued another one of their famous rankings: this one, the “40 Greatest Emo Albums of All Time.” The list is diverse—middle school favorites like Panic! At the Disco’s “A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out” and My Chemical Romance’s “Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge” made the list, but the top 7 are dominated by classic 90s emo artists.

Number one is Sunny Day Real Estate’s 1994 album “Diary,” followed by Rites of Spring, The Promise Ring, Jawbreaker, Braid and American Football.

The largest annual music festival in the world, SXSW, was held in its usual Austin, TX location, this month from March 11-20. Jessica Hopper, a speaker on the festival’s music panel and a totally badass rock critic, spoke about sexism in the music industry during her “Featured Session” on Thursday.

Hopper’s speech focused on the fact that literally every facet of the business, from bands to public relations to her own field, journalism, is dominated by white men.

There’s no definite solution to the suppression of women’s voices, but Hopper did offer a few pieces of advice for women—know the harassment policy at venues, speak up about “creeps” in the industry, and continue to question and challenge the male-dominated status quo. Jessica rocks.

But SXSW isn’t all music-related: the festival also includes film and interactive media, and on its opening day, president Obama made a speech directed at the technology industry. He spoke to a theater of 2,000 techies and engineers and urged them to help solve some major problems that the nation is facing, by upgrading federal networks, resolving the national privacy vs. security debate and more.

I wasn’t fortunate enough to attend SXSW this year—or any year yet, for that matter—so a majority of my week was spent revisiting the old emo albums Rolling Stone hails as “the best.”

Also, Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon has a new band called Glitterbust, and the music video they just released for their song “The Highline” is pretty cool.

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