The M's with The Chemistry Set

Check out the reviews from the recent Coachella Festival in California (and ticket sales while you're at it). Look at what's being downloaded on iTunes. Turn on MTV and MTV2. Listen to the radio. What's going on is not as sudden and shocking as when Nirvana smelled teen spirit more than a decade ago, but it's almost as revolutionary. Because now, it's not about catchphrases and buzzwords and fashion statements. It's just about the music. Sure, there's plenty of suck still lingering--what up, Hoobastank? But more people are into the good stuff than ever before.

Even musicians are coming around. Consider the case of Josh Chicoine: A few years ago, the singer-guitarist was toiling away in a Chicago jam band that called itself Jamestown. But he started listening to different bands, going to different shows, playing with different chords in his head. He saw the light and didn't turn away from it. Scrubbed clean of the patchouli stink of the jam-band circuit, Chicoine was reborn as a musician, and a new band, The M's, was birthed along with him. No more sweet-ass bass licks. No more interminable gee-tar solos. Just sleazy, slippery grooves, sugarcane soul and no-hyphen rock. The M's self-titled debut is one of those albums that make you want to listen to more albums, each track reminding you of something else you haven't heard in a while but suddenly, urgently need to. Maybe it will even convince another jam band to break up.

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