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Major League

It stands to reason that once you've made it to all-star status, you're one of the legends of the game. Just ask Luther Dickinson, lead guitarist and singer for the blues-rocking trio North Mississippi Allstars. "Actually," he says, "the name is kind of tongue-in-cheek, because we got two white guys in the band."

Well, whatever. If Dickinson is qualified to call himself an Allstar, Outtakes figured he's probably got some other picks to share. We asked him to choose his fantasy all-star lineup in a few different categories:

Big Blues Allstars: "Let's just stick with living people here. It would be easy to pick guys from home, because the Hill Country blues resonates more with me than Chicago revivalist blues. It's more modern, more vital, you know? You'd have to throw Alvin Youngblood Hart in there, from Memphis. We just played with him in Boston, and he's amazing. Sam Carr, from the Jellyroll Kings — he's still alive; he's amazing. I guess I wanna stay away from everyone I know and play with all the time. Levon Helm is an amazing drummer; he's got the real feel. Dr. Dre's bass player is this guy Mike Elizondo; he wrote most of the Slim Shady records. My dad just played with him, and he's amazing. Ry Cooder on slide guitar. My father on keyboards. That's a band that would thrill me to no end."

All-star Drunkards: "You'd have to throw in some of the Drive-by Trucker guys. And some of the Lucero guys — this band from Memphis, they're pretty good drinkers. Duwayne Burnside. And throw [John] Medeski in there — he'd bring some bottles of wine — he's a wino."

All-star Pinup Babes: "Well, Betty Page is a classic. I got my own personal collection of pinup photos of my wife that I carry around with me. Scarlett Johansen is pretty hot. I'm pretty bad with chicks' names, but the guitar player from the Donnas is pretty smokin'."

Shit Talkin' Allstars: "Man, I gotta say the Brits got us beat. We got some friends in London that are amazing shit talkers — you can't even get the jokes half the time. They've got the cockney rhyming thing. The dog is the phone because a dog likes a bone, and bone rhymes with phone. They're like, 'Taking a Brad,' because Pitt rhymes with shit. It's bizarre." — Jonathan Zwickel

North Mississippi Allstars play with the Dixie Hustlers at 8 p.m. Friday, December 2, at Revolution, 200 W. Broward Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $18 in advance, $20 at the door. Call 954-727-0950.


Conspiracy theorists, ready your blogs: The RIAA unleashed last week's Hurricane Relief: Come Together Now on the American public to convince us to stop sending aid to Louisiana. Why? Who knows? But this two-disc benefit album is the musical equivalent of 9/11, each CD an unforgivable, falling tower of smoldering wreckage. The antipiracy brigade can rest assured nobody's gonna pass out burned copies of this debacle.

To be fair, it's not all terrible, if only because the schmaltzy track list and interminable 155-minute run time is broken up by decent regional acts and tolerable if melodramatic live cuts from Coldplay, Elton John, and James Brown. Also, Kanye West's "We Can Make It Better" is not only catchy, witty, and positive but also avoids apologizing for his Katrina-related publicity last month — kudos to him for giving this mess some dignity.

But any decency is ruined by not only one but three "We Are the World"-style celeb sing-alongs. The hip-hop-ified take on "Come Together Now," filled with random Bone Thugs-style raps, is awkward enough, and Kirk Whalum's "When the Saints Go Marching Back In" is expectedly cheesy, but the worst is "Tears in Heaven." Look at this list: Phil Collins. Pink. Robert Downey Jr. Ozzy and Kelly Osbourne. Steven Tyler. Oh, God, even Andrea Bocelli and Velvet Revolver singing on the same song? The result is so tragically bad that it makes me want to blow up a levee. The people of New Orleans have had it rough as it is. RIAA, go back to suing 10-year-old girls — that's a lot less offensive than this "benefit." — Sam Machkovech

Xiu You

Jamie Stewart of Xiu Xiu is depressed. It's a fact he's broadcast on every single one of his albums. But somewhere in the whispers, cries, and shouts about family dysfunction, mental illness, and sex — the latest, La Forêt, features a song about anally raping Gee Dubya — we can find everything we don't want to face in ourselves. It's ugly. It's beautiful. It's contradictory, just like Stewart, who, despite being the conversational equivalent of chasing a handful of Vicodin with Absolut, is always laughing. Outtakes turned to him for some reassurance that the world isn't about to end.

Outtakes: How do you feel about the administration these days?

JS: [laughs loudly and mournfully] Wow, why even ask? I'm glad that Bush is at least, at the moment, on the ropes, but he's also in the middle of completely destroying the Supreme Court process, so I'm really, really looking forward to the next 20 years of civil rights legislation being rolled back. That'll be awesome. Can't wait. It blows my mind how recklessly this country has gone back in time.

Could you ever be in a relationship with a Republican?

No way. I could never trust anyone who felt that way about life. It is a fundamental statement of how you view other people and your place in the world, and I'm not interested.

What's wrong with indie-rock music?

Oh, it's lazy. [sighs dramatically] But it's kind of funny because that's kind of the aesthetic of indie rock, isn't it? Just a lot of the things that are popular right now are sloppier options than, you know, '60s psych-folk or '80s new wave. To take two styles that were born out of creativity and then ape them in a really half-ass way goes completely against the point of those types of music.

What about blond popettes like Jessica Simpson and Britney Spears?

It's difficult to even think of them as people. They're kind of nonpeople. At least Britney Spears I kind of like because she's getting so fucked up. She seems to be attempting to abandon all that weirdness just by becoming super fat and nasty looking and weirder than she was anyways, which kind of rules. She's just like, "Fuck this; I want a baby. So long — I'm fading into ultra-ultra-lunacy." I can respect that.

It's the holiday season. How does that work for you and your family?

We do Thanksgiving and Christmas on the same day. We do Thanksmas. Disparate relationships keep people from getting together on the same day. That means most Christmases suck dick. I just go to a giant multiplex, wear a suit, and get really hammered while watching like seven movies in a row. — Cole Haddon

Xiu Xiu plays with Dead Science at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, December 4, at I/O, 30 NE 14th St., Miami. Tickets cost $10. Call 305-358-8007.

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Jonathan Zwickel

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