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If you came of age at a certain time — say, that musical sweet spot around 1993/’94 when the “Alternative Nation” was just coming into full bloom — chances are Veruca Salt were/are very important to you. In 1994, I was enduring my first year of college, and American Thighs — Veruca Salt’s much-beloved debut album — was basically the unofficial soundtrack of my life. Not only were Veruca Salt ostensibly just very cool — a band fronted by two badass guitar-wielding women, Nina Gordon and Louise Post — their music was oddly prescient as well, neatly ushering in a swarm of other bands who understood the benefit of marrying snarly guitars with undeniable pop hooks and gooey vocal harmonies. Given that “Seether” — the band’s breakthrough single — was one of the most omnipresent songs of the ’90s, the future seemed (at least in that moment) to be Veruca Salt’s for the taking. They sold more than a million records, they toured with other, similarly great bands (Hole and PJ Harvey among them) and played an arena show in front of 10,000 people in their hometown of Chicago. Still, the story of Veruca Salt — like so many of their ’90s brethren — would turn out to be a cautionary tale of sorts. After releasing their Bob Rock-produced sophomore album, Eight Arms To Hold You, and doing a lengthy round of touring, Gordon abruptly left the band in what she now describes as some real Behind The Music bullshit: “It was drugs and cheating and all that junk.” Both Gordon and Post would soldier on making music (Gordon under her own name, Post under the Veruca Salt moniker), but it would never really be the same. Sadder than the end of their musical partnership was the end of their friendship, something that both Post and Gordon mourned for the better part of the next two decades.

Yesterday on their Facebook page the National released a statement saying they have cancelled their tour dates for Russia and Ukraine due to “the ongoing political crisis” in the region. Shows were scheduled for Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kiev this summer. Refunds will be given at points of purchase, and for now there is no news as to whether these shows will be rescheduled or if the band will add dates in different locations to make up for them. You can read the full statement below.

Kelis recently put out her new David Sitek produced album, Food, and has been making the rounds to perform it on television. She stopped by Letterman yesterday with a very large band (which Letterman quips about in the beginning) and performed her single “Jerk Ribs.” Watch it below.

“Let’s get one thing straight. I know I shouldn’t like you,” begins the new single from Glasgow band PAWS. It’s a love song that recognizes that being in love doesn’t always yield positive results, nailing the feeling of heartache down to that gloriously descriptive title: “Owls Talons Clenching My Heart.” Lead singer Philip Taylor, singing in an echoing, Robert Pollard-esque drawl, captures the feel of a rocky relationship with a painful lyrical directness: “Everything I say or do to or for you makes me look the fool.” “And I feel bad, because you’ll be mad, and that’ll make you sad, and I don’t want to make you sad.” They’re sloppy lines, all second-guesses that run in circles of uncertainty and confusion which is precisely what makes them hit so hard and ring so true. Between this and the recently released “Tongues,” PAWS are throwing themselves right in the thick of bad vibes, and they’ve never sounded better. Listen below and check them out on tour.

Neneh Cherry returned earlier this year with the Four Tet-produced Blank Project, her first full-on solo album in 18 years. Now, she’s reunited with one of her old music-video directors, the veteran French fashion photographer Jean-Baptiste Mondino, who first worked with Cherry on her “Manchild” video in 1989. Mondino did Cherry’s video for the seven-and-a-half-minute workout “Everything,” and the entire thing is one shot, a long, exceedingly slow zoom-in on Cherry as she frantically dances her way across a gigantic white room. It’s a fitting tribute to Cherry’s berserker charisma, and you can watch it below.

Akin to the early-’90s post-Nirvana feeding frenzy in the Pacific Northwest, the Britpop explosion of the mid-’90s spawned a similar slash-and-burn signing boom on the other side of the pond. And as with post-Nirvana culture, the milieu surrounding Blur and Oasis gave way to a litany of fates for bands just hungry for their slice of attention in what rapidly became an over-saturated and bloated scene. There were keepers — the Divine Comedy were seemingly impervious to a slightly raised profile, and have a nearly peerless discography, while Ash astoundingly continue to dazzle, playing from the same deck of cards as Brad Pitt in The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, capturing the spirit of youth with even more alacrity as they ostensibly age in reverse. There’s also the feckless dreck — Ocean Colour Scene, 60 Ft. Dolls, and Dodgy were tailor-made to cynically exploit the successes of their contemporaries, and they failed miserably, releasing largely insipid albums. And then there were the bands that perhaps didn’t have what it take to swing for the fences, but nonetheless made the most of their fleeting moments in the spotlight. The prime example of this template is Drugstore, who released one of the more underrated albums of the ’90s with their Radiohead-championed self-titled debut. Rock and roll notoriously gets interesting at its fringes. We’ve chosen 20 of Britpop’s notable wannabes and also-rans to feature in this B-List, which is compiled alphabetically below. Not all these bands deserve to be celebrated, but they do deserve to be remembered. Dig in and you’ll certainly find a few keepers, those who rightfully deserve a place alongside Pulp, Suede, Verve, Blur, and Oasis for having released some of the most compelling music of the ’90s.

Now that his lovely singer-songwriterly album Morning Phase is out and his two Coachella sets are done, the Beck comeback is officially in full swing. Last night, he brought his single “Blue Moon” to Jimmy Kimmel Live. Kimmel had Beck perform on the show’s outdoor festival stage, which was smart, since California twilight is probably the ideal place and time to hear a song like “Blue Moon.” Watch the performance below.

Future Islands have been getting tons of attention ever since 4AD signed them and David Letterman co-signed them. One of the oddest examples is this new “moving portrait” from Google Play in which footage of bandmates Samuel T. Herring, William Cashion, and Gerritt Welmers staring sentimentally at the camera is matched with audio recordings of their responses to questions about what makes them happy, what they need in life, etc. Some of the story behind new album Singles is included. Watch below.