Considering how easy it has become to locate free photos of breasts in all shapes and sizes on the Internet, it's sort of amazing that Sports Illustrated persists with its annual swimsuit issue. It's like sneaking into a clandestine, prohibition-style speakeasy when there's two liquor stores with busted-out windows across the street. Anyway, Sports Illustrated is now combining its swimsuit issue with the second easiest thing to find online, music. The sports magazine will feature 17 bands on its digital platforms in conjunction with the swimsuit issue, grouping songs together with models. There also will be a four-page music spread in the magazine, and a two-day "Beauties & Beats" music festival Feb. 15-16 in Las Vegas. (See a full lineup here.)

Matt Vasquez, whose band Delta Spirit is among those being spotlighted by SI, said that “bands these days have to have a real 21st-century mentality. We don’t have an MTV really that sticks up for people, at least not in the capacity that it used to. It’s very much the Internet and any readership that we can get in to let people know our band is good.”

That might very well be true, and we wish Delta Spirit (who's actually a pretty good band) the best of luck. After all, we're sure people will be reading this issue strictly for the bands. But given the recent orgy of nasty Lana Del Rey coverage—which recently devolved to its "why do lady singers have porn names like Beyonce and Rihanna?" stage—it hasn't exactly been a stellar couple of weeks for gender issues in music. [via the Washington Post]