Monday, November 24, 2008

Annie Lennox Gets American Music Award Honor; Will Release First Solo Career Collection

Annie Lennox won the Award of Merit at the 2008 American Music Awards last night, and reminded us anew of why she is one of the most successful British female singers ever. With that reminder, both and new Lennox fans will be happy that she will be releasing her first-ever solo career retrospective set, entitled The Annie Lennox Collection, in February 2009.

The Scottish-born singer first broke onto the music scene as half of the 1980s duo The Eurythmics (with Dave Stewart), starting with their haunting single "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)", which featured an odd and quirky video that was in heavy rotation on MTV.

The Annie Lennox Collection is the first such CD of the singer's solo work. Although it spans her 15-year solo career, the bad news is that it contains only 14 songs... not nearly enough, to me, to capture the many songs and stylings Lennox has pursued in that time. The set includes songs from all of Annie Lennox's solo albums: Diva, Medusa, Bare, and Songs of Mass Destruction. The set will also include two new songs.

The Collection is also said to be available in a "deluxe" edition with a CD and DVD (presumably containing live performances or music videos, or both).

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Get a Truly Unique Rock & Roll Gift for a Loved One (or Yourself!)

It's the time of year when we're bombarded with ads for stores promising that they have gift items that are unique, one-of-a-kind, etc. But here's a gift opportunity that will truly be memorable for the music lovers on your shopping list: a signed piece of rock memorabilia from the Rock & Roll Charity Auction.

The Auction benefits Rock For Kids, a charity that directs much-needed funds to underprivileged children. This year's Auction, the 20th annual, will take place in Chicago on December 5th, but you don't have to be there to take part and bid on items... the Auction has a proxy bidding procedure, just like on eBay.

(If you will be in Chicago for the Auction, see the details below for time and place and how to buy tickets.)

So what kind of unique items are in the Auction? Head for the official Rock & Roll Charity Auction Web site to view the items.

There are autographed items from everyone from Janis Joplin and Carlos Santana to B.B. King, Dolly Parton, Bruce Springsteen, and almost 200 more. There are straightforward rock memorabilia items (an Allman Brothers poster signed by the band) to the more offbeat (a Chicago Blackhawks hockey jersey signed by the members of The Cure).

Other artists with items up for auction include Andrew Bird, Aretha Franklin, The Breeders, Brian Wilson, Carole King, Dave Brubek, and even some non-musical folk like Jerry Seinfeld.

Check out the items on sale and make a bid on a truly unique item for that perfect holiday gift, or a treat for yourself!

The Twentieth Annual Rock & Roll Charity Auction
December 5th, 2008
Park West, 322 W. Armitage, Chicago

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Twilight Movie Mania: 5 Things to Know, Fan Sites, Podcasts, and More

Midnight approaches and the madness over the movie Twilight is hitting a fever pitch. So here's some online info to read while waiting in line at the theater, or anywhere for that matter.

Kristen McCracken has a great Twilight primer at Tribeca Film packed with links for more exploring. She talks about Twilight's move from book to screen and gives a guide to five things you need to know about the Twilight movie.

Twilight screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg is on the hook for lots of anger if her adaptation of Stephenie Meyer's book doesn't meet with the approval of the legions of fans. The blog at interviews Rosenberg and notes that she's got experience with some of the themes of Twilight: she's worked on the cable serial-killer series Dexter, and has experience with the youth market through her work on The O.C.

Over at Venus Zine, you'll see how Twilight fans are spreading their obsession into fan sites, podcasts, and even Twilight-related travel.

And of course, head for the official Twilight movie Web site for visit the official Web site for previews, film clips, photos, showtimes and locations, and even a free music download.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Music News: Beatles Jam Track, New Concert DVD from The Who

You've no doubt heard that there's a 14-minute Beatles jam recording out there somewhere, and it turns out Paul McCartney is looking to get it released. According to an article in Billboard, "Carnival of Light" is the most experimental track the Beatles ever recorded and McCartney needs to get permission from surviving Beatle Ringo Starr and the estates of George Harrison and John Lennon to get the tune to see the light of day.

"I said it would be great to put this on because it would show we were working with really avant-garde stuff," McCartney told the BBC about the track, which was recorded early in 1967.

Speaking of classic rock releases, here's one that's definitely reaching the listening public: a DVD of a 1977 concert by The Who. Called "The Who at Kilburn 1977," the DVD is coming out tomorrow, November 18th and is the full performance of a concert that was filmed for the Who documentary, "The Kids Are Alright."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Music & Tech News: Cheap iTunes Movies, Gmail Video Chat, Live Nation to Sell MP3s

Lots of news already this week in the world of tech and music....

* iTunes has launched a digital bargain bin for movies, says Ars Technica, offering a set of movies that will be offered for download each week for $5.

* Google has packed some more features into Gmail, launching on Tuesday video and voice chat functions for the ubiquitous free Web mail service. The features are embedded in the interface. Cnet takes it for a test drive, and notes that while it's no Skype, it's simple to use and a good addition to Gmail.

* Mega concert promoter Live Nation has confirmed that it will begin selling DRM-free music MP3s from three of the four major music labels. But it won't be using a store or database like Apple's iTunes; instead, buyers will be taken to artist pages that than an iTunes-style database, Live Nation's MP3 store will route fans to artist pages that are "somewhat similar to the ones found on MySpace," says

* and finally, Aretha Franklin has been named the greatest singer of the rock era in a poll conducted by Rolling Stone. She was already the Queen of Soul; now I guess we can just call her the queen of all genres.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

"Lost" is Coming Back, Sooner than Expected

ABC has lifted the veil on some of the details of the upcoming fifth season of its paranormal tropical-island action-fantasy show Lost. No, not on any plot lines, but on when and where the show will return.

ABC plans a two-hour season premiere of Lost and the Web site The Live Feed reports that it will take place Wednesday, Jan. 21. A one-hour clip show (recapping the Lost story thus far) will precede the season premiere.

The Live Feed this means that Lost is going back to the 9 p.m. Wednesday time slot. Last season it was on Thursdays, first at 9 and then at 10.

The Lost Web site above notes that all of the first four seasons of the show are now available for free streaming online (not sure if this was the case before).

And if you want to get your Lost fix before January, check out the Lost Book Club, a complete guide to all the books referenced on the show or read by the characters.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Author Michael Crichton Dies of Cancer at Age 66

Fans of fiction and audiobooks, or old-fashioned printed books, may be saddened to learn that author Michael Crichton, who gave us such thrillers as "Jurassic Park," "The Lost World," "Disclosure," and "Rising Sun," has died of cancer at the age of 66. His death occurred November 4th or 5th (I'm still finding conflicting information on this.)

A native of Chicago, Crichton was an M.D. who started writing fiction while a student at Harvard Medical School. He specialized in science fiction and technothriller novels, often with cautionary tales about the use and misuse of technology. Among his other novels are "State of Fear," "Prey," "Airframe," "Timeline," and "The Terminal Man."

Many of his novels were made into films, including "Westworld," "Jurassic Park," "The Andromeda Strain," "Congo," "Sphere," and "The Great Train Robbery." He also directed movies and TV shows written by others, including "Coma" and Twister."

Michael Crichton was also the creator, executive producer, and writer for the long-running TV show "E.R.," which is now in its final season.