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Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo Generates Strong Sales, Glowing Reviews for Alone

Jerry McCulley
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01.04.2008

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Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo, a collection of 18 previously unreleased home recordings and demos by Weezer mainstay Rivers Cuomo, debuted at 163 on the Billboard charts, then topped the magazine’s January 5 Top Heatseekers chart. The collection, which includes demo versions of Weezer classics like “Buddy Holly” as well as number of previously unreleased songs, has also generated more positive critical response than the last few albums by Cuomo’s pioneering indie band. Rivers and Geffen records have also made the tracks “Longtime Sunshine,” “Blast Off” and “Superfriend” available for on-line preview. Cuomo says he hopes to make more of his home recordings available in the future. —Jerry McCulley
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R.E.M. to Ratchet Up Guitars On Forthcoming Album

Russell Hall
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01.03.2008

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Billboard and other sources are reporting that R.E.M. have ratcheted up the guitars for their forthcoming new album. Titled Accelerate, and due for release in April, the album promises to mark a severe turn from the somnolent textures that comprised the bulk of 2004's Around The Sun. "It's not like we're going to pretend these are ballads," longtime R.E.M. manager Bertis Downs told Billboard. "There are rockers." R.E.M. has struggled to find firm footingand capture their original energy—ever since drummer Bill Berry left the group a decade ago.
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Sir Paul McCartney Underwent Heart Procedure

Russell Hall
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01.03.2008

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London's Daily Mirror and other sources are reporting that Sir Paul McCartney underwent "routine" heart surgery this past fall. The 65-year-old McCartney had complained of not feeling well and had sought out a specialist at a London clinic. Tests apparently determined that a coronary angioplasty—a surgical procedure that unclogs arteries—was advised. A coronary angioplasty is performed by inserting a thin tube into the blood vessels in the groin and threading the tube up to the aorta, where a small attached balloon is then inflated. The balloon flattens fatty deposits that are causing a blockage, thereby allowing blood to flow more freely. Oftentimes a wire-mesh tube called a stent is put in place as well, to support the walls of the vessel.
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Boston Blues Elder Statesman “Weepin” Willie Robinson Dies

Russell Hall
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01.03.2008

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“Weepin” Willie Robinson, a blues artist who many considered the elder statesman of Boston blues, died in a residential care facility in the city’s Jamaican Plain neighborhood on Monday. The likely cause of death was smoke inhalation from a fire sparked by Robinson’s own cigarette. The singer was 81. Robinson led a checkered life marked by towering highs and challenging lows. Born in Atlanta in 1926, he picked cotton and fruit along the East Coast throughout his childhood. In the ’40s he spent time in the Army, and eventually ended up in Trenton, New Jersey, where he secured work as an emcee and doorman at local clubs. In that capacity he met B.B. King, Bobby “Blue” Bland, and other blues luminaries, and eventually sang with King’s 21-piece orchestra.
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MC Hammer Launches Social Networking, Dancing Website

Ellen Mallernee
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01.02.2008

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MC Hammer, the rapper behind 1990's "U Can't Touch This" and a particularly billowly style of pants, told the Associated Press on Sunday that he's launching a networking site called DanceJam.com, on which users can post their own dance videos. Similar to YouTube, the site will debut in mid-January in the hopes of becoming the go-to destination for dance videos and in bailing Hammer out of bankruptcy, which he was forced to file in 1996, after squandering his $30 million fortune.—Ellen Mallernee
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Pitchfork's 20 Worst Album Covers of the Year

Ellen Mallernee
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12.31.2007

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Pitchfork has issued its list of the 20 Worst Album Covers of the Year, a worthy record of all the painfully dweeby album artwork to emerge in '07. In the most ironic reversal of fortune, Ani Difranco retrospective Canon made Pitchfork's list, just two years after her album Evolve recieved a Grammy nod for Best Album Packaging. If you dig Pitchfork's list, check out Gigwise.com's list earlier this year that featured the 50 Worst Album Covers in the World. —Ellen Mallernee
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Time's 10 Best Songs of the Year

Ellen Mallernee
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12.31.2007

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In a flurry of fascinating, year-end Top 10 lists, Time.com has released its Top 10 songs of 2007, including singles from Amy Winehouse, Feist, Radiohead, and more. Click here to see what surprises also made the list.
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The Matches Team Up with 311, Rancid, and Goldfinger Frontmen (Free MP3!)

12.31.2007

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These days, a lot of bands claim to have coined a “unique” sound, but few are as inventive as Oakland, California, foursome the Matches. On paper the band should be easy to pin down: They’re from the same area as Green Day, on the same label as Bad Religion, and have been one of the most buzzed about up-and-coming acts on the Vans Warped Tour. But with more in common with the Talking Heads than with their peers, the Matches’ upcoming A Band in Hope, due in March, will confuse people even more than 2006’s seemingly schizophrenic sophomore disc Decomposer. In a good way. On their last effort, the Matches worked with nine different producers, and A Band in Hope shows them once again enlisting a slew of famous musicians behind the boards. “We have multiple personalities, and going with one producer is kind of scary to us,” explains Matches guitarist Jon Devoto. “There are lots of things that we love about all the producers that we’ve worked with, so it allows us to dip into multiple genres and styles of recording.”
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Mute Math Leak Details of Upcoming Disc

Jonah Bayer
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12.28.2007

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Slung around the neck like a guitar, the keytar has to be one of the most misunderstood instruments in the rock paradigm. Despite that it’s been played publicly by credible artists like Peter Gabriel and Prince, there’s still a dweeby stigma that makes playing it about as hip as wearing socks with sandals. That is until New Orleans, Louisiana-based quintet Mute Math accidentally made the keytar cool. Vocalist Paul Meany used the keyboard-esque instrument extensively and shamelessly on the band’s ambitious, Grammy-nominated debut Mute Math and throughout their swift rise to indie credibility.
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Check Out Photos of Set List from Led Zeppelin Reunion Concert

Ellen Mallernee
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12.27.2007

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We've scored a couple photos of the set list from Led Zeppelin's December 10 concert at London's O2 Arena. Enjoy!
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