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By Andy Argyrakis
Duran DuranWeekend Report: CD clearance, A real State Street miracle
Friday, December 14, 2007
The historic Chicago Theatre just so happens to be on State Street, so this weekend's benefit concert truly takes on a miraculous twist. Pop/rock radio station 101.9 FM The Mix turns in the aptly titled "Miracle On State Street 9" tonight, with proceeds benefiting local charities just in time for the holidays. Aside from helping the less fortunate, attendees can take in a headlining set from Duran Duran, who are fresh out of the studio after recording Red Carpet Massacre (Epic) with a little help from unexpected friends Timbaland and Justin Timberlake. Though it remains to be seen how fans will react to the new direction in concert, expect plenty of synth-saturated nuggets from yesteryear. However the opening acts are much less impressive, including the somewhat pedestrian stylings of Train front man Pat Monahan and equally drowsy newcomer Sara Bareilles.

For those who can't make the trip to the Windy City for the show, there's always the ongoing holiday sale from www.TheMusic.com, which is loaded with Duran Duran discs. Several dates from the group's highly anticipated 2003 reunion are offered in double disc CD format at bargain prices.The Who Since set lists vary from night to night, this official bootleg series is also offering a free flip top Duran Duran CD storage box when purchasing two separate shows.

Fans of The Who can also track down sound board recordings from the band's 2006 tour on the same website at reduced prices this weekend. At press time, fees dropped 25% off double disc sets from those shows, plus deluxe road case options compiling all the concerts from both North American legs and the European trek. Outside of over twenty shows per set, the cases come hand-numbered with a mini-tour program and an autographed card from band members.
Ike TurnerIke Turner dies at 76,
Louis XIV's unveils new project, Ministry's farewell

Thursday, December 13, 2007
Beleaguered musician Ike Turner died yesterday at his home in suburban San Diego with no immediate word on the cause of death. Turner better known for brutally abusing his ex-wife Tina Turner than his important contributions to music was never able to fully recover his career. Although he won a Grammy in 2007 in the traditional blues album category for Risin' With the Blues. He was portrayed with stark honesty by Laurence Fishburne in the movie "What's Love Got To Do With It," based on Tina Turner's autobiography. Tina Turner declined to comment on her ex-husband's death. "Tina is aware that Ike passed away earlier today. She has not had any contact with him in 35 years. No further comment will be made," said her spokeswoman, Michele Schweitzer.
(Posted by Phil Bonyata)

After stepping aside for numerous solo and side projects,Ministry Ministry figurehead Al Jourgensen is officially hanging up the band's brand name. The group already released its farewell record The Last Sucker, but will support that project and other industrialized rockers from its thirty-year catalogue on a 34-date tour. The jaunt opens March 26 at Calgary's The Whiskey and wraps up May 9 at Chicago's House of Blues. Outside of the front man, the touring line-up includes guitarists Tommy Victor (Prong) and Sin Quirin (Revolting Cocks), keyboardist John Bechdel (Prong, AoTW, False Icons) and drummer Jimmy DeGrasso (ex-Megadeth, Suicidal Tendencies, Alice Cooper). Static X's Tony Campos was just named the official bassist, following the unexpected death of Paul Raven (also of Killing Joke fame).

After two years of solid touring, glam rockers Louis XIV finally returned to the studio to record its long awaited sophomore CD Slick Dogs and Ponies (Pineapple/Atlantic). The project drops January 29 under the production of the band's own Jason Hill, coinciding with the band's winter tour slot supporting Editors and Hot Hot Heat.Louis
XIV For those who can't wait that long, there's always the recently released digital EP The Distances from Everyone To You, which includes three brand new tunes and a cover of Queen's "Flash's Theme."

The name Kate Nash may already be familiar to U.K. audiences, but the laptop-based tunesmith is hoping to make a splash in America at the top of next year. Aside from visiting a handful of clubs on her winter tour, she releases Made of Bricks (Fiction/Geffen) on January 8. The project marks the twenty-year-old's official debut and comes under the helm of producer Paul Epworth (Babyshambles, Bloc Party).
SaosinSaosin's road return, Upcoming Davies delivery
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Relatively new Southern California alternative rockers Saosin slogged it out on the road throughout all of 2007, leading to 300,000 copies sold its self-titled debut. Of course, the bulk of attention for the Capitol act came during this summer's monstrous Projekt Revolution, which also featured main stage headliners Linkin Park and My Chemical Romance, along with second stage mates Mindless Self Indulgence and Madina Lake. Yet the group is keeping the momentum going with an early 2008 run, taking along Armor For Sleep, The Bled and Meriwether. The outing opens January 21 at the Rialto Theatre in Tucson, Arizona and runs through February 14 at the Senator Theatre in Chico, California.

Fans of the Kinks and front man Ray Davies will also find the legendary singer/songwriter on the road next year backing his second ever solo album Working Man's Cafe (New West/ Ammal). The project features co-production between the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and Grammy Award winner Ray Kennedy (Steve Earle, Delbert McClinton). Outside of a standard single disc release on February 19, expect a Limited Edition 180 gram vinyl record,Ray Davies plus a deluxe CD edition bundled with a DVD (featuring live performances and a video interview). As for his somewhat rare return to the road, expect a handful of North American promotional appearances throughout January and a full-fledged run later in 08.

Electric/eclectic rockers Mahjongg are also kicking off 2008 with a winter tour, launching at Cleveland's Beachland Tavern on January 22 and wrapping shortly thereafter at Chicago's Subterranean on January 31. The group's forthcoming disc Kontpab is a beat driven affair (a la Talking Heads) that finds equal footing on the dance floor and during personal chill time. Outside of the percolating rhythms, the band hopes to spread a message of love and positive energy to combat popular culture's self-destructive tendencies.
Pink FloydStreet Date: Pricey box set blitz
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
The last few years have almost produced more Pink Floyd products than released during the band's original existence, but ever since the Live 8 reunion, fans can't seem to get enough of the seminal psychedelic rockers. But unlike a simple remasters set or deluxe edition, this 16-disc collection Oh By the Way (Capitol) is for serious collectors only, especially because of its considerable price tag. Though it's already been done once before, this set bundles together all the band's discs to date in gatefold packaging with several photos, linear notes and bonus memorabilia.

Radiohead may still be soaking up the attention from its download only indie album In Rainbows, but its EMI outpouring earns the grand treatment with a limited edition box set.Radiohead Simply titled Radiohead, the seven disc collection traces 1993-2003, including full-length CD releases of the following albums: 1993's Pablo Honey, 1995's The Bends, 1997's OK Computer, 2000's Kid A, 2001's Amesiac, that same year's live release I Might Be Wrong and 2003's Hail To the Thief.

Christmas couldn't possibly be around the corner without a new Dave Matthews Band title and the group predictably complies with yet another live CD and DVD. Live at Piedmont Park (RCA) repeats several songs from countless other concert installments, including the long over killed "So Much to Say," "All Along the Watchtower" and "Ants Marching." However, the troupe does toss in a few set list surprises, such as "Louisiana Bayou" and "Eh Hee." Are these additions enough to demand a purchase in either format? Absolutely not, but between the college crowd and Matthews' freakishly supportive, it should sell just fine.
Amy WinehouseWho will the Grammy go to?
Monday, December 10, 2007
The fiftieth anniversary of the Grammy Awards may still be a few months away, but with last week's nominee announcement, early predictions are already heating up. Kanye West continued his tradition of scoring several nominations, leading the 2008 pack with eight, which certainly lifted the rapper's spirits following the untimely passing of his mother. And even amidst all her legal and personal problems, Amy Winehouse was able to rake in six nominations, who along with West, is also keeping her fingers crossed for an "Album of the Year" nod. (Others up for that category include Foo Fighters, Vince Gill, and Herbie Hancock).

In individual song circles, the "Record of the Year" nominees are split between Winehouse's "Rehab," Beyonce's "Irreplaceable," Foo Fighters' "The Pretender," Rihanna's "Umbrella" and Justin Timberlake's "What Goes Around Comes Around." Though each of those Kanye Westsingles has been red hot throughout 2007, hopefully the nod will go to the Foo Fighters, given the fact that most of the pop candidates are plagued by disposable production and much less memorable sentiments.

For "Song of the Year" (awarded to the writers of a smash single), it's a genre split between pop, rap and country as Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats" dukes it out with "Hey There Delilah" by Plain White T's, "Like a Star" from Corinne Bailey Rae, "Umbrella" via Rihanna, plus another round of "Rehab." If voters go on sheer popularity, expect either Underwood or Rihanna's track to be rewarded, though Rae clearly possesses the most songwriting skills of the bunch. New artist hopefuls include Ledisi, Paramore, Taylor Swift, Amy Winehouse and Feist, with this particular critic keeping his fingers crossed for the latter.

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