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By Andy Argyrakis
The Dresden Dolls Weekend Report: Petty, Dresden Dolls beat winter blues
Friday, January 4, 2008
The last major tour for the Dresden Dolls took place in the summer of 2007, alongside Cyndi Lauper, Erasure, Debbie Harry, The Gossip and The Cliks (amongst many others) in support of gay rights. Even though the cause is still close to the band's heart, an early 2008 outing shifts the focus back towards the band's most recent projects, which include the CD Yes, Virginia... (Roadrunner) and the concert DVD Live At the Roundhouse (Eagle Rock). This weekend Amanda Palmer and Brian Viglione turn in its bizarre blend of punk cabaret towards Toronto's Phoenix Concert Theatre (tonight), Chicago's Vic Theatre (Saturday) and St. Louis' (The Pageant), with indie rockers Two Ton Boa and Meow Meow opening all shows.

Madina Lake is also thawing out its tour bus and pulling out of Chicago tonight (following a homecoming concert at Metro) for a Saturday stop at the Creepy Crawl in St.Tom Petty Louis and Sunday show at The Foundry in Joplin, MO. The trio of tour dates will be the band's last in America for a few months, as the rest of January and part of February find these fellow Roadrunner alt-rockers visiting Europe with Coheed and Cambria, Circa Survive and Fightstar.

No matter where one resides, a trip to catch Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers in the DVD player is possible thanks to the recent release Runnin' Down a Dream. The exhaustive 3 DVD/1 CD set covers concert, music video and documentary footage, plus interviews about the band with George Harrison, Eddie Vedder, Dave Grohl, Rick Rubin and Stevie Nicks. But finding this prized pack may require a little extra effort, as it's exclusively available at Best Buy (and is thus far fetching double the retail price on second hand sites such as Amazon).
Rosey Letters Burning's latest EP, Rosey returns
Thursday, January 3, 2008
The name Rosey may ring a bell from her time on Island Records and touring with Melissa Etheridge. Though it's been a few years since the singer/songwriter released her last CD, she's been busy writing for other artists and switching up sounds to a much more jazzy pedigree. Her sophomore effort Luckiest Girl (Quango) drops in March, putting a contemporary spin on the classic genre, backed by Rosey's smoky pipes and sultry songwriting. "Some of my all time favorite singers- Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Etta James, Nina Simone- have inspired me in so many ways," she says. "Through all of their pain, there remained a cool confidence you could feel in their voices that was so desirable to me. And if there was a way to have that strength and control, while also having the freedom to get lost in a melody, then I wanted to figure out how to do it too."

Emotional/alternative rockers Letters Burning just dropped its latest self-released EP Simple Thoughts & Tragedy, coming off an active 2007 full of touring. The disc is likely to fall in line with fans of Jimmy Eat World, My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy, while featuring production, Letters Burningengineering and mixing from Sean O'Keefe (FOB, Motion City Soundtrack, Less Than Jake). "With better looks than any boy band and more soul than the energizer bunny comes a band that will change your life foreverŠor your money back," proclaims the CD's outer sticker, so with that guarantee, it's certainly worth a shot.

Though the holidays may have come and gone, several Chicago-based indie artists are still exercising the practice of giving to a local charity called Bryan House (www.bryanhouse.org) dedicated to reuniting refugee families separated by war). The Windy City's very own Young Sea recently recorded a version of Leonard Cohen's classic "Hallelujah" and got several artist friends to lend their voices, including members of Lucky Boys Confusion, Sleeping At Last, Company of Thieves and Wax on Radio.
Sting The Police, Kenny Chesney top 2007 tours
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Touring trend trackers Pollstar recently turned in its list of the top 20 grossing tours in North America throughout 2007, and as expected, The Police topped the heap. Sting and company's highly anticipated reunion raked in an astounding gross of $131.9 million throughout its 54 show run, with an average ticket price of $114.32. Country cowboy Kenny Chesney clocked in at second with $71.1 million, making him and The Police the only two acts to sell over a million seats in 07.

Justin Timberlake's tour came in at a very close third ($70.6 million), while Celine Dion may not have taken her Las Vegas spectacle on the road, but still managed to ring up $65.3 million, according to Pollstar. Van Halen's almost full-fledged reunion (with David Lee Roth in the driver's seat, along with guitarist Eddie Van Halen, bassist Wolfgang Van Halen and drummer Alex Van Halen) Kenny Chesneyrounded out the fifth spot at $56.7 million. In fact, demand proved so strong for that line-up within several markets, that the band already has a spring 08 tour on the books.

Slots six through twenty were split between powerhouses representing several genres including: Tim McGraw and Faith Hill ($52.3 million), Rod Stewart ($49 million), Genesis ($47.6 million), Josh Groban ($43 million), Rascal Flatts ($41.5 million), Dave Matthews Band ($41.1 million), Billy Joel ($39.1 million), Roger Waters ($38.3 million), Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band ($38.2 million), Hanna Montana/ Miley Cyrus ($36 million), Elton John ($35.7 million), Jimmy Buffett ($35.6 million), Barry Manilow ($34.8 million), Toby Keith ($34.3 million) and Maná ($33.9 million).
Radiohead Street Date: Radiohead's physical rainbows, Elvis' docu-drama
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
When Radiohead initially released In Rainbows as a "pay what you want" digital download, it not only lit a fire amongst fans, but also created mounds of controversy within the music industry. But the band hasn't bucked the traditional system entirely, making good on its promise to release a physical version of the album in stores sometime during 2008. And only a day into the New Year, less technologically inclined faithful and more traditional listeners in general can now pick up the ten tunes in stores across North America (thanks to a distribution deal through ATO).

Despite the flood of Elvis Presley products never seeming to slow down, the late great's current title comes during a particularly slow release cycle and boasts a handful of useful traits for the most extreme die-hards to devour. Elvis Viva Las Vegas (BMG) is the soundtrack to the recent ABC documentary of the same name,Elvis Presley splitting its set list between original album versions and several remastered face lifts. In the latter category, crests include "(There'll Be) Peace in The Valley (For Me)," "Jailhouse Rock," "Viva Las Vegas" and "Suspicious Minds."

Classic rockers Toto had a busy year on the road in 2007 supporting its latest studio CD Falling In Between. Today's double disc documentation is appropriately titled Falling In Between Live, chronicling twenty-three tracks split between new tunes and old hits. The thirty-year plus veterans turn in both the rockers and the ballads, including "Hold the Line," "Rosanna," "Africa" and "Hydra." Outside of the band's primary vocalists Bobby Kimball and Steve Lukather, this outing included drummer Simon Phillips (The Who, Jeff Beck, Brian Eno) and bassist Leland Sklar (Phil Collins, Lyle Lovett).

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