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By Andy Argyrakis
R.E.M. Weekend Report: It's all about SxSW!
Friday, March 14, 2008
As the 2008 installment of SxSW Music Festival settled in this week with keynote speaker Lou Reed and Athens alt-rockers R.E.M., it was evident that the event reached its prominent peak. Now boasting over 1,400 bands of all associations, the Austin streets are packed with roaming industry aficionados and fans alike, with attendance surging for what's assured to be a stellar weekend. Though it's impossible to distill the mammoth undertaking in just a snapshot glance, attendees should take stock of their top choices and start making a schedule before they arrive, in hopes of catching the most bang for their bucks.

For those arriving tonight, various venues boast the likes of The Raveonettes, Paramore, Sia, Shelby Lynne, White Rabbits, Joseph Arthur and Nada Surf (to name a very small handful). Saturday is also stacked with sets from a fully reunited X, The Donnas, Waco Brothers, The Slits, David Bazan, Russian Circles and M. Ward (amongst many others). Both days also feature an extensiveLou Reed showcase celebration from Monolith (the two-day fall festival at Red Rocks), boasting the likes of Peter Moren (of Peter Bjorn and John fame), Fleet Foxes, A Place To Bury Strangers, Nicole Atkins & The Sea, The Dodos, White Denim, Evangelicals and The Whigs.

Of course the weekend wouldn't be complete without a series of speakers and panels, including Ticketmaster president Sean Moriarty, legendary Carbon/Silicon collaborators Mick Jones and Tommy James, plus the highly unlikely hipster in the making Daryl Hall (all in the former category). Industry sessions include "Vinyl Revival," "Producers: The Analog-Digital Shift" and "Enhancing Digital Retail." The weekend also offers various mentor and demo listening sessions, packed with advice from established artists and executives. (Bet your life: Friday, Saturday and Sunday at various venues- Austin, TX: www.sxsw.com).
Van Morrison Street Week: Supergrass overseas, Van's the man
Monday, March 10, 2008
In an age when Van Morrison gets a greatest hits compilation every few months and frequently issues repackaged and/or remastered albums, it's often tricky to keep track of his extensive product barrage. But fans won't find a case of mistaken identity on Keep It Simple (Lost Highway), which is a bon-a-fide brand new studio CD, marking his first since 2005 and 35th overall holding the self-production reigns. The blues/folk/jazz hybrid also comes from a cohesive session featuring eleven tracks penned specifically for this project, a welcome diversion from the cut and paste mentality of some previous collections.

Supergrass' latest CD has yet to hit the States, but thanks to EMI International, Diamond Hoo Ha is available as an import title this week. The Brit-rockers' latest project was produced by Nick Launay (Arcade Fire, Nick Cave, Yeah Yeah Yeahs) in Berlin's legendary Hansa Studios across a mere three weeks. Unlike 2005'sSupergrass more subdued Road to Rouen (Capitol), the latest batch is said to pack plenty of aggressive riffs, as reveled on the road supporting Arctic Monkeys.

Long time indie hip-hop hustler Rick Ross finally rose up from the underground Miami scene to score a deal with Slip N' Slide/Def Jam in 2006 and he returns two years later with Trilla. Thus far he's found radio favor thanks to the first single "The Boss," featuring T-Pain and produced by JR Rotem (The Game, Snoop Dogg, Chamillionare). Other guests on the album include Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Young Jeezy and Trick Daddy, with additional production from Justice League.

The Dish Archives - 2008

Mar. 3 & 7
Feb. 25 & 29
Feb. 18 & 22
Feb. 11 & 15
Feb. 4 & 8
Jan. 28 - Feb. 1
Jan. 21 - 25
Jan. 14 - 18
Jan. 7 - 11
Jan. 1 - 4
Daily Dish Archives - 2007

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