• The multimedia kings of culture jamming, Negativland, are back this Tuesday with a righteous continuation of the group's copyright-freedom manifesto, this time aiming directly at the hand that feeds: the recording industry.
After years of out-of-print status, a five-star CD re-issue of one of the most beloved and influential albums of the punk/new-wave days is hitting store shelves Tuesday. Perhaps you've seen the Gang of Four's debut, Entertainment!, on scores of critical lists of desert-island discs, but never got turned on.
Start saving your pennies and packing your bags. Following the success of the Jam Band Cruise, a new ocean liner full of musical magic is preparing to set sail with the Flaming Lips at the helm. Calling itself Xingolati: Groove Cruise of the Pacific, the three-day journey from Los Angeles to Ensenada, Mexico, is set for the weekend of October 14.
• With twice as much hubris and psychedelia as the common VH1: Behind the Music tragedy, next week every American living room can bear witness to DIG!, last year's award-winning wild ride rockumentary by Ondi Timoner, culled from seven years of filming the friendship and eventual train wreck of The Dandy Warhols and The Brian Jonestown Massacre.
• Tribute madness heats up as five upcoming new CDs bow down in salute with intriguing possibilities. Magna Carta Records is set for the March 15 release of Subdivisions: A Tribute to Rush, with performances by Sebastian Bach of Skid Row, Jani Lane of Warrant, Alex Skolnick of Testament, Kip Winger of Winger, Robert Berry of Ambrosia, Andreas Kisser of Sepultura, and master bassist Stu Hamm.
• Birds do it. Bees do it. And like humans, they often make strange "music" in the process. Next month The Residents are back with a new album on Mute Records that makes new music from the chippings and rhythmic mating sounds of coitus (non-interruptus).
• Have the Wiggles lost their wag with your preschooler? Is Sesame Street too old for your old-skoolerz? Please welcome John Linnell and John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants to the rescue, ready to get rid of those minivan blues.
• This Tuesday the Lost Highway Records imprint is releasing the soundtrack to HBO's Deadwood with a unique twist. Featuring the show's theme by David Schwartz and music from Jelly Roll Morton, Mississippi John Hurt, June Carter Cash, Lyle Lovett, and Sonny Terry & Brownie McGee, two CD versions will be available: one with just the music and the other sprinkled with dialogue gems between the tracks from the potty-mouthed cast of characters, including Calamity Jane, Wild Bill Hickock, and the appropriately named Al Swearengen (as in: swearing again and again and again).
• While the film won't open until February 18, fans of Dave Matthews should look forward to his acting role in Because of Winn Dixie, playing Otis, a pet-store clerk who sings to animals and sets them free. The Nettwerk Records soundtrack comes out this week and features music from the Be Good Tanyas, Emmylou Harris, Leigh Nash of Sixpence None the Richer, and a duet from Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne and James Iha of the Smashing Pumpkins.
How do two new releases in January already feel like "best of 2005" contenders? More satisfying with each repeated listening, two new CDs hitting store shelves this Tuesday have dominated my stereo for the past few weeks, and I'm not ready to hit "eject" yet.