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Music news for the week…

– It appears that Radiohead’s managers advised the band to end their career after their contract with Capitol Records expired.  I mean, wow.  I imagine the conversation went something like this: “Hey guys, you’re producing incredibly creative and groundbreaking music time and time again… but now that you aren’t owned by a huge corporation anymore… well, I don’t know what to do… I guess you should just call it quits.” Unbelievable.

– Believe it or not, the US Department of Homeland Security produced a handful of pop records in Spanish and recently distributed them to Central American radio stations.  The albums contain songs that “warn of the danger of illegally crossing the US/Mexican border.”  Although the musicians on the project have remained anonymous, I think we all know that Toby Keith had at least something to do with it.

– In other US Government music news, the State Department has unveiled a new program called Musical Overtures, which sends musicians into the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan.  The initiative intends to utilize the “universal” elements of music in an attempt to bridge cultures and improve relations.

– It’s only been two weeks since Joe Striani filed a suit against Coldplay for musical plagiarism against him in their song “Viva La Vida.” Now, all of a sudden, Cat Stevens is doing the same thing.  Meanwhile, Coldplay has announced a free live album, released digitally on the band’s website on May 15. and

– The median age for viewers of this season’s American Idol episodes is 43, a solid ten years higher than the shows previous seasons.  Go figure.

– Editorial item:  We’re doing a cover of Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” at the Jesse Langseth gig next week.  We found the version on a cool Ike and Tina Turner album called Funkier Than A Mosquito’s Tweeter.  Aside from being the best album title ever, Ike and Tina’s version of the song is arguably superior to Zep’s (gasp).

I don’t watch much TV, but I’ve been following Idol a little bit this season because I used to play drums with Jesse Langseth.  She’s from Minneapolis, and she did the bar band thing with cover tunes and some originals.  She’s a really cool girl, and does a killer Robert Plant.

Actually, on a random note, I had the WORST gig experience of my life with her when she was auditioning a new guitarist.  This guy did not prepare at all for the gig, and most of the tunes we played were riff-based and relied heavily on the guitar.  Botched chords, forgetting riffs, wrong notes… I’ve never been involved in a performance where someone blew it so badly.  Pretty soon Jesse just put her guitar on (which she normally used on only one or two songs) and she, the bassist (Steve Oakes), and I just played the rest of the gig pretending this awful guitarist wasn’t there.

Anyway, I found this article on her performance from last night’s American Idol episode.  She’s a good musician – and it’s cool to see the press recognize that.  Be sure and vote for her if you’re into that kind of thing.

UPDATE:  Looks like Jesse didn’t make into the top 12.  Oh well.  She still rules, and maybe now she’ll play more local shows in the Twin Cities.

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