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Interesting music news this week…

This Is It, the documentary of the prep/rehearsals for the late Michael Jackson’s London concert series, will be hitting theaters on October 28.  You can view the trailer here.  A double-disc soundtrack for the film will be released on October 27, and will contain a previously unreleased MJ single also called “This Is It.”  Billboard

– NYC’s Knitting Factory Records is set to release the full 45-album catalog of Nigerian Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti for the first time ever in North America.  Kuti was the main influence in African political liberation art, and his music has always been difficult to find in the US.  The release also coincides with the Broadway debut of a Jay-Z and Will Smith funded musical about Kuti’s life and art.  Pitchfork

– Kids Company, a London charity for convicted minors and “disadvantaged youth,” just received a donation to the tune of 1.5 million dollars from Coldplay.  The band was apparently very moved by the efforts of the organization and stories of their impact.  The band members have even agreed to give music lessons to the Kids Company children.  Regardless of how you feel about Coldplay’s music, you have to dig the walking and not just talking.  NME

– The word is that Justin Timberlake has been cast in the lead role in a film about Facebook called The Social Network.  Timberlake will play Sean Parker, co-founder of Napster and FB’s first President.  Production for the film begins next month.  Allmusic Blog

– Yesterday was Bruce Springsteen’s 60th birthday.  My dad also turned 60 not too long ago, but Steve Sr. has never had a sliding collision with a Super Bowl Halftime Show stage camera.  Rollingstone

– Rapper Eminem is headed to court against the tech giant Apple Inc in a dispute over download permission on iTunes, despite three separate attempts to broker a settlement between the two parties.  Billboard

I’m somewhat of a music news junkie. Every now and then I post something here that is especially interesting to me, and I thought I might turn that into a more frequent venture with a new weekly “music news” series. Some of it will be drum-oriented, but most of it will just be about the music world generally. I’m going to call it “Mews,” in honor of everybody’s favorite Radiohead cover band.

This week’s music news so far…

– In case you haven’t heard, legendary producer Phil Spector was convicted of murder earlier this week.  BBC

– A new legal download service just launched called Free Music Archive.  The site features indie tracks selected by various music critics and available for download at absolutely no cost.  The tracks are completely restriction-less and available by permission from the artists.

The Beatles Rock Band game is in the works, and GameStop recently revealed some of the contents of the “bundle” that consumers will receive when purchasing the video game.  It includes a vintage Ludwig Super Classic replica as the controller for the drums, complete with a metal kick pedal and “pearl” finish (um, black oyster!?).

– Pearl Jam, the band that first helped me realize that music was something to be passionate about, has a new record due out this fall.  The record will be produced by Brendan O’Brien and released independently (without a label!), as the trend of huge bands leaving the world of record labels continues.

– Ziggy Marley has an album of his dad’s songs lined up for a children’s record due out this summer. Hopefully this “Reggae for kids” will have minimal marijuana references.

– No joke… Justin Timberlake is planning on climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise awareness for the African water crisis.  Sheesh.  MTVnews

– Ben Folds is soon releasing an album of “a capella” versions of some of the big BFF hits.  Folds discovered via Youtube various college vocal groups that were using his songs in their repertoire, and he hand-selected 14 of the groups to arrange and perform the tracks for the record.  Despite what you might think, Folds is excited about the record for more than just comedy reasons.

– Internet radio AccuJazz recently announced a new line-up of streaming stations: Jazz By Composer.  The stations feature original compositions by history’s great jazz composers, performed both by the composers themselves and by other jazz artists.  So far the site has stations for Duke Ellington, Thelonius Monk, and Bird/Diz.

– Editorial: Chris McHugh puts on a freaking clinic with his playing on the new Keith Urban and Rascal Flatts albums.  I’ve been listening to them on Rhapsody for the past couple weeks.

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