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OCTOBER 18, 2006
Changes CD Giveaway

T_tree In honor of the Changes launching their first-ever proper tour (starting tonight) to support their full-length debut CD, Today is Tonight, I'm hosting a contest to give away 2 copies of the CD.

The first two people to answer the following question get the CD:
What is the Changes oldest song?
(Hint: it appears on the new CD and the answer can be found in a post on SomethingGlorious)

email me your answer

Changes tour dates: 

10/18/06 Indianapolis, IN Radio Radio
10/19/06 Ames, IA The Maintenance Shop
10/20/06 Chicago, IL Double Door Tally Hall
10/21/06  State College, PA
10/22/06  Boston, MA  Paradise Lounge
10/24/06  Hoboken, NJ  Maxwell's
10/25/06  Philadelphia, PA  World Cafe Live
10/26/06  Pittsburgh, PA Mr. Smalls
10/28/06  Notre Dame, IN
11/3/06  New York, NY  Union Hall (CMJ)
11/4/06  New York, NY   Rebel (CMJ)
11/7/06  Philadelphia, PA  NPR World Cafe Live in-studio performance @ 2:00pm
11/7/06  Philadelphia, PA Northstar Bar
11/10/06 Washington, DC DC9 Presented by Liberation Dance Party
11/17/06 Madison, WI UW-Madison Rathskeller Helicopters (Free all ages show)

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Luau Lamp from Vessel

Luau I've long been a fan of Vessel's products -- first discovering them when I stumbled upon their genius Tissue Ring. Vessel has made major waves with their Candela rechargeable lights and now take things to the next level with the Luau. This portable and rechargeable lamp gives off the soft glow of ambient light. It's perfect for setting the mood at a dinner party, gathering on the back porch or creating an idyllic atmosphere on the beach.

Each full charge lasts 6-10 hours and the light can be dimmed to suit your mood. These lamps are elegant and understated but have enough charm and design wherewithal to complement any room -- and standing just over a foot tall, they don't take up much space.

Order the Luau online for $249.

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Light the Candles with Matisyahu

Matisyahu Hasidic Reggae phenom Matisyahu just announced he's staging the "First Annual Festival of Lights" concert series at Hammerstein Ballroom in NYC Dec. 16, 17 and 19. Fan club members can log on at to buy tickets now. Live Nation pre-sale has begun and tickets go on sale to the rest of the world at noon tomorrow (10/19) for $30.

Not sure why he's not playing Dec. 18. At first I thought it was Friday night (he doesn't perform on Shabbos) but it's a Monday. Anyone know?

[note: ignore the "click here for ticket pre-sales" line on the image.]

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OCTOBER 17, 2006
Lily Allen Live @ Double Door in Chicago

Lily_1 The blogosphere can be a harsh place. After months of building up Lily Allen on the strength of her two songs "LDN" and "Smile," people in New York and LA who caught her show in those cities over the last week have been anything but nice ...she doesn't know the words to her songs ... her stage presence sucks ... she's better left to the studio.

I guess her Chicago show was the lucky stop because she had four other cities to warm up for us -- and didn't have to deal with industry assholes and celebrities on their blackberrys. Just honest fans out for a good night of music ... on a Monday no less.

So after Mark Ronson warmed up the crowd with his DJ set (and he did warm things up mashing up Fiddy with the Jackson 5, the Strokes and more songs you wouldn't necessarily think to put together but sounded great), Lily's band -- three horns, a bassist and a keyboardist -- took the stage and welcomed her up (after she finished her Parliament in the stairwell adjacent to the stage).

Walking on to "LDN," she launched into a cute, warm and friendly 50-minute (ok, maybe 40) set (apparently two songs longer than the other cities because she "got in trouble for not playing long enough"). Wearing a solid blue cotton worker dress, her hair pulled back, held together with a neon green plasticLily_2_1 headband, Lily charmed the crowd with her innocence but knocked us out with her adept lyricism and reggae-infused, '60s-pop-influenced songs.

Sure, she's young and has a lot to learn when it comes to pleasing a live crowd -- she's 21 for god's sake and on her first US jaunt. She might have two No. 1 singles under her belt in the UK -- and a lot to tackle with the US -- but I think she'll manage just fine. These are just warmups for when her album in released in January here. It's already out in the UK, but I was told tonight that when the album comes out Stateside, it'll have four additional tracks the UK version doesn't have. Don't know which ones, but it's a bonus.

Something I found interesting was Lily's lack of her "mockney" accent she somehow picked up, despite being the daughter of successful British actor and comedian Keith Allen (funny that she's hooked up with Ronson, also the offspring of wealthy British socialites). She has this sort of street-wise persona, but on stage tonight I think the real Lily came through. She was sweet -- that's the best way to describe her. She lightly chatted with the audience, borrowing someone's lighter to ignite her cigarette. Overall, though, she mainly focused on the music, which included the "Karma Police"-sampled (and possibly "Wild World" sampled?!) "Littlest Things," "Smile," "Knock 'Em Out," "Not Lily_3Big," and "Alfie," which when I was in London last week, she hoped to sing to her younger brother (Alfie) at her more-than-sold-out gig there but he failed to show up. I guess he is still a little lazy.

One suggestion on her stage presence is that she needs to look all around more often. Standing stage left, Lily hardly looked our way. She seemed to favor her right side.

My gut tells me that she'll have staying power. Like the Arctic Monkeys who achieved even bigger hype on both sides of the pond, Lily Allen is a clever songwriter and solid artist. Come 2007, will bloggers and early adopters still be on her side? Only time will tell.

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OCTOBER 15, 2006
Oasis Premiere "The Masterplan" video

Oasis has released probably the best thing they've done in years: a new video for a really old song. A really old, good song. The band, who's about to release another greatest hits album, Stop the Clocks, just put out a video for their classic tune "The Masterplan," which was originally released as a B-side to their mega-hit "Wonderwall."

There was a time in my career where I couldn't get enough of Oasis. Anything they did -- disrupt a Cathay Pacific flight to Australia, get into a fight in the street with a photographer, announce a concert date -- I would report on. But then the band got too big for its britches and the music didn't match. They soured and subsequently I got bored with them. Even people I chatted with in London last week all seemed to say the same thing about them: they're over (despite the band still considering themselves at the forefront of rock.)

But with the release of this uber-cool, animated video (although the cheesy Beatles references -- the Abbey Road crosswalk, the Sgt. Peppers band walking through the carnival -- are a little much. Don't you think it's about time you moved beyond the Lennon worship?), the boys proved they still have a little creative juice in them. I've always said that Noel is the talent in the band and should've launched a solo career years ago. But apparently blood is thicker than money because for whatever reason he won't leave his twat of a brother.

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OCTOBER 13, 2006
Oprah & Bono Launch (Product) RED

ProjectredOn Thursday morning, Oprah and Bono sparked a frenzy on Chicago'sRednano Michigan Avenue when they went shopping to officially launch the U.S. leg of (Product) RED -- a global retail initiative to help knock out AIDS in Africa. Kicking things off at Gap where the pair drew the biggest crowd and mugged for press, they drove down the Mag Mile in a red Thunderbird. Oprah emerged wearing a Gap (Product) RED T-shirt and said "Bono and I are going shopping to help save Oprahbono the world," and then popped into the store. Bono, clad in waxed denim jacket, emerged a short while later carrying the talk show host's many bags and said he was Oprah's "roadie."

Next up: the Apple store. I was fortunate enough to be inside while throngs of fans crowded the sidewalk in front of the store. Bono and Oprah were there to play with and introduce Apple's new red Nano, which will be available starting today (Oct 13) in 4 GB versions and will retail for $199 ($10 of which will go to the charity). Oprah snatched up 10 of the gorgeous red anodized aluminum-cased units and then the pair departed -- in and out, no muss no fuss.

After they left and the crowd followed, I walked over to the table of red Nanos for a closer look and, about two feet from the display, a tall, skinny Apple rep stepped in my path. "Um, can I help you?" "I just want to look at the red Nano." "You can come back tomorrow when they'll be available." I guess only Oprah and Bono were glorious enough to touch the units today.Bonocruzkanye_1

Next, the pair headed up to Armani and then back down MichAve to meet up with Kanye West at the temporary Motorla space, where the red RAZRs reside. Oprah took off after that, Kanye reportedly shopped at Armani and Bono left for restaurant NoMi at the Park Hyatt to have a sushi lunch with Christie Turlington, Penelope Cruz and a bunch of RED reps.

Motored The project launched in the UK in the spring and featured a massive concert in Trafalgar Square last month featuring the Scissor Sisters.  The British have already raised $10 million for the project. For every purchase made at the participating retailers -- Gap, Armani, Converse, Motorola and now Apple -- part of the proceeds from every Red product will go to aid women and children in Africa. The entire shopping extravaganza aired on the Oprah show today.

Do your part. Go shopping. Where? Gap, Apple, Moto, Armani and Converse.Gapred

Why? There are more than 5 million people -- that's about 19% of the total population -- living with AIDS/HIV in South Africa. And that's just a small portion of the global epidemic. Will it ever end? Hopefully (Product) RED will help. And you too. We're all responsible.

Here's my question: Why aren't more retailers already on board with this?

Click to see more pix from the day...

Continue reading "Oprah & Bono Launch (Product) RED" »

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OCTOBER 12, 2006
Snow? In October?

WTF?! It's snowing. In Chicago. In the middle of October. I've seen some crazy weather but this is insane. It's actually accumulating on the trees.

Quick -- everyone go outside and spray more aerosol into the air. That should help.

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OCTOBER 11, 2006
Darkness Falls on Justin Hawkins as he Quits Band

Hawkins Earlier this year, Darkness frontman Justin Hawkins checked into rehab. Today, in The Sun, the spandex-loving, falsettoed lead singer reveals just how bad his cocaine habit was -- and announced that he is leaving the band he started with his brother a few years ago.

Hawkins admitted to spending more than £150,000 (about $278,000) on blow in the last three years -- at about a rate of £1,000 (almost $2,000) a week -- and combining that with a steady flow of vodka.

While the Darkness and its retro rock sound shot to fame in 2003 -- selling 1.5 million copies of its debut, Permission to Land, in the UK alone -- Hawkins fell harder and deeper into substance abuse. He "regularly used to stay up for four days at a time on coke and alcohol binges. I became secretive, volatile and verbally abusive, a really unpleasant person to be around. There were lots of periods I don’t even remember, blackouts. I couldn’t even tell you how much I was drinking — it was all day when we were on tour. My weapon of choice was vodka. It has affected every aspect of my life, with the band and my girlfriend Sue. It affected every single decision I made. Everything was decided on the basis that I wanted to take cocaine at some point."

The singer also said he was ashamed of his drug use, based on morally opposing drugs in the past. He said that a close family member was addicted to heroine, making admitting his own addiction that much harder.

Despite the news, the Darkness vow to carry on with a new frontman. How they'll replace the high-energy performances of Hawkins is a big question as his stage antics and distinct voice were very much a part of who the band was.

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OCTOBER 10, 2006
Raconteurs Set for New Year's Eve in Chicago

Raconteurs The Raconteurs just announced they're playing two sold out (what? ok, they're not sold out but they will and you know it) shows at the Riviera Theater in Chicago on Dec. 30 and 31. Tickets for both shows go on sale this Saturday @ 10 am.

Price tag:
Dec. 30 = $37.50 (all ages)
New Year's Eve = $80! (18+)

The Features are set to open both nights.

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OCTOBER 05, 2006
Madonna Releases Video for "Jump"

Madonna_jump Madonna just released the video for her third single, "Jump." Filmed on location in Tokyo while there on tour, Madonna, sporting a short blond wig, sticks to a sound stage where she dances solo in front of numerous signs depicting the city's neon craziness (likely to avoid the masses that would probably gather if she shot outside). To add a little excitement to the fairly staid inside scene, two of her dancers move around the city, jumping from buildings and dancing in the streets.

Watch it.

[images via]

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