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FEBRUARY 17, 2007
Antibalas Security

Antibalas I had heard about Antibalas for awhile but only first saw them last year when the entire crew (and then some) joined TVOTR on stage in Prospect Park and was absolutely blown away. Then in Austin last September for ACL, I briefly chatted with Martin Perna, the group's lead man, after he played a couple of songs with Kyp, Tunde and the guys. So when I got the opportunity to review their new album, Security, for this month's URB, I jumped at it -- and gave it 4.5 stars. Here's what I had to say:

Brooklyn's Afrobeat Heroes Spark a Fat One

If Antibalas served as a snapshot for how the world should look, there would be a lot more harmony on our planet. Their diverse world rhythms, described through a blending of jazz, reggae, soul, funk and, of course, Afrobeat made popular by the legendary Fela Kuti, infuse enough light to brighten even the darkest corners of the Earth. The group's eighth studio album (and first for the celebrated indie label) delivers a treasure trove of eclectic beats, energetic sounds, political musings and agreeable voices that come together in a perfect musical statement. Only seven songs long, the nearly hour-deep collection packs a serious punch, delivering enough diversity while remaining consistent and true to the group's rebel roots. While claiming more than 500 shows since their 1998 inception, Antibalas is the larger-than-life Brooklyn orchestra that could – and Security is just another notch in their collective belt.

Apparently I'm not the only one who likes this. Ami over at CoolHunting is diggin on it too. Buy it now.

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FEBRUARY 16, 2007
Bloc Party Joins Live Earth Lineup

Bloc Party is the latest band to announce its support of Al Gore's mega-concerts, Live Earth, planned to span 24 hours on July 7 all over the world. The initial lineup of 25 artists was released yesterday (Feb 15) and will reach more than 100 before the concerts take off. Working with the team that produced Live8, Gore hopes to further bring awareness of his Global Warming campaign to the masses. The initial lineup of aritsts shows a mix of genres but is also very mainstream -- likely to attract the mainstream to watch. But the addition of Bloc Party gives hope that this series of worldwide concerts -- being staged in London (Wembley), Sydney, Rio, Shanghai, Kyoto, Johannesburg and a to be determined U.S. city (my guess is either NY or Philly) -- will actually pull in some amazing new talent. Think the Police will show up to this too?

Other artists in addition to Bloc Party already set to perform at Live Earth:

Pharrell, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters, Snoop Dogg, Lenny Kravitz, Bon Jovi, Paolo Nutini, Sheryl Crow, AFI, Melissa Etheridge, John Mayer, Damien Rice, Corrine Bailey Rae, Duran Duran, Snow Patrol, John Legend, Black Eyed Peas, Akon, Enrique Iglesias, Fall Out Boy, Mana, Keane, Kelly Clarkson, Korn, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, Ray LaMontagne, Robin Thicke and Kenna.

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FEBRUARY 14, 2007
Another Reason to Love NYC

Nyccondom

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Police, Panic, White Stripes Headline 2007 Bonnaroo

2007 BONNAROO ARTIST LINEUP (so far, more announced soon):

The Police · Tool · Widespread Panic · The White Stripes · Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals · Wilco · The Flaming Lips · Manu Chao · The String Cheese Incident · Franz Ferdinand · Bob Weir & Ratdog · Damien Rice · Ween · Gov't Mule · Ziggy Marley · The Decemberists · Kings of Leon · Michael Franti & Spearhead · Wolfmother · Regina Spektor · The Black Keys · Galactic · DJ Shadow · Gillian Welch · Spoon · Keller Williams (WMD's) · Sasha & John Digweed · STS9 · Old Crow Medicine Show · The Hold Steady · North Mississippi Allstars · Fountains Of Wayne · Hot Tuna · Feist · Hot Chip · John Butler Trio · Ralph Stanley & the Clinch Mountain Boys · Aesop Rock · The Richard Thompson Band · Dierks Bentley · Xavier Rudd · Gogol Bordello · Junior Brown · Tortoise · T-Bone Burnett · Mavis Staples · Clutch · Cold War Kids · Dr. Dog · Paolo Nutini · Brazilian Girls · RX Bandits · The Nightwatchman · The Slip · Girl Talk · Railroad Earth · Martha Wainwright · Rodrigo y Gabriela · Annuals · Tea Leaf Green · Sam Roberts Band · Elvis Perkins in Dearland · Charlie Louvin · Sonya Kitchell · Mute Math · Apollo Sunshine · Uncle Earl · James Blood Ulmer · The National · The Little Ones · Black Angels · Ryan Shaw

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FEBRUARY 12, 2007
2007 Police Reunion Tour

Confirmed Dates so far:

May 28 -- General Motors Place, Vancouver 
June 6 -- Key Arena, Seattle 
June 9 -- Pepsi Center, Denver
June 15 -- MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas   
June 16 -- Bonnaroo   
June 18 -- US Airways Center, Phoenix
June 26 -- American Airlines Center, Dallas 
June 30 -- New Orleans Arena
July 2 -- Scottrade Center, St. Louis 
July 22 -- Air Canada Centre, Toronto
July 25 -- Bell Centre, Montreal
July 28 -- Fenway Park, Boston 
Aug 1 & 3 -- Madison Square Garden

The tour is sponsored by Best Buy with tickets tiered at $225, $90 and $50. Many cities still TBD.

Tour updates will be posted at the PoliceTour.com.

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The View Cancel Tour Dates

Up-and-coming Scottish rockers the View had to cancel their upcoming US tour -- damn you Visa and immigation issues! They were supposed to hit SXSW and their debut, Hats Off to the Buskers, which landed at No. 1 in the UK, now won't hit our shores u ntil May 8.

The canceled dates:

March 3 -- Luna Lounge, New York
March 5 -- Lee's Place, Toronot
March 7 -- Schuba's Tavern, Chicago
March 9 -- Crocodile Cafe, Seattle
March 11 -- Slim's, SF
March 13 -- Troubadour, Hollywood
March 15-17 -- SXSW, Austin
March 20 -- Bowery Ballroom, New York
March 22 --T.T. The Bears, Cambridge, Mass.

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Police Tour Kicking Off in Vancouver

While the official announcement is still a few hours away, some news is trickling out about the Police tour dates. The band, who reunited last night at the Grammys and sang (not surprisingly) "Roxanne," will kick off their hugely anticipated world tour in Vancouver on May 28 at GM Place. They'll play venues throughout North America until the beginning of August and then take a break for a couple of weeks before heading to Europe and then returning to North America in October. Hopefully they'll have their stamina built up because the Police then hit Mexico, South America, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Apparently they missed the world as much as the world has missed them. More dates coming soon...

UPDATE:

June 16 -- Bonnaroo, Manchester, Tenn
July 22 -- Air Canada Centre, Toronto
July 25 -- Centre Bell Centre, Montreal
July 28 -- Fenway Park, Boston
Aug 1 & 3 -- Madison Square Garden

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FEBRUARY 10, 2007
Weiner Circle Hilarity

Anyone who spent a considerable amount of time in Chicago in their 20s knows the Weiner's Circle (hell, anyone who's spent any amount of time in Chicago should know this place). This almost always-open hot dog stand in the heart of Lincoln Park is the source of some serious late night hilarity. The mostly African American staff has learned to, how do you say, dole out its fair share of shit to the obnoxious drunk (mostly white) patrons who hit the spot every Friday and Saturday night. Essentially, the more obnoxious you are the more trash talk ensues -- and it's all done in good fun. Last week, a group of frat guys from an AEPi house somewhere captured a moment on video. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this lady isn't your typical Torah-reading, kosher-keeping, synagogue-going Jew. Watch ... this shit is funny as hell.

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FEBRUARY 09, 2007
Get Peel: MP3 Blog Reader

Peellogo Peel is the latest online app that allows you to gather and discover great music in one spot. The idea behind Peel is that you create a music library based on new MP3 posts that bloggers add to their sites on a daily basis. You can add any MP3 blog you know of and Peel will search the web and gather any new songs that have been posted to those sites; Peel comes pre-loaded with Fluxblog, Music for Robots and Said the Gramaphone. Its interface is based on iTunes -- and you can even download the tracks you like from the blogs directly into your iTunes library. Peel has a simple, streamlined interface that basically has two tabs: Playlist and Web. Click on Playlist and get all the songs that particular blog posted. Click on Web and it takes you directly to that website. Peel is currently offering a free public beta -- but it looks like they're eventually going to charge $14.95 for the application. So get it now -- oh, it's currently only Mac based. Suck that PC users!

Peelshot_1

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Police News: Tour Imminent; Playing Wrigley?

Thepolice Last week it was the announcement of the surprise appearance at the Grammys. And on Monday, the Police are expected to announce a 30th anniversary world tour, according to Billboard. The press conference is slated to take place at LA's famed Whisky A Go Go at 11 am PST with all three members -- Sting, Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers -- on hand to tell the world they're coming back. Stay tuned...

Update: Supposedly the Police are in negotiations to play Wrigley Field around July 4th. Word is that now that Dave Matthews pulled out of a two-night stint at the home of the Cubs, that the Police are in talks to take his place. Some say the shows would be July 4-5 while another report has them playing around July 7. Again, stay tuned...

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