Melissa Goldstein

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    Belle and Sebastian's Murdoch Explains New Album

    Belle and Sebastian frontman Stuart Murdoch explains his new album, God Help the Girl, in a just-released video interview. "I was out for a run and I got this tune in my head and it occurred to me that it wasn't a Belle and Sebastian song," Murdoch says in the clip. "I could hear female voices and strings, I could hear the whole thing, but I just couldn't envisage myself singing it with the group." To find those mystery vocalists, Murdoch created an open talent call on social networking site imeem.com, asking interested singers to submit demos.

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    The Killers: Sick of Each Other?

    Word is that the Killers are ready to murder each other. And it's not because Brandon Flowers' idol, Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys, thinks the Killers frontman's new beard will send his career into nosedive. It's apparently due to a lack of "me time." They're tired -- according to UK tabloid The Daily Mirror -- specifically, of each other. A "band insider" explained to the paper that the current strain within the group was caused by their relentless tour schedule: "They're exhausted. They haven't had a break since they first formed and it has started getting to them," the source said. "When they started out they were all good friends, but they just don't seem to get on any more. They are sick of the sight of each other." According to the source, it's perpetually-styled singer Flowers who holds the band together.

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    Modest Mouse, Sheryl Crow, Katy Perry Top Bumbershoot Bill

    The initial lineup for the 39th annual Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival has been announced, along with the promise that there's "much more to come." Sheryl Crow, Modest Mouse, Katy Perry, and Michael Franti & Spearhead lead off the lineup, which also includes MSTRKRFT, Matt & Kim, Holy F**k, the Long Winters, No Age, Entourage star Adrian Grenier's group the Honey Brothers, and Natalie Portman's Shaved Head. The festival, set to return to the Seattle Center over Labor Day Weekend (September 5–7), will also showcase other aspects of the arts -- including visual exhibitions featuring work from Paul Miller (a.k.a. DJ Spooky, who is also performing), a poster show, and performances from the Pacific Northwest Ballet. Three-day passes are on sale now ($80) through the festival's official website, with single-day tickets to go on sale at a later date.

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    Amy Winehouse Blocks Pete Doherty Duet

    Amy Winehouse hasn't exactly bowled us over with her "bad influence" detection radar. But it seems the headline-making songbird is flexing her protective powers when it comes to managing the career of her 13-year-old protégé and goddaughter Dionne Bromfield. Bromfeld's debut album is due to be released on Winehouse's recently-launched label Lioness, and will feature contributions from artists such as "Just Dance" singer Lady GaGa and British soul artist Lemar. But one big name won't be included on the release, at least if Mother Lioness Amy Winehouse has anything to do with it. "Pete [Doherty] and Dionne get on like a house fire, but Amy's really protective of her and doesn't think a duet with Pete is the right thing to do at the moment," a source told UK tabloid The Mirror.

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    Bono, Madonna, and Chris Martin Unite for Spoof Song

    What has the power to lure the likes of Bono, Chris Martin, Madonna, Elton John, Sting, and the Village People to record on the same track? Disaster Relief? Global Warming? World Peace? Try comic Sacha Baron Cohen, a.k.a. Borat, who is soon to be better known as Bruno, the enthusiastically-gay Austrian television reporter at the heart of Cohen's new destined-to-offend spoof film Bruno: Delicious Journeys Through America for the Purpose of Making Heterosexual Male. According to a source quoted by UK paper The Mirror, "Sacha's character releases a brilliantly cheesy but subversive single, 'Dove Of Peace,' which mocks the likes of Band Aid.

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    You Could Be Smashing Pumpkins' Drummer!

    Who says no one's hiring in the current economic climate? Less than two weeks after drummer Jimmy Chamberlin officially resigned from alt-rock kingpins Smashing Pumpkins, last-original-member-standing Billy Corgan is actively seeking his replacement. Yesterday, the band issued an open call for submissions via a statement posted to their website. Auditions are scheduled for Friday, April 10 in Los Angeles. Qualifications: Must have "an exceptional drumming ability and a desire to be part of a massive, creative, and progressive musical project with a rich 20-year history." Also recommended: ability to deal with volatile, overbearing boss.

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    Kanye West and Spike Jonze Team for Short Film

    These days, Kanye West and director Spike Jonze are total BFFs. In fact, West just might be Jonze's new muse. After collaborating on West's music video for "Flashing Lights," in which West gets bound and gagged and stuffed into a trunk Sopranos-style, the duo are now working on second effort. Shot in Los Angeles over two days in late January, the 10-15-minute clip will prominently feature West's 808's and Heartbreak song "See You In My Nightmares" -- but that's about all that anyone close to the project will confirm at this time. "I'd rather not say what the plot is, but it's based on an idea Spike had," said Vincent Landay, Jonze's production partner, in an interview with MTV News.

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    Snow Patrol: "We're Like the Village People, Only Less Gay"

    Snow Patrol have responded to Manic Street Preachers bassist Nick Wire, who called the Irish band "utterly deplorable" and "unredeemingly, utterly shit." Ouch! But Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody isn't being goaded into fisticuffs. Instead of dishing out disses, he's offering compliments, and even self-deprecation. "Nicky Wire has earned the right to say what he wants, he's a rock God, so more power to him," Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody told Scottish newspaper The Daily Record. "We only seem dull on the surface." To prove his point, Lightbody took the opportunity to illustrate Snow Patrol's decidedly un-dull, zany sense-of-humor: "Jonny (Quinn) fights fires. Tom (Simpson) toils shirtless on construction sites, Paul (Wilson) is in the Navy Reserve. Nathan (Connolly) is a volunteer policeman, and I explore my Cherokee ancestry.

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    Green Day Ready 'American Idiot' Musical

    Good news Green Day fans: Not only are the boys finishing up their new album, 21st Century Breakdown, for release on May 15, but they're also prepping another major project: a theatrical production based on their 2004 concept album American Idiot! The script for the show was co-written by Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong and Tony Award-winning Spring Awakening director Michael Mayer. The musical is expected to premiere in September at Berkeley, CA's Repertory Theater and run through October 11. "It doesn't make a lot of sense," Armstrong recently told the New York Times of the band's move to the performing arts realm. "But that's what I love about it. When people see it, it's going to be my wildest dream." The plot will revolve around a group of characters in their early 20s, with the central roles lifted directly from the album's lyrics: Jesus of Suburbia, St.

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    Free Download: Bob Dylan's Bluesy New Song!

    Recession special! To support the April 28 release of his new album, Together Through Life, Bob Dylan is offering fans the record's first track for free. And what a freebie it is: "Beyond Here Lies Nothin'" finds Dylan veering into smoky, blues-lounge territory, where his scratchily delivered lines about the fickleness of love are ornamented by accordion, horns, and a few sultry electric guitar licks. In an interview posted to his site, Dylan has spoken openly about the influence of '50s-era Chess Records in his new music, and characterized the songs on the new album as having a "romantic edge." "Beyond Here Lies Nothin'" certainly fits the mold. The track is available from now until March 31 at midnight (EST) from bobdylan.com.

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