· As the record industry watches Napster weave and bob through another round of legal rulings, the bottom line is that once the file-sharing cat's out of the bag, there's no way to stuff the screeching, clawing beast back in. On March 5, Napster was ordered by court injunction to block the transfer of files specifically listed by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), an association of record companies to promote the industry and protect the rights of copyright owners. Though the number of songs being passed through Napster has dropped since they began policing its system for unauthorized titles on the list of 135,000 songs submitted by the "big four" record labels, a simple search still finds all the hits from a variety of users in the "Napster community." Ah, when there's a will there's a way: File-sharers have simply altered the spelling of song titles or use pig-Latin twists to disguise the file name from the court-imposed filters. Big Brother's goal of controlling the downloaded or streamed commerce directly from the "company store" to the consumer is a big bite to chew, but why stop at 135,000 titles? Isn't copyright protection supposed to be for every artist? Musicologist "Uncle" Dave Lewis added another entrée to my food for thought when he recently mused, "I understand that the RIAA has submitted a list of 135,000 songs to Napster that they want to have filtered. That's an interesting number; it's nearly three times the total number of chant melodies compiled by the Roman Catholic Church over a period of 1,103 years. That the RIAA can list a 135,000 titles recorded within a time frame of 76 'legal' years is interesting, and I suspect that they went far beyond strictly legal definitions in order to do so. Let's encourage Napster to find some way to publish the RIAA list." Dear readers, I encourage your thoughts on the subject.

· In other news, the Recording Industry of America has announced that for the first time, rap music has become more popular than country in the U.S.

· In the "where are they now" vein, former Undertones guitarist Damien O'Neil has just released his self-titled debut from his new project A Quiet Revolution. The import-only CD also features help from Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine.

· More interesting missing-in-action news: the indie Jagjaguwar label has announced the upcoming collaboration of Daniel Johnston and Half Japanese's Jad Fair in their new band, The Lucky Sperms.

· And do you remember "Sunshine on Leigh"? Nettwerk America has announced that a new album from Scotland's the Proclaimers (led by bespectacled twin brothers Craig and Charlie Reid) will release their first album in seven years in May, titled Perverse.

· This Tuesday the Island Records label issues its original motion picture soundtrack to Bridget Jones' Diary, enhanced with an exclusive excerpt from the first chapter of the book's sequel, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. The CD features new tracks from Shelby Lynne and Tracy Bonham and - dig this - former Spice Girl Jeri Halliwell's cover of The Weathergirls' "It's Raining Men."

· Talk of a Jane's Addiction reunion and world tour is buzzing around, with news that guitarist Dave Navarro's new solo album, Spread, and a new untitled solo album from Perry Farrell are both due in June.

· Fans of the brilliant Sparklehorse take note: A new album is due this summer as well, with guests Tom Waits, PJ Harvey, and Nina Persson of the Cardigans.

Television Alert:

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno welcomes Lifehouse tonight, Incubus on Friday, and Pete Yorn on Tuesday; The Late Show with David Letterman hosts Train tonight, The Go-Go's on Thursday, Warren Zevon on Monday, and Sade on Tuesday; Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher sits down with Shawn Colvin on Thursday overnight; and Saturday Night Live's musical guest this weekend is Coldplay.

New Releases Coming Tuesday, April 3:
... and like the winds, young grasshopper, are subject to change.

Alkaline Trio - From Here to Infirmary (Vagrant)

Anastacia - Not That Kind (Epic) huge international star with her American debut

Antifreeze - Four Letter Words (Kung Fu)

Autumn Defense - Green Hour (Carrot Top) new side project of Wilco's John Sterratt with Pat Sansone of Birdy on the Moon

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - B.R.M.C. (Virgin) hot Los Angeles-based trio recently touring with the Dandy Warhols

Lloyd Cole - The Negatives (March) with Jill Sobule, Adam Schlesinger, and Robert Quine

Gabor Csupo - Liquid Fire (Tone Casualties) two-CD set of electronica from the Hungarian-born creator of The Rugrats

Daft Punk - Discovery (Astralwerks) limited-edition two-LP gatefold version and a nifty Daft Club card

Disco Biscuits - They Missed the Perfume (Megaforce) techno-leaning trance-fusion jam band

Dryspell - Kitty Porn (Ill Legal)

The Go - All Dimensions Are Loose (SubPop)

Guided by Voices - Isolation Drills (TVT) with Elliott Smith and former GBV member Tobin Sprout

King Britt - Presents Sylk 130 Re-Members Only (Six Degrees) special two-LP DJ-friendly vinyl version with guests Martin Fry of ABC, Alison Moyet, and Pos and Trugoy of De La Soul

Lowsunday - Elesgiem (Projekt)

Bill Morrissey - Something I Saw or Thought I Saw (Philo) new from the New England-based folk artist

Mark Mulcahy - Smile Sunset (Mezzotint)

Peacocks - Angel (Asian Man) psychobilly from Switzerland

Rammstein - Mutter (Republic/Universal) the album's title is German for "mother"

The Richmond Sluts - The Richmond Sluts (Alive/Total Energy) debut from this young West Coast band featuring former members of the Brian Jonestown Massacre

Run-D.M.C. - Crown Royal (Arista) long-awaited return with guests Jagged Edge, Sugar Ray, and Prodigy of Mobb Deep, and featuring the group's cover of Steve Miller's "Take the Money and Run"

Samhain - Initium, Unholy Passion, November-Coming-Fire, Final Decent, and Live 1985-1986 (E-Magine) re-issues

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band - Live in New York City (Columbia) two-CD set recorded at their 10-night stint at Madison Square Garden

Swearing at Motorists - The Burnt Orange Heresy (Secretly Canadian) new EP featuring a cover of Richard & Linda Thompson's "Calvary Cross"

Them Wranch - Medium Rare (Orange) featuring members of the defunct Hairy Patt Band

various artists - Is It Dead? A Study In Northwest Hardcore (SubPop) CD and seven-inch box set of Metal/Hardcore featuring Botch, Bloodhag, Homo Eradicus, Akimbo, and more

various artists - Sounds Eclectic (Palm Pictures) more wonderful moments from the KCRW-FM studios with Beck, the Dandy Warhols, David Gray, and more

Vitriol - I-VII (Neurot) new experimental sounds from Ben Green of Godflesh

W.A.S.P. - Unholy Terror (Metal-Is) the return of Blackie Lawless and company

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