· Jack White of the White Stripes has his touch all over the soundtrack to Cold Mountain, released this week on DMX/Columbia Records. Alongside songs by Alison Krauss, Tim Eriksen, and the Sacred Harp Singers, White contributes two originals and covers of material written, or made famous, by Ralph Stanley and Howlin' Wolf. Look for White in a small acting role in the Civil War-era film.

· This week the soundtrack for Vincent Gallo's controversial new film, Brown Bunny, is released in Japan. Featuring five tracks by John Frusciante, guitarist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, there are no plans to release the album here in the states or England, and the film's vitriolic reviews might shutter it forever. ... Speaking of Frusciante, the American Recordings imprint recently re-issued his solo debut, Niandra LaDes & Usually Just a T-shirt, from 1995. Recorded after his departure from the band, the fragile, drugged-out result is one of the strangest, most enigmatic recordings ever, with 24 tracks of stream-of-conscious breakdown. Now cleaned up and back with the Peppers, Frusciante is prepping a fourth solo album, entitled Shadows Collide with People, due in February on Warner Bros. Records. The new album will feature bandmates Flea and Chad Smith and guest Josh Klinghoffer of The Bicycle Thief.

· The Krause Publications imprint has just updated two of its record-collecting price guides and published a new magazine aimed at those who love shiny slabs of licorice pizza. The longtime source for record-collecting knowledge and value, author Tim Neely's twin Goldmine tomes, Record Album Price Guide and Price Guide to 45rpm Records, have just been updated in new editions with increased page listings. Do you know what identifying features make a mega-rare copy of Bob Dylan's Freewheelin' from 1963 worth $12,000? Even if you don't know a tone arm from a stylus, I think you'll enjoy the new full-color midsection featuring gorgeous cover and label art. Further collecting information can be found in the one-shot Music & Memorabilia magazine, combining dealer advertisements and record-convention calendars with decade-by-decade articles on what's hot and not in today's digital marketplace. Informative and fun, other features expose music autograph rip-offs, the collecting and preserving of posters, clever promo items, and the highest auction prices realized in 2003. I discovered a new toy for my wish list - a 1958 Plymouth Fury, complete with a factory-installed under-dash turntable system. The "Highway Hi-Fi" was an actual phonograph turntable that "pushed" up to 14 records to a spindle from a storage compartment. Damn! I wonder if I can pimp my Gremlin out with one of those?

· Daemon Records and the anarchist AK Press have joined forces in a new political series of CDs meant to shake angry fists and monkey-wrench the Man. The first release is from master storyteller and humorist Utah Phillips, with the re-issue of his I've Got to Know album, recorded in a 70-minute fume over the Gulf War. Passionate and entertaining, the 33-track set features a cover of Woody Guthrie's title track and handfuls of poetry. Also just released is Behind the Barricades: The Best of, by singer/songwriter David Rovics, with one hand stirring the fire in the striker's camp and the other lobbing pies at leaders of corporate industry. Not just a squirrelly guy in sandals, Rovics' wit produces food for thought, such as Coca-Cola as the "Drink of the (Columbian) Death Squads," "Henry Ford Was a Fascist," and "Who Would Jesus Bomb?" Other shots from the subversive political arena can be found in the upcoming Keep Left Volume 1: A Benefit for David Barsamian on Ace Fu Records. Due the middle of next month, the CD features contributions from indie artists who like Barsamian's weekly Alternative Radio program, distributed free to stations all over the country, unsoiled by corporate influence. Artists include Kronos Quartet, Negativland, Built to Spill, Pere Ubu, Olivia Tremor Control, and Friends of Dean Martinez, which turns in a cool cover of Glen Campbell's "Wichita Lineman."

· Projekt Records is reaching out to the fans of its label, asking for photo submissions from dark-arts supermodel wannabes. The label is producing an unsigned-bands compilation in conjunction with Gothic Beauty magazine and wants to feature a fan on the CD's cover. Grab the mascara and mortuary powder and check out (http://www.projekt.com/unsigned.htm).

Television Alert:

The Late Show with David Letterman features Dave Matthews on both Thursday and Friday evening; The Tonight Show with Jay Leno welcomes PJ Harvey and Queens of the Stone Age on Thursday, Jessica Simpson on Friday, and Brian Setzer Orchestra on Monday; Late Night with Conan O'Brien welcomes Liz Phair this evening overnight; The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn hugs up with Juvenile on Monday overnight; and Last Call with Carson Daly boasts a double treat of Kelis and Stephen Lynch on Friday overnight.

New Releases Coming Tuesday, December 23:
... and like the winds, young grasshopper, are subject to change

David Banner - MTA2: Baptized in Dirty Water (Universal) with guests Lil John, Andre 3000, Trick Daddy, and Sky

Big Fish - original motion picture soundtrack (Columbia) music from the new Tim Burton film, with one disc of Danny Elfman's score and a second disc featuring a new Pearl Jam song

Bravehearts - Bravehearted (Ill Will/Columbia) new from the Nas proteges

Breather Resist - "Second Half" (Initial) new seven-inch single from Louisville, Kentucky

Juvenile - Juve the Great (Cash Money/Universal)

Ryan Malcolm - Home (BMG Canada) debut from the Canadian Idol winner

Manic Street Preachers - Lipstick Traces: A Secret History (Epic) domestic release of this 2-CD collection, featuring their cover of "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head"

Rum Diary - Poisons That Save Lives (Substandard) atmospheric daydream shoe-gazing from Cotati, California

Scarling - Band Aid Covers the Bullet Hole (Sympathy for the Record Industry) new EP from Jessicka of Jack Off Jill, featuring a cover of Radiohead's "Creep"

You Got Served - original motion picture soundtrack (Epic) with Lil' Kim, Jhene, Jagged Edge and B2K

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