• In San Francisco last week, a magical collective of musicians and promoters held the 10th annual Noise Pop celebration, a loose and loving gathering of tribes, basking in the best of modern music. The six-day affair featured more than 80 artists and bands, including Azure Ray, Beachwood Sparks, Big Star, Daniel Johnston, Death Cab for Cutie, Folk Implosion, Guided by Voices, Jason Lytle of Grandaddy, Modest Mouse, Paula Frazer, Stratford 4, The Donnas, The New Pornographers, and The Posies.

Legendary Quad Cities groove-rock band Burnt McMelba Toast is reuniting for a concert on Friday at RIBCO in The District of Rock Island.

Drummer Erik Wilson (who now lives in Philadelphia) and guitarist/singer Pat Willis (presently of Colorado) will return to the Quad Cities for a special show that will also feature original Toast drummer Kevin Moore on some songs.

• The upcoming sequel to Wesley Snipes' vampire- hunting film Blade teams hip-hop gentry with hot electronica knob-twisters. The Blade II soundtrack on the Immortal imprint is due mid-March and promises pairings from Eve and Fatboy Slim, Ice Cube and Paul Oakenfold, Redman and Gorillaz, Bubba Sparxxx and The Crystal Method, Mystikal and Moby, Mos Def and Massive Attack, and The Roots with BT.

• Can a performer play the annual St. Paddy's Day celebration on both sides of the ocean? Well, due to unusual circumstances last year, Shane MacGowan and his Popes were able to do just that, performing in both Dublin and New York City - a live document of which is being released this Tuesday.

At the February 2 Quad City Symphony Orchestra concert, the crowd was noticeably perplexed by the divergent Barber Violin Concerto and seemingly in pain sitting through Mahler’s lengthy but cheery Fourth Symphony.

• The soundtrack to the upcoming film Anne Rice's Queen Of the Damned, starring the late Aaliyah, is due in stores this Tuesday. While she performs no songs on the CD, the Warner Bros. disc features tracks from Papa Roach, Deftones, Tricky, and five songs co-written by Jonathan Davis of Korn.

• This Tuesday the always-tasty Not Lame Recordings imprint releases its long awaited Jeff Lynne tribute project. As the label is home to the finest association of power-pop melody junkies and tender indie balladeers, it's only fitting that this label produced a double-disc salute to the musical visionary.

• Neil Young's new album, Are You Passionate?, is set for release on March 26. The highly anticipated record will feature the single "Let's Roll," written in response to the chilling last words of the September 11 airline passengers who charged the cockpit.

Take a fairly intelligent three-chord progression and pair it with minimalist vocal melodies executed at a snail’s pace, and you’ve accomplished 90 percent of what decent “slo-core” music requires. The other 10 percent isn’t so easy to pull off, but smart lyrics, musicianship, and the power to evoke an emotional response bring the package to completion.

It’s doubtless Beethoven was a genius of rare proportion and that his music stands as a monument in the canon of classical music, yet his placement on the musical timeline put an unusual burden on his output. On one hand, he was a classicist, falling at the end of the classical period and tutored by one of its masters, Franz Joseph Haydn.

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