• New York City alternative weekly The Village Voice and its sister newspapers have completed an aggressive benefit CD project they began shortly after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Their call for music from established and up-and-coming artists produced more than 1,000 submissions, 18 of which make up the disc Love Songs For NYC.

Ron Block doesn't like the spotlight, and that makes him a perfect fit for the world's most popular bluegrass band, Alison Krauss & Union Station.

"The whole concept of my playing is to enhance the sound of the band and not draw attention to myself unnecessarily," said Block, the band's guitarist, banjo player, and most frequent songwriter.

• The first-ever rarities-and-hits box set from XTC is due next week, a 10-ton drop of pop genius that covers the band's history from 1978 to 1989. The four-CD set is loaded with goodies, with nearly 70 percent of the material being presented for the first time.

• This Tuesday brings the long-awaited domestic release of the Super Furry Animals' newest, Rings Around the World, recently receiving MOJO magazine's pick as "Album of the Year." The stateside CD issue of this monster U.

One name saved a frozen evening. Christian Lindberg. On what was the most treacherous weather night the Quad Cities had seen in a while, Lindberg – Sweden’s famous solo artist and rare solo trombonist – dazzled the sparse Quad City Symphony Orchestra (QCSO) audience with flashy clothes, incredible playing, and rarely performed but easily accessible trombone concertos.

• 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.

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