• 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.

• Are we there yet? Are we in the festive mood? C'mon, set the road rage aside and give in to the twinkling lights and falling snow, even if only in your mind. Need a nudge? Ivan Pavlov and I suggest baking peanut-butter cookies and getting lost in the spell of new holiday music, from sentimental to silly, softly soulful to house-rocking.

The fledgling club Quad City Live got a big push in October, when the annual Pigstock metalfest was held in its parking lot (in the Freight House complex off River Drive in Davenport). But that boost wouldn't do much if the club didn't continue to bring in interesting acts.

• In the pre-digital culture, kitchen-table lyricists and pop-radio junkies devoured hokey magazines that flourished in the day, re-printing popular song lyrics and publicity photos to an information-starved audience.

The Holiday Pops concert inspired Christmas spirit in a near-capacity crowd of about 8,500 people at The Mark on November 22 with an array of dazzling sights and sounds of the season. The Sanctuary Choir of First Presbyterian Church in Davenport, the Holiday Pops Children’s Chorus, traveling medieval performers Tapestry, and skaters from the Figure Skating Club of the Quad Cities joined the Quad City Symphony Orchestra for a Christmas program impressive in texture and depth.

After a year in operation, the Quad Cities-based Future Appletree label has an impressive résumé: four sparkling releases and a stable of reliable acts with an experimental-indie-pop flavor. It's clear even at this early stage that there's a distinct Future Appletree sound, which is evidenced by the new Soundtracks for Kisses, Trips, & Fits: A Future Appletree Compilation.

• Maynard James Keenan of Tool as Satan? In a phallic laser battle with Dee Dee Ramone as the Pope? From the minute the screen explodes with bikini babes, sledgehammers, high-powered weaponry, and classic Mustangs and GTOs, you know that this isn't your father's guns-and-girlies exploitation flick.

A mosaic of the classical and modern, vocal and instrumental greeted a receptive audience at The Friends of Chamber Music concert November 16 at Edwards Congregational Church in Davenport. Baritone Lionel Marcoux and piano accompanist Kathleen Kelly alternated with the Rosewind Trio for an interesting mix of short performances.

• The most anticipated box set in memory is due this Tuesday, unfortunately now a posthumous release because of the sad passing of the Man in Black. The Johnny Cash five-CD set, entitled Unearthed, features 64 previously unreleased songs recorded with producer Rick Rubin, who had a special knack for drawing out Cash's most haunting and beautiful work in his later years.

• In what the label is referring to as "a revolution in a jewel case," Go-Kart Records has just released a compilation of gargantuan proportions. Entitled Go-Kart MP300 Raceway, the disc comes loaded with an interactive MP3 player for any computer and 300 songs by 150 bands on two CDs.

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