• Details of the upcoming Tori Amos album are out, and as a connoisseur of covers, I'm psyched: The entire album is a covers affair. Strange Little Girls is due September 18 and reveals a bit of the pixie dust beneath her scarlet cap.

For far too long, the 2001 edition of the Mississippi Valley Blues Society Bluesfest was a topnotch lineup in search of a venue.

It was late last week that festival organizers finalized details on where more than 30 performers would play this weekend.

It's a grand understatement when Wendell Holmes says of himself and his sibling Sherman, "We have a great rapport and a great bond that a lot of brothers don't have."

The two brothers have been performing as a team for 45 years, which is pretty amazing when you consider that Sherman is a mere 61 and Wendell a spry 57.

Gaye Adegbalola doesn't want it getting out that if it hadn't been for the departure of her high-school music teacher, "I probably would have gone into classical music."

But fortunately for us, Adegbalola withdrew from music when her mentor left, taking science classes instead of playing her flute.

• Never underestimate the value of your fan base. Two bands from the UK are taking a unique stance on the production of their new albums, with their fans directly involved in footing the bill. Fans of Marillion set the stage for things to come back in 1997, when the band's fan base was informed that a proposed North American tour wasn't financially feasible.

• It could not be refused. It will not be denied. And we've waited long enough. The Epic Records label has just announced that the heavily anticipated debut album from Tenacious D is now on schedule for September release.

• This Tuesday the Fuel 2000 label issues a savory new retrospective of Bill Laswell's Material collective, one of the 1980s' most intriguing hybrids of avant-funk and jazz. The 13-track CD, simply titled The Best of Material, documents when participants such as Sonny Sharrock, drummer Fred Maher, Chic's Nile Rodgers, Nona Hendryx, Michael Beinhorn, Fred Frith, and Henry Threadgill floated in and out of Laswell's ever-changing electric goo, massaged by his soon-to-be-legendary dub-production wizardry.

• Billy Corgan, founder of the Smashing Pumpkins, isn't taking the summer off or resting on his laurels. Look for him to join UK electronic godfathers New Order as a touring guitarist on select dates of Moby's current tour and in support of the upcoming album NEWORDERGETREADY.

• This Tuesday, Island Records re-issues five classic Bob Marley & The Wailers albums from the 1970s as part of its upgraded-CD-remastering program. All five albums - Catch a Fire, Burnin', Live, Natty Dread, and Rastaman Vibration - feature bonus tracks, complete lyrics, original packaging restoration, and 24-bit digital technology.

Dismiss Monster Magnet at your peril. It's certainly not difficult, but it's unwise. The band might be all that rock and roll has left.

The five-piece New Jersey outfit has taken the Black Sabbath/Led Zeppelin torch that Soundgarden carried in the early 1990s and stripped the 1970s-style heavy metal of its grungier self-loathing and self-importance of the past decade.

Pages