• Fans of the delightfully bright pop of XTC should start practicing their "sick day cough" and get ready to huddle up to the stereo for repeated listening of this Tuesday's release of Homegrown, a 20-track collection of demos, song sketches, and alternative takes from last year's Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2) sessions.

• Lots of tasty singles are bubbling over from the U.K. this month, forward glimpses of things to come with Air's "Radio Number 1" 12-inch and CD five-inch single from their forthcoming full length 10,000 Hz Legend, due May 29.

• Guitarist Dave Navarro is keeping busy with rumors of a Jane's Addiction reunion buzzing about, his new solo album Trust No One due in June, and his debut entry into the publishing world. The Capitol Records album features a cover of the Velvet Underground's "Venus in Furs" and special guests Jon Brion, Matt Chamberlin, and Red Hot Chili Pepper's drummer Chad Smith.

• For more than 20 years the good folks at San Francisco's RE/Search Publications have documented all things freaky, sexual, and of intellectual interest to followers of alternative pop culture with their coffee-table tomes on body modification, independent fanzines, angry women, and incredibly strange music and film.

• It was banned by the Nixon administration, sampled by the Beastie Boys and A Tribe Called Quest, and recently pulled in more than $100 on the rare-record market. If this piques your interest, then look out for this Tuesday's reissue of Eugene McDaniels' Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse by the good eggs at Label M.

Giuseppe Verdi originally wrote only a portion of his Messa da Requiem (conceived to honor Rossini) with the hope that other composers would join in him in completing it, but the project never materialized.

• The Canadian indie label Fony Records has just released a two-CD retrospective of one of alternative art-rock's seminal architects, John Oswald, the original sampling poltergeist and plunderphonician. Oswald's 25-year history as a composer, audio agitator, and media deconstructionist rose highest above the radar when he produced his legendary Plunderphonics experiment in the early 1980s.

New York City legends The Holmes Brothers bring a preacher's fervor and faith to boogie blues, something apparent in the music and vocals as well as the lyrics. These guys believe, and you will, too, damn it.
The tight trio - with Holmes brothers Wendell and Sherman along with drummer Willie "Popsy" Dixon - will be making a stop this week at CSPS in Cedar Rapids, but even if you can't make it out Wednesday night, you shouldn't miss an early candidate for the best album of 2001: Speaking in Tongues, on Alligator Records.

• This Tuesday the Blue Note label furthers its commitment to jazz-flavored hip hop with the new DJ Smash album Phonography: A Blue Note Mix. This fantastic new collaborative puts Smash Hunter in the chef's seat, concocting a groovy streetwise cake in 14 intriguing slices.

• As the record industry watches Napster weave and bob through another round of legal rulings, the bottom line is that once the file-sharing cat's out of the bag, there's no way to stuff the screeching, clawing beast back in.

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