• A newly conceptualized tour package looks to be the place to fly your sunscreen-slathered freak flag this summer if you're lucky enough for it to touch down near you. Dubbing itself the Unlimited Sunshine 2002 tour, this one sounds wonderfully weird and adventurous with headliners The Flaming Lips.

• Epic Records has announced the debut of a new artist-owned "boutique" label under its umbrella, as well as the catalog restoration of one of the most enigmatic musical entities of the 1980s - Matt Johnson of The The, reintroduced to the world with his new Lazarus Records imprint.

In an age of pristine and perfectly recorded CDs, Ryan Flaherty’s debut album, Dimestore Blues, is the kind of thing that would sound best on crackling vinyl.
The did-it-himself collection of 10 songs – seven originals and three covers – has a rough charm that (intentionally or not) recalls the scratchy, popping recordings of the blues masters from many decades ago.

• In conjunction with VH1's airing of a half-hour documentary on Jimi Hendrix and The Dick Cavett Show, the MCA and Hendrix Experience labels are releasing the complete appearances next week on DVD and VHS. On September 8, 1969, from the studios of ABC-TV, Hendrix made his American network-television debut, well-suited to Cavett's intellectual interview style, speaking of his days as an Army paratrooper and his Woodstock performance of "The Star Spangled Banner.

• Is the same old "rant and roll" getting you down, my friend? Is your mind feeling mauled by too many beats per minute? Has talk-radio bravado turned to babble? Turn off, tune out, and select a healthier diet in your food for thought.

I must preface this by stating that I knew little of Galactic not long ago. I’d heard them recommended during innocent eavesdropping. I’d heard the ravings among the best of the ragtag new-wave wannabe hippies. I’d even heard some cuts off of one of the band’s albums (don’t ask me which), and I really liked them.

• One of the most mesmerizing concerts from the past decade is getting the digital boost to DVD this Tuesday: Portishead's one-night-only session with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra from 1997, simply entitled PNYC Roseland New York.

It’s something that happens to bands of all types, from fictional (Spinal Tap) to big (the unnamed band combining former Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell with the instrumental power of Rage Against the Machine): A major player (Nigel or Cornell) quits at an inopportune time (in the middle of a big tour or before the debut album is even released), leaving everybody in a lurch.

• American Music Club founder Mark Eitzel is mad for covers this Tuesday as his new solo album, Courage & Confidence, is chock full of interesting interpretations by the somber bard. Ten oddly selected songs make up the New West Records release, including his pensive take on Curtis Mayfield's "Move on Up," The Flamingos' "I Only Have Eyes for You," Andrea True Connection's "More, More, More," Anne Murray's "Snowbird," Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine," and - dig this - Culture Club's "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?" • Both Robert Plant and Dolly Parton have announced that they too will be dipping into the strange cover waters, with Plant's upcoming album featuring his take on the Jimi Hendrix classic "Hey Joe" (itself a cover), Tim Buckley's "Song of the Siren," and the track "Morning Due," previously recorded by Tim Hardin and Jeff Beck.

Looking back at the 2001-2 season of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra (QCSO), it is fair to say there were some good concerts but more mediocre-to-bad shows. April’s concert last weekend fell squarely into the latter category; like a sardine sandwich, the ends of the concert were adequate while the middle smelled and tasted funny.