• 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.

Bob Dorr has a self-effacing way, with something serious and true behind it. "I'm like all the dot-coms that are going under but on a much smaller scale," he said. One of his favorite lines is that the genius of The Blue Band is its persistence.

• The Black Crowes have announced that they will follow Pearl Jam in the spirit of making every concert from their upcoming summer tour available to fans. This beat-the-bootleggers-to the-punch attitude might prove to be the norm of the future as bands and plantation bosses try to wrestle artistic and commercial control of their art.
• Kung Fu Records has just released the first in its new independent feature-length film series, That Darn Punk, on home video. The movie is a truly homegrown project, recorded on film - not video - with a bare-bones budget of $20,000.
The goal was something young. Young performers. Young audience. Young composer. Those were the parameters the Quad City Youth Symphony Orchestra set two years ago when it asked for composers to apply for a commission, its first in more than a decade.
• This Tuesday brings Eric Clapton's all-new studio album, Reptile, jam-packed with stellar musicians and an interesting handful of cover selections including James Taylor's "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight" and Stevie Wonder's "I Ain't Gonna Stand for It.
• As a connoisseur of interesting cover versions, I raise my glass and invite you drink deep from the new Face To Face collection, Standards & Practices, just released on the Vagrant label. Uncovering the band's personal guilty-pleasure nuggets from the new-wave 1980s and more contemporary influences is a real treat on this one - tearing into blistering renditions of selections like The Smiths' "What Difference Does It Make," the Pixies' "Planet of Sound," the Pogues' "Sunny Side of the Street," and the Jam's excellent "That's Entertainment.