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.

• It's been nine years since the band's last full-length release, but advance word on the upcoming Utah Saints album sounds intriguing, with promises of a variety of guest vocalists - real, sampled, or digitally manipulated.

• Canada's Madacy Group has just launched the new "Reggae Rocks" cover series with the release of The Tide Is High: A Tribute To Rock 'n' Roll. The disc is the first of a planned six-CD series that captures the world's greatest reggae bands and artists tipping their hats to a wide range of pop-rock standards.
The Hornucopia festival this weekend in The District of Rock Island could fall into a pattern of sameness - with the requirement that all bands feature horns and with several outfits making repeat performances.
Probably the smartest thing the organizers of the Eighth Annual Quad Cities Jazz Fest can do is leave Jim Widner to his own devices. Widner, the musical director of the festival and leader of the St.
• 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.