Believe it or not folks, there are other things happening in the entertainment world besides the seemingly endless Michael Jackson media feeding frenzy - which should have concluded with his memorial service and BET tribute. Here are a few:
5. Amadou & Mariam opening for Coldplay. Two blind musicians from Mali with an amazing sound and a story to match have snagged the coveted opening spot for the world's biggest rock band not named U2 or the Rolling Stones on their current tour (which comes to the Shoreline Amphitheater July 13). That's huge for world music.
4. Maxwell's new album. Remember Maxwell, the guy whose Urban Hang Suite was the soundtrack for smooth operators back in the 90s? Well, he's back with a new album, Black Summers' Night, the first release in a planned trilogy.
3. Hip-hop multi-instrumentalist Lushlife. This guy reconstructs classic hip-hop songs with classical guitar and has just dropped his new album Cassette City. Anyone saying there's no more talent left in the music industry should just shut up now.
2. Ceu's stunning new album. Brazilian singer Ceu mixes traditional Brazilian instruments, ambient rain forest sounds, dub reggae, neo-soul, bossa nova, and samba together on Vagarosa - an album that sounds more like the future of music than any in recent memory.
1. Open Source Music. Speaking of the future of music, it might just be in open source material - music that's free for listeners and/or has no copyright limitations. A documentary on open source music, "RiP: A Remix Manifesto" (featuring sample-happy maestro Girl Talk and Brazilian legend Gilberto Gil) screens July 23rd at Mezzanine, and we're starting to see a trickle of open source music being made available to the public worldwide, such as Granada Doaba, an album mixing progressive hip-hop with indigenous Spanish music available for free download here.