1) This is another odds n’ ends sort of post. Let’s begin with Dylan and the most music-heady of the bloggers over at an interesting Christian site called Mockingbird, David Zahl. Zahl takes the recent Rolling Stone interview and highlights some of Dylan’s more religious language . Fish around on Mockingbird for some other Zahl stuff while you’re there. Here’s also a piece on Mockingbird by a different writer, Ken Wilson, reviewing the new Bible-haunted album Tempest for you.

2) I know a few of our readers are into Southern Rock, so what do they make of this band ? Not exactly Southern Rock, sure, and not exactly my regular cup of tea, but impressive . The singer’s name, incidentally, is Brittany Howard . . . as you can see and hear, her parents sure got that naming wrong! She’s going be a chick to dig, so long as she ignores the Janis Joplin comparison-compliments. Janis had her moments, but blew it by thinking the more intense blues moments should become part of her regular walking-and-breathing musical persona . . . which probably exacerbated her own personal demons, and which also led to a whole lotta screamin’ . Embarrassing. No, I will not inflict a link upon you to make my case.

3) My favorite rock discovery of late is Cate Le Bon , a folk-ish psychedelic-ish singer from Wales, and who has even done an E.P. in Welsh. The most obvious comparison is to Nico, but, I hasten to add, a Nico with soul. The next most obvious reference is Syd Barrett, but Le Bon has balanced out that sort of weirdness with a certain grounded nature-girl sensibility. She apparently grew up on a farm , and insofar as I can make sense of her lyrics, not a few reflections on things rural and wild are present. The first link gives you a bit of a taste of how hard hitting, in a good way, her current band can be—saw them a few nights ago in C-ville. That’s something you wouldn’t necessarily gather from her videos, which play up, in addition to the soft side of her music, its twee late-60s strangeness, as in this number . But ultimately, whether in rock or folkie mode , her music is quite addictive and potent.

4) Who’s Hotter? Is it young Russian piano sensation Valentina Lisitsa ? Or young Russian piano sensation Valentina Igoshina ? We’re talking about hotness in all its dimensions, gentlemen.

Of course, perhaps it’s unfair to set the Valentina duel on Chopin’s ground, when Miss(?) Lisitsa would prefer that of Liszt . Unreal, but I am happy to report that you witness the same thing in person.

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