sigurros0908.jpgSigur Ros Settles Down Uptown
Sigur Ros played two nights up at The United Palace Theater this week. While the Icelandic group is often known for their overwhelming live shows, sometimes featuring dozens of performers on stage at once, this time around they've stripped down mostly to a core quartet. The atmosphere was somewhat restrained from your typical show, as the swooning and soaring accompaniment was minimized for the most part. For anyone familiar with their latest album, this fits with their current approach, seeing that the new stuff is far less abstract and more tightly constructed than the open ended opuses of the past. By no means a disappointing couple of shows, the full experience is on a completely different plane, but many seemed a bit let down compared to some of their recent performances over the last couple years. For excellent pictures from both nights, check out Brooklyn Vegan here and here.

Rock Band 2 Released
Last weekend saw the XBox 360 release of the highly anticipated sequel to everyone's favorite Rock Star simulator. Rock Band 2 came out Saturday at midnight to positive reviews and a ton of excitement. While fundamentally not too different from it's year-old predecessor, the game comes with 80+ new songs and improved Party modes for everyone to jump right in. It also allows gamers to take most of the songs from the first game, as well as everything that's been downloaded in the past year and incorporate them all into this round. There's now an impressive collection of over 500 available tunes, that range from Bob Dylan to Interpol to Megadeath, and every style and genre in between. While the new RB has a bit of a head start, it will soon have to compete with Guitar Hero's upcoming competitor, World Tour, which will expand to a full band sim this fall. Also on the horizon is Wii Music, which while aiming towards a slightly different crowd, will likely factor in to the fake music playing industry as well.

Napster a Best Buy?
Wouldn't think so, considering Napster's also-ran status in the online music store business these days, but this week mega-retailer Best Buy bought them up at about $2.67 a share. The Napster brand has seen better days, the best of which as the groundbreaking music bootlegging service it started as around a decade ago, but it's still a name that is associated forever with online music. Best Buy is taking a chance in the model, thinking a flat-rate subscription plan can eventually work, but the biggest holdup might already be in the display cases of their brick and mortar shops. Until a subscription service like this can work on Apple's iPods, it will be very hard to compete with the likes of iTunes, Amazon and Emusic, all of which allow their tunes to play on the popular player.

Also this Week:
New Venue The Bell House Opens
TRL is Finished
An Interview with Sam Amidon

Photo of Sigur Ros at United Palace Theater by Ryan Muir.