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March 08, 2009


Soul Coughing: As we wait for the next nostalgia wave to crest for all things 1990s, hopefully this melder of warped jazz with spoken-word weirdness will get its due. Those familiar only with its minor alt-rock hits "Super Bon Bon" and "Circles" should explore the '94 album "Ruby Vroom," if only for the biting funk rant "Screenwriter's Blues." Aside from Randy Newman, no one's written a wittier anthem for our city.

The "Miles From India" set: In the wake of "Slumdog Millionaire," Americans are enjoying a mini-fascination with the sights and sounds of India. So explore this two-disc collection of Miles Davis covers by his past bandmates teamed with top Indian jazz players? It sounds like a strange mix -- and at times it is -- but the rewards are hearing the ever-evolving spirit of jazz within these inspired excursions.



Arena shows: Corporate assurances aside, the recent Ticketmaster-Live Nation merger can't bode well with regard to already-inflated service charges ($2.50 to print our own ticket? Really?) and sanctioned scalping outlets like TicketsNow. As much as we love our big rock shows from the likes of U2 and Prince, we might have to beg off if costs go much higher. Here's to cramped clubs and paying at the door.

"Family Guy": Ever since "The Simpsons" started losing the zip on its fastball a few years back, people have recommended a visit to Quahog, R.I., for sharp animated satire. Although the show has moments of inspired lunacy, is there really a comparison between its reliance on censor-testing humor and endless cutaway tangents and what Springfield brought to the table during its subversive peak? D'oh, no.

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