Odds & Ends

Congratulations to Brave Combo, who won Grammy No. 2 on Sunday night for Let's Kiss, their 25th anniversary album, thus answering the question "How do you follow up a cameo on The Simpsons?" This calls for ein chicken dance!

Drum machine, please: It's time to announce the top five finalists in our Ultra DJ contest: DJ Kelsey FX, Bill Spillz, DJ Nemeses, DJ MannDogg and Aleksus Sanchez. On Friday, from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., join us at Minc Lounge as the finalists battle for an all-expense-paid trip to Ultra Festival in Miami. The winner will be selected by our panel of judges: DJ Merritt, Mark Ridlen, Patricia Rodriguez and our own Sam Machkovech. Thanks to all who entered. Wish we could send each of you, but hey--them's the breaks.

Voting has ended in the nominations for the Dallas Observer Music Awards. If you're in a band, that means your fate is sealed in a little spreadsheet somewhere. If you're a music fan, that means you will no longer receive 10 e-mails a day from musicians who want you to vote for them--that is, not until voting begins again in April. Right now enjoy the downtime. Nominations will be announced in the March 31 issue. Hold on, you say: Isn't that an uncomfortably long time from now? Well, now you know how those Survivor finalists feel waiting all season to figure out who won. But really: We need a little extra time this year. Big plans are in the works. You'll like it. Promise.

A few brief thoughts on the Grammys: Yeah, yeah, he's dead and we love him, but come on. It's a Starbucks album. Even Ray Charles knows that CD belongs in the resell bin. At least the best artists of the year didn't go home empty-handed: Green Day, Kanye West, Alicia Keys. And--God help me--I might even be starting to like John Mayer. Best award speech: Loretta Lynn. Best performance: Marc Anthony, for keeping a straight face while Jennifer Lopez tried to sing.

From the mail bag: A recent New York Times article claims the much-touted '80s revival, including the reunions of such bands as Tears for Fears and Duran Duran (which plays Nokia Live on Saturday; see article on page 57 ), is actually a financial bust, resulting in more hype than album sales. Don't tell that to superfan "Durandy" Golub, who recently e-mailed me from Bellevue, Washington, to ask if the paper might have an article coming up on the Fab Five and, if so, could I send it immediately-right-now-if-not-sooner. A curious query to Durandy revealed the following things: No, that's not his real name. He owns roughly 9,510 articles and pin-ups, 410 fold-out posters and 2,810 photographs of Duran Duran. Curiously, he didn't mention any albums. I think I see a connection here.

Before we part, some shows worthy of your attention: Erykah Badu hosts the Official Jill Scott Afterparty at her Black Forest Theater in South Dallas on Tuesday, February 22. Recent Grammy winner Jill Scott will perform at Nokia Live earlier that evening, but the show really kicks off in South Dallas, with a lineup that includes Ms. Badu and The Strange Fruit Project, among others. Scott's last album, Beautifully Human, is a smooth cocktail of sunshine and neo-soul, making her a perfect fit for the event, whose proceeds benefit Badu's Beautiful Love charity to keep arts in the schools. Eisley's CD release show for Room Noises is Friday at the Gypsy Tea Room with The Colour and Polyphonic Spree favorites Pilotdrift. Give the Duprees a proper welcome; the kids done real good.

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Sarah Hepola