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You love the old Kanye? Yeah, a lot of us do, but today a question was posited that I never thought to ask, and it was the work of Mr. West that gave us the answer. Can you "rap" with a guitar? Not just rap-rock, but actually vocalize the raps using only strings? The answer is yes, and Striking Matches just did it. This week, the duo of Sarah Zimmerman and Justin Davis released an all-guitar version of Kanye's 2005 hit, "Gold Digger". Watch the video (directed by Josh Kranich) below!

This month, the new crime drama, Armed arrived in select theaters, a film written, directed by, and starring Mario Van Peebles. Armed follows the story of Chief (Van Peebles), a former U.S. Marshall, who has fallen on hard times after a raid that went horribly wrong. As Chief struggles to get his life back on track, a former colleague reappears in his life and explains that all of the survivors from his unit are suffering similarly and that there may be a larger conspiracy at hand. Now comes word that the official soundtrack album by the composers and team at Signature Tracks, led by co-founders Russell Howard, Adam Malka, and David Lasman is available on most digital platforms including iTunes and Spotify

There's those songs that just strike the right chord - the ones that each listener can attach to a certain memory... a single moment in time. For me, Bill Withers' 1977 hit "Lovely Day" brings to mind the summer of 2004 - a summer in which I went back in time to work on the set of the Fox Searchlight picture, "Roll Bounce" (yes, the one with Lil Bow Wow). The song was played frequently on the set, but also featured heavily in the film's marketing. An iconic song that always captures a certain warmth, it's been covered many times over the decades, and this week brings one of the best versions yet, with José James joining voices with Lalah Hathaway on new duet version.

"Halls of Justice Painted Green/Money Talking..." 

As Metallica's legendary album "...And Justice For All" celebrates its 30th anniversary, you're gonna want to set aside a little bit of that green (around $11 or so) for the new LADY JUSTICE Pop! Vinyl figure from Funko! Just-announced, this iconic statue is brought to life once more as a 3 3/4" vinyl figure in a way that only the folks at Funko can. My friends at Entertainment Earth just put pre-orders online, with an expected ship date of November... just in time for the November 2 release of the expanded edition versions of the album. Sadly, word on the street is that Jason Newsted's mighty basslines may still be missing (or at least barely audible).

For those that missed it this year due to its "hiatus," Chicago Open Air will be back in 2019 presenting a new event called "A Day in the Park." The event will take place at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois during the weekend of May 17-19. Danny Wimmer Presents revealed the news in an announcement that I received this morning along with details on their spring 2019 music festivals - including the debut of the new Sonic Temple Art + Music Festival in Ohio and a new "destination" musc fest that will be coming to North Carolina. Stay tuned for more details as I have it...

After hitting the socials to tease a snippet of the title track from Sony's forthcoming VENOM movie yesterday, EMINEM has released an unannounced surprise album, KAMIKAZE. With cover art inspired by The Beastie Boys' License to Ill, the 13-track collection wraps up with the track that was teased - VENOM. It's a fun throwback to what soundtracks used to be - a song that doesn't take itself too seriously, name-dropping the title character along with Eddie Brock, Marvel and some verses about symbiotes. Check it out in the Spotify player below... 

GIN BLOSSOMS, one of the top alt-rock groups of the '90s who celebrated the 25th anniversary of their multi-platinum album New Miserable Experience last year, recently issued their first new album in eight years, MIXED REALITY (produced by Don Dixon). They continue to tour and are as committed to the road as ever (see below for upcoming tour dates). We recently caught up with them and asked how the band maintains their sanity as they log more miles and check in and out of hotels.

"It's not a festival, it's a party." That's the mantra for THE REVIVAL, three days of music, camping, food and refreshments, back for its 8th Annual run, this year in the fields of Maple Park, Illinois September 6-8 (get tix). Nearly 40 bands will take the stage during the 2018 edition of The Revival, which will also include an acoustic bonfire each night, movies after dark, metal yoga, a 50' obstacle course, "dunk a promoter," mechanical bull, a roaming sideshow performer and more. Among the bands performing, DIRTY REGGAE PUNX will topline the opening night festivities, with ANOTHER LOST YEAR capping off Friday night and PRODUCT OF HATE closing out The Revival on Saturday. What's exciting about The Revival is that all tickets (available via Eventbrite) are general admission and include free food and camping! Look at it this way, everyone is a VIP!

Get ready for some musical magic... Disney Music Group and Amazon Music have announced that more than 50 soundtracks from Disney's classic animated films, Disney•Pixar films, plus select titles from Disney Junior, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm are now available to stream on Prime Music (a Rock Father™ Affiliate) for the first time ever in the U.S. and U.K at www.amazon.com/disneymusic.

"This is the quintessential Vince Guaraldi for our Peanuts' specials...some of his best atmospheric jazz. Vince's score carries the gang with the autumn leaves, through the scary and cold Halloween night. This music comforts the indomitable faith of Linus, still waiting for his hero since 1966 - forever in our ears, hearts and memories." -- Peanuts Executive Producer Lee Mendelson

It's hard to believe, but one of the most famous soundtracks in the beloved collection of music from the iconic Peanuts animated TV specials has never-before been released on CD or Digital. In fact, many have called it a "Holy Grail" - but on October 5, Craft Recordings will finally release It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (Music from the Soundtrack). This new collection features music by GRAMMY-winning composer/performer Vince Guaraldi, and will be issued in a CD package that includes a new introduction from the TV show's executive producer Lee Mendelson and insightful liner notes by Derrick BangPeanuts historian and author of Vince Guaraldi at the Piano.

Opening in theaters this week, MGM's Operation Finale, brings to life one of the most daring covert operations in modern history. Under the direction of Chris Weitz (About A Boy) and starring Academy Award winner Sir Ben Kingsley (Gandhi, Schindler's List) and Golden Globe winner Oscar Isaac (Star Wars: The Last Jedi, X-Men: Apocalypse), the film vividly captures the ingenious and brilliantly executed mission to capture Adolf Eichmann, one of the chief architects of the Holocaust.

This Back to School Special Feature is brought to you in collaboration with Music & Arts...

The "summer slump" is real, and it doesn't just have to do with what we as parents think of as the subjects in which kids normally tend to fall behind during the mid-year break. There's always a lot of emphasis on kids forgetting what they've learned, particularly in areas like reading and math, but even electives can fall off - and sometimes those are harder to get back into when the time comes. I know that this is true, and that's because we're living it right here at our house. Even if it's an activity that kids love to do - like playing a musical instrument - there's so many things vying for attention and the skills get a bit "rusty." That's certainly in no way a slight to the other activities as kids need time for free play and to have adventures - but now that the school year is upon us, it's time to get things back on track! In our house it's guitar and recorder that have the focus right now.

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