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Next week: Tori Amos, hottest musicians, best of 2009 ½

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

Pride is officially a week away, and here's a snapshot of what you'll find inside the music section of this upcoming special issue.

First and foremost, the acclaimed and adored diva herself Tori Amos is my very, very special guest in The Music Lounge. We chatted over the phone a few weeks ago as she was preparing for a North American tour that launches at Seattle's WaMu Theater on July 10 (production rehearsals begin here soon). Amos, who has always thrown her support to the Gay community - outspokenly, I might add - spoke passionately about her opposition to Prop 8 and about her ongoing connection to Gay fans. We also discussed her flair for inviting talented, cute young men on the road with her (Joshua Radin, Jason Mraz, hello?), and she also took down my personal request to play "A Sorta Fairytale" for the Seattle concert (toes crossed). The multi-Grammy nominee was even sweeter than I'd hoped she'd be on the phone, reminding me of a conversation I had years ago with another diva, Sarah McLachlan - they're both similarly soft-spoken and firmly supportive of their diverse fan bases. Prepare yourself; Tori Amos is a week away in an interview you'll only see at Seattle Gay News.

Hot rock stars? Love them! So, I've chosen 25 of the sexiest and most talented male specimens on the current music scene for a special Pride bonus next week. The list includes a couple of obvious choices, but overall it features a roster of diamonds-in-the-rough and lower profile-types representing various genres of music. You won't find Jon Bon Jovi or Brandon Flowers in this list, though be ready to be introduced to the freshest, craftiest, coolest, and most attractive boys in the biz at the moment. Who made my list? You're a week away from knowing.

2009 has been a somewhat good year in recorded music, but at this time last year there were far more outstanding albums and singles to discuss - here's hoping the upcoming six months has lots more to offer. But, after listening to countless CDs and digital downloads over a three-week period I've selected what I believe to be the 10 best recordings, including albums and singles, at the midway mark of the calendar year. Don't shop for new music before checking out my list first, because I think you'll come across some titles you might otherwise ignore at the record store.

Coldplay is on my mind, possibly because I'm journeying up to Vancouver BC this weekend to watch them perform live. The Grammy-winning quartet plays a sold-out concert at The Gorge next month, but their back-to-back shows in Western Canada are indoors at GM Place - a bonus for those, like me, who declare ourselves glampers, not campers. Coldplay has toured extensively since 2008's release of Viva la Vida and Death and All His Friends, which has produced three hit singles, "Violet Hill," "Viva la Vida" and "Lost" - I'm personally fond of "Lovers in Japan." They're expected to perform all four of these songs in Vancouver, plus earlier classics "Politik," "Clocks," and my all-time favorite Coldplay tune, "The Scientist." Opening for the colossal UK act is Snow Patrol, an amazing rock band I've been tracking now for six years. They have yet to promote their latest effort, A Hundred Million Suns, to Seattle fans - hence me catching the train to V-town for the big gig. Speaking of big, did I ever mention what an individual Snow Patrol member bragged about over a bottle of wine? And you won't, it was intended for my ears only. Next week, it's an exclusive review of Coldplay and Snow Patrol here at Seattle Gay News.

Finally, if anyone missed Paolo Nutini's sold-out engagement earlier this year at The Showbox Market, I'm pleased to announce his return to the same venue on September 19. Tickets should be going on sale soon. You haven't listened to him yet? Do it.

I've got lots to do between now and next Friday, so off I go. Tori Amos in The Music Lounge, June 26 - happy Pride to you!

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