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Soundgarden, Grammy Awards, Silversun Pickups

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

Don't believe in rock miracles? Maybe this will change your mind. Like a worthy acting performance from Sandra Bullock, Soundgarden shocked the music world this week by announcing a 2010 reunion that will include a forthcoming album and probable tour dates. Lead singer Chris Cornell, who interviewed twice with me in the past three years, confirmed on his Twitter page that the band was back in the recording studio after a 12-year breakup. Based in Seattle, at least I hope they still are, Soundgarden is responsible for such hard-rocking favorites like "Black Hole Sun," "Outshined," and the Grammy-winning classic "Spoonman." Thank you Soundgarden for kicking off my New Year with an unforgettable bang!

Get ready to park your stuff in front of a TV screen on January 31 because the Grammy Awards are piling one mega act onto another for the national telecast. Lady GaGa, Beyonce, Pink, Taylor Swift, Maxwell, Green Day, Dave Matthews Band, and those annoying dance hacks The Black Eyed Peas have all been announced as performers for "music's biggest night." GaGa, whose real name is very Italian and therefore difficult for me to pronounce (or spell), will likely perform her nominated hit "Poker Face," up for Record and Song of the Year, and Best Dance Recording. Don't be surprised if she weaves the chorus, or a verse, of "Bad Romance" into her mini-appearance, sure to be a highlight of the main ceremony. I predict Beyonce will mesh "Halo" and "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" into one number, as Taylor Swift will likely do with "White Horse" and "You Belong With Me." Expect more acts to be added to the Grammy Awards lineup in the coming weeks, such as rock hotties Kings of Leon.

Silversun Pickups have two things to be super excited about in 2010: an upcoming tour with Muse and reserved seats at the Staples Center for the already-mentioned Grammy Awards. The Southern California four-piece, who interviewed with me way back in July 2007, are one of five nominees in the prestigious Best New Artist category - they join MGMT, Keri Hilson, The Ting Tings and the Zac Brown Band. Cross your toes, they could win it all as they're from Southern California, where many of the industry heavyweights and voting members of the Recording Academy reside. While I can't confirm anything just yet, it's quite possible Silversun Pickups will drop by The Music Lounge for an interview before heading to the Grammys - I'm dying to know what frontman Brian Aubert is going to wear (please, no old sweaters!).

On the subject of Grammys, final ballots have already been sent in by voting members of The Recording Academy and will be counted in the days leading up to the awards. American Idol judge Randy Jackson had trouble completing his ballot, so he enlisted the help of his Twitter followers on choosing a favorite in the Album and Record of the Year categories - supposedly, he was undecided between "Use Somebody" and "Poker Face" for the latter award. Look for a preview of the Grammys here in The Music Lounge on January 30 with my picks in several categories.

Looking for an awesome show to go to, perhaps in a few months? Madeleine Peyroux is a sure bet. The Georgia-born pop-jazz artist, with Billie Holiday-style chops, is coming back to Seattle for a four-night residency at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley on April 15-18. Peyroux is promoting last year's Bare Bones album, which I haven't listened to yet - though, I must say her 2004 effort Careless Love is fabulous; if you close your eyes, you'll swear it's a lost recording of the late great Ms. Holiday, particularly the track "Don't Wait Too Long." Reserved seats, priced at $35, are available now at www.jazzalley.com.

Eddie Vedder in a suit? Yes, it's been done. The scruffy Pearl Jam vocalist left his vintage flannels in Seattle last week when he dashed to the nation's capitol to participate on the Kennedy Center Honors telecast. The properly-attired Vedder sang "City of Ruins," backed by a full choir, in a tribute to 2009 honoree Bruce Springsteen. Though his hair was long and a necktie was nowhere to be found, not to mention his suit was a little baggy below the waist, I was just happy to see the grunge icon in grown-up clothes.

Finally, new music for the month of January includes Vampire Weekend's sophmore album Contra, pop sensation Ke$ha's debut Animal (is she the next Lady GaGa?), Spoon's latest called Transference, and Unbroken by American Idol runner-up Katherine McPhee.

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