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Phoenix, Ke$ha, Spoon, and Matthew Morrison

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

Phoenix is red hot. Not the city, silly, the Parisian foursome, who've landed on nearly every music critics' year-end list (mine, too) with 2009's pop-rock gem Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, not to mention a Grammy nomination and an already sold-out slate of concerts, including next weekend's performance at The Showbox SoDo. And before they hit that stage, they're coming to me - that's right, the pop-rock quartet is my special guest next week in The Music Lounge, and don't think for a second I won't try and use my choppiest French with them. Last month, Phoenix performed a too-short, four-song set to a big crowd at the "Deck the Hall Ball," sponsored by local radio station 107.7 The End. This time, they plan to do a full show, sure to include "1901," "Litsztomania," "Girlfriend," and maybe an oldie, like "Everything is Everything." Grab a croissant, or an affordable bottle of Bordeaux, and help me welcome Phoenix to The Music Lounge on January 22.

Who's the brightest new star in the music Milky Way? It's California party girl Ke$ha, whose debut CD Animal just knocked Scottish grandma Susan Boyle out of the top spot on Billboard's album charts. It sold 152,000 copies in its first week, and my friend Scotty in San Diego is one of many Gay men across the country who downloaded it (he's seriously hooked). The blonde 20-something's leadoff single "Tik Tok" has held Billboard's #1 singles position for several weeks, going back to December '09, and the remaining tracks on her disc read like a dorm kegger gone totally right - how else to explain "Hungover," "Party at a Rich Dude's House," "Take It Off," and "Boots & Boys" (dahling, welcome to a Gay boy's ordinary weekend). Efforts are underway to get an interview with Ke$ha here in The Music Lounge. Though the list of magazines and newspapers wanting to speak to her goes on for miles and miles, I've got plenty of good karma from all those nice barista tips coming my way, so stay glued for a positive update.

Of the many nerdy musicians I have a crush on, the only redhead of the bunch is Britt Daniel of Spoon - tall, skinny, pale, and slightly goofy does it for me every time. Daniel and company are set to release their latest album, Transference, on January 19, an anticipated follow-up to 2007's stellar Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, one of my picks for the best albums of the 2000s. The band, said to have relocated to Portland from Austin, just announced back-to-back upcoming shows in Seattle, April 9 and 10 at the Moore Theatre. Tickets, priced reasonably at $27.50, are on sale now at www.tickets.com or at the Paramount or Moore kiosks (located by the front entrances of each venue). Opening both nights for Spoon are Deerhunter and Micachu. If you're brand new to the sounds of Spoon, start with the aforementioned Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga or 2005's Gimme Fiction. Personally, I'd say the group's best cut is "I Summon You" - give it a whirl.

Our favorite musical TV series Glee is a huge hit of the awards season, nominated for this weekend's Golden Globes and a trio of prestigious entertainment guilds: actors, directors and writers. The show has also been renewed for a second season (no surprise) and will hold auditions for new cast members. Its lead star, the Golden Globe-nominated Matthew Morrison, will soon appear in the 5th Avenue Theatre's production of South Pacific - visit www.5thavenue.org for ticket information. The California native recently performed at the Kennedy Center Honors in a tribute to stage and film legend Mel Brooks. Don't miss Morrison when he comes to Seattle, and if you don't hear from me in the coming weeks, check his hotel closet.

Finally, Lady GaGa made her debut on Oprah on January 15 - try finding it on YouTube if you missed it. Lord knows what GaGa will do, say, or wear, for the queen of daytime but one thing is for sure, come January 31 she'll be re-fitted with the title Grammy winner, as the pop diva is guaranteed at least one win of her five nominations.

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