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Ex-Semisonic frontman steps into solo spotlightNEW YORK (Billboard) - Nearly a decade has passed since alternative trio Semisonic's last full-length album was released. But in that time, frontman Dan Wilson has reinvented his career as a genre-crossing jack of all trades.

His Grammy Award-winning songwriting skills have led to recent high-profile collaborations with Josh Groban and the Bravery, including the latter group's track "Ours" from the "Twilight Saga: Eclipse" soundtrack. Meanwhile, Wilson's solo career as a folk-rock artist is showcased on "Live at the Pantages," a 27-track album released digitally July 20. Recorded at the Pantages Theater in the artist's hometown of Minneapolis in December 2008, the concert album "puts a cap on a very important time in my life," Wilson says.

He notes that after Semisonic released alt-rock hit "Closing Time" in 1998, his decision to start co-writing songs for other artists came easily.

"It's something I had envisioned for quite a while, even during Semisonic's peak touring time in 2000-2001," says Wilson, who grew up idolizing songwriting duos like John Lennon and Paul McCartney. "I realized that a song, and how a song is made, was something that was separate from a performance."

Wilson's songwriting career took off in 2006 when he co-wrote six songs for the Dixie Chicks' "Taking the Long Way." Those songs included the single "Not Ready to Make Nice," which earned him a Grammy for song of the year. Since then, Wilson has penned songs with Keith Urban and Rachael Yamagata. He also recently co-wrote three tracks for Adele's upcoming sophomore album.

Wilson's eclectic wish list of collaborators includes Joanna Newsom, Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson and T Bone Burnett.

Now writing songs with Groban for the singer's upcoming album, Wilson is also finishing the follow-up to "Free Life," his 2007 solo disc produced by Rick Rubin. Wilson, who isn't affiliated with a label, has opted to make the album by himself, playing multiple instruments on the disc after tinkering with tracks for two months in his Minneapolis home earlier this year.

 

Newsflash Archive

Offensive? No. Likely to invoke expressions of disgust or to face immediate rejection? Probably not judging by the positive response this group's music has attracted on the web. Its name is a misnomer. The band Yuck (sometimes written "Yu(c)k") is "all the rage" in North London, England and its fashionable songs circulating on the web are only garnering love and praise.

"Don't pay any attention to their name – these north London newbies are not yuck at all, they're pretty good, sounding like a shoegazey Sonic Youth," Paul Lester wrote for the Guardian when he made Yuck his "new band of the day" in January.

"YUCK’s music is beguilingly interior, evoking inner monologues and sideways glances through eyelashes framed by burning cheeks. Vocals weave through a haze of reverb and feedback arches through frisson-filled dusky melodies," Ruth Saxelby wrote for Dummy.

Yuck is a London-based band with international roots that has been together for just over a year. The band has signed to Fat Possum Records and will release its debut album early in 2011. The record will be released in Europe by The Pharmacy Recording Company. UK single "Rubber" was released earlier this month, and the band will release “Georgia” backed with “The Base of a Dream is Empty” in the US through Fat Possum Records on November 23.

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