The Last Waltz:

Sadness from The Band front as a note just popped up on the legendary drummer-singer Levon Helm’s website, detailing, “Levon is in the final stages of his battle with cancer. Please send your prayers and love to him as he makes his way through this part of his journey.” The note is bylined by his “daughter Amy, and wife Sandy,” and includes a a thank you to “fans and music lovers who have made his life so filled with joy and celebration,” continuing, “he has loved nothing more than to play, to fill the room up with music, lay down the back beat, and make the people dance! He did it every time he took the stage.” Godspeed, Levon, wherever those rock Gods are taking you.

Blunderbuss:

A week shy of its drop date (April 23), iTunes is joining the internet stream team with a full preview of Jack White‘s first post-White Stripes solo offering, Blunderbuss. Sadly, this means, though, there won’t be any more balloon launches or creepy dystopian music videos to tease in the interim. We think? Though the iTunes people are assuring that “yes, it rocks” so never fear rock fans, it appears as though Jack has delivered. Sound off: what do you think of the new tunes?

Fakechella:

Just for kicks, and to calm ya’ll down that Hologram Tupac is not going to take over the world. There are other hologram stars in the desert queue, it appears, based on this line-up bill for the 2013 edition of the two-weekend festival. Jesus, man, you got shafted (via aux.tv).

Live To Rise:

That Marvel summer blockbuster sound-bite emotional tug early-90s Seattle rock heroes Soundgarden are awaking a 15-year studio silence for has been made available via iTunes as a free download today. Part of a 14-track soundtrack to the forthcoming Avengers, the album will take the title Avengers Assemble, and include AOR favs like Shinedown, Rise Against and Bush, among others. Soundgarden’s contribution, “Live to Rise,” is definitely a sludgy wailer of the band’s familiar grunge-verite. Of which frontman Chris Cornell aptly explained to Billboard as “the hard part of writing a song for a film.” Do you think this is momentum for a proper studio album?

Lyricapsule:

Eerily, on this day back in 1969, The Band played their first live show as an independent band at San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom, terrified, reportedly. But hot off the buzz train from a world tour with Bob Dylan in 1966 and their debut album, Music From The Big Pink under a year old. Since there’s no video of that show, dig on one of the finest rockumentaries of all time, The Last Waltz, and good ol’ Levon Helm leading the way:

I pulled into Nazareth, I was feel in’ about half past dead
Just need to find a place where I can lay my head
Hey, mister, can you tell me where a man might find a bed?
He just grinned and shook my hand and, ‘No’, was all he said