THE SOUNDS frontwoman Maja Ivarsson says, "I don't want to be compared to Blondie all the time, but I can absolutely see why people do it." You may too, if you stream a few from the band's new album.
SUFJAN STEVENS let Stereogum offer "The Henney Buggy Band," an advance track from The Avalanche: Outtakes and Extras from the Illinois Album, as a free download. You can also stream it from the Hype Machine (I usually have to double-click the "Listen" button).
WORLD PARTY apparently has a new-to-the-US CD coming around Memorial Day and iirc, had some back catalog reissued this month. Stereogum is killing music with two tracks that he rightly notes sound like Bob Dylan and The Beatles, though Scott's reference to "Subterranean Homesick Blues" is misplaced -- musically, it's much closer to "From A Buick 6." The Fab track owes a lot to "Baby You're A Rich Man." Law-abiding folk can stream them and two others -- including a "Young Americans" soundalike, via the Hype Machine.
MEAT PUPPETS: Curt and Cris Kirkwood are reunited and it feels so good. Curt Kirkwood tells Billboard.com, "It's epic. It's big Meat Puppets stuff. I would say 'sonic pyramids made out of garbage.'" Although he was asked to participate, original Meat Puppets drummer Derrick Bostrom will not be involved in the reunion. Primus drummer Tim Alexander will replace him behind the kit.
THE LEMONHEADS have signed with Vagrant Records, with an album scheduled for a late September release.
RARE AND UNRELEASED ATLANTIC SOUL is coming on two single-disc compilations due June 6 from Rhino. Atlantic Unearthed: Soul Sisters and Atlantic Unearthed: Soul Brothers feature previously unreleased singles from Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle, Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding, along with rare tracks from lesser-known artists like Judy Clay and Arthur Conley. For Jon Pratt, I note a cover of Fontella Bass' "Rescue Me" by Dee Dee Warwick.
SEEN YOUR VIDEO: From the "Where Are They Now?" file, it's the Vapors!
THE FLAMING LIPS wowed London: "I think," says The Flaming Lips' singer, Wayne Coyne, gazing up at the balloons floating among the audience, "that's the longest the balloons have ever lasted." As to the more political bent of the At War With The Mystics, drummer Steven Drozd comments, "I know Wayne had been itching to try some half baked protest lyrics, so it seemed only right (or left as the case may be!) to go down that road."
SONIC YOUTH: Somehow, I missed it when Fluxblog posted a new track, "Do You Believe In Rapture?" Sounds kinda Velvet-y to me...
ARCTIC MONKEYS were nominated for an Ivor Novello songwriting award in the UK for "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor," but frontman Alex Turner says, "We still feel like gatecrashers, I hope we always do. Something will have gone wrong if we don't." The Pitchfork review of the new EP suggests he may have to start worrying.
OKKERVIL RIVER has signed with Virgin/EMI in Europe, where the label will release a double-disc set featuring Black Sheep Boy and the accompanying Black Sheep Boy Appendix EP, plus more. You can stream and download the band's moody folk-rock via MySpace. I recommend "For Real" for sure.
ELEVENTH DREAM DAY gets a mediocre review on the Pitchfork, though that shouldn't stop EDD fans: "Zeroes and ones won't disappoint those who've been patiently waiting six years for the next chapter in the Eleventh Dream Day saga-- but it won't win them many converts."
DENISE and HEATHERand RICHIE and CHARLIE: The fallout continues. In Touch magazine claims Richards called a summit meeting with Locklear to reveal she was in love with the latter's estranged husband, Richie Sambora. Star magazine claims Locklear confronted Richards, who was stunned into silence as Locklear proclaimed, "Well, I think you've answered the question. I never want to see you again. You no longer exist to me. It's like you've died." Fortunately, TMZ has the video of happier times from Spin City. Lloyd Grove looks at why Richards seems to have the upper hand with the paparazzi.
BRITNEY SPEARS: I thought she was blaming the manufacturer for her son's tumble from his high chair, but we now learn that the pregnant pop tart has canned the nanny. If I could convince her that Earth was at fault for being in her baby's way, would she leave for another planet?
MICK JAGGER shot a pilot for ABC, with the working title, Let's Rob Mick Jagger. I was disappointed to discover it's not a reality show.
TERI HATCHER suffered a scratch to her right cornea when a light bulb exploded on the Desperate Housewives set. She will be rockin' the eye patch, matey. Last year, castmate Eva Longoria was taken to a nearby hospital after being "bumped on the head by something" while shooting a scene on location. So maybe Wisteria Lane could use a branch office of OSHA.
TOM-KAT UPDATE: Cruise's crazy train jumps the track, as he skipped out on a Mission: Impossible III press conference in Paris to tour the city with Isabella and Connor, who Cruise adopted during his marriage to Nicole Kidman. But the unstoppable Cruise is better in this commercial spoof than the original Nike ad.
BRADGELINA: Jolie thanked the press for covering teleconference with British finance minister Gordon Brown on the Global Campaign for Education. Star magazine claims Jolie and Pitt plan to name their child "Africa." Jolie explains to NBC's Ann Curry that Pitt happens. And we learn that the couple is chowing down on KFC in Nambia.
QUENTIN TARANTINO has reportedly signed on to direct a Jimi Hendrix biopic. I'll believe it when I see it.
PETER BOGDANOVICH is going to tour with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
COURTNEY LOVE: Producer and former 4 Non Blondes singer Linda Perry wants to help with Courtney's comeback: "I can't allow myself as a music lover and someone who really respects that artist to go down with America's Sweetheart. That record sucked. She knows it. The world knows it. It was a horrible, crap-ass record."
THE SIMPSONS: The A.V. Club interviews creator Matt Groening about the planned movie and more, including a list of Simpsons quotes for everyday use.
THE CLINTONS appeared for the unveiling of their portraits at the National Portrait Gallery. The portrait of former Pres. Clinton was missing a wedding ring. Oops. Sen. Hillary Clinton, asked about it after a press conference, stammered, referring inquiries to her husband: "You know, I think that I ... you'll have to ask him or his office..."
KEIRA KNIGHTLEY is the newest face of Chanel and the world's sexiest woman, according to a poll of "readers" of the British edition of FHM magazine. In March, the US edition picked Scarlett Johansson, who ranks 3rd on the UK list. Knightley placed 5th on the US list.
EDU-BLOGGING: For once, I have remembered that the latest Carnival Of Education is posted.
IRAQ: NBC ambushes Prime Minister designate al-Maliki outside the men's room. At ITM, Omar looks at who will be the loyal opposition to the forming government. Michael Fumento lives to blog a firefight, which is stressful enough to excuse his mistaking the Animals for the Stones. Hardly anyone has noticed that former secretary of state James Baker III will be advising Pres. Bush on Iraq. Bill Roggio examines what the latest Zaqawi video says about al-Qaeda in Iraq's propaganda and military capabilities. US troops are training Iraqi forces, but they’re also watching for signs of death squad activity. And some Huffington Post readers are supporting the troops.
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE OIL: Sen. Charles Schumer was again proving how dangerous it is to be between him and a TV camera: "We've got to look very seriously at breaking up the oil companies. This did not happen when there were 10 or 15 oil companies because you found good old fashioned American competition would work." Chuck apparently doesn't remember the 1970s, but after all, it was the 1970s. In a later interview, Chuck was forced to admit: "On this score, the Clinton administration is as much to blame as the Bush administration. It was the Clinton administration that allowed Exxon and Mobil to merge -- and that was a terrible, terrible thing." In fact, the Clinton Justice Department and FTC also cleared the BP-Amoco and Texaco-Chevron mergers. The Bush Admin. allowed Texaco-Chevron to buy Unocal, after Congress blocked Unocal's sale to a firm controlled by Communist China. Schumer claims: "Supply and demand did not cause gasoline to go up 40 cents a gallon in one month. Look at the supply numbers, look at the demand numbers, consult any economist." If I did, I would hear about the cost of summer blend gas, compounded in Schumer's home state of NY by the switch-over from MTBE to ethanol as an additive. Economists would also tell me that oil company mergers account for no more than 1.2 percent of pump prices. But Chuck should be glad to learn this; otherwise, someone might ask him why, as a member of the House and Senate throughout the 1990s, he didn't try to stop these mergers.
HYENAS find that sex is no laughing matter. For example, hyenas give birth through the clitoris. That one even makes me uncomfortable.
GOOFY is found bludgeoned and stabbed to death in Pittsburgh. This is what happens when you're used to living in the Magic Kingdom.
SQUIRRELS are being driven nutty by noisy wind farms in California, potentially disrupting the ecosystem.
FOXES, long associated with Britain's leafy countryside, foxes now have become a common sight in London. There are an estimated 10,000 foxes now living in the London area, some of them very near the financial district, Buckingham Palace, and No. 10 Downing Street, the prime minister's residence. The 2004 Hunting Act bans the hunting of foxes with packs of dogs, but shooting foxes by licensed gun owners (both of them) remains legal under British law, as do most forms of trapping.
EYE, A SIX-FOOT LONG ANACONDA, survived a fire in a music store in Santa Ana, CA. The Music Works was always pretty casual, but I don't think Paul ever kept an 50 lb. anaconda there.