THE WEEKEND STARTS HERE...
...with BILLY MACK! Because "Christmas Is All Around."
NORAD will be tracking Santa Sunday night, per usual.
SEASON of the LIST: PopMatters has its Best of 2006 in many genres, some of which (like the Best Albums list) heve embedded videos. Glide lists 40 Essential Songs of 2006, while some very naughty person has zipped up Pitchfork's Top 100 tracks.
THE DECEMBERISTS-STEVEN COLBERT DUEL came to a head the other night -- with cameos including Robert Schneider of Apples In Stereo, Henry Kissinger and at least one of Rick Nielsen's guitars -- so you can (and should) stream it from Comedy Central now. Decemberists' keyboardist Jenny Conlee talked about the greenscreen challenges at StarWars.com.
A GREENER SHADE OF PALE: Matthew Fisher, the original organist for Procol Harum, has been awarded 40 percent of the copyright of "A Whiter Shade of Pale" by a British judge: "I find that the organ solo is a distinctive and significant contribution to the overall composition and, quite obviously, the product of skill and labour on the part of the person who created it." Lead singer Gary Brooker is not pleased and will appeal the ruling.
SISTER VANILLA is reuniting the Jesus & Mary Chain gang and adding Linda Reid, Jim and William's younger sister. You can stream a track from their label's website. (thx Chromewaves.)
THE WHO brought their tour to the Twin Cities, so the local media turns to interview -- onstage, no less -- Pate bassist Mike Kelly and his son, Sean.
THE HOLIDAY BIN: Your stocking stuffers from the ol' Hype Machine include: Sufjan Stevens - Come on! Lets Boogey to the Elf Dance!; Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers - Christmas All over Again; Yo La Tengo - Rock N Roll Santa; Liz Phair - Winter Wonderland; Fats Domino - Frosty the Snowman; Okkervil River - Listening To Otis Redding At Home During Christmas; Otis Redding - Merry Christmas, Baby; Darlene Love - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home); The dB's - Feliz Navidad; Brenda Lee - Jingle Bell Rock; Tom Lehrer - (I'm Spending) Hanukkah in Santa Monica; The LeeVees - Applesauce vs. Sour Cream; Jon Fursh - Latkelicious; Bruce Springsteen - Santa Claus is Coming to Town; Rev. Horton Heat - Santa on the Roof; James Brown - Santa Claus Go Straight To The Ghetto; Elvis Presley - Santa Claus Is Back In Town; The Boy Least Likely To - Little Donkey; The Ronettes - Sleigh Ride; Bing Crosby and Ella Fitzgerald - Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer (John Beltran Remix); Keith Richards - Run Rudolph Run; Ryan Adams - Hey Parker, It's Christmas (from when he dated Parker Posey); Stiff Little Fingers - White Christmas; Ben Harper & The Blind Boys Of Alabama - Silent Night and Dan Wilson (of Semisonic) - What A Year For A New Year.
THE CUTOUT BIN: This Friday's fortuitous finds from the Hype Machine include: Mitch Easter - Shiny Happy People; The Jazz Butcher - Roadrunner (Modern Lovers); Belle & Sebastian - Sukie In The Graveyard; Peter Bjorn & John - Young Folks; X - Under The Big Black Sun; The Clash - White Riot; The Rolling Stones - Tumbling Dice; The Hold Steady - Stuck Between Stations; Richard Lloyd - Field Of Fire; Stratocruiser - Misty Mountain Hop; Paul Simon - Diamonds on The Soles Of Her Shoes; Roy Orbison - In Dreams; Harry Nilsson - Without You (just in case doc loch stops by); Wilson Pickett - Mustang Sally; and Mary Lou Lord & Semisonic - Sugar, Sugar.
DAVID BOWIE & BING CROSBY'S classic duet on "Little Drummer Boy."
THE BIKECRACKER: It's The Nutcracker, but played with samples from bicycle parts. You can stream it via the HM. (Thanks, Stereogum.)
RUSH is finishing their first new album since 2002. I note that for Craig O'Neill, and note that note is punishment for not notifying me of his change of address.
THE TWILIGHT SINGERS played the World Cafe; you can stream their mini-set from NPR.
SONY ROOTKIT UPDATE: Sony will compensate customers in California whose computers were damaged by anti-piracy software on CDs sold by the firm with refunds of up to 175 bucks. Not great, but as class actions go, not bad.
IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE: Pate even had a song titled "Rope Around The Moon," so watch the whole thing.
MORE MISS USA FALLOUT: Mothers Against Drunk Driving is severing ties with 18-year-old Katie Blair, following reports that Miss Teen USA was underage drinking and carousing with Miss USA Tara Conner. Katie Rees, Miss Nevada USA 2007, has been stripped of her title after racy photos (some NSFW) emerged of her kissing other women and exposing herself.
NOW SHOWING: This weekend's wide releases include: The Ben Stiller-led Night at the Museum, which is currently scoring 33 percent on the Tomatometer; football flick We Are Marshall, which is also scoring 33 percent; and the all-star DeNiro-directed CIA drama The Good Shepherd, which is scoring 44 percent. But the real shocker may be that Rocky Balboa, which opened Wednesday, is scoring 77 percent. Christmas Day sees the wide release of the retro-musical Dreamgirls, which is scoring 75 percent, and the remake of cult horror classic Black Christmas, which is -- shockingly not being screened for critics.
SCARLETT JOHANSSON and JOSH HARTNETT were caught canoodling last week, but Hartnett was caught canoodling with supermodel Gisele Bundchen the very next night. Good thing Scarlett is not a big believer in monogamy.
BRITNEY SPEARS: We Love Celebs has pics of the pop tart getting shooed offstage at L.A. Burlesque club Forty Deuce last weekend.
TOM-KAT UPDATE: Jennifer Lopez