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New Releases, My Morning Jacket, Jerry Lee Lewis, and the Beer Ape   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, December 05, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

SLADE: "Merry Xmas Everybody."

NEW RELEASES: You know it's a slow week when OC Mix 6: Covering Our Tracks -- indie bands covering older alternative songs for The OC -- is the most interesting thing streaming in ful from AOL this week (unless you're jonesing for Gwen Stefani). I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness has re-released its debut EP for wider distribution o­n the band's new label.

SEASON of the LIST: Today, I'm just featuring lists from two of my favorite music blogs, Chromewaves and Gorilla vs. Bear. Both note that these aren't necessarily "Best of" lists as much as the albums that affected them the most this year. G vs. B also hooks you up with downloads of a bunch of free and legal mp3s from their fave albums.

MY MORNING JACKET frontman Jim James ticks off a few of his favorite things for Pitchfork's "Guest List" feature. Here's a preview clip for the band's Okonokos CD/DVD.

TONY SILVESTER of the MAIN INGREDIENT passed away at the age of 65. Unfortunately, I was hard-pressed to find their biggest hit, "Everybody Plays The Fool," o­nline, but you can watch the group perform "Just Don't Want To Be Lonely" o­n Soul Train.

IT'S BEEN A LONG TIME for Jerry Lee Lewis, but he got around to recording Led Zep's "Rock and Roll" o­n his first album in 20 years. This performance from the Today show isn't as sharp as the recorded version, and lacks Jimmy Page, but nice to see the man still has the "Killer" instinct. BONUS: The man is a blur in this 49 second version of "Down The Line." DOUBLE BONUS: The Killer cranks out "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' o­n" o­n Shndig, with the legendary James Burton playing a guitar solo from atop the piano, later joined by Jackie Wilson and the Righteous Bros.

CAT POWER: Chan Marshall talks to Harp about love, loss and becoming the new face of Chanel: "I was sitting o­n a pile of Louis Vuitton luggage, drinking water, with an apple and a cigarette in my hand, my cell phone, oh, and two guitars, and out comes Karl Lagerfeld. He walks up, looks at me and says, 'Only a woman can look glamorous when smoking.'"

EMILY HAINES, of Metric and Broken Social Scene, is touring to support her solo debut. You can stream a couple of songs from a World Cafe gig at NPR.

THE HOLD STEADY frontman Craig Finn talks about the the benefits of being o­n the Vagrant label with Pitchfork.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: The troubled singer escaped jail time o­n drug possession charges after suffering a "breakdown" in his rehab, but reportedly owes a massive undisclosed sum to the Malmaison Hotel in Clerkenwell after he "caused mayhem" there over the weekend with an unnamed female companion.

GWYNETH PALTROW says that she feels "so proud to be American," adding, "I am a New York girl, that's how I always think of myself and see myself." She's busy doing damage control after a Portuguese newspaper quoted her as saying that the "British are much more intelligent and civilized than the Americans." She blames her rusty seventh-grade Spanish. So I wonder what language she used in August when she told Harper's Bazzar that London is "not has hectic as New York and not as vapid as Los Angeles" and her British friends are "intelligent and they're not looking over my shoulder at dinner to see if there's anyone better walking in." For that matter, Gwynnie has previously had to backpedal from suggestions she was going to move out of the US entirely.

SIR PAUL McCARTNEY is battling MORRISSEY and Sir David Attenborough in a BBC show's search for Britain's greatest living icon.

BRITNEY SPEARS is taking pole-dancing lessons from the French Hotel, according to unidentified British reports. The pop tart also is reported to have spent quality time with Hilton's ex-bf in the bathroom of the Hollywood Roosevelt. No word o­n whether she was wearing panties. The latest exhibit in the Gallery of the Absurd is a piece portraying Spears, Hilton and Lindsay Lohan as "The Three Disgraces."

MADONNA and hubby Guy Ritchie have reportedly been seeing a marriage counsellor, with their union hitting "rock bottom" after the couple's controversial adoption of a Malawi baby.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Cruise just blew 4.75 o­n a British masion near Scientology's UK HQ, but he and Holmes won't be staying there until the horrific stench problem is fixed.

JESSICA SIMPSON apparently botched a tribute to Dolly Parton at Sunday night's 29th annual Kennedy Center ceremony, which honored Parton, Steven Spielberg, singers Dolly Parton and Smokey Robinson, composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and conductor Zubin Mehta.

GEORGE CLOONEY is mourning the death of his nearly 300-lb. potbellied pig Max. Clooney sometimes shared the same bed with Max, NTTAWWT.

KEITH URBAN was out of rehab and o­n a periodic furlough with wife Nicole Kidman last weekend. Urban has been offered help by Kidman's Fur co-star Robert Downey Jr. Apparently, he volunteered to call Urban with encouragement, but Kidman suggested they wait until he's out (of rehab) so they can all sit down for a long talk. Uh-huh.

KATE BECKINSALE has been sporting a bald patch, which people speculate may be due to alopecia or the use of hair extensions.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON has vowed to do a nude scene before she gets old and gray.

LANE GARRISON, of FOX TV's Prison Break, struck a tree with his SUV Saturday night, killing a 17-year-old boy. According to the Beverly Hills Police, actor Lane Garrison displayed "symptoms of alcohol intoxication."

THE 50 GREATEST COMMERCIALS OF THE 80s, courtesy of Giant magazine, complete with embedded YouTube video! I must note that number two is the ad for Freedom Rock. I also agree with the commenter who decried the absence of Apple's "1984" ad.

WHO IS CAPT. JAMIL HUSSEIN, Pt. V: I thought this story was done, but Monday's New York Times ran an article that seems to criticize both the AP and bloggers suspicious of a story about six Sunni worshipers allegedly doused in kerosene and burned alive by Shiite attackers. Yet the article, by Tom Zeller, Jr. omits the dispute over whether the AP's source is in fact an Iraqi policeman. Worse, the article notes that it was unusual that "little in the way of fallout over the event itself has been detected" in Baghdad -- without noting that the point was first made o­n the newspaper's own blog. However, the article does nicely capture the AP's arrogant and paranoid attitude toward bloggers, sometimes known as readers. Speaking of the media and bloggers, Bill Roggio has returned to Iraq and the first thing he reports is that our troops have near-unanimous contempt for the media. Granted, the troops will have their own biases, but the troops are not monolithic, either.

IRAQ: The leader of the largest Shiite party urged senior US officials not to withdraw US troops from his country but to transfer more military authority to the government in Baghdad. Iraq's national security adviser says he is shocked by UN head Kofi Annan's suggestion that the average Iraqi is worse off than under Saddam. I'm not, given that the oil-for-food scandal was an Kofi Annan special. At ITM, Omar relays reports that PM al-Maliki and tribal chiefs of Sadr City have agreed o­n a security plan that would exclude coalition forces. A piece in Newsweek suggests that the US military is fed up with al-Maliki. The WSJ has more o­n current military thinking.  Another report that Zalmay Khalilzad is leaving his post as US ambassador.  Sunni insurgents claimed they killed Shiite militia commander Abu Deraa, a deputy of Maqtada al-Sadr o­nce known as the "Siite Zarqawi." Sunni clerics in Basra joined the fatwa against killing Shiites or belonging to extremist or terrorist groups. The Iraqi Army's 9th Mechanized Division apparently did not do well under fire in Baghdad's crowded Fadhil quarter last week.

LEBANON: Renewed clashes erupted in Beirut late Monday after the body of a Hezbollah supporter slain a day earlier was paraded through the heart of the capital. Abu Kais notes that the Hezbollah supporter may not have been shot by the Sunni residents of the Beirut neighborhood of Qasqas. Kais writes that the area is "infested" with pro-Assad Ahbash (Sunni) Islamists; he would not put it past o­ne of them or some Syrian intelligence operative to have pulled the trigger.

THE ROLLING ROCK BEER APE: If you've heard the radio commercials from the phony group complaining, here's the viral ad the brewery wants you to see.

THE CHRISTMAS GOAT in Gavle, Sweden has been burned again -- the 22nd time it has gone up in smoke since the town began the tradition in 1966.

DEWEY READMORE BOOKS, a 19-year-old cat who became a mascot for the city library in Spencer, IA after being found in a book drop, passed away last week the arms of librarian Vicki Myron.

A 62-YEAR-OLD LOBSTER wowed crowds in the northern Algerian coastal town of Jijel after a local fisherman netted that crustacean, along with two 59-year olds, and two more aged 48 and 46.

AN AUSSIE CATHERINE THE GREAT was nabbed in a paddock, getting too friendly with Mr. Ed.

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Bob Pollard, Ryan Adams, VU, Covers, Johnny Cash, the Snake King   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, December 04, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

WIZZARD: Roy Wood & crew with the seasonal "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day."

THE HOODOO GURUS confirm they will tour the US next spring, including a stop at SXSW.  You heard it here October 30th.  Celebrate by checking out the videos I linked o­n October 6th.

SEASON of the LIST: Exclaim! lists its best albums in the genres of pop & rock, punk, funk & soul, folk, country & blues, metal & hardcore and more. There's a Top Ten from NPR's Folk Alley. Harmonium has lists from members of Of Montreal and Oh No! Oh My! Filter has a Top Ten list from Sondre Lerche. I Love Music reprints decibel magazine's Top 40, which is mostly metal. There's a Top 21 albuma list from Filmoculous. And a Top 50 list from the legendary rocker Al Kooper.

ROBERT POLLARD tells Billboard he is done with touring for now, and plans to make seven albums for 2007. Maybe he noticed that...

RYAN ADAMS has posted three more albums of bizzare stuff -- including Holla Dayz Inn and Christmas Apocalypse -- at his website, for a total of at least eleven this year.

THE VELVET UNDERGROUND: An apparent o­ne-of-a-kind test pressing of early VU & Nico Scepter Studio Recordings was obtained for 75 cents but may auction o­n eBay for over 20 grand.

TOM WAITS: If you missed his appearance o­n The Daily Show, you can watch the interview and performance of "Day After Tomorrow" you-know-where.

THE DECEMBERISTS have responded to comedian Stephen Colbert's challenge, asking fans to send videos of how they would "Mulch" him, and challenged him to a guitar solo duel.

THE JACKIN' POP POLL UPDATE: The Village Voice has blackballed the new poll's editor, Michaelangelo Matos, from writing for its sister publication, the Twin Cities' City Pages -- and barred its writers from the balloting for the would-be successor to the VV's Pazz & Jop poll. Former Voice editor Robert Christgau will vote in both polls.

THE COVER SONG CATALOGUE: The Torontoist breaks 'em down into several categories, including "better than the original" and "bizzare and way out." There's also plenty of embeded video and killing music at the link.

JOHNNY CASH: You can stream his duet with Louis Armstrong (one of Armstrong's last performances) while rbally has posted another rare, early radio perfomance with the Tennessee Two, which you can jukebox o­n the HM.

PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: The troubled singer has been voted the most "undeserving icon" of the year in a poll for Arena magazine. And yet he will appear o­n the cover of Vogue magazine.

BRITNEY SPEARS: With no o­ne willing or able to intervene, the pop tart has continued partying into the early hours of the morning, with Britain's uber-reliable Daily Star claiming she intended to stage a mock wedding to the French Hotel at her 25th birthday party. No word as to whether that happened, though we know Spears took Sean Preston to the L.A. Zoo that day. Meanwhile, Fed-Ex is in negotiations to develop his own reality series with Kenneth Crear, the brains behind the show House of Carters. There is a non-denial denial regarding Fed-Ex from former pr0n star Kendra Jade posted at her website. And Spears apparently made a veiled threat to her first (55-hour) hubby Jason Alexander before he taped a TV interview to air o­n The Dr. Ablow Show today.

THE FRENCH HOTEL: Kay S. Hymowitz argues that in our divided nation, our shared contempt for the airheaded heiress brings us together and is "a sign of lingering cultural sanity."

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: It truly was deja vu all over again for a traditionally quiet weekend, with Happy Feet, Casino Royale and Deja Vu taking the top three spots again, with the penguins being the first to win three weeks in a row since Dead Man's Chest. The pics took in 17, 15.1 and 11 million, respectively. The Nativity Story opened in the fourth slot with 8 million, knocking Deck the Halls, The Santa Clause 3 and Borat each down a notch. New releases Turistas and National Lampoon's Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj placed eighth and tenth, with Stranger Than Fiction sandwiched between with 3.4 million.

DANNY DiVITO DRINK-UPDATE: In an interview to air today o­n Today, George Clooney confirms that he and DiVito had a "brutal night" of drinking before DiVito turned up wrecked o­n The View last Wednesday.

MICHAEL RICHARDS CRACK-UPDATE: The ex-Kramer planned to meet with the targets of his racial tirade under the supervision of a retired judge, with a cash settlement possibly o­n the table.

LINDSAY LOHAN: Her mother confirms she's been going to AA meetings, but the young actress drank champagne and had a tirade over the presence of Jessica Biel's assistant (an ex-Lohan employee) at the GQ Men of the Year dinner -- in view of her mother. Will Ferrell turned to Leo DiCaprio, Al Gore and Ben Affleck and said, "Who cares about that freak anymore, anyway?"

SCARLETT JOHANSSON and NATALIE PORTMAN stole the limelight at the bash after Christina Aguilera's sell-out Wembley gig -- much to the chagrin of Xtina, who stormed out of her own party.

GWENYTH PALTROW finds dinner talk is far more interesting in the UK, 'cause it's not all business.

JENNIFER CONNELY: Folks are wondering whether she's got another bun in the oven.

OPRAH WINFREY is an "Oreo," according to rapper 50 Cent, who has not been invited o­n her show because she's not down with the G thang.

KEVIN SMITH: The director's iTunes Celebrity Playlists was rejected by Apple because the comments were too long. Couldn't have seen that coming! Anyway, he's posted the whole thing o­n his blog.

IRAQ: Some Sunni Muslim clerics are breaking with the militant Muslim Scholars Assn. Clerics representing the group in Basra, Nasiriya, Amarah and Samawah issued religious edicts banning the killing of all Iraqis, supporting reconstruction of a revered Shiite shrine and disavowing "any terrorist organization targeting the innocent blood of our people." A Sunni tribal militia battled suspected Al Qaeda fighters north of Fallujah and in Ramadi. Ramadi's police chief says the security forces have started to take over important responsibilities and missions that are having a great impact o­n Al Qaeda. The "Baghdad Sniper" has been arrested. The commander of coalition forces in northern Iraq says that four Iraqi Army divisions in his area would be put under Baghdad's control by next March. The Bush admin. is mulling whether to abandon reconciliation efforts with Sunni insurgents. The parliamentary bloc loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr announced a possible new political alliance with Sunnis and Christians, which may be prompted by Pres. Bush's scheduled meeting with Iraq's top Shia politician (a rival of al-Sadr).

LEBANON: Abu Kais has been blogging Hezbollah's mass demonstration and partial siege of Beirut, with civil war possible as sectarian clashes broke out o­n Sunday. Incidentally, I like that the press seems bound to refer to the legit gov't of Lebanon as "US-backed," even in stories that note it is also backed by France, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and pretty much everyone else except Iran and Syria.

GORBACHEV: Der Spiegel has a lengthy piece o­n previously undisclosed minutes of Politburo meetings published in Russia this month, which the paper thinks might get Mikhail Gorbachev the historical recognition he deserves. But if you read far enough, you discover that Gorbachev ultimately advocated arms contol because the USSR could not compete with Reagan's space defense program. Which is something I knew from a fairly high-placed source at the time, so it's nice to have it o­n the record.

THE SNAKE KING of Taiping died kissing a King Cobra. You always hurt the o­ne you love.

A RABID BAT was found crawling o­n a woman's ankle at a movie theater in Uvalde, TX.

PIGS get bored, which is a problem because farmers in the UK are legally required to provide an outlet to stop pigs from becoming aggressive. Sounds to me like a business expansion opportunity for Confuse-a-Cat.

ONLINE DATING for GiRAFFES? Or is it more like arranged marriages?

COPS TASER A PYTHON found in a home near Uniontown, PA. Police found a man kneeling o­n the basement floor of the home with the eight-foot albino snake wrapped around his left arm, eating the man's left hand.

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Billy Idol, Lucinda Williams, Talking Heads, Cutout Bin, the Big Duck   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, December 01, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

THE WEEKEND STARTS HERE...

...with HARDROCK, COCO & JOE: If you grew up with this cartoon as a holiday tradition, you'll find it charming; if not, you'll probably find it demented, not least because they're not elves, they're dwarves. And because of the yodeling. And because they call it a story "so queer." NTTAWWT. If you recognize this cartoon, you will likely recognize "Suzy Snowflake" (a total chick flick) and the jazzy take o­n "Frosty the Snowman" as well.

THE WIGGLES: Yellow Wiggle Greg Page is forced to retire due to orthostatic intolerance. He will be replaced by Sammy Hagar.

THE JACKIN' POP POLL: The New York Times reports that Idolator approached deposed Village Voice critic Robert Christgau about editing its proposed o­nline successor to the VV Pazz & Jop Critics' Poll, but he declined: "My wife was not happy that I was fired, but she was overjoyed that Pazz & Jop was out of our lives. We hope to go to Puerto Rico in early January." Bonus points for the headline -- "Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bloggy."

BILLY IDOL: You can see and hear some of his Christmas goods, from a CD available exclusively at Best Buy stores, via MySpace.

LUCINDA WILLIAMS and her dad, poet Miller Williams, talk about each other's influence with the L.A. Times.

TALKING HEADS with ADRIAN BELEW: Both featured in the early Pate setlists, so I could not resist this scary Super 8 bootleg footage of "Life During Wartime" and "Psycho Killer," both of which feature scorching Belew solos.

THE SNEAKERS, which launched the careers of dB's Chris Stamey and Will Rigby, and Mitch Easter of Let

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Richard Thompson, Advance Of Montreal, Oasis, and Zombie Chickens   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, November 30, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

YOU THINK WE LOOK PRETTY GOOD TOGETHER? Richard Thompson and his nimble fingers knock down a version of The Who's "Substitute" in Cleveland, circa 1989.

THE JACKIN' POP POLL: Idolator is trying to supplant the Village Voice Pazz & Jop poll, now that the VV has fired Robert Christgau and Chuck Eddy. Idolator will send ballots to 1200 critics, with the effort to be edited by Michaelangelo Matos -- a Seattle-based music critic and author of the 33 1/3 book o­n Sign O' The Times.

OF MONTREAL: You can stream the band's upcoming album, Hissing Fauna Are You The Destroyer? in its entirety, via the band's label. (Thanks, YANP.)

STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER: It was 40 years ago -- though perhaps not today -- that the sessions that would become Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band began with the recording of this classic track. London's Independent has the backstory. I hooked you up with a documentary o­n its recording at the beginning of October.

OASIS: You can stream Noel Gallagher and Gem playing at Le Cabaret Sauvage via MSN.

IT'S "HEY YA," Charlie Brown! Shake it like a Polaroid picture! (not really.)

FRENCH KICKS get a good review in Glide magazine for their glossy, 80s-style pop. You can stream a bunch via the HM, though I prefer the less synthy stuff like "Trying Whining" and "So Far We Are."

ROUGH TRADE is having a rough time. A projected financial loss this year may cause Sanctuary Group to sell its 49 percent interest in the veterean indie label.

JOLIE HOLLAND stays away from trying to slap a o­ne-word label -- like "Americana" or "folk" o­n her music... and rightly so. You can still stream some of her idiosyncratic stuff o­n the HM.

HOLIDAY MIX: The Late Greats posted a trove of tunes for the season. You can jukebox 'em o­n the HM -- just scroll down to Nov. 24th and click "listen" next to the song with which you want to start. As a teaser, you might try James Brown's "Funky Christmas" and Tom Waits covering "Silent Night."

BRITNEY SPEARS has ditched plans to co-host the Billboard Music Awards with the French Hotel next week. Maybe the pop tart's "people" are telling her that the heiress is fast becoming PR poison. Yet Spears was without panties again, which has to be a concern to biz people. In Touch magazine claims that Fed-Ex was having an affair with former p0rn star and exotic dancer Kendra Jade a full month before Spears filed for divorce. Actually, I believe they prefer to be called "adult film actresses." Meanwhile, the Dixie Chicks devoted a song to Fed-Ex during their gig in L.A. The Chicks apparently won't rest until they have offended everyone.

LINDSAY LOHAN: As noted previously, La lohan would like to play Stevie Nicks in a Fleetwood Mac biopic. TMZ has video of Li-Lo singing "The Edge of Seventeen" at a Beverly Hills karaoke joint.

PAM ANDERSON-KID ROCK BREAK-UPDATE: Rock's camp is putting out the word that the couple split because he was tired of staying home with the kids while she was out partying. Pam's rep denies that Rock ever single-parented her kids, natch.

MADONNA: Human rights organizations will help decide whether Madge is fit to adopt a Malawian toddler, a judge ruled Wednesday.

LEONARDO DiCAPRIO does not want to hear about your petty problems after spending six months filming Blood Diamond in poverty-stricken Mozambique. And he pledge funds to support an orphan girl, as well her orphanage in South Africa. But he has no plans to have children of his own, adding, "I'm not married right now." So old-fashioned, that Leo.

IS KIRSTEN DUNST PREGNANT? The super-reliable Star magazine's e-mail newsletter claims that Dunst is wearing baggy clothing, ordering big boxes of chocolate, complaining of lower back pain and nausea during filming Spider-Man 3, and asking about the pregnancy of co-star Tobey Maguire's fianc

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Trip Shakespeare, Jay Bennett, Field Music, and Florida Panthers   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, November 29, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

TWO MILLION PAGE VIEWS: Barring a tech meltdown, this site will probably break that mark today. Thanks again to Lance for keeping things running, and to y'all for stopping by!

TRIP SHAKESPEARE: Long before Dan Wilson and John Munson hit the charts as Semisonic with "Closing Time," they were in Trip Shakespeare with Dan's brother Matt and percussionist Elaine Harris. Their style was indie, but with really strong harmony singing and an attention to melodic songwriting that surely influenced Semisonic. I saw their first show outside their Twin Cities homebase (maybe you did, too) and was impressed particularly with "Pearle," which first appeared o­n the Applehead Man EP, later re-recorded for the band's major label debut, Across the Universe. You can watch the video -- shot at the legendary First Avenue -- at the last link and stream a few more songs o­n a fan-maintained MySpace page.

A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS: Vince Guaraldi's classic score -- and the story behind it -- get a streaming feature at NPR.

CHRISTMAS MUSIC PICKS: The critics of the Fort-Worth Star-Telegram compile playlists of songs. At NPR, Weekend Edition Sunday musical director Ned Wharton has streaming samples from his album picks, which range from Smoosh to Bootsy Collins. The latter also makes it o­nto an album list at PopMatters, which includes an embedded video from Twisted Sister.

THE LITTLE ONES have gotten good buzz over the past few months from music blogs like Good Hodgkins and *Sixeyes, but I didn't give 'em a listen until Frank at Chromewaves had some kind words the weekend before last. You can stream their hook-laden, pastel pop from MySpace.

THE PITCHFORK EFFECT: This story's been done and done, but the Guardian has good stuff from musicians o­n the impact of websites like Pitchfork and PopMatters o­n their careers, including a funny o­ne from Jof Owen of The Boy Least Likely To -- who had not heard of Pitchfork until they got reviewed in April 2005. There's also a recap of some classic Pitchfork reviews, so RTWT. Also, Slate has a new piece titled, "Die, Pichfork, Die!"

VAN SHE is classified o­n MySpace as "Black Metal/Powerpop/Techno." I'm not sure about Black Metal -- it would be more accurate to call them "the band that would be soundtracking the next teen comedy from John Hughes, if he still made teen comedies." Even the video for "Kelly" is chock full of 80s refs. You can also stream a few from the aforementioned social networking site.

JAY BENNETT talks to PopMatters about his solo career and the way his departure from Wilco is portrayed in I Am Trying to Break Your Heart: "Strangely enough, I go back and forth as to whether I really am vilified in that movie. I have to admit."

NORFOLK & WESTERN blog the Thanksgiving traffic o­n I-40 in North Carolina, and more in their tour diary for Portland's Local Cut. You cans stream some of their eclectic folk-rock via the HM.

FIELD MUSIC is a British band I overlooked when I did the imaginary SXSW series, but Stereogum has posted two new tracks, "Give It Lose It Take It" and "Sitting Tight," that are pretty neat -- angular instrumental parts with nifty vocal harmonies.

THE FUTUREHEADS have been dropped by their label, but are ready to rawk.

DANNY FIELDS, who signed The Stooges, Nico, David Peel and the MC5 to Elektra, and later managed The Ramones, explains why he thinks the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is "kind of an evil institution."

BRITNEY SPEARS: The French Hotel is a bad influence o­n the pop tart, who is slacking o­n her comeback recording schedule and really, really needs to wear panties. (very NSFW.) She might also want to avoid pics of her carrying her wine glass to the car and getting behind the wheel. People -- and by "people," I mean "I" -- might start wondering whether this gives Fed-Ex some traction in child custody negotiations. New pals Lindsay Lohan and the French Hotel may have been happily hanging with Spears Monday -- so much so that they took a little nap in their car -- but London's Sun has video of the pair catfighting last Saturday night. BONUS: Sunday, La Lohan was snapped buying designer handcuffs.

PAM ANDERSON-KID ROCK BREAK-UPDATE: Friends say they're shocked by the split, but o­ne source told Page Six it was due to Rock's "male insecurity and major anger issues," with a blow-up at a Borat screening being the final straw. Speaking of Borat, the film's massive success may have Universal already feeling buyer's remorse about the 42 million laid out for Sacha Baron Cohen's Bruno project, with fears of additional lawsuits and that Cohen's cover may be permanently blown.

THE McCARTNEYS: Sir Paul is swamped for autographs at rare public appearance in London, while estranged wife Heather Mills announces a celebrity auction to a couple of office workers eating their sandwiches. Mills also seems to be a recurring target for celebs at awards shows.

KATE HUDSON-CHRIS ROBINSON BREAK-UPDATE: Is Owen "The Butterscotch Stallion" Wilson planning to propose to Hudson before she's officially divorced?

MICHAEL RICHARDS CRACK-UPDATE: The Rev. Jesse Jackson called for a boycott of the latest Seinfeld DVD, a way of exacting economic punishment for the ex-Kramer's racist meltdown. Which would explain why Richards did a separate apology o­n Jackson's syndicated radio show. Huffington Post blogger Trey Ellis advised Richards to stop apologizing, especially to the likes of Jackson and the Rev. Al Sharpton (even while excusing Jackson's "Hymietown" remark as an "ill-chosen quip"). Meanwhile, Richards' crisis-management expert is busy explaining Richards' bogus claim of being Jewish. Maybe the Rev. Jackson would have accepted the apology if he had known Richards wasn't a tribesman.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Britains uber-reliable Daily Star claims that the couple may release a rendition of "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling," though record labels are allegedly loathe to have the money go to Scientology. That's about as believable as Holmes' dad really approving of the (non-Catholic) marriage. More believably, Giorgio Armani sewed a girdle into Cruise's undergarment for the wedding to cover up Maverick's recent weight gain. And it is believable that the couple may have lost that lovin' feeling -- London's super-reliable Sun claims the couple fought before and after the wedding, with Holmes upset to be yanked away from her parents to honeymoon with Cruise's Scientology-honcho best man.

MADONNA: How the mighty have fallen -- her TV tour special tanked in the ratings. Madge was beaten by a Fox rerun of Cheaper by the Dozen and Univision's telenovela, La Fea Mas Bella.

JESSICA BIEL and DEREK JETER took their canoodling tour to Vegas over the post-Thanksgiving weekend.

REESE & RYAN BREAK-UPDATE: Witherspoon is reportedly growing close to Jake Gyllenhaal o­n the set of their new movie Rendition. Jake has been her shoulder to cry o­n, according to US Weekly.

PETRA NEMCOVA says she is "very much in love" with singer James Blunt, dismissing rumors they had split and that she was with Def jam honcho Russell Simmons. I am so disappointed, I can't even post her picture right now.

HEROES MARATHON: If you regret not having tuned into this season's hit series, the Sci Fi Channel is airing the first six episodes tonight, starting at 6 p.m. ET. Sci-Fi also reruns the week's new episodes Fridays at 7 p.m. ET.

THE INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARDS nominees are announced, with Little Miss Sunshine and Half-Nelson leading the contenders with five noms apiece. Coming Soon has the full list.

WHO IS CAPT. JAMIL HUSSEIN, Pt. II: The AP calls CENTCOM's questioning of the legitimacy of o­ne of its sources "frankly ludicrous," apparently because the "police captain cited in our story has long been known to the AP reporters..." The AP is incurious as to why Capt. Hussein is apparently not known to the Iraqi government (even though the AP knows about infiltration of the IP). The AP ignores CENTCOM's point that the Interior ministry forbids anyone below the level of chief to be an Iraqi Police spokesperson, which is what the AP calls Hussein. The AP also ignores that "another AP-popular IP spokesman, Lt. Maithem Abdul Razzaq, supposedly of the city's Yarmouk police station, does not work at that police station and is also not authorized to speak o­n behalf of the IP" -- and is apparently wanted for questioning. The AP's non-response does not surprise me, as it's basically what they did in the case of Salam Daher in Lebanon.

IRAQ: At ITM, Mohammed writes about the fear and organization in his mixed neighborhood during the curfew period in Baghdad. Bill Roggio examines claims by Tom Ricks of the Washington Post about the state of Anbar province, with his military sources "furious" that the story is being politicized. ABCNews reports that Pentagon officials are considering moving US forces out of Anbar province to join the fight in Baghdad. Hey, I wish I had thought of that. And if it happens, maybe Anbar isn't as bad off as the WaPo suggests.

IRAN, btw, is reportedly training members of Moktada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army in both Lebanon and Iraq. Because all the mullahs want to do is give peace a chance.

PANTHERS will take up the slack in Florida, should the gators be defeated.

RACOONS invade Brooklyn. Where they came from is anyone

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