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MGMT, New Releases, Sharon Jones, Drunken Carp   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, January 15, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


MGMT, a buzz band from Brooklyn, divides the hipper-than-thou hipster boho community, but they wore some bitchin' capes on Letterman, so you can watch "Time to Pretend" and make up your own mind.  Nice ending, guys.

NEW RELEASES:  Magnetic Fields, The Whigs, Dirty On Purpose and Ringo Starr are streaming in full via Spinner.

BJÖRK allegedly attacked a photographer - ripping his shirt in half - after he snapped her early-morning arrival at Auckland International Airport, the New Zealand Herald reported Monday.  According to a later story in the Herald, neither Jeffrey nor the newspaper planned to press charges.  People magazine can link you to the video of her last attack of a reporter.

SHARON and the DAP-KINGS stopped by the studios at WFUV for a chat and mini-set; you can stream both or just the music via NPR.  This actually dates to the release of the current album, but Jones talks about her career and her other jobs, like being a prison guard at Riker's Island.

YO LA TENGO:  Ira Kaplan tells the U of GA's Black & Red that he finds touring unsettling... and "it would be weird if it wasn't."  (Thx, LHB.)

JIMI HENDRIX plays "Voodoo Chile," "Hey, Joe" and Cream's "Sunshine Of your Love," live on the Lulu Show in 1969.  It's like Twofer Tuesday... but it's one more.

VAMPIRE WEEKEND talks with Billboard about touching up their debut LP and plotting a tour.

JULIANA HATFIELD:  Timedoor covers her lost God's Foot album, which should have come out in 1996.  Posted tracks include "Chance Is Waiting" from the album and an outtake titled "I Didn't Know."

ARCHITECTURE in HELSINKI did the four free songs for stream or download for Daytrotter.

BRITISH SEA POWER:  At Chromewaves, Frank Yang has an advance (good) review for Do You Like Rock Music?, due on February 12th, along with your A/V linkage.

BRITNEY SPEARS still may not visit her children, a court commissioner ruled Monday, following a custody hearing the pop wreck missed.  In a bizarre and chaotic scene outside the courthouse, Spears arrived for the afternoon session of the proceedings - but abruptly left the courthouse after paparazzi surrounded her.  Sources tell TMZ the Commissioner now views mental health -- not substance abuse -- as the root of Britney's problems. Commissioner Scott Gordon was definitely influenced by Brit's no-show and was deeply concerned that her instability posed a danger to her children.  Speaking of whch, "The boys are doing fantastic," a source close to the family tells PageSix.com, "but they have not asked for their mom even once since Kevin has had them full-time."  Yesterday, she had a public screaming fit in her wacky British accent.  BONUS:  The News of the World claims that Spears may convert to Islam to marry her already married paparazzo boyfriend Adnan Ghalib, while the equally-reliable Express reports she intends to marry in a Scientology ceremony.  Maybe the truth is that Ghalib still talks to his wife and is fleecing Spears for his work as glorified gofer.

THE FRENCH HOTEL told her fans at the club LAX, "I want to f*** you all!"  Which, in her case, might not have been an exaggeration.

BEYONCE KNOWLES is rumored to be married to and pregnant by Jay-Z, according to the ever-reliable London Mirror.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON will make her directorial debut as part of a Woody Allen-helmed project showcasing 12 short films.

JESSICA SIMPSON:  Bitter, deranged Dallas Cowboys fans are blaming the pneumatic blonde for the team's plyoff loss after QB Tony Romo vacationed with her in Mexico.  And it makes wide recever Terrell Owens cry.  While they're at it, why don't they blame Lynsey Nordstrom, the Simpson impersonator pictured above hired by the New York Post to roam the stadium before gametime?  Nordstrom told the New Jersey Star-Ledger  she was paid her usual fee -- $500 for the first hour and $250 for each following hour.

ANNA NICOLE SMITH IS STILL DEAD, but her daughter Dannielynn may require eye surgery for strabismus, which is a turning in of one of her eyes.

MARY J. BLIGE:  The Grammy-winning singer blasted a report linking her and other A-list celebrities to doctors and pharmacists targeted in a statewide steroid investigation.  Yes, really.

REESE WITHERSPOON stay grounded by having children who've barfed on her shoes before award shows.

AWARDS SEASON:  Speaking of which, only a Hollywood rag like Variety would photoshop a picture to compare the Golden Globes collapse to the evacuation of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War.  You stay classy, Tinseltown!

CLOVERFIELD:  The NY Post lists the seven deadly signs that the mystery monster movie is this year's Snakes on a Plane.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  Despite legal threats, Andrew Morton's biography of Cruise has emboldened other critics, one of whom flagged Scientology promotional videos found online.  The clips were yanked within a half-hour of being publicized on various websites, but US Weekly has some transcript of it, while The Huffington Post has screenshots.  BONUS:  Slate has condnsed all of the juicy bits of the Cruise bio.

JENNA JAMESON announced her retirement from that sort of video at the AVN in Vegas over the weekend.

GLOBAL WARMING:  Sir David King, the former chief scientific adviser who is credited with convincing Tony Blair of the urgency of global warming, now thinks some parts of the green movement are in danger of going too far: "There is a suspicion, and I have that suspicion myself, that a large number of people who label themselves 'green' are actually keen to take us back to the 18th or even the 17th century."  The answer to climate change, he says, is in embracing technology and technological solutions, not rejecting them.

IRAN:  Pres. Bush is privately disowning the most recent National Intelligence Estimate on Iran to help to quiet a rising chorus of voices inside Israel's defense community that are calling for unilateral military action against the Islamic theocracy's nuclear program.

IRAQ:  Eager to cement current security gains, the US military has shifted its strategy from the streets to the corridors of power in a high-stakes effort to persuade Iraq's wary Shiite leaders to put thousands of predominantly Sunni men, many of them former insurgents, on the government payroll.  Sheikh Ahmed Abu Reesha, leader of the "Anbar Awakening" that has ended much of AQI's hold over western Iraq, warned that an early pullout of US troops would spark a return of savage sectarian violence and be "disastrous."  The Iraqi defense minister says his nation would not be able to take full responsibility for its internal security until 2012, nor be able on its own to defend Iraq's borders from external threat until at least 2018.  The head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps slipped into the green zone of Baghdad last month to press Tehran's hardline position over the terms of the current talks with American officials, it was claimed last week.  Operation Iron Harvest in the north has resulted in 60 al Qaeda fighters killed and 193 suspects captured since last week. Seven AQI fighters were killed in clashes south of Baqubah. Iraqi Special Forces captured an IED cell leader in Mosul.  A senior Sadrist leader was killed in Baghdad.

A CHINESE CHICKEN thought dead survives two days in the freezer: "No, no, I will never eat it. I will keep it as a magic charm," Gan Shugen said.

A SHARK is celebrating an extrordinary virgin birth in a Hungarian aquarium.  Will it walk on land?

TWO LEOPARDS run free in Africa for the first time, following 20 years in captivity.  Let's go to the Andy Wiliams.

A GATOR ATTACK on three dogs in Delray Beach, FL has left one canine presumed dead.

DRUNKEN CARP are all part of the fun of a Shinto ceremony dating back to the Edo Period in Japan.  Pic at the link.

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Polyphonic Spree, Jason, Bon Iver, Louis the Octopus   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, January 14, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


THE POLYPHONIC SPREE is premiering the video for "We Crawl" -- which involved acclaimed indie film maker Dante Harper issuing cameras and loose instructions all 23 members of the band -- at JamBase, which is also running a contest with a signed Spree robe as the prize.

JASON RINGENBERG talks to the Southern Illinoisian about the breadth of his carrer, from his start in Carbondale, IL, to his children's rock persona, Farmer Jason.  The article also raisies an intersting point about southern Illinois as an incubator for Americana music.

BON IVER:  Justin Vernon's backstory of recording in the woods of Wisconsin is told by the Mpls. Star-Tribune, which has also posted several streaming tracks from For Emma, Forever Ago.

DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS:  There is an advance review of the upcoming Brighter Than Creation's Dark album at the 'Gum.

RILO KILEY stopped by the World Cafe for a chat and mini-set, streaming on demand from NPR.

THE FORTUNES' biggest hit was "You've Got Your Troubles (I've Got Mine)," played here at the 1966 NME poll winners' concert.  Lead singer Ron Allen's troubles are over; he died over the weekend of liver cancer.  He was 63.

STEVE EARLE talks about playing for and acting in HBO's The Wire.  His hip-hoppin' take on Tom Waits' "'Way Down in the Hole" is also streaming there.

WOXY TO GO:  No, the Internet radio station is not folding again.  Rather, its blog is offering free and legal downloads from its current playlist.

SON VOLT 2.0:  Jay Farrar talks to the Gary Post-Tribune about the similarities and differences between the new line-up and the Nineties version.

AMY WINEHOUSE could miss her big Grammy appearance because she won't kick drugs fast enough to pass a drug test.  And blonde is not her color.

PETE DOHERTY is dating a stunning young catwalk model who has been tipped by fashion experts as the next Kate Moss.  Based on the pic at the link, I don't see it. 

BRITNEY SPEARS:  Fed-Ex's attorney will ask the court today that the Spears's visitation rights "be cut off completely until the trial in April," a source close to the case tells Usmagazine.com.  However, a source close to Britney's lawyer tells PageSix.com that Commissioner Scott Gordon is expected to reinstate the pop wreck's visitation with very limited and brief visits.  Meanwhile, the pop tart continued her bizarre behavior. going out in her old wedding dress with her new boyfriend, married British paparazzo Adnan Ghalib.

ROGER AVARY, the Oscar-winning co-screenwriter of Pulp Fiction (and most recently co-writer on Beowulf) was arrested Sunday on suspicion of manslaughter and driving under the influence after a Ventura County car crash that killed a man and injured Avary's wife.

TINSELTOWN BABY BOOM:  Nicole Richie & Joel Madden, Christina Aguilera, David Allen Grier and Courtney Thorne-Smith all became parents in a 24-hour span.  ALSO: Stella McCartney.

THE McCARTNEYS:  Speaking of which, Heather Mills snubbed her neighbors when she celebrated her 40th birthday bash Saturday night - so they blasted out Beatles hits as her guests arrived.  Sir Paul spent £8,000 on birthday gifts for Mills -- while she was secretly hiring an ex-SAS trooper and former M15 spy to try and make Sir Paul look like a bad dad.

O.J. SIMPSON returned to jail on Friday, where he will spend several days before a judge hears allegations that he violated terms of his bail in an armed robbery case.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  Cruise and Holmes were spotted dining with the French Hotel after the premiere of Katie's new film Mad Money.

NICOLE KIDMAN faces a difficult family decision over where to deliver her baby.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE:  The Bucket List took the top slot with 19.5 million, largely on the star power of Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.  It's a good opening for Jack, though I doubt it will have the legs of movies like Something's Gotta Give.  First Sunday was just behind at 19 million; Screen Gems had a similar opening for Stomp The Yard 52 weeks ago.  But the real story continues to be Juno, which slipped only 11 percent to third (from the second-place it got when last weekend's actual receipts were tallied.  With a gross over 71 million, Juno is about to pass Sideways as the biggest earner ever for Fox Searchlight and will likely break the 100 million mark with ease.  Atonement, clinging to the bottom rung of the Top Ten, fell off 15 percent in expanded release.  I suspect that it would do better if the writers' strike was not wrecking shows like the Golden Globes.  Charlie Wilson's War, which could also use awards show PR, has fallen out of the Top Ten.

GOLDEN GLOBES:  Speaking of which, Atonement won Best Drama, with the full list of winners at the link.  Juno wuz robbed, though tens of millions of dollars probably eases the disappointment.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON is being asked by Courtney Love to play her in the new £30million movie about life with tragic rocker husband Kurt Cobain, who reportedly will be played by Ryan Gosling (though I'll bet that's a "Courtney wants" thing also).

BRADGELINA:  Pitt is not getting his own museum in his hometown of Springfield, Missouri.

VIVICA A. FOX says, "Vivica does not have a sex tape. If I did, I would be making my own money off of it."  Vivica sometimes refers to Vivica in the third person.

JEREMY PIVEN is pursuing burlesque babe Dita Von Teese, who was just officially divored from Marilyn Manson.

THE HOBBIT, Pt 2:  Elijah Wood talks about the possibility that the Lord of the Rings cast may appear in the planned film bridging The Hobbit and the Tolkien trilogy.

HARRY POTTER UPDATE:  Crew working on the sixth Potter film, Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince, have been told J.K. Rowling's seventh novel, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, will be released in two halves.

CLOVERFIELD:  GreenCine rounds up advance buzz on the mystery monster movie.  You can watch exclusive TV spots at Premiere Daily and Fandango.

MIDEAST MYSTERY:  The puzzling site in Syria that Israeli jets bombed in September grew more curious on Friday with the release of a satellite photograph showing new construction there that resembles the site's former main building.  If international inspectors eventually get to the site, he added, they will have a more difficult time looking for nuclear evidence. David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, noted:"The new building covers whatever remained of the destroyed one."

IRAN:  The story of last week's clash in the Strait of Hormuz between the US Navy and Iranian gunboats also gets stranger over time.  The threatening radio transmission heard during the incident may have come from a locally famous heckler known among ship drivers as the "Filipino Monkey."  And the objects dropped by the Iranian boats apparently posed no threat.  However, the incident eerily echoed a 2002 wargame in which the US "lost" 16 major warships.  US sailors have not forgotten how a small boat that hid among refueling and garbage vessels off a port in Yemen detonated alongside the American destroyer Cole in October 2000, killing 17 Americans and crippling the warship.  Also, sources within Iran's ministry of foreign affairs claim that Pres. Ahmadinejad was kept in the dark about the decision to challenge the US ships until after the confrontation had ended. He is understood to have been unhappy about the action, which was ordered by hardline elements in the country's Revolutionary Guard.  Which is unsettling on its face and in its implication that the Guard is more hardline than Ahmadinejad.

IRAQ:  Iraq's parliament unanimously passed a benchmark law Saturday allowing lower-ranking former members of Saddam Hussein's Baath party to reclaim government jobs, the first major piece of US-backed legislation it has adopted.  The Interior Ministry claimed Friday that AQI has been successfully penetrated by means of a recently formed government security apparatus and is virtually an "open book."  Two senior AQI operatives were killed along with 32 foot soldiers during fighting in Arab Jabour, Miqdadiyah, and the Samarra region as part of Operation Phantom Phoenix.  Light snow fell in Baghdad early on Friday in what weather officials said was the first time in about a 100 years; delighted residents declared it an omen of peace.

THE MILITARY and the MEDIA:  The New York Times has launched "War Torn," a "series of articles and multimedia about veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who have committed killings, or been charged with them, after coming home."  The Army responds that the NYT's statistics "appear to be based on a basic review of American newspaper crime stories from 2004 to 2006, rather than statistics provided by the U.S. Army or the Department of Defense, or even any interviews with military medical or judicial professionals."  Bloggers who disagree over Iraq -- like Phil Carter and Marc Danziger --  agree that the statistics are misleading.  Bruce Kesler notes this is consistent with a media that inflates the extent of PSTD among members of the military.

NINETEEN BALD EAGLES died in Alaska on Friday after gorging themselves on a truck full of fish waste outside a processing plant.

LOUIS the OCTOPUS is so attached to his Mr Potato Head that he turns aggressive when aquarium staff try to remove it from his tank.  Pic at the link.

A DOPE-SMOKING MONKEY needs a new home.  Nobby was caught up a 1997 police raid after being photographed puffing on a hash bong in Southend, Essex.

A STOLEN PUPPY was found on Kitty Street.  Who would look there?

SNAKE BALLS UPDATE:  The golf balls surgically removed from a python which swallowed them thinking they were hen eggs have been sold on eBay for $1401.

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Beatles, Black Mt., Blakes, Cutout Bin, Glowing Piglets   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, January 11, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



...with THE BEATLES!  In 1965-66, at Twickenham Film Studios, The Beatles videotaped a series of B&W promos, all produced by a British company, Intertel.  These videos were meant to be aired on shows like Hullaballoo and Top of the Pops.  Some never aired; the rest have been rarely seen until Al Gore invented the Internets.  Today's selections are:  "Help!" "Ticket To Ride," "Day Tripper," "Rain" and "Paperback Writer."

LED ZEPPELIN:  John Paul Jones tells Rolling Stone, "There is a band meeting in January," among other things.

BLACK MOUNTAIN:  Jeremy Schmidt lists a few of his favorite things for Pitchfork's Guest List feature.  Fans of Lee Hazlewood and Harry Nilsson will want to read it.  Rolling Stone belatedly names the heavy psych-folk band a "breaking artist," complete with a profile and video.  You can stream a few, including one from the album due Jan 22, from BlackMtSpace.

BONO pressed French Pres. Sarkozy to raise development assistance from .31 percent of gross national income to 0.7 percent by 2012 as agreed earlier.

PHONOGRAPH, who gently stretch the bounds of Americana with a dash of electronica, stopped by the World Cafe for a mini-set, streaming via NPR.

THE BLAKES, from Seattle, play some rock that somehow echoes the mid-60s with a dash of punk, without sounding retro on "Don't Bother Me."

THE A-SIDES did an unpluggedy Daytrotter session with four streaming and downloadable tracks.

AVRIL LAVIGNE has settled a lawsuit that accused her of plagiarizing her summer hit single, "Girlfriend," from the Rubinoos power-pop classic, "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend."

YO LA TENGO:  Creative Loafing talks to Guitarist and lead songwriter/vocalist Ira Kaplan and notes the band has been inspired by the remarks of baseball and basketball players.

AMY WINEHOUSE & PETE DOHERTY are the odds-on favorites for "celebrity most likely to be sent to jail in 2008," according to British bookmaker William Hill.

CUTOUT BIN:  From John Lee Hooker to Big Star, from Chuck Berry to Beck, this Friday's fortuitous finds -- with covers a-plenty -- can be jukeboxed or streamed individually on the Pate page at the ol' HM.

JAMIE LYNN SPEARS:  A source close to the knocked up 16-year-old is denying a report that she was dumped by boyfriend Casey Aldridge because he doubts he is the father.

BRITNEY SPEARS made a run south of the border with married paparazzo Adnan Ghalib.  Meanwhile, US Weekly reports that police found at least one bite and several bruises on son Jayden James when they arrived at her home to end last week's custody standoff.  BONUS:  An internal memo shows that Spears is a priority for the Associated Press.

LINDSAY LOHAN is rumored to have gone on a romantic date with Entourage's Adrian Grenier.  Radar has a transcript of Grenier's uber-suave pick-up lines, which I think would work on Li-Lo.

NOT PREGNANT:  Pam Anderson and Avril Lavigne.

HALLE BERRY, otoh, is quite pregnant and wants "to stay pregnant forever."  It's good for her skin.  And she has taken up golf.

BRADGELINA, meanwhile, hope to get pregnant soon,

NOW SHOWING:  This week's wide releases include The Bucket List, currently scoring 42 percent on the ol' Tomatometer; the crime comedy First Sunday, currently scoring 21 percent; In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, which was not screened for critics; and the animated The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything, which is scoring 57 percent.  Atonement goes near-wide on 950 screens with its 84 percent score.  The Kite Runner expands to 715 screens, scoring 65 percent.  Foreign suspense flick The Orphanage expands to 707 screens with 83 percent.  And there is till the adorable Juno at 93 percent, and Charlie Wilson's War at 81 percent.

JUNO, btw, has a delightful screenplay written by an ex-stripper from Lemont, Illinois.  The stripping, however, was done in Mpls.

MADONNA has conned both UNICEF USA and Gucci into helping her raise money for the Kabbalah Center and her patron gurus, the Berg Family.  OTOH, Madge reportedly spends 10K a month on specially blessed Kabbalah water, so she's conning herself, too.

MISCHA BARTON phoned into "On Air with Ryan Seacrest" and called her recent DUI a major disappointment -- and something she never intends to do again.  Oddly enough, I rarely hear people busted for DUI announce their intent to do it again.

THE HOLLYWOOD WRITERS' STRIKE is about more than the writers.

THE DARK KNIGHT:  The trailer for the Batman Begins sequel is remixed for 1966.

GRATUITOUS FRIDAY:  Transformers' Megan Fox, Natalie Portman and Leo DiCaprio's gf, supermodel Bar Rafeli, all courtesy of Egotastic.

PAKISTAN:  An ethnic Pashtun tribe vowed on Thursday to raise a militia aimed at forcing al Qaeda-linked foreign militants from their lands on the Afghan border.  Shades of Iraq?

IRAN:  After the US Navy released the video of Iranian speedboats swarming around US warships, which featured a chilling threat in English, the Navy is saying that the voice on the tape could have come from the shore or from another ship.  The Navy never said specifically where the voices came from, but many were left with the impression they had come from the speedboats because of the way the Navy footage was edited.  The US sent a formal protest to Iran on Thursday over the incident.  Meanwhile, Iran's supreme court has confirmed that two youths found guilty of rape will receive 100 lashes each before being cast off a cliff.

IRAQ:  American bombers and fighterst dropped 40K pounds of bombs on suspected militant hide-outs, storehouses and defensive positions in the southern outskirts of Baghdad on Thursday, in support of Operation Phantom Phoenix.  Anbar province will be returned to Iraqi control in March.  NPR has a report on progress by the Iraqi Army and police.  On Thursday, newspapers in Baghdad went on the attack, accusing al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden of fueling sectarian sedition in the country.  Time magazine has a piece on how far Baghdad still is from normal.  An estimated 151K Iraqi civilians have been killed in the violence that has engulfed the country from the time of the US-led invasion until June 2006, according to the latest and largest study of deaths carried out by the World Health Organization and the Iraqi health ministry. That estimate substantially lower than the 601K death toll reported by US researchers in 2006.  The National Journal has come out with a devastating critique of the Lancet's report.

GLOW-IN-THE-DARK CLONED PIG passes the gene to its offspring.  Cue Mr. Burns!

BABY MICE on a PLANE!  Okay, not so scary, but they were quarantined.

GEMIMA, the "crooked-necked giraffe," had to be put to sleep Wednesday, having lived to the ripe old age (for giraffes) of 21.  Pics at the link.

DOG BITES BOY, saves his life.

DOGS & CATS:  Oscar the dog and his best friend, Arthur the cat, have a friendship which has lasted past death.  Cute... and creepy!

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Nick Cave, She & Him, Nicole Atkins, Knut Redux   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, January 10, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


NICK CAVE and the BAD SEEDS have posted the video for "Dig, Lazarus, Dig!"  And we can dig it!

SHE & HIM:  Actress-singer Zooey Deschanel talked about her upcoming album with M. Ward on KCRW.  The Playlist has posted MP3s from the duo, including a cover of Smokey Robinson's "You Really Got A Hold On Me."  So did tkincher.  (Thx Chromewaves, where Frank Yang also posted their cover of Richard & Linda Thomspon's "When I Get To The Border."

LINDA STEIN:  More details have emerged about a possible motive behind the alleged killing of the former Ramones manager by her assistant Natavia Lowery.  New reports allege that Lowery was stealing from Stein for months before the murder.

BEST OF 2007:  You can stream eight hours of the year's top 97 Modern Rock and Alternative albums at WOXY.  The full list is also at the link.

NEKO CASE has booked a half-dozen dates around the Northeast to try out some new songs from her next album.  While you're waiting for that, the demo for "Behind The House," previously available only on the Live From Austin City Limits CD, is now freely downloadable from the news page on Case's website (not the downloads section; go figure).

NICOLE ATKINS and the SEA deliver an energetic take on her "Maybe Tonight" for Conan O'Brien.

CAT POWER:  Chan Marshall is blogging her charity mission through India, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, and Tanzania.

JOHN C. REILLY & THE HARD WALKERS stopped by the World Cafe for a chat and mini-set of songs from the movie, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.


THE MUSIC INDUSTRY vs. ACADEMIA:  Music execs claim illegal file-sharing is kiling them; economists disagree.

BRITNEY SPEARS:  The photo agency that employs the popwreck's roadtrip buddy is shopping around semi-nude pics of Spears, and reportedly have licensed them to an Aussie rag for a paltry 57K, instead of the multi-million-dollar asking price.  The LAPD officers slapped Spears with a temporary restraining order last Thursday night during her custody standoff.  Dad Jamie tried to have Spears committed.  The pop tart reportedly is afraid to seek treatment because she fears she will lose her kids forever.

JAMIE LYNN SPEARS:  The 18-year-old beau of Britney's 16-year-old knocked-up sister has marriage on his mind, according to OK! magazine.  No word on whether OK! magazine has bough the rights to the shotgun wedding, y'all!

WILL SMITH has joined the ranks of Hollywood power players actively recruiting for the Church of Scientology.

LINDSAY LOHAN allegedly traumatized a woman who was in the car that Li-Lo chased before being arrested last July, according to papers filed in Los Angeles Superior Court.

AMERICAN IDOL:  A new season, a new, spectacular Paula Abdul meltdown!  I particularly like her yelling into her cell phone in a "deep, rage-filled Poltergeist voice."

JESSICA SIMPSON:  To the relief of Dallas Cowboys fans, the pneumatic blonde will steer clear of QB-bf Tony Romo's playoff game.

MADONNA visited a synagogue, a church and a mosque in Mubai, India, as part of a holiday with her family.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE getting cozy with his Alpha Dog co-star Amanda Seyfried behind Jessica Biel's back?

CLOVERFIELD:  The NYDN reports on how producer J.J. Abrams and company have managed to keep the monster a mystery in an era of spoiler web sites, saturation advertising and product tie-ins.

AWARDS SEASON:  Despite the Golden Globes debacle, Oscars organisers are hopeful of reaching a deal with writers that would allow the highlight of awards season.  The Writers' Guild of America has already said its members will not be allowed to write the script for the Oscars show, but has not yet explicitly confirmed if it will picket.

WRITERS' STRIKE:  Speaking of which, up to 1000 employees on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank could be laid off anytime after Friday as a result of the Hollywood writers strike.  OTOH, without the strike, we might never have gotten to see late night host Conan O'Brien cover Bill Monroe's "Blue Moon of Kentucky."

IRAQ:  Nine US soldiers were killed in the first two days of a new drive to kill AQI fighters holed up in Diyala and Salahuddin provinces.  Maj. Gen. Mark P. Hertling said that in his area of control - Diyala, Salahuddin, Kirkuk and Nineveh provinces - 24000 American soldiers, 50000 members of the Iraqi army and 80000 Iraqi police are taking part in the offensive.  In December, US military deaths in Iraq fell to the lowest monthly total in almost four years, and estimates of civilian deaths also showed a sharp decline.  Operation Iron Harvest is underway in Miqdadiyah; up to 20 AQI fighters were reported killed and 10 captured. The Iraqi Army arrested the AQI leader behind an attack on the Yazidi villages in Sinjar; police arrested another key AQI leader in Khalidiya.  In the south, police arrested a mayor and four insurgents behind the Karbala fighting in August.

IRAQ & ANTHROPOLOGY:  Reuters has a feature on the US military's "Human Terrain Team" program, which embeds anthropologists with combat brigades in Iraq and Afghanistan in the hope of helping tactical commanders in the field understand local cultures.  Prof. David Matsuda, a self-described peacenik who opposed the war in Iraq, says, "I'm a Californian. I'm a liberal. I'm a Democrat. My impetus is to come here and help end this thing."  Though Reuters calls the HTT program the "latest tactic in Iraq,"  David Kilcullen (now an advisor to Gen. Petraeus) and Pentagon consultant Montgomery McFate - who grew up in the sixties on a communal houseboat in Marin County, Calif. - have been working on rolling it out since at least 2006, but met resistance from anthropologists who still have bad feelings from the 1960s.  Indeed, the American Anthropological Association has denounced the HTT program, saying it could lead to ethics being compromised, the profession's reputation damaged, and worst of all, research subjects becoming military targets.  Dr. Marcus Griffin is blogging his experiences in the program.

KNUT REDUX:  The Nuremberg Zoo came under fire for refusing to save the lives of two polar bear cubs who were apparently eaten by their mother, in order to avoid a sequel of "Knut mania."  Zoo chiefs had said nature should take its course in the case of the cubs that polar bear Vilma gave birth to five weeks ago.  Attention is now focused on polar bear Vera, who also recently gave birth. Reacting to the public outcry, the zoo yesterday announced it would be rearing her cub by hand.

A MONKEY and TWO BABY CROCS were stolen from an Aussie wildlife park.  Shockingly, cannabis was involved; the teen thief's lawyer said his client admitted it was a "dumb stoner" thing to do.

THE HOUSTON ZOO allowed visitors to play tug-o-war with a lion, two days after a tiger escaped and at the San Francisco Zoo and killed a teenage boy.  Video at the link.

A RARE AYE AYE, persecuted and hunted to near-extinction in its native Madagascar, has been born at Bristol Zoo.  Freaky lemur pic at the link.

SWEATER PUPPY leads to an arrest in Plantation, FL... yet has nothing to do with a gentlemen's club.

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Vampire Weekend, New AMC and Xiu Xiu, Gorilla kidnapper   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, January 09, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


VAMPIRE WEEKEND: The first single from their upcoming debut, "A-Punk," is a little bit world beat, a little bit Feelies.

DESTROYER frontman Dan Bejar talks to Billboard about the Trouble In Dreams album, due this spring.

KIMYA DAWSON of Moldy Peaches talks to Spinner about the Juno soundtrack, with six streaming tracks.

THE SHINS:  Criminal charges were dropped against keyboardist Martin Crandall and his ex-girfriend (and former ANTM contestant) Elyse Sewell due to insufficient evidence in an alleged incident of domestic violence.

AMERICAN MUSIC CLUB:  You can download or stream an advance track, "All The Lost Souls Welcome You To San Francisco," from the club's upcoming LP, The Golden Age, via the 'Gum.  There's also the band's notes about the lighter tone of the new stuff, plus an amusing bio, in which Mark Eitzel reminds us AMC has been around since my college days.

THAT PETROL EMOTION:  I had to put on "Big Decision" while the primary returns came in from New Hampshire.  Whatcha gotta do in this day and age?  You gotta agitate and educate and organize...

THE KINKS:  In news sure to depress my former housemate Dale, Dave Davies is denying brother Ray's claim that the original lineup would reunite this year.

YEASAYER guitarist Anand Wilder talks to Pitchfork about the much-anticipated debut album, the band's varied musical influences, technological solutions to global warming, and more.  You can stream a few (and download one) via YeaSpace.

XIU XIU, an experimental band with a sound that's hard to peg -- but has elements of mid-period Peter Gabriel, Sonic Youth, Joy Division and more -- is advance streaming the upcoming Women As Lovers album at XiuSpace through Friday.

TED NUGENT:  The limited edition of his latest disc has a cover to rival Spinal Tap's infamous Smell The Glove.

BRITNEY SPEARS spoke with a British accent during her mental lockdown at Cedars-Sinai hospital last Friday.  The popwreck abruptly pulled the plug on her weekend with paparazzo Adnan Ghalib and returned alone Monday to her Beverly Hills abode, a source close to Brit exclusively told Ryan Seacrest.  Her family feared that Ghalib, is going to leak provocative pictures of the pop star to news outlets.  But after Spears had her Mercedes towed and impounded by police Monday night after abandoning it on L.A.'s busy Sunset Boulevard due to a flat tire, she went home with a different photog.  BONUS:  Best Week Ever has "10 Easy Steps to Turn Around Britney Spears' Reputation."

JAMIE LYNN SPEARS, Britney's knocked-up 16-year-old sister, scored huge ratings for Nickelodeon's Zoey 101.  George Clooney will be miffed.

EMINEM, whose weight has reportedly ballooned to over 200 lbs, was rushed to the hospital for a serious heart condition and severe pneumonia.

KETHERINE HEIGL would like to start a family within the next year to year in a half, though her past comments suggest she'll adopt.

SEAN PENN was served with divorce papers after wife Robin Wright Penn allegedly found him in bed with two other women during an intended romantic getaway in Lake Tahoe, according to the ever-reliable Star magazine.

MR. BLACKWELL releases his 48th Annual Worst-Dressed Women list.  Britney Spears wuz robbed!

BRADGELINA:  Pitt apparently still sneaks the ganja, accoring to the ever-reliable Star magazine, but has been reduced to bogarting from Steve-O from MTV's Jacka**, because Jolie likes her men clean.  Zahara turned three yesterday.

JESSICA ALBA tells Elle magazine that High School Musical's Zac Efron "looks like a child with a lot of makeup."  Of course, Efron's co-star/gf Vanessa Hudgens has called him a sissy and a little girl, so maybe Alba meant it in a good way.

AWARDS SEASON:  The Directors' Guild of America Award nominees are announced.  Movies nominated for the DGA tend to be the ones that make Oscar's best-picture list.  Moreover, only six times since 1948 has the winner not gone on to win the corresponding Oscar.  CHUD lists the notable snubs.

CLOVERFIELD:  The mystery moster movie unleashes the viral video with faux Italian, Spanish and German news clips.  /Film has the clips and translations.

PAKISTAN:  The US is pushing Pakistan to cut the supply lines of the Taliban and al-Qaeda between Pakistan and Afghanistan by squeezing them between coalition forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan forces across the border.

WHY WE'RE IN THE GULF:  Historian Walter Russell Mead writes that it's all about the oil... and would be, even if the US left the Persian Gulf.

IRAN:  The US Navy released dramatic video and audio of this weekend's stand-off with Iran. The video shows Iranian speedboats swarming around three American warships going through the strategically vital Strait of Hormuz.  Meanwhile, five convicted criminals in southeastern Iran have received the seldom-used form of punishment of amputation.  The five men were found guilty of armed robbery, hostage taking, and firing at police, though officially they were convicted of "acting against God" and "corruption upon this Earth."

IRAQ:  Another wave of action against AQI and Shiite "special groups" extremists  has been launched to build on the military success of the "surge" to date.  Iraqi and US forces kicked off Operation Phanton Phoenix, a major operation targeting the terror groups throughout Iraq.  Part of Phantom Phoenix entails nonlethal operations that will continue to put combat outposts and joint security stations into the areas cleared of extremists.  Operation Hero's Harvest is underway in Miqdadiyah, soon to spread throughout Diyala province.

A GORILLA tried to make off with a tourist in the Virunga mountain forests on the northern border of Rwanda, Uganda and the Congo.  Pics at the link.

TUSKER the ELEPHANT is dead, shot by rangers after New Year's revelers at a safari camp in Zimbabwe provoked the elephant into trampling several cars.

THE SQUIRREL THREAT:  A cat took out the power grid in Nampa, Idaho, blacking out more than 12000 homes and businesses.  But you know squirrels put the cat up to it.

A DOG was saved from a mountain lion by the dead aim of an 80-year-old in Fairburn, SD.

THE PYGMY RABBIT may get federal protection, new identity.

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