THE WEEKEND STARTS HERE:
FRIDAY TIMEWASTER: With the sixth season of The Sopranos starting Sunday, the New Jersey Star-Ledger brings us Sopranos Sudoku. UPDATE: If you can't wait until Sunday, you can watch the fifth season recap and an advance scene from the premiere at Yahoo!
BLONDIE: Debbie Harry talks to USA Today's Whitney Matheson about American Idol, Suicide (the band), lipgloss, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, among other things. Harry also talks about convincing Chrysalis Records to freshen up the latest Greatest Hits CD with things like the mashup of "Rapture" with the Doors' "Rider on the Storm," which you can stream at the link.
CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH played Washington, D.C.'s 9:30 Club Wednesday night -- it's now streaming at NPR.
METALLICA will not only induct Black Sabbath into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Monday, but the group will also perform a short set of Sabbath songs at the ceremony.
KILLING MUSIC: Two men were indicted Thursday on federal charges for posting portions of the album Jacksonville City Nights by Ryan Adams & the Cardinals prior to its release on a Web site frequented by Adams fans.
ARCTIC MONKEYS: Coolfer Glenn posts on a WSJ article wondering why the band's album sold only about ten percent in the US of what it sold in the UK in its first week (which was still good enough for No. 24, I note). The comments also offer reasons with which I tend to agree, e.g., that the band hasn't really toured in the US, which is the usual path for indie success. BTW, the Monkeys are the musical guest on Saturday Night Live tomorrow.
BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE: A reminder is killing music with a bootleg of the band's recent gig in Paris, which included Jason Collett and Leslie Feist in the collective.
SEEN YOUR VIDEO: In Chicago, it was in the 20s last weekend and may be in the 60s this weekend, which put me in the mood for ELO's "Mr Blue Sky." PLUS: The A.V. Club inventories "Ten Memorable Saturday Night Live Musical Moments." I have already linked to a couple of them, but NBC has been purging YouTube of clips like the infamous 1977 Elvis Costello appearance. Ashlee Simpson's lipsync slip can still be found around the Internet. You can even find Fear's onstage melee, if you want to tax your bandwidth. But the real find is the one site where you can see The Replacements' star turn in glorious Quicktime.
PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: The troubled singer scrawled "I Love Kate 4 Eva" on the inside of his windshield as he left court following another appearance on drugs charges. Pete Townshend comments on their drama, proclaiming Doherty "the ultimate rock 'n' roll f**kwit." Meanwhile, Moss is expected to return to Chanel.
THE WHO's upcoming world tour is expected to be its last. I saw the 1982 farewell tour.
DOWNLOADS: Some record labels now think that legal advance sales of singles are killing music, according to The New York Times. The paper notes that in the supposed test case, increased album sales may be due to the label's discount to retailers who stocked the album, which sold at Target for $7.98 last week.
ANIMAL COLLECTIVE: Noah Lennox tells the Tuscon Weekliy that on the band's latest, Feels, "The themes on the new record are way more adult. ... The themes of love ... its complications and joys, the good and the bad." But he admits there are some -- including friends -- who think the album is too "happy." You can hear one from Feels and one from Sung Tongs at MySpace to note that -- happy or sad -- their stuff is odd, in a good way.
SEXAGENARIAN ROCK AND ROLL: Last week's British album chart included Paul McCartney, 63, Neil Diamond, 65, Dolly Parton, just 60, and Ray Davies of the Kinks, 61. London's Guardian thankfully looks beyond them to youngsters like Iggy Pop, John Cale and Ry Cooder. Asked how he had managed to keep going into his 50s, Iggy Pop replied: "I'm not bald, I'm not fat, and I'm not safe."
BUILT TO SPILL has "Conventional Wisdom," an advance track from their album, streaming in Windows and Quicktime formats. And it's quite catchy!
V FOR VENDETTA: I mentioned Monday that graphic novelist Alan Moore has taken his name off the movie. MTV has a backgrounder on Moore's frustration with Hollywood. In the run up to the March 17 movie opening, Natalie Portman guest-lectured at Columbia.
NOW SHOWING: This week's wide releases are The Shaggy Dog remake (32 percent Rotten on the Tomatometer), The Hills Have Eyes remake (50 percent Rotten), and Failure to Launch (31 percent Rotten) which is not -- afaik -- a remake, though its title begs for bad reviews.
TARA REID: Whats worse -- being spotted outside Dennis Rodman's house in the morning, or getting into a car accident while trying to get away unnoticed?
BRADGELINA: Pitt would like use his unborn child to promote his next movie, The Assassination of Jesse James, by naming the kid Jessie or James.
SHARON STONE: As a member of Mensa, she's smart enogh to know that there are only two reasons for interest in Basic Instinct 2.
BRITNEY SPEARS: People are spreading rumors that stress is causing her hair to fall out, but it appears that this is common for a woman to temporarily lose hair after giving birth.
JESSICA SIMPSON got dumped by Maroon 5's Adam Levine via text message? ROTFL! At least it will allow her to focus on lobbying Congress about Operation Smile, an organization that provides surgery for children with facial abnormalities.
EVA LONGORIA: The Desperate Housewife has girl crushes on her neighborhood crew -- Jessica Alba, Jessica Simpson and Eva Mendes. It's tailor-made for reality TV! Meanwhile she's complaining about complaining about all of the bath and lingerie scenes she has to do for her show, apparently unaware as to why people watch it.
BOY GEORGE cops a plea to avoid possible jail time on a cocaine bust, agreeing to enter rehab and perform community service.
TOM-KAT UPDATE: Cruise may be the only person so self-unaware that he had the gall to ask ex-wife Nicole Kidman if she was doing the right thing regarding Keith Urban. He then reportedly suggested that Nic postpone the wedding until after his baby with Holmes is born. Speaking of which, Holmes has reportedly asked Posh Spice to be her birthing partner. Not surprising, given that Cruise has been working on converting the Beckhams to Scientology for a while.
DAVID HASSELHOFF was accused of domestic violence by his estranged wife, court records show. The Hoff denies the claim. I hope it's not true, or I will never be able to watch his cover of "Hooked on a Feeling" the same way again.
JACKO has been ordered to shut down the Neverland Ranch by California authorities for failing to pay his employees or maintain proper insurance.
CULT OF THE iPod: Pope Benedict XVI is grooving on an iPod Nano loaded with his favorite tunes.
IRAQ: At ITM, Omar has gossip that the Shia bloc is willing to pull back Jafari's nomination as Prime Minister, if they can negotiate certain conditions. The US military plans to return Abu Ghraib to the Iraqis within three months. And the AP has noticed that Sunnis are turning on Al Qaeda, forcing some foreign terrorists to flee Anbar and Ramadi for remote areas near the Iranian border.
NEGATIVE VIEW OF ISLAM INCREASING: A growing proportion of Americans are expressing unfavorable views of Islam, and a majority now say that Muslims are disproportionately prone to violence, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. The WaPo reports: "Conservative and liberal experts said Americans' attitudes about Islam are fueled in part by political statements and media reports that focus almost solely on the actions of Muslim extremists." True enough, though I predict the WaPo will never dismiss attitudes about the invasion of Iraq as the result of a media focus on the actions of Muslim extremists. And when prominent Muslims and others denounced Islamic extermism, the WaPo ignored it. The WaPo also suggests that we are confusing Muslims and Arabs: "Though the two groups are often linked in popular discourse, most of the world's Muslims are not of Arab descent. For example, the country with the largest Muslim population is Indonesia." Again, true enough, but the paper's page one Iraq story the same day discusses "the main Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish religious and ethnic groups," without noting that most Kurds are Sunni Muslims.
FLUFFERNUTTER is at the center of a legal battle between the company that makes Marshmallow Fluff and Williams-Sonoma. I guess if yoou have to have a center of legal conflict, it may as well be crazy delicious.
GIANT LOBSTER: With all of the press attention given to the fuzzy lobster, the giant 35-year-old Tasmanian lobster, measuring almost one meter in length, got short shrift.
DON'T FEED THE GATOR, especially not a rabbit you stole from the zoo.
SNUPPY UPDATE: His creator has been discredited and controversy has long surrounded him, but scientists have confirmed that the Afghan hound is the world's first cloned dog.
A KITTEN is one cure for clutter.
THINGS CATS DO NOT LIKE: Amber Taylor is making a list. I had never seen SuperGlued rubber tips on a cat's claws before...