MORE COWBELL! At My Old Kentucky Blog, Dodge is going nuts with the song compilations, collecting covers of Elvis Presley's "Suspicious Minds" (esp. check out Dee Dee Warwick), The Pixies' "Where Is My Mind?" and -- as you may have guessed from my title -- Blue Oyster Cult's "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" (just fear The Beautiful South). You can (and should) stream the lot of them via the Hype Machine, because you can always use... more cowbell!
CLIFFORD ANTONE, whose obsessive love of the blues and namesake club helped make Austin, TX nationally known for stomping-good live music and passionate listeners is dead at 56.
IAN COPELAND, who helped launch the careers of The Police, REM, Squeeze and the B-52's, has died from melanoma at 57. Ian's brothers are Police drummer Stewart and I.R.S. label founder Miles.
KAISER CHIEFS frontman Ricky Wilson was struck in a hit-and-run car accident, but escaped with minor injuries due to his his stage-honed jumping skill.
STEPHIN MERRITT, songwtiter for the Magnetic Fields, the Sixths and others, explains to PopMatters how his latest solo album, Showtunes, though only 26 tracks long, was just as large-scale of an endeavor as the Magnetic Fields' 69 Love Songs. Cable and Tweed blurbed the album and you can stream some via the Hype Machine.
RADIOHEAD: Pitchfork has heard Thom Yorke's don't-call-it-a-solo album and gives a track-by-track breakdown.
SEEN YOUR VIDEO: Should Al Dryg stumble across this site, I still have your Dramarama album from 1987. In the meantime, you can watch "Anything, Anything (I'll Give You)," which combines great angst and craptacular 80's fashion.
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS are accused of plagiarising Tom Petty's "Mary Jane’s Last Dance" by radio station WGMD in Delaware. MP3 at the link.
MUSIC DISCOVERY TOOLS: Pitchfork takes a look at services like Last.fm and Pandora, which recommend music to listeners based on their expressed preferences.
M WARD tells Harp about his first band record, Post-War, which is due in late August.
THE WALKMEN guitarist Paul Maroon plays Random Rules with the A.V. Club, commenting on the first batch of tracks that come up on a shuffle. Richard Ness will be tickled or horrified to learn that the Walkmen have recorded a song-for-song cover of Harry Nilsson's 1974 album PussyCats, due later this year.
PHOENIX: This French outfit used to back up Air, but sound more Strokes-y by themselves. It's Never Been Like that is currently scoring an 83 on Metacritic, which is up there with Mission of Burma in the top ten metascores of 2006. So I thought it worth a reminder that the whole album is streaming this week from AOL Music.
PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: The troubled singer violated Scotland's new anti-smoking ordinance at a gig after leaving his cousin comatose in the street from heroin.
BRADGELINA: A photo of Pitt riding a bicycle with Zahara in a papoose has people giving Pitt some Britney-level scrutiny of his parenting skills. A paparazzi in Namibia claims that Pitt and Jolie have thugs backed up by the Namibian police, who have created their own special task force to patrol the the couple's Namibian coastal hideout. Life & Style claims that Jolie will deliver by June 3rd, even if she has to pull the kid out herself. Well, almost.
SIR PAUL: Somehow, the quickie divorce offer dropped to a paltry £25million -- and that's if he gets custody of their daughter. Sources told the Daily Mail that under the offer, Beatrice would live mainly with Paul but Heather would have access to her whenever she wants.
FREE PLASTIC SURGERY was one of the gift bag items for celebs attending the Cannes International Film Festival.
TOM HANKS' current hairstyle has been the subject of many jokes in the run-up to The Da Vinci Code. Page Six claims that a hair-growth drug is responsible.
MERYL STREEP is voicing audiobooks of "The Velveteen Rabbit" and "The Night Before Christmas," which are coming to a Starbucks near you for the holidays. And who isn't near a Starbucks?
TOM-KAT UPDATE: Life & Style Weekly claims the couple had a big fight that ended with Holmes deciding to take baby Suri to Ohio to introduce the infant to family and friends. But they agree that Cruise doesn't need to be spending time with her parents.
JACK BLACK sings and dances on Ellen. But unlike when Ellen (or Tom Cruise) dances, he's intentionally funny.
HALLE BERRY vows she will never marry again: "Marriage is over for me. Two strikes and I'm out, I'm not going in for the third strike."
SANDRA BULLOCK is trying to extend a restraining order against an obsessed fan who stalked her across three states.
BILL MAHER of HBO's Real Time says that if he could ask Pres. Bush one question, it would be, "Don't you just feel awful about selling your fellow countrymen down the river to please your buddies in the energy industries? I mean, the air is noticeably worse in this country since you became president. You've literally made your fellow citizens sicker. Don't you feel any remorse?" If he wants the answer, I guess it would include the fact that the American Lung Association and the EPA agree that air quality has improved under the Bush Administration.
JENNIFER LOPEZ is set to star in a new MTV reality series, but it will follow a dance group. Did you really think someone would try to do a show about J-Lo's life and call it a reality show?
TRAILER REMIX: The Biblical epic meets the teen sex comedy in 10 Things I Hate About The Commandments. WARNING: Profanity, Will Robinson.
HURRICANE KATRINA: A mock evacuation that was supposed to be part of a two-day statewide hurricane preparedness drill in Louisiana was canceled after a misunderstanding about who had jurisdiction over a FEMA trailer park.
IRAQ: At ITM, Mohammed reports that PM al-Maliki says the new gov't may favor investments from countries that "stood with Iraq" and that the main Shia party, the Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution in Iraq, is dropping the "Revolution," at least in name. Omar notes a report in the Arabic press that Iran is trying to buddy up to the extreme Sunni clergy in Iraq. Bill Roggio looks at recent counterterrorism ops by US and Iraqi forces in Baghdad, Ramadi and Yusifiyah.
IRAQ IN THE MEDIA: In The New York Times, Dexter Filkins implies the US is to blame for the ongoing sectarian violence: "The headlong, American-backed effort to arm tens of thousands of Iraqi soldiers and officers, coupled with a failure to curb a nearly equal number of militia gunmen, has created a galaxy of armed groups, each with its own loyalty and agenda, which are accelerating the country's slide into chaos." Perhaps Filkins should read The New York Times, where Jeffrey Gettleman reported on April 4th: "Iraq has long been awash with guns. But after the bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra in late February, sectarian tensions exploded, and more Iraqis than ever have been buying, carrying and stockpiling weapons, adding an unnerving level of firepower to Baghdad's streets." You can bet the militias and death squads already had guns before the spike in sectarian violence. And while there are certainly questions about infiltration or corruption of Iraqi police forces, the Iraqi Army is generally well-regarded and a check on the violence.
IRAN: Stone-throwing Iranian students fought police and Islamic vigilantes on Wednesday in protest against restrictions imposed by the government of Pres. Ahmadinejad.
OH, LOOK... a baby springbok was born Tuesday morning at the Santa Fe Community College Teaching Zoo, near Gainesville, FL. The springbok's name comes from its "pronking" display, which is a stiff-legged jump that can reach heights up to 10 feet. Awww...
OH, LOOK II: A tiny newborn Egyptian Tortoise at Chester Zoo in England. Awww...
OH, LOOK III: A harbor seal pup was rescued after being discovered wedged between the rocks just south of Marshall Point Light in Maine. Awww...
FEEDING YOUR PET: In Britain, many owners feeding their four-legged friends healthier and tastier meals than they serve up for themselves. In Australia, owners may be loving their animals to death by overfeeding. There's a pic at that link showing a mouse as fat as a tennis ball.
GERMAN BEAR UPDATE: Foresters hunted in vain for the first bear to prowl German soil in 170 years and concluded that the fast-moving animal may have fled back to Austria, where there is also an order to shoot it on sight.
GAY AND LESBIAN STORKS iooked after eggs and chicks just as well as heterosexual birds at a Dutch Zoo. NTTAWWT.