THE WEEKEND STARTS HERE...
... with BRENDAN BENSON. Before his songs helped propel The Raconteurs up the charts (with an assist from the Jack White brand), Benson was cranking out tunes that are Top40 hits in some other, cooler, dimension -- like "Tiny Spark," "Metarie," "Spit It Out" and "Cold Hands, Warm Heart."
TOM WAITS: The New York Sun reviews his Orphans box set: "And as the subtitle makes plain, the discs are divided by sound. 'Brawlers' boasts the blues shouters and abrasive rockers, 'Bawlers' contains the ballads, and 'B*stards' is a collection of tribute compilation tracks, spoken word pieces, and experiments. It's not a proper career summary, but the breadth of the music here reflects Mr. Waits's oeuvre during the last quarter-century, highlighting its best and worst aspects."
BOX SETS: Tom Waits is not among the boxes reviewed by the Thin Cities' Pioneer Press, but the article does gover goth, soul folk... and the Bee Gees.
CAT POWER and the Memphis Rhythm Band palyed DC's 9:30 Club on the 20th, so you can stream and download it now from NPR.
DEAN & BRITTA: The former Luna-tics talk to the Pitchfork about their upcoming album, featuring originals and covers of Donovan and Lee Hazlewood. you can stream "Words You Used To Say" from MySpace.
THE BEN FOLDS FAKE: Improv Everywhere was invited by the man himself to cause trouble at his recent NYC gigs. And yes, there's video.
THE NME "COOL" LIST is not on the mag's web site, but Stereogum has it. London's Independent interviews Beth Ditto of the Gossip, who tops this year's list. You can stream The Gossip from Myspace.
GRIZZLY BEAR has some free audio up on their site, including two acoustic tracks.
KRIST NOVOSELIC of Nirvana is coming out of retirement to play bass on the first tour in more than a decade by FLIPPER.
BOB MOULD talks to Billboard about his next album, which looks to be continuing in the pop mold.
THE CUTOUT BIN: This Friday's fortuitous finds from the Hype Machine include: Sufjan Stevens - Hey Guys! It's Christmas Time!; They Might Be Giants - New York City; Nick Lowe - Cruel To Be Kind; Todd Rundgren - Hello Its Me; Fountains Of Wayne - Radiation Vibe; The Posies - Dream All Day; The Jesus & Mary Chain - Happy When It Rains; Julianna Hatfield and Evan Dando - It's a Shame About Ray; Hindu Love Gods - Gonna Have A Good Time Tonight; Wreckless Eric - Whole Wide World; Eddie & The Hot Rods - Do Anything You Wanna Do; Fairport Convention - It's Only Witchcraft; Richard Thompson - Oops! I Did It Again; Ohio Players - Fire; and Bob Seger - Ramblin' Gamblin Man.
MICHAEL RICHARDS CRACK-UPDATE: The ex-Kramer called the Rev. Al Sharpton to apologize for his racist rant at a Los Angeles comedy club, but Shrapton wasm't having it: "He called me yesterday to say sorry, but it's not my place to accept that on behalf of all blacks. I can forgive, but I'm not the victim here. What he said hurt a lot of people." It's not Al's place? I thought it was on his business card.
NOW SHOWING: Ire ported on this week's wide releases Tuesday, but I note that late-arriving reviews dropped Tenacious D to 53 percent and Deja Vu to 63 percent on the Tomatometer. I saw the latter, which was okay, though not great. I do give the picture credit for including the line, "I need more cowbell!"
HEIDI KLUM & SEAL are welcoming a baby boy with five names: Johan Riley Fyodor Taiwo Samuel.
BRITNEY BREAK-UPDATE: Spears is searching for a new home in Miami, while estranged hubby Fed-Ex has been offered