photo courtesy of BiblioMama.
ART BRUT, WE ARE SCIENTISTS and the SPINTO BAND played Chicago on Thursday. Ken King and I went, but I didn't blurb it Friday for deadline reasons. The show lived up to my expectations. Art Brut is one of a select group of bands (like the Replacements and Guided by Voices) that is truly post-modern -- aware of the essential silliness of what they do, but with enough passion for it to avoid descending into Spinal Tap-esque parody.
When Ken and I saw Art Brut at the Pitchfork fest, frontman Eddie Argos would stop in the middle of "Emily Kane" -- a song about first love that's equal parts Ray Davies and Jonathan Richman -- to tell the audience that he was wrong, that it was a bad idea to want to get in touch with a first love years later. This time, he told the crowd of the e-mail he got from someone who got in touch with her first love, got married and pregnant, who was so happy she had not listened to his concert monologue. Argos said the lesson was that he has to stop stopping the song... and that you should stop listening to him and other people in bands. Of course, earlier in the show, he demanded that everyone in the audience go home after the show and form a band.
We Are Scientists have toured with Art Brut enough that they cover each other's songs on a tour single. WAS was tight and occasionally funny. The video for "It's A Hit" is funny in a darker way. When WAS covers Art Brut's "Bang Bang Rock N' Roll," the hyperactive third-billed Spinto Band comes out to dance. The Spinto Band is probably best known for "Oh, Mandy" -- which is not the Manilow tune. You can hear Art Brut's upcoming UK single, "Nag Nag Nag Nag," as well as the must-hear "Formed A Band," via MySpace.
TWO GALLANTS were jailed after an altercation with police in Houston. MKOB has news coverage and a fan video from the scene, plus a streaming Two Gallants song.
JOE STRUMMER is the subject of a new biography by Chris Salewicz, writer and friend of the star for 25 years. London's Sun has an exclusive essay by Salewicz at the link.
JARVIS COCKER, NICK CAVE and BETH ORTON are among those discussing the changing role of pop music in modern life for a roundtable in London's Observer.
REMIX THE MONKEY: Stereogum can link you to the winner and other top entries in a contest to remix Peter Gabriel's "Shock the Monkey," with video of Gabriel discussing them.
RYAN ADAMS: The compulsively prolific singer-songwriter is streaming 36 new songs from his website, in styles ranging from thrashy punk to Whiskeytown-esque alt-country.
SEEN YOUR VIDEO: As we get closer to Halloween, I'll be trying to feature more video like (the late) Jim Carroll belting out "People Who Died."
WHO IS BOB DYLAN? Yes, there is at least one person who doesn't know. Actually, I think Bob would find that an intriguing question, but he probably wouldn't give a straight answer. Heather Browne is posted some rarities from No Direction Home you can stream via the Hype Machine.
AMERICA is trying for a comeback with indie cred, enlisting ex-Smashing Pumpkin James Iha and Fountains of Wayne's Adam Schlessinger for production help, and cameos from members of My Morning Jacket and Nada Surf on covers of their songs.
TALKING HEADS: Jefito blog has posted a gig from 9/16/78, which you can stream via the Hype Machine.
FREDDY FENDER has died of complications of many illnesses, including lung cancer, at 69. Bizzare trivia: In February 1999, Fender was awarded a star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame after then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush wrote to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce endorsing him.
DEBORAH HARRY and Blondie guitarist Chris Stein closed out CBGB (OMFUG) Saturday night with an unpluggety set that included "One Way or Another" and a cover of the Ramones song "I Want to Be Your Boyfriend." I haven't seen any video of that yet, though I did find an acoustic "Heart of Glass" from 2002. The final GBGB show in NYC was scheduled to be Patti Smith last night.
PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: Radar notes the parallels between the the Pete-Kate train wreck and the saga of Keith Richards and Anita Pallenberg.
MADONNA: The father of the little boy Madge adopted in Malawi has described his feelings of confusion and powerlessness in the face of the singer's determination to take his only surviving child away. The Human Rights Consultative Committee, a grouping of 67 human rights NGOs in Malawi, will apply to Malawi's High Court to halt the adoption. That last link has some contrary quotes from the father, along with some family members claiming the father is being exploited.
WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: The Grudge 2 won the weekend with 22 million, which means it will make decent money, but far short of the original, which opened with 39 million. The Departed took the second slot, dropping only 30 percent -- though it may face competition this weekend from Clint Eastwood's Flags of Our Fathers. Man of the Year made 12.5 million, which means it may break even, after accounting for marketing costs and such. Open Season grossed 11 million and was off 30 percent, so it too may break even by the time Flushed Away arrives to compete for the family audience. Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning dropped 60 percent to make a mere 7.8 million, but is a money-maker on its shoestring budget.
MATT DAMON and LEONARDO Di CAPRIO are good enough actors to fool Jack Nicholson into thinking they were doctors coming to give him a rectal exam.
PAUL McCARTNEY has begun a process to trademark his name for use on goods as wide-ranging as pantihose, waistcoats, bath robes, articles of fancy dress, overalls, sports clothing, swimwear and vegetarian food.
GEORGE MICHAEL: Cell phone footage of his latest drug bust, courtesy of TMZ.
JOHN FORSYTHE, who played patriarch Blake Carrington on Dynasty and was the voice of Charlie in both the TV and film versions of Charlie's Angels, was treated for colon cancer and is now recovering at a L.A. hospital. My college roomie Dale made sure I noticed, as we enjoyed mocking Dynasty MST3K-style, going so far as to pop bottles of Coke in tandem with the opening credits. I'm sure we do the same with best wishes for Forsythe's recovery.
TOM-KAT UPDATE: The buzz is that Holmes' parents are still outraged that her rumored nuptials will be conducted by the Church of Scientology, with suggestions that they are threatening a last-minute boycott of the wedding to try to convince Katie to have a proper Catholic ceremony, even if she does one Scientology-style, too.
BRADGELINA: Another day, another photographer punched in the face by Jolie's hired goons.
MAD MEL UPDATE: Gibson says he drank alcohol the morning after his July 28 arrest for driving under the influence. In front of his kids.
LINDSAY LOHAN will be flirting with Keira Knightley in The Best Time of Our Lives, a movie that revolves around Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, his wife Caitlin and her childhood friend Vera Phillips.
JESSICA ALBA was snapped getting married... for a scene in the Fantastic Four sequel. Had you for a second, didn't I?
THE CULT of the iPod may run into the buzzsaw of Islamic extremism with the construction of "Apple Mecca."
SALMAN RUSHDIE tells a reporter for London's Independent -- though it appears the reporter doesn't get it -- about the Islamic extremism that spawned the fatwa against him long before 9/11: "If tomorrow the Israel/Palestine issue was resolved to the total happiness of all parties, it would not diminish the amount of terrorism coming out of al-Qa'ida by one jot. It's not what they're after. Yes, it's a recruiting tool, rhetorically. Many people see there's an injustice there, and it helps them to get people into the gang, but it's not what they want. What they want is to change the nature of human life on earth into the image of the Taliban. If you want the whole earth to look like Taliban Afghanistan, then you're on the same side as them. If you don't want that, you're not. They do not represent the quest for human justice. That, I think, is one of the great mistakes of the left." And Rushdie has much more where that came from.
IRAQ: At ITM, Mohammed details the heroism of an Iraqi policeman facing a car-bomber. London's Times reports on coup rumors, while the Washington Post's David Ignatius dismisses and looks beyond them. Bill Roggio looks at the divisions in al-Qaeda in Iraq. The AP claims Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani's influence is declining, while radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has ordered his Shiite militia not to take part in the sectarian bloodshed -- though I suspect that's for public consumption only. Sen. Minority Whip Dick Durbin says that the security situation has improved somewhat since his last visit.
PAKISTAN: A plot to stage a coup against Pres. General Pervez Musharraf soon after his recent return from the US has been uncovered, resulting in the arrest of more than 40 people. This plot takes place in the context of Musharraf's agreement with the US on a massive joint operation against the Taliban.
ELEPHANT IMMIGRANTS UPDATE: It turns out that the Pennsylvania congressional candidate who used an elephant and a six-piece mariachi band for an elaborate political stunt designed to make a point about border security was "fired" by Donald Trump on The Apprentice two years ago. Plus, we now have the video of the stunt.
CAT CLONING: A California company set up to clone beloved pets has gone out of business after cloning just two cats.
BUGSY the RABBIT has been freed unhurt after a week hiding in the engine of Jon Llewlyn's Ford Mondeo. What's up with that, Doc?
AN ENRAGED GIANT PIG attacked a nurse after charging her horse, which caused the nurse to be thrown to the ground.
NO SMOKING COW: The same strain of deadly E. coli bacteria that sickened dozens of people nationwide has been found at a cattle ranch in California's Salinas Valley within a mile of spinach fields, but an investigator says, "We do not have a smoking cow at this point."