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New Bob Mould, Kelley Stoltz, She & Him, Dolphins   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, January 24, 2008 - 08:25 AM
Posted by: Karl


FEIST has a new video, for "I Feel It Now."  Unlike the dancetastic hit "1 2 3 4," don't try this at home.

PAZZ & JOP:  The Village Voice polls are out, along with essays, voter comments, etc.

BOB MOULD:  Brooklyn Vegan has another advance track from the upcoming District Line album, titled "Stupid Now."

WHITE RABBITS talk to JamBase about the band's unusual arrangements: "We try to pull from both ends of the spectrum," says singer-guitarist Greg Roberts. "We really like minimal bands like Spoon, and at the same time we like a lot of Phil Spector stuff -- strings and timpani drums and grand stuff like that. I think we just try to marry those things and find a happy medium."

KELLEY STOLZ talks to Drowned In Sound about his last album and his upcoming LP for Sub Pop.  Embedded music video at the link.  Think of his stuff as like early 70's piano pop like McCartney and Elton John.

SHE & HIM:  Pitchfork has more details on the M. Ward- Zooey Deschanel collaboration.  While we await the LP, here is some bootleg video of She & Him covering Ricky Nelson's "Lonesome Town."

MICHAEL SHOWALTER MEETS JOHN VANDERSLICE:  The latter notes that comedians and indie rockers are increasingly sympatico.

FIERY FURNACES:  Matt Friedberger talks to Pine magazine about the usual topics -- the band's sound, working with his sister, etc.

THE GRAMMYS catch a break.  Striking Hollywood writers have decided against picketing the upcoming Grammy Awards, but the Writers Guild of America's board of directors has yet to grant the music industry show a waiver that would allow its members to work on the ceremony.

AMY WINEHOUSE:  Her distraught dad has moved in with the troubled singer to in a bid to keep her off drugs.

HEATH LEDGER:  The 28-year-old actor's initial autopsy was inconclusive; additional tests and more time are required to determine cause of death.  Sources close to the investigation tell CBS in NYC that along with the prescription drugs that were found in the apartment, police also recovered several drug packets containing an unknown substance.  A rolled-up $20 that police found in the apartment did not contain drug residue.  The masseuse who discovered Ledger's body twice called Mary-Kate Olsen before calling 911.  Memo to budding actors: if Jack Nicholson warns you about your demons, you need to get help right away.  Ledger's sudden death prompted the White House to postpone Pres. Bush's event on Wednesday promoting an ad campaign aimed at preventing prescription drug abuse.  The death is being exploited by a Best Buy and the Westboro Baptist Church.  RELATED:  Ledger once directed a music video for "Black Dog," the last song Nick Drake recorded before overdosing on antidepression medication in 1974 at the age of 26.

NAOMI WATTS, who dated Heath Ledger off-and-on for two years, canceled all her press at this year's Sundance Film Festival.

BRITNEY SPEARS bolted from the courthouse before her latest child custody hearing began.  Shockingly, the pop wreck was not granted visitation rights at the hearing.  Meanwhile, Spears was spotted back with paparazzo Adnan Ghalib.  And her lawyers have devised a plan to get Brit into outpatient mental treatment.

JAMIE LYNN SPEARS:  Is Britney's knocked up 16-year-old sister thinking about giving up her baby for adoption?  That's what the ever-reliable Star magazine reports.  Maybe she took a look around the Spears clan and figured it would be a good idea.  Or maybe someone at the tabloid got Jamie confused with Juno.

ELLEN PAGE, the star of the adorable Juno, is glad her parents refused to let her become a child star.  Maybe she was thinking about Jamie Lynn Spears.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  Jerry O'Connell has his own intentionally wacky video parody of the Cruise Scientology indoctrination video posted at FunnyOrDie.

JESSIC SIMPSON & TONY ROMO may be dunzo, as the Dallas Cowboys QB learns that the pneumatic blonde is high-maintenance and comes with creepy dad-manager Joe.  Romo made Simpson go on a hunting trip to try to driver her away.

DENISE RICHARDS & CHARLIE SHEEN:  TMZ reports that the judge in the Denise Richards/Charlie Sheen custody battle has ruled Denise can do a reality show with her kids, with certain restrictions.

CLOVERFIELD:  According to director Matt Reeves, there are little easter eggs scattered throughout the film itself, in addition to the viral marketing elements all over the Internet.  Spoilers at the link.

JESSICA ALBA tells Extra that pregnancy has made her very hormonal and that she is already having dreams about breastfeeding.  The punchline writes itself, really.

ISLAMISM in the UK:  A story based on the Three Little Pigs has been turned down from a government agency's annual awards because the subject matter could offend Muslims.

THE NETHERLANDS:  The Dutch government is set to impose a ban on the Muslim burqa in schools and government offices, media reported on Wednesday, in a retreat from the previous cabinet's plan for a general ban.  The cabinet has decided against a broad ban on burqas in public as that would violate the principle of freedom of religion.

AFGHANISTAN:  An Afghan journalist has been sentenced to death by a provincial court after downloading material from the internet relating to the role of women in Islamic societies.  The court also threatened to arrest any reporters who protested against Kambakhsh's sentence.

IRAQ:  The commander of coalition troops in central Iraq says he's dismayed that the American people aren't getting word about progress in Iraq, while insisting it's too soon to declare victory and give Iraq's enemies an opportunity to retake it.  US and Iraqi forces mounting a nationwide offensive against AQI have yet to tackle the insurgent group's hub for money and foreign fighters in the city of Mosul but have pushed them out of many other parts of the country.  The Christian Science Monittor covers how fear turned to resolve in one village of Diyala province.  Police forces on Wednesday arrested a suspect believed to be the leader of the military wing for Basra's cult al-Yamani network in Karbala.  Iraq's economy is on track to reach GDP growth rates in 2008 of 7 percent, driven by oil price movements, economic reforms and surging foreign exchange reserves, according to the International Monetary Fund.

DOLPHINS at Sea World have learned how to create and play with bubble rings.  Let's go to the video.

RESCUED FROM THE CROC'S JAWS, then accidentally shot by your rescuer.  That's a bad day.

SNAKE in a SHOWER:  A three-and-a-half-foot corn snake, to be exact.  I believe that completes a trifecta of snake stories set in motion yesterday.

THE HIGH-STAKES WORLD OF PARROT SMUGGLING:  Border guards in Belarus said on Wednesday they had foiled an attempt to smuggle in 277 parrots on board a bicycle.  Someone has been watching too many reruns of Monty Python.

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Vampire Weekend, More New Releases, Black Mt, Heath Ledger   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, January 23, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



VAMPIRE WEEKEND: The self-titled debut album due next week is streaming in advance from Much Music, assuming that they haven't crossed the lawyers again.  The combo also peformed a "Take-away" threefer for La Blogotheque.

MORE NEW RELEASES:  Spinner finally updtaed this week's full album streams to include Drive-By Truckers, MGMT, Super Furry Animals, Matt Costa, Biirdie and more.  And there's a new stream for Cat Power's Jukebox. (Thx, Chromewaves.)  YepRoc is streaming the Jason Ringenberg retrospective and the new Fleshtones.  There is also a stream for Dan Bejar's latest project, Hello, Blue Roses.  (Thx, LHB.)

CAT POWER:  Speaking of which, Chan Marshall gets a profile in the NY Sun that does not focus on her personal travails, while Harp magazine obsesses over her new mole.

BLACK MOUNTAIN also has a new album released this week.  The Vancouver Sun talks to co-vocalist Amber Webber about rocking out with the band and going more ambient when playing with Lighning Dust.  You can stream the first half of the new Black Mountain via TheirSpace, and a few from Lightning Dust for comparison.

DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS frontman Patterson Hood has a wide-ranging interview with Pitchfork, talking about democracy in the band, rejected album titles, album length, working with Bettye LaVette and more.

THE KILLS kick off the video for "Cheap and Cheerful" from their upcoming album with just a wee bit of vomiting.

MARSHALL CRENSHAW talks to The Morning Call about writing songs for movies like Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, and mentions an upcoming tour and album -- his first since 2003.

RINGO STARR walked off the set of "Live With Regis and Kelly" rather than cut short one of his songs.


AMY WINEHOUSE was filmed blitzed out of her skull and struggling to talk after sucking in crack fumes from a glass pipe.  The Daily Mail has learned that the footage could be investigated by police and has cast serious doubt on whether she will be allowed to fly to the US next month for the Grammy awards.  Friends say the video has plunged Winehouse's family into further despair after their failed attempts to persuade her to have treatment in rehab.

HEATH LEDGER whose breakthrough role as a gay cowboy in the 2005 movie "Brokeback Mountain" earned him a nomination for an Academy Award and comparisons to the likes of Marlon Brando, was found dead Tuesday in an apartment in Manhattan at 28 years old.  Though sleeping pills were found near his body, no obvious indication of suicide, like a note, was found in the bedroom.  Three bottles of prescription pills containing antidepressants and Ambien found in the apartment, a police source told PageSix.  Anonymously-sorced rumors of depression, drug abuse and rehab ricocheted around the internet, though the false rumor that he died at Mary-Kate Olsen's apartment may have been the most bizarre.  TMZ claims Ledger was sick with pneumonia.  Ex-fiance and baby mama Michelle Williams is "devastated" and reportedly headed for NYC.  Warner Bros., the studio readying The Dark Knight, in which Ledger plays Batman's nemesis, The Joker, has issued a statement of condolences.  My bet would be the movie is released as planned, but that the marketing, which juxtaposed Ledger with the bloody slogan "Why So Serious?" -- will be changed.  However,as of post time, the viral website is still active, even though it opens with a note reading, "The only sensible way to live in this world is without rules."  I would prefer to remember him with a laugh, as he delivers singing Frankie Valli's "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" in 10 Things I Hate About You.

THE LEAKED SCIENTOLOGY VIDEO DU JOUR features testimonials from John Travolta, Kirstie Alley and Anne Archer, but the wacky intro is worth a peep long before you get to the actors.

TOM-KAT:  Scientology is an inspiration for the latest artwork at Pretty on the Outside.

REESE WITHERSPOON engaged to Jake Gyllenhaal?  Her rep denies it.

SIMON COWELL has revealed that he is planning to leave £90 million to charity in his will.

BRITNEY SPEARS:  The pop wreck's lawyers will go to court today and ask Commissioner Scott Gordon to allow her "monitored visitation in a therapeutic setting," as her family and the professionals in her life have been planning a "creative way" to get her mental help.  However, as Spears has defied court orders for psychological evaluation, so the request may be opposed by Fed-Ex and even the court.  Meanwhile, Fed-Ex's lawyer says the deposition of Spears has been "very, very gut-wrenching,"

DENISE RICHARDS & CHARLIE SHEEN are battling again in their ongoing child custody case.  Richards wants to star in a reality show with the kids, which Sheen opposes.  Surprisingly, I have to go with the deranged 9/11 conspiracist on this one.

MADONNA is sporting a black eye, sparking speculation about plastic surgery.  It certainly would not come from a fight with hubby Guy Richie, as I am certain she could totally take him down.

BRADGELINA are adopting another girl from Africa, according to London's Mirror.  Hey, it's been at least two weeks since the last such rumor, so why not?

ASHLEE SIMPSON is being encouraged by her creepy dad-manager Joe to dump boyfriend Pete Wentz, so she can be the star of a new reality dating show.  Think SimpsonCo is running low on funds, or does Joe hate Pete that much?

THE OSCARS:  For once, I  have already seen all of the nominees for Best Picture.  You can revisit my reviews for Atonement, Juno, Michael Clayton, No Country For Old Men and There Will Be Blood for comparison, but I will have to think about how I would vote.  It's great that the adorable Juno got that nod, as well as star Ellen Page, director Jason Reitman and screenwriter Diablo Cody, though the Oscar rarely goes to comedy.  Variety notes that political films were largely shut out this year in its round-up of snubs, including A-list actors, screenwriters and The Simpsons.  There were snubs a-plenty in the song category, some noted by Variety, but especially Eddie Vedder and Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood, whose score for There Will Be Blood was disqualified.

TERROR in the US:  Jose Padilla was sentenced to a relatively lenient 17-year prison term on his conviction for supporting terrorism.  At trial, prosecutors avoided the "dirty bomb" claim that made Padilla infamous, in order to keep out evidence of Padilla's treatment in detention.  The judge, however, took those factors into account in denying the government's request for a life sentence.

IRAN:  The political authority of the Pres. Ahmadinejad suffered a serious blow after supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei sided with parliament by ordering him to supply cheap gas to villages undergoing power cuts amid an unexpectedly harsh winter.  Meanwhile, the UN Security Council's permanent members and Germany agreed Tuesday on a new draft resolution on sanctions against the Islamic theocracy over its nuclear program.

IRAQ and the MEDIA:  A New York Times article, "Hopes for Vehicle Questioned After Blast," claims that "the first fatality inflicted by a roadside bomb on an MRAP" (the new Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected armored vehicle) is some seminal event in the conflict.  Milblogger Badger 6 points out numerous flaws in the story, starting with the fact that it is not the first such fatality. At Wired's Danger Room, Noah Schactman identifies more flaws in the story, which Schactman thinks misses the more important issue of whether the MRAPs are sufficiently maneuverable for Iraq.  This is a common flaw in the media coverage of Iraq, as I have noted with respect to stories about up-armoring Humvees and the proper type and level of body armor.  There is almost always a trade-off between armor and mobility, yet the media almost always assumes that more armor is safer, rather than deal with the complex and varied situations faced by the military in Iraq.  Even the Associated Press notes in this case that the crew compartment of the MRAP "was not compromised" and the three soldiers inside escaped with cuts and broken bones in their feet.  So the NYT is going quite out of its way to accentuate the negative in this instance.

PANDAS:  Fu Long, the first baby panda to be born in Europe in a quarter of a century has made his first public appearance at the Vienna Zoo.  Pic at the link.  But lest we think it's all about the cute, let's go to video of a jealous panda. (Thx, Amber.)

A BLIND SEAL named Alfred, found on the New Jersey shore early last year, made his debut at the L.A. Zoo on Friday.  Video at the link.

SNAKES on a PLANE!  Customs officials in Vietnam discovered a ton of live snakes on board a Thai Air flight from Bangkok, hidden inside 60 ice boxes marked "fresh fish."  BONUS:  Snake in a Van in Helena, MT.

BELCHING COWS will be studied by a Swedish university to measure the bovine greenhouse gases.

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Ryan Adams, New Releases, Levon Helm, YLT, Mango the Poodle   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


RYAN ADAMS continues to post all sorts of video like "Why Heartache Hurts" to his Tube account.  He's already deleted a couple more explicitly dealing with his breakup with Jessica Joffe, so if you're a fan or a voyeur, you should check his account regularly.

NEW RELEASES:  Cat Power's Jukebox is streaming in full via Rhapsody.  MGMT's Oracular Spectacular is streaming via MuchMusic.  Drive-By Truckers' Brighter Than Creation's Dark is streaming from Rhapsody.  Albums from Magnetic Fields and The Whigs are still streaming via Spinner.

33 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT LED ZEPPELIN, courtesy of Blender magazine.

LEVON HELM, best known as the drummer-vocalist of The Band, stopped by the World Cafe for a chat and mini-set you can stream on demand via NPR.

BE YOUR OWN PET is streaming advance tracks from their upcoming album at BYOPSpace.

YO LA TENGO are captured playing the bouncy "Mr. Tough" and "I Feel Like Going Home" at The Current.  And that. my friends, is Twofer Tuesday.

BEAT SURRENDER:  At the Evening Standard, Richard Godwin has a wonderful piece on the role of rhythm in indie music.

HALL & OATES:  The now-cleanshaven John Oates is busy working on a new cartoon in development about the superpowers of his formerly famous mustache.

THE MOLDY PEACHES continued their reunion with a chat and mini-set for The Bryant Park Project you can stream via NPR.

PETE DOHERTY were reimagined as two infamous British murderers by artist Russell Young.  The images have been sold by a gallery for a reported £28,000.  The work is meant as an observation on the self-destructive hedonism of some of Britain's biggest celebrities.

BRITNEY SPEARS has reportedly dumped her British photographer boyfriend Adnan Ghalib, furious that she has been "conned" into appearing in photos for his paparazzi agency.  When asked if she has a message for Ghalib, the pop wreck responded in a British accent, "I don't know who that is... I have never met him before."  Long before hooking up with Spears, Ghalib reportedly had targeted Angelina Jolie, according to the ever-reliable National Enquirer.  Yesterday, Spears spent two hours for an ongoing deposition in her ongoing child custody battle with Fed-Ex.  Blender magazine is prpping a March cover story on the pop tart, which will report that everyone around Spears seemed baffled by her bizarre behavior.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  MTV has published a guide to the Scientology-speak in the Cruisetastic videos now on the web.  Fellow Scientologist John Travolta is defending Cruise, claiming the intense media scrutiny has gone too far.  Investigative journalist Ian Halperin is about to publish an exposé of the controversial church, with allegations of racism and homophobia galore.

CLOVERFIELD, having the highest January opening weekend ever, has inspired talk of a sequel.. or more like an equel.

OLIVER STONE  has set his sights on his next directing project, "Bush," a film focusing on the life and presidency of George W. Bush, and attached Josh Brolin to play the title role: "I'm the referee, and I want a fair, true portrait of the man. How did Bush go from an alcoholic bum to the most powerful figure in the world?"

CHARLIZE THERON has a reputation as one of Hollywood's more intelligent actresses, but is a little weak on geography.

THE OSCARS:  Nominees are due to be announced today.  You can check 'em against the predictions at The Envelope.  Newsweek conducted its 11th Oscar roundtable with possible acting nominees George Clooney (Michael Clayton), Angelina Jolie (A Mighty Heart), Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood), Ellen Page (Juno), James McAvoy (Atonement), and Marion Cotillard (La Vie en Rose).  Text and video at the link.  The video is interesting from the standpoint of seeing the "veterans" getting the newbies involved in the discussion; it's stars acting like nice people.

THE RAZZIES:  Unaffected by the Hollywood writers' strike, the 28th annual Golden Raspberries Award nominees have been announced.  The Worst Picture nominees are Bratz, Daddy Day Camp, I Know Who Killed Me, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, and Norbit.  Lindsay Lohan gets a nod, but the real story is Eddie Murphy who garners a record five noms -- including "Worst Screen Couple" -- for Norbit.  Full lists at the link.

WOODY ALLEN answers ten questions from readers of Time magazine.

CHRISTINA RICCI is becoming obsessed with gambling.

DITA VON TEESE, who reintroduced the world to the joys of 'burlesque', is set to become the new face of Wonderbra, though I'm not sure that face is the right word.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON is boosting the... morale of US troops in the Persian Gulf: "A hush fell over the crowd as Johansson, wearing a pink sweater, knee-high boots and cherry-red lipstick, entered the USO."  Pics at the link.  A very nice gesture, especially from an Obama girl.  BONUS:  Unedited DoD video from one of the meet-and-greets that ends with a song and a kiss.  ALSO: NYDN gossip Ben Widdicombe claims we can soon expect an announcement that Scar-Jo is betrothed to actor Ryan Reynolds?  Cue Vader!

ISLAMISM in the UK:  Islamic courts meet every week in the UK to rule on divorces and financial disputes. London's Telegraph reports on demands by senior Muslims that sharia be given legal authority.

SAUDI ARABIA is to lift its ban on women drivers in an attempt to stem a rising suffragette-style movement in the Kingdom.

IRAQ:  The Pentagon is considering Gen. Petraeus for the top NATO command later this year.  Th UN's chief envoy in Iraq said we cannot ignore the recent improvements both in the security and political situation in Iraq, though a political consensus on the most fundamental elements of the Iraqi state is needed for lasting results.  US and Iraqi commandos killed a suspected Shiite militia leader Monday during a raid in western Baghdad, the military said.  US warplanes pounded suspected AQI havens on the southern edge of Baghdad for the third time this month, hitting more than 30 targets in a 35-bomb blitz.  The WaPo has a piece on one of the deepest reservoirs of information the US has ever obtained of the network of foreign jihadis going into Iraq.

THE MILITARY and the MEDIA::  The New York Times profiles embedded indie blogger Michael Yon, who says he has recently, grudgingly, accepted that he has become a journalist.  In response to last weekend's badly flawed NYT piece painting Iraq and Afghanistan vets as criminals, Iowahawk -- a very different kind of blogger -- responds with a heavily researched article of his own.

MANGO the POODLE is now fully-equipped, after two near-death experiences since Thanksgiving.

THE SQUIRREL THREAT:  A militant rodent took down the grid in Big Sandy and Winona, TX.  Left in the dark and without water, both schools canceled classes in the midst of mid-terms.  Video at the link.

A BEACHED DOLPHIN was rescued in Britain by a sailor who swam with the creature to guide it back out to sea.  What's that, Flipper?  You're Welcome!

MIRABELLE the POT-BELLIED PIG has gone missing from her cushy farm stable in Bucks County, PA, during a morning walk.  Why is there no wall-to-wall coverage of this on the cable news?

ELEPHANTS saunter down the streets of Bangkok almost every night, stopping off at red-light districts and tourist areas, despite the creation of a Stray Elephant Task Force and a team of undercover elephant enforcers.  Jumbo needs a happy ending.

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U2, Bon Iver, Moldy Peaches, John Stewart, Conan the Dog   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, January 21, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


U2:  Given that the US marks Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a holiday today, "Pride (In the Name of Love)" and "MLK" are your obvious choices.

ROBERT PLANT & ALISON KRAUSS plot a US tour that could seriously complicate any Led Zeppelin reunion tour.

BON IVER:  Justin Vernon stopped by The Current for a chat and mini-set you can stream on demand via MPR.

THURSTON MOORE is scoring an adult DVD directed by photographer/filmmaker Richard Kern, who has also directed several Sonic Youth videos.  He's like the indie Eddie Van Halen.

BUDDY MILLER hits the road with friends and fan Emmylou Harris, Patty Griffin and Shawn Colvin on the "Three Girls and Their Buddy Tour."

THE BRUNETTES did the four free songs to stream or download thing for a daytrotter session.

THE MOLDY PEACHES will be reuniting to perform "Anyone Else But You" on The View today, in support of the Juno soundtrack.  But now you can see 'em at the Juno premiere instead.

JOHN STEWART, a member of The Kingston Trio, with an acclaimed solo career that included recording more than 40 albums, died after a massive stroke on Saturday at age 68.  Unfortunately my favorite solo stuff, like "The Mother Road," is not avaliable online.  He is, however, best known for writing "Daydream Believer," which was a No. 1 hit for The Monkees in December 1967 (their last).  In 1979, Anne Muuray's version hit No.1 on on the Adult Contemporary chart, No. 3 on the country chart, and No. 12 on the pop chart.  But I think you would rather watch Paul Westerberg cover it in 1993 as the crowd goes berzerk.  Or watch The Edge leads Madison Square Garden in a kareoke version on U2's PopMart tourBONUSDavy Jones ambushes The Edge in Los Angeles.

MARK RONSON:  Music insiders claim the 32-year-old Svengali is the most extraordinary young figure to emerge on the scene in decades, potentially as influential as Phil Spector was in the Sixties.  The Daily Mail's profile includes cameos from Keith Moon, Michael Jackson, Tom-Kat, some of the most well-known names in British politics, and a famous fraudster.

GARY GLITTER is in the hospital after suffering a heart attack in the Vietnamese jail where he is serving three years for abusing girls aged 11 and 12.  British and Vietnamese officials have been in talks over his early release on health grounds.

AMY WINEHOUSE appeared wild-eyed and dishevelled in court when she came to support her jailed husband Blake Fielder-Civil.  As her husband was led back into custody she interrupted court proceedings to shout: "Love you handsome. Gorgeous one."  She then rounded on reporters sitting in court and yelled: "I wasn't talking to you."

PETE DOHERTY has reportedly knocked up the 20-year-old god-daughter of Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, according to the uber-reliable News of the World.  The tabloid claims she has still not told her parents she is pregnant, but I'm guessing there will be inquiries.

BRITNEY SPEARS:  The paparazzi at X17 Online are claiming that Britney's sometime manager and pal Sam Lutfi showed the agency's photogs a copy of the pop wreck's restraining order against supposed bf Adnan Ghalib.  For his part, Ghalib says he is not aware of any restraining order and has been out of town for a funeral since Friday.  The LAPD says no restraining order has been officially filed, but that doesn't mean Spears hasn't started the paperwork.  Meanwhile, Spears has reportedly been canned from a three-million-dollar movie role.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  Cruise brands federal officials "liars" and takes credit for saving the lives of hundreds of supposedly poisoned workers at Ground Zero in a wacky new Scientology video.  BONUS:  Radar magazine, one of the first to flag the Scientology videos, has some highlights from the list of questions asked in a Scientology "audit."

NICOLE KIDMAN was a cold, petulant and moody diva, according to the unauthorized biography of her ex-husband, Tom Cruise.  And yet still comes off better than he does.

KATE MOSS celebrated her 34th birthday with a sleazy orgy involving three other partygoers, according to the uber-reliable News of the World.  Her boyfriend was not among them.  The catwalk queen got hot and sweaty with two female models and a lucky male guest while a crowd of onlookers snorted cocaine and ogled the eye-popping performance.

PAMELA ANDERSON is no longer pregnant, though there is no elaboration on how that came about.

LINDSAY LOHAN will soon be working at a morgue as part of her punishment for misdemeanor drunken driving.  Eveyone is going with The Sixth Sense punchline, so Ill add that the punishment is very Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE:  The mystery monster of Cloverfield stomped the competition to the tune of 41 million; the flick had a budget of between 25-25 million.  Ketherine Heigl's 27 Dresses also wore well, making 22.4 million.  The Bucket List and the adorable Juno held well, dropping only 22 and 25 percent repectively.  The former is a sure bet to break even, while the latter seems a sure bet to break 100 million.  First Sunday tumbled 56 percent in its second weekend.  Mad Money debuted in a disappointing seventh spot, while Alvin and the Chipmunks near the 200 million mark.  Atonement stayed in the Ten spot, but increased its receipts 12 percent over last weekend.  There Will Be Blood made it to eleven after expanding to 389 screens.

GEORGE CLOONEY has been made a UN "messenger of peace" to promote the organization's peacekeeping activities around the world.

REESE & RYAN are reportedly squabbling over how much time their kids are spending with Witherspoon's new boyfriend, Jake Gyllenhaal.

HEATH LEDGER & GEMMA WARD are rumored to be dating.

SUZANNE PLESHETTE,  the smoky-voiced actress who played Bob Newhart's wife Emily for six years on the popular 1970s sitcom "The Bob Newhart Show," has died of respiratory failure. She was 70.  In real life, she was married to Newhart regular Tom Poston.

ALLAN MELVIN , a popular character actor who played butcher Sam Franklin on The Brady Bunch and Archie Bunker's neighbor and friend Barney on All in the Family, has died of cancer. He was 84.

JESSICA SIMPSON's problems with Dallas Cowboys fans inspire The Onion: "Speaking to reporters she had invited into her impenetrable subterranean Texas lair on Monday, Jessica Simpson gloated over the victory she recently achieved after nearly two years of using her personal charms, her unique brand of cunning, and every resource at her disposal to meticulously plot the downfall of the Cowboys' 2007 season..."

CARTOON JIHAD:  A Belarus court sentenced a newspaper editor to three years in prison for reprinting a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad.  Meanwhile, in Canada, Alberta's Human Rights Commission is going after former publisher Ezra Levant for publishing the cartoons.  His opening statement is wonderfully defiant.

IRAN:  David B. Crist, who served in the Marine Corps reserves in Iraq in 2003 and now works for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recounts prior incidents of US ships being targeted by the small boats of Iran's Revolutionary Guard.

IRAQ:  Bill Roggio has a series of maps showing AQI's shrinking area of operations in Iraq.  Street battles between members of a messianic cult and Iraqi troops erupted in Basra and Nasiriyah.  However, one of the holiest events for Shiite Muslims ended peacefully Saturday in the southern Iraqi city of Karbala, attended by millions.  US commanders hope they can turn Moqtada al-Sadr's Shiite supporters the same way they have former Sunni insurgents.  However, his Mahdi Army may not renew the ceasefire.  About 75 percent of Baghdad's neighborhoods are now secure, a dramatic increase from eight percent a year ago when President Bush ordered more troops to the capital, US military figures show.  Five brigade combat teams, equal to 2007's troop "surge," should be home by July, accorrding to SecDef Gates.

CONAN, an 18-month-old long haired chihuahua, folds his paws in prayer alongside a Buddhist priest at Shuri-kannondo temple in Naha city, Okinawa province, Japan.  I would guess there are not too many Buddhists named Conan.

THE SQUIRREL THREAT has spawned its own cartoon jihad in Romania, with embedded video goodness.

PET HOARDING:  Hundreds of neglected animals found on a ranch in Lancaster, Calif., were being rescued Saturday, including 30 cats, 40 chickens and turkeys, 100 goats and sheep, a llama, an emu, a pregnant horse, three potbellied pigs and a 600-pound farm pig. Many of the animals were pregnant.

POOP POWER soon will be fueling the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden.

A RABBIT has adopted six abandoned kittens in Aberdeen, Sctotland.  Awww...some photo and video at the link.

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Advance Drive-By Truckers, Morrissey, Cutout Bin, Cloverfield   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, January 18, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



...with RADIOHEAD's surprise show at the 93 Feet East club in London two nights ago!  It was the first show this intimate since some US dates around the time of OK Computer.  The Times of London writes that the gig "felt like a modern-day equivalent of The Beatles' al fresco show on the rooftop of their Apple HQ" and "So much for the myth that they no longer rock."  The band played the entirety of the new In Rainbows album: "15 Step," "Bodysnatchers," "Nude," "Weird," "Fishes/Arpeggi," "All I Need," "Faust Arp," "Reckoner," "House of Cards," "Jigsaw Falling into Place," and "Videotape."  I feel slightly guilty about featuring Rradiohead just two weeks after their New Year's webcast, but this is a special case.  If you're burned out on Radiohead, check out my Wednesday qurtet of videos from Duffy.

DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS:  Rolling Stone can hook you up to an advance stream of the upcoming Brighter Than Creation's Dark album, plus Robert Christgau's review of the record.  And maybe the lawyers will stay away.

TEDDY THOMPSON talks to London's Telegraph about American country music and working with parents Richard and Linda, Martha and Rufus Wainwright, and Emmylou Harris.

LILY ALLEN is reportedly heartbroken after suffering a miscarriage.

NICOLE ATKINS & THE SEA are playing the World Cafe at noon EST today.  You can stream the gig live -- or on demand a bit later -- via NPR.

MORRISSEY is accosted by a stream of stage divers in the live footage backing "That's How People Grow Up," the new track on his upcoming Greatest Hits LP.

THE ROLLING STONES are putting out the soundtrack to the Marty Scorsese concert film, Shine A Light, on Universal, not EMI.  Seems like Paul McCartney is not the only classic rocker not happy with EMI's new management -- esp. its policy against big advances.

WILCO:  At Cinema Blend, Jessica Grabert explains how she learned to loathe the band -- and why she thinks others love Tweedy & Co.  (Thx, LHB.)

THE DAP-KINGS are set to jet to L.A. to back Amy Winehouse at the Grammys -- provided she passes the drug test necessary for a visa and the show isn't derailed by the writers' strike.

PETE DOHERTY, who is in training for this year's Flora London Marathon, is wearing his girlfriend's bras to protect his "sore nipples."

CUTOUT BIN:  From Marshall Crenshaw to Candi Staton, from Gram Parsons to Xiu Xiu, from The Clash to Nelson Riddle, this Friday's fortuitous finds -- with covers a-plenty -- can be jukeboxed or streamed individually on the Pate page at the ol' HM

CLOVERFIELD is -- as the trailers and ads suggest -- "The Blair Godzilla Project" (I'm sure plenty will draw that analogy) -- a giant monster movie told as a video verite mockumentary from the point of view of a group of friends and acquaintances in NYC at the wrong time.  I suppose NYC natives may feel queasy about some of the 9/11-esque imagery, though similar images appeared in Spielber's non-NYC-based War of the Worlds.  I do not think there is any sort of 9/11 subtext to the movie.  I congratulate the filmmakers for managing to keep the monster -- and one of its unique facets -- largely secret in the Internet age (I was aware of this facet, but if you want the spoiler, click the "Read full article..." link at the bottom of today's entry.  What makes Cloverfield good, as opposed to great, however, is that the backstory for the main characters is not as fleshed out as it could have been, given the clever way it was presented.  This weakness, combined with the fact that the focal character Rob is not always sympathetic, almost ensures (though it was likely to happen any way) that the character the audence likes the most is Hud, who is the largely unseen cameraman.  It does give the movie a strange symmetry, as the monster itself is more glimpsed than seen.  Indeed, I suspect people will debate whether the monster should ever be fully revealed (my take would be they should have actually waited for the moment where it is fully revealed, and shown a bit less in a couple of distance shots).  It is a movie ultimately more about style than substance, but is stylish and gives the audience enough to keep it worried about whether some or all of the cast will survive.  BONUS:  The teaser trailer for J.J. Abrams' Star Trek reboot ran in front of Cloverfield, but about all you see is a peek at the USS Enterprise.

NOW SHOWING:  In addition to Cloverfield, which goes way wide on 3411 screens and a 70 percent rating on the ol' Tomatometer, this weekend's wide releases are the Katherine Heigl rom-com 27 Dresses, which is scoring 35 percent; and the Keaton-Latifah-Holmes comedy Mad Money, currently scoring 22 percent.  Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood expands to 389 screens and a 90 percent score.  And there is still the adorable Juno, which has been No. 2 at the box office during the week.

BRITNEY SPEARS: The pop wreck's agenda for Wednesday included getting stopped for speeding, and a 2 a.m. shopping spree without pants.  That is how the paparazzi at X17 got nsfw photographic evidence that the pop tart is not pregnant.  Four paparazzi were arrested for reckless driving while chasing Britney Spears' car around Mission Hills.  On Thursday morning, "manager" Sam Lutfi barged in on Britney in the shower, during a phone call into Ryan Seacrest's radio show.  UPDATE:  TMZ has sources sugestinng that Spears has multiple-personality disorder.

JAMIE LYNN SPEARS, Britney's 16-year-old knocked up sister, denies miscarriage rumors.

OWEN WILSON was busted on film and video buying a monkey pipe at the Green House Smoke Shop in Venice Beach, Calif.  Isn't he supposed to be rehabbed?

DREW BARRYMORE was... wait for it... caught canoodling on camera with co-star Jason Long at the New Orleans airport.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON is going to entertain the troops in the Persian Gulf, the USO has announced.  The precise dates are undisclosed.  For some reason, Scar-Jo gets a large supply of fan letters from the military and wanted to do more than just answer them on paper.

SEAN PENN:  Was Sienna Miller a factor in his split from Robin Wright Penn? 

KIEFER SUTHERLAND gets out of the slammer Monday morning.  A Glendale City Jail rep told People magazine: "He never wanted preferential treatment from the get go, and we respect him for that."

THE X-FILES sequel is a "stand-alone movie, not a mythology conspiracy one," says series creator Chris Carter.  Probably a smart decision -- how could they compete for conspiracies now that the Internet is ubiquitous?

HOLLYWOOD WRITERS' STRIKE:  The Directors Guild of America struck a deal with the major studios that may pressure the Writers Guild to settle the 11-week-old strike that has roiled Tinseltown.  Which was why -- imho --the studios were working on a deal with the directors even before the strike.

THE OSCAR NOMINEES for Best Picture, once reflected a kind of national cinema, but have become a smaller niche market than horror films or urban comedies.

RACHEL BILSON, who has been seen on episodes of Chuck after the demise of The O.C., and will soon be on the big screen in Jumper, has a photo spread the February 2008 issue of GQ magazine.  There's also a video of the photo-shoot soundtracked with Vampire Weekend's "A-Punk."  Yep, it's Gratuitous Friday.

IRAN is confident of a prompt solution to the dispute over its nuclear program, despite the possiblility of further UN Security Council sanctions, but deputy foreign minister warned that failure to find a solution would play into the hands of those who favor unilateral action and war.  A new GAO report claims the three-year international effort to pressure Iran is faltering, and questions the impact of 20 years of US economic sanctions on Tehran.  At the Counterterrorism Blog, Matthew Levitt argues that the new report misses the point.  Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki publicly claimed that Pres. Bush would be impeached by his own party over his statements about Iran, displaying the keen grasp of US politics and the US Constitution Iran needs in its top diplomat.

LT. COL. JOHN NAGL, blurbed here yesterday, was interviewed on WHYY's Fresh Air about what's next for Iraq.

IRAQ:  Gen. Petraeus said Iran was still training terrorists despite its pledge to cut support for the insurgency.  He and SecDef Gates are at odds over the speed of the drawdown for the "surge."  More than 75K US and Iraqi soldiers are preparing to launch the widest military operation since 2003 in three Sunni provinces in what is being described by military sources, as a crucial attempt to uproot AQI.  The US military conducted more than five times as many airstrikes in Iraq last year as it did in 2006, targeting AQI safe houses, insurgent bombmaking facilities and weapons stockpiles in an aggressive strategy aimed at supporting the "surge" by overwhelming enemies with air power.  Iraq faces a period of economic growth and political progress, according to assessments by the International Monetary Fund and the UN.

WOLFGANG LEANDER:  Swimming with sharks is his hobby.  He's 67 and has been doing it since he was 14, but not without incident.

THE SQUIRREL THREAT:  Grey squirrels are even more devious than anyone realized.

MOOKIE the BULL, won in a poker game, was kept in a garage in Ewing, NJ... until someone tipped off Animal Control.

THE ROBOT ZOO will offer children in Qatar the chance to explore the biomechanics of complex animal robots to discover how real animals work.  Freaky pic at the link.

Read full article: 'Advance Drive-By Truckers, Morrissey, Cutout Bin, Cloverfield'
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