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Ike Turner, Sharon Jones, Okkervil River, Trout Breakout   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, December 13, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


IKE TURNER, whose role as one of rock's critical architects was overshadowed by his ogrelike image as the man who brutally abused former wife Tina Turner, died Wednesday at his home in suburban San Diego. He was 76.  AOL has your photo gallery and Tubed clips, including 'Proud Mary' and 'River Deep Mountain High.'

SHARON JONES bristles at the notion that she is part of a trend: "People ask, 'Are you trying to create a classic soul sound?' I ain't creatin' nothing. Every time I open my mouth, this is what's going to come out."  And you can hear or watch what that was like when Ms. Jones and the Dap-Kings played Morning Become Eclectic, which is streaming via KCRW.  And you can see video of the recording of "Answer Me" over at the 'Gum.

OKKERVIL RIVER has released a free covers EP for the holidays.

LEVON HELM:  The legendary drummer-vocalist for The Band -- and his recovery from throat cancer -- were featured on Fresh Air and can be streamed via NPR.

BILLY BRAGG writes that the saddest thing about the Morrissey-NME spat is the singer resorted to the courts to stifle his critics: "Had Morrissey claimed freedom of speech in his own defence, I would have supported his stance.  Yet Bragg adds the caveat, "unless he has been misrepresented," which suggests he also supports Morrissey for going to court if he's right (and that he doesn't believe Morrissey is right).

JOHNNY CASH, with June Carter Cash, family and friends, on "The 12 Days Of Christmas."  Fish, meet barrel!

THE LEE VEES:  Guster guitarist Adam Gardner talks about his Hanukkah-themed side project with the Boston Globe.  You can stream a few tracks via LeeVeeSpace.

THE TOP 50 VIDEOS of 2007, with embedded videos, according to the staff at Pitchfork.

LED ZEPPELIN was talking about playing NYC after their triumphant reunion gig in London.

DINOSAUR, JR.:  Lou Barlow talked to The Daily Iowan about that band's successful reunion: "I like the idea of us being classic rock, in that Black Sabbath sense... I'm kind of down with that. I don't think we're as good as Led Zeppelin, but in a punk-rock or indie-rock sense, I do think we have that classic idea."

JESSICA ALBA: Knocked Up!  Cue Vader!  Alba and Cash Warren had split last summer -- reportedly because Alba wanted to wed -- but the two reconciled, obvs.

KEIFER SUTHERLAND is being deluged with fan mail in jail.

SHIA LeBEOUF:  Charges were dropped against the star of Transformers and the upcoming Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull by the Windy City Walgreens, where the glassy-eyed actor was busted last month on a misdemeanor criminal trespassing charge.

PAM ANDERSON & RICK SALOMON:  First comes lust, then comes marriage, then comes the couple in a (sur-)reality TV show.

GWEN STEFANI is starting a college-scholarship fund for students affected by this fall's California wildfires.  Stefani already donated about 160K in proceeds from her Oct. 30 concert in San Diego to the San Diego Foundation fire-relief fund.

BRITNEY SPEARS eloped with the shify Sam Lufti?  I'm not buying it, though he's the one telling the press that Spears skipped her scheduled deposition due to "high anxiety."  Fed-Ex's attorney indicated he "will pursue" a court sanction against the pop tart for failing to show.  Access Hollywood has a piece on her toxic diet of caffeine drinks and fast food -- as though that's the reason for her mood swings and the real threat to her liver.  And she is considering a role as the Virgin Mary in a new satire titled "Sweet Baby Jesus."

BRADGELINA was named US Weekly's Couple of the Year, which is amusing given that US Weekly has been needling the couple ever since they struck up a cozy relationship with rival People magazine.

EVA MENDES would rather go naked than wear fur?  Not really.

ARE TV NETS DYING?  NBC has quietly begun reimbursing advertisers an average of 500K each for failing to reach guaranteed ratings levels, the first time a network has taken such a step in years.  CBS, ABC and Fox also are doling out make-goods. They have blamed softness on a new ratings formula, but media agencies disagree.  The networks' problems emerged even before the Writers Guild of America went on strike November 5.

AWARDS SEASON:  What if they held the Oscars and nobody came?  Except for the Screen Actors Guild's awards, attendance of nominees at all of the major awards shows is a question mark, as they would have to cross the Writers Guild of America picket line.

THE FRENCH HOTEL is advertising her new line of champagne clad only in gold paint.  Sorry, this heirhead is no Jill Masterson.  Or Dame Shirley Bassey, for that matter.

ISLAMISM in the UK:  The daughter of a British imam is living under police protection after receiving death threats from her father for converting to Christianity.

PAKISTAN:  Al Qaeda and the Taliban are targeting the nation's nuclear sites.

LEBANON:  A car bomb attack killed one of Lebanon's top generals and at least two other people Wednesday, putting even more pressure on the country's delicate political situation.  Brig. Gen. Francois Hajj was considered a leading candidate to succeed the head of the military, if Gen. Michel Suleiman is elected president.  Suspects range from the "Syrian-Iranian axis" to the al-Qaeda-inspired terrorists whom the army crushed at the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr el-Bared.

IRAQ:  Prime Minister al-Maliki established an Awakening council in Samarra, while an 800-man police force was formed in Wasit province.  The Shia factions that have feuded over control of Iraq's southern oil hub Basra have proclaimed a truce, as tipped here yesterday.  US-led troops killed 14 suspected insurgents and detained several others, including an AQI leader believed to be responsible for numerous deadly attacks against US-led forces, the military said Wednesday.  The AQI leader was reportedly in command of 300 militants and responsible for the kidnapping and killing of three Iraqi national guard soldiers.

THE GREAT ESCAPE:  Trout are snapped breaking out by jumping into an eight-inch pipe which brings fresh water into a trout farm near Alresford, Hampshire.

A SEA LION is recovering after wandering dazed and confused on the streets of San Carlos, Calif.

JELLY the CAT wandered back home with a copperhead snake wrapped around her neck.  The next morning, she was almost paralyzed, but is expected to recover fully.  Pic at the link.

...AND THERE WERE CHICKEN CARCASSES all over the highway.  Fowl pics at the link.

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More Zep, Dirty Projectors, The Darkness, Wii Dog   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, December 12, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


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Art Goats, Wilco, Led, Zep, Best of 2007, Otis Redding, Kung Fu Monkey   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, December 11, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


EDDIE ARGOS joins THE MOUNTAIN GOATS on a rendition of the MG's "Best Ever Death Metal Band Out Of Denton" at the Pineapple Folk Yuletide Gathering, Union Chapel, London.  Because nothing says Yuletime like a hearty chorus of "Hail Satan!" (Thx, LHB.)

WILCO has announced it will play "five shows exploring tha band's complete recorded works" at Chicago's Riviera Theater in February.  Details at the link.  Frontman Jeff Tweedy gets a decent profile from the Associated Press. There's also an alternate version, with some different material... which is kinda Wilco-esque.

LED ZEPPELIN played their first concert in 19 years, before nearly 20K fans at London's 02 arena.  The progenitors of heavy metal get rave reviews from the Guardian to the Sun, from the Telegraph to the Scotsman, from the NME to MTV, from the Times of London to the NYT to the Hollywood Reporter.  These gents may just have a future in the business of show.  JAM! has a song-by-song review.   Here's live footage in an ITV report.  And a few seconds of fan footage of the historic opening.  UPDATE:  And a minute of "Black Dog" from Auntie Beeb.  And some bootalicious "Stairway to Heaven."

NEW RELEASES:  Virtually nothing during the holdiay season.  The Bear Hands EP, the "I Hate CDs" compilation and the the Rumble Strips EP (again) are streaming via Spinner.  If you like the hippety-hop, there's new stuff from Beanie Siegel, Hi-Tek and the Wu-Tang Clan.

BEST of 2007:  Dodge is streaming tracks from his Fave 50 Albums at MOKB, along with honorable mentions and more.  I know I'll be checking out bands I overlooked.  PLUS:  Lists from Drowned In Sound and various music-bloggers are discussed at the 'Gum.

OTIS REDDING died in a plane crash on Lake Monona, Wisc., 40 years ago yesterday.  Check out his masterful appearance on Britain's Ready Steady Go! (Part1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4)

CHRIS ISAAK, with a song he wrote almost 60 years ago, "Let It Snow."  Add in a Christmas music medley at KFOG, and you have your Twofer Tuesday.

KEITH RICHARDS, LORD of the UNDEAD, is reissuing his 1978 solo single "Run Rudolph Run" on iTunes just in time for the holidays.   The single went on sale Monday, prior to Richards' 664th birthday.

GOOD FOR THE JEWS played some of their "Putting the Ha! in Hannukah" set for The Bryant Park Project, streaming on demand (w/video) via NPR.

NICOLE ATKINS talks to Frank Yang at Chromewaves about the various styles on her Neptune City album, which comes out in Canada today.  I blurbed her last month, when she appeared on Letterman.

ROSANNE CASH back home recovering comfortably from her brain surgery last week.  Best wishes to her.

QUIET RIOT singer Kevin DuBrow died of an accidental cocaine overdose, the coroner in Las Vegas said Monday.

LINDSAY LOHAN is now banned from the Shutters on the Beach Hotel in Santa Monica after she spent three days in their holed up with her now ex-boyfriend Riley Giles, according to the ever reliable Star magazine. The terrible twosome reportedly spent their time depleting the mini-bar and leaving dirty towels and cigarette butts strewn about their suite... plus a bloody syringe that someone left lying on the bedside table on a room service tray.

BRITNEY SPEARS:  Gas station manager Sham Bahia laughed off the pop tart's theft of a cigarette lighter.  A photographer returned to the store Saturday and paid for it.  Meanwhile, Spears pal Sam Lufti is nowhere near the pop tart since Us Weekly exposed details of his seedy past.

THE FRENCH HOTEL was at the center of a bizarre nightclub incident when she comforted an Oompa-Loompa injured when the crowd rushed the stage.  She wants an Oompa-Loompa now!

ELLEN DeGENERES, trying to revamp her image after regifting her adopted dog Iggy, is teaming up with former Meow Mix owner Richard Thompson to rebuild shabby animal shelters across the US.

MICHAEL VICK:  ICYMI, the disgraced fmr Falcons QB was sentenced to 23 months in prison for financing a dogfighting ring and helping to kill pit bulls that did not fight aggressively.

GARY COLLINS will not be prosecuted for manslaughter, even though the man he hit the night he was busted for DUI died.

GEORGE CLOONEY will make his second trip to war-torn Darfur, though he's blunt about what he's done for Darfur so far: "You want the truth? Absolutely nothing. People can march and pat each other on the back, and concerts will happen, and the simple truth is there's still the exact same issues going on."

JACK NICHOLSON reckons he could have fathered as many as 9000 kids.  I'm guessing that's one more thing his lawyer would have advised against saying.

ATONEMENT and JUNO both did well in limited release last weekend, while John Cusack's Iraq war-themed Grace Is Gone did not (much like all the other Iraq-themed flicks this year).  NPR has a piece on Atonement with videos -- including a clip to match an excerpt from the book.

AWARDS SEASON:  NY critics pick the Coen Bros.' No Country for Old Men as best picture.  LA critics pick Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood.  I just hope an East Coast-West Coast gangsta war can be avoided.

THE DARK KNIGHT:  Those first six minutes of the Batman Begins sequel that got raves last week will appear as a preview in Imax theaters before "I Am Legend," which opens Friday.

INDIANA JONES IV:  USA Today has the poster for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull along with some very light spoilers (much lighter than others I've linked here before).

WALK HARD:  The first ten minutes of Judd Apatow's parody of rock biopics is online.  But to see Jenna Fisher you'll have to watch the clip for "Let's Duet."

VENEZUELA:  At Newsweek, Fmr Mexican Foreign Minister Jorge Castañeda writes that Pres. Hugo Chávez tried to overturn the results of Venezuela's recent constitutional referendum but was rebuffed by the military.

AFGHANISTAN:  Taliban fighters ran away from the only major Afghan center they held after heavy aerial bombardment Sunday night.  Musa Qala had become the main center of drugs trading in Afghanistan.  However, they are expected to regroup and try to stage a counter-attack.  In Sangin, Taliban fighters hanged a 12-year-old boy from a mulberry tree, claiming he was passing information on Taliban roadside bomb attacks to police and British forces, Afghan police have said.

IRAN:  Students defied a clampdown on protests in Iran by tearing down the gates of Tehran university.  They chanted slogans against Pres. Ahmadinejad and carried placards saying "Live free or die", "No war, no fascism" and "Women must decide their fate, not the state."  They wrecked the iron-barred gates and threw stones at police, according to Iranian state radio, which said the protest ended peacefully.

IRAQ:  The Chicago Tribune reports on the new US base near the Iranian border.  Iraq's foreign minister insisted a new security pact with the Americans will set a time limit on the US troop presence in Iraq.  The LA Times claims Iraq remains balkanized in a piece on the need for national reconciliation and reconstruction in 2008.  Michael J. Totten interviews Marines with the 3rd Battalion 5th Regiment's India Company about pushing the insurgents out of Fallujah.  Guerilla groups in Diyala province are uniting to combat AQI, under the delightful name, "Direction of Revenge Operations."

KUNG FU MONKEY:  That chimp is fast as lightning.

EAT MORE BEAVER:  Advice from the Riverfront Times in St. Louis.  Levent Blayock says the party really gets hopping, with kids paddling each other and women screaming.

A GREEK PARROT is facing a $650 (£320; 444 euros) parking ticket.

AN ENGLISH PARROT is driving its owner insane by mimicking his mobile phone's ringtone.

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Jens Lekman, Alex Chilton & Yo La Tengo, SFA, Cat-sicle   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, December 10, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


JENS LEKMAN did an interview and four-song set to watch over at Spinner.

THE WHITE STRIPES:  The band's future is cloudy following an abrupt cancellation of its tour amid concerns over Meg's health, but Jack White tells the L.A. Times he's staying busy: "Half of me was glad because I have three other records I'm working on and I didn't have any time to work on them, and I was really getting worried that I might have to not do these things I wanted to do because of the touring."

ALEX CHILTON joined YO LA TENGO on the fourth night of the latter's traditional Hanukkah run at the legendary Maxwell's in Hoboken, NJ.  Brooklyn Vegan has video, including covers of the Velvet Underground's "Femme Fatale" and The Kins' "'Til the End of the Day."

BEST of 2007:  NPR reviewers Bob Boilen, Carrie Brownstein (of Sleater-Kinney), Will Hermes, Tom Moon and Meredith Ochs are streaming the year's surprises, innovations and letdowns.  Top 50 lists from MOJO and Q magazine are discussed at the 'Gum, along with Filter magazine's Top Ten.   And don't forget Largehearted Boy's continuously updated list of lists.

LED ZEPPELIN is now in the midst of a major promotional deal involving both ESPN and the NFL.  With the big reunion show looming tonight, Ten Zen Monkeys looks at the Top Ten Pillars of Led Zeppelin Mythology, while Ireland's Independent looks at the pre-Zep careers of John Paul, Jimmy and Robert. JAM! looks at their post-Zep careers.

RAY CHARLES:  Albany, GA, unveiled a revolving, lighted bronze statue of Charles on Friday in the middle of a new downtown plaza that bears the R&B legend's name.

CHRISTMAS SONGS:  The staff at Spinner has compiled lists of the 12 Best and 12 Worst songs of the season.

SUPER FURRY ANIMALS has a video for "The Gift That Keeps Giving" that is quite evil, though maybe not as bad as John Cale's "Gift."

SLY and the FAMILY STONE finished a four-night stand in NYC, so Brooklyn Vegan can give you a peek at the reclusive Sly's state of mind.

INGRID MICHAELSON, riding a wave of television placements, played the World Cafe Friday, so you can stream the whole gig on demand via NPR.

FERRABY LIONHEART:  The L.A.-based singer-songwriter did the free songs thing over at Daytrotter.

JOE STRUMMER widow Lucinda Mellor has unearthed a trove of unseen lyrics, cartoons, and other memorabilia, which is now set to be compiled in a new book.

PHIL SPECTOR has finally found a new lawyer for his murder retrial, which the lawyer proposes to begin in September 2008.

PETE DOHERTY:  A Babyshambles fan sang and played guitar with his idols at the NME Awards launch party after the trobled singer was taken ill.

BRITNEY SPEARS shoplifted a lighter from a gas station... and bragged about it to the paparazzi about it.  Like that's not going to come up in some future child custody hearing.  The pop tart previously lifted a wig from the Hustler store in L.A.

LINDSAY LOHAN makes news going out in a see-through top.  The Sun's pic does not make this as clear at the photos at Egotastic.

THE FRENCH HOTEL desperately wants her ex, Stavros Niarchos, back, say sources who have followed her antics in Miami last week.  Page Six reports Greek shipping heir Niarchos was with Brandon Davis' ex-girlfriend, Caroline Vreeland; he was also recently linked with La Lohan.

KIEFER SUTHERLAND is a "model prisoner," says a spokesman for the Glendale City Jail.  Sutherland spent his first full day on Thursday folding jail laundry.

FALLEN IDOL:  Fmr "American Idol" finalist Jessica Sierra -- busted last week for disorderly intoxication and resisting arrest -- has learned that a major pr0n company has obtained a vdeotape featuring her -- and they're preparing to distribute it.

DANIEL BALDWIN had his probation revoked and is under an arrest warrant for his failure to appear at a progress report hearing after his arrest last year for possession of drug paraphernalia and for being under the influence.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE:  The Golden Compass won the weekend with a lackluster 26 million, falling short of expectations (30-40 million).  The hoped for franchise-starter had a budget of 180 million and a reported 60 million in marketing costs.  Enchanted took second with ten million on a mere 34 percent drop.  In third place was This Christmas, the surprise family comedy, which earned five million.  Fred Claus clawed back to fourth with 4.7 million.  Beowulf rounds out the Top Five with 4.4 mil; its global total so far just about matches its 150 million budget. The Coens' No Country for Old Men went from tenth to sixth place with 4.2 million.  Taking seventh place was the sentimental, Christmas-themed August Rush, which earned 3.5 million.  Hitman dropped from fourth to eighth with 3.4 mil.  Awake dropped from fifth to ninth in its second weekend, with 3.3 million.  Rounding out the Top Ten was Bee Movie, with 2.6 mil; its glogal total is about ten million short of its 150 million budget (and who knows how much in promotion).

SIENNA MILLER has been paid £37,500 plus legal costs by The Sun and News of the World for invasion of privacy, after publishing nude photographs taken while she was filming a movie... in public.  Go figure.

SEX & THE CITY:  The Daily Mail is streaming the trailer for the movie reunion.

WILL SMITH revealed he wants to become President of the United States, but did not mention whether there would be a place in his Administration for DJ Jazzy Jeff.

OPRAH played to crowds in Iowa and South Carolina on behalf of Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign.

SEAN PENN endorsed Dennis Kucinich for president in San Francisco Friday: "I found the (recent Democratic) debate infuriating, nearly an argument for fascism with few exceptions, key among them Dennis Kucinich," Penn said.  The full text of Penn's speech is online, but even Kucinich's people seem a bit on edge about it: "Sean Penn is a good friend, but he's also a very intense, independent-minded person," said the spokesman for the Kucinich campaign. "He's going to say whatever he's going to say."

MARILYN MANSON ended up sharing a cage with a baboon after taking an ecstasy pill.

PAKISTAN:  Pres. Musharraf will lift emergency rule and restore the suspended constitution on December 15, a day earlier than planned.  Islamist parties are divided and in disarray ahead of crucial January elections.  It seems like folks are rejecting Islamist text messages on the war, as well.  Pakistan's army claimed Saturday it has cleared almost all of embattled northwestern Swat valley of militants.  I would take that with a grain of salt, but if citizens are helping keep out the extremists, perhaps there is something to it.

IRAN:   The new National Intelligence Estimate that says Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 is raising concerns among the political center and left, as well as conservatives who have long called for a hard line against the Islamic Republic.  "It, like the report in 2002 that set up the invasion of Iraq, is both misleading and dangerous," wrote Gary Milhollin, director of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, and Valerie Lincy, editor of the nonpartisan group's Web site, Iranwatch.org, in a NYT op-ed.  Richard Barlow, a top former CIA and Pentagon expert on Pakistan's clandestine nuclear program in the 1980s until he was hounded out of the government for telling the truth, also points out that the NIE - or at least its unclassified summary - doesn't say at what stage the Iranians allegedly "halted" their weapons program in 2003.  British spy chiefs have grave doubts that Iran has mothballed its nuclear weapons program, and believe the CIA has been hoodwinked by Teheran.  The leaders of France and Germany said Iran remained a danger and that other nations needed to keep up the pressure.

IRAQ:  Gen. Petraeus said he applauds Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr for helping, through a cease-fire, to reduce violent attacks in Iraq by 60 percent since June.  There are reports that Sadrists are weeding out what they consider to be black sheep within their ranks.  On CNN, Michael Yon and Michael Ware report that some of those black sheep aren't Sadrists at all now, but agents of Iran -- and that about 25 percent of the "awakening" citizen militias across Iraq are now either Shiite or mixed.  It is thus unsurprising that a regional Sadrist leader and his family died when an explosion went off as they were sleeping in their home in southern Iraq.

IRAQ II:  Izzat Ibrahim al Douri, the most wanted member of Saddam Hussein's regime and insurgent leader, narrowly escaped a raid on his hideout in the northern city of Tikrit on Friday.  The Baghdad neighborhood of Saidiyah is becoming the focal point of a growing battle between the US military and the Iraqi government over the burgeoning number of "concerned local citizens."  Iraq's defense minister promised on Sunday to wage a new crackdown in volatile Diyala province.  Iraqi bonds are surging on improved security and oil earnings.

IRAQ and the MEDIA:  The "Dwelah Massacre" totuted by the Associated Press may have been, to use a phrase from Mark Twain, greatly exaggerated.


THE SQUIRREL THREAT:  Militant squirrels are attacking the energy-efficient LED lights on the Christmas tree in Milwaukee's Red Arrow Park.

A RECORD-SIZE SPITTING COBRA, measuring nearly nine feet and possessing enough venom to kill at least 15 people, has been discovered in Kenya, a conservation group said on Friday.

A MOUNTAIN LION is peeping some woman's morning hot tub sessions in Deadwood.  Insert profanity-laden punchline here.

WILLY the TORTOISE made his third escape from home in Riverside, Calif.  Not only slow, Willy is the size of a small bathtub.

A 25-LB TOM TURKEY crashed through a third-story bedroom window in Traverse City, Mich.  Life imitates WKRP in Cincinnati.

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Roy Orbison, Pipettes, Weakerthans, Cutout Bin, Speed Racer   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, December 07, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



...with ROY ORBISON! The man with the soaring bel canto left us 29 years ago yesterday.  How legendary is he?  For his 1987 "Black & White Night" at the since-demolished Coconut Grove in L.A., Orbison's stage band included Jackson Browne, T-Bone Burnett, Elvis Costello, k.d. lang, Bonnie Raitt, J.D. Souther, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, and Jennifer Warnes, along with the rhythm section from Elvis Presley's fabled late '60s and early '70s touring band.  The set list included "Only The Lonely," "Dream Baby," "Blue Bayou," "The Comedians" (written by Costello for Orbison), "Ooby Dooby" (quiet audio) "Leah," "Running Scared," "Uptown," "In Dreams," "Crying," "Candyman," "Go, Go, Go (Down the Line)," "(All I Can Do Is) Dream You," "Claudette," "It's Over" and -- of course -- "Pretty Woman."

THE GRAMMYS:  A short list of nominees at NPR;the full list at the Grammys website.  Aside from the flurry for Feist (and perhaps not even then), the industry was as unadventurous as usual, perhaps even moreso.  Best record?  No noms for Wilco or White Stripes, not even Springsteen.  Best Alternative Music Album nominees are Lily Allen, Arcade Fire, Bjork, The Shins and the White Stripes.  And I daresay that if you surveyed all of the musicbloggers' year-end lists, Arcade Fire would be the only one to regularly place in the top five.

THE REPLACEMENTS:  Jim Walsh tals about the difficulties of writing All Over But the Shoutin': An Oral History at Crawdaddy.

ECHO and the BUNNYMEN will perform an orchestral version of Ocean Rain at London's Royal Albert Hall next September.

THE PIPETTES:  RiotBecki talked to the Sydney Morning Herald about what's going on behind the fun of their act, but you can read that after you watch the shooptastic new video for "Because It's Not Love (But It's Still A Feeling)."  BONUS:  If you want to be really hardcore about it, you may want to jukebox Gwenno's solo material via the ol' HM.  ALSO:  The ladies pop up in a NYT profile of Martin Kierszenbaum, head of international operations for Interscope Records, who signed Feist as the first artist to his own minilabel, Cherrytree Records.  It would explain the money obviously spent on the new video.

SUFJAN STEVENS talks about Christmas, carols, and more with Drowned In Sound.  PopMatters examines the genre of the Christmas carol, starting with Schroeder's Dilemma.

THE WEAKERTHANS did an interview and mini-set for the World Cafe you can stream via NPR.

BEST of 2007:  The 22 best music videos of 2007 are Tubed at Music For Kids Who Can't Read Good.  An Aquarium Drunkard, Skatterbrain and DJ-producer-musician Mark Ronson all have stuff on their lists that did not make mine, but are certainly worth a listen.  Don't forget largerhearted Boy's list of lists.

THE BEACH BOYS serve up a vintage take on "Little St. Nick."  From Shindig!, iirc.

SPRINGSTEEN & FRIENDS:  Ickmusic has posted a 2000 holiday benefit show from Asbury Park, which you can jukebox via the ol' HM.

THE GO! TEAM mastermind Ian Parton lists a few of his favorite things for Filter magazine.

VHS OR BETA did an interview and mini-set at NPR's Studio 4A, which you can stream on demand.

AMY WINEHOUSE continued her erratic nocturnal antics for the fourth consecutive night, roaming around London's Soho until 5am with a mystery white powder smeared across her nostrils.

CUTOUT BIN:  This Friday's fortuitous finds from the ol' HM are: The Polyphonic Spree - Carol Of The Bells; Oppenheimer - Merry Christmas Baby (Please Come Home); Yo La Tengo - Rock N Roll Santa; Matt Pond PA - Holiday Road (L. Buckingham); Shirley Ellis - The Name Game; Freda Payne - Band of Gold; O'Donel Levy - Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky; Milton Howard - Funky Shing-A-Ling; Alvin Cash - Funky Washing Machine; Stylistics - People Make the World Go Round; Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons - Beggin' (Pilooski Edit); Jarvis Cocker - Don't Let Him Waste Your Time; Candie Payne - All I Need to Hear; Tommy Keene - Carrie Anne (Hollies); The Posies - King Midas In Reverse (Hollies); Mitch Easter - Pay You Back With Interest (Hollies); Jon Brion - Sorry, Suzanne (Hollies); Material Issue - Bus Stop (Hollies); Material Issue - Diane; Tullycraft - The Punks Are Writing Love Songs; The Kinks - Picture Book; Pink Floyd - Free Four; Robyn Hitchcock & Grant Lee Phillips - Across The Universe; Bob Dylan - Tangled Up In Blue (alt. take); Cracker - The Man in Me (B. Dylan) and The Rolling Stones - Tumbling Dice.

GO SPEED, GO!  The first pictures from the Wachowskis' live-action Speed Racer hit USAToday, while the teaser trailer ran on Entertainment Tonight.  O...M...G.

NOW SHOWING:  This weekend's only wide release is The Golden Compass, currently scoring 39 percent on the ol' Tomatometer.  The adaptation of Atonement, currently scoring 89 percent, opens on 26 screens.  The teen pregnancy comedy Juno, currently scoring 92 percent, opened Wednesday on seven screens.

ELLEN PAGE, the 20-year-old star of Juno, is interviewed in Paper magazine -- and seems to have good taste in music.

RAY LIOTTA pleaded no contest to one count of reckless driving. He was originally charged with one count of DUI.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Holmes designed the Cruise family's holiday card, so there are no cool pictures of aliens on it.

JENNIFER LOVE HEWITT gets backup from other female celebs on Hollywood's weight fixation.

ASHLEE SIMPSON cannot bring rocker Pete Wentz home for Christmas.  Apparently, dad Joe Simpson, a former Baptist preacher, had a problem with Wentz's interview with Blender magazine in which he claimed to have kissed other men.  NTTAWWT.  Isn't there something in the Bible about how a dad and ex-preacher-turned-manager who comments on his daughter Jessica's rack shouldn't cast the first stone?

NARNIA:  The Daily Mail has your first pics from Prince Caspian, the next installment of the Narnia franchise.  The trailer is online, too, including in hi-def.

BRADGELINA may be spending Xmas in N'awlins, but Jennifer Aniston may be spending the holidays with Pitt's parents, according to the ever-reliable Star magazine.  Meanwhile Jolie is set to star as real-life intelligence operative Kathi Lynn Austin in what Paramount plans to be a Bourne Identity-like action thriller about arms trafficking and terrorism.

GEORGE CLOONEY & BRAD PITT:  Caught on video in the bathroom at the American Cinematheque tribute to Julia Roberts.  Click through to see which one has the wide stance.

MADONNA, who wanted people to call her Esther during her heavy Kabbalah phase, now wants you to call her Louise, according tot he ever-reliable Star magazine -- though her rep denies it.  I'm sticking with "Madge."

JOHNNY DEPP has a handshake deal to play John Dillinger in Michael Mann's adaptation of "Public Enemies."

JACK NICHOLSON:  Parade magazine excerpts this weekend's interview online, including comments that won't thrill feminists: "These issues between men and women are not psychological. Look, remember what a gland is. Most of these are glandular issues..."

THE VICTORIA'S SECRET FASHION SHOW was broadcast earlier this week , but Egotastic has the video highlights, icymi or need to see them again... and again.

DECEMBER 7, 1941: A "date which will live in infamy." I'll be watching Tora! Tora! Tora! tonight. BTW, the first nation invaded by the US after entering WWII was Morocco, then Algeria, iirc.

PAKISTAN:  The military continues its slow push through the Taliban controlled regions of Swat.

IRAN:  The NYT/IHT reports that the NIE on Iran's nuke program was based on notes from the deliberations of Iranian military officials and intercepted conversations among Iranian officials.  IMHO, either some US officials are completely leak-happy, or this info -- and perhaps the declassified version of the NIE itself -- is being leaked to sow paranoia within the Iranian gov't.  Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates has impounded the cargo of a vessel bound for Iran after discovering "hazardous materials" aboard contravening UN sanctions on Iran's nuclear program.

IRAQ:  Sunni insurgents pushed out of Baghdad and Anbar Provinces have migrated to Mosul and have been trying to turn it into a major hub for their operations... which is why the US has been running ops in the north these past few weeks.  When AQ is beaten there, they will continue their retreat into Pakistan and Afghanistan.  Bill Roggio has an update on the state of Iraqi security forces.  Omar Fadhil of Iraq the Model ponders what happens after the "surge."  The Times of London reports that with security slowly improving in Baghdad, folks are having a cold one -- but keeping an eye peeled for the deadly guardians of Muslim morality.

CAT CAFES:  Calico is one of at least three cafes that have opened up in Tokyo this year where visitors can mingle with cats as they enjoy a cup of tea.

SNAKES on a HOG?  A motorcyclist was critically injured Wednesday afternoon when twine that secured an apparently dead 5-foot rattlesnake to the back of the bike he was riding may have come loose and distracted him as he entered a curve on Almonaster Avenue in N'awlins, police said.  Turns out the bike was a BMW.

DOG burns down the house in Topeka, KS after trying to steal the owner's dinner.  The dog and a pet bird escaped unharmed.

GOJIRA!  Remains of a bus-sized prehistoric "monster" reptile found on a remote Arctic island may be a new species never before recorded by science.

KANGAROO FARTS could ease global warming.

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