ARCTIC MONKEYS: Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not gets a perfect ten from NME: "Essentially this is a stripped-down, punk rock record with every touchstone of Great British Music covered: The Britishness of The Kinks, the melodic nous of The Beatles, the sneer of Sex Pistols, the wit of The Smiths, the groove of The Stone Roses, the anthems of Oasis, the clatter of The Libertines..." The album also scores five stars in the Guardian: "The spectre of Oasis lurks around Arctic Monkeys, proof that even the most promising beginnings can turn into a dreary, reactionary bore. For now, however, they look and sound unstoppable." The Observer headline is "Believe the hype." At *Sixeyes, Alan gives it an 8.5: "A still raw and very good band with an impressive debut... it's a mass media wet dream." Alan also links you to AM MP3s... You can also check out this BBC Real Audio feature on the lads.
CAT POWER: Chan Marshall gets a biographical piece in Newsday. Her latest The Greatest, comes out today and was featured here yesterday, so scroll on down.
CAMPER VAN BEETHOVEN is again touring behind New Roman Times, a rock opera that could be described as progressive both musically and politically. Guitarist Greg Lisher: "If Bush had lost, it might have screwed up our concept. Since he's still in office, our record still has some life to it."
ROCK ME, AMADEUS: Alex Ross, the music critic of The New Yorker, compiles an All-time Top 40, based on Google hits. Guess who beats The Beatles?
SXSW 2006 The full list of acts is a "humdinger." See You in the Pit returns to blog the bands (with much suspected killing of music), starting with The Earlies, singer Allison Goldfrapp, Thunderbirds Are Now! and indie chanteuse Neko Case.
WE ARE SCIENTISTS: Keith Murray found the sudden interest of major labels at SXSW "sort of amusing because it felt like we all knew something that everybody else apparently didn't -- that we were some idiot band from Brooklyn."
BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB: You can stream their set for World Cafe from NPR.
POPWORLD sounds like my kind of television show. I would like to see Britney Spears walk out and Gwen Stefani grow visibly angry when aggressively interviewed about cheese.
E-LABELS, like UMe and Cordless, get no respect. Just ask the Posies' Ken Stringfellow and Devo's Gerald Casale. The latter says of the CD: "People want objects. It's a fetish." Well, yeah... which leads to the next story.
LINER NOTES are going digital and interactive.
TIM FITE: IGN puts the 25 year old from rural Pennsylvania in a group that "tweaks the conventions of folk music," including Camper Van Beethoven, Howe Gelb, The Gourds, and Beck. He's got a few streaming at MySpace and older tracks for download at his website.
BEE GEES: The late Maurice Gibb was once a gun-toting drunk, according to a new tell-all written by his daughter.
THE GOLDEN GLOBES went to these folks. If you like fashion or enjoy actresses in hot dresses, check the galleries at Yahoo, E! Online, People and The Envelope. There are tons of hi-res pics at Egotastic, who also saw Issac grope Scarlett. Speaking of E!, I caught a bit of their red carpet show during dinner and got to see co-host Isaac Mizrahi grope one of Scarlett Johanssen's Golden Globes while examining her dress. Apparently, you can get away with that if you're very, very gay. Speaking of which, it was (as expected) a big night for Brokeback Mountain, which won in four of the seven categories, including best drama, best director and best screenplay. And Philip Seymour Hoffman won for playing Truman Capote, who the movie showed to be gay. (Who knew?) The other big winners were Johnny and June Carter Cash. Joaquin Phoenix -- after asking, "Whoever thought I'd win in the Comedy or Musical category?" -- thanked Johnny, June and T-Bone Burnett. Reese Witherspoon also won, as did Walk The Line. Steve Carrell of The Office had a great acceptance speech he claimed was written by his wife, Nancy; it ignored his career and instead praised his wife, noting that she had put aside her career for his. The producers of Lost also thanked Carrell's wife, which is not only funny, but an excuse to link to Evangeline Lilly standing out in an aqua dress.
TOM-KAT UPDATE: Cruise gave his pregnant fiancee Holmes a unique 27th birthday present -- a DVD compendium of every movie he has acted in. Next year, it will be a mirror with his face pasted into it.
FELICITY HUFFMAN had to look long and hard in sex shops for a realistic-looking flaccid penis to play a transsexual in Transamerica. Then she named it -- so she must have been playing a cheesy man. She looked much more feminine on the red carpet with hubby William H. Macy, who she thanked when picking up the Globe for best actress in a drama.
JUST ASKING: Page Six has another round of not-so-blind items.
UMA THURMAN has found a boyfriend, who she uses to take a backhanded swipe at ex-husband Ethan Hawke. She also hints there may be table-dancing in her future, so Kate Moss and Lindsay Lohan should get her on speed-dial.
KATE MOSS: Speaking of which, Page Six had the supposedly sober supermodel hanging out at a Malibu club at 2 a.m. with a bunch of "hard-living, dirty punk rocker types with tattoos and piercings who looked like her ex Pete Doherty."
KEIRA KNIGHTLEY tells Cosmo that "I'm one of those people who goes to a club and gets very, very sweaty and makes a complete fool of herself." Just one of many reasons to like her. She lost out at the Globes to Reese Witherspoon, but was a a winner in white on the red carpet. She even topped the E! Online fashion poll.
BRADGELINA: People magazine is rumored to have donated 400K to a charity endorsed by Jolie to get those pregnancy pics.
BATMAN RUMORS: It seems that Warner Bros. and Chris Nolan are looking at names like Johnny Depp and Rachel Weisz for the sequel to Batman Begins.
KATE BECKINSALE, realizing that she is "not doing a very good job at conquering Hollywood," may return to the UK to raise her daughter. Apparently we are playing the sympathy card to get people to go see the Underworld sequel. Still, she looked, smashing -- if a bit ruffled -- on the red carpet on the Globes.
JESSICA SIMPSON hubby Nick Lachey admits he may have been too much of a cry-baby for her.
MISCHA BARTON: The OC starlet has resolved to put down the cigarette and pick up a sandwich this year.
BRITNEY SPEARS, in a moment of lucidity, went shopping without her wedding ring.
WALTER CRONKITE thinks the US should already be out of Iraq. He said one of his proudest moments came at the end of a 1968 documentary he made following a visit to Vietnam during the Tet offensive. Urged by his boss to briefly set aside his objectivity to give his view of the situation, Cronkite said the war was unwinnable and that the U.S. should exit. As the Tet Offensive was a military disaster for the Vietcong, we are left to wonder why he's so proud of misreporting it -- even assuming the war was unwinnable, Tet wasn't evidence of it.
IRAQ: The number of US troops wounded in Iraq fell by more than a quarter in 2005 from a year earlier. Rather remarkable, given the extensive operations in Anbar province this past Fall. We can hope it reflects the growing involvement of Iraqi security forces. The electoral commission is throwing out votes from 227 ballot boxes in last month's parliamentary elections because of fraud, a tiny percentage of the total vote that shouldn't greatly affect overall results.
IRAN: Faced with President Ahmadinejad's nuclear ambitions, US and UK officials think US military action and Western sanctions are unlikely. Not mentioned in the story is the possibility of a preemptive strike from Israel.
NSA SURVEILLANCE: Former Veep Al Gore accused President Bush of breaking the law by authorizing the NSA to eavesdrop on international telephone calls without a court warrant. Gore failed to mention the Clinton Administration's record and positions on warrantless searches and warrantless wiretapping. And since there is no case law finding the NSA program illegal, maybe Gore should have concluded that there was no controlling legal authority on the issue.
MYSTERY FISH washes up on the shores of Cayman Brac this past weekend.
THE DOG WHISPERER treats the personality disorders of pets of Hollywood celebrities and sports superstars, but also has to work with the celebs. As he puts it: "I rehabilitate dogs; I train people."
STINKY THE PELICAN needs a ride from Surf City to a new home in Miami.
THE MOUNTAIN PINE BEETLE threatens the logging market of British Columbia.
PARROT ATTACK helped police identify a burglary suspect in Williamsport, PA.