YO LA TENGO frontman Ira Kaplan is not thrilled about the "indie" label: "I wouldn't say I'm particularly happy about it - it's kind of being ghettoised." That may be one reason why the band's upcoming I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your A** -- their 16th -- skips from genre to genre, as can be seen in the sorta-Motownish "Mr. Tough." You can also get free downloads of "Beanbag Chair" and "Pass the Hatchet, I Think I'm Goodkind," courtesy of Matador.
ROBYN HITCHCOCK and the Venus 3 (Peter Buck, Scott McCaughey and Bill Rieflin) have a album coming in October, with cameos from Soft Boys Morris Windsor and Kimberley Rew, plus more, but you can hear "Adventure Rocketship" now. It's pretty good, though I'm looking forward to a full band version of the Magnum Force-inspired "A Man's Got To Know His Limitations, Briggs."
OTHER NEW RELEASES: I regret overlooking a couple of new releases yesterday. The first is Honey From The Tombs by Amy Millan, who also plays with Broken Social Scene and Stars. It's getting generally favorable reviews via Metacritic. The other is To the Races by former Archers of Loaf and Crooked Fingers frontman Eric Bachman, which I mentioned last week and is still streaming in full from Aversion. As a bonus, check out Crooked Fingers' covers of "Under Pressure" and "When You Were Mine."
BOB DYLAN thinks that the quality of of modern recordings is "atrocious," which makes him nonchalant about illegal filesharing: "Well, why not? It ain't worth nothing anyway."
PET SOUNDS: The Brian Wilson-Beach Boys gem, which turns 40 next week, has its own blog, which has started offering podcasts, with comments from Brian, Mike Love, Al Jardine and Bruce Johnston. The first is an overview of the LP.
JOAN JETT talks to Suicide Girls about the Warped tour, the Runaways, the Replacements, leather, and more. Which is good a reason as any to link up a block from Ms. Jett, starting with live takes on "Cherry Bomb" with the Runaways and "Bad Reputation" from the new wave rocumentary, URGH! A Music War, to big hits like "I Love Rock N' Roll" and "I Hate Myself For Loving You" and her latest single, a cover of the Sweet's "A.C.D.C.," which features Carmen Electra. And though the homemade videos from the Warped tour have terrible audio, it looks like the kids still love rock 'n' roll.
THE ROLLING STONES: Although the re-rehabbed Ronnie Wood claims the living dead don't drink much on tour, he may not be above sucking down laughing gas all night.
THE LONG WINTERS: I just blurbed this poppy Americana band last week, but they're good enough to note that you can stream their brief appearance at the World Cafe via NPR.
DWIGHT YOAKUM would like you to have some of his tatsty biscuits. No, really.
PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: London's Daily Express claims that the supposedly sober supermodel was waiting to be wed in Bali when the troubled singer was grounded in the UK by his latest drug arrest.
KATE HUDSON-CHRIS ROBINSON BREAK-UPDATE: The actress and the rock star were spotted with their two-year-old son over the weekend (yeah, that's a son). Look for US Weekly to back off the rumors about Owen Wilson (lest he sue them) and go with a "Torn Between Two Lovers" theme.
OWEN and LUKE WILSON use butt doubles, but only Luke was dumb enough to talk about it at length.
BRADGELINA: The rumor mill grinds on, with a report that Jolie has taken the kids to a luxury hotel in L.A. after a series of arguments with Pitt. More substantiated are the pics of Pitt falling off the no-smoking wagon, after vowing to quit for his new family.
MAD MEL UPDATE: Pakistan's former Intelligence Chief cites Gibson's anti-Semitic comments during an August 8th press conference aired on Al-Jazeera. Would that such was the reason why he's the former chief.
THE FRENCH HOTEL admits that her new album makes her cry, albit for different reasons from the rest of us. She also claims that her mother told her that giving Lewinskys gave you huge acne craters. She has since learned otherwise.
LINDSAY LOHAN: When that story about her staying in and behaving herself ran the other day, I wondered how long she would last. Now we know. Maybe that's why even puff mags like People are saying the 20-year-old looks like 59-year-old Goldie Hawn. Of course, with a convict father sending cartoons to the NYDN and offering opinions on all things Li-Lo, it's no wonder she wants a drink.
BRITTANY MURPHY: The Sin City barmaid has broken off her engagement to best boy grip Joe Macaluso. This is her second disengagement.
TOM-KAT UPDATE: Variety and others think it's news that Paramount is severing ties with Cruise's production company, but regular Pate visitors could have seen this coming weeks ago, maybe more.
DENISE & HEATHER & RICHIE & CHARLIE & DAVID: If Richie Sambora wants to get back with Heather Locklear, does it mean that David Spade can pick up Carmen Electra on the rebound from Dave Navarro? Hollywood is a crazy place, indeed.
NOT VERY GLAAD: The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation is upset at a decline in the number of gay characters on broadcast TV shows. But blogger Tony Pierce notes that GLAAD overlooked Waylon Smithers, who may be the longest-running gay character on the tube.
JESSICA SIMPSON: Page Six reports that a Jacka**cast member has recorded a crude song about how Jacka** co-star Bam Margera "supposedly had sex with the busty blond singer -- describing a kinky form of intercourse that can't be printed in a family newspaper." Her rep denies it, natch. Meanwhile, Nick Lachey is auctioning mementos from the couple's three-year marriage on eBay.
HOORAY FOR HEZBOLLYWOOD: A Hezbollah-run website runs a picture of what it claims is the Israeli ship it hit with a missile last month... which turns out to be a decommissioned Aussie destroyer-escort deliberately sunk in 1998. At least the AP and Reuters didn't buy this one. Also, as I recently noted the possibility that Hezbollah was using counterfeit money for rebuilding in Lebanon, you can find more background on counterfeiting by Iran, Syria and Hezbollah affiliates at PBS and the Counterterrorism Blog.
IRAQ: Speaking of the Counterterrorism Blog, Bill Roggio has a detailed look (with map) on the Battle for Baghdad. US and Iraqi forces say that over the past week they have captured "well over 100 known and suspected Al-Qaeda terrorists and terrorist associates," including one linked to the Samarrah shrine bombing that triggered the current round of sectarian violence. Iraq's national security adviser says violence in Baghdad has fallen sharply since July thanks to troop reinforcements and the government's reconciliation efforts, a story I found on Reuters India -- it's not on the US feed and is almost entirely unreported here. Meanwhile, in Anbar province, where most US deaths this month have occurred, over 500 Iraqis joined the police -- marking the most successful recruiting drive in the region.
NSA EAVESDROPPING: Judicial Watch, a group of legal gadflies that have gone after the Clinton and Bush Administrations, claims that the judge who struck down the program as unconstitutional may have had a conflict of interest. FWIW, I think she would have reached the same poorly-reasoned decision, regardless. Ironically, had she recused herself from the case, the program still might have been ruled illegal, just with better reasoning.
SNAKES IN A THEATER showing Snakes on a Plane. Video at the link. Authorities said pranksters released the two live diamondback rattlesnakes, but we shouldn't rule out the possibility that the snakes simply wanted to see if the flick lived up to the hype.
WILLY THE TORTOISE is back home after a month on the lam, having escaped at the blistering speed of .005 mph.
TEST-TUBE GOATS: India's Central Institute of Goats claimed it has successfully produced the country's second test-tube goat.
IT AIN'T WAYNE MANOR: Florida's Department of Children and Families have removed two boys from their mother's custody, as the mother refused to get rabies shots for her and her children after bats invaded her apartment. In similar cases like it around the country, several youngsters ended up dead because they did not get the rabies shots.
PSYCHO KILLER RACOONS (Qu'est-ce que c'est?) are terrorizing Olympia, WA. "It's a new breed," said Tamara Keeton, who has started a raccoon watch. "They're urban raccoons, and they're not afraid." And that, my friends, is the tag line for the movie poster. (Thanks, Dad)