THE WEEKEND STARTS HERE...
FRIDAY TIMEWASTER: The Falling Sand game. Actually, I don't know if it's a game, but it is a timewaster.
REMINDER: If you haven't visited, the Pate page at MySpace is streaming four live tracks from the band's 2003 reunion gig.
BETTYE LaVETTE has been a soul singer since the '60s, but she's getting noticed for I’ve Got My Own Hell to Raise, produced by Joe Henry, which is an album of covers by contemporary female songwriters like Fiona Apple and Rosanne Cash. There's some streaming at the link, but check her website for a clip of Lucinda Williams' "Joy": "The two singers share a rawness in their voices — a sense that, dammit, they’ve lived. There’s a whole catalog of Williams’ tunes that LaVette would sound just perfect covering..."
ARCTIC MONKEYS: Contrary to prior reports, the band's album doesn't hit the States until February. Coolfer also hooks you up with modo AM linkage.
SHAWEN ACRES, helmed by former Guided by Voices guitarist Nate Farley has three MP3s at the official website, with one streaming at MySpace.
BARRY COWSILL, a member of the popular 1960s singing family The Cowsills (whose story inspired The Partridge Family), was found dead on a New Orleans wharf nearly four months after he disappeared. He was 51. The coroner had not determined the cause of death but believed it was related to Hurricane Katrina -- but he may not know that Barry left a phone message with his sister Susan several days after the storm.
SEASON OF THE LIST: The New York Times wonders why music writers love the lists. LA Weekly lists "ten albums that stank up the room."
INSOUND SALE: Speaking of lists, Insound is running a 25 percent off sale on the Pitchfork Top 50 Albums of 2005.
THE FALL: A writer for London's Guardian tracks down all 43 people Michael E Smith cycled through the band: "It's a Tuesday morning in December, and I'm ringing people called Brown in Rotherham. 'Hello,' I begin again. 'I'm trying to trace Jonnie Brown who used to play in the Fall. He came from Rotherham and I wondered if you might be a relative.' 'The Who?' asks the latest Mr Brown. 'No. The Fall - the band from Salford. He played bass for three weeks in 1978.' 'Is this some kind of joke?'"
DAVID LEE ROTH will be waiting a while on that "inevitable Van Halen reunion. A source close to Van Halen told Page Six that Roth is deluding himself about replacing Hagar: "He might have talked to Alex, but it's going to be a cold day in hell before he ever rejoins the band."
M WARD has recently recorded a stunning cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Green River" for charity, available through eMusic now, with iTunes and Rhgapsody soon to follow.
DOWNLOAD PROBE: New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer has now widened the investigation of download pricing to include various paid music stores.
BARRY GIBB bought Johnny Cash's house.
PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: one of the UK's top police officers has called for the supposedly sober supermodel to return to Britain to answer questions over her alleged cocaine use. No Rock and Roll Fun reports that Moss has decided to return, but I haven't seen it confirmed.
BRADGELINA: Best Jolie Pregnancy Rumor Ever. It starts with Jennifer Aniston dialing Pitt's cellphone and getting Jolie instead...
NOW SHOWING: Hostel rates a fresh 89 on the Tomatometer, but I suspect the weekend will be another Kong-Narnia tussle. After all, can Hostel pull a huge crowd when the good reviews say things like: "It's an extreme film with its eye on a general audience, and it can't serve two masters. Still, I recommend it to people who think there aren't enough eyes being snipped out in films these days..."
LOHAN LOWDOWN: The pregnancy test that went to her hospital room was not for Li-Lo, if you believe her PR flack.
KEVIN SPACEY has been "outed" by a government-backed lesson plan for teaching gay history in Britain's schools.
SAG AWARDS: The list of nominees is out; no surprise that they love Brokeback Mountain. I expect much the same when the Film Actors Guild announces their noms.
GARFLECK: Affleck pimps himself out for his daughter's diapers. How's the career going? Guess Garner will have to be a working mom.
TOM-KAT UPDATE: Cruise tried to mend fences with his fiancée's family, but after reportedly tense holidays spent at Holmes’ house, wedding plans may have been put on hold.
SIENNA MILLER resents her media image as a wronged "little girl" in her relationship with on-again boyfriend Jude Law. So in the future, I'll refer to her as the "gullible masochist."
CINDERELLA STORY: Sadly, I was not high-bidder on a round of golf with Bill Murray.
HARVEY PEKAR talks to NewCity Chicago about his latest graphic novel and the return of the American Splendor comic.
KEIRA KNIGHTLEY has been spotted with Pride & Prejudice Rupert Friend. But is he just a friend?
THE FRENCH HOTEL is being sued one of her boyfriend's friends for talking trash about him -- now he alleges that she "has a drug and alcohol problem, some rather shady associates, and is known for erratic behavior."
RACHEL BILSON: The other OC hottie keeps the paparazzi at bay with a body double.
IRAQ: At Iraq the Model, Omar writes that the current surge in violence is eroding confidence in government misitries, the Iraqi Army and the political parties: "I think this is the darkest image we have conveyed from Iraq in more than two years but it is a fact that it hasn’t been this bad in Iraq ever since the 9th of April 2003..." Bill Roggio also notes that the latest attacks have deadly results, but argues that the attacks have not provoked the Shiites into a civil war, and notes the Sunnis in Ramadi returned to the site of horror and are joining the police.
FRANCE has slipped off the front page and the nightly news, so it's worth noting that 425 car burnings were recorded around the country Saturday night, larger than last year's 333 New Year's Eve blazes, but was considered good news. A gang police rounded up after incidents of vandalism in Nice and put on a train to send them home robbed and sexually assaulted passengers, trashed the train and threatened to kill victims who used cellphones to call for help. Of nine people rounded up the day after the train episode, seven were quickly released from custody because they were minors.
HYPERSPACE DRIVE: Warp speed ahead?
MISTER SOFTEE unveiled a new online music service, but it will not be compatible with iPods. Oh well, at least they have rushed out the security patch for for the Windows Meta File vulnerability.
BIRD ATTACK: A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit by a woman who claims she was attacked by a bird at a Lowe's store in Fairview Heights, IL.
QUAGGAS: In what would be an unprecedented feat, a South African amateur scientist says he is going to bring a descendant from the zebra back from extinction.
IT'S A GIANT CROC: Unlabeled fossils — a jawbone, some teeth and armored plates — have been identified as those of a 30-foot-long crocodile, the largest that ever lived in prehistoric New Mexico. The fossils were stored, unclassified, for six years at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science.
URBAN COYOTES are thriving in the Windy City. Researchers estimate that there may be somewhere between several hundred and a couple thousand coyotes living in Chicago.