GARY "ELVIS" SCHEPERS UPDATE: The first benefit concert dates are on the Pitchfork, with more to follow.
PILGRIM BAPTIST CHURCH: Fire destroyed this 116-year-old Chicago church on Friday, a historic structure that was built as a synagogue and became known as the birthplace of American gospel music. But you may know it as the place where "Joliet" Jake Blues had a divine revelation.
TOUR DATES for the Arctic Monkeys, as well as the twin bill of Belle & Sebastian with the New Pornographers are out, including many cities with Pate fans.
ISOBEL CAMPBELL (ex-Belle & Sebastian) and Mark Lanegan (ex-Screaming Trees) have put out the Ramblin' Man EP as a preview of their Ballad Of The Broken Seas album. The EP is streaming.
ROBERT FRIPP is providing the themes for the next generation of Windows. Channel 9 has video of the recording session.
JON PARELES writes in The New York Times that "2005 was a year for unheroic, unambitious pop with little more to say than 'Play me on the radio.'" At Coolfer, Glenn offers a rebuttal, noting there has always been a gap between the critically-acclaimed and the popular. Both seem to think pop should be more political, as though the public is clamoring for Pink's open letter to the President.
DEF LEPPARD is doing an album of covers, including T. Rex and The Kinks' "Waterloo Sunset."
LOU RAWLS died Friday of cancer at 72. Rawls was diagnosed with lung cancer in December 2004 and brain cancer in May 2005. He did an excellent show when I saw him and (as some of you know) I will always have fond memories of "You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine." NPR has an audio report. The Boston Herald has a wonderful piece also, starting with the time that Rawls was declared dead... in 1958.
SYD BARRETT TURNED 60 on Friday, so London's Independent solicited remembrances of the crazy diamond, including one from David Gilmour on trying to work with Syd after his meltdown.
JENS LEKMAN was supposedly going on hiatus, but he talked and played on NPR over the weekend. Streaming songs there, too, so you can hear lyrics such as "Yeah, I got busted/I painted a dirty word on your old man's Mercedes-Benz/'Cause you told me to do it..." with punchy horns, soulful harmonica and hand-claps.
THE ANTI-HIT LIST: John Sakomoto has ten songs to look forward to in 2006, including Elivis Costello reworking "Clubland" as "a joyful Latin jazz showcase."
SONIC YOUTH has begun recording its next album at Sear Sound Studio in New York, where the group put such prior albums as Sister and Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star to tape.
TED NUGENT may not have been in suspended animation since the '60s, but for someone still thinking about running for Governor of Michigan, the man has no inner monologue.
PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: Reeling from recent photographs depicting the supposedly sober supermodel embracing new beau Jamie Burke, the troubled singer is having his tattoo bearing the letter 'K' removed from his left arm. Meanwhile, Moss insists she's too busy working to return to Britain for police questioning. Or she will return and is very happy to co-operate with the police, depending on which tabloid you read.
BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE knocked 'em dead in London, according to the Guardian
CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH gets profiled by Scotland on Sunday while rehearsing earlier this month for Late Night With Conan O'Brien. You can see the video of that appearance at Prefix... though it's not their best, it's not bad.
JOAN JETT: The Tacoma News-Tribune lists ten reasons she rocks.
CULT OF THE iPod (CELEB ED.): London's Guardian "asked eight very different musicians to swap iPods. No one knew whose tunes they were listening to, but that didn't stop them from guessing - and making some rather harsh judgments..."
JASON ISBELL, the youngest Drive-By Trucker, talks about his upcoming solo album.
GARY GLITTER, now charged with committing obscene acts with two underaged girls, gets a little support from Roger Daltrey, who says Glitter nedds to be helped, rather than shot.
COURTNEY LOVE lost the historic bungalow she bought in the late 1990s to a Los Angeles mortgage company after a foreclosure auction generated no bids.
JESSICA SIMPSON had the most photos in US Weekly in 2005. Meanwhile, estranged hubby Nick Lachey admits he liked to wear her shoes. Maybe it gave him an idea of what it was like to wear the Daisy Dukes in that relationship.
STAGE PARENTS: When Lindsay Lohan admitted in the new issue of Vanity Fair that she'd used drugs "a little" and was throwing up her lunch, her mom/manager Dina blew it off. The New York Daily News surveys Dina, creepy dad/manager Joe Simpson and more.
WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: Surprisingly (to me, anyway) Hostel topped the weekend, despite its gruesome subject matter and R-rating. Narnia placed, with Kong to show.
NATIONAL SOCIETY OF FILM CRITICS name Capote best picture of 2005 after six ballots. A History of Violence earned second place. Capote star Philip Seymour Hoffman was voted best actor; second place to Jeff Daniels in The Squid and the Whale. Reese Witherspoon was selected as best actress for Walk the Line; Keira Knightley won second place for Pride and Prejudice. Best nonfiction film went to Grizzly Man.
THE DECADE THE BLOCKBUSTER DIED: The Long Tail blog offers a two-part analysis of the relative lack of multi-platinum albums in this century.
BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN: The cowboys in Sheridan, WY, don't cotton much to them pudding-eating types, despite the popularity of the gay rodeo circuit in America.
XTINA AGUILERA shot video to play during a now-cancelled tour that looks like vintage erotica.
FACTORY GIRL: Sienna Miller promos the production by posing like Edie Sedwick for Vogue. Thanks to Google, it's easy to determine whether it's live or Memorex.
KATE BECKINSALE thinks American football and baseball are gay. NTTAWWT, aside from annoying sports fans and gay people.
HEATH LEDGER: Fathering a child made him want to start a war. Which is odd enough, but especially so from the mouth that said, ""I wouldn't want to go to war for anything either. Unless it was really to protect my family and it was my homeland being invaded."
BRADGELINA: Acclaimed architect Frank Gehry has laughed off reports he is building an seaside skyscraper with Pitt.
GWYNETH PALTROW and JENNIFER ANISTON reportedly bonding over some Brad-bashing.
GEORGE CLOONEY explains why the suicide bombers in Syriana are sympathetically depicted as pious heroes while all the Americans in the movie are greedy or homicidal cynics: "They the terrorists are, in a way, the most sympathetic, but I think that's important... because if you are going to fight a war on terror, which is not a state that you can go and bomb, then you need to understand what it is that creates the people who would do such horrible things, rather then just saying - labeling them as evildoers." While we need to understand what makes terrorists tick, it does not follow that they must be given sympathetic treatment in film. Five of the 9/11 attackers made several trips to Las Vegas to hold meetings, gamble and be entertained by topless dancers. Not very pious. Getting a man with the mental ability of a four year-old to carry out a suicide attack is not particularly heroic. Moreover, many Muslims don't view beheading teachers or translators as Islamic. So portraying such people sympathetically may show that Clooney needs to work harder at understanding what makes terrorists tick.
EDU-BLOGGING: Forgot to mention that the 48th Carnival of Education is online.
IRAQ: At Iraq the Model, Omar discusses the creation of the third large political bloc, led by Allawi and suggests the parties are using the time until the final election results are announced to "organize their lines, probe the pulse of other parties and prepare for the real negotiations that are yet to come." Bill Roggio responds to corrections made to a Washington Post article that lumped him in with paid propaganda; folks across the political spectrum think Roggio was unfairly treated. Meanwhile, it seems that the Army has started to recognize the value of milblogs in getting their story out.
BODY ARMOR: The New York Times (via the Houston Chronicle) reports on a Pentagon study finging that at least 80 percent of the marines who have been killed in Iraq from wounds to their upper body could have survived if they had extra body armor. Of course, if you look only at fatalities caused by wounds to the torso, such a result logically follows. US soldiers in the field were not all supportive of a the study, with some troops arguing Saturday that more armor would hinder combat effectiveness. This is at least the second time the NYT's take on body armor has differed from troops who actually wear it.
NSA SURVEILLANCE: In a web exclusive, Time runs a column from Joe Klein arguing that liberal democrats are playing too fast and too loose with issues of war and peace.
BOSLEY THE PUG was allegedly kidnapped by a carnie, turning the Internet into a dragnet involving DNA testing.
WIENER DOG: Amber Taylor directs us to a well-told tale of dachshund mischief by Miss Doxie.
BRITISH PETS are becoming obese and face chronic illnesses such as heart complaint, diabetes and arthritis.
COW ESCAPED ABATTOIR, dodged vehicles, ran in front of a train, braved the icy Missouri River and took three tranquilizer darts before being recaptured six hours later. News of the heifer's adventures prompted a number of people to offer to buy the animal.
DRIVE-THRU PRESERVES: When they tell you not to have your doors or windows open, they mean it.
MOUSE VENGEANCE: A simple house mouse callously thrown into a fire rises phoenix-like from the ashes to wreak vengeance on his tormentor.