THE KILLERS cover the Dire Straits classic "Romeo and Juliet" at the venerable Abbey Road Studios in London. I was always more partial to "Skateaway."
NEW RELEASES: Full albums from Harlem Shakes, Luscious Jackson, former LJ vocalist Jill Cundiff and more are streaming via Spinner this week (finally).
HOODOO GURUS frontman Dave Faulkner talks to Harp magazine about his long-running scheme to bring back "the dumbness of rock" in a nifty history of the band; he even explains who "I Want You Back" is really about.
VAN HALEN: That reunion? Postponed indefinitely.
JON AUER of The Posies, touring Down Under in support of his long-gestating solo album, Songs from the Year of Our Demise, explains to The Age why director Stanley Kubrick is his No. 1 friend on his MySpace page. Of course, you can stream a couple of tracks there, and there's another song streamable from NPR's holiday picks for 2006.
JUNE CARTER CASH is getting the tribute album treatment with tracks from Sheryl Crow, Willie Nelson, Loretta Lynn, Emmylou Harris and more... including Elvis Costello on "Ring of Fire." You can hear June sing it on this fan-made video, followed by Johnny's version. BONUS: Did you ever see Blondie cover "Ring of Fire" in the 1980 movie Roadie?
SEEN YOUR VIDEO: The Windy City is coming out of the deep freeze for a moment, so I want to wallow in the guilty pleasure that is "Beach Baby" by First Class. It's the single version that fades out before the wonderful french horn-and-a cappella vox-driven bridge, but still a tast stick of gum.
THE TOP 100 INDIE SONGS of ALL TIME, according to music blog HearYa. And by "all time," they apparently mean "since 1980," with more than half since 2000. So there are glaring omissions, only some of which are noted in the comments there. For example, the list misses the entire output of Stiff Records and 2-Tone Records, let alone Sun Records. And if I really wanted to get picky, I could drag out stuff like the early dB's albums on Albion, REM's "Radio Free Europe" self-released on Hib-Tone, etc. That being said, the list is not a bad indie collection... and for yupsters wanting to catch up with the post-Nirvana indie world, it could be pretty useful.
FESTIVAL UPDATES: The Beastie Boys, Bjork, the Arcade Fire, Spoon and Interpol lead the lineup at the Sasquatch! Festival, May 26-27 at the Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Wash. The aforementioned HearYa blog has made MP3s submitted by bands at SxSW streamable, which is a great public service.
THE JAM reforming without Paul Weller, otoh, is a great public disservice. Bruce Foxton is a fab bassist, but please. Stop. The. Madness.
THE SMITHEREENS frontman Pat DiNizio tells InsideBayArea the band has a three-disc effort coming later this year and that its current cover album of Meet the Beatles is a political statement of sorts. He also talks about a solo album, an upcoming TV project and the year he spent filming Seventh Inning Stretch for ESPN2.
BRITNEY SPEARS has checked into an undisclosed L.A.-area in-patient rehab facility, after intervention by family members. Not a moment too soon, but better late than never. The pop tart's rep issued the obligatory statement urging everyone to respect Britney's privacy, to the extent someone who went around exposing her privates in public has any.
LINDSAY LOHAN, fresh out of her own stint in rehab, nevertheless spent last weekend clubbing until the wee hours every morning.
BRIDGET MOYNIHAN and TOM BRADY have their camp followers sniping at each other following her announcement that she is three months pregnant with his child.
THE McCARTNEYS: Their divorce is getting so nasty that Heather Mills McCartney is reportedly threatening to make unsubstantiated claims that Sir Paul's poor parenting in the past led two of his children to contemplate suicide.
CARMEN ELECTRA and DAVE NAVARRO are officially splitsville.
ANNA NICOLE SMITH IS STILL DEAD, but Smith's boyfriend, Howard K. Stern, and her estranged mother, Virgie Arthur, were in a Florida court arguing what to do with her remains, while another hearing in California dealt with questions about the paternity of the former centerfold's infant daughter. Stern told the court that he didn't want to get formally married to Smith because he didn't want to be perceived as a gold-digger. Too bad for him that he comes off as ghoulshly exploitative in the video of an 8-months pregnant Smith seemingly high on something, which has been circulating the Internet after airing Monday night on Fox News. And since I previously noted the wackiness of FL Judge Larry Seidlin, I'm not at all surprised to learn that the judge dreams of his own TV courtroom show.
ANNE HATHAWAY tells the Times of London that she used to be more like Lindsay Lohan, but "found you can only dance on so many table tops."
AARON ECKHART is in final negotiations to play Harvey Dent/Two Face in the sequel to Batman Begins. BONUS: Even in the real world, the Batman is elusive.
24 is dialing back on the torture scenes, ostensibly because it was beoming a cliche, not because the US military, human rights groups and children's advocates complained about it. In the Washington Post, writer Peter Carlson mocks the uproar.
THE OSCARS: Gold Derby blogger Tom O'Neil suggests that the American Cinema Editors award shows that Babel is the main competition to The Departed. He also notes that Pete Hammond of Maxim and HollywoodWiretap.com has switched his best-pic prediction from Little Miss Sunshine to Babel. I note that at Intrade, the betting still favors The Departed by a rather wide margin.
SCARLETT JOHANSSON has topped Playboy's annual 25 Sexiest Celebrities list: "Scarlett Johansson is the apex of beauty and sensuality -- from her porcelain skin to her fully feminine figure to her mysterious charisma, which is at once palpable and indefinable." London's Sun has galleries of Scarlett and her competition at the link. You can see her chemistry with Justin Timberlake in the video for "What Goes Around...Comes Around."
STEVE JOBS and MICHAEL DELL don't even agree on whether teachers' unions are a good thing.
MALAYSIA: A state govenment plans to enlist vigilante sex police to inform on unmarried couples kissing or holding hands.
IRAN: Pres. Ahmadinejad rejected international calls to suspend uranium enrichment, as the UN deadline runs out. And why shouldn't he? After all, even under the existing sanctions, trade between the European Union and Iran increased last month. Meanwhile, Iranian patrol boats have crossed into Iraqi waters in the last week to assess defenses near Iraqi offshore oil terminals.
IRAQ: It looks like Moqtada al-Sadr has decided to purge people from the Mahdi Army while he's out of town. But that apparently has not stopped the Iraqi Army and US troops from bombarding his office west of Baghdad. An Iraqi paper reports that the gov't is offering some serious de-de-Bathification as part of national reconciliation efforts. A chlorine truck was bombed in Taji, killing nine and sickening 150. The AP account suggests that the new Baghdad security plan is faltering, despite that: (a) afaik, it doesn't encompass Taji; (b) US and Iraqi troops are nowhere near full strength yet; and (c) the 100 reported dead in the first week of the new op are just slightly more than the average number killed every day in Baghdad last month. Elsewhere, Al-Zawra TV, which had been a jihadist propaganda tool, is turning critical of al Qaeda.
LELE is a Chinese pooch who buys his own sausages when he's hungry.
VELVET, a black Labrador mix, probably saved the lives of those three climbers rescued after a harrowing fall and a night in the wind and cold high on Mount Hood, OR.
BINDI SUE, a Dumeril's Boa, may never reach her 7-foot-long prime if her abductors don't give her the warm cage, proper bedding and mouse suppers she needs.
HUNDREDS of SHEEP have been rustled in the Port Hills area of New Zealand.
CHRISTMAS the HAMSTER was miraculously brought back to life after being cooked by accident.