SHOCKING BLUE play a rare, raw, live version of signature tune "Venus" on Dutch TV. Sounds more like the Jefferson Airplane.
ZUMPANO -- A.C. Newman's band before the New Pornographers -- gets the Shadow Classic designation at NPR, with three streaming tracks of power-pop goodness.
BRIGHT EYES: Conor Oberst talks about politics, the comfort of music and "silver linings in the human experience" in Paper magazine.
CROWDED HOUSE: LA Weekly is streaming four new tracks from the band via its digital jukebox.
KEREN ANN: The 33-year-old Israeli-born, New York-based French singer-guitarist tells PopMatters that she learns how to live through music.
SHARON JONES and the DAP-KINGS: While the latter have been backing Amy Winehouse on her US tour, Ms. Jones has been busy bringing her impressive pipes to projects for Lou Reed, Rufus Wainwright, They Might Be Giants and others. They have a new LP due in September; 'till then, let's watch 'em cover "Things Got To Get Better" at their last album release party.
FEIST: The NYT review of Monday's gig at NYC's Town Hall includes an audio Q&A by Jon Pareles in the sidebar.
THE ENGLISH BEAT: Former lead singer Dave Wakeling stopped at the World Cafe for an interview and in-studio performance of Beat classics you can stream via NPR on demand.
THE B-52s are back in Athens, GA, wrapping up work on their new album, just 15 years after the last one. Fred Schneider says, "There's more electronica on it. It's up-tempo and a bit sexed-up. It's sexier than ever."
PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: The troubled singer and supposedly sober supermodel went to the Isle of Wight festival, but ended up drinking and arguing in a pub, missing most of the bands. Not that Moss should care -- her assets have doubled in value since the cocaine snortng scandal that threatened to destroy her career. And both of them are doing ad campaigns for designer Roberto Cavalli; pics at the link.
FRENCH HOTEL at the GREYBAR HOTEL: Her parents, who jumped the vistitors' line at the jail, claim she's "weepy," but "hanging in there." OTOH, paparazzi agency X17 claims that her mental state has allegedly taken a recent turn for the worse, with the jail assigning "three additional guards to watch her 'round the clock." The AP notes that few Hollywood players have come out in her support, quoting PR flack Howard Bragman: "Paris's career was made in a microwave and not in a crock pot," he said, adding that she lacks the self- awareness that might inspire empathy from her colleagues. But Barbara Walters says she would be willing to have the celebutante co-host The View. She was visited by Dr. Steven Hoefflin, "the plastic surgeon to the stars" during her house arrest, though he is reported to also be akin to the Hilton family's private doctor An X-rated website featuring nude photos and videos of the heirhead just re-opened after being shut down by court injunction. US Weekly claims her medical problems in jail were symptoms of withdrawal from not only Adderall (as previously reported), but also Xanax, referring to "igh self-administered doses" of the drugs.
LINDSAY LOHAN reportedly has hired a group of Heirhead look-alikes for her 21st birthday party, as the real onemay be in jail for the event. This is the gossip equivalent of crossing the streams from Ghostbusters.
GEORGE MICHAEL is considering making a £50 million offer for Damien Hirst's diamond-encrusted skull -- which fortunately is a work of art.
JENNIFER ANISTON is denying adoption rumors again. And she was reportedly warned by her ex, Brad Pitt, to dump her new bf, Paul Sculfor. I doubt it, but maybe Pitt reads PerezHilton.
GREY'S ANATOMY: Isaiah Washington talked to Entertainment Weekly about getting the boot from the hit show. Apparently, someone convinced him that just quoting Network made him sound like a complete loon. But someone forgot to slip that memo to Washington pal and black gay activist Jasmyne Cannick, who sees the firing as a hit by Hollywood's "gay mafia."
BRITNEY SPEARS: US Weekly is reporting that the pop tart reconciled with stage mother Lynne on June 10th, while Life & Style claims that "Brit was cordial, but you could've cut the tension with a knife." The NYPost's Cindy Adams reported that Fed-Ex had again knocked up baby mama Shar Jackson -- a report swiftly denied by reps for both.
KEIRA KNIGHTLEY is awfully busy these days. Just a few short weeks after shooting with Sienna Miller, the Daily Mail runs on-set pics from the adaptation of Ian McEwan's novel Atonement. Keira told Empire magazine: "This is such a relief. Not that I don't enjoy all that Pirates stuff, but it's not about my character - it's about Johnny's character." I would suggest that one reason the first Pirates flick was better than the sequels was that it was actually told from Elizabeth Swann's point-of-view -- which was a nifty inversion of the trad macho movie formula.
KNOCKED UP: A piece in the New York Times claims that the hit comedy, as well as sleeper success Waitress, "go out of their way to sidestep real life" because "possibility of not having the baby is never discussed by either woman despite her circumstances." I have yet to see Waitress, but the author is clearly wrong about Knocked Up, in which Alison discusses it with her mother.
THE PRICE IS TOO HIGH? Radar magazine asks whether Bob Barker is retiring tomorrow because of one too many lawsuits.
MR. WIZARD, a/k/a Don Herbert, died of bone cancer; he was 89. James Lileks links to a video and posts audio of Bob & Ray's wonderful "Mr. Science" parody.
BRADGELINA: Mike Walker of the ever-reliable National Enquirer reports that while filming her new flick Wanted in Prague, Jolie visited a sex shop called "Erotic City" and purchased a black leather garter belt and a black riding crop.
IRAN'S parliament on Wednesday voted in favor of a bill that could lead to the death penalty for persons working in the production of pornographic movies.
IRAQ in the MEDIA: The AP claims that: "Violence in Iraq, as measured by casualties among troops and civilians, has edged higher despite the U.S.-led security push in Baghdad, the Pentagon told Congress on Wednesday." However, if you download the actual report (Acrobat format), it never says this. The report says that "The overall level of violence in Iraq this quarter remained similar to the previous reporting period but shifted location." One reason the report doesn't say that "violence edged higher" is that while the AP says the report covers "the February-May period," it in fact covers only through May 4, but includes days before the US started the new operation (at least 235 deaths from 2/10-14/07). Another reason is that the Pentagon would not say that violence increased "despite" the "surge" without looking at the trend during the period, which shows an overall decrease in civilian deaths. And while the AP mentions in passing that "violence fell in the capital and in Anbar province," it does not mention that nationwide, sectarian murders have dropped from over 1600 in December 2006 to a little over 600 in April -- a drop of 62.5%.
IRAQ: Iraqi political, religious and communal leaders unanimously condemned the attack that destroyed the two minarets of the revered Askari shrine in Samarra by suspected Sunni insurgents on Wednesday morning. Amid appeals for calm, al-Sadr's Mahdi Army is armed and ready, sources report, and clashes broke out in a number of areas in Baghdad before a curfew was imposed. Suspicion fell immediately on the relatively small guard force that had protected the shrine since the attack in February last year, a unit composed almost of entirely of Sunnis and which American and Iraqi commanders had long suspected of harboring Al Qaeda sympathizers. The 1920 Revolution Brigade has driven Al Qaeda out of the city of Buriz in Diyala province. Coalition Forces have killed the Al Qaeda military emir of Mosul. The Wall Street Journal has an op-ed by Prime Minister al-Maliki. Dr. David Kilcullen, Gen. David Petraeus' chief adviser on counter-insurgency warfare, explains how marriage rites helped split the Anbar tribes from Al Qaeda.
TWO BENGAL TIGER CUBS are being reared by a pair of feline fanatics in Germany at the Tiger Garden Ingelheim (i.e., the couple's backyard), which already houses five adult tigers. Video at the link.
MATING GATORS go wild for tubas playing B flat.
THE SQUIRREL THREAT: An aggressive squirrel went on the rampage in southern Germany, injuring three people. A 72-year-old pensioner finally put a stop to the mayhem, killing the creature stone dead with his crutch.
A MAN was attacked with a swordfish snout in a home invasion in central Queensland, police say.
A BABY DOLPHIN has been given access to a dolphin "chat line" because the mother is deaf and speaks in a monotone. The article does not mention whether the chat line bills per-minute.