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Shindig, Mates of State, Jennifer O'Connor, Cutout Bin, Spaghetti Cat   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, August 22, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

THE WEEKEND STARTS HERE:

...with SHINDIG! This is a "best of" compilation of "Sixties Superstars." Part 1 features the Byrds ("Turn, Turn, Turn"), Donovan ("Catch The Wind"), The Turtles ("Let Me Be"), and Beau Brummels ("Laugh Laugh"). Part 2 features The Mamas & Papas ("California Dreaming"), The Yardbirds ("For Your Love"), and Donovan ("Colors"). Part 3 includes The Turtles ("It Ain't Me, Babe"), The Byrds ("I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better"), and The Gentrys "Keep On Dancing"). Part 4 has The Kingsmen ("Louie, Louie" - with clear lyrics), Sir Douglas Quintet ("She's About A Mover"), Roy Head ("Treat Her Right") and The Olympics ("Good Lovin'" with an assist from house organist Billy Preston). Part 5 includes The McCoys ("Hang On Sloopy"), The Hondells ("Little Honda"), The Righteous Brothers ("Let The Good Times Roll"), Part Six brings Dobie Gray ("The In Crowd"), Zsa Zsa Gabor ("High Heeled Sneakers." Really.), Jerry Lee Lewis ("Great Balls O' Fire") and The Isley Brothers ("Shout!").

MATES OF STATE: The husband-wfe duo stopped by the World Cafe for a chat and mini-set you can stream on demand via NPR.

THE VERVE is streaming their new album at VerveSpace.

JENNIFER O'CONNOR is profiled by the New York Sun, which observes that she is carelessly compared to Liz Phair when Townes van Zandt might be equally appropriate. She just did the four free songs thing for Daytrotter, including a previously unreleased cover of Stevie Wonder's "A Place In The Sun," so you can judge for yourself.

DAVID BYRNE has a new gig designing bike racks for NYC.

BLOC PARTY have surprise released a new album, which is streaming at their website.

GLADYS KNIGHT and the UN-PIPS: The magic of modern video effects insert Tropic Thunder stars Ben Stiller, Jack Black and Robert Downey, Jr. into the classic "Midnight Train to Georgia" during the American idol charity special.  (Here's the original clip.)

MATTHEW SWEET talks to the North County about the changing times and a possible lawsuit against the makers of Guitar Hero II. (Thx, LHB.)

THE BROKEN WEST: You can stream "Auctioneer" from the upcoming Now or Heaven album at Aquarium Drunkard.

JOANNA NEWSOM brings the humor to an interview with TimeOut Chicago in advance of her gig tonight with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

GARY GLITTER continues his world tour, agreeing to return to London after being kicked out of Hong Kong and Thailand (twice.)

THE CONSTANTINES are profiled at Filter.

CUTOUT BIN: From Jimi Hendrix to Hugh Grant, from Jonathan Richman to The Spinners, from the Beach Boys to The Equals, from The Who to Tullycraft, from Stratocruiser to Alive & Kicking and more -- this Friday's fortuitous finds can be jukeboxed or streamed separately via the Pate page at the ol' HM.

BRITNEY SPEARS singing alone sounds pretty bad.  Maybe not as bad as the late Linda McCartney, but bad.  Will a duet with Justin Timberlake revive her career?

GWEN STEFANI & GAVIN ROSSDALE welcome a second son.

ELLEN DeGENERES & PORTIA de ROSSI: The newlyweds are thinking about having kids.

JESSICA SIMSPON looks at bf Tony Romo's phone call log?  She also says, "He's the first person I've spiritually connected with."  If so, should you need to snoop into his phone records?  And ex-husband Nick Lachey will appreciate the compliment, too.

AMY WINEHOUSE is not back in rehab (no, no, no).

NOW SHOWING: This weekend's wide releases are The Rocker, which opened Wednesday and is currently scoring 38 percent on the ol' Tomatometer; Anna Farris as The House Bunny, which appears to be unscreened for critics; the reimagining of Death Race, which is scoring XX percent; and The Longshots with XX percent.

SIENNA MILLER's London home was tagged by graffiti marking her as a "SLUT." The actress has attracted controversy for her relationship with married man Balthazar Getty.

SHARON STONE goes cougar with a 24-year-old boyfriend, who apparently could stand to learn a few things about tact and discretion: "I've started dating Sharon Stone, and she's pretty good for 50."

JODIE FOSTER is hoping to avoid a 25 million dollar galimony payout.

MAD MEN: Ratings for season two are eroding, though some may be watching on demand during the Olympics.

EMILY O'BRIEN explains a new method of capturing human performances for computer animation. And the version of soap actress in the video is not real. The Times of London has background.

WOLVERINE: Fox co-chairman and CEO Tom Rothman reportedly had a set repainted while the director was out of town to try to lighten the tone of the movie.  Because after the success of The dark Knight, we know the world is dying to see a happy-go-lucky Wolverine, right?

WHAT MAKES A TERRORIST? Two different views -- one more global, based on the Gallup Poll of the Muslim World, the other UK-centric from MI5.

GEORGIA, GEORGIA: Reuters reports that Russian armored units have begun pulling back into South Ossetia, though the Finnish Foreign Minister says the Russians have not budged from the strategic city of Gori and that that Russia has conducted an ethnic cleansing of South Ossetia.

IRAN plans to send a manned rocket into space in the next 10 years.  Pres. Ahmadinejad called Israel "a germ of corruption" to be "removed soon" in comments on his presidential website.  Iran has banned an award-winning young actress from leaving the country over her appearance in Ridley Scott's latest movie "Body of Lies" with Hollywood heartthrobs Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe.

IRAQ: Recent political progress in Diyala may unravel after a botched attempt to capture a provincial official at the main governmental center in Baqubah killed an assistant to the provincial governor. OTOH, over 1000 suspects have so far sought amnesty in a campaign aimed at lower-level insurgents in Diyala, a provincial official says.

SPAGHETTI CAT: A moment of zen.

TWO TORTOISES, FOUR WALKING CATFISH, A GATOR and a BLUE INDIGO SNAKE were spotted on a runway at the Melbourne International Airport in Florida, thanks to Tropical Storm Fay.

THE LOST BABY WHALE who mistook a yacht for its mother may have to be euthanized by Aussie officials.

WHEN COWS ATTACK: A jogger feared for his life during an attack by a cow in a popular park in Auckland, NZ that left him with a broken arm and extensive bruising.

THE SQUIRREL THREAT: This militant squirrel is in training for something.

POLAR BEARS are being sedated and marked for measurement with spray paint in Alaska.  Is PETA cool with this?

MAY THE CROCODILE bless you and eat you.

3482 Reads

Guillemots, TVotR, R.Hitchcock, Rogue Monkey   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, August 21, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

GUILLEMOTS go for a lo-fi look in the clip for "Kriss Kross" fro the Red album.

TV ON THE RADIO is streaming a new song, "Golden Age," at their website.

ROBYN HITCHCOCK has released a second box set, Luminous Groove, which focuses on Hitchcock's Eighties output with the Egyptians.  Yep Roc is streaming the previously unreleased "Bad Case of History."

DEPARTMENT OF EAGLES: The Grizzly Bear offshoot has released a track "No One Does It Like You," from the upcoming In Ear Partk LP.

JOSH RITTER: The acclaimed singer-songwriter recently played the Mountain Stage, so you can stream the six-song set on demand via NPR.

BETTYE LaVETTE has an atmospheric new video for her take on Elton John's "Talking Old Soldiers" from The Scene of the Crime.

LOU BARLOW (Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh) shuffles his iPod for The A.V. Club in a particularly good edition of "Random Rules."

AMY WINEHOUSE is back in rehab (yes, yes, yes).

GARY GLITTER is flying to Hong Kong after being thrown out of Thailand and refusing to return to Britain after serving time in a Vietnamese prison for child molestation.

BEACHWOOD SPARKS: The country-psych outfit has reuinted and is touring with hopes of recording a new LP for release in 2009.

BRADGELINA: Estranged dad Jon Voight defends Jolie (and Pitt) from Roseanne Barr's attacks, calling Barr "evil" and noting that her family has branded her as a "psychopathic liar." I dunno about evil, but Barr's attacks are inaccurate.  She compalins that Bradgelina spends tiny percentage of their multi-million dollar earnings on charity, when it's well-documented that Jolie gives one-third of her income to charity, while Pitt gave a similar amount.  Barr also rages about "the Republican party's worldwide economic assault on Africa over the last few decades since Ronald Reagan," when even critics admit that Pres. Bush has done more for Africa than any other, quadrupling humanitarian and development aid to the continent.

JENNIFER GARNER is officially knocked up again.

ANGIE HARMON is officially knocked up again.

MATT.DAMON. and his wife, Luciana, welcome a baby girl.

JEN & JOHN: Mayer may be regretting talking to the press abut The Break-Up with Aniston, as tabloid types now turn up at his home daily; meanwhile, Team Aniston had to put the kibosh on her agents at CAA trying to set up dates with Hollywood bachelors.  The Mirror claims Mayer dumped Aniston by text message.

JESSICA SIMPSON will hawk a vitamin-enriched beer called Stampede Light Plus.  Extra has the ad.  I'm thinkin' that the slogan "Be Smart, Drink Smart" is under cut by the photo of Simpson.

RICKY MARTIN is a father to twin boys born via a surrogate.

RACHEL McADAMS & RYAN GOSLING reportedly have gotten back together, after splitting in 2007. Crazy delicious.

AMANDA BEARD denies dating fellow Olympian Michael Phelps, but says she was just joking when she said, "Eww, that's so nasty! ... Come on, I have really good taste."  OTOH, Lindsay Lohan thinks Phelps is amazing and wants to meet him.

JENNIFER LOVE HEWITT wishes she had been nude from the time I was 12 until I was 28, and wants to tell all young girls to walk around in bikinis all summer.  But if I say that, everyone will look at me funny.

THIS JUST IN: Females such as Scarlett Johansson, Raquel Welch and Marilyn Monroe with short slender bodies, large busts and slim limbs are the most sexually attractive to men, scientists claim.  That's a british study, but the US does its share of taxpayer-funded obvious studies.

ROYALE WITH CHEESE: The French have secretly surrendered... to "Macdoh."

GEORGIA, GEORGIA: Russia plans to establish 18 long-term checkpoints inside Georgian territory, including at least eight within undisputed Georgian territory. The plans appear to violate the terms of a French-endorsed cease-fire deal signed late last week by the presidents of Georgia and Russia.  Meanwhile, Moscow had informed Norway of a decision to freeze all joint work with NATO in the row over Georgia.

PAKISTAN: The ruling coalition, fresh from ending a six-month standoff by forcing Pres. Musharraf to resign, failed to resolve a festering dispute over reinstating judges he fired. While the two parties pledged to reinstate the judges in a March 9 agreement that formed the basis for the coalition, the leaders differ on how to achieve this.

IRAQ: Iraqi and US negotiators have completed a draft security pact that would see US troops leave Iraqi cities as early as June 30, 2009. New Iranian-backed splinter groups, like the Asaib al Haq (League of the Righteous) are being targeted by Multinational Forces Iraq. Sunni politicians accuse the Shiite-dominated security forces of carrying out political arrests, warning that this could push Iraq into another round of sectarian fighting.

A ROGUE MONKEY causes chaos at a Tokyo train station.  Videos at the link.

A GREYHOUND and an OWL have formed a bizarre friendship at an animal center.  Totally awww...some pics at the link.

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT: A cat with four ears named Yoda. In Chicago, no less.  Pics at the link.

THE LOST BABY WHALE who thinks a yacht is its mother will be lucky to survive the week -- unless it finds a more likely guardian.

A TWO-HEADED TURTLE has gone missing from a NYC pet store.  Apparently, the police switchboard was skeptical.

BIGFOOT SCAMMERS are also looking for leads on leprechauns, the Loch Ness monster and dinosaurs.

2239 Reads

New Okkervil River and Of Montreal, Glen Campbell, Pants Python   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, August 20, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

OKKERVIL RIVER is promoting its upcoming The Stand-Ins album with video featuring "stand-ins" like the New Pornographers' A.C. Newman on an acoustic version of "Lost Coastlines." Newman kinda overpowers Will Scheff, though the two have a nice vocal blend.

ALL SONGS CONSIDERED: Advance tracks from Okkervil River and Of Montreal lead off the latest installment of the long-running NPR series.

SHE & HIM played the latest episode of Sound Opinions, which also found Greg Kot and Jim DeRogatis debating the merits of Brazilian Girls.

THE HOLD STEADY and DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS are hitting the road together, in a double bill to match last year's pairing of the Hold Steady with Art Brut.  Craig Finn & Co. show off their pre-show ritual at NME.

RADIOHEAD, for various reasons, has been taking grief lately from the Silver Jews' David Berman and The Hold Steady's guitarist Tad Kubler, not to mention Boing-Boing/NPR doyenne Xeni Jardin. Can't we all just get along? (Anyone who has seen Jack Black's turn in High Fidelity knows the answer is "no.")

GLEN CAMPBELL's album of mostly alt-covers gets a good review in the Boston Globe. Campbell talks to The Replacements' "Sadly Beautiful" in the USA Today and the San Francisco Chronicle, as well as an unrecorded John Lennon song given to him by Yoko Ono. He performs some of the new covers for AOL Sessions, including "These Days" (J. Browne/Nico), "Angel Dream" (T. Petty) and "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" (Green Day), as well as a couple of Campbell classics. Sounding pretty good at 72.

FINAL FANTASY: Indie violinist Owen Pallett talks to New York magazine about the joy of failure.  The piece also mentions that he gave away his 20K in Polaris Prize money to other musicians and his manager because it was sponsored by a cellphone company.

LOS CAMPESINOS! The Welsh speed-pop septet talks to PopMatters about their sudden ascent over the past two years. MP3 and video at the link.

PANDORA (and thus presumably other web radio services) may have to shut down due to high royalty fees lobbied on webcasters.  Negotiations to lower the rate for webcasters are ongoing.

THE ROLLING STONES: "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" wakes a British fan from a coma. Further evidence that Keith Richards is Lord of the Undead?

CHRISTINA APPLEGATE revealed that she has undergone a double mastectomy - even though cancer was only detected in one of her breasts. Her mother had breast cancer and Christina has the breast cancer gene, BRCA1. Over the next eight months she will undergo reconstructive surgery: "I'm gonna have cute boobs till I'm 90," she quipped.

MICHAEL PHELPS, record-breaking Olympic swimmer, has been linked to both Olympic swimmer Amanda Beard and model Lily Donaldson. Frankly, to do this story, the Telegraph could have found better pics of Beard and thrown in some of Donaldson. ALSO: Why isn't Aussie medalist Stephanie Rice in this mix?

BRITNEY SPEARS is racking up some hefty legal bills on the road to Wellville.

90210 2.0 is not being screened for advertisers or the media in advance of the program's premiere. Usually a very bad sign.

CHRIS KATTAN: the SNL alum has separated from his model wife after eight weeks of wedded bliss.

ROBERT DOWNEY, JR.: Iron Man reviews The Dark Knight, and does not give it a thumbs-up. And he talks about Tropic Thunder and Iron Man 2, natch.

GWYNETH PALTROW has angered animal rights activists by endorsing a new collection of luxury goods using fur.

WATCHMEN is in some legal peril after a federal judge has denied the WB's motion to dismiss 20th Century Fox's suit over the rights to develop, produce and distribute a film based on the graphic novel.  But don't panic; it seems like Murdoch's crew is looking for some "go away money."

INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS: Quentin Tarantino's WWII pic will move forward without Simon Pegg, who had to drop out over scheduling conflicts.

MAD MEN: The guys of Sterling-Cooper look at home at the Playboy Mansion.

THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK... at San Francisco.  Looking for revenge against George Lucas, I'll bet.

GEORGIA, GEORGIA: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says Russian forces will withdraw from most of Georgia by Friday. This time for sure... nothing up his sleeve... Presto! Meanwhile, Russian soldiers took about 20 Georgian troops prisoner at a key Black Sea port in western Georgia on Tuesday, blindfolding them and holding them at gunpoint, and commandeered American HumVees awaiting shipment back to the US.

AFGHANISTAN: Afghan and NATO officials are seeing a rise in numbers of foreign fighters in Afghanistan at the same time US officials say attacks by Al Qaeda in Iraq have sharply dropped. The Pentagon will be sending 12K to 15K additional US troops there, possibly as soon as the end of this year.

IRAN is preparing to build more nuclear power plants. Meanwhile, the Islamic theocracy's attempt to launch a dummy satellite into orbit was a "dramatic failure" that fell far short of the country's assertions of success, a US official said on Tuesday.

IRAQ: The national government is making moves against US-backed Sunni Arab fighters in Diyala province. Iraqi soldiers stormed the governor's office in Diyala before dawn on Tuesday, killing his secretary and firing on local police. Iraqi troops also raided local government offices in Diyala on Tuesday, arresting a Sunni provincial council member and a university president. Iraq's largest Sunni party accuses the government security forces of sectarian bias.

HEY IS THAT A GIANT BURMESE PYTHON IN YOUR PANTS?  Weatherman Kurtis Gertz got some company on live TV at the Iowa State Fair.  KCCI has graciously posted not one, but two videos.

ABOUT 60 NEWLY-HATCHED SEA TURTLES lost their way during their ritual passage to the sea and marched into an Italian restaurant instead.

PEDIGREE DOGS EXPOSED: The oldest all-breed kennel club in the world is accusedby the BBC of Nazi-like practices in its emphasis on breed purity.  Again, Nazi comparisons are generally over-the-top in most cases.

A WILD DOLPHIN is apparently teaching other members of her group to walk on their tails, a behavior usually seen only after training in captivity.

WOMAN BITES MAN in attempted hamster food theft.

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New Releases, New Annuals Byrne+Eno Oasis, Hwy Buffalo   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, August 19, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

BECK alludes to Warhol and Man Ray (imho) in the video for "Gamma Ray."

NEW RELEASES:Laura Marling, Lykke Li and Death Vessel are among the albums streaming in full this week at Spinner.

DAVID BYRNE & BRIAN ENO are streaming their album at their website, which is also sole point-of-purchase.

ANNUALS have released a new song, "Confessor," on Spinner.

SILVER JEWS: David Berman talks to Pitchfork about the weather, ducks, health insurance, his corneal transplant, the younger generations... and music!

OASIS has put out a trailer video for their upcoming Dig Out Your Soul album, but the video for "The Shock of Lighning" (complete with Rolling Stones homage) has leaked, as well as audio for tracks like "Falling Down." Plus, the WB is officially streaming the audio for "Shock..."  I think that adds up to at least Twofer Tuesday.

RYAN ADAMS has a new blog; the most recent entry involves a number of odd swords (with pictures).

LANGHORNE SLIM does the five free songs thing for Daytrotter, two previously unreleased.

EDDIE FLOYD has a new album out... on the Stax label.

DODGE, of My Old Kentucky Blog, is profiled by the Indianapolis Star.

CHRISTINA APPLEGATE tells Good Morning America that she is "absolutely 100 percent clear and clean" of breast cancer.

ELLEN DeGENERES & PORTIA de ROSSI: Wedding photos.

JEN & JOHN: Aniston's pals were rolling their eyes over the weekend about Mayer's unofficial press conferences discussing the couple's breakup.  A source close to the actress says, "Jen will never kiss and tell, but it's she who ended the relationship." Why would she need to kiss and tell?  She has pals to do it for her.

MADONNA had a small, low-key 50th birthday party for her close family and friends.  Small enough that she complained about the no-shows.

HARRY POTTER and the HALF-BLOOD PRINCE delayed by Daniel Radcliffe's Broadway run in Equus? I dunno; it makes sense for WB to put it in the same slot The Dark Knight had this year, esp. as Order of the Phoenix did so well as a summer movie.  ALSO: Radcliffe has revealed he suffers from dyspraxia, meaning he sometimes still has trouble tying his shoelaces.

BRADGELINA: Safe to say that Roseanne Barr is not a fan of the couple.

RACHEL McADAMS goes a bit goth and tals about her sociopathic tendencies with T Magazine.

PHIL COLLINS has handed over £25million to his third wife in the biggest-ever divorce payout by a British showbiz star.

KATE MOSS says her most memorable kiss was with... Frank Sinatra.

BERNIE MAC: The Chicago Tribune has full coverage of the late comic actor's memorial service.

JAMES FRANCO talks about kissing Sean Penn in the upcoming drama Milk.

KATE WINSLET found it awkward to have love scenes with Leonardo DiCaprio directed by her husband Sam Mendes in the upcoming drama Revolutionary Road.

ROBERT WAGNER is to break his silence about the mysterious death of wife Natalie Wood. Christopher Walken has a cameo, sans cowbell.

ANTI-AMERICANISM IN BRITAIN is based on ignorance of the facts on key issues such as crime, health care and foreign policy, according to a new survey.

GEORGIA, GEORGIA: Vladimir Putin apparently ordered the Russian Army to ethnically cleanse Georgians out of the city of Gori. Russian soldiers demonstrated their seriousness by randomly shooting residents. Russia says it has started to pull troops out of Georgia despite reports that they are moving deeper into Georgian territory. The deputy head of Russia's general staff said "there is a distinction between the understandings of a 'pullback' and a 'withdrawal.'" Putin puppet Dmitry Medvedev said Georgian actions would not go "unpunished."

PAKISTAN: Pres.Musharraf, facing impeachment on charges drawn up by the governing coalition, has announced that he is resigning.

IRAN said it had sent a rocket carrying a dummy satellite into space on Sunday, triggering fresh concern in Washington that the technology could be diverted to ballistic missiles. Iran said on Monday it was ready to help fellow Muslim states launch satellites into orbit.

IRAQ: The WaPo's Sudarsan Raghavan walks the Road of Hell with the Iraqi Army in Diayala province; photo gallery at the link.

A LOST BABY HUMPBACK WHALE has bonded with a yacht it seems to think is its mother.  It may be a fatal mistake. Video at the link.

BUFFALO caused traffic in both directions to stop on I-55 near Chicago's far southwest suburban Braidwood Monday morning while they stood in a grassy median. Video at the link.  Their owner put them down.

AVARA, A DISABLED TURTLE, has found romance since being fitted with a custom skateboard to overcome paralysis of her hind legs.

200 FERAL CATS living in an old horse stable in San Jose, CA face rescue or extinction by Oct. 15th.

WILD ANIMALS are not wild about the paparazzi in the woods.

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Jerry Wexler RIP, Scott McCaughey, Calexico, Nils Olav   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, August 18, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

JERRY WEXLER, who coined the term "rhythm and blues," and who as co-founder of and producer for Atlantic Records helped lead the genre to mainstream popularity, died Friday at age 91.  The NYT obit is quite good, as is the one at Rolling Stone.  Rolling Stone is still streaming Wexler's playlist of the songs he was the most proud of from his half-century career in music.  Selections for Tubers include: Professor Longhair's "Tipitina" (1953); Big Joe Turner's "Shake, Rattle and Roll" (1954); Ray Charles smashes "I Got a Woman" (1954) and "What I'd Say" (1959); Booker T. & the MG's with "Green Onions" (1962); Wilson Pickett's "In the Midnight Hour" (1965); Aretha Franklin's cover of "Respect" and "Chain of Fools" (both 1967); Dusty Springfield's "Son of a Preacher Man" (1969); and Dr. John's take on "Iko Iko" (1972).  And though he was never as big a fan of rock as R&B, Wexler did sign Led Zeppelin, so there's that.

SCOTT McCAUGHEY hits for the cycle in an online chat session with readers at ESPN.com.

BENJI HUGHES, who has drawn comparisons to Beck and The Magnetic Fields' Stephin Merritt, got a feature on All Things Considered.

BARACK OBAMA & JOHN McCAIN: Their Top Tens are analyzed by Randy Newman and Girl Talk.  Not sure what planet Newman is living on to think McCain would pick Streisand, though.

TYLER RAMSEY does the five free songs thing for Daytrotter.

CALEXICO has put the video for "Two Siver Trees" up on PitchforkTV.

THE OCTOPUS PROJECT does the four free songs thing for Daytrotter.

DUFFY doesn't mind the hype for the album she took three years to make.

GARY GLITTER: The convicted child molester will be met by police on his return to the UK from Vietnam next week and required to sign the sex offenders' register.

LYKKE LI discusses three songs from her debut album with... The Wall Street Journal. Say what you will about Rupert Murdoch; the paper's indie rock coverage is much improved since he bought it.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: Tropic Thunder topples The Dark Knight, topping the box office with 26 million. TT has made 37 million since opening Wednesday, which makes it a risk to make back a 92 million budget, as comedies like this often do not rake it in overseas.  Batman places with 16.8 million; it has made 471 million in the US and 734 million in total to date. Star Wars: The Clone Wars shows with 15.5 million.  The horror flick Mirrors debuted in fourth with 11.1 million.  Pineapple Express rounds out the Top Five with ten million, though it cratered 57 percent in the face of Tropic Thunder.  Nevertheless, the stoner action comedy has made 62 million in the US on a 27 million budget.  Below the fold, The Mummy 3 came in sixth; its 86.6 million in US receipts looks bad against a 145 million budget, but much less bad with global receipts of 228.8 million.  Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona debuted in tenth -- his best debut since 2000's Small Time Crooks.  Hot women kissing = success.

TROPIC THUNDER was entertaining, and probably deserved to be making more than it did.  Not a gutbuster, but with some nice satire on Hollywood itself (which may explain first sentence).  Indeed, as good as Robert Downey Jr. is as Kirk Lazarus, an Oscar-winning Aussie who has his skin dyed black for the movie within the movie, the picture is largely stolen by someone named in many reviews, but whom I will leave unnamed here, just in case.  He plays a crazed amalgam of Viacom head Sumner Redstone and producer Scott Rudin and it is this actor's finest performance in years -- and I say that as someone who regularly mocks him.  It is an odd thing to write that he and Downey are funnier than Jack Black and Ben Stiller.  Or Jack Black, anyway... but that's a good thing.  As for the controversy about "retarded" jokes, Stiller was right -- the jokes in question are on Hollywood, not the mentally challenged.

VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA does not rank with Woody Allen's best work, but was charming enough to at least get into the same ballpark as Match Point, if a notch or two below Hannah and Her Sisters. Allen relies a bit too much on narration, though that may have been a decision meant to boost the film in Europe (a new narrator is less obtrusive than overdubs).  As I suspected after reading the Allen interview linked here last week, the movie is mostly carried by the performances of its main stars.  Although most of the attention has been on te lovely Scarlett Johansson and Penelope Cruz, the movie would not work without the charisma of Xavier Bardem and the overlooked Rebecca Hall, who represents Allen's neurotic streak.  But this is hardly the first movie whose success depends mostly on casting, so I give Allen credit for matching the cast and script so well to the location that provided the financing.

ELLEN DeGENERES & PORTIA de ROSSI wed in an intimate ceremony at their home in Beverly Hills, California, Saturday night.  Portia wore a dress; Ellen wore the pants.

JEN & JOHN: Mayer denies reports of lying or cheating on Aniston: "I ended a relationship to be alone, because I don't want to waste somebody's time if something's not right."

LINDSAY LOHAN is either converting to Judaism for Samantha Ronson or may leave her for a may-yun.

POP ICONS at 50: Madonna turned 50 over the weekend, but she's only 36 in Kabbalah years )and is reportedly miffed at Britney Spears). The Times of London surveys the careers of Madge and Michael Jackson, who turns 50 later this month.  USA Today adds Prince, who turned 50 in June.

BILL MURRAY kicked off the 50th Chicago Air and Water Show by skydiving with the US Army Golden Knights to support the Illinois United Service Organizations.  Let's go to the video.

AMY WINEHOUSE does not want to be asked about her health, okay?

MIKE MYERS has been cast by Quentin Tarantino for Inglourious Basterds as British Gen. Ed Fenech, a military mastermind who takes part in hatching a plot to wipe out Nazi leaders.  QT knows when someone's carrer needs rehab.

HAWAII fought off a coup attempt over the weekend.

GEORGIA, GEORGIA: Russian leaders failed to follow through on a new agreement to withdraw troops from Georgia. Maybe today will be the day. But with US officials saying the Russian military had been moving launchers for short-range ballistic missiles into South Ossetia, maybe not.  Russia is considering arming its Baltic fleet with nuclear warheads for the first time since the Cold War. Europe has been feckless as usual, even though the threat to Europe is bigger.

PAKISTAN: Women who say their husbands threw acid at them or burned them find help in becoming self-reliant through salon work.

IRAN continues to finance, train, arm, and support Shia terror groups in Iraq. The Qods Force, via its Ramazan Corps command operating in eastern Iran, remains active in subverting the Iraqi government and attacking US and Coalition forces.

IRAQ: Moktada al-Sadr called on his followers to sign in a blood oath of loyalty; only a few hundred people turned up. There was a series of bombings targeting Shiites heading to Karbala for a major religious festival over the weekend.  The L.A. Times covers further progress in Anbar, with video.

NILS OLAV, a 3-foot tall King penguin, was awarded a knighthood by Norway on Friday. It's a tradition. Let's go to the video.

SHEEP & GOAT OLYMPICS: There's no Michael Phelps -- but it has sheep and goats!

BIGFOOT remains as mythical as Spiny Norman, as one of the two samples of DNA said to prove the existence of the Bigfoot came from a human and the other was 96 percent from an opossum. Chewbacca was very disappointed.

PET HOARDING: A Central Florida school teacher known as the "cat lady" who was fighting to keep nearly 150 cats at her home will get to keep her pets on property. Pics at the link.

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