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A Fine Frenzy, Pipettes, MMJ, Danny Federici, Frankencroc   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, April 21, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


A FINE FRENZY: Alison Sudol confesses to the Times of London: "I'm not very rock'n'roll.. I don't drink, I don't smoke and I don't party after a gig. I prefer to read."  Indeed, Sudol has an online book club, and recently shared some of her favorites at LHB. The live video for "You Picked Me" is indirectly via Amber, who will be delighted to learn that Sudol is also vertically challenged, loves books (including The Fountainhead), cheese and swearing.

THE PIPETTES have two new members, Ani and Anna, as RiotBecki and Rosay have left to pursue other musical projects.  More details at P-Fork.  Disappointing, though I'll reserve judgment, given that the concept was always that of disposable pop band.

KATE NASH played the World Cafe on Friday; you can stream the gig on demand via NPR.

MY MORNING JACKET has released "Evil Urges" -- the title track of the upcoming album -- for downlaod; you can also stream it via the 'Gum Mix.

HOT CHIP stopped by The Current for a chat and mini-set (including a cover of Prince's "Nothing Compares 2U"), streaming on demand via MPR.

DANNY FEDERICI, a keyboardist for Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band since it was formed in the early 1970s, died on Thursday. He was 58.  Anyone who knows me knows I love the Hammond B-3 organ, and Federici was the one serving it up on "Hungry Heart"', though he's almost as wailing in very different ways throughout songs from The River like "Jackson Cage"  and "Ramrod" without calling attention to himself.  And he is the chiming keyboard-driven glockenspiel on the Boss's signature "Born To Run." He will be missed.

BILLY BRAGG talks to the Philly Inquirer about his new album and how he was influenced by Simon & Garfunkel and The Clash.

ROBERT FORSTER:  The former Go-Between talks to The Australian about his first solo album in nearly 12 years, the first since the 2006 death of Go-Betweens co-founder Grant McLennan.  You can stream an advance track, "Pandanus," via YepRoc.

MYSPACE is set to give the major labels better terms on ad revenue than the indie bands who built the social network into a music destination.  Meet the new boss.

AMY WINEHOUSE has reportedly started making plans to end her marriage to Blake Fielder-Civil.  She was also caught toking up on video by the uber-reliable News of the World; record bosses have threatened to stop her from releasing any new material until she cleans up her act.

RICK ASTLEY:  SurveyUSA estimates that at least 18 million Americans have now been "Rickrolled," according to a national poll of 959 adults, conducted 04/08/08.

ROB LOWE:  Jessica Gibson, Lowe's former nanny who claims Robbie boy was playin' with himself and gropin' her, was secretly on the hunt for 1.5 million bucks from the actor; her boyfriend was also on the hunt for a cool mil to jump start his business, according to TMZ.  The lawyer representing the ex-nanny is demanding videotaped depositions of Lowe and his wife, according to E! News.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE:  The first time team up of Jet Li and Jackie Chan put The Forbidden Kingdom at the top with 20.8 million, followed fairly closely by the Judd Apatow/Jason Siegel comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall with 17.3 million.  I saw the latter and enjoyed it -- not gut-bustingly funny, but Siegel captured the usual Apatow blend of raunchy and sweet.  Mila Kunis is adorable, but you knew that.  Prom Night tumbled to third, but is still way profitable.  Al Pacino's 88 Minutes managed to debut fourth, despite having been shelved for years.  Nim's Island rounds out the Top Five and comes close to breaking even.  21 drops from 3 to 6, but has made almost twice its 35 million budget.  Street Kings drops 68 percent, but almost breaks even on a skimpy 20 million budget.  Horton Hears a Who takes in another 3.5 million as it closes in on 150 million total,  The Ben Stein doc Expelled debuts in ninth, but I can't imagine there are more intelligent design fans left to go see it.  Leatherheads drops from fifth to tenth and has made less than half of its production budget.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  Gossip Girls has some kinda intrusive photos accompanying their inside look at the Tom-Kitten's 2nd birthday party.

BRADGELINA are reportedly planning a secret summer wedding - and the event could lead to a reconciliation between Angelina and her estranged actor father Jon Voight, according to the Daily Mail.

SANDRA BULLOCK & JESSE JAMES were hit by a drunk driver Friday night while riding in a private car in Gloucester, MA.  They said they were fine and didn't need medical attention.

JESSICA SIMPSON's recent hospital stay was triggered by more than just an "infection," according to the ever-reliable Star magazine, which claims the pneumatic blonde was hospitalized after months of hard drinking with beau Tony Romo, and even asked for a pregnancy test.

BRITNEY SPEARS returning to How I Met Your Mother, a source tells People magazine.

GARY BUSEY has been evicted from his Malibu, California home for failing to pay his rent.

MADONNA is finalizing negotiations to play a mega-bucks 2 date tour in Dubai, reports The Sun.

CNN's RICHARD QUEST was busted in Central Park early Friday with some drugs in his pocket, a rope around his neck that was tied to his genitals, and a sex toy in his boot, law-enforcement sources said.

DON'T HASSEL THE HOFF:  The long, messy split of Hasselhoff and Pamela Bach resulted finally in a dry, civil divorce settlement filed Thursday in a Los Angeles court.  The Baywatch and Knight Rider icon keeps the rights to the Hoffworld-branded trademarks to his nickname, "Hoff," and his catchphrase, "Don't Hassel the Hoff."  He seems to bag the best of what was known as his Encino, Calif., home's African room. He gets the African pipe, the ivory tusk, assorted statues and the "elephant foot and two elephant stools."  Bach gets the photographs of Hollywood great Claudette Colbert and pop singer Michael Jackson that hung outside the couple's master suite.  She gets the 2006 Mercedes; I presume he gets KITT.

LIZ HURLEY just did a photo shoot for her new line of swimwear.  Call it Gratuitous Monday.

VLADMIR PUTIN, President of Russia, reportedly has split with Ludmilla and is preparing to marry a 24-year-old, sensationally beautiful gymnast who seems quite flexible in the photos at the link.

IRAQ: Iraqi soldiers swooped on the Basra stronghold of Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on Saturday, saying they had seized control of his militia bastion where they suffered an embarrassing setback in late March.  CD shops sell love songs again. Some women emerge from their homes without veils, and alcohol sellers are coming out of hiding in the southern city of Basra - where religious vigilantes have long enforced strict Islamic codes.  The changes in recent weeks mark a surprising show of government sway - at least for now.  Trying to stem the infiltration of militia fighters, American forces have begun to build a massive concrete wall that will partition Sadr City, the densely populated Shiite neighborhood in the Iraqi capital.  In contrast to the cases of desertion during the first part of the battle for Basra, during fighting in Sadr City, two Iraqi T-72s and four other Iraqi armored vehicles arrived on the scene before US tanks were needed; the Iraqi Army also rushed ammunition to Sadr City, including machine-gun rounds and rocket-propelled grenades to give its units more firepower and address complaints of shortages.  Nevertheless, al-Sadr gave a "final warning" to the government Saturday to halt a US-Iraqi crackdown against his followers or he would declare "open war until liberation."  That has some worried in Najaf, but the L.A. Times also reports that the grand ayatollahs have declined to aid al-Sadr in Basra.

MEOW, MEOW, MEOW, GOOD VIBRATIONS:  A cat with a theremin.  That cat is no Brian Wilson, but make sure to stay for the very end.

CROCODILE BRAIN STOLEN in Zimbabwe. Police in Hwange are on the look out for a suspect who killed a crocodile and removed its brains amid revelations that it could be used for poisoining unsuspecting individuals.  I would be on the look out for a giant Frankencroc made up of the parts of recently killed crocodiles.

VULTURES get no respect... no respect, I tell ya!

THE SQUIRREL THREAT:  Armchair Generalist and CKR both report the fratricide of an ACORN recon agent.

OH, SURE, IT STARTS SMALL: Scientists have been able to take control of flies' brains to make females behave just like males.

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Turtles, Fleet Foxes, Weezer, Cutout Bin, Naked Cockatoo   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, April 18, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



...with THE TURTLES!  First cracking the Top Ten in 1965 with their cover of Bob Dylan's "It Ain't Me, Babe."  they made the Top 30 later that year with the similar-sounding "Let Me Be," written by P.F. Sloan.  Their early 1966 hit, "You Baby," was written by P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri; you may recognize the voice introducing the sync of the band performing on the streets of L.A.  An album cut from the You Baby album, "Outside Chance," was co--written by Warren Zevon.  "Happy Together," rejected by countless performers, became both their biggest hit and their signature song, knocking the Beatles' "Penny Lane" from the No. 1 slot in the Spring of 1967.   The band appeared on the Mike Douglas show to play "Elenore" and the "House on the Hill."  "Elenore," with its unique use of the term et cetera, was a jab at their label for demanding more hits like "Happy Together," but went on to hit the Top ten anyway. For many years after the band dissolved, Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman went by the name Flo & Edde, because their contract barred from using the Turtles name or their own names.  The duo continued to record their own material, but were heard by most adding their trademark harmonies to hits like T. Rex's "Bang A Gong" and Bruce Springsteen's "Hungry Heart."

COLIN MELOY, frontman for The Decemberists, is the guest DJ for the latest installment of All Songs Considered.

FLEET FOXES may boast  '60s folk and antediluvian country influences, but singer-guitarist Robin Pecknold tells The A.V. Club they're not "neo-hippies."  There's a track from the upcoming Ragged Wood album streaming at the link.  The band also did the four free songs thing at Daytrotter.

SHE & HIM:  Zooey Deschanel, actress-turned-indie darling, is profiled in the New York Times.

WEEEZER is streaming a new song, "Pork & Beans," at their webiste.  Very Weezer.

THE FIFTH BEATLE:  Most people forget that brief period when David Lee Roth fronted the Fabs. (slight profanity)

NIGHTMARE OF YOU covers Cheap Trick's "Top of the World" at TheirSpace.  Jangly!

ROGUE WAVE: Zach Rogue talks to DC's Express about dealing with the death of keyboardist Gram LeBron's father, drummer Pat Spurgeon's kidney transplant, his newfound fatherhood, the recruitment of a new bass player, Patrick Abernathy, and the death of former bassist Evan Farrell in a fire.  It also sounds like he might be suffering from eco-anxiety.

RYAN ADAMS sets the record straight on some personal and professional rumors in highlights from his wacky blog excerpted at Stereogum.

THE WORST NO. 1 SONGS OF THE '80'S, according to PopDose, with embedded video.

CUTOUT BIN:  From GbV to JJ Jackson, from Iron & Wine to Sonny & Cher to Sam & Dave, with Queen (and covers) and a hunk o' Cheap Trick, this Friday's fortuitous finds can be jukeboxed or streamed individually on the Pate page at the ol' HM

ASHLEE SIMPSON is still dodging pregnancy rumors, but creepy dad-manager Joe is already trying to sell the baby pictures -- for a million dollars, when the tabloids are thinking more like 60 grand.

NOW SHOWING: This weekend's wide releases include the Jackie Chan-Jet Li flick The Forbidden Kingdom, which is currently scoring 57 percent on the ol' Tomatometer; the Judd Apatow-Jason Siegel comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which is scoring 83 percent, the Al Pacino thriller 88 minutes, scoring 10 percent; and the Ben Stein documentary Expelled, which is scoring 9 percent (albeit on only 11 reviews at the moment).

BRITNEY SPEARS is in negotiations with Bally Total Fitness to be a frontwoman for the company.  Meanwhile, lawyers are collecting a big payday from the travails of the pop wreck.

OPRAH WINFREY may have gone too far in exploiting and distributing the teachings of a questionable New Age writer, as life begins to imitate The Onion.

DEATH & THE CITY:  Did Cynthia Nixon let a spoiler for the Sex & The City movie out of the bag?

OLLIE JOHNSON, the last of the classic Disney animation team known as the Nine Old Men, has died at the age of 95.  Tons of tributes and links at CartoonBrew, including one from Brad Bird -- who put animated versions of Johnson and pal Frank Thomas in both The Iron Giant and The Incredibles.  Anyone who ever enjoyed Pinocchio, Thumper, Peter & the Wolf, Mr. Smee, Pongo and Perdita, Baloo the Bear, the dancing penguins in Mary Poppins (and many more ) owes a childhood debt to Ollie Johnson.

EMMA WATSON, Hermione in the Harry Potter films, turned 18 on Tuesday, which grants her access to the 20 million bucks she's amassed making the wildly popular film series.  She has taken lessons in money management given by Coutts Bank, which also manages the millions of co-star Daniel Radcliffe... and Queen Elizabeth II.

TILDA SWINTON (Michael Clayton, The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe) wants to be left for the birds when she dies - stretched out on a remote Scottish beach.

SPOCKS SPEAK:  Leonard Nimoy and Zachary Quinto talk to TV Guide about the movie (within strict limits) and the Vulcan experience. ALSO: William Shatner says he never realized until after "Star Trek" ended how disliked he was by the rest of the cast.

THE INCREDIBLE HULK:  Ed Norton writes that there is no dispute among him, Marvel and Universal... but refuses an interview with Entertainment Weekly.

IRON MAN director John Favreau takes you on a video set visit at Yahoo! Movies.  Meanwhile, the Onion News Network has a piece on the wildly popular Iron Man trailer.

TERROR in the UK: Muslim activist Abu Izzadeen has been found guilty of inciting acts of terrorism abroad and fundraising for terrorist purposes.  The principal charges against the eight arose from speeches at Regent's Park Mosque on November 9, 2004.  Six of the eight defendants in the case have now been found guilty of supporting terrorism in some form.

THE STANS: Terrorists are still operating freely in Pakistan along the country's Afghanistan border, despite the US giving Pakistan more than 10.5 billion in military and economic aid, according to a government watchdog agency. The Government Accountability Office says in a report released Thursday that the US lacks a comprehensive plan to deal with the terrorist threat.

IRAN:  Pres. Bush and British PM Gordon Brown jointly pledged to step up efforts to thwart Iran's nuclear enrichment program and work with European leaders to increase sanctions on the country during a press conference outside the White House on Thursday. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, thinks the administration is not doing enough: "Within the next two years, there is a real possibility that Iran will have the means to make an atomic bomb. The reason for this awful truth is that they wanted it more than we wanted to stop them."

IRAQ will open at least six major oil and natural-gas fields for exploration and production in the first bidding for licenses since the US-led invasion in 2003. The main Sunni Muslim political bloc has agreed in principle to return to the Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki nearly nine months after quitting the Cabinet. Sadrist leaders asserted they refuse to hand over the-Mahdi Army's weapons to the Iraqi govt or dissolve it except if Shiite top clerics gave directives to do that (which they won't, as they don't see that as their job).  A  prominent govt official has asserted that "any member of the armed forces or security organs who rebels against his government and military authority will be punished."  It turns out to be harder to desert than one Iraqi Army captain thought. Michael J. Totten interviews Marine Capt. Quintin Jones, commanding officer at Outpost Delta in the city of Karmah, on working with the Sunni tribal authorities.


OSCAR the NAKED, DANCING COCKATOO:  Twelve years ago, he was given six months to live after developing a beak and feather disease.  Let's go to the video.  Oscar does a pretty mean Mick Jagger.

HAMSTER KILLS MAN:  Richard Gere unavailable for comment.

A SEVEN-FOOT FISH was landed by an Austrian schoolboy on his first ever fishing trip.  Pic at the link.

A SIX-FOOT GATOR was found in the backseat of a car during a traffic stop near Angleton, TX; video at the link.  William Johnson has previously had a water moccasin snake in his car.

GATOR THEFT FOILED: Surveillance video shows five college teens jumping a fence into a pond full of alligators in an attempt to steal one early Thursday morning from a Daytona Beach Shores mini-golf course.  oddly enough, the teens told police they hadn't thought far enough ahead to decide what they would do with an alligator.

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Alejandro Escovedo, Peter Moren, Born Ruffians, Gin   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, April 17, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


ALEJANDRO ESCOVEDO has reached a deal to sign with Bruce Springsteen's management company, so it's probably no coincidence that he joined the Boss and the E Streeters in Houston for a live take on "Always A Friend," a track from Escovedo's upcoming Real Animal LP.

RICHARD THOMPSON has canceled his April tour dates after he was bitten by a scorpion during a vacation in Mexico.

HERE COMES SUMMER:  The weather is barely springlike where I am, but The A.V. Club has posted an A/V playlist of summery songs.

IS IT BETTER TO BURN OUT THAN TO FADE AWAY?  Peter Lester tackles rock martyrdom at the Guardian music blog.

PETER MOREN (of Peter Bjorn & John) does the four free songs thing for Daytrotter in support of his solo LP.

BORN RUFFIANS are cooking on "I Need A life."  At least until the farm animals arrive.

THE DARK ANGELS are streaming their new album, Directions to See a Ghost, via iMeem.  Kinda doom-and-gloomy; Kevin Penner would like it.

DeVotchKa singer and multi-instrumentalist Nick Urata shuffles is iPod for the "Random Rules" feature at The A.V. Club.

THE RACONTEURS:  Jack White and Brendan Benson talk about adjusting to a new band on Weekend Edition Sunday, streaming via NPR.

SUB POP: The indie juggernaut is throwing itself quite a 20th birthday party.

ROB LOWE: People magazine, which coincidentally has a photo shoot with Lowe's former nanny-turned- sex harrassment plaintiff, quotes her family describing her as caring, cautious and concerned about the actor's two sons.  In contrats, TMZ quotes sources connected to the case as saying the ex-nanny privately told folks there was mutual flirting going on between her and Rob, but she never mentioned sexual harassment.

ASHLEE SIMPSON:  People magazine joins those claiming that Simpson is pregnant and plans to get married next month.  OK! magazine thinks it has spotted a baby bump.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  Crushed by the weight of her marriage to Cruise, Holmes is striking out on her own - and she's determined to take their daughter, Suri, with her to NYC, according the ever reliable Star magazine.

JENNIE GARTH seems to be loading up the truck and moving to Beverly... (Hills that is, swimming pools, 90210 spinoffs.

LINDSAY LOHAN wants to assume a missionary position, according to her ex-con dad. Meanwhile, Li-Lo is dissed by Rupert Grint?  Ouch!


MARILYN MONROE: Defamer has a trio of experts debunking the "sex tape hoax."

GWYNETH PALTROW tells Vogue that she battled post-partum depression after welcoming her second child in 2006.

CAMERON DIAZ has suddenly lost her dad to pneumonia.  He was only 58.

DEBBIE GIBSON has filed for a restraining order against a Spanish man who runs a fan club and has allegedly followed her on concert tours and showed up at her door.

NAOMI CAMPBELL, having been arrested at Heathrow and apparently banned from all British Airways flights, has annouced she is boycotting the airline.  The short-fused supermodel also claims that BA had changed its mind about banning her from its aircraft and was now desperate for her custom.  You can't fire her, she quits!

MARILYN MANSON has almost finished turning his gf Evan Rachel Wood into his ex-wife, Dita Von Teese.

PAKISTAN:  Pakistani security forces killed a senior Taliban commander who became a hero to Islamic militants for his role in shooting down a US helicopter in 2005, killing all 16 special forces troops aboard. A close aide of rebel cleric Mullah Fazlullah has offered to surrender on the condition that security forces and the government grant him amnesty from prosecution.

IRAQ: The NYT's Michael Gordon reports on the desertion of a company of Iraqi soldiers from their outpost in Sadr City, while engaged with the enemy, which is a serious crime.  OTOH, the Iraqi and US military were able to replace unit on short notice, and it appears that Iraqi govt forces are dug in the area.  The Iraqi government is pumping 350 million into Basra, Mosul, and the Al Shula and Sadr City neighborhoods in Baghdad, in an effort to stem violence by producing jobs and reinvigorating social programs.  The aim now is to launch an ambitious plan of 30-day, 60-day, and 90-day public works and services-improvement projects designed to convince the local population that the Iraqi government - and not Sadr's Mahdi Army militia - is best able to improve the quality of life.  MNF-Iraq kicked off the main phase of its first major operation devoted primarily to capacity building - expanding governance, economics and infrastructure - April 15 in communities south of Baghdad in the Baghdad Province.  Iraq's government removed the top military and police commanders in Basra on Wednesday; they were widely respected by US and British military leaders -- which suggests that Prime Minister al-Maliki is scapegoating them for his rush into fighting the Mahdi Army in Basra, which was a PR disaster, though more successful than the early media coverage suggested.

GIN the BORDER COLLIE gots talent.  Even Simon Cowell thinks so.

PAW PAW, Martha Stewart's 60-lb chow, has died of renal failure; he was almost 12.

ORANGUTAN HABITAT is disappearing -- and Girl Scout cookies are to blame.

ROAMING LION found in a Romanian garden.

PYGMY HEDGEHOGS are the hottest pet in the UK.  Awww...some pics at the link.

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David Byrne, New Islands & Wolf Parade, City Cougar   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, April 16, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


DAVID BYRNE covers "You Can Call Me Al" and "I Know What I Know" during Paul Simon's week-long residency at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

AUSTIN CITY LIMITS FEST has announced its lineup, including Foo Fighters, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Beck, John Fogerty, David Byrne, The Raconteurs, Gnarls Barkley, Conor Oberst And The Mystic Valley Band, Erykah Badu, Robert Earl Keen, Patty Griffin, Tegan & Sara, Okkervil River, Sharon Jones And The Dap Kings, Hot Chip, Vampire Weekend, Duffy, Alejandro Escovedo, Roky Erikson and many, many more...

ISLANDS have leaked two tracks from their upcoming Arm's Way album, "The Arm" and "Creeper."  Word is that another track, "In The Rushes," icorporates the band's take on The Who's "A Quick One (While He's Away)."  BONUS:  Islands has also been known to tackle The Kinks' "Waterloo Sunset."

THE SPRING PREVIEW at Rolling Stone is comprehensively comprehensive, with streaming audio clips. 65 screens.

SPOON frontman Britt Daniel chatted with Pitchfork about a Spoon-related internet rumor, "Arrested Development", Har Mar Superstar vs. the White Stripes, Feist's "My Moon My Man", and why Merge's Mac McCaughan should run for office.

COLIN MELOY opens an in-store gig at Jackpot Records with "We Both Go Down Together."

THE BLAKES, known for their whiskey-tinged guitar riffs, jangly rhythms, and power-pop vocal harmonies, have drummer Bob Husak answer PopMatters' 20 Questions, which also brings you the A/V links.

OKKERVIL RIVER frontman Will Scheff talks to Scoop about pre-modern folk being pomo, as well as the free live covers EP, Golden Opportunities.

WOLF PARADE keyboardist Spence Krug tells Billboard that the upcoming album, tentatively titled Kissing the Beehive, is built with more deliberate approach, evolving out of jams.  The advance track is "Call It A Ritual."

RICK ASTLEY is giving away a gold record from the Netherlands in a contest.  He didn't say he'd never give that up.

ROB LOWE repeatedly exposed himself and inappropriately touched himself and his former nanny, she claims in a lawsuit filed Monday in a Santa Barbara, CA court.  TMZ has video, as does The Today Show, though you have to scroll down to find it.

ASHLEE SIMPSON dodged directly answering the latest pregnancy rumors on MTV's TRL.

BRITNEY SPEARS is threatening to release her video diaries, which chronicle her problems over the past six months.  -  The pop wreck is reportedly planning to release them online - or on MTV.

KATE HUDSON wants to date like a teenager, but realizes that motherhood comes first.  A role model for Jamie Lynn Spears.

HEATHER MILLS was not liked by the Miss USA pageant producers any more than the audience that booed her.

BEYONCE KNOWLES is rumored to be making her final album.  Supposedly, Beyonce plans to spend her days scouting talent for new hubby Jay-Z's upcoming label, The Carter Music Group.

ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT stars Jason Bateman, Will Arnett and Henry Winkler reuinte as voices in AD creator Mitch Hurwitz's new animated Fox comedy "Sit Down, Shut Up."

JASON BEGHE, featured in numerous TV dramas such as "Criminal Minds," "Numb3rs" and "CSI" was a top Scientologist, or "OT 5" - similar to Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Kirstie Alley - but he is now calling Scientology "very, very dangerous for your spiritual, psychological, mental, emotional health.."  Profanity warning.

BRIGITTE BARDOT, the revolutionary sex kitten of 1960s French cinema, went on trial in FranceTuesday, charged with "inciting racial hatred," and in view of her four previous convictions on similar charges, prosecutors sought exceptionally stiff penalties of 22K and a two month suspended sentence.  The current charge against Bardot was lodged by the Movement Against Racism and for Friendship between Peoples , citing a letter Bardot wrote to French officials in 2004 to protest the ritual slaughter of sheep during the Muslim festival of Eid-al-Kabir.

TERROR in the UK: The man accused of plotting to lead a wave of suicide bomb attacks on transatlantic airliners wanted to tell the world he was acting on the wishes of Osama bin Laden, a court heard yesterday.  The Times of London has the full story and clips from a  "martyrdom video" recorded by Abdullah Ahmed Ali was played in full to the jury at Woolwich Crown Court which is trying him and seven other men on charges of plotting to commit mass murder.

IRAN:  The Financial Times details how Iranians are circumventing US and UN sanctions imposed following the regime's refusal to stop enriching uranium.  Local authorities have destroyed seven ancient synagogues in Tehran.

IRAQ: Differences have emerged between the US and Iraq on how to deal with Shiite militant Muqtada al-Sadr, with the Americans appearing more willing than the Shiite-led government to concede a legitimate political role to the anti-US cleric.  Three weeks after Iraqi troops swarmed into the southern city  to take on armed militiamen who had overrun the streets, many Basra residents say they feel safer and that their lives have improved.  The security situation in Iraq's western Anbar province is now so stable that the US Marines regiment in charge of the area is reducing from five battalions to three.

A COUGAR was gunned down following a police chase in Chicago's Roscoe Village neighborhood.  The local news goes right for criticism from the Chicago Humane Society, though experts said a tranquilizer shot could have made the wildcat more dangerous.  The director of Cook County Animal Care said Tuesday the animal may have come south from Wisconsin in search of food or a mate.  Cougars sometimes seek a mate, though they often are just looking for a good time.

CROC ATTACK VICTIM "very grateful" he was shot by his friend.

PET WHISPERER:  Nope, not that one again, this one -- who uses a psychic connection with anim­als to perform anc­ient reiki healing techniques on injured animals.

CALLIE the LABRADOR:  Is she an impostor, or did she undergo a personality change at the kennel?

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New Releases, Candie Payne, Kaki King, Cow Tai Chi   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


GEORGE HARRISON & ERIC CLAPTON: "Taxman" in Tokyo.  Obvs.

NEW RELEASES: Albums from The Kooks, Laura Cantrell, Cloud Cult, Phantom Planet, M83, Brian Scary, The Duke Spirit and more are streaming in full this week via Spinner.  Black Francis has a new mini-LP and only Svn Fngrs.

CANDIE PAYNE is among the British lady singers in a fashion spread for Paper Magazine.  Frank Yang and I share a moment of blog love for Payne at Chromewaves, which will hook you up with the A/V linkage.  Frank notes that the fab Duffy is left out, but she's talking to icWales and the Sydney Morning Herald.

AMERICAN MUSIC CLUB frontman Mark Eitzel talks about the new album and new bandmates with Prefix.

NEW PORNOGRAPHERS frontman AC Newman tells Billboard the next album will be more "rock" and that he's also writing solo material; "On my own records, I'm kind of left to my own devices. That can be both good and bad."  He also talks to Columbus Alive about starting in on new stuff right after the band finishes this tour: "Things change when it becomes your job. There's a lot more to lose now."

RICK ASTLEY:  The Times of London reports that the RickRolling phenomenon continues to spread, most recently hitting London's Liverpool St. station and -- an ocean away -- Mets Stadium.  Astley talks to the Times about the phenom: "Rick Astley brand? I'm not really aware that there is one. I know I'm on YouTube a lot, but that wave will die down and then there will be a headless chicken or something else. It's just the way life is."

KAKI KING played the Abbey Bar for WXPN in Harrisburg, PA, so you can stream the gig on demand via NPR.  She was also profiled by USA Today.

PITCHFORK: London's Guardian revisits the "Pitchfork Effect" of a good or bad review from the influential indie music site: "Wikipedia notes that for Australian band Jet's second album, Shine On, 'Pitchfork Media posted a totally anomalous review containing only a video clip of a chimpanzee urinating in its own mouth.'"  Bon Iver (Justin Vernon) talks to the Times of London about personally feeling the Effect: "That day was insane. It tipped things over the edge. My manager was taking calls in the shower. I'd go for a p*ss and come back to 50 e-mails in my inbox."  The Chicago Tribune watches Pitchfork.tv as part of a new wave of online video that, instead of the catchall model of YouTube, aims for a niche.

BILLY BRAGG talks to the NYDN about whether his new LP shows signs he has mellowed: "I'm 50 now. You have to change. Otherwise, it would be like me always walking around in skateboard clothes. It doesn't go very well with the gray sideburns..."

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE!  Just when you thought we were done with all that comes word that the supposedly sober supermodel is sending video messages to the troubled singer in Wormwood Scrubs prison.  Doherty is receiving five-star treatment despite prison overcrowding, angering other lags.

MARILYN MONROE: An illicit copy of a steamy, still-FBI-classified movie reel - 15 minutes of 16mm film footage in which the original blond bombshell performs a lewinsky on an unidentified man - was just sold to a New York businessman for 1.5 million dollars.

ASHLEE SIMPSON is pregnant, according to US and OK! magazines.  Fiancee Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy denied the rumors, telling MTV: "There is a witch hunt for people to be pregnant whenever they get engaged in Hollywood."  Ashlee and pneumatic sister Jessica were not talking to the press.

WANTED, DEAD OR ALIVE:  Police have recommended to prosecutors that Richie Sambora be charged with DUI and child endangerment - both as misdemeanors - stemming from his March 25 arrest, says a source close to the case.  Sorces tell TMZ, however, that "a significant number of officers" inside the department feel there's no evidence of child endangerment. There was no smell of alcohol on his breath, and no evidence of dangerous or erratic driving.

GERARD BUTLER (300) vehemently denies that he and Cameron Diaz are hooking up.

HAYDEN PANETIERRE has confessed becoming a star as the Heroes cheerleader has turned her into a virtual recluse.

MEGAN FOX will be topless and have a catfight in her underwear in the upcoming Jennifer's Body.  Bitten & Bound reminds us that Fox is aptly named.  Call it Gratuitous Tuesday.

VANITIES GIRLS:  Vanity Fair has a slideshow of the up-and-coming actresses' 50s-style pinup shots the mag has run since 2006, including Kristen Bell in the May issue. Call it Gratuitous Twofer Tuesday.

THE STANS: Al Qaeda and the Taliban on the Afghan-Pakistani border are increasingly facing pressure on two fronts and they can be squeezed with more coordination between the neighbors, US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher told a news conference in Kabul. on Monday.

IRAN:  The nation's most senior dissident cleric has lashed out at the country's ruling Islamic establishment, accusing it of imposing dictatorship and violating the rights of its people in the name of Islam.  A top Iranian official on Sunday abruptly canceled a meeting with the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, dealing a blow to the UN monitor's efforts to investigate allegations that Iran tried to make nuclear arms, an agency official said.  The US and Iran have been conducting secret back-channel discussions on Tehran's nuclear program and frozen relations between the two countries for the past five years, The Independent reported Monday.  However, the US State Dept was equally emphatic that the talks described in the article were "not a government activity," but instead "a set of private discussions."

IRAQ: US and Iraqi forces plan to stay put in a southern sector of Baghdad's Sadr City where they are battling militiamen rather than push deeper into the Shiite bastion, a top US general said on Monday.  "My aim is to push the 107-mm rockets out of range," Gen. Jeffrey Hammond told a group of journalists.  However, the Iraqi govt has committed to wresting Sadr City from the control of Shia militias, an Iraqi government spokesman and a US military spokesman said in a press briefing Sunday in Baghdad.  Humanitarian and reconstruction aid to Sadr City and other Shia neighborhoods have been committed in the wake of operations. Refugees International claims in a new report that the Iraqi govt's inability to provide basic services for its displaced citizens has attracted the attention of Sunni and Shiite militias, who are stepping in to provide food, oil, electricity, clothing and money. Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr is demanding the Iraqi govt reinstate all security forces fired for deserting during fighting in Basra.  A chief of a renegade group of Mahdi army militia reiterated on Monday their rejection to handing heavy weapons over to government forces, noting his movement arms would be "stashed to fight the occupier."

COWS stare unamazed as dairy farmer Rob Taverner performs Tai Chi in front of them every morning to get them in the right moo-d to produce lots of milk.

NEWBORN BROWN BEAR CUBS seen in Stockholm.  Awww...

GOOSEANDER CHICK climbs on its mom's back when it tires of swimming.  Awww...

MILLIPEDE INVASION causes three villages in north-west Scotland to impose a wartime-style "blackout."

MONKEY CHEWED COFFEE:  De-Lish!  Story and video at the link.

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