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Stephen Malkmus, Caribou, Raveonettes, Elephant painter   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, March 31, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


WHY? has a video of "Song of the Sad Assassin" (from the Alopecia album) that looks a bit like Beavis and Butthead on a very, very bad trip.  So it was not shocking to learn that animator Mike L Mayfield has worked on King of the Hill and American Dad.

STEPHEN MALKMUS & THE JICKS played DC's 9:30 Club Friday night, so you can stream the gig on demand via NPR.

BLACK MOUNTAIN bassist Matt Camirand talks to the Vancouver Sun about "prefer(ring) the sound and equipment that bands used in the late '60s and '70s, compared to stuff that's coming out now."

IDOLATOR asks a related question -- "Why Buy Digitally Recorded Albums On Vinyl?"  At Matador Records, Partrick suggests the answer is that there is something pleasurable about the entire package that you cannot get from a download.  He also has some interesting backstory about why Tower Records went under.

CARIBOU played DC's Rock and Roll Hotel last night, so you should be able to stream the gig on demand today via NPR.  Mastermind Dan Snaith answers six questions for the Washington Post -- including, "What's a guy with a PhD in mathematics - who studied algebraic number theory - doing in a field like this?"

PHOSPHORESCENT uses an odd winter gathering to frame "A Picture Of Our Torn Up Praise."

RAY DAVIES plays mostly songs that have inspired him over the years as Guest DJ for NPR's All Songs Considered.

GUNS N' ROSES, after going years without management, will now be represented by Irving Azoff and Andy Gould, the management team that has most recently handled Guns spinoff project Velvet Revolver.  So we may be getting those cans of Dr. Pepper after all.

THE RAVEONETTES played the World Cafe Friday afternoon, so you can stream the gig now via NPR.

X frontwoman Exene Cervenka talks to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer about the age barrier in rock and band's landmark "13-31 Tour," a 31st anniversary trek featuring original members Cervenka, John Doe, Billy Zoom and D.J. Bonebrake.

THE MEKONS stopped by The Current for a chat and mini-set you can stream via MPR.

BRADGELINA was the subject of a new round of marriage rumors, this time coming out of N'awlins.  But it appears that the ever-reliable Star has some egg on its face.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: 21 hit a surpise jackpot of 23.7 million and the highest per-screen average of the weekend.  Horton Hears a Who drops to second with 17.4 million, but that's a mere 29 percent drop from a long Easter weekend and it has made 117.3 million to date.  Superhero Movie made 9.5 million -- about half of what the original Scary Movie made in 2000.  Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns skidded 61 percent to fourth place with 7.7 million.  Fifth goes to Drillbit Taylor, which looks to be Judd Apatow's second flop.

STOP-LOSS debuted in eighth place at the box office with 4.5 million, which makes it quite unlikely it will recoup its 25 million budget.  People at the studios -- in this case Paramount -- attribute this to people not being ready to deal with the Iraq war, as opposed to concluding that people do not want to see a movie where the US military is painted as the villain.  Again.  There has been quite a good market for movies where the US government is the heavy, pushing current hot-button issues -- the Bourne franchise being an obvious example.  There just doesn't seem to be a market for movies wherer the military or the troops are put in a bad light.

BRITNEY SPEARS is having regular colon cleansing sessions at a clinic in Beverly Hills.TOM-KAT UPDATE:  Cruise and Paramount mogul Sumner Redstone are settling their differences and getting ready to work together again.  Katie Holmes is in final negotiations to make her professional stage debut on Broadway.

GEORGE CLOONEY galpal Sarah Larson's modeling career consisted mostly of being paid by promoters for clubs, magazines and radio stations to attend special events in sexy outfits and party with her wild girlfriends.  The ever-reliable Star magazine links to the risque pictures.

HEATH LEDGER may have fathered a secret love child with an older woman when he was 17-years-old, according to a news report in Australia.

MADONNA wants to remake Casablanca - and this time set it in Iraq. It's sure to be as big a hit as any of her recent movies.

THE FRENCH HOTEL thinks her "hard work" has been "an inspiration for a lot of girls out there."  Not even OK! magazine is buying that.

JENNIFER ANISTON  was looking cozy with Orlando Bloom at newly opened restaurant Beso in Los Angeles.

SWIMSUIT SPECTACULAR:  Moviefone has galleries of the hottest women and men ever to sport swimsuits in movies, as seected by over 12 million voters.  Call it Gratuitous Monday.

GO, SPEED, GO!  Entertainment Weekly has exclusive new pics to go with the magazine's cover story on the Wachowskis' big-screen reimagining of Speed Racer.

DITH PRAN, the photojournalist whose nightmarish experiences in Cambodia were the basis for the film The Killing Fields, has passed away in New Jersey.

AL QAEDA is training operatives who "look Western", with a view to having them enter the United States undetected to conduct terrorist attacks, according to CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden.

IRAQ:  In a possible turning point in the recent upsurge in violence, Muqtada al-Sadr ordered his Shiite militiamen off the streets Sunday but called on the government to stop its raids against his followers.  The government welcomed the move, which followed intense negotiations by Shiite officials, including two lawmakers who reportedly traveled to Iran to ask religious authorities there to intervene.  The Iraqi government is due to lift a curfew in Baghdad.  Fighting continued in the Basra area after the announcement,so Michael Yon may yet prove correct in believing it's likely to get worse before it's better.  Though reports had the Iraqi initiative stalling against Shia militia in Basra, the Mahdi Army has taken high casualties.  The renewed fighting between Shiite militias and US and Iraqi troops has forced a temporary re-evaluation of strategy in Diyala province, leading to a pause in some operations targeting al-Qaida in Iraq.  The NYT has an assessment of the internal politics of the fighting.

ELEPHANTS have been trained to paint their self-portraits.

A 6-FT, 200-LB BEAR has been perched high above a Central Florida neighborhood for hours Friday after it was chased up a tree by two 6-month-old kittens.

...AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT:  A two-headed calf, born in Van Alstyne, TX.  Video at the link.

OODLES OF POODLES:  A Chilliwack standard poodle has whelped a record brood: 16 puppies.  Pic at the link.

THE WORLD CAT CONGRESS is now in session in Houston, TX.  Could actually get less done than US Congress, United Nations.

3315 Reads

Zombies, Replacements, Andrew Bird, Cutout Bin, Liger   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, March 28, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



... with THE ZOMBIES!  The original lineup is touring behind their 1968 album Odessey & Oracle, for the first time ever, but are playing the hits, too.  They kicked it off at the Shepherd's Bush Empire earlier this month, with selections including  "She's Not There," "Say You Don't Mind" (which may give you problems, depending on your (IE) browser), "Maybe After He's Gone," "Brief Candles"Hung Up on a Dream," "Changes," "Butcher's Tale (Western Front 1914)" a fab take on "Time of the Season,"  Brian Wilson fans will note Darian Sahanaja sitting in on 2nd keyboards.

THE REPLACEMENTS' deluxe reissues of Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the TrashStink, Hootenanny, and Let It Be are coming next month.  Rhino is now streaming a selection of 'Mats songs in Real AudioWindows Media and glorious Quicktime.  Your playlist -- "I Will Dare," "Take Me Down to the Hospital,""Kick Your Door Down," "Dope Smokin' Moron," "Hootenanny," "Johnny's Gonna Die," "Sixteen Blue," "Kids Don't Follow," "Within Your Reach," "Unsatisfied," "Shiftless When Idle" and "Stuck in the Middle."  You will have to det the discs to hear that unreleased take on the DiFranco Family's "Heartbeat, It's a Lovebeat."

GUNS N' ROSES:  Dr Pepper says it will give a free can of Dr Pepper to "everyone in America" (excluding ex-GNR members Slash and Buckethead) if the lost "Chinese Democracy" album arrives anytime during the calendar year 2008.  Axl Rose is surprised by the announcement, but says he will share his can with Buckethead.

THE ROLLING STONES:  Martin Scorsese talks to the Orlando Sentinel about the band's influence on his filmmaking, as well as his Stones concert documentary, Shine A Light.  You can stream the doc's soundtrack via iMeem.

ANDREW BIRD is blogging about songwriting for the New York Times, along with Roseanne Cash and Suzanne Vega.

THE B-52s:  Fred Schneider talks to Canada's Sun about the 16-year-gap in making the band's new album, Funplex, and its surprising emphasis on sex.  The band has a new clip for the title track; you can still stream the album over the weekend via Spinner.  BONUS:  The B-52's perform "Rock Lobster" at the Downtown Cafe in Atlanta, Georgia in 1978, about a month before the release of their first album.

SHEARWATER frontman Jonathan Meiburg talks to Pitchfork about ornithology and the band's upcoming album, Rook.  There is also an advance track, "Rooks."

XIU XIU explain to Pitchfork why bluegrass is the original goth music, how to con your grandmother into buying you a guitar, and where to buy that rare album when you're on the West Coast.

JASON COLLETT:  The Broken Social Scenster talks to Canada's Sun about his latest solo LP, sincerity vs. irony, and more...

CUTOUT BIN: From Genesis to Emma Franklin, from The Sonics to Vera Lynn, from Ben Folds to Jimi Hendrix, from the Jesus & Mary Chain to Petula Clark to She & Him covering The Beatles and The Lemonheads covering Suzanne Vega, this Good Friday's fortuitous finds overfloweth, and can be jukeboxed or streamed individually on the Pate page at the ol' HM.

MILES FISHER does an excellent spoof of the Tom Cruise scientology videos in Superhero Movie.  Fortunately, I can watch it on the Internet and avoid the rest of the flick.

NOW SHOWING:  This weekend's wide releases include the Superhero Movie parody which has been embargoed or not screened for critics; the card-counting drama 21, which is currently scoring 41 percent on the ol' Tomatometer; the Iraq war drama Stop-Loss, which is scoring 56 percent; and Run, Fat Boy, Run, which is scoring 46 percent.

KATE BOSWORTH & JIM STURGESS got so blotto on Grey Goose that they do not remember much of their love scene for 21.

LINDSAY LOHAN, star of Mean Girls, has now signed on to to star as Nancy Pittman, once a loyal member of Charles Manson's not-so-merry band, in the movie Manson Girls.

JESSICA LANGE, through her rep, denies that she has had plastic surgery, but a picture is worth a thousand words.

BRADGELINA's next baby pics may sell for as high as ten million dollars.  One magazine editor who asked to remain anonymous said, "It's at the point now where some stars might decide to have more kids just to collect the money from their photos."

KIRSTEN DUNST has been calling friends -- including her ex-bf and co-star Tobey Maguire -- to make amends, which happens to be step nine of most 12-step programs.

JOHN HUGHES -- the writer-director behind teen comedies liek "Sixteen Candles," "Pretty in Pink," "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and "The Breakfast Club" -- hasn't set foot in Hollywood for years, but his influence has never been more potent, according to the L.A. Times.

GORE, KEANU BARADA NIKTO!  Keanu Reeves stars as Klaatu in the upcoming remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still, in which the threat to Earth is not nuclear war, but environmental calamity.

WHEN THE WHIP COMES DOWN:  The twenty-five most emasculated, disempowered, henpecked husbands on the planet, according to GQ magazine.

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA:  The ladies of BG go all Barbarella for a piece in the April issue of GQ magazine.

THE STANS:  The US has escalated its unilateral strikes against al-Qaeda members and fighters operating in Pakistan's tribal areas, partly because of anxieties that Pakistan's new leaders may insist on scaling back military operations.  OTOH, the return of millions of refugees is seen as one of the great success stories of post-Taliban Afghanistan. More accurate than any poll, aid workers like to say, this flow of people is tangible evidence that Afghans themselves think their country is improving.  Meanwhile, members of the Taliban dream of retaking huge chunks of Pakistan as part of Afghanistan under their rule, which seems as likely as the proposed Islamic State of Iraq that never came into being.

IRAQ:  The New York Times and the Times of London both report that the Iraqi government's offensive against Shia militia gunmen is faltering.  However, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki pledged there will be "no retreat" and Muqtada al-Sadr wants a "political solution" to the crisis.  At the Counterterrorism Blog, Andrew Cochran calls it a "budding disaster," though that may be a bit premature.  It does appear that the Iraqi Army was not prepared to fight in Basra's narrow streets with its current vehicles, and PM al-Maliki is now reaping what was sown with Mahdi Army infiltration of Iraqi police forces.  However, even the typically pessimistic Anthony Cordesman notes that Basra is a special case.  Abu Muqawama elaborates, noting that the Brits adopted a "peacekeeping" mindset in Basra and never really engaged in a broader COIN or CT effort.  That meant that all the myriad Shia groups were able to pursue their (relatively) non-violent political agenda and consolidate control over the political levers of city.  At CNN, Michael Ware points out that Iran has squeezed al-Sadr to keep breakaway factions of the Mahdi Army fighting US and Iraqi forces.  Maj. John Tammes, who has always been a straight shooter with me, is close to some of the action and comments that "this was brought on, in part, by the fed up residents of Basrah who want an end to the militia crap - kidnappings, violence, etc. Since the IA and the Coalition are pushing AQI further up North and out, the Iraqis figure it is better to confront the problem now, rather than wait for it to get worse..."

SINBAD the LIGER:  Scientists are still trying to figure out how these hybrid cats dwarf their parents in size.  Let's go to the video.

HAWK DOGNAPS A PUPPY from doggie day-care.  Video at the link.

NEWTS take over a £1m home in Dauntsey, Wiltshire, by adverse possession.

A TORTOISE that smokes and appears to be addicted to nicotine has been discovered in China's northeastern province of Jilin.

WOMBAT falsely accused of raping a man and causing him to adopt an Australian accent.  Really.

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Spinto Band, She & Him, Sons & Daughters, Petra update   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, March 27, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


THE SPINTO BAND is poppy as ever on "Summer Grof," an advance clip from the forthcoming Spinto Band release, Moonwink.

THE RACONTEURS' Brendan Benson talks to Newsweek about the surprise release of the band's new album, his iPod Nano commercial commercial, and more...

SHE & HIM fill out a questionnaire for Canada's Exclaim!  What are your current fixations? She: Bobbie Gentry, Marvin Gaye, pumpkin seeds. Him: The Louvin Brothers.  You can stream their album in full via Merge.

GARY LOURIS:  The ex-Jayhawk tells The Phoenix his goal as a solo artist is "to make more records more often. I have a lot of material, and I'm just trying to figure out the musical waters here."

SONS & DAUGHTERS, known for dark folk-punk, have brought in strains of '60s pop and garage rock for their new album, influenced by producer and ex-Suede guitarist Bernard Butler (who is also mentoring Duffy).  You can stream a bunch of tracks via S&DSpace.

THE ROLLING STONES perform "Ruby Tuesday" on a show whose copyright holder is usually more vigilant.

JULIANA HATFIELD is blogging about her guilt, shame, and embarrassment at being part of a system that exploits women/people and their art -- and taking a blowtorch to MTV's The Hills (and herself for watching it).

BELL X1 stopped by The Current for a chat and mini-set you can stream on demand via MPR.

THE CURRENT has shrun its playlist as its ratings have delined, according to the Mpls City Pages.

TUPAC SHAKUR:  The L.A. Times will launch an internal investigation into the authenticity of documents used in a story last week asserting that the newspaper had uncovered new evidence implicating associates of rap impresario Sean "Diddy" Combs in a bloody 1994 assault on the hip-hop superstar, after the celebrity-centric website, The Smoking Gun, posted a story saying the records -- purportedly statements by an unnamed informant to an FBI agent, which the newspaper posted on its website -- appeared to be forgeries.

RICHIE SAMBORA is off the wagon and arrested for DUI in Laguna Beach.  The Bon Jovi axeman may be criminally charged with child endangerment because his 10-year-old daughter Ava and another juvenile in the car (along with another adult).

ROBIN WILLIAMS and Marsha Garces Williams, married in April 1989, are splitting up.  Williams had dumped his first wife for Garces, who had worked for Williams as a nanny and personal assistant.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  Katie Holmes is finally cracking under the strain of life with Tom Cruise, according to the ever-reliable Star magazine, which tells of increasingly common fainting spells.

BRITNEY SPEARS seems to be reporting to work, making regular visits with her sons and focused on taking her life back.  So perhaps it's no coincidence that the paparazzi are moving on, perhaps to Miley Cyrus.

RICHARD WIDMARK, who made a sensational film debut as the giggling killer in "Kiss of Death" and appeared in some 40 films, including "Judgment at Nuremberg," "How the West Was Won," and  "Murder on the Orient Express," died after a long illness. He was 93.

KATE MOSS reportedly is set to wed her rocker boyfriend Jamie Hince.  The supermodel reportedly told fans the pair were going to 'get married' as they enjoyed a trip to Amsterdam.

THE McCARTNEYS:  Heather Mills is trying to prove Sir Paul is worth much more than the £400million he claimed in their divorce battle.  Mills also has told friends she cannot look after their daughter Beatrice on £35,000 a year, the sum awarded at the High Court.

ISLAMISM in the UK:  A new study suggests as many as 4000 Muslim teens and young adults simply vanish every year -- forced into arranged marriages by family members through abduction, rape, and threat of death.

IRAQ:  Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki gave gunmen in the southern oil port of Basra three days to surrender their weapons and renounce violence as clashes between security forces and Shiite militia fighters erupted for a second day.  Moqtada al-Sadr has demanded that the country's prime minister leave Basra.  Bill Roggio notes that the current Iraqi offensive has been anticipated for some time. The Iraqi Army and police have been massing forces in the South since August 2007, when the Basra Operational Command was established to coordinate efforts in the region. As of December the Iraqi Army deployed four brigades and an Iraqi Special Operations Forces battalion in Basra province. The Iraqi National Police deployed two additional battalions to the province.  Armed clashes have resumed in Sadr City, stronghold of the Sadrist movement in Baghdad, between Iraqi and US forces on one side and militants on the other, while US helicopters shelled the city of Tikrit.  NPR has started a series on the Major Crimes Task Force -- Iraq's first professional investigative agency, which takes on the politically explosive cases no one else will touch.

PANDA SEXERCISE:  Zoo keepers at the Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Centre in the Sichuan province, South West China, are putting their charges through a rigorous exercise scheme - mainly involving apples - with the aim of improving their mating skills.  Let's go to the video.

PETRA UPDATE:  The black swan who once fell in love with a swan-shaped paddleboat has been dumped by her beau, and is reuiniting with the boat on Friday.

FISH may be able to count, but scientists are testing a plan to train fish to catch themselves by swimming into a net when they hear a tone that signals feeding time.

SNAKE in a KITCHEN:  A Belfast woman got more than she bargained for when she reached for a bin bag under her kitchen sink.  Karen Kennedy and her fiance both thought the other was playing a practical joke.

THE SQUIRREL THREAT:  These sneaky, militant rodents socially-network better than Kevin Bacon.

3756 Reads

British Sea Power, The Heavy, The second coming of Rick Astley, Knut   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, March 26, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


THE RACONTEURS drop the video for "Salute Your Solution" from the surprise sophomore LP, Consolers of the Lonely. (Profanity.)

BRITISH SEA POWER stopped by The Current for a chat and mini-set you can stream via MPR.

COLIN MELOY: The Decemberists' frontman talks to PopMatters about cover songs and his two new releases -- Colin Meloy Sings Sam Cooke and Colin Meloy Sings Live!

THE HEAVY is a late addition to the albums streaming in full from Spinner this week.  I Like what I have heard from them so far.

BILLY BRAGG has started a conversation about whether social-networking sites ought to consider paying some kind of royalties to the musicians who provide the music that helps drive traffic and user acquisition.  Coolfer links Bragg's NYT op-ed and reax.

RICK ASTLEY:  The normally reclusive 90s popster talks to the Manchester Evening News about why he is finally doing a UK nolstalgia tour.  He also talks to the L.A. Times (w/embedded audio clips) about the second coming of  "Never Gonna Give You Up" as Internet prank, basketball game stunt, and unofficial theme of anti-Scientology protesters.  Astley's favorite is the tribute on Family Guy, complete with the Back to the Future II allusion.

DEMI MOORE tells Letterman her extremely alternative beauty therapy -- First, shave your body. Then immerse yourself in turpentine. And when the stinging stops, allow leeches to feast on your blood.

THE FRENCH HOTEL says she loves South Africa... and West Africa!  "They are both great countries."

RENEE ZELLEWEGER may want to cut down on the "facial sandblasting" she favors before a movie premiere, as she's now quite shiny.

JAMIE LYNN SPEARS -- Britney's 16-year-old knocked up sister -- is sporting some sparkling new jewelry - an engagement ring from fiancé Casey Aldridge.

BRITNEY SPEARS, btw, gave the CBS sitcom "How I Met Your Mother" its highest viewership of the season on Monday, and assures the modest performer will be renewed for a fourth season in the fall.  Critics were relatively impressed with the pop wreck's cameo.

OUR FRIENDS, THE SAUDIS have decided against building a Catholic church in the kingdom.

IRAQ:  The Bush administration hailed an Iraqi offensive against Shiite militiamen in the southern city of Basra as a "bold decision'' that shows the country's security forces are capable of combating terrorists: "This is one of the first times that they've had such an entrenched battle and we'll be there to support them if they need it.''  The burgeoning crisis - part of an intense power struggle among Shiite political factions - has major implications for the United States.  Gen. Petraeus has little use for recent claims in the British press that the "surge" is on the verge of collapse in parts of Iraq, writing that the story, as reported in the Guardian were "based on dated info."  In addition, he said that reports that the Iraqi government is refusing to employ Sunnis are incorrect."  The US military says it is taking steps to alleviate conditions at the Fallujah city jail after a recent report from blogger Michael J. Totten found a filthy, overcrowded facility.  Iraq has emerged as a more stable country than Afghanistan, thanks to lower violence, the presence of a large US-led international force and high oil prices, according to a report published on Tuesday by the British-based Jane's Information Group.

KNUT the polar bear has turned from a cuddly cub into a publicity-addicted psycho, one of his keepers claimed yesterday.  And how is this different from Britney Spears?

LOLCATS: I can haz endorsement dealz?

STOWAWAY RATTLESNAKE attacks a high school rowing coach at Yorktown High School in Arlington, VA.  I'm sure the kids have no idea how that got there...

AMY takes the crown of World's Largest Rabbit by a wide margin.  Pics at the link.

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Black Kids, New Releases, Ohio Players, Walkmen, Gopher hunt   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, March 25, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


THE BLACK KIDS bring the powdered wigs and the cheerleaders for "I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend," which falls somewhere between The Go! Team and The Cure.

NEW RELEASES:  Albums from Gnarls Barkley, De Novo Dahl, the B-52s, reissues from The Lemonheads and the JAMC, plus more are streaming from Spinner this week.  Elf Power releases their new album, In A Cave.  The surrpise LP from The Raconteurs still sprung a couple of leaks, like "Salute Your Solution" and "Top Yourself."

R.E.M. has started advance streaming the Accelerate LP via iLike.  Michael Stipe talks to Pitchfork about the recording of the album and their cool supporting bands on tour.  Stipe is joined by Peter Buck and Mike Mills for an interview on NPR's Morning Edition.

OF MONTREAL frontman Kevin Barnes gives Paste magazine a progress report on the band's next album, including the title, Skeletal Lamping.

THE REAL FIFTH BEATLE:  Neil Aspinall, who left an accounting job to become the Beatles' road manager when the group was still a local dance band and who went on to manage the band's production and management company, Apple, died Sunday night in Manhattan. He was 66 and lived in Twickenham, England.

THE OHIO PLAYERS perform "Love Rollercoaster" and "Fire" on the Midnight Special for an especially funky Twofer Tuesday.

RYAN ADAMS has started a blog, with video, wackiness and the occasional news about his current recording sessions.

THE WALKMEN did four free Leonard Cohen covers for Daytrotter.  Says Hamilton Leithauser: "It was -20 degrees the day we did these songs in the Quad Cities. We decided to do Leonard Cohen songs rather than our own...honestly I don't know why but it sounded fun to all of us..."

JENS LEKMAN has delightful stories for the SFBG Music Blog, including someone at US Customs checking him on Wikipedia.

BE YOUR OWN PET:  Three tunes from the Get Awkward album were removed from the US version at the last minute, having been deemed too violent by Universal Records.

BRITNEY SPEARS made her much-hyped cameo on CBS's How I Met Your Mother.  Clips at the link, but I wouldn't be haning 'round the phone for that Emmy nomination.  Meanwhile, a California court denied an attorney's bid to challenge an order that gave control of the pop wreck's personal and business affairs to her father, Jamie Spears.

PRISCILLA PRESLEY had her face injected with industrial, low-grade silicone similar to what's used to lubricate auto parts in Argentina.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE made two separate donations of 100K each to his hometown's Memphis Rock 'N' Soul Museum and the Memphis Music Foundation on Thursday.

DENISE & CHARLIE:  Denise Richards is working on erasing Charlie Sheen from her life.  On Friday, Richards formally requested a family court to legally restore her maiden name from "Denise Sheen." Over the weekend, she also visited a tattoo parlor where she had her "Charlie" tattoo changed into a fairy.

RYAN SEACREST:  Don't bother accusing him of ambitiousness, megalomania or delusions of grandeur. Don't charge him with furtively plotting to become the next Dick Clark, either. Seacrest is plotting, all right, but there's nothing furtive about it.

PAM ANDERSON & RICK SALOMON have had their marriage anulled on the grounds of fraud on Monday.

OWEN WILSON & KATE HUDSON spent Easter weekend together in Miami - and this time, the on-again duo were joined by Hudson's son, Ryder, for a holiday bike ride.

LINDSAY LOHAN's grandmother drove into a tree.  Can you blame her?

THE DARK KNIGHT:  Maggie Gyllenhaal talks to Superhero Hype about replacing Katie Holmes in the upcoming sequel: "I'm Rachel Dawes now. I mean, how many Batmen have there been? Lots of them!"

TINTIN:  Georges Remi's comic books are headed to the big screen in a performance-capture-based film trilogy, to be directed by Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson.

HEIDI KLUM: Body painting. Gratuitous Tuesday.

EX-AL-QAEDA:  The Washington Post profiles Khalid al-Hubayshi, who trained for religious warfare, never fought in combat (he was abandoned by bin Laden at Tora Bora) and now says he believes in the political process.  Former 9/11 Commission counsel Michael Jacobsen argues that we need to study those who leave terrorist organizations

IRAQ:  Sunni militia employed by the US to fight AQI are warning of a national strike because they are not being paid regularly.  Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia ordered shops to close in some Baghdad neighborhoods on Monday in what they said was a peaceful protest against what they claim are indiscriminate arrests.  The Interior Minister survived an assassination attempt.  Michael Yon's latest dispatch is from Niveheh province, with the Darkhorse Blackhawk helicopter troop, which is supporting Iraqi army and militia forces: "Combat is likely to heat up in Mosul and western Nineveh by about May. There likely will be some reports of increased US and Iraqi casualties up here, but this does not mean that we are losing ground or that al Qaeda is resurging - though clearly they are trying. If there is an increase in casualties here as we go into the summer of 2008, it is because our people and the Iraqi forces are closing in."  Bill Roggio has photos of a suicide car bomb attack at a checkpoint on the road from Mosul to Tal Afar.

DONKEY SHOW:  Monika the dancing donkey takes a final bow after retiring from a Russian ballet troupe.

FISH can count, according to scientists, who have found that North American mosquito fish have the ability to count up to four.

CAT STOPPED BY HOMELAND SECURITY in a "dirty bomb" investigation.

ANIMAL PLANET craves young adult viewers, so it is promising "gripping entertainment" and is trying new series that "bring out the raw, visceral emotion in the animal kingdom."

GOPHER HUNT causes a massive grass fire in Springbank, Calgary. The silver lining is that Danny Noonan won the high-stakes golf tournament held nearby.

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