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Duffy, New Pornographers, MTV from '83, Chimp Memory Champ   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, January 28, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


DUFFY, whose video for "Rockferry" I am still digging, has a new video for more upbeat "Mercy."  The Welsh singer, who reminds folks of Dusty and Lulu, is profiled in the Times of London.  The paper is also offering an exclusive free track to anyone who will cough up an e-mail address and claim to live in the UK.  The nice part about that last bit is it suggests Universal may finally start breaking Duffy in North America.

THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS:  The World Cafe has live tracks and a chat with A.C. Newman you can stream on demand on NPR.

CAT POWER and MAGNETIC FIELDS are still playing games with the singer-songwriter archetype, according to Salon.  Chan Marshall gets separate treatment in London's Sunday Times, while Stephin Merritt is featured in Sunday's L.A. Times.

IRON & WINE:  Sam Beam stopped by KUT's Sudio 1 for a chat and mini-set you can stream (or just the music) on demand via NPR. 

I WANT MY MTV to be as cheezalicious as these three hours (with ads) from 1983.

SUPER FURRY ANIMALS crammed their "Neo-consumer" into two minutes for Letterman over at the 'Gum.

BLACK MOUNTAIN frontman Stephen McBean talks to the Times of London about opening for Coldplay, the Internet's demystification of music, whether rock stardom is worth it, and more...

SUB POP:  The seminal Seattle label is profiled by the Seattle Times, along with an interview of co-founder Jonathan Poneman and a list of the bands that kept the label hopping for the past 20 years.  (Thx, LHB.)

JOHN VANDERSLICE does the four free songs thing for Daytrotter -- all versions of songs from his most recent LP, Emerald City.

UB40 singer Ali Campbell will be picking up his own UB40, citing management problems.

BONO met with US SecDef Robert Gates as part of his efforts to persuade world leaders to increase aid to developing nations.  Gates was impressed by Bono's knowledge of world affairs but had no clue about his rock star status: "It's a matter of age. I thought U2 was an airplane. My daughter nearly had an aneurysm when I told her who I was meeting with."

HEATH LEDGER:  As a private memorial was held for the late 28-year-old actor in Los Angeles, sources intimately connected with the investigation of his death say Ledger may have died of natural causes.  Nevertheless, the Daily Mail quotes a member of the star's inner circle, Rebecca White, as saying Ledger believed his former fiancee Michelle Williams was about to serve legal papers demanding sole custody of their child, Matilda, due to his drug problems.  White claims Ledger's dependence on drugs only intensified.  Mary-Kate Olsen released a statement about Ledger after learning that the authorities are not planning to question her about the four frantic calls Ledger's masseuse made to her before phoning 911.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE:  Parody movie Meet the Spartans edged out Rambo for the top slot with an estimated take of 18.7 million, which is about where movies like Epic Movie and Date Movie tend to open.  Cloverfield turned out to be even more front-loaded than expected, tumbling 68 percent to fourth place in its second weekend -- but has still made well over twice its budget already.  Untraceable debuted in fifth place.  The adorable Juno dropped to sixth, but actually made 3.5 percent more than last weekend and crossed the 100 million mark.  There Will Be Blood jumped from eleveth to eighth in expanded release.

LINDSAY LOHAN has begun penning her memoirs, perhaps due to money woes.  She was reportedly... wait for it... caught canoodling MTV reality D-lister Brody Jenner at NYC's Beatrice Inn on Friday night.

CHRISTIAN BRANDO, who had been hospitalized with double pneumonia, died Friday at 49.  The son of Marlon Brando, Christian pleaded guilty in 1990 to manslaughter for killing his sister's boyfriend and spent six years in prison.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON, returning from her USO tour of the Persian Gulf, deflected a media question about her rumored engagement to actor-beau Ryan Reynolds by joking that she is engaged to Sen. Barack Obama.

BRITNEY SPEARS visited psychiatrist Deborah Nadel's Santa Monica home for about an hour on Friday, according to the paparazzi at X17 online.  The uber-reliable News of the World claims that her married boyfriend, Andan Ghalib, has recorded six deranged video diaries of the pop wreck and is offering them for over two million dollars.  Meanwhile, Spears is trying out a new Chinese-Spanish accent.

KATE MOSS:  The uber reliable News of the World has agreed to pay the supermodel damages for an apparently false story about shenanigans at her 34th birthday party.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  The ever-reliable National Enquirer has a source this week that claims to have had a conversation with Chris Klein suggesting that his ex, Katie Holmes was pregnant when they broke up back in March of 2005.

CHARLIZE THERON will receive a Hasty Pudding pot at Harvard University on Feb. 7.

THE SCREEN ACTORS GUILD AWARDS was a send-off party for The Sopranos, with awards going to the ensemble cast, James Gandolfini & Edie Falco.  Javier Bardem gave a very classy and funny speech for supporting male actor in No Country For Old Men.  Tina Fey thanked Arec Bardwin, president of the Film Actors Guild, who also won, but did not attend.  But The Office beat out 30 Rock for best comedy ensemble.  Daniel Day-Lewis eulogized Heath Ledger (whom he did not know).  Julie Christie won best female actor in a movie.  No Country For Old Men won for best ensemble cast in a motion picture.  RELATED:  The Coen Bros. won the Directors Guild Award on Saturday night for helming No Country For Old Men.

JUSTICE LEAGUE:  Warner Bros. let the options lapse on the young cast that director George Miller chose to play DC superhero staples, placing the project on indefinite hold.  The studio's reasons included not getting the official response it needed on tax breaks from shooting in Australia, plus desired script polishing precluded by the writers' strike.

JESSICA BIEL, GISELE BUNDCHEN, JENNIFER LOPEZ and TINA FEY are among those featured in a new round of celebrity images promoting the Disney theme parks from famed photographer Annie Leibovitz.

ALEXANDRA HARILL has not seen Flashdance, but she is living it.  She's a maniac.

EURO-TERROR PLOT:  Islamist extremists were planning attacks across Europe, especially against public transport, before their arrests in Barcelona last weekend, a Spanish paper reported on Saturday, citing a would-be attacker's testimony.  A manhunt for the remaining suspects began in Spain and now extendesto France and other European Union countries.

IRAN:  When voters go to the polls on March 14 to select members of Parliament, the early indications are that the religiously conservative forces in control of every branch of government will try to block a comeback by the "reformists" with an unprecedented number of disqualifications from the ballot.  Pres. Ahmadinejad and his allies control the system of vetting candidates for access to the ballot.  Meanwhile, Israeli Defemse Minister Ehud Barak tells the Washington Post that Israel believes Iran has another clandestine enrichment operation beyond the one in Natanz, and is likely working on warheads for ground-to-ground missiles.

IRAQ:  Shaken by two days of deadly bombings, the government said Friday it would dispatch several thousand more security forces to Mosul in a "decisive" bid to drive AQI from its last major stronghold.  The forces arrived on Sunday and will take the lead as a test of US long-range plans to assume a support role.   A son of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is behind a group of foreign and Iraqi fighters responsible for last week's devastating explosion in Mosul, a security chief for Sunni tribesmen who rose up against AQI said Saturday.  AQ is using children as suicide bombers in Iraq, with at least two attacks in the past week committed by 15-year-olds, a US military commander claimed on Sunday: "We are not sure whether one of these children even knew he was being used to deliver a bomb."   Some 9000 members of anti-AQ "Awakening" fronts in Iraq have been screened and lined up for training as regular police or soldiers.  Prime Minister al-Maliki urged ministers from the main Sunni Arab bloc to return to their vacant government posts, suggesting he would soon form a new cabinet if they refused.

AMYUMU the CHIMP trounces British memory champion Ben Pridmore, who is capable of memorising the order of a shuffled pack of cards in under 30 seconds.

PET HOARDING really does not describe the rescue of more than 200 animals, including 26 hissing cockroaches, two bearded dragons, 68 dogs, 16 rabbits, 15 guinea pigs, 13 gerbils, seven doves, two dwarf hamsters, two hedgehogs, an opossum and a pink toe tarantula.from an eastern Texas home.  Video at the link.

CAT NEWS:  A cat with five legs will have not one, but two, legs removed.  Popsicle the cat survives losing two paws, several inches of tail, both ears and part of her nose to frostbite.  Fido was rescued from a sinking ship; pics at the link.

A MOB OF WALLABIES has grounded Royal Australian Air Force fighter-bomber jets after dark at a Northern Territory airfield.  They are thinking of forming a rock band.

BUDDY the POLICE HORSE was punched outside a nightclub in Ybor City, FL.  Angelica Rene Ayala has been charged in the incident, though I was thinking it was going to be Mongo.

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Richard Thompson & David Byrne, Dramarama, Cutout Bin, Knut Update   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, January 25, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



...with RICHARD THOMPSON & DAVID BYRNE!  The darkly funny British songwriter and guitarist extraordinaire joins the Talking Head for renditions of "Psycho Killer" a Sir Douglas Quintet/? and the Mysterians mash-up of "Who Were You Thinking Of'/'96 Tears" and Ewan MacColl's "Dirty Old Town" at St. Ann & The Holy Trinity Brooklyn Heights NY in 1992.  The pair also team up on "The Big Country" from More Songs about Buildings and Food in a clip from the BBC.

VAMPIRE WEEKEND stopped by the World Cafe for a chat and mini-set -- including the new song "Campus" -- which you can stream on demand via NPR.  Drummer Christopher Tomson, pre-hiatus Phish veteran, discusses the band's sudden ascent with JamBands.

EL PERRO DEL MAR, a/k/a Sarah Assbring. is streaming an advance track, "How Did We Forget" from her second full-length album, due on Feb 27, via her new label, Licking Fingers.

DENNIS WILSON:  The late Beach Boy's lone solo album, Pacific Ocean Blue, will finally be re-released and reissued as a two-disc set with bonus tracks, after more than a decade of copyright disputes.  The scarcity of the record has made it both a cult-favorite and a high-priced collector's item over the years.  At the moment, you can stream a couple of tracks from the album, plus the unreleased "Morning Christmas."

JON BRION:  The musician, producer, and occasional one-man band talks to The A.V. Club about making up with the Mellotron and finding the perfect Def Leppard song to convert into klezmer.

DRAMARAMA leaps out of the "Where Are They Now?" file to ambush Ellen DeGeneres with a rendition of "Anything, Anything" for her birthday.  It apparently is her favorite song, and she asks her DJ to play it during every commercial break.  As TV Squad so eloquently asks, "Who knew?" 

THE CAROLINA CHOCOLATE DROPS, "on a mission to connect old style music and traditional instruments with young people and new sounds," visited The Current for a chat and twofer you can stream on demand via MPR.  The band has also appeared on A Prairie Home Companion.

NICOLE ATKINS and THE SEA stopped by the SPIN offices to churn out a blissful rendition of "War Torn," which the mag captured on video for your viewing and listening pleasure.

BONO confesses his sins to... former US Vice-President Al Gore, Jr.  Video at the link.

AMY WINEHOUSE has entered rehab, yes, yes, yes.

CUTOUT BIN:  From Archie Bell and the Drells to XTC, from Devo to Jimi Hendrix, this Friday's fortuitous finds can be jukeboxed or streamed individually on the Pate page at the ol' HM

HEATH LEDGER:  The NYPost has details of his masseuse's frantic calls to Mary-Kate Olsen, whom law enforcement sources said was dating the late 28-year-old actor.  Ledger had been shooting Terry Gilliam's indie "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus," where production has temporarily shut down; Ledger's role may be re-cast -- or partially re-cast -- with Johnny Depp.  Some now suggest Ledger was killed by The Joker.  Ledger recently told reporters he "slept an average of two hours a night" while playing "a psychopathic, mass-murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy ... I couldn't stop thinking. My body was exhausted, and my mind was still going."

DANIEL DAY-LEWIS got quite emotional over Heath Ledger's death on the Oprah show, despite not knowing him.  Video at the link.

NOW SHOWING:  This weekend's wide releases include Sly Stallone's Rambo, which is currently scoring 30 percent on the ol' Tomatometer; the movie mash-up parody Meet the Spartans, which was not screened for critics; the Diane Lane cyber-thriller Untraceable, which is scoring 15 percent; and the urban music drama How She Move, scoring 69 percent.  Returning for wide Oscar promo runs are Michael Clayton (90 percent) and the Coen Bros' No Country For Old Men (95 percent).  There Will Be Blood expands near-wide with its 91 percent score.

LINDSAY LOHAN:  A man claiming to be Lindsay Lohan's former cocaine dealer let it be known to the New York Daily News, through an intermediary, that he was ready to sell his story. And he promised that he would spill on his other "big, big celebrity clients" if the price was right.  ALSO:  Celebrity blogger Perez Hilton was awarded nearly 85K to pay his legal costs in a defamation lawsuit brought by Lohan pal DJ Samantha Ronson.  The judge had removed Hilton from the lawsuit last November after the blogger's attorneys argued he was protected by free speech rights.

EDDIE MURPHY & TRACEY EDMONDS reportedly split before making their Bora Bora wedding legal because Murphy became bossy and physically intimidating, and insisted his mother accompany them on their honeymoon.

BRITNEY SPEARS was discussed at the annual winter conference of the American Psychoanalytic Association.  Psychoanalysts are concerned about the effect that armchair diagnoses of the troubled starlet's mental health, popping up in celebrity magazines and tabloids may harm the pop wreck and even deter others from seeking help.  It may be unethical for the pros, but when Spears acts like she has multiple personalities, or shows up "scantily clad" at a Beverly Hills elementary school, saying she was there to pick up someone else's kids, it is hard for the amateurs to resist.  Britney's uncle is telling London's Sun about her drink and drug-addled childhood, claiming he did cocaine with her on her 18th birthday.

JAMIE LYNN SPEARS:  The knocked up 16-year-old member of the Spears clan reportedly will hand over the baby to her mama Lynne as soon as it is born so she can concentrate on her career.  That is a formula that has worked so well for the Spears family.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  Adam Sandler defends Cruise to People magazine: "To see anyone's private life invaded and mocked like this is sickening. It's especially gross when it happens to a guy like Cruise, who's a great dad, a great husband, and a great friend."

BRADGELINA will be co-hosting a big pre-Oscars bash with Pitt's ex, Jennifer Aniston.  An "inside source" tells X17online  that Jolie is pregnant with twins -- a report confirmed by the ever-reliable Star magazine, so it must be true, right?

DAVID BECKHAM may be the world's biggest environmental threat.

JESSICA SIMPSON had her lawyers demand a retraction of a recent OK! magazine article claiming she was dumped by Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo.

HANNA MONTANA targeted by teen terrorist!  Yes, really.  Nashville television stations, citing unnamed sources, said the teen unsuccessfully tried to hijack a Southwest Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Lafayette, LA., and crash it into a building where a Hannah Montana concert was scheduled.

GLOBAL WARMING could reduce how many hurricanes hit the US, according to a new federal study that clashes with other research.

AN AL QAEDA SPOKESMAN called for unity among this week Islamic militants worldwide in a new recorded message apparently intended to counter some Islamic scholars who are criticizing AQ's violent activities.

A US TERROR CASE provides a glimpse of the growing threat posed by radical networks that have sprung up as a result of the Internet.

IRAN:  Pres. Ahmadinejad is set to become the first Iranian leader since the revolution to visit Baghdad after the Iraqi foreign ministry announced he had accepted an invitation, at a time of high tension in the Gulf.

IRAQ and the US are working on assembling negotiating teams to shape a new long-term bilateral strategic agreement redefining the fundamental role of US troops.  The Iraqis want the US mission to shift from combat operations to logistics and support, but the Bush administration will insist on broad authority to conduct combat operations and guarantee civilian contractors specific legal protections from Iraqi law.  In the meantime, Pres. Bush is unlikely to reduce US forces in Iraq to less than levels just before the surge this year for fear of putting at risk security gains.  The NYT has noticed that US -backed Sunni militias who have fought Sunni extremists to a standstill are being hit with a wave of assassinations and bomb attacks.  Mosul's chief of police was killed in a suicide bombing; the governor has declared a curfew. Iraqi security forces arrested 22 insurgents and disabled six IEDs in Baghdad.

KNUT UPDATE:  The once-cuddly polar bear is a "psychopath" who has become addicted to human company and will never mate, experts warn.

CHINESE DUCK BENGBENG has become a celebrity for its singing, dancing and counting abilities.

CATTLE RUSTLING goes awry in Malaysia after the getaway vehicle crashed into a tree.

BURMESE PYTHONS:  Don't taze them, bro!

TARA the GERMAN SHEPHERD had a miraculous escape when she was blown off a 135ft cliff by a gust of wind. Pics at the link.

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New Bob Mould, Kelley Stoltz, She & Him, Dolphins   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, January 24, 2008 - 08:25 AM
Posted by: Karl


FEIST has a new video, for "I Feel It Now."  Unlike the dancetastic hit "1 2 3 4," don't try this at home.

PAZZ & JOP:  The Village Voice polls are out, along with essays, voter comments, etc.

BOB MOULD:  Brooklyn Vegan has another advance track from the upcoming District Line album, titled "Stupid Now."

WHITE RABBITS talk to JamBase about the band's unusual arrangements: "We try to pull from both ends of the spectrum," says singer-guitarist Greg Roberts. "We really like minimal bands like Spoon, and at the same time we like a lot of Phil Spector stuff -- strings and timpani drums and grand stuff like that. I think we just try to marry those things and find a happy medium."

KELLEY STOLZ talks to Drowned In Sound about his last album and his upcoming LP for Sub Pop.  Embedded music video at the link.  Think of his stuff as like early 70's piano pop like McCartney and Elton John.

SHE & HIM:  Pitchfork has more details on the M. Ward- Zooey Deschanel collaboration.  While we await the LP, here is some bootleg video of She & Him covering Ricky Nelson's "Lonesome Town."

MICHAEL SHOWALTER MEETS JOHN VANDERSLICE:  The latter notes that comedians and indie rockers are increasingly sympatico.

FIERY FURNACES:  Matt Friedberger talks to Pine magazine about the usual topics -- the band's sound, working with his sister, etc.

THE GRAMMYS catch a break.  Striking Hollywood writers have decided against picketing the upcoming Grammy Awards, but the Writers Guild of America's board of directors has yet to grant the music industry show a waiver that would allow its members to work on the ceremony.

AMY WINEHOUSE:  Her distraught dad has moved in with the troubled singer to in a bid to keep her off drugs.

HEATH LEDGER:  The 28-year-old actor's initial autopsy was inconclusive; additional tests and more time are required to determine cause of death.  Sources close to the investigation tell CBS in NYC that along with the prescription drugs that were found in the apartment, police also recovered several drug packets containing an unknown substance.  A rolled-up $20 that police found in the apartment did not contain drug residue.  The masseuse who discovered Ledger's body twice called Mary-Kate Olsen before calling 911.  Memo to budding actors: if Jack Nicholson warns you about your demons, you need to get help right away.  Ledger's sudden death prompted the White House to postpone Pres. Bush's event on Wednesday promoting an ad campaign aimed at preventing prescription drug abuse.  The death is being exploited by a Best Buy and the Westboro Baptist Church.  RELATED:  Ledger once directed a music video for "Black Dog," the last song Nick Drake recorded before overdosing on antidepression medication in 1974 at the age of 26.

NAOMI WATTS, who dated Heath Ledger off-and-on for two years, canceled all her press at this year's Sundance Film Festival.

BRITNEY SPEARS bolted from the courthouse before her latest child custody hearing began.  Shockingly, the pop wreck was not granted visitation rights at the hearing.  Meanwhile, Spears was spotted back with paparazzo Adnan Ghalib.  And her lawyers have devised a plan to get Brit into outpatient mental treatment.

JAMIE LYNN SPEARS:  Is Britney's knocked up 16-year-old sister thinking about giving up her baby for adoption?  That's what the ever-reliable Star magazine reports.  Maybe she took a look around the Spears clan and figured it would be a good idea.  Or maybe someone at the tabloid got Jamie confused with Juno.

ELLEN PAGE, the star of the adorable Juno, is glad her parents refused to let her become a child star.  Maybe she was thinking about Jamie Lynn Spears.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  Jerry O'Connell has his own intentionally wacky video parody of the Cruise Scientology indoctrination video posted at FunnyOrDie.

JESSIC SIMPSON & TONY ROMO may be dunzo, as the Dallas Cowboys QB learns that the pneumatic blonde is high-maintenance and comes with creepy dad-manager Joe.  Romo made Simpson go on a hunting trip to try to driver her away.

DENISE RICHARDS & CHARLIE SHEEN:  TMZ reports that the judge in the Denise Richards/Charlie Sheen custody battle has ruled Denise can do a reality show with her kids, with certain restrictions.

CLOVERFIELD:  According to director Matt Reeves, there are little easter eggs scattered throughout the film itself, in addition to the viral marketing elements all over the Internet.  Spoilers at the link.

JESSICA ALBA tells Extra that pregnancy has made her very hormonal and that she is already having dreams about breastfeeding.  The punchline writes itself, really.

ISLAMISM in the UK:  A story based on the Three Little Pigs has been turned down from a government agency's annual awards because the subject matter could offend Muslims.

THE NETHERLANDS:  The Dutch government is set to impose a ban on the Muslim burqa in schools and government offices, media reported on Wednesday, in a retreat from the previous cabinet's plan for a general ban.  The cabinet has decided against a broad ban on burqas in public as that would violate the principle of freedom of religion.

AFGHANISTAN:  An Afghan journalist has been sentenced to death by a provincial court after downloading material from the internet relating to the role of women in Islamic societies.  The court also threatened to arrest any reporters who protested against Kambakhsh's sentence.

IRAQ:  The commander of coalition troops in central Iraq says he's dismayed that the American people aren't getting word about progress in Iraq, while insisting it's too soon to declare victory and give Iraq's enemies an opportunity to retake it.  US and Iraqi forces mounting a nationwide offensive against AQI have yet to tackle the insurgent group's hub for money and foreign fighters in the city of Mosul but have pushed them out of many other parts of the country.  The Christian Science Monittor covers how fear turned to resolve in one village of Diyala province.  Police forces on Wednesday arrested a suspect believed to be the leader of the military wing for Basra's cult al-Yamani network in Karbala.  Iraq's economy is on track to reach GDP growth rates in 2008 of 7 percent, driven by oil price movements, economic reforms and surging foreign exchange reserves, according to the International Monetary Fund.

DOLPHINS at Sea World have learned how to create and play with bubble rings.  Let's go to the video.

RESCUED FROM THE CROC'S JAWS, then accidentally shot by your rescuer.  That's a bad day.

SNAKE in a SHOWER:  A three-and-a-half-foot corn snake, to be exact.  I believe that completes a trifecta of snake stories set in motion yesterday.

THE HIGH-STAKES WORLD OF PARROT SMUGGLING:  Border guards in Belarus said on Wednesday they had foiled an attempt to smuggle in 277 parrots on board a bicycle.  Someone has been watching too many reruns of Monty Python.

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Vampire Weekend, More New Releases, Black Mt, Heath Ledger   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, January 23, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



VAMPIRE WEEKEND: The self-titled debut album due next week is streaming in advance from Much Music, assuming that they haven't crossed the lawyers again.  The combo also peformed a "Take-away" threefer for La Blogotheque.

MORE NEW RELEASES:  Spinner finally updtaed this week's full album streams to include Drive-By Truckers, MGMT, Super Furry Animals, Matt Costa, Biirdie and more.  And there's a new stream for Cat Power's Jukebox. (Thx, Chromewaves.)  YepRoc is streaming the Jason Ringenberg retrospective and the new Fleshtones.  There is also a stream for Dan Bejar's latest project, Hello, Blue Roses.  (Thx, LHB.)

CAT POWER:  Speaking of which, Chan Marshall gets a profile in the NY Sun that does not focus on her personal travails, while Harp magazine obsesses over her new mole.

BLACK MOUNTAIN also has a new album released this week.  The Vancouver Sun talks to co-vocalist Amber Webber about rocking out with the band and going more ambient when playing with Lighning Dust.  You can stream the first half of the new Black Mountain via TheirSpace, and a few from Lightning Dust for comparison.

DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS frontman Patterson Hood has a wide-ranging interview with Pitchfork, talking about democracy in the band, rejected album titles, album length, working with Bettye LaVette and more.

THE KILLS kick off the video for "Cheap and Cheerful" from their upcoming album with just a wee bit of vomiting.

MARSHALL CRENSHAW talks to The Morning Call about writing songs for movies like Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, and mentions an upcoming tour and album -- his first since 2003.

RINGO STARR walked off the set of "Live With Regis and Kelly" rather than cut short one of his songs.


AMY WINEHOUSE was filmed blitzed out of her skull and struggling to talk after sucking in crack fumes from a glass pipe.  The Daily Mail has learned that the footage could be investigated by police and has cast serious doubt on whether she will be allowed to fly to the US next month for the Grammy awards.  Friends say the video has plunged Winehouse's family into further despair after their failed attempts to persuade her to have treatment in rehab.

HEATH LEDGER whose breakthrough role as a gay cowboy in the 2005 movie "Brokeback Mountain" earned him a nomination for an Academy Award and comparisons to the likes of Marlon Brando, was found dead Tuesday in an apartment in Manhattan at 28 years old.  Though sleeping pills were found near his body, no obvious indication of suicide, like a note, was found in the bedroom.  Three bottles of prescription pills containing antidepressants and Ambien found in the apartment, a police source told PageSix.  Anonymously-sorced rumors of depression, drug abuse and rehab ricocheted around the internet, though the false rumor that he died at Mary-Kate Olsen's apartment may have been the most bizarre.  TMZ claims Ledger was sick with pneumonia.  Ex-fiance and baby mama Michelle Williams is "devastated" and reportedly headed for NYC.  Warner Bros., the studio readying The Dark Knight, in which Ledger plays Batman's nemesis, The Joker, has issued a statement of condolences.  My bet would be the movie is released as planned, but that the marketing, which juxtaposed Ledger with the bloody slogan "Why So Serious?" -- will be changed.  However,as of post time, the viral website is still active, even though it opens with a note reading, "The only sensible way to live in this world is without rules."  I would prefer to remember him with a laugh, as he delivers singing Frankie Valli's "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" in 10 Things I Hate About You.

THE LEAKED SCIENTOLOGY VIDEO DU JOUR features testimonials from John Travolta, Kirstie Alley and Anne Archer, but the wacky intro is worth a peep long before you get to the actors.

TOM-KAT:  Scientology is an inspiration for the latest artwork at Pretty on the Outside.

REESE WITHERSPOON engaged to Jake Gyllenhaal?  Her rep denies it.

SIMON COWELL has revealed that he is planning to leave £90 million to charity in his will.

BRITNEY SPEARS:  The pop wreck's lawyers will go to court today and ask Commissioner Scott Gordon to allow her "monitored visitation in a therapeutic setting," as her family and the professionals in her life have been planning a "creative way" to get her mental help.  However, as Spears has defied court orders for psychological evaluation, so the request may be opposed by Fed-Ex and even the court.  Meanwhile, Fed-Ex's lawyer says the deposition of Spears has been "very, very gut-wrenching,"

DENISE RICHARDS & CHARLIE SHEEN are battling again in their ongoing child custody case.  Richards wants to star in a reality show with the kids, which Sheen opposes.  Surprisingly, I have to go with the deranged 9/11 conspiracist on this one.

MADONNA is sporting a black eye, sparking speculation about plastic surgery.  It certainly would not come from a fight with hubby Guy Richie, as I am certain she could totally take him down.

BRADGELINA are adopting another girl from Africa, according to London's Mirror.  Hey, it's been at least two weeks since the last such rumor, so why not?

ASHLEE SIMPSON is being encouraged by her creepy dad-manager Joe to dump boyfriend Pete Wentz, so she can be the star of a new reality dating show.  Think SimpsonCo is running low on funds, or does Joe hate Pete that much?

THE OSCARS:  For once, I  have already seen all of the nominees for Best Picture.  You can revisit my reviews for Atonement, Juno, Michael Clayton, No Country For Old Men and There Will Be Blood for comparison, but I will have to think about how I would vote.  It's great that the adorable Juno got that nod, as well as star Ellen Page, director Jason Reitman and screenwriter Diablo Cody, though the Oscar rarely goes to comedy.  Variety notes that political films were largely shut out this year in its round-up of snubs, including A-list actors, screenwriters and The Simpsons.  There were snubs a-plenty in the song category, some noted by Variety, but especially Eddie Vedder and Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood, whose score for There Will Be Blood was disqualified.

TERROR in the US:  Jose Padilla was sentenced to a relatively lenient 17-year prison term on his conviction for supporting terrorism.  At trial, prosecutors avoided the "dirty bomb" claim that made Padilla infamous, in order to keep out evidence of Padilla's treatment in detention.  The judge, however, took those factors into account in denying the government's request for a life sentence.

IRAN:  The political authority of the Pres. Ahmadinejad suffered a serious blow after supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei sided with parliament by ordering him to supply cheap gas to villages undergoing power cuts amid an unexpectedly harsh winter.  Meanwhile, the UN Security Council's permanent members and Germany agreed Tuesday on a new draft resolution on sanctions against the Islamic theocracy over its nuclear program.

IRAQ and the MEDIA:  A New York Times article, "Hopes for Vehicle Questioned After Blast," claims that "the first fatality inflicted by a roadside bomb on an MRAP" (the new Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected armored vehicle) is some seminal event in the conflict.  Milblogger Badger 6 points out numerous flaws in the story, starting with the fact that it is not the first such fatality. At Wired's Danger Room, Noah Schactman identifies more flaws in the story, which Schactman thinks misses the more important issue of whether the MRAPs are sufficiently maneuverable for Iraq.  This is a common flaw in the media coverage of Iraq, as I have noted with respect to stories about up-armoring Humvees and the proper type and level of body armor.  There is almost always a trade-off between armor and mobility, yet the media almost always assumes that more armor is safer, rather than deal with the complex and varied situations faced by the military in Iraq.  Even the Associated Press notes in this case that the crew compartment of the MRAP "was not compromised" and the three soldiers inside escaped with cuts and broken bones in their feet.  So the NYT is going quite out of its way to accentuate the negative in this instance.

PANDAS:  Fu Long, the first baby panda to be born in Europe in a quarter of a century has made his first public appearance at the Vienna Zoo.  Pic at the link.  But lest we think it's all about the cute, let's go to video of a jealous panda. (Thx, Amber.)

A BLIND SEAL named Alfred, found on the New Jersey shore early last year, made his debut at the L.A. Zoo on Friday.  Video at the link.

SNAKES on a PLANE!  Customs officials in Vietnam discovered a ton of live snakes on board a Thai Air flight from Bangkok, hidden inside 60 ice boxes marked "fresh fish."  BONUS:  Snake in a Van in Helena, MT.

BELCHING COWS will be studied by a Swedish university to measure the bovine greenhouse gases.

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Ryan Adams, New Releases, Levon Helm, YLT, Mango the Poodle   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


RYAN ADAMS continues to post all sorts of video like "Why Heartache Hurts" to his Tube account.  He's already deleted a couple more explicitly dealing with his breakup with Jessica Joffe, so if you're a fan or a voyeur, you should check his account regularly.

NEW RELEASES:  Cat Power's Jukebox is streaming in full via Rhapsody.  MGMT's Oracular Spectacular is streaming via MuchMusic.  Drive-By Truckers' Brighter Than Creation's Dark is streaming from Rhapsody.  Albums from Magnetic Fields and The Whigs are still streaming via Spinner.

33 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT LED ZEPPELIN, courtesy of Blender magazine.

LEVON HELM, best known as the drummer-vocalist of The Band, stopped by the World Cafe for a chat and mini-set you can stream on demand via NPR.

BE YOUR OWN PET is streaming advance tracks from their upcoming album at BYOPSpace.

YO LA TENGO are captured playing the bouncy "Mr. Tough" and "I Feel Like Going Home" at The Current.  And that. my friends, is Twofer Tuesday.

BEAT SURRENDER:  At the Evening Standard, Richard Godwin has a wonderful piece on the role of rhythm in indie music.

HALL & OATES:  The now-cleanshaven John Oates is busy working on a new cartoon in development about the superpowers of his formerly famous mustache.

THE MOLDY PEACHES continued their reunion with a chat and mini-set for The Bryant Park Project you can stream via NPR.

PETE DOHERTY were reimagined as two infamous British murderers by artist Russell Young.  The images have been sold by a gallery for a reported £28,000.  The work is meant as an observation on the self-destructive hedonism of some of Britain's biggest celebrities.

BRITNEY SPEARS has reportedly dumped her British photographer boyfriend Adnan Ghalib, furious that she has been "conned" into appearing in photos for his paparazzi agency.  When asked if she has a message for Ghalib, the pop wreck responded in a British accent, "I don't know who that is... I have never met him before."  Long before hooking up with Spears, Ghalib reportedly had targeted Angelina Jolie, according to the ever-reliable National Enquirer.  Yesterday, Spears spent two hours for an ongoing deposition in her ongoing child custody battle with Fed-Ex.  Blender magazine is prpping a March cover story on the pop tart, which will report that everyone around Spears seemed baffled by her bizarre behavior.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  MTV has published a guide to the Scientology-speak in the Cruisetastic videos now on the web.  Fellow Scientologist John Travolta is defending Cruise, claiming the intense media scrutiny has gone too far.  Investigative journalist Ian Halperin is about to publish an exposé of the controversial church, with allegations of racism and homophobia galore.

CLOVERFIELD, having the highest January opening weekend ever, has inspired talk of a sequel.. or more like an equel.

OLIVER STONE  has set his sights on his next directing project, "Bush," a film focusing on the life and presidency of George W. Bush, and attached Josh Brolin to play the title role: "I'm the referee, and I want a fair, true portrait of the man. How did Bush go from an alcoholic bum to the most powerful figure in the world?"

CHARLIZE THERON has a reputation as one of Hollywood's more intelligent actresses, but is a little weak on geography.

THE OSCARS:  Nominees are due to be announced today.  You can check 'em against the predictions at The Envelope.  Newsweek conducted its 11th Oscar roundtable with possible acting nominees George Clooney (Michael Clayton), Angelina Jolie (A Mighty Heart), Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood), Ellen Page (Juno), James McAvoy (Atonement), and Marion Cotillard (La Vie en Rose).  Text and video at the link.  The video is interesting from the standpoint of seeing the "veterans" getting the newbies involved in the discussion; it's stars acting like nice people.

THE RAZZIES:  Unaffected by the Hollywood writers' strike, the 28th annual Golden Raspberries Award nominees have been announced.  The Worst Picture nominees are Bratz, Daddy Day Camp, I Know Who Killed Me, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, and Norbit.  Lindsay Lohan gets a nod, but the real story is Eddie Murphy who garners a record five noms -- including "Worst Screen Couple" -- for Norbit.  Full lists at the link.

WOODY ALLEN answers ten questions from readers of Time magazine.

CHRISTINA RICCI is becoming obsessed with gambling.

DITA VON TEESE, who reintroduced the world to the joys of 'burlesque', is set to become the new face of Wonderbra, though I'm not sure that face is the right word.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON is boosting the... morale of US troops in the Persian Gulf: "A hush fell over the crowd as Johansson, wearing a pink sweater, knee-high boots and cherry-red lipstick, entered the USO."  Pics at the link.  A very nice gesture, especially from an Obama girl.  BONUS:  Unedited DoD video from one of the meet-and-greets that ends with a song and a kiss.  ALSO: NYDN gossip Ben Widdicombe claims we can soon expect an announcement that Scar-Jo is betrothed to actor Ryan Reynolds?  Cue Vader!

ISLAMISM in the UK:  Islamic courts meet every week in the UK to rule on divorces and financial disputes. London's Telegraph reports on demands by senior Muslims that sharia be given legal authority.

SAUDI ARABIA is to lift its ban on women drivers in an attempt to stem a rising suffragette-style movement in the Kingdom.

IRAQ:  The Pentagon is considering Gen. Petraeus for the top NATO command later this year.  Th UN's chief envoy in Iraq said we cannot ignore the recent improvements both in the security and political situation in Iraq, though a political consensus on the most fundamental elements of the Iraqi state is needed for lasting results.  US and Iraqi commandos killed a suspected Shiite militia leader Monday during a raid in western Baghdad, the military said.  US warplanes pounded suspected AQI havens on the southern edge of Baghdad for the third time this month, hitting more than 30 targets in a 35-bomb blitz.  The WaPo has a piece on one of the deepest reservoirs of information the US has ever obtained of the network of foreign jihadis going into Iraq.

THE MILITARY and the MEDIA::  The New York Times profiles embedded indie blogger Michael Yon, who says he has recently, grudgingly, accepted that he has become a journalist.  In response to last weekend's badly flawed NYT piece painting Iraq and Afghanistan vets as criminals, Iowahawk -- a very different kind of blogger -- responds with a heavily researched article of his own.

MANGO the POODLE is now fully-equipped, after two near-death experiences since Thanksgiving.

THE SQUIRREL THREAT:  A militant rodent took down the grid in Big Sandy and Winona, TX.  Left in the dark and without water, both schools canceled classes in the midst of mid-terms.  Video at the link.

A BEACHED DOLPHIN was rescued in Britain by a sailor who swam with the creature to guide it back out to sea.  What's that, Flipper?  You're Welcome!

MIRABELLE the POT-BELLIED PIG has gone missing from her cushy farm stable in Bucks County, PA, during a morning walk.  Why is there no wall-to-wall coverage of this on the cable news?

ELEPHANTS saunter down the streets of Bangkok almost every night, stopping off at red-light districts and tourist areas, despite the creation of a Stray Elephant Task Force and a team of undercover elephant enforcers.  Jumbo needs a happy ending.

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