RICHARD THOMPSON has what looks to be an incredible box set coming in February. Loads of unheard and unreleased tracks, demos, outtakes, live tracks, a 168 page book, and more!
SUFJAN STEVENS and his 50 state project are profiled in London's Guardian, along with links to the paper's reviews of his earlier albums.
XTC is boxing 1999's Apple Venus, Volume one and 2000's Wasp Star with two CDs of demos, 1999's Homespun and 2001's Homegrown. PLUS: Andy Partridge is making his catalogue available on iTunes, including six volumes of XTC demos that never made it on an album.
WILCO: At Chromewaves, Frank is killing music with a live cover of Blue Oyster Cult's "(Don't Fear) The Reaper." Yes, I should have posted this yesterday, but I agree with Frank that we can always make room for... more cowbell!
THE VILLAGE VOICE TURNS 50: Robert Christgau surveys the mag's rock crit.
ANNIE LENNOX TURNS 50: The former Eurhythmic talks to London's Times about hair straighteners, her love life and her work: "I cannae imagine anything worse than being greeted with 'hushed reverence.'"
ROGUE WAVE: Since the server crashed on the day of my first post about the band, I note that Portland State University's Daily Vanguard joins the general critical acclaim for the band's second album, Descended Like Vultures. You can stream a few from the band's MySpace page, with bonus tracks at the band's semi-secret MySpace page. It's stuff that would have fit right in on the Garden State soundtrack.
CARLOS SANTANA thinks he is the male Tina Turner. And since it's Santana, that is one of the saner things he tells JAM magazine.
GUIDED BY VOICES: The GbV t-shirt gallery continues to grow...
DID YOU MISS CREAM AT MSG? Of course you did. But now you can stream a bit of the Royal Albert Hall reunion DVD.
RECORD CONTRACT BASICS: An attorney explains why bands rarely make money from their contracts.
LIZ PHAIR: An article in PopMatters argues that her career has mirrored the high and low tides of third wave feminism.
EDDIE HINTON played guitar for everyone from Elvis Presley to Wilson Pickett to... Looking Glass. He was also a hit songwriter, but he didn't record on his own until 1978 and died young at 51 in 1995. You can legally download four Hinton freebies from Amazon. I would especially recommend "Come on Home Baby Lee" and "I Love Someone," but they're all quite good.
NEIL DIAMOND: "When Quentin Tarantino wanted one of my songs for Pulp Fiction, I turned him down. I wasn't familiar with him, and I thought the scene was too brutal for the song. So what do I know?" Fortunately for Diamond, his publisher knew better.
WILLIE NELSON raised an estimated 170K for his friend Kinky Friedman, an independent candidate for Texas governor. Among those attending the fundraiser were former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura and Dick DeGuerin, an attorney for indicted House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.
THE FAB FOUR is the subject of a acclaimed, "compulsively readable" 856 page biography, released today. The author, Bob Spitz, formerly managed Bruce Springsteen and others.
ELTON JOHN is developing a TV sitcom for ABC about an over-the-hill rock star, his manager and his hangers on. Where does he get those wacky ideas?
PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: Shamed supermodel Moss is escaping to a Caribbean hideaway to continue her battle against drug addiction.
PHIL SPECTOR: Cameron Crowe is disappointed he won't get the chance to make a biopic about the "Wall of Sound" producer facing murder charges: "I don't think that's going to happen now. It's a shame because we'd have an interesting ending. And a great wig."
THE FRENCH HOTEL may flee the US for London, as part of an annoying celebutante exhange program with Kate Moss. ALSO: Tyra Banks went as the French Hotel for Halloween, while the French Hotel went as... um... a slightly skankier version of herself (yes, it's possible).
MADONNA gave a long interview to the New York Daily News. Readers at Oh No They Didn't serve up the Meow Mix. Even so, she has come a long way, if former model Janice Dickenson's memories of Madge's early days at NYC's Danceteria are correct: "She was a great dancer, but I tried not to get too close to her or I would literally pass out. It was that bad. It was total skank."
RICKY GERVAIS (The Office, Extras) will make his film debut in a project with Christopher Guest. In For Your Consideration, Gervais will play the head of a movie studio's speciality division who is producing an awful indie film that is unexpectedly nominated for awards.
THE BUTTERSCOTCH STALLION is Hollywood's Hottest Bachelor, according to an OK! magazine poll.
BRADGELINA UPDATE: Neil Gaiman debunks reports that Jolie walked off the set of Beowulf. Pitt supposedly told Jolie in a panicked cell phone call to Jolie: "I can't live without you." Oh, I feel a song coming on...
JUDE LAW and SIENNA MILLER together again?
DAN RATHER and MIKE WALLACE get into a fight in a men's room over the fallout from Rather's Bush National Guard story? You can imagine what Radar magazine calls it... RELATED: Disgraced ex-CBS producer Mary Mapes has a book out next week claiming she is the victim of McCarthyite tactics, causing CBS to again note that she doesn't have a firm grasp of reality. She claims TxANG Maj. Gen. Bobby Hodges would have backed the story, which is untrue. She claims that a researcher (unnamed so far) has since shown her typography on other documents from the period Bush was in the Guard that suggest that the memos she obtained are indeed accurate. But the excerpt from her book that was posted on Amazon (and curiously removed) reveals that Mapes doesn't understand basic typography, so count me as skeptical that she understood this researcher in the first place. Or maybe Mapes is still trying to rely on a report by Associate Professor David Hailey of Utah State University, which has also been debunked. Dr. Phillip Bouffard, one of the top two forensic document examiners (regarding typefaces) in the country, was at least 90% sure the documents were fakes. Similarly, Joseph M. Newcomer, one of the pioneers of electronic typesetting, concluded after lengthy analysis: "in my expert opinion, these documents are modern forgeries." The expert CBS hired after the story aired concluded the memos were likely created on a computer that did not exist in 1972. Ms. Mapes is making up consipracy theories and is still waving the bogus documents, so who is the McCarthyite in this story?
ALEC BALDWIN claims that ex-wife Kim Basinger needs therapy and has a "pathological need" to alienate their daughter, against him. This must be part of Alec's new, mature approach to the couple's custody battle.
CARMEN ELECTRA has a girlcrush on Scarlett Johansson.
CHERYL TIEGS is legally forbidden to ever talk about twins she "had" in 2000 at age 52 with the help of a surrogate mom, after losing custody to them in her 2001 divorce.
CULT OF THE iPod: Author Fredric Alan Maxwell, whose attempts to write about Steve Jobs are being thwarted by Jobs, says : "Apple runs as a cult of Steve Jobs, who has a well-known reality distortion field." With changes in the product linne, Newsweek helps you know your iPods. C|Net gives five reasons why the 4G iPod is better -- for audio. But there seems to be demand for video, too; iTunes has sold a million videos in under 20 days.
NANOTECH: Buckyball inventor Richard Smalley has died of cancer at the age of 62. Neal Lane, a senior fellow at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy, said this of Smalley's work: "It not only created a whole new field of 'fullerene chemistry,' it immediately made feasible the notion of making things from the bottom up, just as physicist Richard Feynman had predicted 50 years earlier." There's a bit more on Smalley at The Speculist.
INNOVATORS OF OUR TIME are profiled in the current issue of Smithsonian magazine, including Edward O. Wilson, Tim Berners-Lee, Yo-Yo Ma and Steven Spielberg.
SBC wants Google to pay for using the telco's wires. SBC should tread carefully; Google is rumored to be buying miles and miles of fiber, but SBC has no service like Google.
HALLOWEEN: Don't know how I misssed Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as part of the anti-Halloween crowd. According to Chavez, it's a "gringa" custom that has no place in his country's cultural traditions.
JUDGE SAMUEL ALITO, JR. is our newest contestant for a seat on the Supreme Court (yes, I am playing Herb Alpert's version of "A Taste of Honey" while I write this). The SCOTUS blog rounds up blog coverage of the nomination and provides a list of notable opinions. At Reason magazine's blog, libertarian Julian Sanchez responds to some of the charges interest groups are already making against Alito. If abortion is your main issue, Alito's dissenting opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey is analyzed from the left and the right, and Orin Kerr notes Alito's concurring opinion in Planned Parenthhod v. Farmer, which struck down New Jersey's partial birth abortion statute. UW Madison Law Prof. Ann Althouse looks at Alito's decision on the Family and Medical Leave Act, concluding that he applied Supreme Court precedent better than the Supremes did later. Prof. Althouse also opines that Alito's decisions on church-state issues suggest it's inaccurate to nickname the judge "Scalito," though almost every news story yesterday mentioned it. Personally, when I heard that "Alito," was nominated for the O'Connor slot -- after John Roberts was, then switched to Chief, then putting Harriet Miers in and taking Harret Miers out -- I immediately thought of Boz Scaggs.
IRAQ: The Christian Science Monitor reports that "Last January, Baquba was symbol of everything going wrong in Iraq... But today, US commanders are pointing to Baquba as a symbol of what might go right." Of course, the story later asserts that the US strategy in Baquba "partial success, while in others it's generally been a failure, as in much of Anbar Province, home to Fallujah and Ramadi." The writer apparently does not know that operations in Anbar -- except for Fallujah -- did not involve Iraqi forces until recently and apparently does not know the different purposes of the operations -- "cordon and search," "search and destroy," "clear and hold," etc. -- that have been conducted in Anbar.
SUITCASE NUKES: Author Richard Miniter explains why they are a myth. Ret. Maj. Donald Sensing corrects some minor details to further show they don't exist.
THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD wants to conquer the world, so it's interesting that the new adviser to British Prime Minister Blair on terrorism may be the unofficial head of the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe.
GAS GOUGING: Since 1977, governments have collected far more revenue from gasoline taxes than the largest U.S. oil companies have collectively earned in domestic profits. More than twice as much, in fact.
PUG VADER: It's an animal story and your moment of Sith. Must be Twofer-Tuesday. There's a slideshow and video at the link.
NAZI RACCOONS INVADE THE WINELAND: I don't think I could top that headline.
ALBATROSSES would be safer hanging around your neck than around the steep slope of a Japanese volcanic island that is subject to eruptions, mudslides and erosion.
CATS and DOGS: James Lileks explains why women writing about men always seems like cats writing about dogs.