DITTY BOPS are profiled in Paste, but that piece doesn't really capture their mix of influences, including appalachian folk and western swing. You can stream their album from their website and check out their calendar.
SUFJAN STEVENS gets a good concert review from London's Independent.
THE ARROGANTS: Gorilla vs. Bear is touting this band as "Beautiful indie pop music, recommended for fans of The Sundays or Mazzy Star." That's certainly in the ballpark. There are a few MP3s at the link, but plenty more at the band's site. or you can stream a few from the band's MySpace page.
BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE: The Boston Globe talks to Kevin Drew about the self-titled album as a reaction to the band's sudden semi-success: ''We didn't want to come out swinging. We wanted to come out sliding." Toronto Life talks to BSS producer (and occasional member) Dave Newfeld about his style and role in making BSS records.
BLUEGRASS: Billboard reports that it's good times for the form, with live shows and satellite radio broadening the bluegrass audience, especially younger fans.
THE NEW YORK DOLLS play a wedding gig of sorts.
THIS BIRD HAS FLOWN, the indie tribute to Rubber Soul comes out today. Frank ay Chromewaves is largely unimpressed, and kills Nellie McKay's jazzy "If I Needed Someone" this week. Low's version of "Nowhere Man" pops up at You Ain't No Picasso. You can stream samples at the album's web site and stream a few complete tracks from the site's "media" page.
THE JAM: Where are they now? Ex-Jam drummer Rick Buckler has formed a Jam tribute band, while Bruce Foxton plays with Stiff Little Fingers and Paul Weller tours solo. ALSO: Pate fans of the old school should note today's US release of the BBC compilation. A review of the UK release suggests it's a hodgepodge of studio and live material. Will the extra live disc be included?
BONO says Yoko Ono thinks of him as John Lennon's "son." Would Julian Lennon consider that a compliment?
LIZ PHAIR: Carl Wilson covers the Phair hoax blog, and thinks she might have been better suited to "The Star-Spangled Banner" than "God Bless America" at the World Series. Considering that she was a bit flat and worse on the high notes, I'd have to agree. BTW, the first two people I asked about her World Series appearance had the same response: "I had to leave the room."
PROTEIN WISDOM: Jeff Goldstein is again talking back to 80s music.
PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: The shamed supermodel is writing poetry in rehab to help her relax.
KEIRA KNIGHTLEY wept for an entire day after a critic slammed her lap dancing performance in Domino. Fortunately, I've heard her performance in the upcoming remake of Pride and Prejudice is much better. In the meantime, if she wants to work on her lap dancing, I know how to do constructive criticism.
STEVE MARTIN received the eighth annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center Sunday night. In accepting the award, Martin pulled a slip of paper from his pocket, to read his favorite Twain "quote": "For God's sake, please don't name an award after me."
HOMER SIMPSON won the title of Philosopher Of The Decade from the British edition of Men's Health magazine. Editor Morgan Rees said: "These are people of real substance and solid achievement rather than temporary fame."
MISTER INCREDIBLE busted by the LAPD, along with Catwoman and others.
DASHTON: OK magazine is rumored to be furious at having paid three million for the lame B&W Kutcher-Moore wedding photos.
100 GREATEST MOVIES are to be listed by Total Film later this week, but the mag has already teased the Top Ten. Citizen Kane is number six, beaten by films including Fight Club. The number one movie is funny.
BRADGELINA UPDATE: Jolie is furious with her Beowulf co-star Ray Winstone for leaking news about her alleged engagement to Pitt. Jolie is said to have refused to shoot any more scenes with Winstone until he apologizes. Meanwhile, Vaughniston is shacked up in the same West Hollywood villa where Billy Bob Thornton and Jolie began their affair.
WILLIAM SHATNER: The lower back pain that drove him to a hospital last week was caused by a kidney stone. Now he's showing it off on TV.
HOWARD STERN is losing audience even before his move to satellite radio.
ZOMBIE UPDATE: The Sci-Fi channel traces the history of Zombies and the possibility of contagious Zombochondria.
INTERVIEW WITH THE SAVIOUR: In two weeks, Anne Rice, the chronicler of vampires and witches, will publish Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, a novel about the seven-year-old Jesus, narrated by Christ himself. The advance notices say she's pulled it off.
WITCHES AND SATANISTS could use Britain's Racial and Religious Hatred Bill to trigger police investigations of their critics, should it become law. A similar law in Australia was used by a jailed witch to launch a criminal prosecution of the Salvation Army after it criticized witchcraft.
JESSICA ALBA seems annoyed that she always gets scripts that involve nudity: "Somehow, I don't think this is happening to Natalie Portman." Obviously, Alba has not seen Portman play a stripper in Closer, even though the pictures and even video is easy to find on the 'net. Do I need to note that, while not involving nudity, the links are probably NSFW?
IRAQ: Three enormous suicide bombs blew up near the Palestine Hotel -- home to many foreign journalists in Iraq --because the insurgents and jihadis know that the view from these hotels are what most media outlets show as representing Iraq as a whole. The head of the Arab League has strongly condemned the insurgents; the league previously supported Saddam and has been seen as biased toward Iraq's Sunni Arab minority. CNN has a video report on the effectiveness of Iraqi forces. Iraqi oil revenues were a record 2.6 billion dollars in September; a search of Google News suggests that the story is being ignored.
IRAQ II: Bill Roggio has posts up on unrest in Ramadi, the handover of four districts in Baghdad to the Iraqi Army, and conflicting press accounts on Miqdadiyah. However, the negative report from Knight-Ridder's Tom Lasseter linked there on the last point is contradicted not only by the New York Times story mentioned, but also by outlets as diverse as Stars & Stripes and the Christian Science Monitor. Given Lasseter's record, I'm not surprised.
IRAQ BODY COUNTS: The Washington Post has a story about the U.S. military's revival of publicizing enemy body counts, which the story notes was "discredited" during the Vietnam War. Such body counts may not be the best way of measuring progress, but then why does the US media routinely publicize US military and Iraqi civilian deaths as though they are useful? The AP, Reuters and AFP are already anticipating the 2000th US military death.
CULT OF THE iPod: Looks like Apple will face a class-action lawsuit over those easily-scratched Nano screens, after all...
NANOTECH meets Kabbalah. Maybe it will be the theme of Madonna's next album. ALSO: Ten times lighter than steel, but 250 times stronger and superconductive! That's the hope for Buckypaper.
MAKE AN INFRARED CAMERA out of your old digital model. The French Hotel should take note.
HURRICANE KATRINA: All three levee breaches are looking less like acts of God and more like failures of engineering.
ROSA PARKS, dead at 92. By now, I would hope you already heard this, but better safe than sorry.
A DONKEY, LAMBS GOATS and ALPACAS are getting religion in Suffolk.
ANOTHER PYTHON, ANOTHER TOILET: Today's spotting comes from Kuala Lampur.
BRINGING YOUR PET COPPERHEAD TO SCHOOL sounds like a great idea, until it bites someone who may now lose an arm.
CATERPILLARS threaten the nation's maple syrup supply.