BELLE & SEBASTIAN: What's that I'm listening to? It's the new Belle & Sebastian, freely downloadable from Matador records.
JENNY LEWIS of Rilo Kiley is profiled in Harp magazine in advance of her solo album, Rabbit Fur Coat, which is due in January.
THE HIVES' Howlin' Pelle Almqvist has a "List of Music You Should Hear" up at Amazon, ranging from the new Richard Hawley album to the best of John Lee Hooker.
SEASON OF THE LIST: Traveler's Diagram has a Top 25 of 2005 posted. And CokeMachineGlow has a listravaganza with great lists like "Top 8 Songs from Mediocre 2005 Albums," "Top 30 'Other' Albums of the '90s" and "Top 10 Nonsense Michael Stipe Lyrics From Early R.E.M. Songs."
SONY XCP CD DEBACLE: In response to Sony's recall of CDs with the PC security-threatening copy-protection scheme, Amazon has been proactive, but other retailers not so much. This may change once it gets around that New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer dispatched investigators who, disguised as customers, were able to purchase affected CDs in New York music retail outlets.
FILESHARING: In an untirely unrelated story, a report by Jupiter Research suggests European consumers who download music from illegal file-sharing websites vastly outnumber those using legal services.
JENS LEKMAN draws comparisons to Stephin Merritt, Morrissey, Jonathan Richman and Belle and Sebastian on the Pitchfork. You can check him out with legal MP3s via My Old Kentucky Blog and the Secretly Canadian label.
NEUTRAL MILK HOTEL: It appears that NMH mastermind Jeff Magnum left cassettes of demos behind when he moved out of one of his college pads. So it was only a matter of time before they landed online.
CHRIS CORNELL of Audioslave and Soundgarden is demanding that his ex-wife, ex-manager give him his money back. And don't forget to give him back his black T-shirt...
DANIEL JOHNSON has been hospitalized in Waller, TX, probably for lithium poisoning.
DESTROYER -- fronted by New Pornographer Dan Bejar -- is working overtime to finish an album for February 2006.
TOE-STUBBER: Music that makes you go "ow!" And not in that good Godfather of Soul way, either.
PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: The shamed supermodel has dumped the troubled singer again, after learning he skipped out on rehab. And it looks like Moss won't be the only one singing "Fairytale of New York" with the Pogues this holiday season.
BRADGELINA: Pitt and Jolie barred non-Japanese media from their press conference to promote Mr. & Mrs. Smith. But in the age of the Internet, it was only a matter of time before people translated the Japanese stories and even posted the video. And watching that video makes me think that there might be something goin' on between those two.
MITZVAHPALOOZA: Tabloid Baby has exclusive photos from the star-studded bat mitzvah staged by multi-millionaire defense contractor David H. Brooks, as noted here yesterday. They did cause me to wonder whether anyone should invite Don Henley to a bat mitzvah... SEMI-RELATED: The story causes Amber Taylor to ask the eternal question: Springsteen or Petty? The answer, of course, is Presley.
BRITNEY SPEARS and husband Cletus have transformed their baby's bedroom into a nativity scene.
JULIA ROBERTS tops The Hollywood Reporter list of bigtime actresses, despite the fact that she wasn't in any movies this year. High School + Money = Hollywood.
COLIN FARRELL is almost a porn star, as former Playboy Playmate Nicole Narain feels confident she and the Internet Commerce Group will beat back the injunction Farrell obtained against the release of the video he made with Narain.
PINK has been signed to a Janis Joplin biopic to be directed by Penelope Spheeris.
THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE The kid stars and director chat with the Daily Mail.
JESSICA ALBA is asked stupid questions in Entertainment Weekly, to good effect: "So do you ever wake up, look in the mirror, and say, 'Holy crap! There's a totally hot chick staring right at me!' and then realize, 'Oh, It's just me'?"
GARFLECK: With Jennifer Garner's bun almost out of the oven, Ben Affleck's flack is denying rumors that the couple has snagged an exclusive "seven-figure" contract with Starbucks to quaff and be photographed toting the popular, burnt-smelling coffee. Starbucks also denies any deal.
TOM-KAT UPDATE: The American College of Radiology has warned Cruise and Holmes against performing their own fetal ultrasound exams, saying not only is the practice unsafe, it could be violation of federal law.
JUDE LAW and SIENNA MILLER: Miller is reportedly miffed that Law plans to spend Christmas with his kids instead of her. A source told London's Daily Mirror: "She doesn't seem to understand that Jude's children have to take priority and it's not all about her and what she wants to do. Jude has other responsibilities, but she seems to be trying to make him feel guilty."
ROD STEWART is a dad for sixth time, not counting Stacy.
ELTON JOHN and GEORGE MICHAEL are will be taking advantage of a new British law offering homosexuals many of the legal protections available to married couples. With other men, not with each other, that is.
KEIRA KNIGHTLEY is reportedly so desperate to win back ex-love Jamie Dornan she's delivering flowers and food to his home. What would Elizabeth Bennet say?
IRAQ: Bill Roggio blogs the turnover of control of the western border to the Iraqi Security Forces and notes the start of Operation Iron Hammer in the city of Hit. Kevin Sites visits one of Saddam's torture chambers in Sulaymaniyah. Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria seems grudgingly optimistic about prospects for the future. The peace activists called Christian Peacemaker Teams blame the US for the abduction of four of their members by the Swords of Righteousness Brigade.
CULT OF THE iPod: Piper Jaffray analysts predict that within five years, Apple could release an iPod with one terabyte of storage for about 500 bucks.
TINFOIL HATS: Wired has a piece about marketing to Americans concerned about exposure to mobile phone and electrical infrastructure. Ruth Douglas Miller, chair of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society's Committee on Man and Radiation, says scientific evidence does not support claims that signals emitted by everyday devices are harmful. And regular Pate visitors know tinfoil hats can do more harm than good.
SEATTLE HORSE-SEX UPDATE: James Michael Tait has pleaded guilty to trespassing in connection with a fatal horse-sex case. Tait was videotaping friend Kenneth Pinyan and a horse when Pinyan suffered internal injuries that led to his death.
DOLPHINS help alleviate mild to moderate depression.
PANDA CUB Tai Shan made his public debut at the National Zoo Tuesday, "reducing one of the hardest-bitten press corps in the world to cooing and incoherent babble." Video at the link.
TWO-HEADED TURTLE is drawing big crowds at a Chilean Serpentarium. Photo at the link.
STOWAWAY CAT UPDATE: Emily, the house cat found in France about a month after wandering from her home in Wisconsin, is set to fly business class home.
THE WORLD'S UGLIEST DOG: The late Sam is mourned in this video report from CNN.