All of us have been there—a great date, too much wine, a lot of heavy kissing, and the next thing you know you’re waking up at his place with none of your necessities. You have dragon breath, raccoon eyes, hair that looks like you were caught in a wind storm, your head is pounding and you’re lying next to the guy you’re hoping to continue dating. How can you be prepared
without looking presumptuous?


While the Rest of the World Is on Vacation, a Handful of Cesspool Chimps Keeps Typing Away
We’ve got a skeleton crew this week, kiddies. Primary Planner scribe Roy Trakin could hardly believe his good fortune when Arista offered to fly, feed and accommodate him on the company tab for four days in the Big Apple, where BMG is putting on a gala dog-and-pony show this week—how wonderfully old-skool is that? Not only that, but returning staffer David Simutis flew to Japan on Tuesday with the band he manages, not to be heard from for another week. As a result of these temporary defections, you’ll find some holes in this week’s edition. On the other hand, considering the crap we peddle, less is probably more… This just in: Trakin has found the time to bang out a paean to his hometown; you’ll find it below.

1. The Kobe Konundrum:
As a die-hard Lakers fan with a special fondness for super athlete and former model citizen Kobe Bryant, I’m devastated by what would seem to be a rare instance of bad judgment that has obliterated his good name and could conceivably land him in prison, if a jury finds that he’s guilty not just of an indiscretion but (I hesitate to type the word) rape. I dread watching his first court appearance (which will undoubtedly be televised across the board, as if it were a State of the Union), but I have no choice. When Kobe’s press conference was aired two weeks ago, I was sitting at a restaurant bar in Irvine, waiting to head over to a John Mayer concert. The sound on the bar TV was too low to be audible, but the faces and body language of Kobe and Vanessa revealed everything. I dread hearing the jeers and catcalls when Kobe takes the court for away games this fall, I dread the ever-circling media vultures, with their mics and cameras constantly pointed at him, but most of all I dread that moment when the verdict is read, with the whole world inevitably watching. I get anxious enough at the ends of close games; I can only imagine how much anxiety I’ll be experiencing on that fateful day. I fervently hope his accuser is lying, and that the setup becomes unequivocally clear, but I suspect the reality of what happened is far too ambiguous for such an outcome. This is all just as unbelievable to me now as it was when the first news reports hit on the night of July 4. It was going to be such a fascinating season—although some might say that it will be even more fascinating now. —BS

 2. Scoring the Summer Shows: I haven't been obsessively watching that many of the new shows—although I happened to catch the last few moments of some new reality show last night on which engaged couples competed against each other for their dream wedding. Hmm… It was pretty cheesy, but I might watch it again. I did tune in to the first episode of Nip/Tuck with extreme curiosity, though. I thought it was quite dark and rather depressing, but then again, I felt the same way about Six Feet Under at first, and I LOVE that show now. So I’d like to give Nip/Tuck a shot, but we have a friggin’ Dish Network satellite, which only gives us East Coast feeds of certain channels, and FX is one of them. I’ll never be able to catch it since I work late every Tuesday. Damn it! [Ed. note: Either get Buddy to buy you a TiVo or learn how to program your VCR, Jocelyn.] I totally like Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, but come on, it’s basically just a combination of a bunch of TLC shows rolled into one. I dig makeover shows, whether they are about fashion or the home, and gay guys are funny to watch, so this one is right up my alley. —JD

 3. Laurel Canyon (Columbia Tri-Star DVD): Guess what? This movie is so much better than the reviews. In fact, it’s a must-see, especially for people who toil in the West Coast sector of this business, because it’s equally evocative as a rock movie and an L.A. movie. Yes, they got the rock & roll right this time, particularly the extreme in-studio goings on, although the vibe is perhaps more redolent of the '70s than the '00s—or is it '70s sex/drugs/r&r filtered through a pragmatic '00s filter? The performances from the always-scintillating Frances McDormand as the record-producer Mom, Christian Bale as her straight-laced MD son, Kate Beckinsale as Bale’s repression-shedding fiancee and Alessandro Nivola as the hedonist lead vocalist are uniformly captivating, and the music created for the film by Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse is not only credible, it’s compelling in its own right, with Nivola convincingly tackling his own lead vocals. Director Lisa Cholodenko (High Art) vividly captures the sights and vibe of the Canyon, and she nails the lure of the forbidden with great subtlety. Note to self: Attempt to scam a copy of the soundtrack album from Hollywood Records; I can’t get the movie’s central song out of my head. —BS

4. Tequila: In a world of cosmopolitans and green-apple martinis, sometimes the basics remain classic for a reason. Take tequila—straight up with lime and sometimes salt, margaritas in myriad flavors or sunrises to remind you what hit you last night. It's a pretty uncomplicated proposition—and it's the kind of thing that comes in enough grades and classes, you don't have to find yourself at the bottom of a well the next morning. "How much tequila did I drink last night?" the departed troubadour Steve Goodman once crowed in a song. There was much fun as rueful expression in the line; you got the feeling the pain didn't come anywhere near the pleasure, and it was only a matter of minutes before the bonding, the laughter, the good times were fixing to begin all over again. —HG

 5. The Everyothers: This NYC rock outfit unapologetically celebrates Bowie's high-glam period and Iggy Pop's rough-hewn but accessible solo work, and does honor to its influences with a tight set of finely wrought but aggressively rendered material. Their self-titled indie release, on the Hautlab label, was produced by Tim O'Heir (All American Rejects) and is generating a healthy buzz well ahead of its 9/23 street date. —SG

 6. The Onion Strikes Again: Did Benny Medina write this? http://www.theonion.com/onion3929/gigli_focus_groups.html —JO

 7. Reelin' in the Years: If you’re a Steely Dan person, rush to the newsstand and grab a copy of the July issue of U.K. music and film monthly Uncut (the one with a cover story on the Byrds; it comes with an attached CD of Byrds-inspired music) while it’s still available. Inside, you’ll find a mordantly hilarious interview piece with Fagen & Becker by Barney Hoskyns, one of our favorite rock scribes. Sample bit, in which the old misanthropes recall the early days of their groundbreaking band on L.A.-based ABC Records (where they regularly rubbed elbows with our esteemed Publisher, Dennis Lavinthal): Fagen: “Sex, marijuana and betting on sports were the main things that went on at ABC.” Becker: “In other words, it was an idyllic world.” Fagen: “It was a utopia.” Becker: “It was our own little private rolling bubble of schlock that sort of protected us and insulated us from the cowboy canyon thing.” Fagen: “[Randy Newman and Joni Mitchell] were part of a Warner Bros. thing; they were in a higher social class than we were. ABC was, like, a shit label, really…socially speaking we were pretty isolated.” We’ll have to ask Dennis to tell us all about the good old days. —BS

 8. Quote of the Week: Lynda Lopez, J.Lo’s sister and co-host of WNEW Blink 102.7’s morning show, dared to wake Jennifer up on the wrong side of the bed in an early-morning interview Wednesday. Lynda broke the news to her about a National Enquirer story about fiance Ben Affleck spending an evening in a strip club in Canada. Apparently, Ben is suing the tabloid about the article, which mentioned that he tipped very well. “He, w-he...it sounds like Ben,” a sleepy Jenny from the Block responded. “He, uh, does tip a lot...I don't know about this. I'll have to ask him." Then, Lynda suggested she get Ben on the phone. "Yeah,” J.Lo, who was not amused, said. “It's great to hear [this] first thing in the morning." It doesn’t matter if she’s still Jenny from the Block. Sisters will always be sisters. —VN

 9. Royal Palm Trees: Reaching straight for the sky. So singular in purpose, so regal in bearing. Royal Palms line the most major streets of our upper crust world—Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Palm Beach—but they're a harbinger of dignity against the elements. No matter what nature hurls at them, they bend and give and only occasionally, only under galeforce conditions, break in two. Mostly, though, they weather the storm, reach for the clouds, soak up the sun and never lose the erect carriage that is pride in one's fibre which never needs to be expressed or even understood, it just is. An apt signifier, perhaps, for the way we should all walk through this world. —HG

10. New York Minute: Can I get a whoop-whoop? WHTZ/a.k.a. Z100 celebrates its 20th birthday on Saturday. Also on Saturday, B2K will be making everyone say “Uh-huh” when the fab four hits Madison Square Garden (4 Penn Plaza). The cool cats tote along “Just a Friend” dude Mario, Nickelodeon star-turned-Jive recording artist Nick Cannon, Marques “Batman” Houston and DJ Jus. On Sunday, Denmark duo Junior Senior graduates to the Central Park SummerStage (72nd St. and Fifth Ave.) The venerable Sparks opens. —VN

I haven’t been back to my hometown since before 9/11, and much of what I’d heard about the city’s shell-shocked attitude in the wake of that tragedy had further dissuaded me from a visit. But returning to the Apple for this week’s Arista Reloaded presentation was a revelation, kinda like living out an episode of Sex and the City—without the sex part, of course. I had forgotten what it’s like to bounce from club to club, meeting people along the way, actual conversations about stuff, and, of course, girl watching. In L.A, all you usually see of people is from the waist up while stuck in traffic in your car, but in NYC, you literally bump into people in the street and move close enough to hear their conversations on the ubiquitous cell phones, as you wonder whether they’re talking to you, themselves or their Nokias.

 Us Weekly/Rolling Stone scribe Shirley Halperin and I headed down to Mott St. and Chinatown to the famed Wo Hop, where we downed the world-class egg drop and wonton combination soup. We shared our table with a childless couple married 37 years who still lived near Gramercy Park and swore by the shrimp congee. Then it was on to the Bowery Ballroom for the final song of the Hoobastank show and to Irving Plaza for Supergrass before hopping to a series of neighborhood bars in the East Village, finishing up in an after-hours club on Second Ave. Along the way, our party picked up a slew of people I talk to regularly but hadn’t seen in years, including Beggars Banquet’s Lesley Bleakley, former Loud exec Jon Davis, Formula PR’s Sioux Z and a host of other newfound friends, all bitching about the recent ban on indoor smoking. It reminded me of what I miss most about New York—the camaraderie, the street life, bars open until 4 a.m., meeting people spontaneously and talking about something other than the crummy shape of the music industry.

 Although it’s now going through one of its periods of “gentrification” (Bryant Park, which used to be the home to nickel-bag pot dealers, junkies and winos, is now home to at least two upscale restaurants), my beloved New York City remains the epicenter of the universe—one of the most vibrant cities on the planet. I haven’t missed it for a while now, but this time, being in Manhattan tugged at me. I loved it all, from getting the N.Y. Post’s ink on my hands to the Naked Cowboy in his underwear strumming his guitar and posing for tourists to breaking a sweat while briskly walking up Broadway past the giant, unfinished AOLTW monument to capitalism towering over Central Park. It was heartbreaking driving into town at dawn and not seeing the World Trade Center on the skyline, but New York remains a place unique in all the world, a buzzing swarm of humanity and concrete, a self-contained world with a heart whose pulse remains as strong as ever. Roy Trakin

Cheap Trick, Special One
(Big3): This definitive American hard-pop band has traveled a twisted road during its quarter century of existence—comprising the adventurous early years, the edge-blunted ’80s mainstream phase, the subsequent morphing into boomer-centric, rent-paying road dogs and the recent embrace by modern-day hipsters. Here, on their 17th studio album, the Tricksters, like so many other venerable acts, from the Rolling Stones to Hall & Oates, display an undiminished performing skill in the service of material that is merely serviceable rather than truly inspired. Working for the most part with engineer/co-producer Chris Shaw (who worked on Dylan’s Love and Theft), the band whips up an eclectic batch of genre numbers, from folk-rock to ’50s-style pop, with middling results. The most compelling moment in these efforts is the glorious instrumental section in the otherwise unexceptional “Pop Drone.” More intriguing are the stylistic experiments with a pair of guest producers. The veteran Jack Douglas polishes the title track to a chromium ’80s sheen, and Chicago renegade Steve Albini pushes guitarist Rick Nielson and drummer Bun. E. Carlos to their former heights on the triumphantly brutal “Sorry Boy,” the standout track, while cleverly revealing the band’s T. Rex tendencies on “Low Life in High Heels” (which Dan the Automator puzzlingly “remixes” on the subsequent, virtually identical “Hummer”). Whether it’s the result of having their edge worn down by thousands of dates or their deep-seated perversity, Cheap Trick manage to tantalize us without ever quite getting to the payoff. Based on the evidence provided on this problematic disc, the band would be well advised to attach Albini to an entire album project next time around.
Bud Scoppa

Elefant, Sunlight Makes Me Paranoid (Kemado):
Before pigeonholing this sparkling, yet restrained debut as simple retro-leaning fop-rock, listen to the details—particularly the spaces left in the mix that allow each part to play its role to maximum effect. Rather than have writer/singer Diego Garcia’s Bowie-informed, Morrissey/Robert Smith-redolent vocals swim in a wash of chiming guitars and synth “atmosphere,” the sounds are carefully chosen and used sparingly, resulting in music that breathes and repeatedly achieves major dramatic heights: Check out the percussive second-verse guitar accents or noisy bridge of “Now That I Miss Her,” the disturbingly big synth pads in “Tonight Let’s Dance,” or the undeniably urgent guitar sound entering at 2:30 in “Misfit.” No mere aping of vintage New Wave, this is one of those cases where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts—and influences. Jon O’Hara

 Eve 6, It’s All In Your Head (RCA): One of three late-’90s breakthrough pop-punk number bands (with Blink-182 and Sum 41), this L.A. trio is feeling the pressure on the third effort to duplicate the success of its multi-platinum bow. Singer/bassist Max Collins has been spotted running through a Pittsburgh hotel lobby with nothing on but shaving cream and sporting a “set-long running nose” by a N.Y. tabloid. So it’s no wonder he laments, “I can’t let go/I can’t get out” in the single, “Think Twice,” as his band moves from Green Day rant to finding emo, from disillusion to dissolution. The group does expand its musical palette, with drummer Tony Fagenson taking a cue from his dad, producer Don Was, and adding a reggae backbeat to the Police-like “Good Lives,” while “Hey Montana” is a stark English folk tale of a teen runaway. —RT

 311, Evolver (Volcano): Though the title of this influential PoMo band’s seventh studio album hints at big changes, fans of their deft mixture of melody, crunch and groove will find little to quarrel with here. This evolution is in the direction of burnished craft. Bassist P-Nut and drummer Chad Sexton continue to stun with their rhythmic dexterity, encompassing Caribbean lilt, prog-rock precision and metallic fury—often within the space of a few bars. Singer-guitarist Nick Hexum and MC S.A. Martinez still comprise one of the format’s most unique counterpoints, and the album’s production (by the band and Ron Saint Germain) is masterfully crisp. Highlights include the heavy “Creatures (for a While),” the punchy, infectious “Same Mistake Twice,” the uptempo “Still Dreaming” and sexy, ska-inflected “Give Me a Call.”
Simon Glickman

Last week, I received disturbing news—my last remaining single girlfriend (we’ll call her “Jane”) had in fact found a boyfriend. I was crushed. What does that make me—the last woman standing? The news came via e-mail, as I was trying to confirm weekend plans with her. The previous day, we had discussed embarking on a gals-only road trip, but to my dismay, I received the “I can’t go because so-and-so and I have plans” response. What happened to same-sex loyalty? And what had happened within a 24-hour period to make my once normal friend switch into girlfriend mode. I immediately rang up little Miss I’ve Fallen Into the Boyfriend Trap to find out what had prompted this metamorphosis. It so happens that the previous night, my once single-and-loving-it friend went on her fourth date with the man in question. During this date, he introduced Jane to his friends as his “girlfriend.” First of all, am I the only one who finds it incredibly strange that after only four dates, none of which were overnight dates, he invoked the “G” word? Well, she didn’t seem to mind and immediately switched into “my life revolves around you” mode. Why is it when a girl is bumped to girlfriend status by whomever she is dating, suddenly she can’t fathom living a day without being attached to his hip? This is incredibly irritating to a terminally single gal like myself. My cocktail of the week is dedicated to all of you single gals who have been slighted by a friend for a guy.

 Bitch Slap
½ oz. vodka
½ oz. Bacardi
½ oz. Everclear (Yuck! I haven’t had that since high school.)
½ oz. gin
Splash lemonade and 7-Up.

 Jane tried to console me, and my singleness, by telling me I would someday find a guy to date, and then we could do really fun couple things together—one Bitch Slap coming up, and make that a double. It sucks when you lose one of your girls to the other side, but don’t worry, she’ll be back—girlfriends last forever, and guys never last long enough. Jane’s pairing up started my wheels turning about the events we experience leading up to the official coupling up. One of these major events is the first overnight date. All of us have been there—a great date, too much wine, a lot of heavy kissing, and the next thing you know you’re waking up at his place with none of your necessities. You have dragon breath, raccoon eyes, hair that looks like you were caught in a wind storm, your head is pounding and you’re lying next to the guy you’re hoping to continue dating. How can you be prepared without looking presumptuous? As always, I’m here to help. I’ve created the 10 essentials every gal needs in her purse to be prepared for her first overnight date.

1.     Condoms: No explanation needed—and make sure they’re not expired!

2.     Aspirin: To get rid of the pounding reminder that you consumed too much wine.

3.     Birth Control Pills: To keep you on schedule. This is not the time to start missing pills.

4.     Dental Dots Fingertip Toothbrush (available at drugstores): To restart your make-out session without horrendous breath. They’re small, disposable and have toothpaste already on them—what a great invention.

5.     Chapstick: To calm your very sore and tired lips.

6.     Visine: To get the red out.

7.     Concealer: To cover up those nasty bags underneath your eyes.

8.     Cream blush: To bring a little color back into your pale, post-partying face.

9.     Scented lotion (not too scented): To cover up the smell of alcohol seeping from your pores.

10.  Hair band: To tame your wild, morning-after hair.

 These items won’t take up much room in your purse and will at least allow you to look decent when you embark on your walk of shame. And guys, you can help, too. You were lucky enough to be graced with a sleep-over, so you need to be prepared. Some things you must have in your bachelor pad: bottled water (girls don’t drink L.A. tap water), juice or Gatorade (you’re both going to be very dehydrated), an extra toothbrush still in the box (in case she doesn’t read this), a clean wash cloth and hand towel (she doesn’t want to dry her face and hands on your already-used bath towel), and you’ll get extra points if you have coffee and bagels to offer her in the morning.

 De’s L.A. bar pick of the week: You may not have a special someone to share sunsets with, but you can still star gaze at the Sunset Room on Cahuenga Blvd. in Hollywood. This supper club is more sophisticated than the typical Hollywood nightclub and has been dubbed the “The Brown Derby of our generation” by Kevin Costner. Last week, I spotted the lovely Janet Jackson (and her security guards) lounging in a back booth. If you have the cash, reserve one of the VIP cabanas and pretend you’re one of the Hollywood elite. As with most trendy Los Angeles clubs, I strongly suggest making dinner reservations to guarantee entrance. For reservations, call (323) 463-0004.

 I hope everyone has a safe weekend, and remember—you might be a lucky participant in an overnighter, so be prepared. Until next week—hugs and kisses. Denise Bayles

Contributors: Denise Bayles, Darren Cava, Jocelyn Deal, Holly Gleason, Simon Glickman, Jon O'Hara and Roy Trakin

Edited by Bud Scoppa

His first stop at the top (5/6a)
Khaled gets another party started. (5/6a)
A heartwarming virtual hook-up (5/6a)
Vaxxed and masked, Nicole ventures out. (5/6a)
The Great White Way begins to repopulate. (5/6a)
The musical tapestry we know as R&B.
Predicting the next big catalog deal.
Once we all get vaccinated, how long before we can party?
How is globalization bringing far-flung territories into the musical mainstream?

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