TMZ reports that there were no signs of foul play in Brittany Murphy's death at age 32.

EW looks back on Murphy's biggest roles. Also, should Hulu have taken down a recent SNL skit that spoofed Murphy?

And speaking of SNL, Charles Barkley will host on Jan. 9. This is surprising and delightful news. TV Tattle writes: "The last time the retired NBA star hosted, on Sept. 25, 1993, the musical guest was Nirvana six months before Kurt Cobain's death."

Could the distinguished Paley Center be cooking up an awards ceremony to rival the Emmys? That'd be cool with me.

Rage Against the Machine beat out Simon Cowell's X Factor champion to win the coveted UK Christmas No. 1.

Radiohead are headed back to the studio next month.

Elf, which I enjoyed watching again yesterday next to the fireplace at my parents' house, is coming to Broadway.

So why do those aliens in Avatar have breasts, anyway?

Speaking of Avatar, director James Cameron is at work on a sci-fi TV series for Fox.

Stereogum is streaming a new track from Broken Bells, the Shins/Danger Mouse collaboration.

Susan Boyle has spawned imitators in other countries.

Slate sings the praises of The Replacements to commemorate the 25th anniversary of their landmark Let It Be.

AV Club lists the least essential albums of 2009.

Former Smashing Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlin is starting a new band called This.

Most prominent year-end music lists are pretty similar. Mine (coming later this week) will admittedly contain many of the same records you've seen on other lists. But experimental music rag The Wire put together something truly unique to recap 2009, with Broadcast & The Focus Group's Investigate Witch Cults of the Radio Age taking the crown. Kudos.

In other alternative list news, Stereogum's metal columnist counts down his top 30 metal releases of the year.

We finish with Drums' video for "I Felt So Stupid."