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New Releases streams and MP3s, The King of France, The Lost World   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, February 08, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


RICHARD THOMPSON was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in London Monday. Thompson also has a big box set out; the AP review suggests it's for the hardcore fan, with more casual fans being better served by collections like Watching The Dark.

NEW RELEASES: The Life Pursuit by Belle & Sebastian has a guilt-free MP3 of "Another Sunny Day" available at Matador; the album (currently scoring 76 at Metacritic) is streaming at AOL Music. Beth Orton's Comfort of Strangers, which is currently scoring an 81 at Metacritic, is also streaming from AOL Music. Idols of Exile, a solo effort from Broken Social Scenester Jason Collett is streaming from his label. The Minus Five, a/k/a The Gun Album, is fresh from Scott McCaughey & friends -- it's scoring 72 o­n light reviews at Metacritic and you can check out the audio feature from NPR and pick up the guilt-free MP3s from YepRoc. BTW, the -5's west coast dates feature Robyn Hitchcock, whereas the rest of the tour has The Silos opening. And if you get o­n the Minus 5 mailing list, Scott McCaughey may write a song about you.

A REMINDER: An exclusive Jon Pratt solo track, "Geologic Time," and a rare Pate track, "Chalk It Up to Fate," from Pate's 1991 reunion gig, are available in the "Downloads" section via the navigation bar o­n the left (and at the top, also).

TED LEO is moving from the Lookout! label to Touch & Go: "T&G is a label that has provided me, personally, with amazing music for 25 years... it's an honor to now be a real part of their o­ngoing ruling-ness."

MORE COWBELL! The Wikipedia is compiling a list of songs featuring the cowbell. That entry cross-references the Wikipedia entry for "More Cowbell," which describes and measures the impact of the viral SNL sketch featuring Will Farrell and Christopher Walken.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: The Who's classic performance of "My Generation" o­n the Smothers Bros. Comedy Hour, which opens The Kids Are Alright. Keith Moon had stagehands double the explosives in his kit, which put a chunk of drum shrapnel in Moon's arm, set Pete Townshend's head o­n fire, and supposedly got the guitarist's tinitus off to an unhealthy start. You can see Pete putting his hair out near the end of the clip.

THE KING OF FRANCE: I first meant to check out this band when a blurb in The New Yorker not o­nly namechecked Blondie, Television, and the Pixies, but also mentioned that the drummer is Michael Azerrad, the author of the fabulous Our Band Could Be Your Life. But it slipped my mind until I read that the band is touring with Nada Surf and Rogue Wave, despite having a name not related to water. You can stream some nifty pop from MySpace and grab the guilt-free downloads of "Mexico" and "White Confection."

SPRING TOURS have been announced by Neko Case and The Magic Numbers.

STING is suing his chauffeur for claims the rock star's marriage to Trudie Styler is in trouble. But he's suing for "breach of confidence," not defamation.

THE UNDERTOW ORCHESTRA: Frank at Chromewaves has an excellent post o­n the conglomerate tour of Will Johnson (Centro-Matic), Dave Bazan (ex-Pedro The Lion, Headphones), Mark Eitzel (American Music Club) and Vic Chesnutt. Especially cool is the guilt free download of AMC's entire Everclear album, but there are other links and downloads to check out as well.

SONY CD SETTLEMENT: If your computer was infected with spyware or rootkits when you tried to play a Sony BMG CD o­n it, Sony owes you money, music and an uninstaller. Boing-Boing has the highlights, plus a link to the details. This does not mean companies like SunComm are going away, natch...

THE RACONTEURS -- Jack White and Brendan Benson, backed by The Greenhornes' rhythm section -- will have an album out in May, which is a good excuse to remind everyone to check out their single at their retro-cool website.

KEIRA KNIGHTLEY and SCARLETT JOHANSSON grace the cover of the Hollywood issue of Vanity Fair, with guest artistic director Tom Ford sitting in for Rachel McAdams, who backed out at the last minute, as noted here in December. Angelina Jolie will be similarly unclothed inside the mag, which comes out today, iirc. I don't know what Jane Austen would say about it, but I'll bet Woody Allen buys a dozen. Knightley and Johansson were said to be a little embarrassed about posing nude; Keira says as much o­n the the sadly safe-for-work video, which is also posted o­n YouTube. Scarlett was rocking a vintage Police tour jersey after the shoot.

THE GRAMMYS, airing tonight, are hazardous to your relationship, if Sheryl Crow, Madonna and Springsteen are any indicator. PLUS: The opening slot set off a Mariah-Madonna catfight, but Cream is blowing off the ceremonies.

JACK BLACK grew up in a sex cult where his father and mother were in a nightly menage a trois. Which explains a bit about Jack Black.

SIENNA MILLER may be the latest to go o­n the Skeletor diet. She's playing Edie Sedgwick in Factory Girl, so maybe she just wants to look strung out for the role.

JUDE LAW is set to play late Beatles manager Brian Epstein in the biopic mentioned here Monday.

BRITNEY SPEARS has defended photos of her holding her baby son o­n her lap while driving, saying she was trying to escape the paparazzi. At least, that's what she probably told the LA County Sheriff's Dept...

BLOCKBUSTERS may be slowly dying -- the revenue from Top 25 films as a percentage of total box office is dropping, even as their cost as a percentage of total box office is rising. Long Tail blogger Chris Anderson writes: "It's not nearly as dire as in music, but it's trending in the same direction."

...AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT: Terry Gilliam cuts off his nose to spite his face. A man looking for movie money probably should not attack the Weinsteins.

LOST has a new episode tonight. Viewers can recap the last o­ne at TVgasm. Anyone getting interested in the show can find character basics and weekly revelations at MSNBC, which is quite a tribute from a rival network.

RALPH FINNES has been forgiven by his 62-year-old galpal for his two-year affair with a woman half her age, as she knows that she cannot "fulfill all his sexual needs." Otoh, his ex-wife, ER star Alex Kingston, was devastated by the affair.

DENISE RICHARDS secretly took an AIDS test because she's convinced that soon-to-be-ex CHARLIE SHEEN had been cheating o­n her with hookers throughout their attempted reconciliation? Granted, it's in the Enquirer, so it may well be untrue... but it might not be a bad suggestion.

It's from Mr. & Mrs. Smith, natch...BRADGELINA: The media has a fever... and the o­nly prescription is... more Bradgelina! Pitt's publicist Cindy Guagenti told Reuters there was no truth to the rumor about an imminent Italian wedding, adding cryptically, "They are not getting married. I don't want a story about they're not getting married. I think you guys should just drop the whole thing."

CULT OF THE iPod: Apple's stock rose after the company introduced a new o­ne-gigabyte iPod Nano and cut prices o­n the iPod Shuffle. The Chicago Tribune looked at workers rocking the cubicle.

IRAQ: Insurgents are receiving millions of dollars from smuggling oil through a network of supporters working in Iraq's oil industry. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld told a Senate panel that such corruption could damage efforts to create a democracy, adding that coalition officials are doing more to investigate those problems within the government. Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senators that the National Guard and Reserves will play a much smaller role next year. Meanwhile, The House Permanent Select Committee o­n Intelligence is studying audio recordings between Saddam Hussein and his top advisers that may provide clues to the fate of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Chairman Peter Hoekstra of Michigan: "I am trying to find out if our postwar intelligence was as bad as our pre-war intelligence."

IRAN has told the International Atomic Energy Agency to remove surveillance cameras and agency seals from sites and nuclear equipment by the end of next week in response to referral to the UN Security Council. Implementing some version of the "Russian Proposal" offers small chance to avoid conflict, but falls short as a non-proliferation mechanism. Former Democratic Rep. Mel Levine argues that sanctions actually could prevent a nuclear Iran, albeit at the cost of higher oil prices.

CORETTA SCOTT KING'S FUNERAL: Pres. Bush praised MLK's wife. The Rev. Joseph Lowery and former Pres. Jimmy Carter attacked Pres. Bush. Turning a funeral into a political event turned off independent voters in the 2002 election cycle, but some people are slow learners.

THE LOST WORLD: An astonishing mist-shrouded "lost world" of previously unknown and rare animals and plants high in the mountain rainforests of New Guinea has been uncovered by an international team of scientists. In a jungle camp site, surrounded by giant flowers and unknown plants, the researchers watched rare bowerbirds perform elaborate courtship rituals. The surrounding forest was full of strange mammals, such as tree kangaroos and spiny anteaters, which appeared totally unafraid, suggesting no previous contact with humans. The golden-mantled tree kangaroo is o­ne of the creatures in the slideshow at Yahoo!

IT TAKES A VILLAGE to pull a hunter from the jaws of a man-eating crocodile in northeastern Zimbabwe.

SHAC TRIAL: Jury selection began Monday for six members of the Philadelphia-based Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, o­n charges with animal enterprise terrorism, conspiracy and interstate stalking, part of a plan to drive Huntingdon Life Sciences out of business. "Anything they can pin o­n the defendants is an act of free speech," says a SHAC spokeswoman.

B.B. KING has lost his two-year-old Maltese, Lucille, and the blues legend is offering an autographed copy of o­ne of his signature "Lucille" guitars in an effort to get her back.

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Of Montreal, Nick Drake, The Buggles, T.Rex, Feznick the Kangaroo   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, February 07, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


OF MONTREAL, part of the Elephant 6 collective in Athens of the late 1990s -- a group of bands like The Apples in Stereo and the Olivia Tremor Control -- is now in version 2.0, adding David Bowie and Brian Eno to the Beach Boys and the Beatles as influences. Kevin Barnes admits to "some '80s stuff in there, too." You can stream two each from the new The Sunlandic Twins and 2002's Satanic Panic in the Attic from MySpace. Those tunes and more are also downloadable at the band's website. You Ain't No Picasso kills music with two new tracks from the tour-only EP and a 2002 covers show including songs by The Who, David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, Big Star, The Beatles, Neil Young, The Kinks, The Velvet Underground and The Creation.

CAT POWER: Chan Marshall has canceled her entire American tour. Matador Records cited "health reasons" as the cause of the cancellation.

MARVIN GAYE looks to be the subject of a biopic starring Jesse L. Martin, focusing o­n the soul singer's final years.

COLIN MELOY: An Aquarium Drunkard is killing music by posting Meloy's EP of Shirley Collins covers.

NICK DRAKE killed himself, but was it a suicide? A recently surfaced note may shed light o­n the question.

NEIL YOUNG: New York magazine reviews the Jonathan Demme concert documentary, Heart of Gold.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: The first video aired o­n MTV -- "Video Killed the Radio Star," by the Buggles.

JENNY LEWIS and BLAKE SENNETT: The Rilo Kiley duo garner ever more pub for their side projects. The staff at the Scotsman must be hot for Jenny, as she tells Richard Cromelin that the side projects refresh her and Blake for more RK albums, and tells Aidan Smith about the role of autobiography in her songs. Sennett gets to blurb the Elected's Sun, Sun, Sun a bit at Paste. Rabbit Fur Coat scores a 79 at Metacritic, while Sun, Sun, Sun scores a 63 (though much higher with "users"). The Jenny Lewis video has turned up o­n YouTube.

PUNK LOSES ANOTHER OUTPOST: First it was CBGB. Now, it's The Continental -- a dive that o­nce showcased the likes of Iggy Pop, Guns N' Roses, the Ramones and Patti Smith -- that announces it will no longer have live bands.

JIM NOIR: A multi-instrumentalist from the same Manchester suburb as Badly Drawn Boy, A Certain Ratio and James is profiled in London's Guardian. He's streaming his album from his website. The Guardian namechecks Brian Wilson with some justification, though some of it is more like other strands of Cali-folk-psych.

RYAN ADAMS put out three albums this year; gripes about quantity over quality have prompted New York magazine and Stylus to compile "best of" mixes.

T. REX: Three more deluxe T. Rex and Bolan reissues and a collection of Work in Progress are reviewed o­n the Pitchfork.

YUPSTERS: The phenomenon of the indie-yuppie has spread as far as Singapore. Mr C Y Choong works in the oil business, but visits yupster heaven Pitchforkmedia.com religiously.

REESE WITHERSPOON'S stalkerazzo photog -- charged with battery and child endangerment after pestering Reese and her kids at a theme park last fall -- has apparently been found dead.

LOVE MONKEY should be o­n tonight. The Toronto Star covers the integral role of music in the show. The Seattle Times looks at the import of TV exposure for indie rock generally.

KATE MOSS is helping Colin Farrell with rehab?

MORGAN FREEMAN is slated to play Duke Ellington in a movie about the Ellington orchestra's tour of Iraq, which included CIA spies in the entourage.

THE GRAMMYS are tomorrow night. Chicago Tribune critic Greg Kot writes that infoglut makes them seem less relevant to more people each year. The Envelope has Kot and others handicap the major races. The Envelope also notes that these days, a single Grammy may go to dozens of people.

AN OSCARS GUIDE, courtesy of Entertainment Weekly, to help sort out Huffman from Hoffman.

BASIC INSTINCT 2 has been negotiated down to a hard-R rating after an initial NC-17 from the MPAA. NYDN gossips Rush & Molloy were told that Stone refused to use a body double. "Believe me, she's still hot," says o­ne guy who's seen the action. Or you could peek at the NSFW promo reel or the screen caps at Egotastic.

BRADGELINA: The latest marriage rumor centers o­n Ireland. London's Sun claims that Jennifer Aniston believes the break-up of their marriage was “karma” for telling everyone how blissful it was. But o­ne of Aniston's friends was busy telling Page Six that Pitt reall is "missing a sensitivity chip."

COURTNEY LOVE has been writing new material in rehab, from which she was recently discharged.

KIM BASINGER and ALEC BALDWIN continue to torture each other, which would be a dictionary definition of "just desserts" if their child was not stuck in the middle.

TRAILERS REMIXED: Fight Club as a romantic comedy and the timely trailer for Brokeback to the Future.

BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN: Speaking of which, as noted here the past few days, some Academy members are loathe to watch the gay cowboy movie. But it seems that hetero guys in San Francisco aren't keen o­n the idea, either. Oddly, the critic's suggestions at the link don't include his best suggestion, which is to take a woman. After all, having identified it as a "date movie," he should realize that single guys probably weren't going to stampede to it by themselves, even without the gay angle.

BRITNEY SPEARS has reportedly been approached by several weight loss companies to undergo their plans and become a spokesgal, according to the obscure tabloid Celebrity Living.

IRAQ: At Iraq the Model, Omar reports that "the latest meetings among the political leaders look much like meeting between tribal leaders when they try to solve a problem... The key is food!" Iraqi police arrested the fourth-ranking figure in Al-Qaeda in Iraq, state television said Sunday, while officials are investigating whether the group's leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, had fled to neighboring Iran. Sunni Arabs have formed their own militia to counter Shi'ite and Kurdish forces, now that their tactical alliance with al Qaeda has unraveled. The Defense Dept. is tripling spending to combat increasingly powerful IEDs.

CARTOON JIHAD: At least five people have been killed in protests and riots against Danish cartoons satirizing the Prophet Muhammad. Mobs in Iran firebombed the Danish embassy and threw stones and firecrackers at the Austrian embassy. The Iranian government cut all trade ties with Denmark. The weekend riot in Beirut was well-planned and known in advance, which may bear o­n the question of why there were loads of Danish flags ready to burn across the Mideast. At Iraq the Model, Omar suggests that almost none of the rioters have seen the cartoons. I suppose that's possible, though anyone who wants to see the cartoons can find them -- in this Flickr gallery, for example.

NSA SURVEILLANCE: The Senate Judiciary Cmte held a hearing o­n the program that Google News shows the press to be calling a "domestic spying" program, though it involves international telephone calls. We learned that a number of Senators think Congress has the last word o­n warrantless collection of foreign surveillance, while the Bush Administration believes otherwise. Of course, the Clinton Administration believed there are cases where the Pres. could decline to enforce a statute that he views as unconstitutional, and that in extraordinary circumstances, national security considerations would justify ignoring federal wiretapping statutes. It's a textbook separation-of-powers dispute. But with no Senator demanding the eavesdropping stop, let alone threatening to cut off funding for the program, it suggests the Senate is more interested in who has power than in anyone's civil liberties.

FEZNICK, an aspiring celebrity kangaroo, underwent lip surgery because he was bitten by a wolf at a Hollywood animal farm. Of course, we hear this story from all sorts of aspiring celebrities before they get the collagen injections...

BIRDS can recognize different languages, just like monkeys, mice and other mammals.

SHARK interrupts an ocean swimming race in Australia.

"A HERD OF COWS kicked my car..." is among the freak animal accident claims reported by British drivers last year.

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Robert Pollard, Cookie Monster, The Jam, Wild Cats and Dogs   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, February 06, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


SYLVIA HAUSER UPDATE: You old skool Pate fans from Ames may be interested to learn that Sylvia's fiancee is back from the sandbox and they have welcomed an as-yet unnamed Harley-Davidson Softail Fat Boy into their family, as pictured o­n the far right. At the far left is Lady Macbeth, next to Lady Catherine. Sylvia has refused to name her bike, which is very Sylvia. Lex apparently got quite a deal o­n the bike, so we need not worry about the unscrupulous dealers some soldiers face after coming home. Moreover, he got quite a deal o­n the fiancee, so he did not need the Army seminar o­n avoiding marrying a jerk.

ROBERT POLLARD misses the guys from the band, but not the GbV brand: "To me, it was more like a guild than a band. It had been through probably 40 or 50 people, if not more." From A Compund Eye, which is currently scoring an 80 at Metacritic, is streaming in glorious Quicktime via Merge Records.

WE'RE JAMMIN': I don't know how I missed this apparently regular featue in the Guardian, which has Pascal Wyse interviewing and playing trombone with artists like Robyn Hitchcock and Jose Gonzalez, with MP3 downloads of the results.

BRIAN EPSTEIN is the subject of a feature film, The Fifth Beatle. Screenwriter Vivek Tiwary: "I was hoping to find a blueprint for success in the music management world." Instead, he found "this tremendously inspirational human story."

THE COOKIE MONSTER is interviewed about his influence o­n death metal.

SONIC YOUTH: Thurston Moore tells CMJ that the departure of guitarist Jim O'Rourke has shaped the sound of the upcoming record: "This record is just a far more straight up rock and roll album for us..."

DOMINO, the record label of the Arctic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand, must be doing something right, so the Independent looked into it.

MOTOWN ARCHIVES were razed for Superbowl parking. There are a lot of fingers being pointed at each other.

THE JAM were a way of life. London's Guardian quotes ex-NME writer Adrian Thrills: "They did become huge, but there was a real dialogue between the band and their fans. And it transcended what the Pistols and the Clash had done, didn't it? Those bands were singing about Britain, but they weren't singing about their audience." Weller warms up for the Brits' Lifetime Achievement award by slagging past recipents like Bob Geldof, Sting and Freddie Mercury. Let's salute Weller with the video for "Going Underground" as well as an excellent live TV appearance covering the Kinks' "David Watts."

WATERLOO SUNSET: Ray Davies reveals that the Kinks classic was originally set in Liverpool and addresssed the death of the city's music scene. And we have the vintage video.

JOHNNY CASH: In London's Guardian, John Harris frets that the UK release of Walk The Line will cause a rash of Cash hype.

ARCTIC MONKEYS defend their album cover, a photo of a lad smoking a cigarette. YouTube hosts the live video for "I Bet You Look Good o­n the Dancefloor," which looks like a knock off of The Old Grey Whistle Test.

BAY CITY ROLLERS Les McKeown and Pat McGlynn were cleared of plotting a £16,000 drugs deal Friday.

GARY GLITTER is to stand trial in Vietnam at the end of this month for allegedly committing obscene acts against two children.

SMASHING PUMPKINS: Sources say Billy Corgan and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin are set to begin work o­n a new studio album, but James Iha and D'arcy Wretzky are not participating in the reunion at this point. Melissa Auf Der Maur would like to join in, but hasn't been asked.

HEATHER LOCKLEAR'S announcement that she had filed for divorce was news to her husband, Richie Sambora. ABC News also posted an MP3 of his reaction.

MADONNA and GUY RITCHIE are working overtime to prove their marriage isn't falling apart, following reports that Madge was spending much of her time with her record producer Stuart Price, working o­n her music.

SHERYL CROW and LANCE ARMSTRONG are splitsville. Reports that their engagement was off circulated in early January.

OBITS: Grandpa Munster went from the undead to the dead at 95, while Betty Friedan, author of The Feminine Mystique and the the first president of NOW, died at 85. She had not stopped being a feminist, she said, "but women as a special separate interest group are not my concern any more."

CHRISTOPHER PENN was buried Saturday, and it wouldn't be a Penn family funeral without Sean going after a (ghoulish) paparazzo. But the police may really go after Mark Ruffalo, who snatched the memory card from the photographer's camera.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: Your top three were When a Stranger Calls, Big Momma's House 2 and Nanny McPhee. But the Oscar contenders that went into wider release made gains -- Brokeback Mountain moved to fourth from sixth, Walk the Line went from twelfth to ninth, and Capote leapt 12 spots, from 24th to twelfth.

WERNER HERZOG, the director of Grizzly Man, was shot by a crazed fan during a recent interview with the BBC. He carried o­n with the interview, insisting, "It was not a significant bullet. I am not afraid."

BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN: Tony Curtis offers some confirmation that Academy members are not watching it. While supposed Hollywood progressives avoid the movie, it has performed strongly in Montana and other "red states."

KATE MOSS wants to become the first supermodel in space; the trip will cost her $200,000. She will be cast in bronze with her feet behind her ears. And while she refused to incriminate herself under police questioning, the supposedly sober supermodel may be forced to answer questions about her cocaine usage if she wants to continue to sue London's Channel 5 for libel.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Holmes is now co-signing Cruise's unsolicited letters informing the recipients that donations had been made in their name to the Church of Scientology.

SCARLETT JOHANNSON is denying reports that she is dating Hard-Fi frontman Richard Archer, claiming she has never met him.

JESSICA SIMPSON has signed a 35 million dollar pact to keep making crappy records for Columbia.

BRADGELINA survives an attempted attack by Team Aniston in Berlin. The duo were dining at a Berlin restaurant when a woman stormed in and screamed: "Where is that home-wrecking Angelina?" Meanwhile, there's a rumor that Jolie may join the cast of Sin City 2.

SARAH JESSICA PARKER thinks that America's obsession with celebrity is diverting the public away from pressing political and social issues. Which was just fine when the media was focused o­n Sex in the City, but now the spotlight is o­n people less talented than she: "All we talk about now are 'celebrities'. They call themselves actors, they get paid as actors and sometimes, they're paid more than me. But often these people have done absolutely nothing."

TOMMY LEE nearly got duped into hooking up with a transsexual while partying in Toronto.

BOB GUCCIONE has been thrown out of his penthouse.

NAOMI WATTS is converting to Buddhism.

ASHLEY JUDD says, "It's unconscionable to breed with the number of children who are starving to death in impoverished countries," but admits that someday she might feel a different impulse. In the meantime, let's hope her racing star husband Dario Franchitt gets to practice a lot.

KATE BECKINSALE: The o­nly reason I could think of to see the widely-panned Underworld: Evolution was hot werewolf-on-vampire eroticism. Thanks to people killing movies o­n the Internet, I now know I don't need to see it, but you can judge for yourselves.

IRAQ: Army Col. Jeffrey Buchanan says Iraq's police commandos are becoming a major spearhead of security in the country but must learn to temper battlefield aggression with democratic values. The Washington Post reports o­n progresss toward turning over Mosul to local forces. Such forces are arresting batches of suspected insurgents in Baghdad and Basra, particularly along the well-known road airport road.

CARTOON JIHAD: Muslims upset about Danish cartoons portraying Islam as violent stormed and torched the Danish embassy in Syria and the o­ne in Beirut. Others were content to preach beheading those responsible or to carry signs saying "You dug your grave -- lie in it," "Massacre those who insult Islam," "Behead those who insult Islam," and "Freedom, Go to Hell." There are rare reports of some Muslims opposing these protests. Two Jordanian newspaper editors who published the cartoons have been arrested. The trad press ran stories abut the US government "blasting" the cartoons and siding with Muslims, but when the AP, Reuters and AFP all gave different names to the State Dept. spokesperson, I thought I should check into it. All three had the wrong name, and spokesman Sean McCormack was both more diplomatic and supportive of free speech than the press would have us believe. The L.A. Times supports free speech and criticizes the response from governments in the Middle East and Europe, but adds, "For our part, The Times has not reprinted these insensitive images, even as a means of shedding light o­n the controversy in Europe." Fair enough: some of the cartoons do seem offensive in their overbeadth and they need not be republished to defend the right of others to publish them. The Boston Globe, otoh, has a double-standard for speech blaspheming Islam and Christianity. So does CNN, which notes at the first link that it hasn't shown the cartoons, but had no problem showing a painting of the Virgin Mary spattered with dung.

NANOTECH: At Corante, Derek Lowe takes a skeptical look at claims made for Nanotech Wonder Water.

ONE MUTT OR TWO? A mixed Chihuahua-rat terrier is at the center of a dogfight in MI, as a man and a veterinary technician each claim it is theirs. The judge has not decided whether the dog will be called as a witness. Don't we all know this will end with each person standing at opposite ends of the courtroom, calling to the dog in the center?

WILD CATS AND DOGS raise a four-year-old boy in Russia. It's in London's Sun, so take it to the bank.

COUGAR CAUGHT in Willmar, MN -- pretty far from the nearest wild cougar population in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

WHALE SOUL FOR SALE: The Northern Bottlenosed Whale that died two weeks ago after swimming up the River Thames into central London is is the subject of a sad eBay joke.

FIONA THE GUINEA PIG sounds an alarm, saves most of an apartment building from an electrical fire.

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Johnny Rotten, BSS+Feist, Sam Cooke and Blogging Pigeons   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, February 03, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade



SPLIT ENZ is mounting a reunion tour down under. They are expected to attract a total crowd bigger than anything the New Zealanders managed in their original 12-year existence, including in the early 1980s, when Split Enz had three consecutive No. 1 albums in Australia.  Probably because they have promised to not dress like this.  And yes, I do have a copy of True Colours with the design laser-etched into the vinyl.  It was a Christmas present (it's the red cover). UPDATE: I found the video for "I Got You." Not as funny as the picture, but close... plus a catchy tune.

FRIDAY TIMEWASTER: Escapa! Wasting lots of time, most likely in very small segments.

JOHNNY ROTTEN has slammed the late Joe Strummer as a hypocrite for preaching a socialism while living a posh lifestyle: "He was trying to con us. In a nice way and for the right reasons but o­nce you start lying, it carries o­n and o­n and o­n."

PETE TOWNSHEND confirms a a new Who album and tour for the summer.

VIC CHESNUTT talks to UGA's Red and Black about the Undertow Orchestra Tour featuring Chesnutt, David Bazan (ex-Pedro the Lion and Headphones), Mark Eitzel (of American Music Club) and Will Johnson (of Centro-Matic and South San Gabriel): "We’ll be playing each other’s songs and backing up o­ne another at the show and who knows, maybe we’ll even write some new songs together."

ANDREW BIRD talks about getting re-inspired for a new album and his use of instruments like violin, glockenspiel and whistling: "There's enough bass, drum, guitar bands out playing pop and rock 'n' roll. My big beef is that what's mostly being thrust at you is loaded down. It's much more affecting to do less and be subtle."

DAVID BYRNE has posted a gallery of his tree drawings. By "tree," he often means diagram, but some of the trees look very much like trees. Because he's David Byrne.

GREATEST HITS, R.I.P.: Sure, digital downloads have technological limts o­n their quality, but they are killing "Greatest Hits" collections, as people can grab tracks like Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger," Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama," and even Vanilla Ice's "Ice Ice Baby" in the hundreds of thousands without having to buy an album.

BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE, including Leslie Feist, played "7/4 (Shoreline)" o­n Late Night with Conan O'Brien Tuesday night. And someone is killing television. PLUS: Feist's surreal solo video for "Mushaboom."

LISA LOEB: Stereogum has a multimedia roundup of the o­ne-hit wonder now starring in the #1 Single reality dating show o­n E! So if you want a remix of her hit and video of her walking around in a thong, it's your o­ne-stop.

BONO attended the National Prayer Breakfast to promote The o­ne Campaign: "Please join me in praying I don't say anything we all regret."

SAM COOKE: NPR has an audio feature and book excerpt from music historian Peter Guralnick's Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke. Guralnick could send it around as a movie pitch, methinks.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: Several clips of the early Replacements at the 7th Street Entry -- start with "Customer" and "Rattlesnake."

KATE MOSS UPDATE: The cocaine case against the supposedly sober supermodel is probably dead, as Moss refused to incriminate herself and the Brits apparently cannot use the photographic evidence.

BRADGELINA: Fans of Sonic Youth. Who knew? Anyway, tabs are reporting that Jolie is selling her UK mansion, with the idea of the pair building or renovating a place in the US. And Jolie told Nightline that she wants to have and adopt a few more children.

HEATHER LOCKLEAR is divorcing Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora after 11 years of marriage. For the record, no matter what you may hear, I had nothing to do with it.

SEPARATED AT BIRTH: The Bradgelina pics above reminded me to link to a bunch of "separated at births" from CityRag, starting with Ashlee Simpson and David Lee Roth.

NOW SHOWING: This weekend's big openers are the interracial romantic comedy Something New (a 62% Fresh o­n the Tomatometer) and the remake of When a Stranger Calls, which wasn't screened for critics, a big red flag, but o­ne that may not matter to the movie's target demo. Also, a number of the Oscar contenders expand this weeked, including Brokeback Mountain, Capote, Good Night, and Good Luck, Mrs. Henderson Presents, and Munich.

SUPERBOWL: You can get a head start o­n the commercials, if that's the reason you watch. And given that the big game is in Detroit, Motown greats have a point in feeling kinda snubbed.

JOAQUIN PHOENIX: As if his car wreck last week wasn't strange enough, it turns out the Oscar nominated actor was rescued by German cult director Werner Herzog, who most recently put together the excellent documentary Grizzly Man, complete with soundtrack by Richard Thompson, which premieres o­n the Discovery Channel tonight.

GRIZZLY MAN was snubbed for an Oscar nom, despite being the best-reviewed feature documentary of the year, for reasons that remain shrouded in mystery. Then again The Aristocrats was also snubbed. It's part of an Academy tradition of snubbing films like Hoop Dreams, Crumb and The Thin Blue Line.

TOM-KAT punishes everyone who thought Holmes wasn't really pregnant. As fashion statements go, this is the o­ne-fingered salute.

BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN: L.A. Weekly columnist Nikki Finke reports that " this year’s dirty little secret is the anecdotal evidence pouring in to me about hetero members being unwilling to screen Brokeback Mountain. She blames hypocritical hollywood homophobia, though this isn't a movie men would be rushing to see even without the gay element, i.e., this is basically a variation of a "chick flick." It suggests that Crash may pull an upset win at the Oscars, as it did at the SAG Awards. Or that some people may vote for it sight unseen to make a statement in which they don't really believe.

BRITNEY SPEARS may have reached a new low if the rumored second pregnancy is true.

SIENNA MILLER: Her thing with Factory Girl co-star Hayden Christensen is over, if it ever existed in the first place. But maybe the next rumor will say otherwise.

ZACH BRAFF and MANDY MOORE are reportedly headed down the aisle.

TRAILERS REMIXED: Sleepless In Seattle as a horror movie is pretty good, but Shining remains the gold standard of the genre.

JESSICA SIMPSON and hubby Nick Lachey are having second thoughts about their divorce? Seems unlikely, with Josh Lucas and Jude Law lined up behind Maroon 5's Adam Levine to get into those Daisy Dukes. And with Lachey is launching a "social networking" website for teens, after learning that his name is o­ne of the more frequent names used by predators to lure kids o­nline. Yes, that's the broad side of a barn, isn't it?

JENNA JAMESON and JENNY McCARTHY apparently acted like a couple of ex-Panthers cheerleaders in the bathroom of the Hard Rock Cafe last Halloween, according to Jameson's account during an appearance o­n the Howard Stern show. I guess what happens in Vegas now gets broadcast o­n satellite radio.

CULT OF THE iPod: Pres. Bush, touting his State of the Union proposals, talks about his iPod as an example of the sciences -- including nanotechnology -- that change our lives.

IRAQ: Bill Roggio posts o­n progress in Ramadi, where foreign terrorists are being fought by the Iraqi Army and indigenous insurgent groups alike. At Iraq the Model, Omar has updates o­n political negotiations, Saddams trial and the fuel shortage -- which is "now relatively over," due to availability of imported gasoline at market prices. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' Spectrum takes a look at reconstruction, particularly of electricity generation and distributuion: "Most officials, Iraqis included, agree that there is more power available in Iraq now than there was before the 2003 war. However, that fact is less germane than most people realize, because the allocation of electric power has shifted seismically, and more or less in sync with the shift in political power. Basically, parts of Baghdad and central Iraq now get much less power than they did before the war, while parts of the south and north actually get considerably more." I would suggest that most people have no idea that there is more power available, let alone that it's now being provided to the majority that was oppressed by Saddam.

THE WAR o­n CARTOONS: A weekly Lebanese magazine has published three of the 12 cartoons of Prophet Mohammed that created a storm in the Islamic world when they were published by a Danish daily. BTW, those cartoons were published in September and it seems that a Muslim delegation showed fabricated cartoons to the Arab League. Scott Burgess rounds up European media publishing the 'toons, but has seen "no evidence that any British paper has had the spine to publish the cartoons." The BBC TV coverage blacked out parts of the cartoons. Note that in the US, the Joint Chiefs of Staff may write a letter to complain about a political cartoon, as opposed to surrounding offices and threatening to kidnap people or issuing a fatwa.

GARY BUSEY and BILLY ZANE star in a Turkish movie where American soldiers in Iraq crash a wedding and pump a little boy full of lead in front of his mother, kill dozens of innocent people with random machine gun fire, shoot the groom in the head, and drag those left alive to Abu Ghraib prison -- where a Jewish doctor cuts out their organs, which he sells to rich people in New York, London and Tel Aviv.

PIGEONS' SMOG BLOG: Later this year, 20 pigeons will take to the skies above San Jose, California, each carrying a GPS receiver, air pollution sensors and a basic cellphone. They will measure levels of pollutants they encounter, and beam back their findings as text messages to a blog in real time.

DRUG PUPPIES: Colombian drug dealers smuggled heroin into the US by surgically implanting the powerful drug into puppies.

TASMANIAN DEVILS may be wiped out by a bizzare, infectious facial cancer.

POSSUM POSSESSION without a permit puts people at peril in New York.

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Rise and shine, campers! Pazz & Jop poll and Punxsutawney Phil!   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, February 02, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


I got flowers...in the Spring...

First D.J.: Rise and shine, campers and don't forget your booties 'cause it's cooooold out there today.
Second D.J.: It's cold out there every day. What is this, Miami Beach?
First D.J.: Not hardly. So the big question o­n everybody's lips...
Second D.J.: o­n their chapped lips...
First D.J.: ...their chapped lips is, "Does Phil feel lucky?" Punksatawney Phil! That's right, woodchuck chuckers it's...


The real Punxsutawney Phil has been called the Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators, and Weather Prophet Extraordinary. In fact, he's o­nly right about 40 percent of the time. Nevertheless, tens of thousands will make the journey to Gobbler's Knob in the tiny Pennsylvania hamlet that has become known as the "Weather Capital of the World." All of which is really beside the point, because the event has been dwarfed by the movie.

This is o­ne time where the Internet really fails to capture the true excitement of a movie about a large squirrel predicting the weather.

Last year, Roger Ebert revisited Groundhog Day, declaring that the film "finds its note and purpose so precisely that its genius may not be immediately noticeable. It unfolds so inevitably, is so entertaining, so apparently effortless, that you have to stand back and slap yourself before you see how good it really is."

At the other end of the political spectrum, Jonah Goldberg's equally effusive movie meditation grabbed the cover of National Review last year: "When I set out to write this article, I thought it'd be fun to do a quirky homage to an offbeat flick, o­ne I think is brilliant as both comedy and moral philosophy. But while doing what I intended to be cursory research — how much reporting do you need for a review of a twelve-year-old movie that plays constantly o­n cable? — I discovered that I wasn't alone in my interest. In the years since its release the film has been taken up by Jews, Catholics, Evangelicals, Hindus, Buddhists, Wiccans, and followers of the oppressed Chinese Falun Gong movement."

Indeed, a 2004 article mentioned by Ebert (but not linked) from London's Independent observes that the Harold Ramis comedy has been hailed by some religious leaders as the most spiritual film of all time. In addition to the examples given in that article, another can be found at the Christian Science Monitor.

Don't drive angry!

As Phil Connors ultimately observed: "When Chekhov saw the long winter, he saw a winter bleak and dark and bereft of hope. Yet we know that winter is just another step in the cycle of life. But standing here among the people of Punxsutawney and basking in the warmth of their hearths and hearts, I couldn't imagine a better fate than a long and lustrous winter."

UPDATE: Phil saw his shadow, predicting six more weeks of winter.

SPECIAL THANKS: According to our site admin Lance, the rare Pate track posted in our downloads section yesterday was submitted by one of our members, JPStone. How cool is that!? So check it out, along with the new Jon Pratt solo track, "Geologic Time."

THE 32ND (OR 33RD) PAZZ & JOP critics' poll -- along with essays, comments, and individual ballots -- is posted at the Village Voice. I've featured a bunch of the bands o­n the list here, but there are some I'll have to investigate, too.

MODEST MOUSE frontman Isaac Brock is writing songs with ex-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr.

RILO KILEY members Jenny Smith and Blake Sennett are still getting pub for their solo projects released last week. The San Francisco Bay Guardian notes that both albums are more country-tinged than Rilo Kiley. Sennett describes the album by The Elected as o­ne about travel, whereas Smith's Rabbit Fur Coat is often about "the struggle with, and search for, religious faith."

RELIGION IN INDIE ROCK: Speaking of which, the topic is addressed to a more hipster audience at Pitchfork and to a more Christian audience at World magazine's blog.

JEFF TWEEDY is the subject of a streaming interview at WBUR.

BILLY CORGAN appears on Extreme Championship Wrestling. He goes all Pete Townshend o­n someone's head. The (so far untrue) rumors of a Smashing Pumpkins reunion are clearly a cry for help.

CAT POWER: If you want to see Chan Marshall in a red latex bodysuit -- and a Tupac hoodie -- the video for "Living Proof" is available in Windows and Quicktime formats.

DION: I noted a while back that the former teen idol was making an album of blues standards. NPR has his World Cafe gig -- which includes "Crossroads" and "The Wanderer" -- plus streaming album clips of "Walkin' Blues" and "Who Do You Love?"

MARILYN MANSON intends to play Lewis Carroll in his self-penned "arthouse horror" movie Phantasmagoria - The Visions Of Lewis Carroll. Wouldn't it be scarier if he could get Michael Jackson to play Carroll?

KATE MOSS UPDATE: Okay, I already noted that Moss finally submitted to police questioning, but Gawker's imagined version of that questioning was too good not to share.

OSCAR REAX: The nominees give politic answers, for the most part. But Keira Knightley and Paul Giamatti must expect not to win, with the freedom that brings. Giamatti said he wanted to go to a pistol range and fire some handguns off. Knightley said "that's wicked," but promptly went back to sleep.

LUCY LIU went to Pakistan to tour areas ravaged by October's earthquake. The UNICEF sponsored trip went well until someone mentioned her Chinese-American heritage...

NICKY HILTON called O.C. starlet Mischa Barton a "fat pig." As Barton is almost two-dimensionally thin, Nicky must be trying to brand herself as "the dumb Hilton," as opposed to her sister, "the skanky Hilton."

SIENNA MILLER and HAYDEN CHRISTENSEN may not have been caught canoodling, but is she flying her family to the US to meet him?

SIR SEAN CONNERY called for an inquiry into claims the 1970s British Labour government steered Scots away from billions of pounds in oil profits -- because they feared it would lead to Scottish independence.

GWYNETH PALTROW dismisses jibes about her boring lifestyle with Coldplay husband Chris Martin: "I think it's sort of funny how you have to be doing coke off the a** of some stripper to be perceived as not boring these days."

BRADGELINA: New rumors have the pair checking o­n a hotel for a wedding, as well as buying a house in Washington, DC. Meanwhile, inspired by the success of Brokeback Mountain, Pitt is rumored to be looking for a gay role.

BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN has become an excuse to tell graphic sexual jokes that make fun of gays. But the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation doesn't have a problem with the jokes o­n late night TV.

JENNIFER ANISTON supposedly cut a deal to appear o­n Oprah Winfrey's TV show if Oprah would promote a book to which Aniston had bought the film rights -- "A Million Little Pieces," the now-discredited memoir by James Frey. Oops.

CHARLIE SHEEN and DENISE RICHARDS: The divorce is getting ugly, as two are no longer o­n speaking terms.

JESSICA SIMPSON: Just a week ago, Star magazine was claiming that the pneumatic blonde was phoning estranged hubby Nick Lacey nightly. Now the tab reports that Lachey and new gal pal Elizabeth Ann Arnold are "very close," according to her father. What's a girl to do?

TWO NOT-SO-BLIND VICE: E! gossip Ted Casablanca is slipping; these two are way too easy. But the rumored lawsuit will be fun.

EX-PANTHERS CHEERLEADERS UPDATE: The fine folk at The Smoking Gun finally obtained a complete police report detailing witness accounts of what allegedly happened between those two Carolina Panther cheerleaders in the bathroom of a Tampa nightclub last November. May I just say that standing o­n a toilet can be particularly dangerous in certain situations? At least, that's what I've heard. From a friend. Of a friend.

IRAQ: At Iraq the Model, Omar posts o­n the internal divisions of the major Shia bloc, which is slowing the formation of the government. The Coalition has turned over security for 20 buildings inside Baghdad's Green Zone to Iraqi forces, though the Washington Post report complains that the handover is not going o­n schedule. WaPo media writer Howard Kurtz was surprised to keep getting asked whether the injuries of the ABC crew were getting too much media coverage, when US troops suffer the same every day. His answer is that famous people tend to get more media coverage and tend to become symbols. But that answer does not explain why some of the biggest heroes of the Iraq campaign got no coverage from ABC and most other media outlets -- including Kurtz's own paper. Some might argue the media didn't cover those heroes precisely because coverage might make them famous and symbols.

THE WAR ON CARTOONS: Newspapers in Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and France have reprinted caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad to show support for a Danish paper whose cartoons sparked Muslim outrage, including death threats. You will be shocked to learn that while France Soir originally said it had published them to show that "religious dogma" had no place in a secular society, the owner has since fired the managing editor of the paper. Reporters Without Borders said the reaction in the Arab world "betrays a lack of understanding" of press freedom as "an essential accomplishment of democracy." Tell it to Bill Clinton.

TRIBAL AMERICA: Using Ted Nugent as a springboard, author Jon Margolis argues that although Americans lack common ethnicity or religion, we are more tribal than Europeans, though Margolis has apparently forgotten about the Holocaust, ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, and so o­n. He would probably be surprised to learn that his cultural view that "Almost everybody in France is French, and Sweden is chock-full of Swedes" is similar to things Newt Gingich was saying in the 1990s, though the recent riots of Muslim youth in France and elsewhere across Europe suggests this theory is less true than it o­nce was. Margolis also suggests that people like Nugent embrace ignorance. A recent study suggests that people across the political spectrum do this. And because it's a scientific study, Margolis should embrace it warmly -- but if the study is correct, he won't. (Thanks to Debbie for the Margolis.)

THE LEGENDARY TURTLE of Hoan Kiem Lake, "Vietnam's o­nly slightly less fabulous version of the Loch Ness Monster," is revered by Hanoians, though many do not believe it exists.

SOME MALE MONKEYS put o­n extra weight when their mates are pregnant, a new study reveals. Scientists believe the males have decided it's okay to let themselves go at this point in the relationship.

AIRBORNE CROCODILE attacks a four-wheel drive vehicle down under, prompting calls for Northern Territory residents to watch for crocs when driving near waterways.

BLACK-FOOTED FERRETS are shagging like minxes in the Western US.

SHE-WHALES choose mates based o­n singing, making them evolutionary predecessors to the groupie.

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