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Probably Going to be Christmas Here All Week.   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, December 23, 2019 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



... with CHRIS ISAAK, live at Universal Studios. Your holiday-themed numbers include "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," "Hey, Santa," "Last Month of the Year," "Blue Christmas," and "Christmas on TV." Bonus: Dreidel banter!

THE CURRENT's Rock the Cradle stream is holiday-themed.

KUTX has gone all holiday music through Wednesday night.

A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS:  Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about.  Mental Floss has "The Real Story Behind A Charlie Brown Christmas (and why it almost wasn't shown)." There's more reflection at Aquarium Drunkard. The WaPo has reflections from producer-director Lee Mendelson.

DARLENE LOVE & RONNIE SPECTOR duet on "Sleigh Ride" and "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree."

THE POGUES:  It's not Christmas Eve in the drunk tank (or even St. Patrick's Day) without a "Fairytale of New York."  From 2012, here's the backstory. And at The Week, Michael B. Dougherty argues that it's the greatest Christmas song of all time. NME has 25 Things you didn't know about the tale.

ANTON BARBEAU, an occasional collaborator of the late Scott Miller, crafted his own "Xmas Song."

THE 10 BEST PUNK CHRISTMAS SONGS, according to L.A. Weekly.



NORAD will be tracking Santa, per usual. CNET has a history and behind-the scenes story.

THE 50 BEST HOLIDAY SONGS, according to The Ringer.

THE 25 BEST CHRISTMAS ALBUMS, according to Complex. BONUS: The L.A. Times rounds up the Merry and the Meh, including the evolving Christmas Time Again, by The dB's and Friends.

15 BIZARRE CHRISTMAS ALBUMS, courtesy of Mental Floss.

THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY of Christmas Songs.

EIGHT HOURS of vintage department store holiday music.

BILLY MACK: Because "Christmas Is All Around."  ALSO: Is Love Actually is an awful movie? Or a rom-com masterpiece? PLUS: We now know for sure what happened to Harry and Karen.

THE FLAMING LIPS perform "White Christmas" as only they can.

WHITE CHRISTMAS: A Snapshot Of The Most Successful Song In Music History.

SUPER FURRY ANIMALS: "The Gift That Keeps Giving."  Not to be confused with "The Gift," which is not Christmasey at all.

THE COURTEENEERS drop a video for "Winter Wonderland" that's not that Winter Wonderland.

CALEXICO: Speaking of presents, here's their "Gift X-Change."

THE MUPPETS: "Ringing of the Bells." Not to be confused with Super Furry Animals.

MICHAEL CAINE looks back at The Muppet Christmas Carol.


AN XMAS FLASH MOB from the Berklee College of Music broke out into an impromptu performance of the classic Christmas carol “O Holy Night” at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts.

GLAM XMAS:  I started the month with Wizzard's awesome "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day" and Slade's "Merry Christmas Everybody" (1973's UK Xmas No. 1). The circle is now complete.

HALL & OATES: "Jingle Bell Rock," reduced to its molten kitchy essense.

THE MOST COVERED CHRISTMAS SONGS, according to FiveThirtyEight.

HOLIDAY SONGS, showcased by Brooklyn Vegan and Salon.

16 WEIRD FACTS About Big Christmas Hits.

MARIAH CAREY's “All I Want For Christmas Is You” tops the chart after 25 years.

WHY Are There No New Christmas Songs

HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS, online. Also, a 5-year-old called 911 on the Grinch.

DAVID BOWIE & BING CROSBY'S cross-generational duet o­n "Little Drummer Boy." This historic event was recreated by Will Farrell and John C. Reilly. Plus, Jack Black and Jason Segel have done a cartoon cover

THE YEAR WITHOUT A SANTA CLAUS:  Many people believe human activity is causing global warming.  I blame Snow Miser and Heat Miser.

CHICAGO CHRISTMAS MEMORIES:  If you grew up in Chicago (and I suspect other places), the season is not complete without watching the short cartoons of "Hardrock, Coco & Joe" (a story fantastic, a story so queer), "Suzy Snowflake" and the jazzy version of "Frosty the Snowman."

THE BEATLES fan club messages, complete.

A CHRISTMAS GIFT FOR YOU...FROM PHIL SPECTOR: Essayed by Aquarium Drunkard and NME.

THE TRON 1982 HOLIDAY SPECIAL, courtesy of Funny Or Die.

THE SEX PISTOLS & THIN LIZZY played "A Merry Jingle" for Top of the Pops.  BONUS: The Pistols' final UK show was a Christmas benefit.

IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE: Pate even had a song titled "Rope Around The Moon," so watch the whole thing. BONUS: Vintage Bailey backlash from warped, frustrated old people at the New York Times and Portfolio. DOUBLE-BONUS: 22 TV variations on It's A Wonderful Life.

RUDOLPH, THE RED-NOSED REINDEER:  Pull up an ice block and lend an ear!  Herbie wanted to be a dentistNTTAWWT.  BONUS:  The Rankin-Bass classic continues to inspire ads like 2009's Verizon ad, following 2008's Apple ad, even more so 2007's AFLAC commercial, and AT & T bringing in Rudolph, Bumble, and Santa for 2015.BONUS: NPR has a piece on the original manuscript.

FESTIVUS:  For the rest of us.  Technically already started, so I can be one of your grievances.

SCARY GHOST STORIES: I overheard Andy Williams crooning "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" in a store a few years back, and the lyric about "scary ghost stories" never really struck me before.  Took me a second, but I supposed he was referring to Dickens.  It turns out -- as noted by a coworker -- that this was a thing in Victorian England...  and the modern day. BONUS: Krampus, which has now inspired a major motion picture, and a Nativity set. DOUBLE BONUS: NME rounds up 10 Deliciously Scary Christmas Movies. TRIPLE BONUS: 18 Killer Santas From Film and TV.

LIAM NEESON auditions as a mall Santa.

TEN UNFORGETTABLE Musical Christmas Moments On Film.

THE 30 BEST CHRISTMAS MOVIES, according to Empire magazine.

FIVE REASONS Why Die Hard is a Christmas movie, not including the ornament.

HOME ALONE: Did Kevin McCallister grow up to become the Jigsaw Killer?

DRECK THE HALLS: A Holiday TV Specials Retrospective.

23 TV EPISODES based on "A Christmas Carol."

A CHRISTMAS HAM: CNN's Mary Katherine Ham and Commentary's John Podhoretz break down the Hallmark Christmas movie genre.

NAT KING COLE:  His chestnuts are roasting.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: The Rise of Skywalker obviously tops the chart with 175MM, which is about where tracking gurus predicted, though below the 190s they were dreaming of on Fridayand below the 220MM opening of The Last Jedi.  That said, it's still the third-biggest December debut ever, and it opened much closer to Christmas than its predecessors.  How might it do going forward?  The Rise of Skywalker got a B+ Cinemascore, which is the lowest of the series.  OTOH, it has an 86 percent audience score at Rotten Tomatoes (where The Last Jedi was infamously 43 percent).  Jumanji: The Next Level placed with 26.1MM on a 56 percent drop, the biggest victim of the Star Wars (even so, it crossed the 100MM mark, as did Ford v Ferrari).  Frozen II showed with 12.3MM on a fairly leggy 36 percent drop.  Cats debuted in the fourth slot with 6.5MM, a huge bomb that may draw an audience fascinated with the awful reviews.  Knives Out rounded out the Top Five with 6.1MM on a leggy 33 percent drop, given that it ceded almost 900 screens to the glactic conflict.

COMING SOON:The holiday's wide releases include Uncut Gems, currently scoring 93 percent on the ol' Tomatometer; Spies in Disguise, currently scoring 76 percent; and Little Women, scoring 93 percent.

MAYMO THE BEAGLE gets 210 bottles for Christmas.


27 DOGS That Do Christmas Better Than You Do Christmas.

17 WEINER DOGS make the perfect Christmas photo.

THE DOGGO who stole Christmas.

SHELTER DOGS are more than happy to choose their own Christmas presents.

29 CATS Trying To Figure Out This Whole Christmas Thing, and 29 CATS Who Just Want To Help You Decorate Your Tree.

A SHETLAND PONY in a Christmas foursie.

14 ANIMALS Who Tried to Ruin Christmas.

CHRISTMAS ON CHRISTMAS ISLAND involves millions of crabs.

CHRISMAS DOWN UNDER wouldn't be the same without the most venomous snakes.

AN AUSTRALIAN FAMILY shot into the Guinness Book of Records in 2011 after decorating their home with an astonishing 331038 Christmas lights. If the video at the link doesn't work, try this one.

1129 Reads

Elton John, Bleached, Black Lips, Star Wars, Dog & Pig   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, December 20, 2019 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



...with ELTON JOHN! Half of a live show captured by the OGWT on Christmas Eve, 1974.  Your setlist includes: "Grimsby" (incomplete), "Rocket Man," "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," "Daniel," Grey Seal,"  "Bennie And The Jets," "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds," "I Saw Her Standing There," "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me," "Honky Cat," "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting," "Crocodile Rock," "The B^tch Is Back," "Your Song," and "White Christmas."



SON LITTLE visits WNYC Soundcheck.


KIM GORDON shares a video for "Earthquake."

PHOEBE BRIDGERS reflects on the decade.

THE TOP 25 Hannukah Songs?

THE TOP 100 PUNK & EMO LPs of the decade, according to Brooklyn Vegan

THE TOP 20 ALBUMS of 2019, according to NPR listeners.


NOW SHOWING: This weekend's wide releases are Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which is currently scoring 57 percent on the ol' Tomatometer; Cats, scoring 19 percent; and Bombshell, scoring 65 percent.

THE RISE OF SKYWALKER is a movie that desperately wants you to like it and is very much aware of how much people soured on The Last Jedi. So it is as if those resposnible for this film went through all the other Star Wars movies (and Raiders of the Lost Ark and North By Northwest to boot) and every time they saw something audiences liked, they wrote it down and stuffed it into this movie.  The Last Jedi was about subverting fan expectations; this one goes overboard in trying to meet them. At some point, the fan service turns this movie into Biff Loman, sweaty salesman.  Where that point is reached will vary from viewer to viewer, but it will be reached.  The overstuffing of the movie (and the death of Carrie Fisher) makes the plot more convoluted than it needs to be, though to be fair, the plot here is better than the slow-speed chase and casino excursion of the prior installment. The need to dig out of the hole created by The Last Jedi also forced JJ Abrams & Co into a lose/lose scenario in terms of how much to follow it or abandon it; viewers' reactions to those decisions will vary as well (I was mostly fine with their choices, ham-fisted as they occasionally were). And upon reflection, perhaps these issues and the sound-and-fury-signifying-litte quality of The Rise of Skywalker is all a function of the major weakness of these sequels, namely the failure to fully develop the new lead characters (with the arguable exception of Kylo Ren).  As a Star Wars fanatic, this was on some level all a huge missed opportunity, though in fairness, I could argue that's been true since Return of the Jedi.  I liked this one better than the last one, but that's a low bar.  In a few years, maybe Kevin Feige will have a better idea of what to do with this franchise.

BILLY DEE WILLIAMS reflects on the long history of Lando Calrissian—and getting into the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon for one last ride.

CHRISTOPHER NOLAN's TENET has a trailer online.

THE BEST MOVIES of 2019, according to Uproxx.

CHARLIZE THERON's performances, ranked by Vulture.

MARVEL defined the 2010s; the plans for it were laid even before the decade began.

NICOLAS CAGE: Entertainment Weekly visits the set of his H.P. Lovecraft movie.


A DOG & PIG have a weekly playdate.

AN ESCAPED GATOR was spotted crossing the street in Montreal's Villeray neighborhood.

TENS OF COBRAS terrorize toilets in West Jakarta.

1283 Reads

Los Lobos, Joseph Arthur, Dr Dog, Cats... and Cats   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, December 19, 2019 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


EURYTHMICS'. Dave Stewart declares "Christmas is For Lovers".

LOS LOBOS plays a Tiny Desk Concert.

JOSEPH ARTHUR visits WFUV's Studio A.

DR DOG releases Oh My Christmas Tree Volume 2.


JAMES BLAKE covers Aqua's "Barbie Girl."

AQUARIUM DRUNKARD's 2019 Year in Review.

WORLD CAFE's Best Songs Of 2019.

TOM PETTY's widow Dana and his daughters Adria and Annakim are ending a legal battle over who will manage his estate.

THE NUMBER ONES looks at Andy Gibb's slinky, sinister disco monster "Shadow Dancing." 


ADAM DRIVER allegedly left an NPR interview after expressing displeasure with listening to a clip of his own acting.

KATE BECKINSALE thinks living with a spouse might actually be worse for a relationship.


CHRISTOPHER NOLAN's TENET gets a first look from Entertainment Weekly.

THE AFFAIR: Why did Ruth Wilson quit the role that earned her a Golden Globe? It's complicated.

THE AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE has announced its picks for the best films ond TV shows of 2019.

CATS: There are reviews like this one. And like this one.


A FOUR-YEAR-OLD GIRL loves her cats, and her cats love her.

THIS CAT was completely heartbroken until she started nursing a litter of puppies.

DINOSAURS may have been poisoned before asteroid hit, study reveals.

1179 Reads

Joan Shelley, Weyes Blood, Hiss Golden Messenger, Piper   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, December 18, 2019 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


DARLENE LOVE's final "Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)" for Letterman.

JOAN SHELLEY visits World Cafe.

WEYES BLOOD plays a Tiny Desk Concert.


SPARKS returns with "Please Don't F*** Up My World."

BEACH SLANG shares "Jolly Liver."


THE VOIDZ: Julian Casablancas, Mac DeMarco and Kirin J Callinan share a video for "Did My Best" and "The Eternal Tao 2.0."

PRINCE: Lisa Coleman talks to The Current about Prince in the 80s; there are also links to The Current's four-part podcaast on 1999.

NPR Music's Best Albums of 2019 Staff Picks. And NPR's Best Albums of 2019. And Best Songs.

WHY Are There No New Christmas Songs

SEASONABLY RICH: How much are musicians making from our favorite Christmas songs?


STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER early reactions are... a lot.

CHARLIZE THERON says she was sexually harassed by a "famous director" early in her career.

ROMAN POLANSKI says he feels like a leper. Can't imagine why...

MADONNA was spotted in Miami cozying up to 25-year-old dancer Ahlamalik Williams over the weekend.

BILL & TED FACE THE MUSIC gave a first look to Entertainment Weekly.




PIPER THE DOG went missing for two weeks, then greeted his boy at school.

EDDIE THE CORGI likes removing his boy's socks.

ABBY'S KITTEN wants a sweater.

FERAL PIGS Roam the South. Now Even Northern States Aren't Safe.

1463 Reads

Jeff Lynne, Angel Olsen, Electric Guest, Deer   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


KIM WILDE drunkenly warbles "Kids In America" and "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" on the subway. 

JEFF LYNNE of ELO visits World Cafe.

ANGEL OLSEN visits World Cafe.

ELECTRIC GUEST visits Morning Becomes Eclectic.


DEBBIE HARRY & JESSE MALIN cover the Pogues’ “Fairytale Of New York.”

MARIAH CAREY's version of "All I Want For Christmas Is You" tops the chart after 25 years.

HOLIDAY SONGS, showcased by Brooklyn Vegan and Salon.

THE 2019 GUMMY AWARDS are announced.

THE NUMBER ONES looks at John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John's eternally silly 'Grease' duet "You're The One That I Want."


EDDIE MURPHY: Don’t call it a comeback.

LORI LAUGHLIN accuses the feds of withholding evidence in the Varsity Blues scandal.

LIAM HEMSWORTH has sparked rumors of a romance with Australian model Gabriella Brooks.

WATCHMEN: Damon Lindelof is done with Watchmen... Unless he isn't.

FLORENCE PUGH Explains Why She's So Cool.

1917 director Sam Mendes credits James Bond for this harrowing WWI story.

JAY CUTLER puts the Jay Cutler in Christmas.


A DEER scores a soccer goal, then celebrates.

CAT JUMPS, in slow motion.

A KANGAROO with 'bad attitude' beats up elderly woman, terrorizes town.

GRANDMOTHER ORCAS help their grand-whales survive.

1171 Reads

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