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Lucinda Williams, Temples, Cold Specks, Kangaroo   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, December 22, 2014 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


FIRST AID KIT covers R.E.M.'s "Walk Unafraid."

LUCINDA WILLIAMS plays a Tiny Desk Concert at the offices of NPR.

TEMPLES stopped by WFUV's Studio A this autumn to play a couple of songs from Sun Structures.

COLD SPECKS play a live set at KEXP.

EMMET OTTER'S JUG-BAND CHRISTMAS: The unsanctioned soundtrack.

FIELD REPORT drops "On Christmas Eve."

PINK MOUNTAINTOPS drop “Asleep With An Angel” as a single.

DARLENE LOVE's final Christmastime Letterman performance.

DAVID LOWERY (Camper Van Beethoven, Cracker) is profiled by Wondering Sound. (Thx, LHB.)

THE THOMPSON FAMILY concert was a reunion of sorts

NPR MUSIC's 50 Favorite Albums Of 2014.

HIDDEN GEMS 2014: The albums that got away.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE:  The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies easily tops the chart with 56.2 million (90.6 million since opening).One way to look at this is to note that this final Middle Earth film seems to be the weakest performer since the first one, The Fellowship of the Ring.  The other way is to note that The Hobbit films likely need to make 2.2 billion worldwide  to profit and may have reached that mark this weekend (if not, surely next weekend).  So a "weak" performance here likely projects to a billion dollars in profit overall, which ain't bad.  Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb places with 17.3 million, again far behind the prior installments (30 and 54 million).  But it's family-friendly and --with The Interview canceled--perhaps the big option for comedy during the big money holiday season, sot his may prove leggy.  Annie shows with 16.3 million, which may not be bad against a 65 million budget, especially in light of the awful reviews.  Exodus: Gods and Kings tumbles a Biblical 66.6 percent to the fourth slot with 8 million.  The dominance of The Hobbit worldwide will likely plague Exodus. Mockingjay rounds out the Top 5 with another 7.8 million, perhaps benefitting from the Exodus implosion.

THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES.  Over the past few years, I've complained that too many filmmakers simply cast about for clones of The Lord of the Rings saga, or "reimagined" even projects as unlikely as Alice In Wonderland in that mode. It is perhaps less strange to see Peter Jackson warp The Hobbit into the LotR mold... but it's still strange.  The titular battle is certainly impressive, perhaps moreso with the insertion of Orcs, but devoting essentially an entire film to it may be too much of a good thing (though many will be relieved the drarves don't sing in this one).  Indeed, the Battle may be a visual feast, but we know it is ultimately not decisive.  The insertion of elements from LotR and new characters may help retention of casual viewers, but ultimately forces digressions from the main narrative--which would bother me less if I thought it improved the final product.  Instead, Bilbo Baggins often seems more of an afterthought than the title character should.  The film is not without its redeeming qualities -- as mentioned, it's as visually compelling as the rest of the series, and the fighting (particularly the hand-to-hand fighting within the larger Battle) is well-executed.  I did not feel cheated, but I was a bit disappointed.

KRISTEN BELL & DAX SHEPARD welcomed their second baby girl together. They named her Samsung...no, wait, Delta.

ELTON JOHN and David Furnish have officially married - exactly nine years after they tied the knot in a civil partnership ceremony.

LANCE BASS and Michael Turchin also got married.

MARGARET CHO and her artist husband Al Ridenour have split after 11 years of marriage.

IDRIS ELBA as the next James Bond? Sony exec Amy Pascal likes the idea.

TURKEY: Mehmet Dogan, the leader of Turkey's Tahşiye group, said he "loves Osama bin Laden"; President Erdogan has defended Dogan. Authorities arrested over 100 members of a teachers' union in Ankara yesterday as they marched in support of secular education, after attacking them with water cannons and tear gas.

NIGERIA: Boko Haram released a video of gunmen mowing down civilians in a dormitory for being infidels.

THE UNITED STATES transferred Guantanamo detainees Mohammed Zahir, Abdul Ghani, Khi Ali Gul, and Shawali Khanto to Afghanistan, at the request of Afghan president Ashraf Ghani. The Afghan government is not required to further detain the four men.

THE UNITED KINGDOM: Ali Mohammed Said, of north London, was arrested as he tried to travel to Belgium with a fake passport; he is accused of seeking to help C.F., a terrorist with international connections, travel to Syria to join the Islamic State.

A KANGAROO takes out a drone.

THE CASE OF TWO COWS that wandered from a Pocatello meat-processing business caught the attention of a national group that helps farm animals.

A POSSE OF RACCOONS takes over West Harlem.

A DOG accidentally shot his owner with a rifle.

2360 Reads

Aimee Mann, New Pronographers, Parquet Courts, Lily & Madeleine, Rottweiler   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, December 19, 2014 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



...with AIMEE MANN's CHRISTMAS CAROL (profanity warnings): Part One has your Scrooge-y set-up with Michael Penn. Part Two features The Office's John Krasinski. Part Three has Michael Cera. Part Four has John C. Reilly.

THE NEW PR0NOGRAPHERS stopped by WFUV for a mini-set; A.C. Newman chats about the new LP.

PARQUET COURTS performs from the stage of World Cafe Live.

LILY & MADELEINE stopped by World Cafe for a chat and mini-set.

ELEPHANT STONE combines the sounds of Indian classical music and '60s psychedelic rock at World Cafe.

BAND OF HORSES & GRANDADDY "Hang an Ornament."

TOM WAITS gives a reading of a "Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis."

ARIEL PINK talks to Bomb magazine about the ugly nature of performing, his method of creating an album, and how recording is a rip-off.

NICK CAVE's Handwritten Dictionary.

THE TOP ALBUMS of 2014 according to the staff at The Guardian.

STEREOGUM's 70 Favorite Songs of 2014.

NOW SHOWING: This weekend's wide reelases are The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, which opened on Wednesday scoring 62 percent on the ol' Tomatometer; Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb,currently scoring 49 percent; and Annie, scoring 19 percent.

STEPHEN COLLINS  released a lengthy statement in which he admits to inappropriate sexual contact with three female minors.

STEVIE WONDER has welcomed his ninth child.

KRIS & BRUCE JENNER have settled their divorce.

ASHLEE SIMPSON and Evan Ross are expecting their first child together.

JENNIFER LAWRENCE and... director and producer Gabe Polsky?

BRAD PITT was dismissed from jury duty for being too distracting.

THE NATIONAL FILM REGISTRY at the Library of Congress recognizes The Big Lebowski, Saving Private Ryan, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Rosemary's Baby, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and more.

UNITED STATES Army Lt. Gen. James Terry, commander of US forces in the battle against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, said it is likely to take "a minimum of three years" to reach a turning point against the group. The Pentagon said that coalition airstrikes in Iraq since mid-November have killed "multiple senior and mid-level" Islamic State leaders.

SYRIA: A mass grave holding 230 bodies was uncovered in Deir Ezzor province. Those killed, including many civilians, were members of the Shaitat tribe, which had resisted the Islamic State.

THE ISLAMIC STATE gained ground in the Iraqi city of Baiji in northern Iraq, close to the country’s largest oil refinery, forcing Iraqi forces to retreat on December 17.

A ROTTWEILER and a CAT, snuggling together... mass hysteria!

THE SQUIRREL THREAT: Arctic ground squirrels could play a greater role in climate change than was previously thought.

THIS ADORABLE BIRD is one of the most vicious creatures in the world.

AN UNHAPPY CAT is extracted from a car engine.

2558 Reads

A note about The Interview   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, December 18, 2014 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


I'm taking a personal day today during the busy holiday/end-of-year season, buut should be back tomorrow.


Nevertheless, I did want to offer a few brief comments on the decision by Sony Pictures to cancel the release of The Interview in the face of terrorist threats.  I sort of understood the earlier decision by theater chains to cancel showing the movie. After all, they could have been legally required to beef up security in respose to such threats. And the holiday season is a significant part of theaters' business; having people stay away from the movies in December would be very tough economically on a thin-margin business that's more about selling popcorn than making apolitical statement (these factors tend to distinguish the movie theater biz from newspapers that pulled cartoons in the face of terror threats.  The studio's decision--which apparently extends to home video and to future projects--is tougher to understand, given the degree to which Hollywood likes to think it Speaks Truth to Power. Then again, Tinseltown has been pandering to the People's Republic of China and domestic interest groups for years.  Bowing to the treats of hackers aligned with North Korea is just another slidefurther down the slope.

2377 Reads

TVotR, Cymbals Eat Guitars, Suzanne Vega, Barr Bros, Turtles   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, December 17, 2014 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


ST VINCENT has shared a video for “Birth In Reverse."

TV ON THE RADIO played in front of a live audience at Apogee studios.

CYMBALS EAT GUITARS stopped by WFUV's Studio A for a chat and mini-set.

SUZANNE VEGA perform in the WNYC Soundcheck studio.

THE BARR BROTHERS stopped by The Current for a chat and mini-set.

THE DECEMBERISTS share a lyric video for "The Wrong Year."

DARLENE LOVE sings decades of “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" for Letterman.

THE ROCK & ROLL HALL OF FAME announced the class of 2015.

SUN KIL MOON: Mark Kozelek looks back on his weirdest year in the public eye to date.

EX HEX  opines on some Bests of 2014 at Magnet.

FOLK ALLEY's Top 10 Folk And Americana Albums Of 2014.

BILL COSBY: The L.A. County District Attorney has rejected a case involving a woman who claims that when she was 15 the comic sexually molested her at the Playboy Mansion in 1974. But a new claim has surfaced from a woman who said she was drugged at the Playboy Mansion in 2008 and woke to find the comedian licking and kissing her toes.

SETH ROGEN & JAMES FRANCO have canceled all upcoming media appearances after the Sony hackers have threatened a 9/11-like attack on movie theaters that screen their North Korean comedy The Interview.

BRAD PITT and the kids filled in for the chickenpoxed Angelina Jolie at the premiere of her latest film, Unbroken.

MEL B: The fmr Spice Girl has walked out on her husband of seven years, Stephen Belafonte, amid fervent Internet rumors of domestic abuse, the Sun Newspaper reports.

JONATHAN RHYS MEYERS and his girlfriend, Mara Lane, are engaged.

TIM BURTON & WINONA RYDER are up for Beetlejuice 2.

THE UNITED KINGDOM: smail Abdulrahman, Muktar Said Ibrahim, Yassin Omar, and Ramzi Mohammed, who were sentenced to life in prison for an al Qaeda plot to attack London transport on July 21, 2005, two weeks after the deadly July 7 subway bombings, lost their appeals to the European Court of Human Rights.

SYRIA: The Al Nusrah Front, Ahrar al Sham, and elements of the Free Syrian Army have taken two key regime bases in Idlib province.

IRAQ: Washington believed Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi would get serious about recruiting Sunni tribes to fight the Islamic State. Now it's not so sure.

ONE TURTLE saves another.

A DEEP SEA SNAIL was named after Joe Strummer.

OWLS have acupuncture to help them recover.

PET TATTOOS and PIERCINGS have been outlawed in NYC.

2276 Reads

Johnny Greenwood, D'Angelo, Shovels & Rope, The Shivas, Massage Cat   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, December 16, 2014 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


PANDA BEAR dropped a video for a new Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper track called “Boys Latin” on Adult Swim.

JOHNNY GREENWOOD streams the Inherent Vice soundtrack.

D'ANGELO & THE VANGUARD streams Black Messiah, which isn't really my bag, but there may be some of you late 20th century R & B fans.

SHOVELS & ROPE play a live in-studio set at KEXP.

THE SHIVAS channel vintage 1960's Northwest rock 'n' roll in this bouncy set for Audioasis.

MODEST MOUSE drops "Lampshades on Fire" off their forthcoming album Strangers to Ourselves.

CHRISSIE HYNDE drops an alternate version of the seasonal "2000 Miles."

SHE & HIM get animated for their take on "Baby, It's Cold Outside," which Zooey originally sang in Elf.

HENRY ROLLINS visits...Uzbekistan.

WKRP IN PERPETUITY: What the new Shout Factory box set says about late 70s radio.

THE 100 BEST TRACKS of 2014, according to Pitchfork.

AQUARIUM DRUNKARD's 2014 Year In Review.

CHRIS HEMSWORTH: The Manliest Man in Hollywood?

AMAL CLOONEY is  Barbara Walters' most fascinating person of 2014.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON talked to Walters about her bod, and motherhood.

CHRIS PRATT & CHANNING TATUM are planning a Ghostbusters spinoff?

GABY HOFFMAN became a mom last month when she gave birth to her first child.

SCOTT STAPP: The Creed frontman placed a call to the dean of his kid's school last month, warning that ISIS will attack the people of Florida, and he knows that because the terrorists are members of his family. Dude.

KNIGHT OF CUPS, the next picture from director Terrence Malick, has a trailer online.

AUSTRALIA: Police stormed a cafe in downtown Sydney where Man Haron Monis, an Iranian self-styled cleric and known criminal, was holding hostages for 16 hours after forcing them to display an Islamist flag at the cafe window. Monis and two hostages were killed and a number of hostages were injured; others managed to escape. During the siege, Monis, a convert from Shia to Sunni Islam, had demanded that an Islamic State flag be delivered to the cafe.

ATTACKING ISIS from a floating city.

SYRIA's army seized an area north of Aleppo on Sunday and killed insurgents as fierce battles raged over the strategic territory, a group monitoring the war and state media reported.

A CAT gives a dog a head massage. (Thx, Zoey!)

GERONIMO THE BEAVER parachuted into Idaho’s backcountry in 1950.

ROBOTUNA: The US military has been developing a robotic tuna that can infiltrate enemy territory.

WHEN COWS ATTACK: One dead in British Columbia.

2316 Reads

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