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Groundhog Day, Best Coast + Wavves, Richard Thompson, Elephants   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, February 02, 2011 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


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?' Punxsatawney Phil! That's right, woodchuck chuckers it's...


Today, Punxsutawney Phil ---  the Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators, and Weather Prophet Extraordinary will predict whether we will have six more weeks of winter.  According to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, Phil has seen his shadow 97 times, and hasn't seen it (predicting an early spring) only 14 times.  Phil's track record is hotly disputed, though he's has had a pretty good run recently.  Nevertheless, thousands will await the sunrise and the groundhog at Gobbler's Knob in the tiny Pennsylvania hamlet that has become known as the "Weather Capital of the World," due in no small part to the movie that makes every day Groundhog Day.

This is o­ne time where the Internet really fails to capture the true excitement of a movie about a large squirrel predicting the weather. However, you can see the trailer as a refresher.

In 2005, 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: "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.

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."

ACCORDINGLY, we start off a new day:

...with Sonny & Cher o­n Hullabaloo and famously o­n Letterman years later, plus UB40 with Chrissie Hynde, not to mention The Cynics (from the Bonograph tribute CD), and David Bowie & Marianne Faithful. A bit more for Fivefer Wednesday.

ADVISORY: I'm in a blizzard, but I hope to have something for Thursday, provided the electricity doesn't go out (knocks on wood). Phil predicts an early Spring, but the short-term is another matter.

BEST COAST & WAVVES played DC's 9:30 Club the other night; you can stream both sets on demand via NPR.

RICHARD THOMPSON plays a Tiny Desk Concert at the officies of NPR.

VIVIAN GIRLS drop "I Heard You Say" as the lead single from the upcoming Share the Joy LP.

THE KILLS drop "Satellite" in advance of the Blood Pressures LP.

R.E.M. have dropped a video for "Mine Smell Like Honey" from the upcoming Collapse Into Now.

DEERHOOF takes Drowned In Sound on a track-by-track tour of their new album, Deerhoof vs. Evil.

THE RAVEONETTES: Sune Rose Wagner says the band's newly-completed LP is "quite unique for what we have done," like the work of Bernard Hermann.

GANG OF FOUR: Original bassist Dave Allen has an airing of grievances.

INTERPOL guitarist Daniel Kessler talks songwriting, the departure of bassist Carlos Dengler and more with Straight.com.

CHARLIE SHEEN: CBS has ordered two additional episodes of Monday sitcoms Mike and Molly and Rules of Engagement to help cope with scheduling issues arising from his absence from the hit show Two and a Half Men. Sheen's family is quietly discussing going to court to gain conservatorship over him, according to RadarOnline. Also, the new punchline is "Two and a Half Minutes."

LINDSAY LOHAN was snapped arriving home with her friend Patrick at 3am this morning, and X17's photographers say the starlet looked like she "had definitely been drinking." 

CHRISTINA APPLEGATE and her fiance, rocker Martyn LeNoble, welcomed Sadie Grace LeNoble on Thurs. Jan. 27.

MARIAH CAREY and husband Nick Cannon are expecting a boy-and a girl, according to Life & Style. Translation: grain of salt.

CYNDI LAUPER looks like Hell, but says she's going to be okay.

RICKY GERVAIS reveals he's been asked to host the Golden Globes again, despite the controversy he caused hosting last month's ceremony. Whether that's legit or kabuki remains to be seen, given that Gervais isn't leaping to accept.

JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT is in talks to join The Dark Knight Rises.

JOAQUIN PHOENIX may unretire to play Abraham Lincoln's vampire-slaying instructor in the big-screen adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith's ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.'

THE KENNEDYS miniseries will world premiere on April 3 on the ReelzChannel.

VANITY FAIR previews its Hollywood 2011 cover. Young Hollywood gets the best bartender ever.

TERROR IN ITALY: An Italian court convicted a former Guantanamo detainee named Mohamed Ben Riadh Nasri of terrorsm-related charges on Monday.

EGYPT: The Lede continues to provide updates on street protests in EgyptMubarak wants to hold on through the next election (presumably accelerated), but the opposition seems, er, opposed, saying that they would only begin talks with the military on a transition to democracy once Mubarak stands down.  The Muslim Brotherhood claims there are already talks between the military and the opposition to push him out, while Mohammed ElBaradei's allies claim he's also been talking to the army about possibly being named interim president.

IRAN: The Iranian parliament dismissed  Ahmadinejad's transportation minister. The Iranian government and the opposition both support Egyptian protesters. Tehran criticized the British defense secretary's prediction that Iran will have nuclear weapons in the next year.


HEIDI the CROSS-EYED POSSUM has been asked to present at the Oscars.

A MONKEY is behind bars after a Reidsville, NC, woman says it bit and scratched her while she was trying to change the water in its bowl.

SCRUFFY ARCHIE comes home after almost two years. Aw.

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New Releases, Telekinesis, AA Bondy, Fleet Foxes, Slo-mo Dog   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, February 01, 2011 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


LUCKY SOUL released a video for "Upon Hilly Fields" from A Coming of Age.

NEW RELEASES: David Lowery, Young the Giant, Bobby Long and more are streaming this week at Spinner.

TELEKINESIS is advance streaming 12 Desperate Straight Lines.

AA BONDY does five free songs for Daytrotter.

FLEET FOXES drop the title track to Helplessness Blues in advance of the LP.

THE BEATLES: Conquering America (February - June 1964).

THE HOLD STEADY: Craig Finn and guitarist Tad Kubler talk to Gothamist about their incessant touring, love of Cheap Trick, and th band's latest album, Heaven is Whenever.  The interview includes videos of "The Sweet Part of the City" and "Barely Beathing" for Twofer Tuesday.

DAVID LOWERY of Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven talks to the Chicago Sun-Times about his first solo album, "The Palace Guards," out today, and the business of indie.

SUFJAN STEVENS talks to Pitchfork and the New Zealand Herald about songwriting and his latest LP.


THE CLASH: London Calling is coming to Rock Band 3 in its entirety.  Also, Paste lists the 18 best Clash songs.

CHARLIE SHEEN will be in rehab for the next three months, albeit at home, derailing the next eight episodes of "Two and a Half Men," leaving a grumpy, perhaps unaid, crew. Sheen spent more than 500K on escorts and drugs in the six months before he checked into rehab, according to RadarOnline.

EVA LONGORIA & TONY PARKER finaized their divorce.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON & RYAN REYNOLDS reportedly met for an intimate dinner at The Little Door in West Hollywood.

BRITNEY SPEARS walks down the aisle... as a bridesmaid.

GWYNETH PALTROW doesn't care if you don't like her? She seems to complain about it regularly.

HALLE BERRY says she's preparing to go to court with her ex Gabriel Aubrey over custody of their 2 ½-year-old daughter Nahla.

JAVIER BARDEM has been offered a starring role in the upcoming James Bond film.

JOHN BARRY, one of the all-time great movie composers (including the classic Bond films), has died at age 77. Let's go to the video.

THE 10 BEST NUCLEAR WAR FILMS, according to Screen Junkies. I might have found spots for On the Beach and WarGames.

TERROR in the UK: Rajib Karim, a former employee of British Airways, admitted in court to providing support to terror groups, including producing and distributing a propaganda videotape.

EGYPT's anti-government protesters, scenting victory after President Hosni Mubarak agreed to discuss sweeping political reforms, rallied support for what they hope can be a million-strong march for democracy on Tuesday. Mubarak's exit plan may already be in the works. The Lede continues its updates throughout the day...

PAKISTAN's nuclear arsenal now totals more than 100 deployed weapons, a doubling of its stockpile over the past several years in one of the world's most unstable regions, according to estimates by nongovernment analysts.

DOG in SNOW: Let's go to the slo-mo video.


FERAL CHICKENS have gotten to be such a problem in a part of Polk County, FL, that a team of chicken chasers have been called in to round them up.

ENDANGERED WHALES are entangling themselves in fishing line to have humans get them high.

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Bright Eyes, Watson Twins, Amos Lee, Kitty Midnight Madness   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, January 31, 2011 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


JENN GRANT goes door-to-door to "Getcha Good." A snappy start to your week.

BRIGHT EYES is advance streaming The People's Key

THE WATSON TWINS do three free songs for Daytrotter.

AMOS LEE stopped by World Cafe for a chat and mini-set.

CASS McCOMBS drops "County Line" in advance of Wit's End.

TELEVISION: "Horizontal Ascension" is an early recording from a 1974 rehearsal, when Richard Hell was in the band.

TALKING HEADS: A vintage clip of "Psycho Killer" from the OGWT.

JOHN LYDON talks to the L.A. Times about "Mr. Rotten's Scrapbook," a limited edition mishmash of his drawings, paintings, photos, poems, scribbles and reminiscences.

GANG OF FOUR: Jon King talks about the new LP with All Things Considered, which adds tracks and a montage of bands inspired by the Gang.

LIZ PHAIR talks to BlackBook about her years in Wicker Park (a/k/a Guyville).

BETTY LaVETTE talks to the Raleigh News and Observer about Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: The Rite tops the chart with 15 million against a 37 million budget; it's a weak showing, but Anthony Hopkins is likely big enough globally to save this one. No Strings Attached drops to the No. 2 slot with 13.7 million -- a decent hold ensuring a decent hit, most likely due to weak competition and Natalie Portman buzz.  The Mechanic and The Green Hornet are in an estimated dead heat at 11.5 million, with The King's Speech within spitting distance at 11.1 million in its first wide weekend.  Jason Statham continues to make cost-effective movies; Green Hornet held well considering the Statham competition; and King's Speech is a classic platform release for an Oscar contender.  Below the fold, Oscar nomination buzz helped True Grit more than Black Swan, but the latter has now grossed seven times its production budget.

CHARLIE SHEEN has checked back into rehab, but tells RadarOnline: "People don't seem to get it.... Guy can't have a great time and do his job also?" Sounds like he's committing to sobriety!  As for the "great time" part, there's the 30K check he wrote to an adult video actress during the last party to land him in the hospital.

JESSE JAMES: Ex-wife (and ex-adult video actress) Janine Lindemulder was arrested just outside Austin, TX this morning on a warrant for harassing Jesse in a series of "abusive" phone messages.

DEMI LOVATO completed her stint in a treatment facility and is already back in L.A.

DAVID ARQUETTE has also checked out of rehab.

KATE HUDSON explains why she kept her pregnancy on the downlow.

CLINT EASTWOOD: As he takes on the story of J. Edgar Hoover, the filmmaker talks about movie lawmen, his Korean War days and the flat tax.

HENRY CAVILL (The Tudors) has landed the role of Superman in the Zach Snyder reboot.

THE DIRECTORS GUILD AWARDS went to these folks. Congrats! Tom Hooper's win for The King's Speech may give him or the picture momentum in Oscars voting.

THE SCREEN ACTORS GUILD AWARDS went to these folks. Congrats! Even more momentum for The King's Speech, Christian Bale and Natalie Portman..

CHARLIE CALLAS, a rubber-faced comedian who cavorted on television and the nightclub circuit in the 1960s, '70s and '80s, often punctuating punch lines with sound effects emanating from his motormouth, died on Thursday in Las Vegas. He was 83.

EGYPT: The Lede blog at the NYT is as good a place as any to follow stories and social media on the continuing street protests in Egypt. It appears that the US would prefer some sort of managed transition to a more open and democratic society, in hopes of giving more secular reform groups a chance to catch up to the more organized Muslim Brotherhood.  But the US likely has little leverage at this juncture, as David Warren and Leslie Gelb note in their assessment of the downside for the US and the West generally.

TERROR in the US: Said Jaziri, a radical cleric from Tunisia who was deported from Canada in 2007, was arrested as he was being smuggled across the Mexican border in the trunk of a car.

IRAQ's security forces are confronting significant problems as the US military prepares to withdraw from that country by the end of this year, according to a new report by a top oversight official.

IT'S KITTY MIDNIGHT MADNESS at the Winnepeg Humane Society! Come on down!

LUCKY KITTEN rescued from a lightpole and adopted.

A FISH beauty treatment craze, where customers' dead skin is nibbled off their feet by garra rufa fish, has raised concerns that the fish would have to be starved to behave in this way.

BANDIT RUBIO, a Chihuahua, wins a celebrity impersonation contest as Donald Trump.

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Elvis Costello, Goldwax, Bela Fleck, Cutout Bin, Gorilla Man   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, January 28, 2011 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



...with ELVIS COSTELLO & THE ATTRACTIONS!  Live and ferocious in June 1978, Part 1 includes "Mystery Dance," "Waiting For The End Of The World," and "Lip Service."  Part 2 includes "Two Little Hitlers," "The Beat," and "Night Rally." Part 3 continues with "This Year's Girl," "No Action," and "(I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea."  Part 4 rocks on with "Lipstick Vogue" and "Watching The Detectives." Part 5 concludes with "Pump It Up" and "You Belong To Me."

GOLDWAX RECORDS: A History Of '60s Memphis Soul, via Fresh Air.

ALL SONGS CONSIDERED: Tracks from First Aid Kit, Cowboy Junkies, Yuck and more feature in the latest edition of the long-running NPR series.

ABIGAIL WASHBURN did six free songs for Daytrotter.

BELA FLECK also brought the banjo for four free songs at Daytrotter.

IRON & WINE: Sam Beam's promo blitz continues with a session at Morning Becomes Eclectic.

NIRVANA: The Demotapes.

LEONARD COHEN plays "So Long, Marianne," circa 1979.

ALEX WINSTON, upcoming singer-songwriter-popster, is profiled by BBC Radio 1. (Thx, LHB)  Her debut isn't out yet but you can stream a few via the ol' HM.

DEREK & THE DOMINOS: Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs is getting the special edition treatment in March, including previously unreleased material and two rare tracks produced by Phil Spector.

JAYHAWKS: Mark Olson speaks with PopMatters at length about the band and its history.

CORIN TUCKER tells PopMatters how her new band came to be, how it's different from Sleater-Kinney, and where she's headed to next...

PATTI SMITH is working on a new album... and a detective novel.

GLADYS HORTON, who co-founded the 1960s Motown group the Marvelettes and sang on hits including "Please Mr. Postman," died Wednesday night at a Sherman Oaks nursing home. She was 65.

CUTOUT BIN: From Slade to the Specials, from Joe Jackkson to Wanda Jackson, from the Four Tops to Guided by Voices, from Johnny Thunders to the Beatles, plus the Jam, Hindu Love Gods, Big Star, Thin Lizzy and more -- this Friday's fortuitous finds are now streaming from the Pate page at the ol' HM.

NOW SHOWING: This weekend's wide releases are: The Rite, currently scoring 17 percent on the ol' Tomatometer; and The Mechanic, scoring 51 percent.

CHARLIE SHEEN was in the middle of a marathon "party" last night and this morning with 5 women before something went so wrong, he ended up on a stretcher in an ambulance and rushed to the hospital.  RadarOnline claims Sheen's problem may be an ulceration.

KATE HUDSON laughs off the rumor she's engaged to Matt Bellamy, thinks she's having a girl.

KRISTEN STEWART is courted to play Snow White, perhaps opposite Viggo Mortensen as the Huntsman.

LINDSAY LOHAN calls 911 on the paparazzi.

CHELSEA HANDLER dumped 50 Cent just before the holidays, leaving the 35-year-old rapper "heartbroken"?

KENDRA WILKINSON: Another video from the past headed to the market?

EGYPT: Police fought protesters in two cities in eastern Egypt on Thursday and Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei arrived back in the country to join a major demonstration on Friday to try to oust President Hosni Mubarak.

YEMEN: Thousands of Yemenis took to the streets of the capital to demand a change of government, inspired by the unrest that has ousted the Tunisian leader and spread to Egypt.

IRAN: UK banks froze the account of Iran's English news service, PressTV.

THE GORILLA that walks like a man. Page Frankie Valli and the ghost of Charlton Heston.

A DOG that became stranded on an iceberg in the Baltic Sea has been adopted by his rescuers.

BATS use living toilets made of carnivorous plants.

300 BLACKBIRDS found dead recently near Athens, Alabama, appear to have died from flying into or being struck by a large object, such as an tractor-trailer rig.

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Charlie Louvin RIP, Jesca Hoop, Cold War Kids, Pitbull Kitteh   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, January 27, 2011 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


THE GO! TEAM drops videos for "Secretary Song" and "Super Triangle" in time for Twofer Thursday.

CHARLIE LOUVIN, Country Hall of Famer and half of the Louvin Bros. (whose  harmonies inspired everybody from the Everly Brothers to Emmylou Harris to the Byrds), died at 83 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.  He did four free songs for Daytrotter just last year.

JESCA HOOP did the four free songs thing for Daytrotter.

DAYTROTTER compiled its own Best of 2010 tracks.

COLD WAR KIDS stopped by Morning Becomes Eclectic for a session.

THE MAMAS & PAPAS lip-synced "California Dreaming" really well o­n Hullaballoo, but not showing you the go-go dancers, who are worth the wait.

THE DECEMBERISTS top the Billboard chart, but what does it mean?

GANG OF FOUR frontman Andy Gill discusses the band's first album in 16 years, and how the Red Hot Chili Peppers stole their sound.

STEVE EARLE talks to Billboard about his new album and novel, plus his work on 'Treme.

WILCO have formed their own label, dBpm Records, whose releases will be distributed and marketed by Anti- Records.

PENELOPE CRUZ & JAVIER BARDEM welcome a baby boy.

MIKE TYSON is a dad for the eighth time, as far as we know.

JIMMY BUFFETT was rushed to a hospital in Australia after he fell off the stage during a concert. TMZ has the video.

LINDSAY LOHAN & SAMANTHA RONSON hit up a strange party last week - where the theme seemed to be bleeding from the eyes and weird 3D type glasses.

OPRAH WINFREY is "taking it slow" with her newly-revealed half-sister.

JESSE JAMES: New Nazi pics surface.

JESSICA SIMPSON may have to refight the battle to keep a 2005 exercise video off the market.

VINCE NEIL will serve 15 days in jail after pleading guilty on Wednesday to drunken driving.

WILL FARRELL has committed to a four-episode arc on NBC's comedy The Office.

JOHN TRAVOLTA has been approached to play the role of former mafia boss John Gotti in an upcoming biopic.

NAOMI WATTS has signed on to star in J. Edgar, the Clint Eastwood-directed biopic.

IRAN: Ahmadinejad lashed out at his political rivals during a recent speech. Israel's Vice President said Iran is taking Lebanon hostage by supporting Hezbollah in political upheaval. Germany sent senior diplomats to Iran to secure the release of imprisoned journalists.

AFGHANISTAN: Roadside bombs killed 268 American troops in Afghanistan last year, a 60 percent increase over the previous year even as the Pentagon employs new measures to counter the Taliban's makeshift weapon of choice. Defense officials attribute it to the surge in fighting overall.

A PIT BULL adopts a kitten...Mass hysteria!

KANGAROOS forced the postponement of the Hanging Rock Cup in Australia.

A 5-FOOT MONITOR LIZARD was found wandering around a condo complex in Riverside, CA.

LIVE FISH & CHICKS were tossed during a high school pep rally in Ft. Worth, TX.

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