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New Releases, Richard Swift, Islands, Beagle & Raccoon   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, July 21, 2009 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


I MAY BE COMING DOWN WITH SOMETHING, or having an allergic episode, so this will be a quick one: 

NIRVANA & RICK ASTLEY, together at last.

NEW RELEASES: Fiery Furnaces, Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs, Blue Roses, Wheat and more are streaming in full this week via Spinner.

RICHARD SWIFT did three free songs for Daytrotter.

ELIZABETH and the CATAPULT played the World Cafe on Friday, so you can stream the gig on demand via NPR.

THE MONSTERS OF FOLK (Conor Oberst, Jim James, M Ward & Mike Mogis) will give you an advance track for an e-mail address. Stream at the link also.

ISLANDS have an advance track streaming via Pitchfork.

ADAM YAUCH of the Beastie Boys announced Monday, by way of a homemade video placed without fanfare on the band's Web site, that he would be receiving treatment for cancer and that as a result the group would cancel some future shows and push back the release of a new album. "This is something that's very treatable and in most cases it's, um, they're able to completely get rid of it," he said.

MERGE RECORDS: Pitchfork looks at the label's 20th anniversary with insight from Arcade Fire's Wim Butler, Spoon's Britt Daniel, The Rosebuds' Kelly Crisp & Ivan Howard, M Ward and David Kilgour.

JACK WHITE is profiled by The Wall Street Journal for takin' care of business.

MICHAEL JACKSON: Sony Pictures Entertainment is closing a deal to make a feature film on Jacko from the 80 hours of rehearsal footage filmed for the concerts Jackson was preparing to perform in London when he passed away -- at a cost of over 50 million bucks.

MISCHA BARTON's TV series is on hold while she is under psych care, while her rep dismisses claims of a coke binge.

DEMI MOORE got a Photoshopped Mohawk from hubby Ashton Kutcher.

SIENNA MILLER nearly burnt her breasts making new movie G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.

CHRIS BROWN finally apologizes for smacking Rhianna around.

TONY ROMO is emotionally drained after dumping Jessica Simpson, which doesn't explain the partying with new girls all this week. Maybe he's one of those "get right back on the horse" people.


IRAN: Germany's foreign intelligence agency has amassed evidence of a sophisticated Iranian nuclear weapons program that continued beyond 2003.

RACCOON & BEAGLE, playing together... mass hysteria!

A GIANT HALIBUT weigihing 309 lbs. took five grown men to lift and then an entire day to chop it into 600 portions.

GIANT JELLYFISH descend on the Sea of Japan, causing untold devastation to coastal villages and leaving a trail of destruction and human misery behind.

SCORPION ON A PLANE rocked an Indianapolis-bound Southwest Airline passenger like a hurricane.

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Meat Puppets, Jayhawks, Pitchfest, Puppy & Fawn   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, July 20, 2009 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


GRIZZLY BEAR returned to the Ed Sullivan Theater to play, "Ready, Able."

THE MEAT PUPPETS have a feature + tracks streaming via NPR.

THE JAYHAWKS stopped by The Current for a chat and mini-set, streaming via MPR.

DIRTY PROJECTORS stopped by the World Cafe for a chat and mini-set.

THE HANDSOME FAMILY did four free songs for Daytrotter.

SEALS & CROFT: "Summer Breeze."

PITCHFORK MUSIC FEST: I was unable to attend this year, but you can get recaps from Aquarium Drunkard and All Songs Considered. And you may want to check Pitchfork today, as they were streaming bits of the lineup over the weekend.

RHETT MILLER: Should you ever meet the Old 97s frontman, be sure to tell him he has not aged well.

NEKO CASE talks to Kentucky.com about not wanting to be pigeon-holed.

WOXY is moving from Cincinnati to Austin. Of course, once you're on the 'net, you're everywhere.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: As expected, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince dominated with 79.5 million over the 3-day weekend, having made 159.7 million in the US since Tuesday midnight.  The falloff from that record-breaking premiere suggests the franchise is becoming increasingly front-loaded.  Some execs might worry about that, but for the fact that we are now staring down the big finale (albeit split over two movies), and the 5-day haul is  bigger than any other Potter film.  Ice Age 3 comes in second, with 17.7 million, which may be Potter spillover, but may be legs.  Transformers 2 takes the third spot adding another 13.7 million to its 363.8 million in the US alone.  Bruno drops 73 percent from No.1 to No.4, suggesting this was even more frontloaded than the Potter flick.  Indeed, when the actual numbers some in, Bruno could be No. 5 -- both The Hangover and The Proposal are withing striking distance.  A year after The Dark Knight premiered, the Top 12 movies made 39% less than last year.

HARRY POTTER & THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE was on my weekend slate, generally meeting my expectations. I should explain that this is a series where I have preferred the odd-numbered movies to the even-numbered ones, so I was expecting to like this less that Order of the Phoenix -- and did.  I liked the movie overall, and am always pleased with the development that the young actors show in each movie.  But as noted above -- minus one shocking development for casual fans -- this movie serves largely as a set-up for the Deathly Hallows movies, and focused more on the adolescent entanglements of the students than big set-pieces.

500 DAYS OF SUMMER also opened near me this weekend -- and lived up to my much higher expectations for it.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt (who most probablys till think of as the kid fro Third Rock From the Sun or 10 Things I Hate About You) is so good that you don't mind that he is really the main character, instead of the lovely Zooey Deschanel, who gets a star turn in an indie dramedy that is not really a Manic Pixie Dream Girl.  As the narrator says in the trailer you should watch now, this is not a love story.  But it is a good one.

THE HURT LOCKER: I was remiss in not reviewing this immediately. Director Kathryn Bigelow has made the first Iraq War film that is not didactic or preachy from either side, but a war movie that is part thriller and part character study of the members of a bomb disosal unit in the last days of their rotation, circa 1984.  The first eight minutes are on Hulu to whet your appetite.

PUBLIC ENEMIES clears my backlog of reviews.  It was a good, but not great, look at the end of John Dillinger -- and of a certain chapter of gangster history.  It is a case where the whole is less than the sum of it parts.  Michael Mann's direction is fine, and the main performances from Johnny Depp & Co. are also fine.  And the technical work is quite good (with plenty of greatChicago locations for locals like me). The problem probably rests with the script, which is quite matter-of-fact.  We are used to seeing gangsters either glamorized or humanized.  This film touches on those issues, but largely avoids them.  I might admire the ethics of that, but it makes for a less gripping movie.

WALTER CRONKITE, who pioneered and then mastered the role of television news anchorman with such plain-spoken grace that he was called the most trusted man in America, died Friday at his home in New York. He was 92. CBS News has a special tribute on their website, including video of his anchoring the JFK assassination.  But as today is the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, it seems like the clip to watch.

MISCHA BARTON, whose career cooled following her exit from the hit television show "The O.C.," has been hospitalized in Los Angeles for psychiatric observation.  According to the ever-relaible NYP, Barton was so high on coke following a marathon three-day bender that friends called cops afraid she would kill herself.

KATHERINE HEIGL & GERARD BUTLER, co-starring in the upcoming The Ugly Truth, were forced to evacuate the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles during a bomb scare. The punchline writes itself.

IRAN: Protesters clashed with security forces in Tehran after a sermon in which top cleric Hashemi Rafsanjani criticizes the election and calls for rule of law, unity and dialogue. A serving member of the paramilitary Basiji militia tells the Jerusalem Post of his role in suppressing opposition street protests in recent weeks, and his earlier service in the force, including his enforced participation in the rape of young Iranian girls prior to their execution.

IRAQ: The Iraqi government has moved to sharply restrict the movement and activities of US forces in a new reading of a six-month-old U.S.-Iraqi security agreement that has startled American commanders and raised concerns about the safety of their troops.

PUPPY & FAWN, playing together... mass hysteria!

BUZZARDS & DREADFUL CROWS attack joggers in Britain (home of the late Alfred Hitchcock).

WILD CAMELS are wreaking havoc in huge parts of Australia, eating the vegetation, destroying property, fouling and consuming water sources, desecrating indigenous sites and causing road accidents.

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT: A puppy with five legs... for the low price of four grand. A touching story, actually.

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CCR, Cracker, McCartney, Cutout Bin, Penguin Gas   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, July 17, 2009 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



... with CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL!  Been a while since I featured Fogerty & Co., so here are live clips of "Travelin' Band," "Proud Mary," "Born on the Bayou" and "Green River."  You might also check out the synced clips for "Fortunate Son" (because the song is so good) and "Down on the Corner" (because the visuals are amusing).

CRACKER stopped by the World Cafe for a chat and mini-set streaming via NPR.

BEN LEE also stopped by the World Cafe for a chat and mini-set streaming via NPR.

NOMO stpped by OPB for a chat and mini-set in audio and video.

THE TOP SUMMERTIME SONGS, according to Spinner, comes with streaming audio, though there is some Mungo Jerry to avoid.

PAUL McCARTNEY stopped by the Ed Sullivan Theater after 45 years, for an interview and performances including "Get Back" and "Band On the Run."

HOW I STOPPED WORRYING and learned to love Phish. Carrie Brownstein is trying, anyway.

NEKO CASE talks to the Kansas City Star about songwriting, incorporating old songs into new sets, cameos, and more...

FIERY FURNACES: Matt Friedberger shuffles his iPod for The A.V. Club. 

THE CUTOUT BIN: From the Clash to Cream, from Grizzly Bear to ZZ Top, from the Velvet Underground to Glen Campbell, plus Tommy Keene, the New York Dolls, Bruce Springsteen, the Replacements and more -- this Friday's fortuitous finds are streaming from the Pate page at the ol' HM.

NOW SHOWING: This weekend's wide release is Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, currently scoring 87 percent on the ol' Tomatometer.  500 Days of Summer, currently scoring 91 percent, opens in limited release.

MISCHA BARTON was removed by police from her West Hollywood home Wednesday, related to a "medical issue."

JESSICA SIMPSON is dazed and confused after being dumped by Dallas QB Tony Romo a day before her 29th birthday.

ORLANDO BLOOM wuz robbed! Burglars made off with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of jewelry from his Hollywood Hills home.

MADONNA's tour set in Marseille, France collapsed yesterday, killing one person and injuring six.

WHIP IT, the roller-derby flick starring Ellen Page and directed by Drew Barrymore, has a trailer online.

AMY WINEHOUSE is officially divorced.

IRON MAN 2 is featured in Entertainment Weekly's Comic-Con issue.

IRAN: 28-year-old protester Taraneh Mousavi (and others) are getting raped in Tehran's notorious Evin prison.  Iranian leaders are turning inward and rejecting engagement with the West as they blame outsiders for street protests. Iran's vice-president -- and nuclear chief --  has resigned. Israeli warships have deployed to the Red Sea for what has been described as a rehearsal for a possible attack on Iran.

UNDERWATER FARTING PENGUIN: Let's go to the video.

PIGS OF THE CARIBBEAN: Awww...some pics.

A FLORIDA PIG was tazed and taken into custody after the animal led Chipley police on a merry chase through downtown.

PET AIRWAYS: On Tuesday, the first flight for the first-ever all-pet airline took off from Republic Airport in Farmingdale, N.Y.

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Wilco & Feist, Bat for Lashes, Thom Yorke, Cat Hoarding   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, July 16, 2009 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


WILCO & FEIST perform "You & I" at the Ed Sullivan Theater.

THE DODOS are advance streaming their new album, Time to Die.

BAT FOR LASHES: Natasha Khan plays four acoustic songs for Xfm.

THOM YORKE has a new track, "All For the Best," premiering at Stereogum.

MARTIN SEXTON played a mini-set on the Mountain Stage, now streaming via NPR.

RAPHAEL SAADIQ has a new, but grainy, black-and-white video, for "Let's Take a Walk."

THE RAVEONETTES: Sune Rose Wagner talks to Flavorwire about the duo's upcoming October release, In and Out of Control.

JIM JAMES of My Morning Jacket talks to Spinner about his upcoming George Harrison tribute EP (under the name Yim Yames).

SONIC YOUTH: Thurston Moore talks to PAPER as part of the mag's "guru" series.

THE FELICE BROS. are prepared for an emergency.

MICHAEL JACKSON: The LAPD is treating Jacks's death as a homicide, as evidence points to the anesthesia Propofol as the primary cause of Jackson's death. Bill Wyman tackles the revisionist history following his death. Us Weekly has video of Jacko's hair igniting during that infamous Pepsi ad shoot; the incident is said to have been the start of Jacko's pill-popping.

ROBERT REDFORD married artist Sibylle Szaggars last weekend at a luxury hotel in Hamburg, Germany, in front of 30 family and friends, according to AP reports.

MADONNA: Despite gruelling two-hour workouts, six days a week, it seems the 50-year-old is struggling to stave off one of the tell-tell signs of aging - the dreaded "bingo wings."

RENEE ZELLEWEGER is chowing down for a third Bridget Jones movie. How's that career going?

JADA PINKETT SMITH: Oversharing, with diminishing returns.

HARRY POTTER  and the HALF-BLOOD PRINCE, scoring 89 percent on the ol' Tomatometer, earned a record 22.2 million at Wednesday midnight showings in the United States.  But if you go, you won't see Harry facing Voldemort in a rap battle.

STEVEN SODERBERGH: His biopic of Che Guevara recouped half its budget and his Brad Pitt-starring baseball film was pulled five days before the shoot began. The director of Traffic and Erin Brockovich tells The Guardian why he might just disappear. 

CELEBRITY FACE-LIFTS: Not exactly an ad for face-lifts, either.

GLOBAL WARMING: Could the best climate models all be wrong? Maybe so, says a new study published online today in the journal Nature Geoscience.

PAKISTAN: The Pakistani military is attempting to isolate and destroy Baitullah Mehsud, and does not intend to conduct a counterinsurgency in South Waziristan. Some of the locals are confident the Taliban are being defeated in the Swat valley.

IRAN just cannot stop hanging people.  Ali Akbar Hasehemi Rafsanjani's Friday sermon is viewed as pivotal by some political observers in Iran.

EXTREME CAT HOARDING, courtesy of Animal Planet.


SNAKE on a WINDSHIELD: The secret is not freaking out so much that you can't roll up the windows.

A SWEARING PARROT stolen in a burglary in Newcastle has been returned to its owner.

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The Dead Weather, Blitzen Trapper, Mission of Burma, Baby Sea Lion   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, July 15, 2009 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


JULIE DOIRON delivers the "Consolation Prize" from her new album, I Can Wonder What You Did With Your Day.

THE DEAD WEATHER (featuring members of The White Stripes and The Kills) played DC's 9:30 Club last night, so you should be able to stream the gig on demand via NPR.

BLITZEN TRAPPER did the three free songs thing for Daytrotter.

MISSION OF BURMA has an advance track, "1, 2, 3, Partyy!", posted at the Matablog, along with details about their upcoming LP. You can stream the song via the HM.

MODEST MOUSE provided an advance track, "Perpetual Motion Machine," to SPIN.

STEEL HARMONY plays Joy Division's "Transmission" as only a Caribbean steelband riding a lorry through Manchester can. Remember, gang, you probably would never have gotten to see and hear this before the Internet.

MISSISSIPPI DELTA BLUES have had an enormous impact on American music; Charley Patton, Son House and Robert Johnson are among those featured at NPR.

BOWERBIRDS: Phil Moore talks to Paste about the band's recent European tour, his reservations about living in the woods, and what it's like to write love songs for his bandmate.

RICHARD HELL has re-recorded his 1982 album Destiny Street because the original sounded like a "high-pitched sludge of guitar noise."

U2: Environmentalists claim the Irish stadium rockers' tour will create enough carbon to send Bono & Co. to Mars.

MICHAEL JACKSON's baby mama Debbie Rowe has sold her kids again - this time squeezing about 4 million from her former mother-in-law in exchange for giving up her parental rights, a family source told The New York Post.  Elizabeth Taylor was hospitalized while grieving the singer's death. Jacko's toxicology reports are due as soon as Friday.

JOHNNY DEPP would take his kids to Disneyland if he wasn't famous. They'll have to settle for his private island in the Caribbean.

JOHN MAYER broke up Tony Romo and Jessica Simpson? Too good to check!

KATE HUDSON & A-ROD spent the weekend at the exclusive Pelican Hill Resort in Newport Beach.

AMY ADAMS has been engaged for a year and she still hasn't even locked down a wedding date.

DIRTY HIPPIES sang a medley of songs from "Hair" for Conan.

ANNE HATHAWAY delivered pizza at 3 a.m. to fans camping for tickets to her final performance of Shakespeare in the Park.

NEIL PATRICK HARRIS  is officially hosting the prime-time Emmys.

KAROLINA KURKOVA is pregnant, though she doesn't look it in any of the accompanying photos.

PAKISTAN: The displaced are headed back to the Swat valley, but many of the refugees have lost their crops, and will need support for many months.

IRAN: Reformists fear that Ahmadinejad will launch a new era of social repression after street rallies last week failed to shake the Islamist regime. A top Iranian general said government troops are "ready to sacrifice our lives" rather than back down in the face of protests over June's disputed presidential election.

A BABY SEA LION learns to swim at the Pittsburgh Zoo.

CATS CONTROL HUMANS: Confirmed by science.

THE MALTESE PUPPY: Scooter has stopped growing at the towering height of three inches - almost an inch smaller than the current small-dog record holder, Boo Boo, a long-haired chihuahua living in the US.

SMOKEY the CHIHUAHUA survives walking around for three days with a fork lodged in his head.

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