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Ben Folds Five, Matthew Sweet, Cutout Bin, First Dog Attacks   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, November 07, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



...with the BEN FOLDS FIVE!  Back to Front presents the band's recent reunion concert, in which the trio played the 1999 album "The Unauthorized Biography Of Rienhold Messner" in its entirety.  Or you can click on individual tracks or interviews at the link. BONUS: This time of year always reminds me of "Kate." The Five looked so much younger then, but so did I. DOUBLE-BONUS: If you want to see the BFF live from that pre-Reinhold period, you should watch their Session at West 54th in August 1998.

JACK BRUCE of Cream attacks Led Zeppelin like it was the Hindenburg.

RICK ASTLEY  was awarded the title of Best Act Ever at the MTV Europe Music Awards. Astley, who has described the "Rickrolling" phenomenon as "very bizarre", refused to attend the awards but thanked fans. BONUS: The literal Rickroll could have used a better singer, but the script wasn't bad.

THE KINKS are writing songs for a potential reunion album, frontman Ray Davies told BBC News, even though his estranged brother and bandmate seems to want no part of it.  But could you have a Kinks reunion without Ray and Dave fighting?

MATTHEW SWEET stopped by the World Cafe for a chat and mini-set you can stream on demand via NPR.

UTOPIA: Todd Rundgren & Co. play "Couldn't I Just Tell You" live on German TV. 

OF MONTREAL frontman Kevin Barnes talks to The Line Of Best Fit about Iceland, London, Barcelona, and assures the interviewer that there is no such thing as a Georgie Fruit song.

ELLIOT BROOD uncorks a mini-set of "death country" for KEXP.

BLITZEN TRAPPER talks to the Indianapolis Star about quitting their day jobs and their favorite Madonna songs.

MY BRIGHTEST DIAMOND: Shara Worden talks to the Indianapolis Star about her choice of instruments and the influence of German visual artist Anselm Kiefer (whose works, btw, are quite impressive in person).

CUTOUT BIN: From Sly & the Family Stone to Everything But the Girl, from Gram Parsons to the Sex Pistols, from T. Rex to Iron & Wine, from James Brown to the Rutles and more  -- this Friday's fortuitous finds can be jukeboxed or streamed separately via the Pate page at the ol' HM.

NOW SHOWING: This weekend's wide releases are Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, currently scoring 63 percent on the ol' Tomatometer; Role Models, which is currently scoring 73 percent; and the late Bernie Mac paired with the ubiquitous Samuel L. Jackson in Soul Men, scoring 53 percent.

MADONNA and JUSTIN and BRITNEY: Oh My? No confirmation at presstime... UPDATE: Britney and Justin appeared onstage, but not together.

DANNY BONADUCE, a/k/a Danny Partridge, will pay 16K a month to his ex-wife, Gretchen, for spousal and child support. Apparently he thought wrong. The real shocker here is that Bonaduce can afford 16K monthly, though I guess I shouldn't be shocked; he and I used to ride the same train from time to time.

SARAH SILVERMAN explains what went wrong in London (among other things) in an interview with the NYP that totally steers clear of her relationship status with Jimmy Kimmel.

CHARLIZE THERON has settled the 2007 lawsuit filed against her by the luxury Swiss watchmaker Raymond Weil for deigning to wear other timepieces on her wrist in violation of an exclusivity clause in her contract.

WATCHMEN has a new featurette online, titled "Girls Kick A$$."

THE JENNIFER ANISTON NEURON could pave the way for mind-reading technology. Like I could make that up.

CELEBRITY OBSESSION reduces people's fear of death -- and estimates of how long various living and dead celebrities would be remembered increases with how representative of American values people considered them: "It's nice to know that people value MLK and JFK over Britney. But wow, apparently Joan Baez is almost as forgettable as Paris Hilton." Well, yeah -- just ask Bob Dylan.

IRAN: Pres. Ahmadinejad has offered his congratulations to Barack Obama on his US presidential win. It is the first official message of goodwill presented to an American leader by the Islamic theocracy.

IRAQ will purchase 516 military aircraft from the US and France for its new Air Force. The US has accepted some Iraqi proposals to change a pact governing the presence of U.S. troops, but had reservations about others, necessitating further talks.

FIRST DOG BARNEY was caught biting a member of the White House press corps Thursday in Washington DC; video at the link. Someone must have heard that the Obamas are adopting a rescue puppy.

A MISCHIEVOUS MINK that "eats" cabin cruisers is being hunted at a posh marina.

A TIMID PITBULL was stolen in deKalb County, GA; it's owners fear Sophia may be sold into the dogfighting underground.

ESCAPED TIGERS were foiled by chickens in the western city of Zitacuaro, Mexico.

LEMMINGS not jumping off cliffs; scientists blame global warming.

FOX on the RUN: With a fox locked onto her arm, an Arizona jogger ran a mile to her car, where she was able to dislodge the animal, throw it into the trunk and drive to a Prescott, AZ hospital. Cue The Sweet.

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Emmy the Great, Born Ruffians, Laundro-Matinee, Cats in the Box   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, November 06, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


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The Annuals, Yma Sumac RIP, The Posies, Stealth Octopus   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, November 05, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


MAGICAL MYSTERY CHORD: A mathemetician unlocks the secret of the opening chord of The Beatles' "A Hard Day's Night." All it took was a little Fourier analysis.

THE ANNUALS get a Twofer from the World Cafe.

FLEET FOXES: Robin Pecknold talks to Filter about the influence of The Zombies' Odyssey and Oracle, and to Rolling Stone about the depths of high-school geekdom.

SST: From an inauspicious beginning selling spare radio parts, SST went on to establish the US indie underground of the 80s. But its 30th anniversary earlier this year went uncelebrated - even by its own bands.

YMA SUMAC, the Peruvian-born singer whose spectacular multi-octave vocal range and exotic persona made her an international sensation in the 1950s, has died of cancer. She was 86.

THE POSIES get some local love from the Bellingham Herald, joining Loretta Lynn, keyboardist Larry Knechtel, rock singer Randy Bachman, and the indie-rock group Death Cab for Cutie on the list of musicians with musical connections to Whatcom County, WA. A nice opportunity to link "Golden Blunders." Still fab 18 years later.

THE HOLD STEADY: Craig Finn talks to the Associated Press about the value of smiling, not to mention forgiveness and redemption.

FLYOVER ROCK: A piece by Ann Powers in the L.A, Times spurs discussion of "blue-state coastal elitist music journalism," as well as the observation that mid-America still buys its music. There are related observations at PopMatters: "At the end of the day, glam rock sold more albums, and Reagan grabbed more votes, than anything that has come since, and the reason why is a principle of human communication that we might as well call the Tao of Motley Crue... All you need is a slogan, something catchy and seductive and ambiguous and self-actualizing like 'Girls, Girls, Girls' or 'Pour Some Sugar on Me' or 'We are the Change We've been Waiting For'."

OKKERVIL RIVER: Will Scheff talks to Filter about The Stand-Ins album, as well as being a "stand-in" of sorts: "I see myself as a working musician. I'm not Justin Timberlake, I'm not even Vampire Weekend..."

DRESSY BESSY gets a meaty profile at Aversion, including sage words from singer/guitarist Tammy Ealom: "I just have the desire to rock. I don't have the desire to be a rock star," she exclaims. "That's the difference between a lot of us. I do it for me."

KATE WINSLET bares all in the new Vanity Fair, inlcuding revealing that Emma Thompson was her matchmaker. Winslet is furious at suggestions that she was Photoshopped into shape.

AMY WINEHOUSE has turned in demos for her next album; Universal Music Group CEO Lucian Grange says they're "sensational."

LINDSAY LOHAN loses yet another gig -- this time as hostess of the World Music Awards. She's being replaced by denise Richards. Ouch.

MADONNA: Guy Ritchie has hired a top lawyer in his battle with Madge over where their children should live.

KEANU REEVES is cleared in a civil suit brought by a paparazzo who claimed he was run over by Reeves.

MONSTERS vs. ALIENS, due in March, has released its first trailer.

TIM ROBBINS: Victim of voter suppression?

BRADGELINA: Jolie still sees herself as "just a punk kid with tattoos."

PEANUTS appear in 20 new webisodes; for a limited time, fans will be able to download two episodes of the series for free on Apple's iTunes.

BARACK OBAMA won the US presidential election. I don't do much domestic politics here -- and y'all probably already heard about it -- but it seems kinda notable.

SOMALIA: A 13-year-old girl was raped, then stoned to death for adultery.

IRAQ: A top Shiite lawmaker said on Tuesday that Iraq has received "positive" signals from Washington for the changes which Baghdad proposed to the draft security deal between the two countries. Iraq's Sunni Arab vice president said the pact should be put to a referendum. The Iraqi military is moving beyond just counter-terrorism efforts to building combat and logistics capabilities. Jihadis are criticizing Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and the Islamic State of Iraq.

STEALTH OCTOPUS: Pretty amazing camoflage.

THE GHOST BAT: Awesome pic, but couldn't you have gotten this out for Halloween?

JURASSIC PARK: One step closer.

A ROOSTER was busted in downstate Illinois after it allegedly confronted a woman and her child.

COCKATOO vs. PYTHON: The cockatoo never had a chance.

THOUSANDS of JELLYFISH shut down a nuclear reactor at the Diablo Canyon Power Plant. No word on whether militant squirrels masterminded the attack.

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Stephen Malkmus, New Releases, Lucinda Williams, Rhino Attack Drill   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, November 04, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


STEPHEN MALKMUS & THE JICKS are joined by Blitzen Trapper for a rendition of the James Gang's "Funk 49" in St. Louis. More Cowbell!

NEW RELEASES: Mavis Staples and Led Zeppelin are among those streaming in full this week via Spinner.  Merge Records is re-issuing albums from Camera ObscuraMagnetic Fields, and Polvo on vinyl.

STEVE ALBINI talks to The List about Shellac and All Tomorrow's Parties.

LUCINDA WILLIAMS has an interview + tracks streaming at NPR from All Things Considered.

THE U2 TOWER, slated to be th tallest building in Dublin, has been put on hold due to the slumping property market.

THE TOP TEN AUTUMN ALBUMS, according to Rawkblog.

THAT PETROL EMOTION plays "Big Decision" and "Swamp" on The Tube, circa 1987. It's your Twofer Tuesday. Whatcha gotta do in this day and age? Gotta agitate and educate and organize.

GARY GLITTER is commercial poison for Hewlett Packard.

THE NERVES will release their first full-length compilation Nov. 25th.

LAURA MARLING picks out a playlist of tracks that inspire her art for Drowned In Sound.

THE DESCENDENTS: Co-founder and original guitarist Frank Navetta died Friday, after a seeming sudden, undisclosed illness.

JOAQUIN PHOENIX maintains that he is quitting acting to pursue music, but friends reportedly fret that he may be off the wagon.

AMY WINEHOUSE has returned to the hospital for ongoing treatment, after a weekend at home.

GUY RITCHIE was threatened by a crazed, knife-wielding Madonna fan who burst onto the set of his new Shelock Holmes movie.

JOHN CLEESE is selling his second home - just weeks after settling a messy divorce.  So don't call him "Two-Sheds."

IRON MAN 2: Was dropping Terrence Howard about more than money?

HEROES: Co-exec producers Jesse Alexander and Jeph Loeb were axed, reportedly for both creative and budgetary reasons.

QUANTUM OF SOLACE: The new James Bond movie shattered UK box office records. FNC's Roger Friedman did not like it, but he wanted the gadgets and comedy that were also missing from Casino Royale. The Communist Party in St. Petersburg says Olga Kurylenko has betrayed her roots. I'm thinking the Ukranian hottie sees it differently.  Meanwhile, a professor finds that the once improbable seeming Bond villains have become close to the real threats face faced by modern security services.

NATALIE DORMER talks to the Daily Mail about Heath Ledger, The Tudors, martial arts, poker and more...

OUR FRIENDS, THE SAUDIS claim they stopped a terror attack against the US in 2003.

SYRIA has mobilized some 3000 troops and heavy equipment near its border with eastern Lebanon, Beirut's As-Safir newspaper reported over the weekend.

IRAQ: The US is actively transferring ownership of Iraq's troubled Diyala Province, using a tough-love approach to force Iraq to take on greater control ahead of whatever security pact may be entered into by the two nations. The Iraqi government plans to cut salaries for the estimated 100K members of the Sons of Iraq, a move certain to aggravate building tensions between the Sunni volunteer force and the Shiite-led government.

RHINO ATTACK DRILL, complete with pantomime rhino: Let's go to the video.

CAT CAMS: Inquisitive owners can find out exactly what their pets are getting up to - by hanging tiny digital cameras from their necks.  Pics at the link.

PYTHON in a TOILET leads Dutch authorities to uncover an illegal exotic animal trading ring set up in a hotel.

CRICKET-FIGHTING: Shanghai police have smashed a professional cricket fighting ring in a raid that snared the city's most notorious handler of the insects, according to state media.

THE BIRDS: An elderly woman has been forced to have her leg amputated after it became infected and then gangrenous when she was pecked by a pet magpie.

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Wilco, Matador Sampler, Okkervil River, Glamour Goats   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, November 03, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


WILCO performs an exclusive, "Wilco: The Song" on the Colbert Report.

MATADOR has released a downloadable Fall sampler, including tracks from Belle & Sebastian, Lou Reed, A.C. Newman, Shearwater and more...

OKKERVIL RIVER: Frontman Will Scheff reveals the real characters that populate The Satnd-Ins album during a chat and mini-set at the World Cafe. 

NOAH & THE WHALE: Charlie Fink talks to the Independent about the unliklely UK success of the single from the band's debut, and more.  Three embedded videos at the link.

THE BREEDERS: Kim Deal talks about atheism -- political and otherwise -- with SF Station. (Thx, LHB.)

CARBON/SILICON invite Lauren Jones (daughter of Mick) onstage for a rendition of "Hitsville UK," introduced by Mick's reading of a 30-year-old review of the original single. No consumer trials. No AOR. But it shuffled up on my iPod over the weekend.

YEASAYER stopped by The Current for a chat and mini-set you can stream on demand via MPR.

DeVotchKa talks to Aquarium Drunkard about their history, unique sound, and the ever-evolving world of music licensing and placement. Streamable MP3s at the link.

DEERHOOF drummer Greg Saunier talks to the Philly City Paper about the band's current tour and their brand-new record Offend Maggie.

THE DECEMBERISTS' bassist Nate Query spoke to the Austin American-Statesman about the band's politics, the singles series and next year's album, "Hazards of Love."

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: High School Musical 3 repeats atop the box office with 15 million -- a 64.2 percent drop that likely reflects the fact that Halloweeen fell on a Friday, depressing attendance across the board.  Zack and Miri came in second with 10.6 million, and it's hard to evaluate this result.  On top of the Halloween factor, this could be seen as a typical Kevin Smith opening -- or a bad Seth Rogen opening... and the subject itself likely limits the potential audience.  Moreover, the subject might also suggest that people might prefer to see it on home video than go to a theater to see it.  Saw V dropped 66 percent to third place, but has made almost 46 million on an 11 million production budget.  The expansion of The Changeling lifted the Eastwood/Jolie movie to fourth place, making 9.4 million; it also had a high per-screen average.  The Haunting of Molly Hartley rounded out the Top Five with six million.

ZACK & MIRI: Director Kevin Smith was a pioneer of the raunchy-and-sweet comedy combo that has made gazillions for Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen, so Rogen is a natural match for this picture.  Rogen apparently suggested the lovely Elizabeth Banks for Miri, and she gets a chance to stretch her comedy chops, which were already evident her all-too-brief turns as J. Jonah Jameson's secretary Betty Brant in the Spider-Man movies.  Their performances are key, as the plot -- outside of its controversial subject-matter -- is a slacker growing-up tale of the sort we have already seen in Knocked Up or even Smith's Clerks II.  Fortunately, they have the necessary chemisty, along with good support from Craig Robinson and memorable cameos from people including Justin Long and Barndon Routh.

RACHEL GETTING MARRIED, Jonathan Demme's latest movie is a different kind of Demme movie -- more like a Robert Altman slice-of-life than the warped comedy of Something Wild and Married to the Mob or more serious efforts like Silence of the Lambs or The Manchurian Candidate remake. And quite a bit different from his rockumentaries, though Robyn Hitchcock does play a bit.  On its own terms, it works quite well, primarily of strong performances from Anne Hathaway as Rachel's sister Kim and Rosemarie DeWitt (a/k/a "Midge" from Mad Men) as Rachel.  Demme creates a world that is certainly interesting enough to visit, though I'm not sure I would want to live there.

TOM CRUISE and the Church of Scientology reportedly are the targets of an amended Florida lawsuit that seeks more than a quarter of a billion dollars.

JESSICA SIMSPON watched in shock as her BFF/hair stylist Ken Paves had his face busted open during a crazy paparazzi crush on their way out of Madeo late Saturday night.

MADONNA & A-ROD reportedly had a secret meetup at Jerry Seinfeld's place in the Hamptons.

SIENNA MILLER has moved back to London amid reports that her relationship with married US actor Balthazar Getty is on the rocks.

JIMMY KIMMEL & SARAH SILVERMAN played their "are they reunited" status for laughs on his show.

HEIDI KLUM impressed as Kali for Halloween.

NORTH KOREA: More pictures of 66-year-old Kim Jong II were issued by the Stalinist regime to put to rest claims that he is dying - but they have only given rise to added speculation about his health.

IRAN stepped up its rhetoric against the US by threatening to use suicide-bomber attacks against America

IRAQ: Officials in Mosul have warned that the US must launch a widespread offensive against Syria to have any hope of taking control of al-Qaeda's last bastion in Iraq. US deaths in Iraq fell in October to their lowest monthly level of the war, while Iraqi deaths fell to their lowest monthly levels of the year. Iraq's prime minister is pushing the idea that the US drawdown is in sight to sell the security deal with Washington to Iran.

THE MOST GLAMOROUS GOAT in all Arabia -- and the most expensive. But now, for a mere £16,500, plus shipping, one of these beauties can now be yours. Most of the goats in the competition were bred from one star goat, Burgan, who was not on display at the show as the owners fear he could be afflicted by the "evil eye."

GIANT FRUIT BATS with a wingspan of more than five feet have made a spectacular return from the brink of extinction on Pemba island off Tanzania.

WHEN A NINE-YEAR-OLD BOY ran to his mother shouting that there was a cheetah in the garden, she dismissed his claims as childhood excitement. She was mistaken. BONUS: Cheetahs on a Plane.

THE SQUIRREL THREAT: A militant squirrel caused a massive power outage in Richmond, VA Halloween, morning.

OTTO the OCTOPUS has caused havoc in his aquarium by performing juggling tricks using his fellow occupants, smashing rocks against the glass and turning off the power by shortcircuiting a lamp.

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