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Morning Benders, New Releases, MMJ, Cursive, Kitties!   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, May 13, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


THE MORNING BENDERS perform a live unplugged version of "Crosseyed" in the hills of Berkeley.

NEW RELEASES: Death Cab for Cutie, We Are Scientists, Tim Fite and Frank Sinatra are among the albums streaming in full this week via Spinner.  The Black Angels release Directions to See a Ghost (psychedelic). Duffy releases Rockferry. Vetiver releases Thing of the Past -- an album of covers of 1960s Americana, including tracks by Guthrie disciples Michael Hurley, Derroll Adams, Townes Van Zandt, and others. The Old 97s reunite and Blame It On Gravity.

FOREVER CHANGES: The increasingly-recognized classic LP from Arthur Lee & Love gets some appeciation in the Irish Independent: "It's impossible to reduce Forever Changes to a single soundbite such as "psycheldelia" or "rock". Mariachi horns, strings, intertwining guitars and folk and baroque elements fuse to produce one of the most singular set of songs recorded..."

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

SILVER JEWS frontman David Berman shares his top five musical moments with The Scotsman.  The first is well-known to Pate fans.

MY MORNING JACKET played "Evil Urges" and "I'm Amazed" on the Peacock last weekend, which makes a nice Twofer Tuesday.

THE BLACK KEYS talk to DC's Express about the recordings they made for the never-completed Ike Turner album, and adapting their newest material for their live show.

CURSIVE did three free songs for Daytrotter, including two previously unreleased tracks.

ANDREW BIRD blogs his four days recording at the Wilco Loft for the New York Times.

NEKO CASE:  An essay at PopMatters examines the "world" created by Case's most recent material.

LINDSAY LOHAN (Ugly Betty cameo aside) seems to have become a Hollywood pariah.  And she reportedly has a full-blown fight with her girlfriend, DJ Sam Ronson.

BEN AFFLECK blames starring in then-fiancee Jennifer Lopez's "Jenny From The Block" video for nearly ruining his career.  Which probably makes him feel better about himself than blaming a lack of talent or hideous choices in movie projects.

KATE HUDSON & OWEN WILSON engagement rumors are now rampant in the British press.

DENNIS FARINA, often cast as a foul-mouthed mobster or cop, was busted for bringing a gun to LAX.

JEN & JOHN: The papararazzi serve up more pics of John Mayer and Jennifer Aniston cuddling up at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Miami.

SPEED RACER: You can watch the first seven minutes of the big summer bomb at Yahoo! Movies.

BUCK ROGERS reportedly will return to theaters in a movie directed by comic book icon-turned-filmmaker Frank Miller.

BRADGELINA: Pitt helped Bono celebrate his 48th birthday in Monaco.

GWYNETH PALTROW:  People magazine has some video from her food & travel show, scheduled to air this fall on PBS.

HAYDEN PANETTIERE has been dogged by rumours she is a lesbian?  I haven't heard that, so it sounds like a PR gambit.

MEGAN FOX (Transformers), FHM magazine's Sexiest Woman in the World, was snapped topless on the set of her new movie, Jennifer's Body.  Call it Gratuitous Tuesday.

MILITARY RECRUITMENT: Every service branch in both active duty and reserves have made their April targets as well as the year-to-date goals.

MIDEAST MYSTERY: Syria went to extraordinary lengths to conceal its undeclared construction of a plutonium-producing nuclear reactor from spies in the sky and on the ground in recent years, according to a draft report by independent nuclear experts briefed by Bush admin. officials.  One author of the report said his conclusions were based not only on photographs of the Syrian site but also on interviews with government officials who closely monitored the facility while it was under construction. RELATED: At least 40 developing countries from the Persian Gulf region to Latin America have recently approached UN officials to signal interest in starting nuclear power programs, a trend that concerned proliferation experts say could provide the building blocks of nuclear arsenals in some of those nations.

IRAQ: Sadrists may be reneging on the new truce in the Sadr City area of Baghdad. Bill Ardolino goes on a night patrol through Shorja Market, the most famous market in Iraq with the Al Sadria Sons of Iraq and soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division. Basra has been transformed by its own surge, now seven weeks old. Just as in Baghdad, Iraqi and Western officials emphasize that the gains here are "fragile," but in interviews across the city, residents overwhelmingly reported a substantial improvement in their everyday lives.  Refugees returning to al-Bata and al-Hemidat are reconciling, but face the challenges of reconstruction after the devastation of war.

KITTIES on a TREADMILL: Let's go to the video.


GREAT WHITE SHARK repelled by Stooge-Fu.

RESCUE DOGS working with Chinese firefighters have been given leather shoes. Pic at the link.

MARMITE the JACK RUSSELL TERRIER was rescued from a watery hole by a psychic pet detective.  Take that, Ace Ventura!

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British Sea Power, Dr. Dog, AMC, Green Puppy   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, May 12, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


GNARLS BARKLEY got it "Going On" in their latest video.

BRITISH SEA POWER played the World Cafe on Friday; you can stream the gig on demand via NPR.

CLOUD CULT concerts don't end with the encore; they end with a bidding war. After every performance by this rising Minneapolis rock band, fans vie in a silent auction for one-of-a-kind souvenirs from the show: pictures painted to the music by the group's two on-stage artists.  Video at the Wall Street Journal.

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

JACK WHITE talks to the Times of London about how The Raconteurs differ from the White Stripes, along with anecdotes from his days in the upholstery business.

AMERICAN MUSIC CLUB scores Grace Zabriskie for the video for "All the Lost Souls Welcome You to San Francisco."

MARTHA WAINWRIGHT tells the Telegraph about the soap opera of her family life, while the Times of London has free downloads from her new album, I Know You're Married But I've Got Feelings Too.

MISSION OF BURMA frontman Roger Miller talks to Drowned In Sound about the band's reformation: "As for the present, we still pay for the van, eat better than we did before, and generally drink higher quality beer than we used to. The whole thing's a bit of a trip, but we still enjoy each other's company in the van, and our amusement factor has not diminished."

SYD STRAW talks to LAist about about songwriting, her amazing long list of collaborators, officiating at weddings, and starting her career singing backup for Pat Benatar.

CHARLIE LOUVIN talks to the Charlotte News & Observer about making music at 80: "I'm often asked, 'When you and your brother were recording these songs, did you think they'd still be viable 50 years down the road?' My answer is, absolutely not..."

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: Iron Man dominates the cineplex for a second weekend, making another 50 million.  that's a 48 percent drop from its opening, but for a 100 million+ opening, a 50-60 percent drop would have been typical. Worldwide, the Golden Avenger has pulled in over 276 million in two weekends. Meanwhile, Speed Racer spun out massively and may not beat the low-rated rom-com What Happens In Vegas for second place when the actual receipts come in.  The otherstudios claims the WB is inflating the estimates.  Even a 20 million take is far below even the tepid tracking numbers oif 30-35 million last week.  Even worse, Speed Racer seems to be tanking overseas , where anime is a bigger draw than in the US.  Prince Caspian arrives Friday, which gives Speed little hope of pulling out of this tailspin.  Everything else in the Top ten dropped a few slots, though Forgetting Sarah Marshall only dropped from fifth to sixth, while Harold & Kumar dropped from fourth to seventh.  Notably, with the exception of Made of Honor, the mid-budget pics are generally proving profitable.

THE 50 MOST MEMORABLE MOVIE CARS, courtesy of RottenTomatoes, just to take the edge off that bad Speed Racer news.

INDIANA JONES and the LONG KNIVES of the INTERNET:  The New York Times looks at the efforts of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas to keep you from seeing advance reviews of the upcoming Indy 4, especially bad ones like the one linked here last week.  Indeed, the NYT investigated and finds reason to believe it was a legit review.

R. KELLY allegedly paid off a woman to get her to return an incriminating sex tape featuring the R&B singer, a judge was told in closed-door hearings last month.  Jury selection in the long-delayed trial began Friday.

JEN & JOHN:  Singer John Mayer flew to Miami Wednesday to re-connect with Jennifer Ansiton, just five days after he was caught canoodling a blonde.

KATE HUDSON & OWEN WILSON are rumored to be engaged, after the actress was spotted sporting a diamond ring on her wedding finger on Thursday.

JESSICA BIEL & JAKE GYLLENHAAL are among the big names sidelined when David O. Russell's indie political comedy Nailed was shut down by the Screen Actors Guild on Friday because of insufficient funds on deposit with the guild.

ALEC BALDWIN told 60 Minutes that he might run for political office someday.  He might want to start with the presidency of the Film Actors Guild.

JAMES PACKER, who had ranked as Scientology's wealthiest member in the world, has left the sect to which he was introduced by Tom Cruise.

JAYDE NICOLE has been crowned Playboy's Playmate of the Year for 2008.  More SFW pics at the link, along with the obligatory turn-ons and turn-offs.  Not that there are not NSFW pics floating around the net.  She reminds me more than a little of Hugh Hefner's ex-gf Barbi Benton.

LEBANON: Hezbollah and its allies began withdrawing their gunmen from Beirut Saturday evening, and it is pretty clear the government lost.  The army offered to broker a face-saving solution by promising to "investigate" Hezbollah's controversial private telephone network without damaging the group's defenses. It also proposed to retain the current chief of airport security, a Hezbollah ally whom the government had tried to fire.  Some believe that the government may have won a moral victory by abstaining from large-scale violence in response to Hezbollah's aggression, while the terror group its promise to use its weapons only against Israel.  But moral victories won't accomplish anything against a terror army which was able to seize about 75 percent of Beirut in a couple of days.

IRAQ: Followers of Muqtada al Sadr agreed late Friday to allow Iraqi security forces to enter all of Baghdad's Sadr City and to arrest anyone found with heavy weapons in a surprising capitulation that seemed likely to be hailed as a major victory for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki.  The deal was reportedly brokered with help from Iran. It is not clear who won, though the political establishment appears to have turned against the Sadrists, at least for now.  Blogger Bill Ardolino was able to make a day trip into Sadr City on Saturday.  And -- as I suspected -- a man detained Thursday in northern Iraq is not the leader of AQI.


COW gives instant media criticism in Sacramento.  Let's go to the video (unless it's near meal time).

PYTHON vs CAT ends all too predictably. X-Ray at the link.  Extra sad: "Three other kittens from the same litter and five adult cats were looking on."

GRIZZLY BEAR VICTIM drives 25 km through the wilderness to safety.  Man vs. Nature.

THE BIRDS: Debbie Shoemaker was wading in waist-deep water in the Gulf of Mexico when she felt something like "a big hard punch in my face."  A pelican had just flown into her, its beak piercing her cheek.

GIANT CHICKEN on the loose in Holland.

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Box Tops, Last Shadow Puppets, Cutout Bin, Speed Racer   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, May 09, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



...with THE BOX TOPS!  Before tackling the power pop of Big Star and becoming an icon of proto-indie rock, Alex Chilton cut his musical chops as the singer for this blue-eyed soul group out of Memphis.  Best known for their take on Wayne Carson Thompson's "The Letter," which ruled the charts in 1967, the follow-up, "Neon Rainbow," would get as high as No. 24 later that year. "Cry Like a Baby" was a major hit in 1968.  They hit the Mike Douglas Show for a twofer of "Turn On a Dream" and "Soul Deep," the latter being their final Top 40 hit.  The group became increasingly disenchanted with the managers, lawyers, and promoters that exploited them; the band would dissolve by February 1970.

ALL SONGS CONSIDERED show cases "great music from bands we'd never heard of before," including Bowerbirds, Amber Rubarth and Try Me Bicycle.

THE LAST SHADOW PUPPETS, a/k/a Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys and Miles Kane of The Rascals, did a chat and stripped-down mini-set for the World Cafe you can stream on demand via NPR. You can stream their full album of symphonic, '60s-tinged pop through the weekend via Spinner.

THE CAVE SINGERS vocalist Pete Quirk talks to DC's Express about switching to neo-folk from the post-grunge sound of the now-defunct Pretty Girls Make Graves.

EL PERRO del MAR: Sarah Assbring talks to Vancouver's Straight about how mortality affected the recording of the just-released From the Valley to the Stars.

THE TING TINGS: "Shut Up and Let Me Go" is the track of the new iPod ad, which is a good excuse to relink the new single, "That's Not My Name."

PAUL WELLER turns 50 this month. The Telegraph surveys three distinct chapters of his life in music.

VAMPIRE WEEKEND also gets a profile in the Telegraph, talking about all of the band's perceived influences.

THE KILLS get a profile in Metro Toronto and a rave live review from Frank Yang at Chromewaves, with plenty of A/V linkage.

CUTOUT BIN: From Marilyn Monroe to Richard Hell, from Smoosh to The Supremes, from the Woodentops to Wilco, Elvis Costello and the Starland Vocal Band, this Friday's fortuitous finds can be jukeboxed or streamed individually on the Pate page at the ol' HM.

SPEED RACER, as you'll see in the next blurb, is getting mostly bad reviews, with some critics really hating it.  I completely understand why, but cannot bring myself to hate it, and not just because I love the original cartoon.  The script is a disaster.  It is on the one hand over-plotted, with too many bit characters whose relevance is never fully explained.  On the other hand, it often fails in basic exposition in ways that distance you from the movie.  A number of the bad reviews find the Wachowskis' "car-fu" so unrealistic that they never feel as though the characters are in real peril.  I did not have as much of an issue with that as with the failure of the script to establish a particular level of cartoon action, so that you know what the rules of "car-fu" are.  Thus, the race that works best is the road rally in the second act, because we instinctively understand the more realistic environment better.  The track races which bookend the film are less satisfying because their exposition is non-existent, leaving the viewer clueless as to the relative import of the twists, turns, obstacles, etc.  The Wachowskis would even have done well to take the remixes of the Speed Racer music that plays over the end credits and bring them into the movie itself; the limited animation of the 60s original required that the tension and drama be carried in no small part by that music.  All of that being said, the movie is a psychedelic visual feast.  There is plenty of racing action for the kids, and some solid family messages for a family movie. I found myself leaving the theater liking it, despite its major flaws.  But I would have loved to love it.

NOW SHOWING: In addition to Speed Racer, which is currently scoring 35 percent on the ol' Tomatometer, this weekend's other wide release is the rom-com What Happens in Vegas, which is scoring 42 percent. It is probably another big weekend for Iron Man, methinks.

LIV TYLER & ROYSTON LANGDON have decided to separate, her rep confirms to People magazine.  Wasn't my fault.

MINNIE DRIVER denies that musician Craig Zolezzi is the father of her unborn child, adding that he is English and "sort of in the same business." And she's got a countrified music albuum coming out, with cameos from Ryan Adams and his band The Cardinals, as well as Liz Phair.

BRITNEY SPEARS: Part of her return appearance from CBS's How I Met Your Mother is already online. The ever-reliable Star magazine claims that the pop wreck and Fed-Ex are having weekly steamy phone sex sessions, which if true disproves the existence of God.

JEN & JOHN: After filming for three months in Miami, Jennifer Aniston has big plans for the wrap party of Marley & Me, including a special performance by her new man, John Mayer.  Plus, we have a lovely new profanity-laden video, "Makin' Music with John Mayer," courtesy of FunnyOrDie.

LINDSAY LOHAN has a new song, "Bossy," posted online. She really needs to get movie work. Really.

KATHERINE HEIGL would like to leave Grey's Anatomy for more movie works, but she's under contarct to the ABC show.

INDIANA JONES and the KINGDOM OF UH-OH: An early review at Ain't-It-Cool-News (w/spoilers) is not good.

THE SPIRIT: Will Eisner's 1940's classic comic is headed for the big screen, thanks to Frank Miller (The Dark Knight Returns, Sin City, 300).  Trailer at the link (current temp score from The Untouchables).

JESSICA ALBA competes in a staring contest to boost boyfriend Cash Warren's Internet startup, iBeatYou.  Video at the link.

GLOBAL WARMING may cause Greenland to gain independence from Denmark.

IRAN & IRAQ: Iran has protested to Iraq over reports that Baghdad had backed the United Arab Emirates' claim to three islands in the Gulf, the foreign ministry said on Wednesday.

IRAQ: Iraqi soldiers for the first time warned residents in Sadr City to leave their houses, signaling a new push by the US-backed forces against Shiite extremists who have been waging street battles for seven weeks.  The leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Ayyub al-Masri, was arrested in the northern city of Mosul, the Iraqi Defense Ministry spokesman said Thursday. News of the arrest was also reported by Iraqi state television, but the US military has not confirmed the report. I'll believe it when I see it.  Bill Roggio has  background on al-Masri.



A MISSING CAT in Cornwall, England, is spotted by a woman nearly 4000 miles away in America, via webcam.

THE SQUIRREL THREAT: Militant squirrels are secretly behind the kamikaze iguana who took down the electrical grid in Taramac and Pompano Beach, FL.

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REM, Black Kids, Sad Kermit, Shark Surfin'   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, May 08, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


R.E.M. has a new video for "Hollow Man," the second from their Accelerate album.

GANG OF TWO:  The full Gang of Four reunion is short-lived.  Bassist Dave Allen and drummer Hugo Burnham are moving on, although singer Jon King and guitar-player Andy Gill will continue, focusing on writing and recording new music as Gang of Four.

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

THE REPLACEMENTS & HUSKER DU:  Check out a vintage Q magazine profile of the Mpls scene from 1987 in Wolfgang's Vault.

LOU REED & LAURIE ANDERSON spent ten bucks on their wedding, which was performed by NPR host and bluegrass musician Nick Forster.

SAD KERMIT covers Elliot Smith's "Needle in the Hay," with spoilers for those who have yet to see the Royal Tenenbaums.

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

THE VASELINES are rumored to be reuniting for the SubPop 20th Anniversary party.

PRINCE is putting out a photo book chronicling Prince's 21 consecutive sold-out shows at London's O2 Arena last year, including a CD culled from the intimate, small-venue gigs the artist played after-hours.

SIGNS YOU MAY BE A HIPSTER, courtesy of the Morning News.

ASHLEE SIMPSON & PETE WENTZ are set to have a shotgun wedding next weekend in California?

AMY WINEHOUSE was arrested and held in custody Monday for possession of Class A drugs. The charges were brought as a result of a damaging video of the star smoking crack cocaine and talking about taking Valium while appearing dazed and disorientated, which was made public in January this year.

BRADGELINA: Jolie is set to birth twin daughters, according to the ever-relaible Star magazine.

MARIAH CAREY & NICK CANNON: Their wedding photo is the new cover of People magazine.

MADONNA is desperately seeking publicity with another onstage girl-on-girl kiss in France.  At this point, wouldn't Madge get more pub kissing a dude?

THE DARK KNIGHT: Having mentioned that Aaron Eckhart leaked a big spolier, I note that a picture has surfaced on the Internet.  Plus, rumors are already rolling on the story for Batman 3.

GO, SPEED... UH-OH: The Wachowski's adaptation of the Japanese cartoon of the '60s and '70s -- has been tracking unimpressively in prerelease surveys. At present, "Speed Racer" appears on track to gross 25-35 million this weekend, though family moviegoers are notoriously tough to track before openings.  Fortunately for Warner Bros, most of its splashy effects were done with relatively affordable green-screen technology.

ELLEN PAGE set to play one of English literature's most famous characters, the eponymous heroine of Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre."

ROBIN WILLIAMS and his estranged wife Marsha Garces Williams have pledged to be "honest, cooperative and respectful" during their divorce proceedings, according to court papers released Tuesday.

CSI PALM BEACH: Gary Dourdan has been charged with three felonies for possession of a controlled substance -- one charge each for heroin, cocaine and ecstasy.

ISABELLA ROSSELLINI plays bugs and snails in a series of short films on how small creatures get down, commissioned by the Sundance Channel.  For one clip, she hired her son and his friends to play the male bees.

LEBANON's long-simmering political crisis erupted into gunfire and explosions Wednesday when a labor strike devolved into clashes between rival Hezbollah and government supporters. Most Sunnis back Prime Minister Fuad Saniora's government, while Shiites generally support the opposition led by Hezbollah, which the U.S. has labeled a terrorist organization. Lebanon's government has declared illegal an extensive telecommunications network run by Hezbollah. Tension is also high after the chief of security at Beirut airport was removed for alleged Hezbollah sympathies.  Helzbollah has besieged the Beirut airport and no longer has good relations with the Lebanese army.

IRAN: Two leading clerics declare that Pres. Ahmadinejad would be better off concentrating on Iran's social problems -- most notably its double-digit inflation -- than indulging his wacky religious beliefs. Nine million Iranians cannot read or write out of a population of at least 71.5 million, a newspaper reported Wednesday. Israel now believes the Islamic Republic will master centrifuge technology and be able to begin enriching uranium on a military scale this year, according to The Jerusalem Post.

IRAN & IRAQ: A Sunni fundamentalist from Kuwait who has been linked by the UN and the US to al-Qaeda said in an interview published Wednesday that Iran is supporting Sunni Arab insurgents fighting American troops in Iraq. The Iraqi government is preparing its case on Iran's involvement in the Shia insurgency. "It's a bit disingenuous to believe such quantities of up-to-date weapons manufactured this year, last year, can flow into the country without the knowledge of the Iranian government," said Iraq's ambassador to the UN. An Iraqi Sunni delegation on a visit to Cairo on Wednesday urged Arab countries to act against what it called the "Iranian occupation" of Iraq. Former Iranian president Mohamad Khatami was under fire from hardliners on Monday after comments interpreted as accusing the country's clerical leaders of supporting insurgents in the Middle East.

IRAQ:  A proposed election law could hurt the political movement of Moqtada al-Sadr -- whose Mahdi Army militia followers have been battling US and Iraqi troops in Baghdad's Sadr City.

SHARK SURFIN': Let's go to the video!

THE SQUIRREL THREAT: Retirees on the Riverside estate in Grantham, England, went without television for two months - thanks to rogue squirrels. The squirrel attack knocked out the television signal in at least 15 flats on the estate. Repairs to the cable were not been possible while the squirrels continued to wreak havoc in the area.

A PITBULL turns up in the engine compartment of a pickup truck in Vacaville, Calif.

THREE ELK die in a tragic zoo opening incident.

MINNESOTEAN SEA MONSTER is so hard to track that a 50 grand reward is out for proof it exists.

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Lou Reed, Man Man, Bon Iver, Goose Attack   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, May 07, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


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