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New Releases, Raveonettes, Ramones, Peg-Leg Parrot Update   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, February 26, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


THE HEADLIGHTS have a video for "Cherry Tulips," the frothy, ethereal single from their new Some Racing, Some Stopping album.

NEW RELEASES: Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, Tift Merritt, Beach House, Cowboy Junkies and more are streaming in full this week from Spinner.  Jason and the Scorchers' Fervor EP and Lost & Found LP are being reissued on a single CD.

TIFT MERRITT talks to the NYDN about recording Another Country in Paris.

STEPHEN MALKMUS talks to Drowned In Sound about the new album, switching drummers, family commitments, and so on.

THE RAVEONETTES are doing a blog interview tour that starts at Brooklyn Vegan and MOKB.

HEY, HO, LET'S GO:  It's not the slogan for Ramones Condoms, but it could be!  Guardian blogger Nicholas Blincoe writes that he wouldn't turn to the band for help with his. love life.  But it did put me in the mood for vintage performances of "Sheena Is A Punk Rocker" and "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend," which is youtr Twofer Tuesday.

THE SWELL SEASON:  The Oscar-winning duo are getting a concert re-run via NPR.

ALEXANDRO ESCOVEDO has posted a new track, "Fall Apart," and a behind the scenes video at EscovedoSpace.

VAMPIRE WEEKEND is the subject of a SPIN story on the new metrics of success in the Internet Age.  That link is an excerpt, but thole thing may be online today at SpinSpace.

MOTLEY CRUE:  Please do not read about "The Spaghetti Incident" before or after a meal.

AMY WINEHOUSE trashed a room at the Riverbank Plaza Hotel before the Brit Awards, according to the ever-reliable Sun.  A Winehouse rep denies the story.

SEAN PENN & PETRA NEMCOVA were looking cozy over the weekend.  The tsunami-surviving supermodel would say only that they are "friends" who met through her charity work, but I am going to have to signal Vader.

OSCARS REDUX:  The Associated Press has backstage tales of nervousness and bodily functions.  And Jack Nicholson hitting on the reporter.  Maybe showing that stuff would help the show's sagging ratings.

JESSICA ALBA denied rumors she was pregnant with twins while on the red carpet at the Oscars.

BRITNEY SPEARS had her second visitation with her kids; the trips are reportedly going well.

JAMIE LYNN SPEARS, Britney's knocked up 16-year-old sister passed her GED exam and is looking to take the ACT college entrance test.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  Holmes tells the Daily Mail that Cruise is "just amazing. He's kind, generous, smart, he's Tom Cruise - he's the most artistic man I've ever met."  That is in contrast to Raymond Shaw, who is "the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life."

THE McCARTNEYS:  Heather Mills is about to make FHM's 100 Sexiest Women in the World list.

JENNIFER ANISTON has put her eggs on ice until Mr. Right comes along, according to the ever-reliable Star magazine.

JOE SIMPSON, dad-manager to Jessica and Ashlee, adds another item to the list of reasons why he is creepy.

MATT DAMON plans to be Bourne again.

JIMMY KIMMEL, icymi, has responded to his gf Sarah Silverman's "I'm Effing Matt Damon" video with the even more star-studded, but still likely NSFW, "I'm Effing Ben Affleck."

CLIMATE CHANGE:  Snow cover over North America and much of Siberia, Mongolia and China is greater than at any time since 1966.  Gilles Langis, a senior forecaster with the Canadian Ice Service in Ottawa, says the Arctic winter has been so severe the ice has not only recovered, it is actually 10 to 20 cm thicker in many places than at this time last year.  One winter is not a trend, but if this winter had been warm, you can bet we would have heard a lot about it.

ISLAMISM DOWN UNDER:  Muslim university students want lectures to be rescheduled to fit in with prayer timetables and separate male and female eating and recreational areas established on Australian campuses.

IRAN:  Documentation presented Monday to the governors of the UN's nuclear watchdog suggests Iran continued nuclear weapons work beyond the 2003 date cited in a recent US intelligence report, diplomats said.  Oh, come on... when US intell ever wrong?  Not that IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei will care.  Meanwhile, Iran's ambassador to France says there will be consequences should Paris continue its "illogical" stance toward Tehran's nuclear program.

IRAQ:  Bill Ardolino has posted the fourth part of his look Inside Iraqi Politics, examining the Iraqi government's efforts to propose and pass legislation allocating wealth. "This includes the 2008 budget, which is immediately essential to executive functions and represents a de facto distribution of revenue among Iraq's provinces and sects, and the hydrocarbons laws, which will have long-term ramifications for the apportionment and development of the country's oil resources."

ORANGUTWINS Towan and Chinta turned 40 at Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo over the weekend.  The zookeepers have a term for some of the regular human visitors - "orangutan groupies."

PET TORTOISE nearly burns down its owner's house in Bracknell, Berks.

PEG-LEG PARROT UPDATE:  George has shown more interest in eating the lining of the device, rather than fitting his leg into it to get his balance.

IS THAT A MOUSE IN YOUR POCKET?  Then I guess we'll have to quarrantine your airplane flight.

MAX the BOXER took his owner's car for a joyride in Azusa, California.  Surveillance video at the link.

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Guillemots, New Hold Steady, Wilco, Ray Davies, 400 Crocs   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, February 25, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


THE GUILLEMOTS have a video for their new single, "Get Over It."  As good a Monday motto as any.

THE HOLD STEADY: At Pitchfork, frontman Craig Finn and guitarist Tad Kubler dish some details on the band's just-completed fourth album.  You can stream a live take on the title track, "Stay Positive," via the ol' HM.

WILCO:  Heather Browne is streaming the fifth and final show of the band's Chicago residency.  You can stream last Tuesday's show from Captain's Dead via the ol' HM.  BTW, Captain's Dead has a Husker Du gig on tap as well.

GARY LOURIS & MARK OLSON have finished a new album together, their first since the 1995 Jayhawks classic Tomorrow the Green Grass.  "Ready for the Flood" was recorded in Los Angeles in January 2007, but Louris and Olson decided to delay its release, to prevent it detracting from their respective new solo releases.

RAY DAVIES is still hoping for that Kinks reunion in an interview about his new album with the Canadian Press.

BON SCOTT, the late AC/DC singer, was immortalized in bronze in front of thousands of fans at the Aussie Rock Concert on Sunday night.  The statue will be placed permanently on Fisherman's Wharf in Fremantle, where the cheeky Scottish-born rocker grew up.  No photo with that story (yet), but you can get a pretty good idea of of it via Flickr.

MIKE DOUGHTY:  The former Soul Coughing frontman stopped by The Current for a chat and mini-set you can stream on demand via MPR.  Or you might prefer to start with the video for "27 Jennifers."

DUFFY is profiled by London's Independent on Sunday.  She talks about (among other things) co-writer/producer Bernard Butler (ex-Suede) bosltering her iPod with tracks from his record collection, which she would listen to on the five-hour trip between her home in Wales and his London pad.

PRINCE is having a secret hip replacement operation, after being crippled by years of sexy dancing, according to the uber-reliable News of the World.

BRYAN FERRY has been dumped by his 27-year-old girlfriend Katie Turner, as the former Roxy Music singer was unwilling to become a father again at the age of 62.

AMY WINEHOUSE is ditching some of her best friends in a final attempt to beat her drink and drugs demons, on the order of her record label, Universal.  Together with her family they have launched an operation dubbed "Team Amy" to set up a safe house where she will live under constant surveillance, according to the Daily Mail.

THE OSCARS went to these folks.  It was no surprise that "No Country for Old Men" won for Best Picture, the Coen Bros for Direction, and Javier Berdem for Best Supporting Actor.  The adorable Juno won for Best Original Screenplay, which went to former exotic dancer Diablo Cody in her leopard print gown.  The NYT has a slideshow for more Red Carpet fashions, including Best Actress Marion Cotillard and her mermaid dress.  Daniel Day-Lewis drank everyone's milkshake as Best Actor, as expected.  Brad Bird won for Ratatouille, which was cool.  The Bourne Ultimatum won a number of the more technical awards.  Roger Deakins should have won Best Cinematography (or whatever Cameron Diaz called it) for the Jesse James movie, but had to compete against himself on No Country, so Robert Elswit wins There Will Be Blood, which looked good, but nowhere near the Jesse James movie.  During the pre-show I learned that Tom Wilkinson is fanatical about Friends TV reruns and was tongue-tied meeting Lisa Kudrow at the Independent Spirit Awards.  Anne Hathaway called her Get Smart co-star Steve Carrell a "bitter little man," though I'm pretty sure she was kidding.  Jason Bateman commented that George Clooney's hair looks so real until you see it up close (kidding again, I think).  Tilda Swinton claimed she had never seen the Oscars, and may not have been kidding.  Then she won Best Supporting Actress.  Your must-watch Oscar video however, is Gary Busey accosting Laura Linney, Jennifer Garner and Ryan Seacrest on the red carpet..

THE RAZZIES:  Lindsay Lohan swept the anti-Oscars with her twin roles in the absymal I Know Who Killed Me.

THE TOP TEN MOVIE QUOTES of 2007, as nominated by the Washington Post.  I totally agree with number one, though the linked video there is potentially a spoiler.

PAUL THOMAS ANDERSON, director of There Will Be Blood, has some fun goofing on the NYT's David Carr.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE:  The weekend's biggest release, Vantage Point, took the top slot with 24 million dollars on over 3000 screens.  Last weekend's top five all dropped down a notch.  Be Kind, Rewind debuted in seventh place, but with the second highest per-screen average, just over 5K for each of about 800 screens.  The adorable Juno dropped from seventh to eighth and has cleared 130 million to date.  Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins dropped from sixth to ninth, while There Will Be Blood rounded out the Top Ten.  No Country For Old Men benefitted from the Oscar odds, moving up from 14th to 12th place.  New releases Witless Protection and Charlie Bartlett debuted in 13th and 14th place, respectively (ouch).

THE INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARDS were largely swept by the adorable Juno.  The official website has plenty of pics and video to see.

BRADGELINA:  Jolie did seem to be sporting a baby bump in a curve-hugging black dress at the Independent Spirit Awards.  A female production assistant on the remake of Gone in 60 Seconds claims she was seduced by Jolie.  Pics of the pair at the link.

BRITNEY SPEARS was reunited with her sons for three hours on Saturday.  People magazine reports that dad Jamie and Britney's psychiatrist were present for the visit.

JENNIFER LOPEZ got a personal visit in the maternity ward from actress Leah Remini, which I'm sure was totally unrelated to Scientology.

KATE HUDSON has been secretly seeing Justin Timberlake for over a year?  Reps for both deny it.  But if we see JT with a black eye this week, we'll know Jessica Biel kicked his butt.

JENNA FISCHER a/k/a Pam from The Office, blogs her first stalking by a paparazzi.

DREW BARRYMORE was... wait for it... caught canoodling boyfriend Justin Long in the front seat of his car while celebrating her 33rd birthday at Mr Chows restaurant in Beverly Hills.

ISLAMISM in the UK:  Furious Muslims are now upset over Doritos Chilli Heat Wave.

OUR FRIENDS, THE SAUDIS:  Prosecutors in the Kingdom have begun investigating 57 young men arrested for flirting with girls at shopping centers in Mecca.

IRAN:  The latest report from UN nuclear watchdogs makes it clear that Iran has no intention of addressing the most sensitive of the outstanding questions, namely those that are most closely associated with a nuclear weapons development program.

ANTHONY CORDESMAN has an op-ed in the WaPo: "No one can return from the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan, as I recently did, without believing that these are wars that can still be won. They are also clearly wars that can still be lost, but visits to the battlefield show that these conflicts are very different from the wars being described in American political campaigns and most of the debates outside the United States."

IRAQ:  As thought, Moqtada al-Sadr renewed the Mahdi Army's cease-fire - a dramatic step likely to hold down US and Iraqi casualties while bolstering Sadr's importance as a political player in the Iraqi scramble for power.  An Iraqi intelligence official claims that the recently slain senior Hezbollah military commander Imad Mugniyah helped form the Mahdi Army, though I would take that with a grain of salt.  The Army Times reports on the difficult second phase of the "surge" that started just about a year ago.  And there are still clashes among competing militias in Basra.

HERE WE SEE THE PANTOMIME ZEBRA, engaged in a life or death struggle for a job at Ueno Zoo in Tokyo.

EXOTIC PET AMNESTY DAY at Miami MetroZoo brought in over 150 pets, including a rhino iguana, a spotted African serval cat and a coatmundi -- a racoon-looking mammal found in South America.

400 CROCODILES fought over one hawt crock chick; one of the brawlers had to have radical jaw surgery.

CHEWIE the SHIH TZU saved his owner's life by inadvertently performing the Heimlich maneuver.

A SINGLE NEWT has halted work on a £15million bypass for the Leicestershire village of Earl Shilton.

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Duets, Joe Strummer, Art Brut, Cutout Bin, Godzilla Update   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, February 22, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



...with THE GREATEST DUETS OF ALL TIME, according to Retrocrush!  Selections from the Top 25 include "Hunger Strike" (Eddie Vedder & Chris Cornell); "Stop Dragging My Heart Around" (Stevie Nicks & Tom Petty); "Baby It's Cold Outside" (Ray Charles & Betty Carter); "Candy" (Iggy Pop & Kate Pierson); and "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" (Elton John & Kiki Dee).  But the link to "You're The One That I Want" (John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John) is broken there, so use the one I just provided.

THE NATIONAL frontman Matt Berninger talks to the Gothamist about favorite lyricists and concerts, the upcoming tour with REM and more...

ALL SONGS CONSIDERED:  Selections from Dengue Fever, the Cowboy Junkies, Black Mountain, the Mountain Goats, Beach House; and Otis Taylor are featured on this edition of the long-running NPR series.

BON IVER:  Justin Vernon talks to The A.V. Club about making his most buzzed-about album while thinking he might be done with his music career.  He also discusses the unusual method of songwriting he used.

JOE STRUMMER & THE MESCALEROS:  Heather Browne is streaming a 1999 set with plenty of Clash classics.

KRISTIN HERSH will make you a personalized Mix CD, recording your chosen Throwing Muses of Hersh songs, live solo, including an introduction.

ART BRUT frontman Eddie Argos is just a wee bit miffed that EMI released "Pump Up the Volume" as download single without informing either the band or Argos to coordinate the promotion.  The video is pretty fab, though.

WILCO:  The Chicago Tribune covers the fourth night of the band's career-spanning residency at Riviera, a 2 ½-hour show broadcast on local radio station WXRT and the web.

SXSW:  The official schedule is posted.  Many of the bands have submitted MP3s to download or stream for your listening pleasure.

NICK CAVE:  The Irish Independent looks at what his Grinderman project and his upcoming Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! album say about the reformed punk at 50.

CUTOUT BIN:  From Bob Dylan to the Ohio Express, from Wille Nelson to the Who, from Alex Chilton to Duffy, this Friday's fortuitous finds can be jukeboxed or streamed individually on the Pate page at the ol' HM.

BRADGELINA have officially adopted little Pax Thien, now that it has been approved in both Vietnam and Los Angeles.  Pitt and Jolie were also spotted on a double-date with Clint Eastwood and his wife Dina Ruiz.  US magazine has the dish on what they discussed.

BRITNEY SPEARS' BFF Sam Lutfi has finally been served with a restraining order from her parents -- but it might not be valid.

JESSICA SIMPSON is the David Hasselhoff of Ukraine.

COLIN FARRELL is both honored and traumatised to be helping finish off the film Heath Ledger began before he died unexpectedly last month.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON:  Her upcoming album of Tom Waits covers -- with a cameo from David Bowie -- is reviewed by London's Telegraph: "Think Nico, backed by the Flaming Lips. On acid. Johansson has made a seriously weird record."

NOW SHOWING:  This weekend's wide releases include the thriller Vantage Point, which is currently scoring 25 percent on the ol' Tomatometer (which bums me out); Witless Protection, an action comedy not screened for critics; and teen comedy Charlie Bartlett, currently scoring 59 percent.  Opening near-wide is Michel Gondry's Be Kind Rewind, which is also scoring 59 percent.

CHARLIE BARTLETT:  If that 59 percent rating puts you on the fence, you can watch the first five minutes on Yahoo! Movies as a tie-breaker.

MICHEL GONDRY, director of "Be Kind Rewind," talks to The A.V. Club about some of the comedy's underlying themes, from the connection people have to movies to people becoming "stockholders of their own happiness" by making their own movies.

THE OSCARS:  The Envelope has your scorecard for this Sunday's big show, along with its final Buzzmeter poll of 32 critics and a running blog of buzz and rumors.  America's best-known critic, Roger Ebert, offers his predictions and dark horses.  The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has 80 years of Oscar facts.  The Orlando Sentinel chats with first-time nominees Ellen Page, Ruby Dee and Marjane Satrapi.

GEORGE CLOONEY decides to have TIME magazine's Joel Stein cook him dinner and give an interview.  Embedded video at the link.

PETRA NEMCOVA shows off the latest undies from La Senza.  Egotastic has the pics, while I throw in the video for Gratutitous Friday.

PAKISTAN:  Two former US officials believe Pakistan's election results would greatly strengthen efforts to fight terrorism in the country.  Former US ambassador to Pakistan Wendy Chamberlin (2001-02) said counterterrorism efforts would now be supported by the entire population.  Former assistant secretary of state for south and central Asian affairs Karl Inderfurth (1997-2001) said a campaign of suicide bombings in recent months and the deaths of 800 people in violent incidents had created a genuine demand for democracy in the country.

IRAQ:  Radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has decided whether to extend his Mahdi Army's cease-fire, and sent the message in sealed envelopes to be opened at the beginning of Friday's sermons, one of his officials said.  Earlier in the week, a Sadr spokesman had said that if the cleric failed to issue a statement then the cease-fire would automatically be lifted, which tends to support the Reuters story that al-Sadr is expected to extend the ceasefire, sourced to two senior officials in his movement.  Hundreds of Mahdi Army members have been executed, jailed or excommunicated by the militia in a purge since the freeze was ordered by Sadr in late August.  Interviews with more than a dozen leaders of the Sadrist movement suggest that whether or not it is continued, the freeze has already transformed the militia and its place in Iraqi society.

A BLACK-FOOTED FERRET steals a microphone screen from CNN.

GODZILLA UPDATE:  Still on the loose in Findlay, Ohio.

PET HOARDING:  A Frederick, MD woman has been ordered to serve 10 days in jail for violating her probation on pet hoarding charges, after she was discovered with another dogs and seven cats.

AND THERE WERE CHICKENS all over the highway... in Brooklyn, NY, no less.  Pics at the link.

YARR, MATEY:  George the Parrot has a peg leg.  He's getting a prosthetic claw attached to his perch.

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Nicole Atkins, Kinks, SFA, New Releases, The Birds   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, February 21, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


NICOLE ATKINS & THE SEA:  The video for "Maybe Tonight" has enough circus people for a Bob Dylan cover, but it sounds just a little bit like... ABBA?

MORE NEW RELEASES:  Gary Louris, Headlights, Mike Doughty and more are streaming via Spinner.

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

THE KINKS:  Rolling Stone posts an essential album-by-album guide to supplement its new (offline) feature on Ray Davies.

WILCO:  Hidden Track is streaming a mix of rarities played during the band's five-night residency in Chicago.

PERE UBU guitarist Jim Jones died late Monday night. Details have not been released, but he'd been ill for years.  Obits and embedded videos at the link.

SHARON JONES &THE DAP-KINGS:  Ms. Jones may have had a roller-coaster of a year, but she and the band were sounding sweet playing "100 Days, 100 Nights" for Letterman, who exclaims, "Tremendous!"

BRITISH SEA POWER singer/guitarist Yan Scott Wilkinson talks to San Diego CityBeat about the themes on the band's third album, Do You Like Rock Music?: "We're trying to think that rock music should interact with the world outside of the music world-the real world... foreign countries or stories about geography or ecology or just funny, stupid stories. But it should kind of reach outside your own small personal sphere a little bit and make some effort to interact."  The album is off Spinner now, but you can stream a few at BSPSpace.

MOUNTAIN GOATS:  Bryant Park Project producer Ian Chillag, explains why his 7-tear-old niece Cora thinks "Dance Music" is The Best Song in the World Today.

LA BLOGOTHEQUE:  CNN profiles filmmaker Vincent Moon, whose "The Take Away Shows" capture bands performing live at ad-hoc venues, usually on or around the streets of Paris... and is now working with R.E.M.

CALVIN JOHNSON of Beat Happening and founder of K Records, is making a comeback from a traumatic brain injury.

BRITNEY SPEARS is reportedly far from happy with her conservatorship, according to OK! magazine, which claims a secret battle is raging between the pop wreck and her parents, who are trying to keep her on total lockdown in an attempt to get her life back on track.  US magazine paints a moderately better picture, though her sons have not been asking about her.  The conservatorship looks unlikely to stay in federal court.

JAMIE LYNN SPEARS, Britney's 16-year-old knocked up sister, has been grounded for reule-breaking while mama Lynne was in L.A. dealing with Britney.

GENE SIMMONS of KISS is apparently the latest celeb to have a leaked sex video turn up on the Intenet. (NSFW)

JENNIFER LOPEZ has checked into the hospital in preparation for giving birth to twins.

CHRISTINA AGUILERA may have been paid 1.5 million for exclusive baby pics, but the issue of People magazine making them the cover story flopped.  The mag was still nice enough to link to video of Ellen DeGeneres asking the all-too-obvious question of whether Xtina is nursing.

LINDSAY LOHAN:  New York magazine has NSFW outtakes from her Marilyn Monroe tribute photos.  Momager Dina thinks the photos are tasteful, but Li-Lo's ex-con dad understandably will not look at them.

THE McCARTNEYS:  Sir Paul planned to send a stinging message to Heather Mills  last night by dedicating his lifetime achievement award at the Brit Awards to his first wife Linda.  Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne threatened to kick Mills off stage if she showed up at the ceremonies.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  The new issue of the ever-reliable Star magazine goes "Inside Suri's Strange World," where the Tom-kitten gets no discipline but a lot of Scientology.

JESSICA SIMPSON & TONO ROMO getting hitched?  "I think they're going to get married," Romo's close friend of three years, Michael Starr, says in the latest issue of Us Weekly.

THE DARK KNIGHT:  There is a spoiler inherent in this story about one of the toys to be merchandised with the Batman Begins sequel.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON & NATALIE PORTMAN meet Prince Charles at the Royal Premiere of The Other Boleyn Girl in London.  Hey, Prince, her face is up there.  More premiere pics at Egotastic.

CARTOON JIHAD:  Kurt Westergaard, one of the twelve Danish cartoonists whose Muhammad caricatures lead to violent protests throughout the Muslim world, has been booted from his police-protected hotel room on Feb. 15 for being "too much of a security risk."  Now the 73-year-old cartoonist and his wife are without a place to live.

PAKISTAN:  The Scotsman has more details on the ouster of the pro-Taleban Jamaat-e-Islami party from the North West Frontier Province in the election held this week.

OUR FRIENDS, THE SAUDIS:  The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice defended its arrest and strip-search of a businesswoman for sitting with a man in a Starbucks cafe in Riyadh.

IRAN has "speeded up" rather than halted its nuclear bomb program and has already set up a command-and-control centre near Tehran, an exiled Iranian opposition group claimed Wednesday, asking the UN nuclear watchdog to investigate.  Meanwhile, in yet another verbal attack against Israel, Pres. Ahmadinejad called the Jewish state a "filthy bacteria" whose sole purpose was to oppress the other nations of the region.

IRAQ:  Gen. David Petraeus is drawing up plans to pull more troops out of the country after July on the back of a sharp drop in attacks and long-awaited progress on the political front.  US forces killed a senior al Qaeda intel officer behind female bomb attacks.  The Jurf Al Sakhr Awakening has resumed operations with the US military. The Sadrist movement denied it was withdrawing from a truce with the SIIC, but al- Sadr might announce a partial lifting of the truce, perhaps in some provinces where followers had been targeted.  Iraqi authorities plan to round up homeless and mentally ill residents to prevent them from becoming used as suicide bombers, an Interior Ministry official said Tuesday.  The train between Baghdad and Basra is getting back on track.

SWARMS OF STARLINGS as large as 500K have flown to the British Isles to escape the harsh winter weather in Russia and Scandinavia.  Tippi Hedren, call your agent.  Pics and video at the link.


CAMEL-FIGHTING in Afghanistan -- the sequel to the Daily Mail's piece on horse-fighting.

SMITHFIELD is a genuine Pigcasso.

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Krauss+Plant, Black Mt+Bon Iver, TBLLT, Destroyer, Godzilla   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, February 20, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


O, ZEPPELIN WHERE ART THOU?  It was on CMT's Crossroads when Alison Krauss & Robert Plant sang "Black Dog" as a duet, and Krauss took the lead on "When the Levee Breaks."  The pair also did the single from their joint album, the Everly Bros' "Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On)."  The band includes producer T-Bone Burnett and guitaist-banjo playa Marc Robot.

NO NO DEPRESSION = Depression.  A victim of an inept recording industry.  ALSO: TVT, R.I.P.

BLACK MOUNTAIN & BON IVER played the Rock and Roll Hotel in DC last night, so you can stream their gigs today via NPR.  ALSO: Bon Iver's Justin Vernon talks to PopMatters about singing falsetto, touring, etc.  The SFBG Noise blog has a feature on Black Mountain.

MOUNTAIN GOATS:  John Darnielle is interviewed by Daily Show writer Sam Means at Largehearted Boy, which also links to Darnielle's interview with The Line of Best Fit.

THE BOY LEAST LIKELY TO has posted two advance tracks online, "TBLLT is a Machine" and "A Balloon on a Broken String."  The duo pulls out some minor chords for the first one, but the second is more upbeat, with a vintage synth appearing in mid-song.

BOB GELDOF joined the White House travel pool in Rwanda to interview Pres. Bush for TIME magazine.  Geldof praised Mr. Bush for his work in delivering billions to fight disease and poverty in Africa, and blasted the US press for ignoring the achievement.  It strangely reminded me of the video for "Someone's Lookin at You."

DESTROYER has released another advance track from the upcoming Trouble In Dreams album, "Dark Leaves Form A Thread."  Demented, but nice.

ST. VINCENT:  Annie Clark talks to the Santa Barbara Independent about playing with the Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens, Coachella, and recording her Marry Me LP.

WILCO:  Todd Martens writes up the band's extended Chicago residency at the L.A. Times Extended Play blog (though I think he saw just the first two nights).

ABBA apparently would not mind if presidential candidate John McCain plays "Take a Chance on Me" as his campaign song... but he's got to pay for it.  Those Swedes are capitalists at heart.  McCain never struck me as an ABBA sort of guy, but I guess we all have our guilty pleasures.  BONUS:  McCain's 23-year-old daughter is doing some music-blogging from the campaign trail, raising a few eyebrows by playlisting The Ramones' "My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down (Bonzo Goes to Bitburg)."

BRITNEY SPEARS' new bodyguards are on strict orders from her dad, Jamie: Don't let her go to a bar or a bathroom alone!  Perhaps dad should also order them to stop the pop wreck from walking out of stores with clothes she did not purchase.  Meanwhile, the tabloids wrestle (unsuccessfully) with the ethics of covering a celebrity wo may or may not be mentally ill.  At Tuesday's court hearing, the L.A. County Commissioner denied Spears visitation with her sons and made it clear that the conservatorship case being removed to Federal court has no bearing on the custody case.  And Spears' conservatorship has a new lawyer, Stacy Phillips (who has repped Bobby Brown and Tori Spelling's ex).

LINDSAY LOHAN may have been snookered as to whether her topless tribute to Marilyn Monroe were going to be published in New York magazine.

DREW BARRYMORE, who had been in rehab twice by age 14, is offering advice to the influx of young actresses entering rehab these days.

PINK has separated from her husband of two years, motocross racer and former The Surreal Life star Carey Hart.

JESSICA SIMPSON and her creepy dad-manager Joe are being sued by a fitness video company Speed fit for allegedly blocking the sale of a workout DVD starring the pneumatic blonde.  Speedfit owner Alex Astilean tells US magazine: "They are hurting millions of fat people in America!"

JENNIFER LOPEZ may be paid six million by People magazine for baby pictures, but OK1 magazine took a pass on the US rights because -- as one magazine industry insider put it -- frankly, Lopez' appeal in the US isn't as broad as many people - including Lopez - would like to think.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON & NATALIE PORTMAN talk to USA Today about their give and take on the set of The Other Boleyn Girl, and more including Johansson inviting people to check her for plastic surgery.  So if I'm gone for a couple of days, you'll know what I'm doing.

JENNIFER ANISTON has apparently been enjoying a romance with her new leading man, Aaron Eckhart.  The Daily Mail claims that shortly before beginning the project, Travelling, Eckhart personally requested Aniston as co-star and ended his relationship with his longtime girlfriend Ashley Wicks.

VANESSA HUDGENS of High School Musical may have a 45 second sex video taken on a cell phone floating around, according to the uber-reliable TransWorldNews.

MARLEE MATLIN, the hearing-impaired Oscar-winning actress, is competing in the next season of Dancing With the Stars. Other contestants include Shannon Elizabeth (American Pie, Love Actually); Steve Guttenberg; Priscilla Presleyl; radio jock-comedian Adam Carolla; tennis champ Monica Seles; illusionist Penn Jillette; R&B singer Mario; this year's NFL defensive player of the year, Miami Dolphin Jason Taylor; Tony Award-winner Marissa Jaret Winokur (Hairspray); Olympic gold medalist figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi; and Chilean actor Cristián de la Fuente (CSI: Miami).

ANTHONY PELLICANO:  Prosecutor Daniel Saunders has issued his star-studded list of over 244 potential government witnesses in the case of Hollywood private eye Anthony Pellicano, who faces federal charges of racketeering and illegally wiretapping celebrities.  Keith Carradine, Kevin Nealon, Chris Rock and Sylvester Stallone are among the notables.

JESSICA ALBA recreates scenes from some of the most famous horror movies of all time in the March 2008 issue of Latina magazine.

CYBER-JIHAD:  One of al-Qaeda supporters' oldest and most stable websites apparently was taken down Tuesday morning.

OUR FRIENDS, THE SAUDIS threatened to make it easier for terrorists to attack London unless corruption investigations into their arms deals were halted, according to court documents revealed Monday.

IRAN:  A 70-year-old man has been sentenced by an judge to four months in jail and 30 lashes for going out on the street with his dog.

IRAQ:  On Monday, US troops acting on a tip captured a breakaway Shiite "special groups" leader suspected of being a powerful criminal boss and providing Iranian weapons to fighters in western Baghdad.  US and Iraqi army forces are setting the stage to oust AQI from Mosul, their last urban stronghold, following their route from Baquba.  Iraqi and British forces in Basra province have been carrying out a series of major operations targeting criminal activity and smugglers in the south.  Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is expected to announce his decision in the next few days about whether to maintain the ceasefire he ordered six months ago.

A SAVAGE FISH more terrifying than a piranha has been caught in Britain for the first time - sparking fears of a deadly invasion.

THE SQUIRREL THREAT:  A militant squirrel took down the electrical grid in Ameren, IL over the weekend.

VENOMOUS SNAKES?  Keep all you want in Deltona FL, which only has a legal limit on owning non-venomous snakes.

GODZILLA is on the loose in Findlay, FL.

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