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Bowerbirds, New Bob Mould, Waterboys, Lame Hedgehogs   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, December 05, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


SIX ORGANS OF ADMITTANCE:  London's Sun suggests Ben Chasny is the Jimi Hendrix of folk music.  I think that's stretching the point, but you may want to check out the atmospheric video for "Shelter from the Ash."

BEST of 2007:  Uncut magazine's Top 50 is discussed at the 'Gum.  Largehearted Boy's Favorite Albums are posted, and should not be confused with his list of lists.

BOWERBIRDS -- who appear on the LHB Faves List, and whom I have criminally underplayed -- have an interview and free songs at Daytrotter.

BOB MOULD has a new single "The Distance Between Us," posted for download at Spinner.  Not a masterpiece, but solid; more big guitars than techno bleeping. 

MORRISSEY has posted his reasons for suing the NME over an interview he believes wrongly characterized him as racist.

THE WATERBOYS:  Mike Scott gave an interview and brought the band for a mini-set at KEXP, which you can stream via NPR.

THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS played their "Feast of Lights" live for the first time at Juidth Owen & Harry Shearer's Holiday Sing-A-Long in 2006.  Thought this was the way to go with Hanukkah starting last night.

MICK JONES, formerly of The Clash, talks to PopMatters about his current band, Carbon/Silicon, with plenty of A/V links, including a full album stream.

CAT POWER: Sasha Frere-Jones profiles "wonder woman" Chan Marshall for the New Yorker.

TEGAN & SARA, last seen here arguing, stopped by The Current for a chat and mini-set you can stream on demand via MPR.

THE TOP TEN ROCK LEGENDS, according to a highly debatable poll by Australia's best selling newspaper The Herald Sun.

AMY WINEHOUSE was  spotted with a bag of what appeared to be a mystery white substance in the trunk of her car - and later that night received a 4 a.m. visit from junkie rocker Pete Doherty.

BRITNEY SPEARS nearly skipped her chance to make a 500K music video - but showed up when she realized her Jive Records label was about to give the shoot to a younger, up-and-coming singer.  Also Spears reportedly phoned Fed-Ex at 1 a.m. from her birthday party to invite him, but a source told Page Six,  "Kevin reminded her that one of them needed to be a parent and take care of the boys. Then she hung up on him. Kevin said she was drinking."  Just another of the stories that helped put the pop tart atop the list of the top 10 searches on Yahoo Inc.  (The top of the Google list? iPhone.)

BRADGELINA are spending the holidays in New Orleans.

JULIA ROBERTS has body image issues.

RUSSELL CROWE has committed to star in "State of Play" after Brad Pitt left the project due to disagreements over the script.  Unclear is whether Universal will take legal action against Pitt.

DENNIS QUAID and wife have filed suit against Baxter Healthcare Corp., the makers of the drug Heparin, after the couple's newborn twins were given a massive overdose at the hospital last month.  The suit claims Baxter was negligent in packaging its 10-unit vial in a manner that looks like the 10000-unit vial.  The Quaids have yet to file suit against the hospital.

LINDSAY LOHAN enjoyed a number of late-night sessions with Heath Ledger after meeting him at NYC's Beatrice Inn over Thanksgiving weekend, according to Australia's New Weekly magazine -- a pub so reliable I've never heard of it.  Lohan split from her snowboarder boyfriend Riley Giles last week, while Ledger has been has been linked to a bevy of beauties, including supermodel Helena Christensen, since splitting from his baby mama Michelle Williams.

THE DARK KNIGHT:  Speaking of Ledger, there's a spoilerrific account of the first six minutes of the Batman Begins sequel via MTV News. 

JOAN VAN ARK:  Plastic surgery disaster?  Or did she just schedule a chemical peel too close to a red carpet event?

BILL CLINTON:  The fmr Pres. ditched Vogue editrix Anna Wintour as a dinner partner last Thursday to get next to Penelope Cruz.  Tough to argue with that, though I'm guessing he gets the frying pan from his wife's presidential campaign.

THE TOP-EARNING SUPERSTARS UNDER 25, according to Forbes and E! Entertainment.  The list is dominated by names you know, but don't see to often in this space.

THE GOLDEN COMPASS:  The Catholic League has already called for people to boycott the film, which comes out this Friday.  Author William Pullman's attack on organized religion has been toned down for the film, in a bid to attract as wide as audience as possible, sparking debate over whether the movie is anti-Christian, or not anti-Christian enough.  The early reviews suggest the debate should be over whether it is entertaining enough to plunk down the cash to see it.  But you can see the first five minutes for free via Yahoo! Movies.

ISLAMISM in the UK:  Overworked nurses have been ordered to stop all medical work five times every day to move Muslim patients' beds so they face towards Mecca.

AFGHANISTAN:  Senior defense officials weigh new strategies for quelling insurgent violence, including training and arming local tribesmen to fight Taliban insurgents in southern Afghanistan.  The US military is seeing early signs that al-Qaeda may be stepping up its activities in Afghanistan.  The latest crop of AQ recruits in the border areas is salted with white, Anglo-featured converts from Europe who look more like TV's Jack Bauer than Osama Bin Laden.

IRAN:  The NYT asks, "How could American intelligence agencies have overstated Iran's intentions in 2005 so soon after being reprimanded for making similar errors involving Iraq?"  The NYT reports: "Over the past year, officials have put into place rigorous new procedures for analyzing conclusions about difficult intelligence targets like Iran, North Korea, global terrorism and China."  Of course, after the CIA was surprised by India going nuclear in 1998, the paper ran a piece about how much the CIA had improved, citing in particular "the agency's increasingly successful penetrations of terrorist groups."  That piece was published on September 10, 2000, so we know how well that turned out.  RELATED:  The NYT also reports that the International Atomic Energy Agency is more skeptical about Iran than the new US NIE.

IRAQ:  Forty senior AQI members were captured or killed in November, including Abu Maysara, a Syrian and senior AQI leader.  Violence levels in Iraq have fallen to their lowest levels since January 2006.  The leader of the self-styled Islamic State in Iraq ordered a renewed bombing campaign against Iraqi security forces in a recording posted on an Islamist Web site on Tuesday.  More youths, some only 10, are being influenced by AQ to join the insurgency in Iraq, US generals said on Monday; youths make up almost half of the roughly 2000 members of the jihadi group being held in Iraqi prisons.  MNF told KUNA that 77000 Iraqis were enlisted in so-called "Awakening" councils who were fighting AQ militants alongside the Iraqi and American forces. 

IRAQ II:  The Iraqi interior ministry would rehabilitate and train tribal fighters as a prelude to merge them into the Iraqi police, a security official said on Tuesday.  Sunni Arabs ended a yearlong political boycott Tuesday in Kirkuk - the hub of Iraq's northern oil fields - under a cooperation pact that marked a bold attempt at unity before a planned referendum on control of the strategic region.  Iraq's government has launched a state TV blitz seeking to claim credit - and score publicity points - for the recent downturn in violence and return of hundreds of refugees.  OTOH, Iraq's government acknowledged Tuesday that it cannot handle a massive return of refugees, as the UN announced a 11-million-dollar relief package to help the most vulnerable Iraqi families trickling back to their war-ravaged homeland.  Iraqis seem to be picking up the art of politics.

LAME BABY HEDGEHOGS born during the exceptionally mild autumn and who are too small or weak to hibernate nurse their broken bones at Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.

RAJA GAJ, the world's largest known Asian elephant, has gone missing from its habitat in southwestern Nepal.

MICKEY MOUSE & DONALD DUCK have been summoned to appear in an Italian court as witnesses in the trial of a Chinese man accused of peddling counterfeit toys and decals bearing the images of the pair.

MAYNARD the KANGAROO fled from a veterinarian's yard in Lewisville, TX and hopped loose in a heavily populated neighborhood while his frolicking chase was videotaped by a patrol car's camera.  Video at that link, and this link, too.

YOUNG CHIMPS are blessed with photographic memories, often outdoing humans at memory games, completing them more quickly and with fewer mistakes.  I had a punchline for this.

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Tegan & Sara, Cass McCombs, Glam Xmas, Rudolph   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, December 04, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


TEGAN & SARA argue as sisters do, and play a bit of "Missing You," in the latest installment of "Trailer Talk," which the Quins have been recording on tour.

NEW RELEASES:  Daft Punk's live album and the 20th anniversary edition of NWA's Straight Outta Compton are among the slim pickins at Spinner this week.  Holiday LPs from Ella Fitzgerald, Relient K, Rick Springfield, Merle Haggard, Sinatra and more are streaming in full from AOL.  The Nick Drake box set, Fruit Tree, is out today.

CASS McCOMBS did a segment for Morning Becomes Eclectic you can watch or listen to on demand via KCRW.

BEST OF 2007:  Picks from David Byrne, Marissa Nadler and Kim Gordon for Artforum are reprinted at the 'Gum.   Amazon has posted an overall list and lists in several genres.  The Current has lists from host Steve Seel, staff picks and a listener poll.  And don't forget Largehearted Boy's continuously updated list of lists.

HOLIDAY SONGS:  NPR has rolled out a variety of holiday-themed features, including the Klezmatics performing new settings for recently-discovered Hanukkah lyrics by great American songwriter Woody Guthrie, and a Christmas concert by the Blind Boys of Alabama at Disney Hall.

U2:  Bono has warned fans they will "feel the difference" with the material they are working on for their next album.  But at home in their native Dublin, U2 have become embroiled in a row with Irish environmentalists over two building projects, with Bono & Co. accused of arrogance.

CHRISTMAS NUMBER ONES:  At the Guardian's music blog, John Moore touts Christmas Number One by the Black Arts -- a collaboration including the surviving members of Moore's Black Box Recorder and Art Brut's Eddie Argos.  But BBC Radio 1 heavyweights are all backing former Arab Strap star Malcolm Middleton's bid for the UK's Christmas Number One single, "We're All Going to Die."

GLAM XMAS:  Wizzard's awesome "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day" and Slade's "Merry Christmas Everybody" (1973's UK Xmas No. 1) are your Twofer Tuesday.

PATTERSON HOOD:  Southern Shelter is streaming Hood's selections from Bruce Springsteen's Darkness On The Edge Of Town, performed at a benefit for AIDS Athens.

RADIOHEAD:  The Sydney Morning Herald has some backstory on the making of In Rainbows, while Dorwned In Sound breaks word that new ownership was the reason for their split with former label EMI.  RELATED:  Sir Paul McCartney tells the Chicago Tribune's Greg Kot that old ownership was the reason he left EMI for Starbucks.

BON IVER:  It's an old story: guy's life falls apart, he holes up in a remote cabin to mend his broken soul, and returns to civilization three months later with a fine new album for his troubles.  You can still stream that whole album at Virb.

RICHARD HAWLEY was chopping firewood outside his family's home in Sheffield, England, while his 5-year-old son fielded questions from a Boston Globe reporter over the phone about whether dad's on the premises for a scheduled interview about his critically acclaimed new album.

ANDREW BIRD talks about his methods -- both musical and lyrical -- with Laura Barton of the Guardian.

AMY WINEHOUSE emerged from a friend's house in Bow at 5.45am on Sunday -- clad only in her bra and jeans -- looking distressed and agitated, as her mother-in-law says she taking more drugs than ever. The troubled singer's drug habit is taking such a bad toll on her health that it is causing her teeth to fall out.  And she looks to be sporting "crack finger."

JESSICA SIMPSON & TONY ROMO were... wait for it... officially caught canoodling Saturday at a Hollywood nightclub.

THE McCARTNEYS:  Sir Paul is "spending more time" with Rosanna Arquette, according to the latter's sister.  Arquette's rep says the two are "good friends," who share a common love of Rock and Roll.  I guess I should note for you youngsters out there that Arquette was the inspiration not only for Toto's hit "Rosanna," but also for Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes."

BRITNEY SPEARS pulled the plug on a potential Rolling Stone cover, after Jann Wenner refused to promise her it would actually land on Rolling Stone instead of Us Weekly.

FALLEN IDOL:  Fmr American Idol finalist Jessica Sierra was charged with disorderly intoxication, violation of probation -- and obstruction of justice, after an episode involving a racist tirade, an offer of a Lewinsky, and plenty of vomit.

ETHAN HAWKE, it turns out, has been with the woman who used to be his children's nanny - when he was married to Uma Thurman - for two years.  Friends insist she had nothing to do with the divorce, and they started seeing each other after she was no longer the children's nanny.

KATHERINE HEIGL is knocking her summer hit Knocked Up for being "a little sexist."  But I think this may be a case of where you sit.  As a guy, I thought the guys came off just as bad in their own way as the women, overall.  BTW, Vanity Fair has posted a slideshow and video from the photoshoot accompanying said interview.

LANCE ARMSTRONG has a new gal-pal who is not a member of the Olsen family.

JUSTICE LEAGUE:  Aint-It-Cool-News has the latest casting rumor for Wonder Woman, while IESB has the latest casting rumor for Batman.  Dark Horizons has some confirmation and other tidbits.

THE DARK KNIGHT:  Speaking of the Batman, AICN can also point you to new promo pics of the Dark Knight and The Joker.

HOLLYWOOD INTELLIGENCE:  Entertainment Weekly has a feature on "The 50 Smartest People in Hollywood," though you will often search in vain for evidence to support their picks, other than having recently produced a hit movie or critics' favorite.  The NYDN took on the far more difficult task of rooting out The 50 Dumbest People in Hollywood.

RUDOLPH SELLS OUT to AFLAC:  But good to see the gang working again.  At least it's not going to cause children to beg their parents incessantly for insurance.

TEDDY BEAR JIHAD:  A British school teacher jailed in Sudan for two weeks after allowing her students to name a teddy bear Muhammad was freed Monday following a pardon by the Sudanese president.  How magnanimous.

ISLAMISM in the UK:  Britain's largest Muslim organisation is to end its boycott of Holocaust Memorial Day.  How magnanimous.

ISLAMISM in the NETHERLANDS:  The city museum of The Hague has decided not to include in an exhibition a work of art that may offend Muslims.  The Gemeentemuseum's director said the museum is interested in purchasing Hera's complete series, which he called "high quality works of art," but added he will not exhibit "Adam and Ewald" in the next few years because "certain people in our society might perceive it as offensive." 

AFGHANISTAN:  Frustrated by ongoing violence and uneven development, Afghans have grown sharply more critical of US and NATO efforts in their country - and in the beleaguered southwest, support for the Taliban, ousted from power six years ago, is on the rise.  Criticism of the United States is largely focused on its performance, not its presence.

IRAN:  According to the latest National Intelligence Assessment on Iran, the US intell community judges with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program; they also assess with moderate-to-high confidence that Tehran at a minimum is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons.  This contradicts a 2005 assessment that Tehran was working inexorably toward building a bomb.  While this will cause many to breathe a sigh of relief, there's no guarantee that the new report is any more right than the old one.  Indeed, the intell community has only moderate confidence Tehran has not restarted its nuclear weapons program.  We know that Iran is busy enriching uranium, though it does not have a nuclear power plant and Russia is supplying uranium for the plant being built at Bushehr.  We also know that Iran is not playing it straight with UN inspectors.  It's also amusing that the intell community is ascribing the supposed shutdown of the program to international pressure without mentioning that the US toppled the government next door to Iran in part over the WMD issue in 2003.  You can get further with a kind word and a gun than you can with just a kind word.

IRAQ:  Hundreds of Iraqis displaced by fierce battles between al Qaeda militants and US and Iraqi security forces began receiving humanitarian aid on Monday at a camp set up on Baghdad's southern outskirts.  Operation Iron Reaper is  continuing the pursuit of Al-Qaeda and set the conditions for continued reconciliation efforts in key northern provinces.  A mass grave containing the remains of 12 people, including a paramedic who disappeared more than a year ago, was unearthed in central Iraq in an area long controlled by al Qaeda, officials said Monday.  Blogger Michael J. Totten has a piece in the New York Daily News about th progress he has witnessed.

A BENGAL TIGER at a Thai zoo takes care of piglets as if they were her own.  Let's go to the video.

...AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT:  A puppy with six paws... for now.

ROGUE CROC UPDATE:  He's dead, Jim.

A CHEEKY MYNAH BIRD was put in solitary confinement at Yuelishan Park in Changsha city, China, for being abusive to tourists.

AN ELECTRIC EEL gets into the holiday spirit in Japan.

A SHIVERING DACHSHUND PUP rescued from a hole by a News 8 photojournalist, after Ionia County (MI)  Animal Control failed.  I certainly hope we can have a symposium about the ethiscs of a reporter getting involved in the story.

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Robert Pollard, Iron & Wine, Stars. Killers, Elephant Darts   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, December 03, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


ROBERT POLLARD kicked off his two-city tour at Chicago's Metro Friday night, theoretically in support of the two albums the fmr Guided By Voices frontman released in October. The first hour of the show tended to favor the more rock-flavored Standard Gargoyle Decisions album, while the second hour tended to favor the poppier Coast To Coast Carpet Of Love album, both of which are still streaming in full from Merge Records.  (If you don't have time to listen to both you can compare more rockin' tracks like "The Killers," "Pill Gone Girl," and "Spider Eyes" with poppier tracks like "Rud Fins," "Current Desperation (Angels Speak Of Nothing)," and "I Clap For Strangers" via the ol' HM at the moment.  The second hour also featured a short break for most of his backing band, during which Bob was accompanied only by electric guitar on a couple of classics, like GbV's anthemic "I Am A Scientist," which turned up at the end of a recent episode of the his TV show Samantha Who?  Pollard was fairly selective with his older material though a particulalrly jaunty "Dancing Girls And Dancing Men" from Pollard's From A Compound Eye album was a highlight.  "Love Is Stronger Than Witchcraft," also from FACE, turned up during the encores, as did GbV faves like "Game Of Pricks" and "Shocker In Gloomtown" (there isn't a good version of the latter online, so that last link is a cover by The Breeders, with GbV making a cameo).  Pollard & Co. also turned in a scorching cover of The Who's "Pictures Of Lily" during the first encore.  I don't recall whether "Cut-Out Witch" closed the regular set or was an encore, but this clip from Pollard's 50th birthday part illustrates the kind of mania that can sweep over the crowd once Pollard gets rolling.  Speaking of which, all three hours featured Pollard's prodigous drinking, as well as his generousity in handing his bottle of Cuervo to the crowd on serveral occasions (they returned the favor by providing the cigarettes, he was not supposed to be smoking onstage).  You can check out pictures from the show at the Underground Bee; Friends of Pate may recognize that one guitarist for Pollard's specially recruited band was Dag Juhlin, of fmr Pate labelmate The Slugs.

LED ZEPPELIN:  Rolling Stone has a behind-the-scenes piece on their reunion gig (and possible tour), as well as a reprint of the band's 1975 interview with Cameron Crowe.  For a more pomo take on the band, Ann Powers has a piece in the L.A. Times about how she learned to stop worrying and love the Zep.

IRON & WINE:  Sam Beam stopped by for a solo acoustic segment on Morning Becomes Eclectic, which you can listen to or watch on demand via KCRW.

BRIAN WILSON and, DIANA ROSS were among those to receive lifetime achievement awards at the 30th annual Kennedy Center Honors.  The honorees met with President Bush at a White House reception on Sunday before the gala, which will be broadcast on CBS on Dec. 26.

TOM PETTY and the HEARTBREAKERS will play the SuperBowl Halftime Show in February.

STARS stopped by the World Cafe for an interview and mini-set you can stream on demand via NPR.

THE KILLERS release their second annual Christmas charity single, "Don't Shoot Me, Santa," which can be downloaded via iTunes.

CHRISTMAS SONGS, as recommended by Emmy winning writer/director/producer/major league baseball announcer Ken Levine.  ALSO:  The 12 Coolest Christmas Albums Ever, according to Sun Media.

THE UGLIEST MEN IN THE HISTORY OF ROCK, according to the West Virginia Surf Report.

MICHELLE SHOCKED stopped by The Current for a chat and mini-set showcasing her new gospel sound, which you can stream on demand via MPR.

THE 28 MOST RECOGNIZABLE GUITARS, with embedded video, courtesy of Blender magazine.

JANET RENO talked to the AP about the Song of America box set, which features new interpretations of seminal songs like "Dixie's Land" and "The Times They Are A Changin'" by artists including John Mellencamp, the Black Crowes, Martha Wainwright and Devendra Banhart.  The fmr Attorney General is listed as executive producer, but she credits her nephew-in-law, producer Ed Pettersen, with the heavy lifting.

THE McCARTNEYS:  The News of the World has the censored-but-still-NSFW hardcore shot of Heather Mills that belies her attempts to down play her past participation in a "sex educational manual."

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE:  The post-Turkey Day weekend is traditionally a turkey for the movie biz, and this weekend was no different.  Indeed, this past weekend looked almost exactly the same as the one before, just with lower totals.  Disney's Enchanted again took top honors with 17 million, a 50 percent drop from its big opening.  This Christmas held onto the second slot with 8 million (a 53 percent drop) and Beowulf held onto third with 7.9 million (a 52 percent drop).  Awake's debut in fourth place is about the only new element this weekend, earning six million or so.  Hitman dropped a slot, with 5.8 million (dropping 56 percent) to round out the Top Five.  Fred Claus held onto sixth place with 5.5 mil; August Rush held onto seventh with 5.1 mil.  No Country For Old Men popped up to eighth from 11th with 4.5 mil, though this was still a 42 percent drop.  Bee Movie slid from fifth to ninth with about 4.5 mil; with 117 mil so far on a 150 mil budget, it seems like all that hype was not enough.  Rounding out the Top Ten is American Gangster, with 4.2 mil.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  Cruise's latest pic, Lions For Lambs, may lose 25 million bucks.  Busy Bee loves this picture of Tom-Kat, and so do I.

BRITNEY SPEARS celebrated her 26th birthday at the Scandinavian Style Mansion in Bel Air, but was apparently upstaged by the French Hotel.  The pop tart's pal Sam Lutfi has been subpoenaed by Fed-Ex's lawyer and will be questioned in January in the custody case.  A dramatic first attempt to serve Lutfi went awry and is now under investigation as a "vehicle vandalism incident."  And though Spears has already shot a music video for her next single, "Piece of Me," but she is launching a contest to see if her fans can do better.

MISS CONDUCT?  Authorities investigating allegations that Miss Puerto Rico Universe Ingrid Marie Rivera's dress and makeup were sabotaged with pepper spray during a Nov. 24 pageant in San Juan found no traces of the substance in her belongings.

JESSICA SIMPSON's rep denies reports that she received lip injections this past week.  She has just started naturally looking like a trout.

LINDSAY LOHAN isn't doing much to quell rumors that she's strapped for cash.  She has also broken up with Riley Giles, the 25-year-old snowboarder she met while seeking treatment at Utah's Cirque Lodge.

BRADGELINA:  Pitt is scheduled to announce plans to create more than 100 affordable, ecologically sound homes in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans.  This weekend, big pink houses were installed in the flood-ravaged neighorhood as symbolic stand-ins for those homes.

VICTORIA BECKHAM, a/k/a Posh Spice, is to bare all as part of an advertising campaign for fashion designer Marc Jacobs.

HOLLYWOOD'S TOP-PAID LEADING LADIES are disclosed by The Hollywood Reporter.

DENISE RICHARDS lost her mother to kidney cancer last week.  I wonder whether ex-hubby Charlie Sheen regrets sening Richards that e-mail reading, "Go cry to your bald mom, you (bleeping) loser."

JENNIFER LOVE HEWITT took the Internet to speak out about unflattering photos of herself snapped by the paparazzi: "A size 2 is not fat! Nor will it ever be..."  So true; it's really only an issue for people who make a living looking like Jennifer Love Hewitt once did.

EVEL KNIEVEL, the hard-living motorcycle daredevil, whose bone-breaking, rocket-powered jumps and stunts made him an international icon in the 1970s, died Friday. He was 69.

VENEZUELA:  Pres. Hugo Chavez suffered a stinging defeat in a vote on constitutional changes that would have let him run for re-election indefinitely, the chief of National Electoral Council said Monday.

TEDDY BEAR JIHAD:  Thousands of Islamic fanatics wielding clubs and knives marched through the streets of Khartoum demanding the execution of teddy bear teacher Gillian Gibbons.  Unless you listen to the BBC, which described a small, "good-natured" crowd.  If you watched The View, you got to hear panelists wonder how arrogant westerners can demand that others learn our customs while we ignore the risk of being murdered over the naming of a teddy bear.  Aside from Whoopi Goldberg getting the facts of the case wrong (shocka!), the answer would be that there are plenty of Muslims who say the Sudanese are completely out of line in this case.  Fortunately, sources at the British Embassy in Khartoum said there were "high hopes" the 54-year-old from Liverpool would be on her way home as early as today.

MIDEAST MYSTERY:  Israel's top-secret air raid on Syria in September destroyed a bomb factory assembling warheads fuelled by North Korean plutonium, a leading Israeli nuclear expert has told The Sunday Times.  However, this seems more based on theory than intelligence.

IRAQ:  The number of Iraqis killed last month fell again, to the lowest monthly death toll since just before the 2006 bombing of a Shiite shrine provoked a vicious cycle of retaliatory sectarian violence.  Sunnis jockey for influence by walking out of parliament (again) and waging a war of words in the neighborhoods of Baghdad.  Wired reports that the White House talk blaming Iran for destabilizing parts of Iraq changed Sunni attitudes toward the US.  Time asks whether the Shiite militia truce will last.  Nearly 6000 Sunni Arab residents joined a security pact with US forces in the north -- called the single largest volunteer mobilization since the war began.  The US military will carefully manage the growth of neighborhood police units credited with helping to curb violence in Iraq, aiming ultimately to move many into public work roles, a spokesman said on Thursday.  Many Shiites fear the units would become unaccountable militias operating under the pretext of fighting al Qaeda.  Iraq's main Sunni-led resistance groups have scaled back their attacks on US forces in Baghdad and parts of Anbar province in a deliberate strategy aimed at regrouping, retraining, and waiting out George Bush's "surge", a key insurgent leader has told the Guardian.  Grain of salt on that; considering the source -- it sounds a bit like wishful thinking.

IRAQ and the MEDIA:  The New Republic finally concludes it cannot stand by its Baghdad Diarist.  Unfortunately, that admission is buried at the end of a 14-page piece by TNR editor Franklin Foer that spends more time attacking the Army and those who were skeptical of those articles, and trying to show why he should keep his job, than in explaining why TNR lost faith in Pvt. Beauchamp's tales.

AN ELEPHANT totally hustles some humans at darts.

ROGUE CROC UPDATE:  Ukrainian officials summoned a vet Friday to determine whether a crocodile, captured after six months on the run, was comatose or dead.  We can only hope it's a clever ruse.

AMAZING CATS:  A 26-year-old domestic cat from Shropshire could be one of the oldest in the UK.  A feral cat from Tennessee cat survived for 19 days with a peanut butter jar stuck on its head.

RABBITS multiplying like... y'know... endanger the entire ecosystem of Macquarie Island -- one of Australia's ecological treasures.

MALE TOPI ANTELOPES get more than they can handle.

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The Band, Eero Raittinen, Joe Jackson, Cutout Bin, Beach Boar   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, November 30, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



...with THE BAND!  The Last Waltz, billed as a "farewell" concert after 16 years of touring, found The Band joined by special guests, including Eric Clapton, Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Ringo Starr, Muddy Waters, Dr. John, and Neil Young.  Last week, at Glide magazine's Hidden Track blog, Ace Cowboy celebrated the 31st anniversary of the show by collecting 18 Tubed clips from Martin Scorsese's 1978 documentary, which features concert performances, scenes shot on a studio soundstage and interviews by Scorsese with members of The Band.  Surprisingly, the Wikipedia entry for the show is pretty good place to start for more background on the concert and the movie.

LEVON HELM, who did not care much for the movie, and who recently released his first solo record in over 25 years, has been hosting "Midnight Rambles" at his place in Woodstock, NY since 2004, to help defray his medical costs upon recovering from throat cancer.  Helm's band plays a number of these gigs, but there are special guests: "You never know who's going to show up!"  A review of a recent Ramble at JamBase pointed me toward a Finnish indie roots-rock combo, Eero Raittinen and the Noisy Kind of Men -- Eero, it turns out is 60, while the others are much younger.  His "friends" include John Hammond, Barrance Whitfield, the White Stripes, Los Lobos, James Hunter and the Fabulous Thunderbirds.  An even more recent Ramble incvluded The Felice Brothers, who grew up in Palenville, about 20 minutes' drive from Woodstock, and have drawn critical acclaim for the Americana sound of their debut album, as well as a profile in London's Guardian.

BEST of 2007:  Harp magazine's Top 50 is discussed at the 'Gum.

SHARON JONES and the DAP-KINGS:  Ms. Jones and Gabriel "Bosco Mann" Roth, co-founder of Daptone Records and bass player for The Dap-Kings, have an interview, songs and remixes from Fresh Air streaming on demand via NPR.

MORRISSEY plans to sue the NME after it failed to apologize for an article focusing on his views on immigration, much of which is reprinted in the Telegraph.  There's more backstory -- and the NME cover -- at Drowned In Sound.

QUEEN releases its first new recording in 10 years today and that it will be available for free on its website.

HOW THE 'NET KILLED THE MUSIC BIZ?  Wired magazine's profile of Universal Music Group CEO Doug Morris has New York magazine's Vulture blog shocked at the tech illiteracy of the industry moguls.  At the HuffPo, fmr Reprise Records pres. Howie Klein tries to explain that cluelessness was based on "expert" opinion.

JOE JACKSON digs us!  Actually, Jackson likely has no knowledge of Pate's existence.  But we got nice e-mail from his people, who must be on top of their Internet game to notice we mentioned his upcoming album, Rain, yesterday.  And because flattery will get you everywhere, Friday seems like a good day to watch Joe Jackson & William Shatner cover Pulp's "Common People," with Ben Folds on keyboards.

JOHN FOGERTY talks to Pitchfork and the Mpls. Star-Tribune about his latest album, Revival, and the the state of the world.  He has also penned a piece on reclaiming his voice for Newsweek.

MIDNIGHT OIL: Former frontman Peter Garrett continued his long, strange tour from pop star to politician Thursday when he was named Australia's environment minister.  Garrett made his first foray into politics with an unsuccessful bid for the Senate as a member of the Nuclear Disarmament Party in 1984.  He was elected to Parliament in 2002 and enjoyed a meteoric rise through the Labor Party ranks, being immediately appointed as an opposition spokesman on the arts and Aboriginal affairs.  Yet the move is widely considered a demotion for Garrett, who served as the opposition spokesman for both the environment and climate change prior to Saturday's election.

THE REDWALLS did a session at Daytrotter; sadly, none of the songs are new.  But I feel slightly guilty about not writing more about a local (to Chicago) treasure.

EMI's new management is considering cutting its contributions to the IFPI and RIAA as wasteful spending.  At a conference all for investors, Warner Music Group had "no comment" on whether they would follow EMI.  The Financial Times claims that this could same the major labels money, but "would also saddle each company with greater responsibility to lobby regulators and police pirates, among other crucial tasks."  That's not entirely true; the  majors could wake up and decide that better talent, marketing and technology are better solutions to their ills than the coercion of the law.

CREEM magazine is paid tribute in a new book featuring work from Lester Bangs, Nick Tosches, Dave Marsh, Dave DiMartino, Ben Edmonds, Chuck Eddy and the young Cameron Crowe.  The book spawned a lawsuit and a fight at the launch party.

CUTOUT BIN:  This Friday's fortuitous finds from the ol' HM are: Sam Spence & John Facenda - November; Big Star - Thank You Friends; Sly & The Family Stone - Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin); The Beatles - '63 Fan Club Xmas 45; Bob Dylan - The Man In Me; The Redwalls - Build A Bridge; Mott The Hoople - All The Young Dudes; Belle And Sebastian - White Collar Boy; Art Brut - Emily Kane; Ben Folds - In Between Days (Cure); Dinosaur Jr. - Just Like Heaven (Cure); Apostle of Hustle - I Want A New Drug (H. Lewis - sorta); Dean and Britta - Words You Used To Say; The Velvet Underground - Train Round The Bend; Cat Power - I Found A Reason (Velvet Underground); Nico - I'll Keep It With Mine; The Raveonettes - The Beat Dies (new); Diana Ross & The Supremes - Stoned Love; Spoon - You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb; Soft Cell - Tainted Love; Eric Burdon & The Animals - Spill The Wine; Percy Mayfield - Right On, Young Americans; Neil Diamond - Solitary Man; Richard Hawley - Long Black Train; Blondie - Union City Blues; Tommy Keene - Places That Are Gone;  Drug Rug - Day I Die; Jimi Hendrix - Purple Haze; and Led Zeppelin - Whole Lotta Love.

BRITNEY SPEARS currently pays 15k in monthly support, but the pop tart may have to pony up more now that Fed-Ex has primary custody of their two sons.  BTW, a new kids' Christmas poll has Spears and the French Hotel beating the Grinch on the "naughty" list.

NOW SHOWING:  This weekend's only new wide release at the cineplex is the psychological thriller Awake, which stars Jessica Alba and Hayden Christensen, which has not been screened widely for critics.  Ouch.

JENNIFER LOVE HEWITT got engaged to Scottish actor Ross McCall.  The catty would say not a moment too soon.

ANDY GARCIA hailed his niece's slain boyfriend, NFL star Sean Taylor, as a ''free safety until the end'' who showed bravery in the last moments of his life to protect his family.

JESSICA SIMPSON seems to have visited the trout pout shop again.

GYLLENSPOON joined the Mile High Club?  The pair allegedly spent more than ten-minutes together inside an airplane bathroom during a trip from Frankfurt, Germany, to Los Angeles.

JOHN TRAVOLTA was spotted in a cheap Koreatown men's spa in L.A. that has been overrun by a slew of gay men cruising in the steam room and clay room, according to the uber-reliable L.A. Rag Mag.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  Cruise hits the snooze button at Germany's Bambi Awards.

ELLE MACPHERSON was... wait for it... caught canoodling BRYAN ADAMS at a private party in Bryan's London home on Tuesday night after the launch of his new photo exhibition.

PAM ANDERSON is talking retirement: "Five more years of (T&A), and I'll go back to Canada," the British Columbia native says. "I've got some land. It'll be time."

BRADGELINA:  Pitt has vowed not to film any more nude scenes - because he doesn't want his kids to see them.  He's also looking toward retirement: "I figure I've got very few films left. Who knows how many I'll get to do now, so I want to do something I'm interested in. Otherwise, I don't want to bother. I think it's a younger person's game."

GWYNETH PALTROW & CHRIS MARTIN:  Rumors of marital woes are "absolutely not true," according to Paltrow's rep.

TARA REID -- having gone from American cutie pie to boozy floozy -- is hosting a 'Hookers Ball' in Darwin, Australia this weekend.

KIM KARDASHIAN:  The police reportedly don't believe her claim that a thief stole 50K worth of valuables while she was being mobbed by fans at JFK airport.

DEBBIE GIBSON had some work done, and now looks like Owen Wilson.

ANGELA KINSEY of The Office blogs that she probably won't do a lot of press during her pregnancy, but she will be doing  yoga with costar Jenna Fisher, who is still recovering from her back injury this past summer.

NATALIE PORTMAN did an exclusive "screentest" for the launch of the NYT's new T magazine.  As it's Friday, I recommend taking a drink every time Portman says "like."

ADRIANA LIMA's lingerie fitter has the best job ever?  Possibly, if you don't have to wear what he's wearing, which is so weird that I noticed it in a picture of Adriana Lima being fitted for lingerie.  Yes, it's Gratuitous Friday.

TEDDY BEAR JIHAD:  British teacher Gillian Gibbons has been convicted of inciting religious hatred for letting her pupils name a teddy bear Muhammad and sentenced to 15 days in prison and deportation from Sudan.  Sudan's top clerics had called for the full measure of the law to be used against Mrs Gibbons and labelled her actions part of a Western plot against Islam.

PAKISTAN's security forces claim to have regained control of Imam Dehri and other militant strongholds in the Swat valley in the country's North-West Frontier Province.  Other reports suggest that intensified military operations over the past 10 days in the Swat Valley have not yielded any significant results... and that General Ashfaq Parvez Kiani, who took over from Musharraf on Wednesday, may be okay with that.

IRAQ:  Shia and Sunni religious leaders met in Najaf Tuesday to discuss peace and unity in Iraq.  Two car bombs have been found hidden on the premises of the Baghdad office of Adnan al-Dulaimi, one of Iraq's top Sunni leaders, a senior Iraqi military official said on Thursday.  Bill Roggio looks at US military strategy in the northern provinces.  The White House denied that the US seeks permanent military bases in Iraq, days after the US "war czar" said that would be part of talks next year on long-term security ties.

BEACH BOAR:  Babe spends his days strolling on the beach of a private island in the Bahamas, swimming in the sea, eating hot dogs and drinking beer.

A ROGUE CROCODILE which escaped from a travelling circus six months ago has been recaptured in the Ukraine.

SICK RAMS and DONKEYS:  The Hittites' weapons of mass destruction.

A MOUNTAIN LION perched in a backyard tree near Crafton Elementary School in east Redlands, CA was tranquilized by authorities.  Ironically, the school's mascot is a cougar.

A PARROT with a Brooklyn accent may be worth ten grand.

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New Joe Jackson, Ryan Adams, Britpop, Buzzwinkle   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, November 29, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


BISHOP ALLEN premiered the video for "Click Click Click Click" at the 'Gum; it's currently in a Sony camera ad, so you can be the one who impresses friends and family by saying "Hey, that's Bishop Allen" when it comes on.

THE HOLD STEADY:  Craig Finn tells Crawdaddy that he "always wondered whether Springsteen sees himself as the first real songwriter who was strongly influenced by film."  I can't answer that question, but if Finn reads Dave Marsh's Born to Run, he'll find that cinematic influence comes mostly from critic-turned-manager Jon Landau.  At the WaPo music blog (yes, there is such a thing) David Malitz provides an A-Z glossary for the band.

JOE JACKSON is getting good buzz for his upcoming album, Rain.  MOKB is streaming "Citizen Sane," while Some Velvet Blog has posted "Too Tough" (streaming via the ol' HM).  I previously pointed y'all to "King Pleasure Time" also.

ROCK BAND:  At Slate, fmr Sleater-Kinney guitarist Carrie Brownstein reviews the videogame: "Rock Band is Guitar Hero for people with more than one friend. It's a theater group set to music, and just as nerdy."  Even so, it has been "haunting (her) like a bad ring tone."

RYAN ADAMS has stuck three short tracks from his metal alter-ego, Sleazy Handshake, among those streaming from RySpace.

M WARD and CONOR OBERST of Bright Eyes reportedly have formed a band.  Representatives from neither Oberst's nor Ward's camps could confirm the collaboration, however.

THE THERMALS have dropped a new video for "Returning to the Fold," from their current LP, The Body, The Blood, The Machine.

BALLAD OF A DEAD MAN:  Bob Dylan's "Mr. Jones" -- Jeffrey Owen Jones, a film professor at the Rochester Institute Of Technology -- has died of lung cancer at 63.  There have been other candidates for the protagonist, including a British journalist named Max Jones, who Dylan has mentioned himself.

RUBY, DON'T TAKE YOUR LOVE TO TOWN:  The Mel Tillis chestnut is covered at least eight times at MOKB, including by Leonard Nimoy.

NEIL YOUNG: The Detroit Free Press marks five milestones -- or left turns -- in his chameleonic career.

DINOSAUR, JR.:  Lou Barlow tells the Cape Cod Times the secret of the band's reunion: "J (Mascis) is less evil." After momentarily laughing, he pauses and adds, "I'm serious. J is a bit easier to communicate with and deal with. A bit."

THE BRIT BOX:  At the Riverfront Times blog, Annie Zaleski posts a two-disc set of songs she believes were wrongly left out of the Britpop collection, including tracks from The Housemartins, The Lightning Seeds, Paul Weller, and more.

SPARKS will play every one of the 20 albums they've released dating to 1972 over the course of a month next spring in London, leading to the premiere their brand new 21st album.

BRITNEY SPEARS:  The ever-reliable Star magazine is running rumors of a secret sex room, feces-smeared couches and another pregnancy.  The preganancy rumor is also the cover of the latest InTouch magazine, though I think they are suggesting a different dad, and pal Sam Lutfi denied the pregnancy story to Ryan Secrest.  The stories of the pop tart showing up 12 hours late to her own video shoot and being dumped by her new driver as a "liability" seem tame by comparison, though the one about Spears pulling off her panties in the middle of West Hollywood's Hustler Store and stealing a wig is still pretty rich.

LINDSAY LOHAN "has been drinking a little bit," a pal tells the New york Daily News.

HEATH LEDGER has been linked to Helena Christensen and Kate Hudson since his split from Brooklyn baby mama Michelle Williams, but he now reportedly has set his sights on Heather Graham and Gemma Ward.

DREW BARRYMORE was... wait for it... caught canoodling her He's Just Not That Into You costar (and human Macintosh) Justin Long over the Thanksgiving weekend, which she spent meeting Long's parents.

DOO WAH DADDY:  Mike d'Abo - the former lead singer of chart-topping Sixties band Manfred Mann - is celebrating becoming a father of twins at the age of 63.

JESSICA SIMPSON, as you might have guessed, was set up with Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo by her creepy dad-manager Joe.  However, "There are definitely parts of her that regret breaking up with Nick now," a Simpson friend tells Us Weekly in its new cover story, but I guess you have to buy the mag to discover which parts.

MADONNA is in the middle of a sheep controversy.  No, not that.  The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is angry that Madge dyed her pet sheep different colors for a Vogue photo shoot.

MARIE OSMOND faked her fainting spell on Dancing With the Stars?  RELATED:  Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves beat out Spice Girl Mel B and Osmond for the prized mirror ball trophy Tuesday, but business executive Aliette Vazquez has broken off her engagement to the "Dancing" winner.

KIM KARDASHIAN had her laptop, digital camera and $50,000 worth of diamond jewelry, including a Cartier watch, stolen out of her bags, sources close to Kardashian told E! News.

ANGELA KINSEY from The Office is knocked up.  In the video version of the story, Kristin Veitch says there's a good chance her pregnancy will be written into the show.  After all, she will be due for May sweeps.

OWEN WILSON is reportedly dating "Bionic Woman" star Michelle Ryan.  Which one makes this sound?

TEDDY BEAR JIHAD:  A British teacher arrested in Sudan after allowing her class to name a teddy bear "Mohammed" has been charged by authorities with offending religion -- an offense punishable with 40 lashes, a jail term of up to a year or a fine.  A seven-year-old Sudanese boy defended the teacher, saying he had chosen to call a teddy bear Mohammad because it was his own name.  But extreme Islamic groups said Mrs Gibbons "must die" and urged Muslims to hold street protests after prayers tomorrow.

FRANCE:  The violence in the Paris suburbs ebbed Tuesday night after police were deployed in force and quickly rounded up youths lobbing Molotov cocktails and setting cars ablaze.  Buried at the end of the piece: "There have long been tensions between France's largely white police force and ethnic minorities in poor neighborhoods. Despite decades of problems and heavy state investments to improve housing and create jobs, the depressed projects that ring Paris are a world apart from the tourist attractions of the French capital. Police speak of no-go zones where they and firefighters fear to patrol."

VENEZUELA:  Pres. Hugo Chavez said CNN may have been instigating his murder when the US TV network showed a photograph of him with a label underneath that read "Who killed him?"  The caption appeared to be a production mistake -- confusing a Chavez news item with one on the death of a football star. The anchor said "take the image down" when he realized.

PAKISTAN:  At Foreign Policy, Daniel Markey and Husain Haqqani debate whether the US should abandon Pervez Musharraf.  FWIW, iirc, Haqqani is in Benazir Bhutto's camp.

IRAN said on Tuesday that it had invited Palestinian "militant" factions to a meeting in Tehran aimed at countering a US-hosted Middle East peace conference seeking to kickstart the peace process.

IRAQ:  A top Iraqi Sunni cleric on Wednesday called for the tens of thousands of Sunni Arab militants allied to US forces in the fight against Al Qaeda to be integrated into the regular security forces.  The WaPo reports that cabbies are once again crisscrossing nearly all of Baghdad.  Reuters reports on reconstruction in Fallujah, where blogger Michael J. Totten reports that an edgy calm prevails.  AQI is attempting to reestablish its propaganda presence in Iraq, while Multinational Forces Iraq is seeking to dismantle the network.  One of northern Iraq's longest-serving army brigade commanders was reassigned Tuesday, prompting concern among US military advisers that progress they've made in training Iraqi forces here would suffer.  Some of the refugees returning from Syria intend to fight the militants who drove them from their homes

IRAQ and the MEDIA:  When an Iraqi "journalist" said on Monday that gunmen went on a killing spree in his Baghdad home, murdering seven children and four adult relatives -- and blamed the "occupier or those who came with the occupier" -- the story was picked up widely in the media.  Just one problem -- the alleged victims have appeared on Iraqi television, apparently safe and well.  The "journalist's" sisters denounced his actions, saying there had never been any sort of threat against them. One of his brothers-in-law suggested that he had made the story up for political reasons.  ALSO:  During the press conference about the US and Iraq entering talks for a long-term bilateral security agreement, a member of the White House press corps revealed he or she did not know that we have one with South Korea.

BUZZWINKLE got drunk on fermented crab apples, draped himself in Christmas lights and ended up standing glassy-eyed and dizzy in the front yard of a downtown bar in Anchorage.  Not too different from most office parties.

RAT ISLAND:  Our second story from Anchorage.  State and federal wildlife biologists are gearing up for an assault on Rat Island, where the decendents of Japanese rats have virtually extermianted songbirds, seabirds and certain plants.

BABY FLAMINGOS born in Des Moines, IA.  Pics and video at the link.

PETS are more comforting to people recently bereaved than priests or spiritual advisers.

A FRENCH COOK has prepared the world's largest barbecue - spit-roasting a 550kg camel for 15 hours at a seaside Moroccan town south of Rabat.

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