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Roy Orbison, Pipettes, Weakerthans, Cutout Bin, Speed Racer   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, December 07, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



...with ROY ORBISON! The man with the soaring bel canto left us 29 years ago yesterday.  How legendary is he?  For his 1987 "Black & White Night" at the since-demolished Coconut Grove in L.A., Orbison's stage band included Jackson Browne, T-Bone Burnett, Elvis Costello, k.d. lang, Bonnie Raitt, J.D. Souther, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, and Jennifer Warnes, along with the rhythm section from Elvis Presley's fabled late '60s and early '70s touring band.  The set list included "Only The Lonely," "Dream Baby," "Blue Bayou," "The Comedians" (written by Costello for Orbison), "Ooby Dooby" (quiet audio) "Leah," "Running Scared," "Uptown," "In Dreams," "Crying," "Candyman," "Go, Go, Go (Down the Line)," "(All I Can Do Is) Dream You," "Claudette," "It's Over" and -- of course -- "Pretty Woman."

THE GRAMMYS:  A short list of nominees at NPR;the full list at the Grammys website.  Aside from the flurry for Feist (and perhaps not even then), the industry was as unadventurous as usual, perhaps even moreso.  Best record?  No noms for Wilco or White Stripes, not even Springsteen.  Best Alternative Music Album nominees are Lily Allen, Arcade Fire, Bjork, The Shins and the White Stripes.  And I daresay that if you surveyed all of the musicbloggers' year-end lists, Arcade Fire would be the only one to regularly place in the top five.

THE REPLACEMENTS:  Jim Walsh tals about the difficulties of writing All Over But the Shoutin': An Oral History at Crawdaddy.

ECHO and the BUNNYMEN will perform an orchestral version of Ocean Rain at London's Royal Albert Hall next September.

THE PIPETTES:  RiotBecki talked to the Sydney Morning Herald about what's going on behind the fun of their act, but you can read that after you watch the shooptastic new video for "Because It's Not Love (But It's Still A Feeling)."  BONUS:  If you want to be really hardcore about it, you may want to jukebox Gwenno's solo material via the ol' HM.  ALSO:  The ladies pop up in a NYT profile of Martin Kierszenbaum, head of international operations for Interscope Records, who signed Feist as the first artist to his own minilabel, Cherrytree Records.  It would explain the money obviously spent on the new video.

SUFJAN STEVENS talks about Christmas, carols, and more with Drowned In Sound.  PopMatters examines the genre of the Christmas carol, starting with Schroeder's Dilemma.

THE WEAKERTHANS did an interview and mini-set for the World Cafe you can stream via NPR.

BEST of 2007:  The 22 best music videos of 2007 are Tubed at Music For Kids Who Can't Read Good.  An Aquarium Drunkard, Skatterbrain and DJ-producer-musician Mark Ronson all have stuff on their lists that did not make mine, but are certainly worth a listen.  Don't forget largerhearted Boy's list of lists.

THE BEACH BOYS serve up a vintage take on "Little St. Nick."  From Shindig!, iirc.

SPRINGSTEEN & FRIENDS:  Ickmusic has posted a 2000 holiday benefit show from Asbury Park, which you can jukebox via the ol' HM.

THE GO! TEAM mastermind Ian Parton lists a few of his favorite things for Filter magazine.

VHS OR BETA did an interview and mini-set at NPR's Studio 4A, which you can stream on demand.

AMY WINEHOUSE continued her erratic nocturnal antics for the fourth consecutive night, roaming around London's Soho until 5am with a mystery white powder smeared across her nostrils.

CUTOUT BIN:  This Friday's fortuitous finds from the ol' HM are: The Polyphonic Spree - Carol Of The Bells; Oppenheimer - Merry Christmas Baby (Please Come Home); Yo La Tengo - Rock N Roll Santa; Matt Pond PA - Holiday Road (L. Buckingham); Shirley Ellis - The Name Game; Freda Payne - Band of Gold; O'Donel Levy - Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky; Milton Howard - Funky Shing-A-Ling; Alvin Cash - Funky Washing Machine; Stylistics - People Make the World Go Round; Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons - Beggin' (Pilooski Edit); Jarvis Cocker - Don't Let Him Waste Your Time; Candie Payne - All I Need to Hear; Tommy Keene - Carrie Anne (Hollies); The Posies - King Midas In Reverse (Hollies); Mitch Easter - Pay You Back With Interest (Hollies); Jon Brion - Sorry, Suzanne (Hollies); Material Issue - Bus Stop (Hollies); Material Issue - Diane; Tullycraft - The Punks Are Writing Love Songs; The Kinks - Picture Book; Pink Floyd - Free Four; Robyn Hitchcock & Grant Lee Phillips - Across The Universe; Bob Dylan - Tangled Up In Blue (alt. take); Cracker - The Man in Me (B. Dylan) and The Rolling Stones - Tumbling Dice.

GO SPEED, GO!  The first pictures from the Wachowskis' live-action Speed Racer hit USAToday, while the teaser trailer ran on Entertainment Tonight.  O...M...G.

NOW SHOWING:  This weekend's only wide release is The Golden Compass, currently scoring 39 percent on the ol' Tomatometer.  The adaptation of Atonement, currently scoring 89 percent, opens on 26 screens.  The teen pregnancy comedy Juno, currently scoring 92 percent, opened Wednesday on seven screens.

ELLEN PAGE, the 20-year-old star of Juno, is interviewed in Paper magazine -- and seems to have good taste in music.

RAY LIOTTA pleaded no contest to one count of reckless driving. He was originally charged with one count of DUI.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Holmes designed the Cruise family's holiday card, so there are no cool pictures of aliens on it.

JENNIFER LOVE HEWITT gets backup from other female celebs on Hollywood's weight fixation.

ASHLEE SIMPSON cannot bring rocker Pete Wentz home for Christmas.  Apparently, dad Joe Simpson, a former Baptist preacher, had a problem with Wentz's interview with Blender magazine in which he claimed to have kissed other men.  NTTAWWT.  Isn't there something in the Bible about how a dad and ex-preacher-turned-manager who comments on his daughter Jessica's rack shouldn't cast the first stone?

NARNIA:  The Daily Mail has your first pics from Prince Caspian, the next installment of the Narnia franchise.  The trailer is online, too, including in hi-def.

BRADGELINA may be spending Xmas in N'awlins, but Jennifer Aniston may be spending the holidays with Pitt's parents, according to the ever-reliable Star magazine.  Meanwhile Jolie is set to star as real-life intelligence operative Kathi Lynn Austin in what Paramount plans to be a Bourne Identity-like action thriller about arms trafficking and terrorism.

GEORGE CLOONEY & BRAD PITT:  Caught on video in the bathroom at the American Cinematheque tribute to Julia Roberts.  Click through to see which one has the wide stance.

MADONNA, who wanted people to call her Esther during her heavy Kabbalah phase, now wants you to call her Louise, according tot he ever-reliable Star magazine -- though her rep denies it.  I'm sticking with "Madge."

JOHNNY DEPP has a handshake deal to play John Dillinger in Michael Mann's adaptation of "Public Enemies."

JACK NICHOLSON:  Parade magazine excerpts this weekend's interview online, including comments that won't thrill feminists: "These issues between men and women are not psychological. Look, remember what a gland is. Most of these are glandular issues..."

THE VICTORIA'S SECRET FASHION SHOW was broadcast earlier this week , but Egotastic has the video highlights, icymi or need to see them again... and again.

DECEMBER 7, 1941: A "date which will live in infamy." I'll be watching Tora! Tora! Tora! tonight. BTW, the first nation invaded by the US after entering WWII was Morocco, then Algeria, iirc.

PAKISTAN:  The military continues its slow push through the Taliban controlled regions of Swat.

IRAN:  The NYT/IHT reports that the NIE on Iran's nuke program was based on notes from the deliberations of Iranian military officials and intercepted conversations among Iranian officials.  IMHO, either some US officials are completely leak-happy, or this info -- and perhaps the declassified version of the NIE itself -- is being leaked to sow paranoia within the Iranian gov't.  Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates has impounded the cargo of a vessel bound for Iran after discovering "hazardous materials" aboard contravening UN sanctions on Iran's nuclear program.

IRAQ:  Sunni insurgents pushed out of Baghdad and Anbar Provinces have migrated to Mosul and have been trying to turn it into a major hub for their operations... which is why the US has been running ops in the north these past few weeks.  When AQ is beaten there, they will continue their retreat into Pakistan and Afghanistan.  Bill Roggio has an update on the state of Iraqi security forces.  Omar Fadhil of Iraq the Model ponders what happens after the "surge."  The Times of London reports that with security slowly improving in Baghdad, folks are having a cold one -- but keeping an eye peeled for the deadly guardians of Muslim morality.

CAT CAFES:  Calico is one of at least three cafes that have opened up in Tokyo this year where visitors can mingle with cats as they enjoy a cup of tea.

SNAKES on a HOG?  A motorcyclist was critically injured Wednesday afternoon when twine that secured an apparently dead 5-foot rattlesnake to the back of the bike he was riding may have come loose and distracted him as he entered a curve on Almonaster Avenue in N'awlins, police said.  Turns out the bike was a BMW.

DOG burns down the house in Topeka, KS after trying to steal the owner's dinner.  The dog and a pet bird escaped unharmed.

GOJIRA!  Remains of a bus-sized prehistoric "monster" reptile found on a remote Arctic island may be a new species never before recorded by science.

KANGAROO FARTS could ease global warming.

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Richard Hawley, Gimme Shelter, New Destroyer & Fleshtones, Knut Update   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, December 06, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


RICHARD HAWLEY:  Watch in-store performances of "Tonight The Streets Are Ours" and Ricky Nelson's "Lonesome Town" over at the 'Gum.

ALTAMONT:  Today is the 38th anniversary of the infamous Altamont Speedway Free Festival, headlined and organized by the The Rolling Stones.  The event is best known for having been marred by violence, including one killing and three accidental deaths.  Filmmakers Albert and David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin shot footage of the concert and incorporated it into a subsequent documentary film entitled Gimme Shelter -- and thanks to the marvels of modern technology, you can stream the movie on demand.

ALL SONGS CONSIDERED:  Advance tracks from Radar Brothers and Death Cab's Chris Walla are among the tracks streaming from the latest installment on NPR.

DESTROYER:  Dan Bejar has released an advance track, "Foam Hands," from Trouble In Dreams, due for release in March.  You can download or stream it from the 'Gum Mix.

THE FLESHTONES are streaming a new album, Take a Good Look, via YepRoc. 

VAN HUNT and EMI/Blue Note have split in advance of his third album, which was slated for release next month.  Hunt recently told Paste magazine, "There are evidently lots of people who would like to see Van Hunt become a little more like everybody else.  That's not going to happen."

THE BREEDERS will release their fourth full-length LP, titled Mountain Battles, on April 8th, 2008.

TOM WAITS gives a reading of a "Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis."

THE HOLD STEADY get an in-depth profile in the Mpls. City Pages, as well as an expanded web section with galleries and a timeline of the band's rise to semi-popularity.

ARCTIC MONKEYS, RADIOHEAD and others want a cut of scalped tickets.

JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE -- Steve Earle's son -- is profiled in Richmond's Style Weekly.  He's working on his first full LP, but you can stream a few from his EP at EarleSpace.

THE TOP TEN KIDS' CDS, with streaming selections, according to WXPN.  Pick to Click? "The Poopsmith Song," by Over The Rhine.

PETE DOHERTY:  A photographer who claims she was assaulted by the troubled singer in August has filed charges with the police.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON publicly threatens to sue US Weekly for implying that she has had plastic or cosmetic surgery on her nose in the mag's latest cover story, in which plastic surgeon Raj Kanodia - who has fixed the noses of Ashlee Simpson, Jennifer Aniston and Cameron Diaz - estimates that 60 percent of Hollywood women undergo some type of procedure.  Radar magazine also has a new piece on Hollywood's plastic surgery obsession.

KEIFER SUTHERLAND was sentenced to 48 days in jail for his latest DUI arrest and for violating probation.  The way things look now, he may be able to squeeze that in during the writers' strike.  UPDATE:  Sutherland has checked in -- here's background on the jail and the booking photo.

JONATHAN RHYS MYERS had charges dropped against him after apologizing for his drunken confrontation at a Dublin Airport earlier this month.

JODIE FOSTER was the humble guest of honor at the Hollywood Reporter's Women in Entertainment Power 100 breakfast: "I always feel like something of an impostor. I don't know what I'm doing...I suppose that's my one little secret, the secret of my success."  At the event, Foster characterized herself as a "gentleman," while John Travolta called himself is a woman.

LINDSAY LOHAN is now spending time with her ex, Stavros Niarchos, after dumping rehab buddy Riley Giles a week ago. Niarchos used to date both Lohan and the French Hotel.  The busboy suing Li-Lo alleges in court papers that he has proof the actress had been drinking before she collided with his van in October 2005.

BRITNEY SPEARS, meanwhile, was soliciting business advice from the French Hotel at the pop tart's 26th birthday party.  And it seems like good advice, though Spears reportedly rejected the notion of cutting back on her social life.  The Heirhead also told Spears to rely on experts, not friends, for advice -- which seems sound when one reads about the seedy background of the pop tart's pal, Sam Lufti.  Is Spears repaying the celebutard by threatening to leak footage of the French Hotel enjoying a lesbian kiss on the internet?  Meanwhile, court docs reveal that the L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services still is concerned about the safety and welfare of Sperderline children.  Spears opposes giving DCFS access to sealed court records, claiming that it might reveal too much about her two young sons' travel schedules, and that could lead to problems with paparazzi.  And on the topic du jour, OK! magazine claims Spears is mulling 81K in plastic surgery.

TIM BURTON's Christmas tree looks exactly like you imagine it would, according to Helena Bonham Carter.

TIM ROTH talks about his turn as Emil Blonsky a/k/a "The Abomination" in the upcoming relaunch of The Incredible Hulk.

THE 25 BEST CELEBRITY QUOTES of the year, according to People magazine.  I think my vote goes to Letterman.

THE 20 WORST HOLIDAY MOVIES, according to Entertainment Weekly.  Congrats to Fred Claus for making the list after only a few weeks in theaters.

TV's 50 SEXIEST WOMEN EVER, according to AOL television.  Did I mention it's a slideshow?

JENNA BUSH phones home during the Ellen DeGeneres Show.  Video at the link.

FROSTY THE SNOWMAN:  Look at Frosty... hey, where did he go?

VENEZUELA:  Pres. Hugo Chavez is not taking his referendum loss well.  The tipoff is Reuters putting an explicit language warning on the story.

ISLAMISM in the UK:  The BBC funded a paintballing trip for men later accused of Islamic terrorism and failed to pass on information about the 21/7 bombers to police, a court was told.

EUROPEAN ARABS have launched a public campaign to stop Al-Jazeera TV broadcasts in Europe, accusing the channel of fostering extremism among European Arab youth and of supporting terrorism.

IRAQ:  Bill Roggio has an article and Flash presentation on Iran's Ramazan Corps and the ratlines into Iraq.  The chief Iraqi military spokesman for Baghdad said 42 people linked to Sunni Arab politician Adnan al-Dulaimi were under criminal investigation, but he stressed the politician himself was not under suspicion.  Parliament's deputy speaker, meanwhile, said the 275-seat house was unlikely to have a quorum for about two weeks because a large number of lawmakers are traveling to Mecca for the annual Muslim pilgrimage.  Gen. Petraeus and Amb. Ryan Crocker have agreed on details governing the operations of Blackwater and other private security contractors there.  The number of internally displaced Iraqis fell by 4.8 percent in October, or nearly 110000 people, marking the first significant drop in two years, the Iraqi Red Crescent said Wednesday.  More than 40 women in Basra have been killed and their bodies dumped in the streets in the past five months for behavior deemed un-Islamic, the city's police chief says.

KNUT UPDATE:  Fans from all over the world flocked to Berlin this week to help the once-cuddly, now dapper polar bear celebrate his first birthday.

RHINO POOP:  Why not give the ones you love endangered feces for the holidays?

TIGER CUB gets a CAT scan. Get it? CAT scan?  Really, she did.  Video at the link.

DOGS can sort photographs into categories, in the same way that humans and other primates do, the British weekly New Scientist reports in its next issue.  But can it tag them for your Flickr account?

MR. SPLASHY PANTS:  Internet pranksters force Greenpeace into extending its online whale-naming contest.

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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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