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New Releases, Gang of Four, Kevin Drew, Italian Spider-Man   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, November 20, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


BLITZEN TRAPPER has dropped a video for the title track of the "Wild Mountain Nation" album.

NEW RELEASES:  Bloc Party, the Brit Box set, The Great Debaters soundtrack and more are streaming via Spinner.  Bonnie "Prince" Billy releases a covers collection.

SHARON JONES -- sans Dap-Kings -- talks to PopMatters about Washington, Winfrey and Winehouse. (Oh. my!)

GANG OF FOUR bassist Dave Allen has posted a demo of a new song, "Password," on his blog, Pampelmoose.

ROBYN HITCHCOCK explains to Canada's Hour how he selects a setlist from his vast catalog.

KEVIN DREW of Broken Social Scene played a solo gig at DC's 9:30 Club Sunday night. You can stream the whole gig via NPR.

BOB DYLAN & JACK WHITE are finishing some "lost" Hank Williams songs.

URGE OVERKILL:  Their killer '93 single "Sister Havana" and their even more famous cover of Neil Diamond's "Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon" are your Twofer Tuesday.

MAGNETIC FIELDS:  You can download and stream the opening track from Stephin Merritt's next LP, "Three-Way," via the 'Gum (and the 'Gum Mix).

BAND OF HORSES frontman Ben Bridwell tells JamBase why he started the band: "(T)he band I was in broke up and there was really nothing for me to do. I don't have any skills to go into the work force and actually make a living for myself, which I've proven by being totally down and out many times. So, if anything, there is the drive I guess to just, to fing succeed."

THURSTON MOORE stopped by the World Cafe for a chat and mini-set you can stream from NPR.  Plus, he talked to WXPN about some of his favorite acoustic guitarists.

EDGAR BRONFMAN, the head of Warner Music, admits that it probably was not a good idea to wage war on consumers.

ERIC BACHMANN talks to Donewaiting about making Cuban sandwiches and maybe another Crooked Fingers record.

BRITNEY SPEARS was out reckless driving hours after being forbidden to drive with her kids.  Video at the link.  Meanwhile, Louis Vuitton won 171K in damages and a court injunction to keep the pop tart's 2005 "Do Something" video - in which Spears, 25, drives a pink Hummer with a counterfeit Vuitton "cherry blossom"- monogrammed dashboard - from airing on European TV stations.  And a real estate broker claims Spears trashed a rented apartment in California.

JONATHAN RHYS-MYERS was arrested Sunday at the Dublin airport, facing charges of public drunkenness and breach of the peace as he tried to get on a plane to England.

THE FRENCH HOTEL:  Some old, but previously unreleased nsfw footage of the heirhead taking a shower has turned up on the Internet.

NICOLE KIDMAN told a courtroom Monday how she was reduced to tears and feared a car accident after a celebrity photographer pursued her two years ago.  She was testifying in the photographer's defamation suit against a Sydney newspaper that slammed him for allegedly hounding her.

JESSICA ALBA:  Knocked up or burned out?  Most likely the latter:  "I've worked the last two and a half years without stopping," she said to Roger Friedman. "This is the time to do it."

BRADGELINA:  Contrary to tabloid reports, Zahara's Ethiopian birth-mother is denying that she ever tried to fight Jolie's adoption.

GEORGE CLOONEY has donated 25K to writers hurting from the recent strike and plans to make periodic donations to the New York-based Actors Fund, which provides emergency relief for workers in the entertainment industry.

THE WRITERS' STRIKE, btw, has halted the sequel to "The Da Vinci Code" and Oliver Stone's planned movie on the investigation of the My Lai massacre in 1968.  So there is a silver lining.

JULIA ROBERTS and her cameraman husband Danny Moder parked their Mercedes SUV in a handicapped zone at the grocery store.  No doubt she buys carbon offset credits for the SUV, but where do you buy handicapped offset credits?

JACKO is a homeless drifter.  He reportedly spent the last three months living in Franklin Lakes, NJ, in a family's private home, trying to be normal.  Why didn't he cut a deal for that to be a reality TV show?

USHER:  The R&B artist is said to be converting to the Church of Scientology.

SPIDER-MAN TRIFECTA:  Stories about a five-year-old boy dressed as Spider-Man saving a baby girl from a burning house in Brazil, and the Spidey-inspired pepper-spray bracelet are just prelude to the sheer genius of the heretofore lost 1964 trailer for Italian Spider-Man.

SAVE THE CHEERLEADERS, save the world.

CARTOON JIHAD:  Britain's contemporary artists are fêted around the world for their willingness to shock but fear is preventing them from tackling Islamic fundamentalism. Across Europe there is growing evidence that freedom of expression has been curtailed by fear of religious fundamentalism.

MIDEAST MYSTERY:  Counterterrorism consultant Olivier Guitta looks at Iranian involvement in the Syrian arms program in light of the September 6 Israeli airstrike on a suspected nuclear site in Syria.

PAKISTAN:  Pres. Musharraf has decided to resign as Army chief by the end of the week, it emerged today.  Supreme Court judges hand-picked by Gen. Pervez Musharraf quashed 5 of 6 legal challenges to his disputed re-election as president.  The ruling paves the way for Musharraf to quit as army chief soon and perhaps ease the state of emergency, but it also enraged his most embittered opponents, who denounced the purged court's decision as illegitimate.  A new and classified US military proposal outlines an intensified effort to enlist tribal leaders in the frontier areas of Pakistan in the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban.  The proposal is modeled in part on a similar effort by US forces in Anbar Province in Iraq that has been hailed as a great success in fighting foreign insurgents there.

IRAQ:  Despite persistent sectarian tensions in the Iraqi government, war-weary Sunnis and Shiites are joining hands at the local level to protect their communities from militants on both sides, US military officials say.    US and Iraqi troops have arrested dozens of militants loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr in a massive crackdown in the central city of Diwaniyah.  Since June, Iraqi civilian casualties were down by 60 percent nationwide, 75 percent in Baghdad.  Trendy juice bars, cozy restaurants, fruit shops, roadside eateries and fish vendors are starting to flourish in many neighborhoods of the capital.  Baghdad's hard-working ambulance drivers now find time to sit and sip tea instead of each rushing to four or five emergency calls a day.

IRAQ and the MEDIA:  According to today's NYT, "In more than 50 interviews across Baghdad, it became clear that while there were still no-go zones, more Iraqis now drive between Sunni and Shiite areas for work, shopping or school, a few even after dark."  According to today's WaPo,"Large swaths of Baghdad remain no-go zones for most Iraqis, as they were before thousands of U.S. reinforcements began arriving nine months ago in an effort to bring stability."

HEATHCLIFF the CAT somehow hitched a nearly 800-mile ride from Sicklerville, NJ, to Lawrenceville, GA.  Let's go to the video.

JACKO, an eight-year-old female Jack Russell named after Jackie Onassis, has chickens on her mind, according to a psychic.

DANTE the MONGREL is jonesing for curry.

ROBOT COCKROACHES fool the real thing.

A RAMPAGING WILD BOAR ran down a woman at a railroad crossing along along the Tobu Koizumi Line in Japan.

4590 Reads

Neko Case, Georgie James, Ryan Shaw, Sgt. Podge   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, November 19, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


JENS LEKMAN, playing Dallas last week, explains his unorthdox cover of Paul Simon's "You Can Call Me Al."

ST. VINCENT:  Annie Clark tries to explain the black humor in the title -- and title track -- of her album, Marry Me, to the Scotsman.

THE POLYPHONIC SPREE leader Tim DeLaughter talks to the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette about the band's upbeat image: "I didn't realize how much being optimistic was something that would stand out so much. It's really been a very big deal. We've been ridiculed for it. It's been kind of debilitating at times, only because it's kind of disheartening that some people would be upset about it."

NEKO CASE played Disney Hall in Los Angeles on Friday; you can stream the whole gig (and an interview) on demand via NPR.

YO LA TENGO bassist James McNew talsk to Gothamist about the acoustic+Q&A "Freewheeling Yo La Tengo Tour," where each gig starts with a two-song playlist: "The only thing I can liken it to is getting up and doing improv comedy for an hour and a half..."

THE MAGIC NUMBERS:  Daytrotter rolls out four free songs, two of which are unreleased, one of which is a cover of Lee Greenwood's "The Night Before."

LED ZEPPELIN:  A fan from Glasgow has shelled out more than £80,000 for two tickets to see the band's reunion concert next month, after they were auctioned for charity.  No wonder Jimmy Page is hinting he would like to tour.

MY BLOODY VALENTINE announced UK dates curated by All Tomorrow's Parties.

GEORGIE JAMES have a new video out for "Need Your Needs," from the album Places.

ART BRUT:  Eddie Argos and Jasper Future talked to Kansas City's Pitch about touring America, favorite bands and more.

RYAN SHAW:  The soul revivalist is profiled in the Pasadena Weekly and is slated to appear alongside Mary J. Blige, Sheryl Crow and Lyle Lovett on Ellen DeGeneres' special "Ellen's Really Big Show," scheduled to air on TBS tonight.  You can stream a few from his debut LP at ShawSpace.

LYLE LOVETT, btw, was recently interviewed on Talk of the Nation, which you can stream (with songs) via NPR.

INDIE SELLS OUT:  According to the 'Gum, Of Montreal and Art Brut have been shooting T-Mobile commercials in NYC.  They asked Of Montreal frontman Kevin Barnes about it; he responded with an essay titled, "Selling Out Isn't Possible."

THURSTON MOORE, out on a solo tour, talks to Harp magazine about the reax to the celebrity-chosen collection of Sonic Youth songs that will be sold through Starbucks, noting that the band "got a lot of heat when we left Homestead for SST."

FEIST:  Grayson Currin has a piece in the Nashville Scene arguing the downside of commercials replacing radio as the place where new music gets exposed:  "If '1234' had started as a commercial radio smash, it's not impossible to imagine an FM programmer at least testing the waters with Feist's boyfriend, Kevin Drew, one of the principals in Broken Social Scene. Feist's '1234' success doesn't mean Dell is fawning over songs by her electronic pop collaborators Stars."

AMY WINEHOUSE was dealt another blow Friday after her tour manager quit amid drugs accusations.  Thom Stone found working with Winehouse and her husband, Blake Fielder-Civil (now in jail), was causing traces of heroin to turn up in his blood from second-hand smoke.  Guards at Pentonville Prison searched Winehouse's trademark beehive for drugs when she visited her hubby -- and if you think that is overly-suspicious, you should watch this video of Winehouse in Zurich.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE:  Beowulf won the weekend with 28.1 million -- which is probably a mild disappointment.  I wonder whether those who couldf not see it in 3D syated away.  The Coen Bros' No Country for Old Men took the seventh slot with a little over 3 million -- which is remarkable from a mere 148 screens.  The weekend was pretty bad for everything else.  Bee Movie was No.2 with 14.3 million, but its 44 percent drop is a lot for a family film in its third weekend.  Indeed, Bee Movie has yet to cross 100 million, as the R-rated American Gangster did this weekend in third place and a 45 percent drop.  Fred Claus slipped to fourth place with 12 mil; Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium debuted in fifth place with 10 mil, which makes it a likely flop.  Dan in Real Life dropped about 25 percent. making 4.5 million in the sixth slot.  Lions for Lambs continued to flame out, dropping 57 percent from fouth to eighth in its second weekend with 2.9 mil.  Saw IV dropped to ninth place with 2.3 mil.  Rounding out the Top Ten was the debut of Love in the Time of Cholera, with 1.9 million.

BRITNEY SPEARS has been ordered not to drive with her sons in the car, after the judge in her custody dispute was informed that the pop tart blew a red light with her kiddies in the car last week.

JESSICA SIMPSON co-hosted The View last week, but stuck to plugging her new collection of "fashions" instead of bantering over current events - which left her with a blank-eyed stare.  To be fair to Simpson, she very often has a blank-eyed stare, even when current events are not being discussed.  Moreover, I'm pretty sure I have a stunned look on my face whenever I hear what passes for discussion of current events on The View.

ROSIE O'DONNELL was attacked by an eagle.  Video at the link.  I'm guessing the eagle had seen Ro on The View.

KANYE WEST dramatically broke down in tears onstage in Paris, after trying to dedicate "Hey Mama" to his late mother.

JOHN TRAVOLTA kissed 90-year-old Kirk Douglas on the mouth at a Los Angeles awards ceremony.  NTTAWWT.

LANCE ARMSTRONG says, "Ashley Olsen and I are strictly friends," while his ex-gf Sheryl Crow denies being upset over Armstrong's rumored relationship with Olsen.

THE McCARTNEYS:  Heather Mills had her new publicist attacking Stella McCartney as cheap and spiteful, despite attempts by Mills to forge a relationship with Stella during her marriage to Sir Paul.  Meanwhile, Mills stars in an unusual anti-global warming campaign.

JACKO turned up in an urban burqa on Melrose Ave. in L.A. on Friday.

JUSTICE LEAGUE:  IESB, AICN and CinemaBlend have casting rumors aplenty, some of them conflicting.

THE VICTORIA'S SECRET FASHION SHOW doesn't air on television until Dec. 4, but there are already scads and scads of pictures on the Internet.  Which I note because it's gratuitous Monday.

PAKISTAN:  The Pakistani Army is pressing its offensive against Taliban forces in Swat and Shangla.  US envoy John Negroponte pressed Pres. Musharraf to revoke emergency rule and make peace with opposition leader Benazir Bhutto.  Pres. Musharraf defended his decision to declare emergency rule, saying Pakistan's nuclear weapons could fall into the wrong hands if elections led to disturbances.  Over the past six years, the Bush Admin. has spent almost 100 million on a highly classified program to help secure Pakinstan's nukes.

IRAN:  Reports that Pres. Ahmadinejad is to discuss with Arab nations a plan to enrich uranium outside the region in a neutral country such as Switzerland have been nixed by Iranian and Saudi officials.

IRAQ:  Bill Roggio argues that Wednesday's closure of the headquarters of the Association of Muslim Scholars marks a dramatic shift in the Sunni religious establishment.  Iraqi and US forces have made significant progress against AQI in four northern provinces during "Operation Iron Hammer," according to Multi-National Forces Iraq.  Iraqis across Baghdad describe a welcome drop in violence in their city in recent weeks.  Rivalry between Iraq's two main Shiite movements vying for power in the south of the country has hit a danger point, sparking fears of violence ahead of the handover of Basra by British forces.  Speaking of the Brits, five British hostages who have been held in captivity in Baghdad since May could be freed within days... or held for years.

GEN. PETRAEUS has been summoned back to DC by the Army to preside over a board that will pick some of the next generation of Army leaders, an unusual decision and a sign of the Army's new commitment to encouraging innovation and rewarding skills beyond the battlefield.

SGT. PODGE disappears at around 6 p.m. every day, only to reappear a mile and a half away the next morning, when his owner picks him up and drives him home, where spends much of the time sleeping.

AN ORANGUTAN is stealing jelly doughnuts in Baker County, FL -- though some think it's just a spider monkey or a squirrel. Others are seriously investigating whether it was a "baby Bigfoot."  In any event, he wants to be like you.

A TROPICAL FISH that lives in mangrove swamps across the Americas can survive out of water for months at a time, similar to how animals adapted to land millions of years ago.

A DRUNKEN, LATE-NIGHT RABBIT SHOOT ends very badly.  Who'da thunkit?

SAHARA the SEAL has been found in Spain, 1,000 miles away from his Arctic home waters.

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Ukuleles, Rilo Kiley, Cutout Bin, Beowulf, Runaway Pigs in IA   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, November 16, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



...with the UKULELE ORCHESTRA of GREAT BRITAIN!  John Moore of the Jesus and Mary Chain and Black Box Recorder is appalled at the UK's Ukulele orchestra craze, but he mostly fears that uke bands will not stick to ironic cover versions -- which is what we'll hear here, starting with Ennio Morricone's "The Good the Bad the Ugly," David Bowie's "Life On Mars" (which is a bit of a mash-up); The Undertones' "Teenage Kicks," Lou Reed's "Satellite of Love" (with a dash of Pythonesque Eurovision-y goodness); and their New Year's Eve performance of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit."  BONUS:  The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra includes Bret McKenzie (of Flight of the Conchords fame) on Outkast's "Hey Ya" and A-Ha's "Take On Me."

STARS tells ChartAttack how the preemptive digital digital release of their current album worked out.

REGINA SPEKTOR was taken to a local hospital after collapsing at The Ryman Auditorium.  Her rep says it was due to a severe inner ear infection which caused a sudden case of vertigo and that she is feeling much better.  Best wishes to her.

RILO KILEY did a chat and unpluggety mini-set for KUT, streaming now via NPR.

BAND of HORSES frontman Ben Bridwell talks to PopMatters about about moving back South to record his new album, the Wal-Mart ad controversy, and indie rock's most influential beards.  He also names a few of his favorite things for Pitchfork's Guest List feature.

ALL SONGS CONSIDERED:  Tracks from Grizzly Bear, Emma Pollock, Shocking Pinks and more are featured in this week's show.

THE POLYPHONIC SPREE leader Tim DeLaughter tells the Baltimore Sun that a second mortgage and commercials keep the 22-member choral symphonic rock group going.

THE KILLERS make a second video appearance this week, bringing on The Vines, Howling Belles, and Louis XIV for a cover of "Helter Skelter."  Not as good as when Husker Du and Soul Asylum used to do it, but still...

INDIE SELLS OUT:  Harp magazine looks at the growing trend of indie artists writing 30-second, made-for-TV tunes -- which are taking on a life of their own as viewers are craving full-length versions.BEST OF 2007:  Largeheartedboy has started the List of Lists.

THE 100 GREATEST ROCK & ROLL MOVIES, according to Blender magazine.

THE 100 GREATEST INDIE ROCK ALBUMS, according to Blender, with discussion at the 'Gum.

AMY WINEHOUSE was booed and jeered by hundreds of fans after ranting on stage about her husband in jail, reports the Daily Mail.

PETE DOHERTY snorts line after line of cocaine just days after promising he would check back into rehab.

CUTOUT BIN:  This Friday's fortuitous finds from the ol' HM are:  The Beatles - Twist & Shout (Diplo remix); Futureheads - Let's Dance (D. Bowie); Silicon Teens - Judy in Disguise (John Fred); Herbie Hancock - Rockit (Single Version); J. Geils Band - Lookin' For a Love (Live); Otis Redding - Cupid (S. Cooke); Aretha Franklin - Rock Steady; Wilson De Neves - California Soul (Ashford & Simpson); The Dramatics - Hot Pants in the Summertime; Lucky Soul - Add Your Light To Mine, Baby; Teenage Fanclub - Alcoholiday; Flamin' Groovies - Shake Some Action; Pilot - Magic; Grand Funk Railroad - The Loc-o-motion; Hues Corporation - Rock The Boat; Electric Light Orchestra - Can't Get It Out of My Head; Rolling Stones - She's A Rainbow; R.E.M. - Superman (The Clique); The Sun - (Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman (The Kinks); Guided by Voices - Hold On Hope; and Matt Nathanson - Don't Stop Believin' (Live). 

BEOWULF 3D was quite the experience.  Robert Zemeckis employs the latest version of the motion-capture-based cg-animation from The Polar Express -- and while much improved, it's still not quite right.  The folks at Pixar have a theory that it is easier for audience to suspend disbelief for obvious cartoons than for "near-real" humans, as your brain is subconsciously telling you something doesn't look quite right.  The 3D effects are quite good, but (with the exception of the climactic sequence) often impressed me more when used subtly.  It's cool when Beowulf is almost hitting you with his sword, but I think it also (ironically) tends to take the viewer out of the film.  Using it to lend depth, otoh, can help draw the viewer in.  The screenplay interestingly pairs author Neil Gaiman with Roger Avary (co-writer of Pulp Fiction), who took enormous liberties with the mythical tale, if my hazy high school memories serve.  There's plenty of cg-blood and gore here -- as might be expected -- easily earning Beowulf its PG-13 rating for this and some cg-nudity (mostly posterior, though Angelina Jolie is near-topless yet nippleless).  There is also some (presumably) Gaiman-esque humor humanizing the otherwise grandiose; the movie might have benefitted from more of that.  Indeed, Anthony Hopkins (and his doppelganger) have sufficient camp among the pathos that I suspect he gets a big kick out of The Vikings.  Beowulf is not as effective overall as the Lord of the Rings trilogy, or even Zach Snyder's adaptation of Frank Miller's 300.  Nevertheless, it was entertaining and if you're inclined to see it at all, I would recommend seeing it on the big screen for the big 3D effects.  And the cool glasses.

NOW SHOWING:  In addition to Beowulf, which is currently scoring 78 percent on the ol' Tomatometer, this weekend's wide releases include: Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, starring Dustin Hoffman and Natalie Portman, which is currently scoring 23 percent; and the adaptation of Love in the Time of Cholera, which is scoring 24 percent.

BRADGELINA:  Pitt is rumored to be jealous of Jolie's latest co-star, James McAvoy, according to the uber-reliable Life & Style magazine.  Of course, if the mag is right about the sexiest scenes being added at Jolie's urging, maybe he should be jealous.  On-set romance karma comes due.  Meanwhile, Jolie is writing for The Economist's World in 2008 about bringing war criminals to justice.

LINDSAY LOHAN checked into the Lynwood Jail at 10:30 a.m and checked out at 11:54 a.m. yesterday -- that's 84 minutes for her her wild DUI escapades this past July.

NICOLE KIDMAN confirms the kids she adopted with Tom Cruise are being raised as Scientologists, but "I don't want to go there."

BRITNEY SPEARS ran over another paparazzo's foot Wednesday night.  Video at the link.  The pop tart will likely claim that Adderall prescribed for ADD caused the positive reading on her failed drug test.  That test -- and the court hearing scheduled for today to discuss it -- reportedly caused Spears to shelve her latest video shoot.  BTW, the pop tart doesn't save or invest any of her roughly 737K monthly income.

JENNIFER ANISTON is dating Sex & the City star Jason Lewis, according to the World Entertainment News Network.  Mind you, this is the same out fit that had the French Hotel helping drunken elephants in India, so grain of salt.

JESSICA SIMPSON is through playing around with boys. These days, she wants a man. A family man, a guy that's not afraid to pick up the babies. ... somebody that wants to meet her grandparents immediately.  Which would be okay, if you could avoid her creepy dad-manager.

NATALIE PORTMAN, otoh, is not convinced about marriage.

SELMA HAYEK claims that her breasts are one of God's miracles.  Tough to dispute that.


SAVE THE CHEERLEADER:  An arrest warrant has been issued in Japan for Hayden Panettiere, arising out of her attempted dolphin-saving mission last month.  In the full story aired on cable, Panettiere told E! News that she had never been slapped in handcuffs... except possibly furry pink ones.  Which reminds me that HP did some 40s-style pin-ups for Vanity Fair that have not seen wide circulation before now.

STEVEN SPIELBERG will be honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Award for his outstanding contribution to the entertainment field at next Januarys Golden Globe Awards telecast.

HEIDI KLUM is nearly nude in this month's Max magazine, but for the magic of Photoshop.  Happy gratuitous Friday.

PAKISTAN freed opposition leader Benazir Bhutto from house arrest early on Friday, hours after a caretaker prime minister was appointed in a first step towards a national election.  Bush Admin. officials are losing faith that the Pakistani president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, can survive in office and have begun discussing what might come next.  The US military is examining different contingencies for supplying American troops in Afghanistan if supplies can no longer be shipped through Pakistan.  The Pakistani Army and the Taliban fought a series of clashes in the North West Frontier Province and Shangla.

IRAN:  The International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran has enough capacity to build a nuclear bomb within a year.  The IAEA is "not in a position to provide credible assurances about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran," according to its latest report. The US is pushing for mandatory sanctions in the wake of the report.  Iran's government charged a former senior nuclear negotiator with passing classified information to the West in a move apparently aimed at silencing domestic opponents of Pres. Ahmadinejad.

IRAQ:  Senior military commanders now portray the intransigence of Iraq's Shiite-dominated government as the key threat facing the US effort in Iraq, rather than al-Qaeda terrorists, Sunni insurgents or Iranian-backed militias, according to the WaPo. The cabinet has approved a redrafted reconciliation law to be resubmitted to parliament. In the Asian Times, Sami Moubayed argues that Muqtada al-Sadr is reconciling with Prime Minister al-Maliki while funneling members of his Mahdi Army into the Iraqi Army.  Iran's commitments to stem the flow of weapons and explosives into Iraq "appear to be holding up" and have contributed to a sharp drop in roadside bombs across the country, a US general said Thursday.  Violence has plummeted in Basra and Iraq's security forces are in full control, a British general said Thursday.  Mansour Abid Salim of the Taji Awakening Council told Al-Jazeera television Wednesday that US troops mistakenly killed dozens of his fighters during a 12-hour battle north of Baghdad.

THE SQUIRREL THREAT:  A determined squirrel swam 300 yards from the shore of ENglnad's Lake district to raid a tourist boat.  Another is learning to play possum.

CALMING A 5-FT CROCODILE:  Blindfold it with your underpants.

YOU GOTTA FIGHT!  For your right...to have a tiny horse pull your wheelchair.

A MONKEY went on a rampage in a low-income neighborhood in New Delhi, India, injuring several people, most of them children.

TWO RUNAWAY PIGS roamed across several streets in Davenport, IA Wednesday morning.  Tips on pig capture at the link.

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Pipettes, Kelly Stoltz, Why?, Protest Cows   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, November 15, 2007 - 08:15 AM
Posted by: Karl


ELVIS COSTELLO recently performed 1977's My Aim Is True album, with most of the same musicians, for a charity gig in SF.  He started -- of course -- with "Welcome to the Working Week."

THE REPLACEMENTS:  The Mpls. City Pages has a review of Jim Walsh's The Replacements: All Over but the Shouting.

THE PIPETTES stopped by the Bryant Park Project (with Monster Bobby in tow) for a chat and mini-set you can stream on demand via NPR.  There's also -- by request -- a casual acoustic video of "Pull Shapes" from the session.

THE WHITE STRIPES have collaborated with Beck on a trio of B-sides for 7" singles covering "Conquest" and an all-encompassing US-only digital download due December 18.

KELLY STOLTZ will have his next album out on SubPop in February.  You can stream the new single (which sounds a bit like mid-period Kinks) plus two older tracks at StoltzSpace.

MUSIC vs. FOOD:  Amber Taylor asks whether you think less highly of those with no appreciation for good food or those with no appreciation for good music.

THE KILLERS & LOU REED both appear in the video for "Tranquilized."

MATTHEW DEAR talked to Pitchfork about balancing his techno and indie careers.

WHY? is garnering blog buzz for The Hollows EP due next week, you can stream the title track (nsfw) and four older numbers at WhySpace.

A PALER SHADE OF WHITE, REDUX:  Writing in the Joplin Globe, Jeremiah Tucker agrees that Sasha Frere-Jones' recent argument about the whiteness of indie rock missed the mark, but argues that indie rock has an over-abundance of bad singing, deliberately poor musicianship and sensitive white males.

L.A. PUNK, REDUX:  Meanwhile, Sasha Frere-Jones has a new piece for the New Yorker about the rebirth of the genre in L.A., a local club called The Smell, and a duo called No Age.

KEVIN DREW:  The BSS maestro touring solo talked to Gothamist about his album, indie songs in commercials, desert island CDs and assassinating Pres. Bush.  That last bit could earn Drew a visit from the Secret Service and cost him the visa he needs to perform in the US.  The irony that his imagined police state probably will do none of that is probably lost on Drew.

BRADGELINA:  The birth family of their adopted daughter Zahara reportedly wants to bring the two-year-old home to Ethiopia.  OTOH, reports claiming Pitt and Jolie have purchased a man-made island in the shape of Ethiopia in Dubai as a tribute to their daughter are untrue.

THE FRENCH HOTEL:  Similarly, an AP report that the heirhead was set to help drunken elephants in India turns out to be untrue.  Instead, the woman changed by her jail term has been working the stripper pole at Marquee.

KANYE WEST:  Dr. Jan Adams -- under scrutiny following the death of West's mother -- physically assaulted his ex-wife, according to court documents obtained by TMZ.

OJ SIMPSON must stand trial on charges that could send him to prison for life, Las Vegas Township Justice of the Peace Joseph Bonaventure ordered Wednesday.

HUGH GRANT made 21 million dollars auctioning Andy Warhol's 1963 Pop portrait of Liz Taylor.

HALLE BERRY:  Reportedly devastated after learning bf Gabriel Aubry plans to remain in NYC following the birth of their first child next year.

JESSICA BIEL & JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE:  He got her the same birthday present he once gave ex-gf Cameron Diaz.  Both probably got this, too. (nsfw)

LANCE ARMSTRONG let one of his daughters take new gf Ashley Olsen to school for show and tell.

GYLLENSPOON took their love on the road to Napa Valley, California.

THE 50 GREATEST TV ICONS, according to cable's TV Land and the writers of Entertainment Weekly magazine.  A TV special based on the list airs Friday night.

DAVID LETTERMAN is paying his staff from his own pocket, even though the show isn't on the air during the writers' strike.

MATT. DAMON. is The Sexiest Man Alive, according to People magazine.  Extra features at the link for you ladies (and some dudes, nttawwt).

PAKISTAN:  The cricketing legend Imran Khan faces charges under Pakistani anti-terrorist laws after emerging from hiding to join a student protest at which he was arrested.  The Times of London notes that Khan was grabbed by the student wing of the Islamist Jamaat-i-Islami party, but failed to note that Khan is also an Islamist.  "Khan has more than a soft corner for the ousted Afghan Taliban," a senior leader of his party said on the condition of anonymity.  This past summer, members of Khan's party protested Salman Rushdie's knighthood by chanting, "Curse Rushdie, Long Live Osama (Bin Laden)" in northwestern Peshawar.  All of which may not justify his seizure, but I note it because events in Pakistan may be a little more complex than conveyed in the average news report.

IRAQ:  Authorities seized the headquarters of the country's most influential Sunni clerical group Wednesday, sealing off its west Baghdad compound and accusing the organization of supporting AQI.  BTW, Harith al-Dari, the leader of the Association of Muslim Scholars, was in Syria last month, plotting strategy with "insurgent" groups.  He already had a warrant out against him.  Sunni tribal leaders from Anbar province are demanding greater recognition and support from the Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad.  The NYT reports on Baghdad's Bab al Sheik neighborhood, where Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds and Christians live together with unusual ease.  Coalition forces killed the emir of Tarmiyah and captured 26 during raids throughout Iraq.  Karbala police arrested 48 suspected insurgents, including five Sadrists. The Iraqi Army killed five al Qaeda operatives in Khalis and captured another 30 throughout Diyala province.

A BABY SEAL waddled about a mile from the Pacific Ocean... to the front steps of the Tracy Animal Shelter.  Video at the link.

A KANGAROO was spotted bounding through the suburbs of east Hillsborough, Florida.

COWS stampeded a McDonald's restaurant in Utah after escaping from their trailer as the driver stopped for a bite to eat.  The punchlines write themselves.

A MAN and a TOAD were busted by police in Kansas City, MO.  The man was released on bond, but the toad remains detained.  Where is PETA when a toad needs bond money?

DOGS eat the darnedest things.

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Okkervil River, Georgie James, Radiohead, Rabid Otters   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, November 14, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


TED LEO and the PHARMACISTS premiered the video for "Colleen" over at the 'Gum.  It's catchy, with exciting arm wrestling footage as a bonus.

OKKERVIL RIVER does the interview and free songs thing for Daytrotter, including covers of "April Anne" by Papa John Phillips, "Do What You Gotta Do," by Jimmy Webb, and "No Easy Way Down," by Carole King via Dusty Springfield (one or two of you already know the Dusty track is a fave of mine).

ART BRUT frontman Eddie Argos is joining with Black Box Recorder under the name Black Arts for the UK's the Christmas number one spot.  The name of their song?  "Christmas Number One," natch.  But can it topple Billy Mack?

GEORGIE JAMES stopped by The Current for a chat and mini-set you can stream via MPR.

PRINCE is streaming a new song about his dispute with fansites on a new site of his own.

FIERY FURNACES:  Matthew Friedberger provided a playlist of American accents in music, along with an introduction on indie rock, to London's Guardian.

JOSH RITTER picked up tips from a Josh Ritter tribute band.

STARS stopped by The Current for a chat and mini-set you can stream via MPR.  Singer Amy Milan talked with InsideBayArea about the Montreal scene, the birth of the band and the new album.  Speaking of which, the band has a new video for "The Night Starts Here."

SOPHISTIPOP:  The O.C. Register's Ben Wener pays tribute to various forms of sophisticated contemporary pop, from Prefab Sprout and The Smiths in the 80s to Stars, Beirut and Nellie McKay today.

RADIOHEAD is having a behind-the-scenes feud with former label EMI over a Google ad and other issues.  Breaking up is hard to do.

YOKO ONO sold John Lennon's rare home recording of "Real Love" to JCPenney for a commercial.  The Beatles have had their songs licensed for commercials in the past, but with the rare exception of perhaps "Revolution" years ago, they never have allowed master recordings out. The songs are always re-recorded.

BOB DYLAN:  London's Guardian interviews quasi-biopic director Todd Haynes about I'm Not There: "I wasn't that interested in, you know, the truth.."

AMY WINEHOUSE was visibly distraught after visiting her husband Blake Fielder-Civil at HM Pentonville Prison for the first time.

BRITNEY SPEARS:  A "spotter" for the paparazzi was reportedly run over by a paparazzo for X17 while chasing Britney Spears who had just come out of The Four Seasons Hotel.  That Other Blog claims the man is in critical condition, with broken legs, arms and back.  Coincidentally, the pop tart has partnered with X17 to raise money for UNICEF by auctioning an autographed CD on eBay.  Spears reportedly had liposuction on her bottom and hips last weekend in Vegas.  TMZ claims that she will now say her false positive drug test may have been caused by her athsma inhaler, though Albuterol is not an amphetamine, and the class of drug that showed up on the test was an amphetamine.  Allegedly.

KANYE WEST:  The investigation into his mother's death seems to be focusing on her doctor.  Plastic surgeon Dr. Jan Adams told TMZ that he was the doctor who performed cosmetic surgery on Donda West before she died, and that he did nothing wrong.  Sources told TMZ the operation lasted twice as long as it should have, and that Dr. Adams then sent Ms. West home, rather than to a recovery center. CelebTV.com obtained a document from the Executive Director of the California Medical Board asking the state to consider revoking or suspending Adams' physician and surgeon's certificate in April of this year.  CelebTV.com also obtained court documents in which a former patient accused the doctor of sexual assault, civil battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress.  This has brought out past and current medical malpractice suits brought against Adams, not to mention his ex-girlfriend, who got a restraining order against him.

LINDSAY LOHAN back with Samantha Ronson?  Guess she's off the "bad influence" list.  The actress also started community service with the American Red Cross, which was part of the plea deal for her two DUI convictions last August.

BOY GEORGE has been charged with false imprisonment after allegedly chaining a male escort to a wall in his home.  You don't have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out where this story is going.

THE McCARTNEYS:  After a series of outspoken interviews which seemed to do her cause no good, Heather Mills has apparently persuaded producers to let her compete in the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special.  She hopes her appearance on the "USA versus Great Britain special", in which celebrities from previous series of the two programs go head-to-head, will ensure "damage limitation" after her recent onslaught on Sir Paul.  Mills is reportedly also the target of an upcoming biography which may be less than flattering.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  Author Chris Morton has reportedly been forced into hiding because of aggressive threats made to him by Cruise's associates in the Church of Scientology over Morton's upcoming scathing biography of Cruise.

OJ SIMPSON co-defendant Walter Alexander testified against The Juice, telling the court that O.J. wanted him to "pack heat" for the memorabilia confrontation that would later land them both in hot water.  And if you read the whole story, give TMZ bonus points for the NWA reference that's nsfw.

HUGH GRANT & LIZ HURLEY:  Together again?  At least her new husband was around last time.

SIENNA MILLER is said to be considering marrying Rhys Ifans after his tenth proposal.  Sources tell the Daily Mail she promised to give him an answer by Christmas.

STAR TREK REBOOT:  Pics of Zachary Quinto as young Spock have found their way online.

OWEN WILSON is reportedly dating leggy model Le Call.  His dalliance with Jessica Simpson may have been an effort by Simpson to drum up good favor in the court of public opinion in advance of her first country album.

JASON SCHWARTZMAN was supposed to be promoting The Darjeeling Limited at Aint-It-Cool-News, but he and Wes Anderson already sorta did that, so he ended up geeking out over other movies with interviewer "Quint" instead, complete with embedded audio.  I enjoyed it, but I am not right in the head.

PAKISTAN:  Benazir Bhutto ruled out discussions with Pres. Musharraf as she was placed under a seven day house arrest. North-West Frontier Province Gov. Orakzai said the military did not exchange Taliban leaders for captured soldiers.  He also said the situation in the tribal areas was conducive for holding elections.  A military corps commander said that upwards of 800 Taliban are active in Swat in the NWFP.  The Pakistani Army took over command in Swat on Monday.  The current political and military turmoil may be straining the military there.

IRAN has met a key demand of the UN nuclear agency by delivering blueprints that show how to mold uranium metal into the shape of warheads, in an apparent concession meant to stave off the threat of new sanctions. Iran maintains it was given the papers without asking for them during its black market purchases of the nuclear equipment that now serve as the backbone of its program to enrich uranium... which explains why Iran refused to turn them over since 2005?  Diplomats said Tehran has failed to meet other requests made by the IAEA in its attempts to end nearly two decades of nuclear secrecy on the part of the Islamic Republic.  Meanwhile, an Iranian leader told British MPs during a private meeting at a peace conference that homosexuals deserve to be executed or tortured and possibly both.  BTW, the Pet Shop Boys have a cameo in that story.

IRAQ:  Bill Roggio rounds up news on Operation Iron Hammer, which is meant counter AQI's repositioning in the northern provinces of Ninewa, Tamin, Salahadin, and Diyala.  In addition, US forces killed a wanted al-Qaeda terrorist network cell leader and his family in Mosul, the capital of Nineveh province, while a key al-Qaeda figure was killed in a US strike on  Samarra in Salahaddin province.  At least 59 terror suspects, including a key al-Qaeda operative, were arrested on Sunday in the town of Bihriz during joint US-Iraqi security offensive, as mop-up operations begin in Baquba, 60 km north-east of Baghdad.  The numbers of senior AQI operatives killed or captured have steadily increased since mid-June -- 19 in July, 25 in August, and 29 in September. 

IRAQ II:  US and Iraqi troops killed an estimated 15 al Qaeda gunmen during a fierce battle south of Baghdad after the militants launched a major attack on recently formed neighborhood patrols.  Meanwhile, the Iraqi government announced preparations for a major military operation in Baghdad, even as it hopes it will soon be able to declare an end to a US-Iraqi security operation in the capital.  Ronald Kessler's new book claims that Saddam Hussein anticipated that UN sanctions would be lifted and he could resume making a nuclear weapon; he also claimed his WMD deceptions were intended as a ruse to convince Iran that he was a threat to them.

WHEN OTTERS ATTACK:  At least one woman and two dogs have been attacked by seemingly rabid otters on South Merritt Island in Florida.  If there is a hero in the rabid otter tale, it has to be Taz, the 10-year-old Westie who fought off one frothing otter to keep it away from the Linnett family.  Video at the link.

A 9-FT ALLIGATOR hands down vigilante justice to a fleeing robbery suspect at the Miccosukee Resort and Gaming facility in Florida: "Some alligators just have a nasty disposition and he was just a nasty gator," owner of All American Gator Brian Woods said.  Let's go to the video!

HUNDREDS OF CROCODILES washed away from a farm after floods in central Vietnam are being hunted by soldiers and villagers.  At least seven of the animals have been shot or recaptured, media reports said, but no-one yet knows how many escaped.

THE LAST GREAT WHITE WHALE could be slaughtered as Japan's whaling fleet prepares to embark on its annual hunt in the Southern Ocean.  The whale has been named Migaloo, when it could have been named Ishmael.

KNUT UPDATE:  The director of the Berlin Zoo has banned zookeeper Thomas Dörflein from having contact with the celebrity polar bear -- it's just too dangerous to play with the once-cuddly Knut these days.

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