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New Releases, Andrew Bird, Off Broadway, Wake-Up Cat   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, October 30, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

ST. VINCENT:  Annie Clark's new video for "Jesus Saves, I Spend" makes me appreciate Ken King's continued involvement with Scouting.

NEW RELEASES:  The 'I'm Not There' Dylan biopic soundtrack, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Carbon/Silicon, Nicole Atkins and more are streaming in full via Spinner this week.  The soundtrack has contributions from Stephen Malkmus, Sonic Youth, Jeff Tweedy, Sufjan Stevens, Cat Power, Yo La Tengo, Tom Verlaine, the Hold Steady, Iron and Wine, Eddie Vedder, Los Lobos, Jack Johnson, and Roger McGuinn.  Ian Ball of Gomez has his solo debut out today, too.  The bass line to "Failure" may sound vaguely familiar to fans of The Beatles and The Jam.

A PALER SHADE OF WHITE REDUX:  The recent New Yorker piece by Sasha Frere-Jones on the unbearable whiteness of indie rock is sharply dissected by Tim Mohr on Playboy's music blog.  That's right, I read it for the blog postings.  BONUS:  Will Butler of Arcade Fire responds.

ARCADE FIRE:  London's Guardian has a piece profiling a "band trying to make sense of their ascent to stardom," which one hopes is different from a think-piece on a "mid-level band struggling with their own limitations in the harsh face of stardom."

ANDREW BIRD is backed by veteran indie rockers Dianogah on five songs -- some previously unreleased -- you can stream and download from Daytrotter.

OFF BROADWAY:  The late-'70s power pop group from Oak Park, IL "played a quirky hopped-up blend of Beatlesque melodies and Move-like power" and still perform at local gigs occasionally, as these live videos of "Stay In Time" and "Bully Bully" demonstrate on Twofer Tuesday.  You can stream a few tracks, including a live take on "Full Moon Turn My Head Around," at TheirSpace.

U2:  Last year, the band's music publishing company paid 25.8 million dollars to five unidentified "employees," whom most preume to be the band, plus manager Paul McGuinness.

SHARON JONES:  The soul singer talks to NPR about her breakthrough success, which was decades in the making.

FIONN REGAN:  The folk troubadour talks to Ireland's Independent about songwriting and being compared to such sainted singer-songwriters as Bob Dylan and Nick Drake.  You may want to stream a few tracks at FionnSpace.

YEAR IN REVIEW:  Some folks have gotten a head start on looking back.  At the Guardian's blog, Ben Myers writes that 2007 was a stinker year for music, though he's mostly focused on the UK and his exceptions tend to be from the US.  At the Catbirdseat, you can check out the much beloved music-blogger "Best of 2007" Cheat Sheat.

PORTER WAGONER, the country music legend who charted 81 times and mentored Dolly Parton, died Sunday at a Nashville hospice at 80. The singer was suffering from lung cancer.  In June, he released his last CD, Wagonmaster, to some of the best reviews of his career. And in July, he opened for the White Stripes at a sold-out show at Madison Square Garden.  Full obit at CMT.  Pitchfork has your embeded videos.

BRITNEY SPEARS gave Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo a lap dance, according to American Idol MC Ryan Seacrest.

OPRAH WINFREY made a tearful apology and begged for forgiveness Sunday as she met the parents of students at her all-girls academy, which is reeling from lurid allegations of sexual abuse.

THE McCARTNEYS:  Heather Mills reportedly blew 200K on a lavish fourth birthday party for daughter Beatrice.  Including a pony.

NICOLE KIDMAN turned up at Australia's music industry awards in a see-through dress, but did not seem entirely comfortable in it.

GEORGE CLOONEY recently installed an egg-throwing machine at his mansion on Italy's ritzy Lake Como, according to the ever-reliable Star magazine. The machine, which the hunky actor helped design, hurls rag eggs at those who cross an infrared sensor in front of his 15-bedroom Villa Oleandra.

JESSICA SIMPSON has become the latest in a long line of female celebrities to launch her own perfume.  It will be called "Nitwit."  Okay, I made up that last bit.

JACKO has defaulted on a 23-million-dollar loan and must pay -- with interest -- in 90 days, or he will lose his Neverland Ranch.

JAMES McAVOY is in the frame to play Kurt Cobain in the upcoming biopic about the life and death of the rock star.

SIENNA MILLER:  Her new relationship with scruffy Rhys Ifans has friends of both wondering whether it will end in tears... an if so, for whom.

MADONNA:  Hubby Guy Ritchie has quashed rumors that the adoption of baby David Banda drove a wedge between him and Madge.

LEO DiCAPRIO was a late bloomer, according to Russell Crowe, who tells Entertainment Weekly he'd like to hear more about Leo's social life since then, preferably with pictures.

EVAN RACHEL WOOD, Marilyn Manson's 19-year-old actress girlfriend, is reportedly close to signing a recording contract with Interscope Records, which just happens to be Manson's label.

MICHAEL MOORE's most recent movie, Sicko, has opened in Europe.  Britons who know their National Health Service do not recognize it in his movie... and they support the NHS.  Others would point out that dental care and baby delivery can be self-service if you rely on the NHS.

THE JENA 6:  A local journalist tells the story you haven't heard.  You will be shocked, shocked, to discover that the media got most of the basics wrong.

ISLAMISM in GERMANY:  Chancellor Angela Merkel has joined a growing movement to criminalize forced marriages in Germany, which is growing less tolerant of practices among Muslim immigrants that clash with the nation's liberal social values.

IRAQ:  Iraqi troops on Monday rescued eight of 11 kidnapped tribal leaders after a gunbattle with their captors, defense ministry spokesman Mohammed al-Askari told AFP.  The US military accused Arkan Hasnawi, a former Shiite militant from radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia, of kidnapping the group of Shiite and Sunni leaders.  The Shiite-dominated national government is resisting efforts to integrate more Sunnis into the police force.  Rockets fired at a US base southeast of Baghdad on Oct. 23 were manufactured in Iran.  The threat from al-Qaeda in several former strongholds in Baghdad has been significantly reduced, but criminals who have established "almost mafia-like presence" in some areas pose a new threat, Gen. Petraeus said Sunday.  Ahmad Chalabi, the controversial, ubiquitous Iraqi politician and one-time Bush administration favorite, has re-emerged to press Iraq's central government to use early security gains from the surge to deliver better electricity, health, education and local security services to Baghdad neighborhoods.  Michael Yon's latest dispatch argues that Iraq is looking better month by month, but at the current rate, surely we shall fail in Afghanistan.

IRAQ II:  Turkey has suspended ratification of a bilateral anti-terrorism cooperation agreement with Iraq, as the number of Turkish troops inside Iraq seeking PKK terrorists reaches 2000.  Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq are warning local people to prepare to run for the hills if Turkey attacks.

THE WAKE-UP CAT is climbing the viral video charts.  (Thanks, Amber.)

STANLEY the TERRIER:  Gunning for the Red Baron, or dressing as Snoopy for Halloween?

WINTER the DOLPHIN, who lost her tail fin after becoming tangled in a crab trap at sea, has been fitted with an artificial tail.

SWALLOWER FISH has eyes bigger than its stomach, and takes on a three-foot-long snake mackerel.

MONKEY SQUADS:  New monkey-catchers have been hired by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to deal with the monkey menace in the city.  Who you gonna call?

MING the QUAHOG CLAM, who has died at age 405, lived longer than any other creature known to man.

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New Pornographers, Ingrid Michaelson, Sean Riley, Two Cats   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, October 29, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

APOSTLE OF HUSTLE:  BSS lead guitarist Andrew Whiteman's other band has a new video for "Cheap Like Sebastien," which is a nice way to ease into an autumnal Monday.

THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS played DC's 9:30 Club Saturday, with opening sets by Benjy Ferree and Emma Pollock.  You can stream all three sets on demand via NPR.

THE REPLACEMENTS:  I stumbled across an interview of Jim Walsh, author of The Replacements: All Over But the Shouting.  I loved this from the interviewer's intro: You should have been here, the walls of old venues like the 7th Street Entry seem to whisper to its younger patrons. You should have seen it.  I did, and you should have (nyah).

INGRID MICHAELSON:  You may think you haven't heard of her, but her MySpace page landed her songs all over TV --on Grey's Anatomy, One Tree Hill, Kyle XY, The Real World and in an Old Navy ad that put her album on the Billboard charts as an unsigned artist.  You can check out embedded video at DC's Express and Rolling Stone.

FIERY FURNACES:  Matthew Friedberger tells the NY Post about Widow City: "We thought we'd make not so much a '70s-sounding record, but a record full of '70s sounds, if that makes any sense."

THE PIPETTES are sporting new dresses and hair colors on the US tour.

SEAN RILEY and the SLOWRIDERS are from Portugal, but sound nothing like it.  Their video for "Moving On" popped up in my new custom news aggregator, which led me to the band's MySpace page, where their friends include T-Bone Burnett and Heavy Trash.  More songs streaming there, too.

NELLIE McKAY played the World Cafe Friday, you can stream the whole gig on demand via NPR.

THE SEX PISTOLS warmed up for their reunion tour in LA... and it was anarchic.

OiNK -- the music-sharing site busted by Interpol last week, will be succeeded by BOiNK, which will be launched by Pirate Bay, a movie-trading site.

AMY WINEHOUSE has spoken for the first time about the overdose which nearly killed her - and revealed she owes her life to husband Blake Fielder-Civil.

PETE DOHERTY avoided jail Friday and was instead given a suspended custodial sentence plus a fine on drug and driving offenses.

CONTROL:  I got out to see the Ian Curtis biopic on Saturday.  I managed to get five blisters on my feet and a bruised shin getting there, which I mention only because Control is the sort of film that still goes down well when one is in a certain amount of pain.  I find myself much in agreement with Frank Yang's review -- Anton Corbijn's film looks like his incredible photography set into motion, and no band is more apt for a black & white movie than Joy Division.  The primary cast -- in particular Sam Riley as Ian -- do a great job with the material they have; the re-creation of  Joy Div's performances are downright eerie.  I also think the movie performs a service by placing Curtis and his story in a real and generally pedestrian reality, as Joy Division records always sounded to me as though they took place in some other more epic and abstract realm.  The main flaw in the film (imho) may have been the problem in real life, which is that Ian Curtis was so self-isolated offstage that we rarely get a sense of his inner workings outside the songs.  Perhaps that's all there was, though outside reading suggests there was more to the man.  Based on the film alone, it's hard to see why Ian and Deborah married, though it seems part of Ian's pattern to have pursued his goals, only to remain unsatisfied when he reached them.  It is also sad that the same people who seemed so protective of Ian with regard to his epilepsy come off here as so unprotective after his first suicide attempt.  And it appears that in reality, Factory label founder Tony Wilson didn't see it coming, even if Ian's other love, Annik Honore, did.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE:  Saw IV topped the pre-Halloween box office with 32.1 million -- about what its predecessors made and better than analysts expected.  Steve Carell did well to open Dan In Real Life with 12 million on less than 2000 screens.  30 Days Of Night took a big 58% drop, but landed in third place with 6.7mil, but has made back 27 of its 30 mil production budget.  The Game Plan took in another 6.28 mil, for a total of 77 mil so far. Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married? rounded out the Top Five with another 5.7 mil, for a total of 47.3mil to date.  Michael Clayton dropped to sixth place with 5mil, for a total of 28.7 mil. Gone Baby Gone was off a mere 29% and took in 3.9 mil.  The Comebacks dropped to eighth with 3.4 mil.  We Own The Night dropped to ninth with 3.3mil, but has made 25mil on a 21 mil budget, Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas 3D rounds out the Top Ten with 3.3 mil.  Rendition fell out of the Top Ten in its second weekend -- ouch.

SONDRE LERCHE talked to Cinematical about his score for Dan In Real Life, among other things.  You can stream a few tracks via LercheSpace.

DAVID COPPERFIELD:  A Seattle federal grand jury is investigating allegations by an aspiring model who said she was raped, assaulted and threatened by the magician at his private island in the Bahamas in July.  Details at the link.

WITHERHAAL GYLLENSPOON showed up as a couple -- albeit in disguise -- at Kate Hudson's Halloween party.  Reese seems embarrassed.

KEITH RICHARDS, LORD of the UNDEAD, joined 15K protesters marching against possible cuts in services at a hospital near his country home.  Wearing a skull-patterned scarf.  Really.

THE McCARTNEYS:  The Daily Mail looks at how the tables have turned on Heather Mills in her divorce battle with Sir Paul.

BRITNEY SPEARS:  The verdict is still out on whether Britney will get joint custody of her kids back.  The pop tart looked extremely distraught during breaks in Friday's hearing and cursed at the press while returning to court crying.  Fed-Ex's new girlfriend, Nicole Narain, shoveled the dirt on Spears to the uber-reliable News of the World.

BRADGELINA is 2007's most popular celebrity costume, according to a survey.  I'm guessing the costumes include four or five baby dolls.

ELLEN DeGENERES has her rep denying rumors of trouble with girlfriend Portia de Rossi.  But her emotional breakdown over her adopted mutt boosted ratings for her daytime talk show at least ten percent.

THE FRENCH HOTEL's first major post-jail philanthropic effort - her planned trip to Rwanda - has been postponed by the "restructuring" of the  foundation that organized it.  Meanwhile, employees at a Toronto adult video store claim the heirhead stormed into their establishment and demanded posters promoting her infamous sex tape be removed.

ORLANDO BLOOM will not be charged over the accident he was involved in on October 12 that injured his two passengers.

OWEN WILSON was inteviewed by Wes Anderson for MySpace's Artist on Artist series, but the media -- from ABCNews to TMZ -- was miffed that the duo avoided Wilson's recent suicide attempt.  This seems dumb at two levels.  First, the series is designed to promote movies -- and The Darjeeling Limited's business did jump on Saturday.  It's not meant to be serious journalism.  Second, this means some media outlet can still try to get Wilson to talk about the suicide attempt; why should they be mad they werten't derived of a potential scoop?

WILLIAM. SHATNER. is. miffed. that. he. is. not. in. the. Star. Trek. reboot. movie.

WHOOPI GOLDBERG compared the post-9/11 US to Nazi Germany on The View Friday.  I guess I missed the part where the US built enormous extermiantion camps for Muslims.  And the part where Jews flew airplanes into German buildings.  Maybe that's Whoopi's theory on the Reichstag fire.

MIDEAST MYSTERY:  Last week, a company released a satellite photo showing that the main building of a possible nuke facility in Syria was well under way in September 2003 - four years before Israeli jets bombed it.  The NYT thinks this raises questions "about whether the Bush administration overlooked a nascent atomic threat in Syria while planning and executing a war in Iraq, which was later found to have no active nuclear program."  Or maybe Iraq taught them a lesson about not preemptively bombing things unless you're really, really, really sure about the threat.  Maybe the US asked Israel to provide photographs, physical material and soil samples from the site before greenlighting a raid.  Can the NYT really be critical of that?

IRAQ:  Iraqi Lt. Gen. Abud Qanbar says overall violence in Baghdad is down 80 percent over the same period in 2006; overall terrorist attacks are down 59 percent, and assassinations are down 72 percent.  US Lt. Gen. Odierno says the movement toward peace that began in mostly Sunni areas is moving into Shiite areas as well.  Today, US forces will turn over security to Iraqi authorities in Karbala province, a Shiite region in south.  However, radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr could end a ban on his militia's activities because of rising anger over US and Iraqi raids against his followers.  In Anbar, things are quieting enough that the Marines are working on garbage collection.

IRAQ and the MEDIA:  Your opinion of conditions in the Sadiyah neighborhood may vary, depending on whether you read the Army's Public Affairs release, US News & World Report, or the Washington Post.  Taken together, I think the message is that there is some progress there, but that unit morale will vary from day-to-day, particularly as the US gets down to the more intractable situations.

IRAQ and the MEDIA II:  The New Republic finally decided to post a response to the latest round of questions about its "Baghdad Diarist," Pvt. Scott Beauchamp.  It says the same things they have been telling other media.  TNR does not tell its readers about the pressure TNR Editors and Beauchamp's wife (then a TNR staffer) put on Beauchamp, claiming instead that they were only interested in the truth and that it's the Army pressuring him (though the penalty for making a false statement to the Army still existed when he supposedly told hs wife he backed the stories).  They continue to claim others back Beauchamp's stories, when they do not corroborate them.  TNR does not tell its readers that the official investigative report states that Beauchamp admitted he was not an eyewitness to at least two of the stories he claimed to have witnessed.  So either the Army is lying in its report or Beauchamp (or his wife) is lying to someone.  What we do know is that TNR is not telling the whole story to its readers.

TWO CATS, just sittin' around talkin'.

THE GREAT AMERICAN COOTER FESTIVAL in Citrus County, FL is shrouded in controversy.

DOG SHOOTS MAN:  In Tama, IA, no less.

A SIX-FOOT LONG CROC  has been found in a drain in the center of Cairns, Australia,  Click for the byline.

GIANT SEA SLUGS that squirt toxic ink invade Britain.

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Young Fresh Fellows, New Metric and Beirut, Cutout Bin, Stoat   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, October 26, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

THE WEEKEND STARTS HERE:

...with the YOUNG FRESH FELLOWS!  If you have never heard the fabulous sounds of Scott McCaughey's pre-grunge Seattle pop combo (or even if you have), you'll want to sample the "Young Fresh Fellows Theme" as an appetizer.  But the main course is live from Portland's Pine Street Theater on December 20, 1991.  This 80-minute clip totally violates the Tube's ToS, but let's overlook that.  The setlist includes -- but is not limited to: Jonathan Richman's "Someone I Care About"; "Where Is Groovytown?"; "Hillbilly Drummer Girl"; "My Boyfriend Is In Killdozer"; "Two Brothers"; "Hang Out Right";  "Sitting On A Pitchfork"; "Taco Wagon"; The Kinks' "Picture Book"; "Two Sides To The Story"; "Lost In Space"; "I Don't Let The Little Things Get Me Down"; "Tomorrow's Gone"; "Amy Grant"; "Reunion"; "I Got My Mojo Workin' (And I Thought You'd Like To Know)";  "Go Go Gorilla"; and "Backroom of the Bar." Not to mention snippets of "Suzy Q," "Heart and Soul," "The Ballad of the Green Berets" and a particularly disastrous "Please Please Me."

THE REPLACEMENTS:  Harp magazine has excerpts from the book, The Replacements: All Over But the Shouting: An Oral History, with plenty of great cameo quotes.

SUFJAN STEVENS:  His symphonic evocation of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway is previewed on video from WNYC, with an interview coming on Sunday.

OiNK founder Alan Ellis, arrested Tuesday on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and copyright infringement this week, defended the music-sharing site in the Daily Telegraph, comparing it to Google.

JESCA HOOP:  All Things Considered has audio and live video of the singer-songwriter, who also talked to NPR about her major-label debut, Kismet. 

VEGOOSE:  The two-day Vegoose Music Festival is this weekend, some of which will be webcast via AT&T's Blueroom.  Acts appearing include The Shins, Cypress Hill, Gogol Bordello, Thievery Corporation, and Mastodon.  The final schedule of performances for each day should be available at the link starting today.

METRIC rolled out some new material in their mini-set and interview at the World Cafe, streaming now via NPR.

THE B-52s guitarist Keith Strickland says the band's first album in 16 years is "loud, sexy rock & roll with the beat pumped up to hot pink." Funplex will be released on Astralwerks February 26, 2008.

RAY DAVIES:  The Kinks frontman gets rather worked up about the state of the music industry in the latest podcast from the Guardian's arts blog.  Les Savy Fav are also featured, along with a piece on transcendental meditation featuring director David Lynch and Donovan.  Yes, really. 

TEMPS VS. TOPS, from the Motown 25th anniversary special.  Get Ready!

BILLY BRAGG talks about his alter ego Johnny Clash, The Clash, meeting the Queen, his charity work and more with DC's Express.

BOB DYLAN:  The Cleveland Scene reviews Million Dollar Bash: Bob Dylan, the Band, and the Basement Tapes, written by former Long Ryder Sid Griffin, "the first writer to shed serious light on this shadowy period in Dylan's career."

AMERICANA:  The Nashville Scene's piece on the annual Americana Music Conference looks at attempts to define the genre and broaden its audience.

JOY DIVISION:  I'll likely be seeing the Ian Curtis biopic Control this weekend.  The flick leads this year's British Independent Film Awards with an impressive ten nominations and is scoring 89 percent on the ol' Tomatometer.  Matt Greenhalgh blogged about writing the screenplay at the Guardian's arts blog.

CARIBOU:  Dan Snaith explains why the new album is anmed Andorra in the Portland Mercury.

JENS LEKMAN was once a ukulele-toting, baritone-singing, romantic-pop tunesmith from the Gothenburg area of Sweden.  Now he is the keyboardist for a symphonic death metal band that wears only studded leather thongs and plays concerts exclusively on snow-covered mountaintops.

JUDAS PRIEST is the process of writing and recording a new album based on the prophet Nostradamus, set for release sometime in 2008.  Could it be better than "Stonehenge?"  Better than Al Stewart?

CUTOUT BIN:  This Friday's fortuitous finds from the ol' HM are: The Banana Splits - Doin' The Banana Split; Big Country - Fields Of Fire; Iggy Pop - Lust for Life; The Velvet Underground - I'm Waiting for the Man; The Chesterfield Kings - Up and Down; The Del-Vetts - Last Time Around; Jesus & Mary Chain - Surfin' USA; Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Howl; Ciccone Youth - Into The Groove(y); Amy Winehouse - Cupid (Johnny Nash); Jay Mitchell - Tighter & Tighter (Alive & Kicking); Ween - Sweetheart;  R.E.M. - Cuyahoga (Live); The Grass Roots - Let's Live for Today; The Essex Green - Don't Know Why (You Stay); Shoes - Not Me; Cass McCombs - That's That; The Posies - Dream All Day;  Queen - You're My Best Friend; The Jayhawks - Waiting for the Sun (Live); The Gun Club - Ghost On The Highway; The Hold Steady - Against The Wind (Bob Seger); Mott the Hoople - All The Young Dudes; and The Faces - Stay With Me.

NATALIE PORTMAN, who famously told Zach Braff that the Shins will ''change your life'' in Garden State, has put together a charity album to benefit FINCA -- a group that promotes microfinancing to reduce poverty in developing countries.  She talks to Entertainment Weekly about it -- and her current love of "freak folk" music.  Plus, EW has an exclusive stream of the Beirut track from the album.  Elsewhere, Portman says she will never get naked again on the big screen after regretting a nude scene in her new short film Hotel Chevalier.

NOW SHOWING:  This weekend's wide releases at the cineplex are Saw IV, which was not widely screened for critics, and Steve Carell as dan In Real Life, which is scoring 59 percent on the ol' Tomatometer (but 67 percent with the "cream of the crop" critics).  Wes Anderson's The Darjeeling Limited expands to about 700 screens with a score of 66 percent, though I was a bit disappointed by it.

OWEN WILSON is breaking his post-suicide-attempt silence with friend and director Wes Anderson for the next episode of MySpace's Artist on Artist series.  The segment was filmed on Thursday and will be posted on the networking site on October 26, at midnight PST.

BRITNEY SPEARS will plead not guilty to the misdemeanor charge of driving without a valid license, after the L.A. City Attorney refused to reduce the charges.  Judge Speer and the City Attorney agreed to dismiss the related hit-and-run charge after the pop tart settled a civil suit with the owner of the other car.

DAVID COPPERFIELD allegedly offered a Seattle woman two million bucks to drop her rape charge against him, according to the ever-reliable National Enquirer.  This week, the FBI denied a report that the feds seized the same amount in cash during a raid on Copperfield's Vegas warehouse.

ELLEN DeGENERES & PORTIA de ROSSI are all but dunzo, according to the ever-reliable Star magazine, which has one source claiming de Rossi wants to be with someone younger and hotter.  Was the responsibility of briefly adopting a dog just too much strain on the relationship?

JESSICA SIMPSON will co-host The View for a week in November -- a measurement of how low the show must sink to find someone who makes the regular hosts sound smart.

LOST cast member Daniel Dae Kim was arrested yesterday on suspicion of DUI.  Former cast members Michelle Rodriguez and Cynthia Watros were arrested on suspicion of DUI in December, 2005 -- and were written out of the show by season's end.

STEPHEN COLBERT wants to get on the Democratic and Republican presidential ballots in South Carolina, but the campaign, sponsored by Doritos, may run afoul of campaign finance laws barring corporations from backing political campaigns.  Colbert has already surged ahead of longtime candidate Gov. Bill Richardson in one national poll.  In a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey, Colbert is preferred by 13% of voters as an independent candidate challenging Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Rudy Giuliani.

LARRY KING:  If you missed the gnome-like talk show host on last Sunday's "Football Night in America," you must click to see the pic at the link.

THE FIVE UNSEXIEST WOMEN ALIVE, according to Maxim magazine, which is arguably more demeaning than their usual lists.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON gave boyfriend Ryan Reynolds a birthday present right out of her mouth.

24:  Season six was sub-par, but with Jack Bauer going Col. Nathan Jessep before a Senate committee in the Season seven trailer, I may have to tune in out of curiousity.

IRAN:  As you may have heard, the Bush Admin. announced an new package of unilateral sanctions against Iran today, including the long-awaited designations of its Revolutionary Guard Corps as a proliferator of weapons of mass destruction and of the elite Quds Force as a supporter of terrorism.  At the Counterterrorism Blog, Jonathan Winer and Victor Comras offer differing views as to the impact the sanctions may have.

IRAQ was al-Qaeda's greatest achievement and its greatest failure.  AQ sympathizers have unleashed a torrent of anger against Al-Jazeera television, accusing it of misrepresenting Osama bin Laden's latest audiotape by airing excerpts in which he criticizes mistakes by insurgents in Iraq.  The people of Ramadi invited US forces to watch a massive -- but tightly secured -- parade celebrating the life of Sheik Sattar Abu Risha, late founder of the Anbar Awakening Council.  The late Sheikh's brother and successor, Sheik Ahmed Abu Risha, is arriving in the US for a two-week trip to learn about federalism and pitch investors on Anbar province.  Lt. Gen. Odierno said US forces hope to hand over half of Baghdad to Iraqi security control by the end of 2008, after violence in Iraq dropped to its lowest level since January 2006.  Teaching local officials in Iraq to govern themselves and provide their citizens with basic services will take "years of steady engagement," investigators told a House panel Thursday.

IRAQ and the MEDIA:  The Washington Post covers the latest developments in the saga of The New Republic's "Baghdad Diarist."  Editor Franklin Foer tells Howard Kurtz that, despite the damaging transcripts of a Sept. 7 conversation leaked to the Drudge Report, Pvt. Beauchamp was under duress at the time and defended his story in a later conversation that was conducted with no superiors present.  (Michael Yon recently ran into Beauchamp's CO, who seemed protective of Beauchamp).  This later conversation apparently was not recorded by TNR or reported at the time.  Indeed, TNR editors have now spoken to National Review, the NY Observer and the WaPo, but have yet to account for themselves on the TNR website.  Foer also reiterated that other soldiers whom the magazine would not identify had confirmed the allegations.  So it's worth reiterating that by "corroborating," Foer means contradicting details of Beachamp's tales.

THIS CHARMING STOAT is the subject of just one of the wildlife pics sent in by 32000 photographers from 78 countries to the Shell Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.

CARNIVOROUS TREES grabbing humans and cattle and gobbling them up is not just village folklore, according to the New India Press.

THE SQUIRREL THREAT:  One thieving rodent was trapped by its own appetite in Dorset, England.

THE MOOSE & THE DECOY:  A love story.

A RECORD-SMASHING SHARK was caught by mistake off Cornwall: "When it came closer we realised there was no way we could haul it up on our 26ft boat but fortunately there was a trawler nearby."    Of course, this means we must go to the video. (NSFW)

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Tullycraft, All Songs Considered, Of Montreal, Pig Crossing   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, October 25, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

TULLYCRAFT, an old skool pop combo from Seattle, have released a video for "Georgette Plays A Goth" from their new LP.  You can stream "The Punks Are Writing Love Songs" and three older tracks at TullySpace.

ALL SONGS CONSIDERED:  Tracks from David Byrne, Beirut, Nellie McKay, Dirty Projectors and more are streaming in the latest episode from NPR.

VAN HALEN:  One thing I omitted from my recent concert review is that I prefer that hard rock bands have a sense of humor.  Thus, it is fitting that the review of Ian Christe's "Everybody Wants Some: The Van Halen Saga" in The Phoenix refers to the rock bio as the genre's "first genuine comedy."  The first paragraph of the book is quoted and worth a click by itself.

EMMA POLLOCK:  The former Delgado seems poppier than ever on her first solo LP.  You can stream a few tracks at EmmaSpace.

INTERNATIONALIZING ROCK:  The IHT notes that the back-to-basics movement that has characterized cutting-edge rock this century, from the blues-based hard rock of the White Stripes to the new wave-postpunk revivalism of Interpol, is giving way to acts like Beirut, Gogol Bordello and DeVotchKa that are internationalizing rock's Anglo-American vernacular.  It's an interesting counterpoint to the Sasha Frere-Jones complaint about the whiteness of indie rock.

HOLLY GOLIGHTLY talks to DC's Express about touring with bandmate Lawyer Dave of The Brokeoffs, who takes on simultaneous vocal, guitar and drum duties.  You can stream a few blues-and-country influenced tracks at HollySpace, though I'm still a sucker for the garage pop of "There is an End," which she recorded with The Greenhornes.

OF MONTREAL:  Blender has the trippy clip for "Gronlandic Edit."

SCOTT MATTHEWS is "frequently (and justifiably) compared to a cross between Jeff Buckley and Nick Drake," according to NPR, which is streaming an interview and mini-set the singer-songwriter did for the World Cafe.

WEST INDIAN GIRL vocalist/guitarist Robert James explains the title of the band's album, 4th & Wall, at Indieblogheaven.  The album is streaming in full this week via Spinner.

RADIOHEAD is close to signing a series of deals to release its next album independently and leave the major record companies behind.  Under the proposed deal, Radiohead would license the album, "In Rainbows," for a specified period of time but retain ownership of the recording.

WHEN DOVES CRY:  Dodge is streaming over 20 covers of the Prince hit at MOKB.

PETE DOHERTY:  The Babyshambles frontman's successful rehab convinces the judge to quash his compulsory supervision order.  He has also reportedly called off his romance with model Irina Lazareanu after a furious row and is hoping to win back his ex Kate Moss.  The Babyshambles album is streaming this week at Spinner.

BRITNEY SPEARS and Fed-Ex attended their first co-parenting class.  She never fully paid the dancers for her MTV VMA trainwreck.  The pop tart joined a huge A-list exodus from fire-ravaged Malibu, saying: "I'm real scared."  Other Malibu residents are miffed that the paparazzi are still hanging around trying to snap Spears, and wish she would leave the neighborhood for good.  But my fave Spears item of the moment is that she is reportedly plans to sing a cleaned-up version of "Toxic" on Sesame Street.  Sadly, a Sesame Streetperson denies the report..

JAMIE LEE CURTIS, like Britney Spears, also spoke about the fires ravaging SoCal, opining that it was their fault for living in a drought and living too close to the brush.  It was as if Curtis had been possessed by the ghost of Sam Kinison.  BONUS:  George Carlin said on The View that he also thought the locals are getting what they deserve, but that's been his shtick for a while.  Compassion abounds in Tinseltown.  As investigators reportedly believe the massive Santiago Canyon Fire was caused by arson, Curtis may be right about this being an "act of man."

REESE WITHERSPOON & JAKE GYLLENHAAL were caught canoodling on camera in Rome and L.A.  The pictures were sold to People magazine for a rumored 100K.  Do we call it Witherhaal, Gyllenspoon, or desperate PR for the flopping film, Rendition?

LINDSAY LOHAN is set to host a New Year's blowout at Las Vegas hot spot LAX in order to pay back the "hundreds of thousands of dollars" she got by agreeing to host her 21st birthday at a sister club -- a gig cancelled by her stint in rehab.

O.J. SIMSPON:  New charges of felony coercion were filed against the fmr killer football player and three co-defendants in the alleged armed robbery of two sports memorabilia dealers.  Meanwhile, Fred Goldman's lawyer is gearing up to go after the 772K of "personal property" that O.J. claimed on his 2005 tax return.

HEIDI KLUM tells Oprah that she fell in love with Seal at first sight; he was wearing bicycle shorts at the time.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  Cruise oozed over his impending one-year wedding anniversary, in his low-key, couch-jumping style.

NICOLE KIDMAN says she's "deeply in love" with her new husband country music star Keith Urban, but stops short of describing their marriage as "happy."   The early buzz on her upcoming pic, "The Golden Compass," probably won't make her happy, either.

THE 50 GREATEST MOVIE SOUNDTRACKS list is topped by "Purple Rain,"  according to Vanity Fair.

JASON SCHWARTZMAN did a 90-minute Q & A in Dallas following a special sold-out screening of The Darjeeling Limited, preceded by its "companion" piece, Hotel Chevalier.  GvsB hits the highlights.

TOM HANKS, Male, 51 years old, has his own MySpace page, complete with videos and a blog: "I'm that actor in some of the movies you liked and some you didn't."

MIDEAST MYSTERY:  Syria has begun dismantling the remains of a site Israel bombed Sept. 6; Based on overhead photography, US and foreign officials say the site had a "signature" or characteristics of a small but substantial nuclear reactor, one similar in structure to North Korea's facilities.

IRAN:  Constructive ideas that could yield progress over the impasse on Iran's nuclear program were introduced during talks this week with top Italian and European Union officials, Tehran's former top negotiator said Wednesday.  Of course, that may be why he's the former negotiator.  Iran will not abandon its atomic goals because of UN sanction resolutions that are "just a pile of papers", Pres. Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday.

IRAQ and the MEDIA:  Yesterday was a bad day for The New Republic, which has been silent for over a month regarding the accuracy of articles written by its "Baghdad Diarist," Pvt. Scott Beauchamp.  The Drudge Report, of all places, obtained obtained internal documents from the investigation of the matter, including transcripts of conversations between Beauchamp and TNR Editors.  He later disabled downloads of those documents, but they are now widely available on the Internet, such as here, here and here.  Jonathan Chait at TNR does not dispute the accuracy of the documents, but he disputes Drudge's analysis of them.  A reading of the documents shows Drudge mischaracterizes one document as a recantation by Beachamp (though I would not be surprised if there was a recantation in docs not leaked).  But what the documents show is that: (1) Beauchamp refused to state that he stood by his stories; (2) TNR Editor Scobelic responded that "we're going to have to come out to say that... because, you know, you're not going to talk to us any more about the piece, we just can't in good conscience defend it"; (3) TNR Franlkin Foer informed Beauchamp that Beauchamp's wife (then a TNR staffer) wanted to tell him that "the most important thing to her that you say that you didn't recant"; (4) Beauchamp himself stated that the Army was not censoring him; (5) Beauchamp had to sign releases -- and agreed to do -- before the Army could make the docs public; and (6) the Army investigation concluded that Beachamp's stories were completely fabricated.  TNR did not inform its readers of any of this.  TNR never did what Sobelic said the mag would do -- disavow the stories because Beauchamp refused to talk.  Foer used Beauchamp's wife to suggest he not recant -- hardly consistent with an effort to get to the facts.  And now Foer is still complaining they couldn't get some of the docs from the Army, even though it's clear TNR already knew what they said, and already knows that the release is up to Beauchamp, not the Army.  The episode is thus becoming cemented as the latest in a long line of black marks for TNR.

CAUTION:  Pigs feeding.

PETS are among those being rescued from the raging wildfires in San Diego County.  Video at the link.

CRAYFISH spared themselves from being eaten by escaping from a restaurant in Stuttgart.

A BABY CHIMP born at the Wellington Zoo on Monday is of uncertain paternity, requiring DNA testing.

LUCY, a poodle-mix living in Gilroy, Calif., was -- unbeknownst to her owners -- having her meals stolen by a mountain lion.

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CMJ Picks, Bloc Party, Jens Lekman, Cane Toads   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, October 24, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

CMJ MUSIC MARATHON REDUX:  Though I did not attend, I thought I would highlight a few of the acts that tended to pop up on my usual rounds of the Internet.

BAD VEINS:  This duo from Cincinnati tends to get noticed for their use of the reel-to-reel tape deck,a megaphone and a telephone, but hold attention with songs like "Gold and Warm."  You can also stream that song and "The Lie" at VeinSpace.  They also rolled out new songs last month for WOXY's Lounge Act series.

BON IVER, a/k/a Justin Vernon, was a member of The Rosebuds, but left Raleigh, NC and returned home to Eau Claire, WI, where he recorded For Emma, Forever Ago in a remote cabin.  Buzz for the rustic LP has been percolating through the summer.  You can stream the whole album via Virb, though I think Dodge is still streaming my faves at MOKB, following on a nice interview he did with Vernon in September.  Even before CMJ, I was reminded to blurb him by a new article at Crawdaddy.

THE 1900s, a 7 piece band from Chicago, have a bit of a 60's folk-pop vibe without relly stealing from anyone in particular.  If you jukebox 'em via the newly-redesigned HM, you'll hear a bit of the Mamas & Papas on "No Delay" and Carole King on "When I Say Go," but just a bit.  Ed Anderson and Jeanine Mary answered five questions for Muzzle of Bees before heading to CMJ.

YEASAYER has a sound that doesn't really have a easy label, which is to their credit.  More accessible than Animal Collective, mellower than TV on the Radio, with dashes of Peter Gabriel, Talking Heads and Lindsey Buckingham's odder material, perhaps.  You can jukebox 'em at the HM, with "Sunrise" and "2080" being the tracks that grab most people.

BLACK KIDS became the peg for the NYT's piece on Internet blog buzz coming out of CMJ.  They -- and the NYT piece -- were also the peg for a "special report" at Idolator on the excesses of Internet blog buzz.  Either way, you can still stream and download four tracks at TheirSpace, with the pick to click being "I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You," a track that seems to fall somewhere between The Go! Team and The Cure.

BLOC PARTY:  I'm not generally a fan, but how could I pass up the Ultraman-inspired video for "Flux?"

OiNK SHUTDOWN:  British and Dutch police have shut down a "widely-used" source of illegally-downloaded music.  The UK-based, members-only website leaked 60 major pre-release albums this year alone, said the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry.  The site's admin was released from custody later on Tuesday.

JENS LEKMAN:  At Slate, Stephen Metcalf writes that the Swedish songster is not only his 4-and-a-half-year-old daughter's favorite, but also "a fully realized pop genius, and each of his full-length records is its own masterpiece."  Apparently, music bloggers are not the only ones prone to hyperbole.  But I really like Lekman too, and there's embedded audio in the essay to check out.

NEW RELEASES REDUX:  It turns out that the albums from Saturday Looks Good to Me and Carbon/Silicon (Mick Jones & Donnie Letts) are streaming in full Quicktime via Apple.  (Thanks, LHB.)

THE HOLD STEADY will likely start recording a new album in mid-December, once Craig Finn comes up with lyrics for the 14 or so songs already demoed.

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

SPOON -- and The Ponys -- played DC's 9:30 Club last night, so you should be able to stream both gigs on demand via NPR.

RYAN ADAMS was in seemingly fine form in Dallas last week, but if you thought his crazy was due to the chemicals, think again.

BRITNEY SPEARS reportedly hit yet another photographer with her car Monday.  People who used to work with the pop tart, including a bodyguard, backup dancer and makeup artist, as well as several old friends, are calling for a boycott of her imminent Blackout LP - at least until the singer cleans up her act.  The parents of Britney Spears have been forced to hold crisis talks at Fed-Ex's house over the future of her two sons - but the singer was nowhere to be seen.  TMZ claims that Spears' parenting coach has submitted her report to the court, and it ain't pretty.

HALLE BERRY reportedly made an anti-Semitic "joke" on The Tonight Show, which was silenced when the taping aired.  Berry later offered an apology and explanation to Page Six.

DAVID COPPERFIELD:  The FBI seized digital camera equipment and a hard drive to a computer after a Seattle woman accused Copperfield of sexually assaulting her in the Bahamas.  The feds may be looking for evidence of modus operandi.

DOWN GOES OSMOND!  Marie Osmond collapsed after her samba routine at Dancing with the Stars on Monday.  Video at the link, icymi.

REESE WITHERSPOON & JAKE GYLLENHAAL were... wait for it... caught canoodling again at LAX on Monday.  Back together... or desperately trying to spark interest in their flop flick, Rendition?

THE McCARTNEYS:  Heather Mills reportedly flown to the US to plan a Hollywood film about her life - and she wants Reese Witherspoon to take the starring role.  Mills supposedly called on Sir Paul to reach a divorce deal by close of business on Friday or face the worst she could throw at him in court, on screen and in a new biography.

OWEN WILSON joined a lawnmower race on the video shoot for Willie Nelson's "You Don't Think I'm Funny Anymore."  Bothers Luke and Andrew Wilson, Woody Harrelson, Joe "King" Carrasco, Ray Price; Dan Rather and Jessica Simpson were also part of Nelson's motley crew.  Still is still moving has pics from the event.

VINCE VAUGHN... and Vanessa Williams?   That would be a well-kept secret. 

JESSICA BIEL & JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE are rumored to be fighting over Timberlake flirting with other women, according to bot the National Enquirer and Star magazine.  Indeed, Star magazine says one of the other women is Kirsten Bell (Veronica Mars, Heroes).  This is supposedly why JT invited JB to Toronto, where he is shooting The Love Guru -- which makes prior jokes about not wanting to leave JT alone with co-star Jessica Alba seem almost prescient. 

LEO DiCAPRIO is ready to move on to his next supermodel girlfriend.

OPRAH WINFREY flew to South Africa at the weekend for crisis meetings over allegations of sexual misconduct at her exclusive girls' school south of Johannesburg.  The suspect dorm matron has been suspended, Johannesburg police confirm.  The headmistress of the academy has also agreed to a paid leave of absence as to ensure an unbiased investigation.

EWAN MacGREGOR said he is sick of Britain's "ludicrous nanny state" rules, which he said might force him to quit the country, in an interview that was to be published Tuesday.

PETRA NEMCOVA:  The tsunami-surviving supermodel has unveiled her provocative new lingerie campaign for La Senza.  The above pic is not part of the campaign, which can be seen at the link.

TX TERROR FINANCE MISTRIAL:  Apparently, not enough jurors believed the government's assertion that more than $12 million in humanitarian aid raised by the Holy Land Foundation, once the largest Muslim charity in the US, and sent to Palestinian charities, also known as zakat committees, was really going to the violent terrorist group Hamas.  Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority has closed the zakat committees, alleging that they been funneling money to Hamas supporters in the West Bank.

FMR. GITMO DETAINEE Sadeq Mohammed Saeed, who admits he joined one of the Taliban battle lines in Afghanistan, has been freed and will probably rejoin the jihad.

IRAQ:  Violence in Iraq has dropped by 70 percent since the end of June, when U.S. forces completed their build-up of "surge" troops.  In Baghdad, car bombs had decreased by 67 percent and roadside bombs by 40 percent, with a 28 percent decline in the number of bodies found dumped in the capital's streets.  The health ministry's inspector-general says the average number of dead bodies sent to Baghdad's main morgue just over a year ago was between 100 and 150 a day. Now, it is no more than 10 bodies a day, half of which are dying in normal circumstances.  Stability is gradually coming to smaller towns in Anbar province.  Niveneh province, where AQI has fled from areas targeted by the "surge," remains restive for now.  The US is meeting with Shiite groups to convince the militias that political reconciliation, not violence, is the way forward.  Moqtada al-Sadr warned his fighters to obey a six-month suspension of his militia's activities or face being branded "traitors."  Michael Yon argues that while violence is plummeting, much of Iraq is still a complete mess and now is the time to put the foot on the gas by helping Iraqis with reconciliation, infrastructure and the economy.

CANE TOADS may be successfully overrunning Australia, but the stress is giving them arthritis.

SIX BINGE-DRINKING ELEPHANTS were electrocuted when they went berserk after quaffing rice beer in north eastern India.

YAK ATTACK:  Don't talk back.

A BLACK BEAR turned up in front of an Alaska man's refrigerator in the middle of the night.  The bear had a few muffins, ignored the porridge.

A CAT was saved by a southern Illinois firefighter who performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation after the feline was rescued from a house fire.  I'll skip over the trashy punchline to observe that the same firefighter was recognized for doing rescue breathing on a dog about a year ago.

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