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Big Star, New Releases, Echo, Uncle Earl, World's Heaviest Pig   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, September 04, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

BIG STAR 2.0:  Alex Chilton & Co. play the classic "In The Street" for the late-night show with the lantern-jawed host.  Auer & Stringfield wear their Sunday best.  If you have never heard Big Star for some reason, stop cheating yourself.

NEW RELEASES:  Hard-Fi, Black Lips, Liars, Pinback, the Guilt By Association comp and more are streaming in full via Spinner.  Jon Spencer side project Heavy Trash releases a second album.

ECHO and the BUNNYMEN are the "bridesmaids of rock," according to Guardian music blogger Alan McGee: "There was only one thing that stopped the hugely influential band from reaching the superstardom they deserved - themselves."

OKKERVIL RIVER frontman Will Scheff tells the Arizona Star that the music blogosphere is like Oz, the great and terrible.  The band also gets a streaming audio feature from NPR's All Things Considered.

BROKEN SOCIAL SCENESTER KEVIN DREW tells the Edmonton Sun that he and BSSer Brendan Canning "wanted to do an Outkast thing but his wasn't done in time and I needed this thing out of my life," so he's putting his solo LP out on Sept. 18.  Drew also says that the video shoot for "Backed Out On The ...," which features the members of Dinosaur Jr., "is going to go down on my top three evenings."

CHEAP TRICK:  Rick Nielsen and Bun E. Carlos join King Crimson's Tony Levin to back John Lennon on "I'm Losing You."  Add the full band's signature take on"Surrender" at Budokan and you have your Twofer Tuesday.

ST. VINCENT:  Annie Cark lists a few of her favorite things for Pitchfork's Guest List.  You can still stream a few tracks from the singer-songwriter at HerSpace.

DEVENDRA BANHART, the freak folkster who doesn't care for the label, takes a pop quiz at the San Francisco Chronicle in which he reveals his menagerie, as well as which member appears on his upcoming album.

UNCLE EARL, an all-star, all-female, old-time string band, named in honor of the band members' mutual appreciation for Earl Scruggs and Steve Earle, played a full set for the World Cafe last Friday, which you can stream now via NPR.  They have a nice story bout playing the MN State Fair, too.

THE WORST JOBS in ROCK & ROLL, according to Blender magazine.  Hard to argue with "Pete Doherty's lawyer."

AN AMY WINEHOUSE-PETE DOHERTY CONVERGENCE?  Make sure your Apocolypse survival gear is packed.

ANNA NICOLE SMITH IS STILL DEAD, but an explosive tell-all book about the late spokesmodel's sad demise alleges the two men who battled for custody of her baby girl and control of her fortune were gay lovers.  Larry Birkhead has threatened suit against the book's author, fmr. FNC and MSNBC reporter Rita Cosby.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE:  Rob Zombie's horribly-reviewed remake of "Halloween" made a Labor Day-weekend record of 26.5 million.  "Superbad" is still doing well in its third weekend, with 12.2 million.  Debuting at No. 3 was "Balls of Fury," which grossed 11.5 million; its total slighly exceeds its budget.  "The Bourne Ultimatum" slipped to No. 4 with 10.2 million, bringing its US total over the 200 million mark.  "Rush Hour 3" slid to No. 5 with 8.6 million; it has made 162 million worldwide on a 140 million budget.  "Mr. Bean's Holiday"  took in 5.93 million;   Scar-Jo and "The Nanny Diaries"  made 5.11 million; revenge flick "Death Sentence," debuted to 4.2 million of Kevin's Bacon; "WAR" plunged from fifth to ninth with 3.61 million; and "Stardust" continued to bomb with three million.

BRITNEY SPEARS has reportedly hired a hotshot CA P.I. to monitor Fed-Ex as the couple begins its child custody battle.  Meanwhile, her former assistant Shannon Funk not only sold her down the river by giving an exclusive to OK! Magazine about the singer's odd behavior, but Funk is doing all she can to be famous in her own right.

BRADGELINA:  Pitt says that with four children, "sleep is non-existent," but says he and Jolie were ready for a fifth child.  Meanwhile, we have pics of Pitt being attacked by a crazed fan at the Venice Film Fest. And video.

X-RATED HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL?  Nude photos Vanessa Hudgens took for her boyfriend Zac Efron have been leaked, the ever-reliable National Enquirer is reporting.  If true, it could threaten the gazillion-dollar Disney franchise.

OWEN WILSON may be looking a bit haggard, but he is doing well and even making colleagues laugh, according to director Wes Anderson.

JOHN MAYER is non-exclusive with Cameron Diaz, while a friend explains one reason he dumped Jessica Simpson: she "used to call photographers and set him up all the time."

BRIDGET MOYNIHAN & TOM BRADY got a thousand-dollar gift basket from Gisele Bundchen, including a onesie with the word "supermodel" written across it.  As NYDN gossip Ben Widdicombe notes: "Which is exactly what you want when your boyfriend leaves you for a Brazilian supermodel just after you get pregnant. Tactful!"

JERRY LEWIS:  This year's MDA telethon raised another record 63.7 million.  The broadcast returned to Lewis' home town of Las Vegas last year after 11 years in Los Angeles.

JULIETTE BINOCHE, promoting her new film A Few Days in September, reveals herself to be a 9/11 conspiracy theorist.

STATUTORY RAPE at RON WEASLEY'S birthday party.  Not involving Hermoine, but you figure Dumbledore is still going to hit the roof.

MAGGIE GYLLENHAAL is not your typical sex symbol, yet Agent Provocateur has picked her for its saucy new campaign. Why? Because she appeals to women, too.

BILL CLINTON & MICHAEL DOUGLAS are having a hand war.

IRAN, still defiant on its nuclear program, has appointed Mohammad Ali Jaafari as head of the Revolutionary Guards.  Not only was he in charge of anti-American activity in Iraq, but he also seems to be one of the 1979 kidnappers of Americans at the US Embassy in Tehran.  And why not?  Pres. Ahmadinejad's mad math skillz tell him the US will not attack: "I am an engineer and I am examining the issue. They do not dare wage war against us and I base this on a double proof."

IRAQ:  In the NYT/IHT, Michael Gordon has a detailed look at the turning of Sunni sheikhs and insurgents against AQI.  Stars & Stripes also has a piece on Sunni recruitment from the same area south of Baghdad.  Near Abu Ghraib, new Iraqi volunteers are making gains but are not always well-received.  The US military said Muqtada al-Sadr's order to suspend his Mahdi Army militia for the next six months would enable the U.S.-led coalition and Iraqi security forces to "intensify their focus on al Qaeda in Iraq...without distraction from (Mahdi Army) attacks."  Even so, gunmen killed an aide of Shiite Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in Basra.  Bill Roggio rounds up security ops following the crackdown in Karbala.

IRAQ and the MEDIA:  The L.A. Times, the Associated Press and The New York Times all report that civilian casualty numbers rose in August, based on unofficial reports from anonymous Iraqi gov't officials.  The L.A. Times numbers partially match the paper's prior report, which ostensibly dealt only with Baghdad.  LAT reporter Tina Susman -- who did both stories -- has told NPR that we really have no reason to believe the Iraqis have accurate numbers... which hasn't stopped her from reporting them. The AP claims that August had the second-highest monthly casualty count, which is at odds with the AP reports compiled by the iCasualties website.  And the NYT numbers are out of whack with everyone else's numbers by around thirty percent.  BTW, the "official" number from the Iraqi Interior Ministry is 1011... not that I buy that any more than I do the "unofficial" numbers.  The relatively transparently calculated numbers from iCasualties currently show a slight decline from 1690 in July to 1674 in August.  Coincidentally, that's very close to the average of the "official" and "unofficial" Iraqi numbers.

THE WORLD'S HEAVIEST PIG has been sacrificed as part of a religious ceremony, sparking fury among animal welfare groups.

SAVE THE WHALES... from the cats.

COYOTES are stalking grocery shoppers in Phoenix, AZ.  Pics and video at the link.

HAS THE CHUPACABRA been found in Cuero, TX?  Or is it just some sort of mutant dog?

FERAL CAT CASSEROLE:  Tastes like chicken!

1600 Reads

Radio Songs, Consumer Guide, Spoon, Patches the Horse   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, September 03, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

I CAN'T INVITE Y'ALL over for some tasty BBQ, so here's your light holiday serving of the usual tripe:

ALL SUMMER LONG:  My friends all know I tend to categorize my music listening by season, so it may come as no surprise I do a bit of the same with respect to movies.  For example, Labor Day weekend is the ideal time to watch American Graffiti.  For as much as has been written about how George Lucas changed Hollywood with Star Wars, his 1973 flick was just as influential in other ways.  There were few -- if any -- movies with multiple story arcs before this one.  And more relevant to this site, Lucas invented the wall-to-wall rock soundtrack as Greek chorus here, too.  The end credits roll over The Beach Boys' "All Summer Long," which we see here played charmingly by Brian Wilson's band campfire-style from 2004.

MORNING BECOMES ECLECTIC TURNS 30:  Your morning show fun factoid -- "David Chase, creator of The Sopranos, has said that it was while driving around L.A. listening to KCRW that he first heard 'Woke Up This Morning' by little-known English band Alabama 3 and realized instantly that he'd found the perfect theme song to capture the sense of dark paranoia central to his depiction of modern mob life."  There's a nine-hour special airing today celebrating the three decades of MBE, so you may want to tune in...

RADIO, RADIO:  Speaking of which, London's Guardian has a readers' playlist of songs about radio, with many more worthy candidates in the intoduction, though the absence of The Kinks' "Around The Dial," R.E.M.'s "Radio Song" and Joe Jackson's "On Your Radio" are glaring.  BONUS:  I am of course compelled to re-link Elvis Costello's historic performance of "Radio, Radio."

THE CONSUMER GUIDE:  Robert Christgau has posted his grades for September, with streaming tracks from some of the main entries and honorable mentions.

LEVON HELM, singer-drummer of The Band, will be releasing his first solo studio album in 25 years at the end of October, with new material plus by singer-songwriter Steve Earle and the late blues legend J.B. Lenoir.

SPOON:  I've had more than one person ask me for music recommendations lately.  While I generally like most of the music I link here, and also figure the Internet allows folks to listen and make their own decisions, the volume of stuff can be overwhelming.  I would certainly not be alone in recommending Spoon's Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, which is still streaming in full from Merge Records.  Plus, Keepon the Robot, seen dancing to Spoon's "I Turn My Camera On" back in April, is absolutely fantastic grooving to the band's "Don't You Evah."

CLOUD CULT frontman Craig Minowa has "always been deeply philosophical," and was "born without a prehensile tail, a kangaroo pouch and photosynthetic cells."  Plus, I learned that Cloud Cult includes two painters as fully-fledged band members. (Thx, Chromewaves.)

BOB DYLAN:  Austin360 has posted a primer on his career as preparation for his set at the ACL Fest.

SONIC YOUTH frontman Thurston Moore tells SPIN magazine that the band's biggest faux pas was not breaking up somewhere between 1988-90, because it prevented them from having a lucrative reunion tour.

AMY WINEHOUSE violently vomited blood in her hideaway Caribbean hotel room and refused to see a doctor.

HEATH LEDGER & MICHELLE WILLIAMS "quietly and amicably split a few weeks ago," a source tells US Weekly.  The couple, who have a daughter, Mathilda, 23 months, met on the set of Brokeback Mountain in 2005.

BRITNEY SPEARS' comeback is set to be an X-rated affair. Two new songs, purported to be by our favourite unhinged mother, have cropped up on the Internet and one, Cold As Fire is a shockingly explicit, adult-only affair.  But "Gimme More" is not without its innuendo, either.

KEIRA KNIGHTLEY says that she is sickened by celebs who expose themselves to photographers, and claims their actions make them "s**ttier than everybody else.

SIENNA MILLER was literally falling out of her shoes drunk following a fashion launch party in London last Thursday night. She was so smashed she was walking into walls and had to be held up by her friends.

GEORGE CLOONEY has lost so much weight in recent months that his publicist has more than once been forced to deny rumors that he is seriously ill.

 

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  Cruise has broken his silence about his controversial role as the German colonel famous for a failed attempt to kill Adolf Hitler --- just long enough to tell his critics to shut up.

DANIEL CRAIG reportedly proposed to film producer Satsuki Mitchell during a romantic break in Italy.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE and Andy Samberg are said to be in talks to perform their Saturday Night Live skit "Dick in a Box" at the Primetime Emmys , but they have reportedly balked at the request from the show's producers to change the words of the racy ditty to make it more family friendly.  "Dick in a Box" is nominated for Original Music and Lyrics.

CHARLIZE THERON would tell In the Valley of Elah writer-director Paul Haggis that she had to go to her trailer to prepare for her role, but she was really sneaking off to play the Deal or No Deal videogame.

JOHN TRAVOLTA, of all people, should know to turn off his cellphone in a movie theater.

OWEN WILSON is back at home - and being watched around the clock.

LABOR DAY:  Billy Bragg belts out "There Is Power In A Union" in the lobby of the AFL-CIO building.  Doesn't get much more labor than that.

THE JERRY LEWIS MDA TELETHON is a Labor Day staple, but most of the good video has been yanked from the Tube.  Even so, you can see Dean Martin sing "That's Amore" from the 1953 'thon.

BACK-TO-SCHOOL SUPPLIES:  Perpetual Kid is selling Crayon, Glue and Play-Doh colognes.

CARTOON JIHAD:  Afghanistan and Pakistan join Iran in condemning the printing of a sketch of Islam's Prophet Mohammad with the body of a dog in a Swedish newspaper.  Fortunately, no buildings have bured and no one has been killed.  Yet.  The newspaper will not apologize, so we'll see how that goes.  Meanwhile, Salon.com printed the second Opus comic strip to be banned from 25 US newspapers on the ground that it might offend Muslims.

PATCHES the HORSE wants to pick up a cheeseburger.  Then he's ready to fetch beer and answer the phone for his owners.

THE SQUIRREL THREAT... to the New York Yankees, as one bushy-tailed rodent foretold the club's fall to the BoSox by reenacting the Norse legend of Ratatosk.  No, really.  Right Field Ratatosk joins a cast of baseball creatures that includes the black cat that crossed in front of the Chicago Cubs' dugout during their ill-fated pennant-race battle with the Mets in 1969 and the bird that Dave Winfield killed with a throw in Toronto in 1983.

THE SNAKE THREAT:  Snakes seem to have launched a general offensive, attacking a Taco Bell in Hattiesburg, a goldfish in England, the Cal State University Bakersfield campus, and Mrs. Tennessee on the way to rehearsals for the Mrs. America pageant (she was treated on the scene by one of her competitors for the crown, Mrs. Iowa).

FOUR WHITETAIL BUCKS at the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray may receive vasectomies as part of the state's effort to control the deer population there.  However, a group of supporters of the park are upset... not to mention the four bucks.

GERMAN HEDGEHOGS are no longer killing themselves by eating at McDonalds.

1102 Reads

College Rock, Georgie James, Cutout Bin, Monster Spider Web   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, August 31, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

THE LONG WEEKEND STARTS HERE:

...LEFT OF THE DIAL!  It's that back-to-school time of year, so here is the BBC's documentary on US indie rock of the 80s-90s, which Rolling Stone's David Fricke reminds us was known then as "college rock."  The Nirvana story is the pull for the casual viewer, but the Brits work their way back to Black Flag, with a fair amount of R.E.M. as well.  Sadly, The Replacements and Husker Du get mere cameos, (despite being the Godfathers of Grunge).  But The Pixies get their props as a major influence on Kurt Cobain.  Tubed into seven segments:  Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7.

BACK-TO-SCHOOL MUSIC:  Speaking of which, IGN surveys 25 upcoming albums to make the first few months of the school year more bearable.

GEORGIE JAMES, a duo out of DC, cite Chic, The Cowsills, Cheap Trick, The White Album and K-Tel compilations in describing the four classic pop numbers streaming at TheirSpace, including a mournful take on "El Condor Pasa (If I Could)," the Peruvian folk song popularized by Simon & Garfunkel.  Saddle Creek will be issuing the band's' debut album, Places, on Sept. 25, 2007. (Thx, MOKB!)

PETER BJORN & JOHN have made whistling cool again, according to the Boston Globe.

CROWDED HOUSE:  You can watch their recent gig at Chicago's House of Blues, courtesy of Mister Softee.

THE WOMBATS:  "Let's Dance to Joy Division," and celebrate the irony.  Afterward, you can stream some more of this Brit combo's punk-pop at WombatSpace.  Kinda in the ballpark of The Kooks and Art Brut.

LUCINDA WILLIAMS did an interview and mini-set for NYC's WFUV, which you can stream (or skip right to the songs) via NPR "Sitting behind a music stand with a big, black binder full of songs, she paged through her book, reminisced about this song and that - and, after a fashion, started to open up about everything from her songwriting process to her wedding plans."

THE NATIONAL: Matt Beringer talks to The A.V. Club about songs -- playing 'em live, writing them and even revising them.  NPR has reposted a World Cafe segment on the band from this past June.

ACL FEST:  Austinist has set up a special section for the upcoming Austin City Limits festival, which already features a lineup, interviews with The National, The Decemberists, Gomez, Midlake and more, plus previews of a swath of artists, from the Broken West, Patterson Hood and the Little Ones to Charlie Musselwhite and The Gospel Silvertones.

HILLY KRISTAL:  The late CBGBs founder gets an audio tribute from WHYY, streaming via NPR.

THE HYPE MACHINE:  TechDaily has posted a video interview with Anthony Volodkin, the man behind the music blog aggregator so often used here to bring you the tunes.

THE CUTOUT BIN:  This Friday's fortuitous finds from the ol' HM are: Bob Dylan - Music v. Message (1967); Brian Wilson - This Whole World; Electric Light Orchestra - Mr. Blue Sky; The Apples in Stereo - Energy; R.E.M. - Shiny Happy People; Joey Ramone - What a Wonderful World; Husker Du - Celebrated Summer; The Jesus & Mary Chain - Just Like Honey; Flesh For Lulu - I Go Crazy; Go-Gos - Our Lips Are Sealed; The Vapors - Turning Japanese; Frente! - Bizarre Love Triangle; The Flaming Lips - The W.A.N.D.; David Bowie - Rebel, Rebel; The Stooges - No Fun; The Replacements - Beer For Breakfast (nsfw); Teenage Fanclub - Mad Dog 20/20;  The Left Banke - Walk Away Renee; The Turtles - Elenore; Looking Glass - Brandy (You're A Fine Girl); Joe Jackson - You Can't Get What You Want (Till You Know What You Want); The Jam - Stoned Out of My Mind; The Go! Team - Doing It Right; The Pipettes - Dance and Boogie; Manfred Mann - Blinded By The Light; The Decemberists - The Sporting Life; The Zombies - Walking In The Sun; The Ronettes - Walking in the Rain; Roy Orbison - Crying; Sam Cooke - Chain Gang; Johnny Cash - Jackson ("lost" performance w/ June Carter Cash); and Paul Simon - Kodachrome.

GREGORIOUS:  I don't speak Finnish, but the message seems to be that it's fun to stay at the "NMKY."

OWEN WILSON may have slit his wrists, but there was no drug overdose, an attorney for Wilson told Access Hollywood.  The attorney said Wilson had been taking antidepressants, but was not aware of any other drugs in his system at the time of the incident.

NOW SHOWING:  In addition to the ping-pong comedy Balls of Fury, which is currently scoring 28 percent on the ol' Tomatometer, this traditional lull at the cineplex includes Rob Zombie's remake of the slasher classic Halloween, and Kevin Bacon in the revenge flick Death Sentence, neither of which were generally screened for critics.  The few published reviews suggest there was a reason for that.

BRITNEY SPEARS is planning to make her opening act for MTV's Video Music Awards "a big comeback performance," with the goal of making it "shocking."  More shocking than showing the world her privates?  Maybe the only thing that would be shocking at this point would be if the performance and music were actually good.  The song samples leaked to TMZ suggest that's not going to happen.  Meanwhile, Spears' former manager was served a subpoena by Fed-Ex's lawyers today, outside of Sunset Tan in West Los Angeles.  And TMZ has obtained documents from the Britney/Fed-Ex hearing last Monday, where it was revealed the popwreck rakes in an average of 737868 bucks a month.

MADONNA, not content to shoot up vitamins herself, is now administering eye-watering vitamin injections to the bottoms of the cast members in her director hubby Guy Ritchie new movie.

BRIDGET MOYNIHAN & TOM BRADY may be proud parents, but there's still bad blood between them, with a source telling the NYDN: "Tom was only allowed to see the baby for a short time... He was only allowed to come after the baby was born. The woman would not see him, period. And she gave the baby her last name."

ANNA NICOLE SMITH IS STILL DEAD, but OK! magazine has dropped her ex Larry Birkhead from a 1.7 million-dollar deal, alleging he has "tricked us all."  The magazine has not revealed the exact reason for the decision, however it is reported to be based on rumours Birkhead struck a "backroom deal" with Howard K Stern -- his supposed long-standing rival -- regarding baby Danielynn.  Birkhead calls this a "smear campaign" and that OK! was bent out of shape after Us Weekly put Dannielynn on its cover -- he and the mag dispute the scope of their exclusive deal. 

BRADGELINA:  Jolie complains to Germany's Der Spiegel magazine that people take her politics "less seriously" because she is an actress.  Imho, the press takes Jolie more seriously than most celebs and she would not have a high-profile gig as a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador if she was not an actress.  Moreover, I think she knows it, as she added "I think we should be looking for great leaders in people who have dedicated their lives to those issues. And the reality is that actors spend a great deal of their time making films."

LINDSAY LOHAN's ex-con father makes a string of allegations against his ex-wife in an interview with celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, which are denied, natch.  Michael states Dina is a compulsive liar, her new boyfriend is a drunk, she has cocaine delivered to her house and that she has knowingly left the scene of a number of car crashes.

JESSICA SIMPSON is "really jealous" that ex John Mayer is seeing Cameron Diaz, according to US Weekly.

DAVID LETTERMAN finally returns the favor with his first visit to Oprah's couch next month.  Presumably, he will not conclude their showbiz feud by jumping on it.

SPEED RACER:  Susan Sarandon explains why the Wachowski Brothers' live-action take on the classic Japanimation will look like nothing we have seen before.

INDIANA JONES IV:  New pictures from location shooting give you a better look at rising star Shia LeBouf with Harrison Ford.

TGIF: Whatever you do, never get into a game of Quarters with this dude.

GLOBAL WARMING:  A new examination of  528 total papers on climate change published from 2004 to February 2007 reportedly shows some surprising results: Only 38 (7%) gave an explicit endorsement of the "consensus view," defined as humans were having at least some effect on global climate change. If one considers "implicit" endorsement (accepting the consensus without explicit statement), the figure rises to 45%. However, while only 32 papers (6%) reject the consensus outright, the largest category  (48%) are neutral papers, refusing to either accept or reject the hypothesis.   The results have been submitted to the journal Energy and Environment.

AFGHANISTAN:  Though the remaining South Korean hostages taken last July by the Taliban have been released, the terrorists have vowed they will abduct more foreigners: "We will do the same thing with the other allies in Afghanistan, because we found this way to be successful."  Appeasing terrorists emboldens them -- Who'da thunkit?

IRAN:  Pres. Ahmadinejad has launched a new verbal attack against Israel, accusing Zionists of sowing conflict, publishing offensive cartoons and "lying about being Jewish."  The UN nuke watchdog said Thursday that Iran was producing less nuclear fuel than expected and praised Tehran for "a significant step forward" in explaining past atomic actions that have raised suspicions. OTOH, the report confirmed that Iran continued to expand its uranium enrichment program, reflecting Tehran's defiance of the UN Security Council.  I hope someone is wondering whether Iran really produced less nuclear fuel than expected, or whether some might be going unaccounted.

IRAQ:  Iraqi security forces have arrested 72 gunmen following clashes in the city of Kerbala this week that forced hundreds of thousands of pilgrims to flee a religious festival there.  Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army disappeared from the streets of Baghdad's Sadr City on Thursday, apparently obeying their leader's order to lie low.  US security analysts believe al-Sadr's decision to suspend Mahdi Army activities is a tactic to weed out rogue elements as the young cleric struggles to maintain control over his militia.

IRAQ II:  Iraq's foreign minister says the government had made progress in responding to US goals for improved security and political reconciliation ahead of key reports soon to be delivered to the US Congress.  The GAO's congressional auditors find that the Iraqi government has failed to meet the vast majority of political and military goals laid out by lawmakers.  The White House believes the criteria set for the GAO report allow no room to report progress, only absolute success or failure; Pentagon policy officials have "made some factual corrections" and "offered some suggestions on a few of the actual grades" assigned by the GAO.  At the Small Wars Journal's blog, David Kilcullen -- who has just completed a tour in Iraq as senior counterinsurgency adviser to the Multi-National Force -- examines the potential upsides and downsides of "the growing tribal uprising against al Qaeda, which could transform the war in ways not factored into neat 'benchmarks' developed many months ago and thousands of miles away."  This is normally where I'd remind you that Kilcullen is a pretty good indicator of what Gen. Petraeus thinks, but Gen. Petraeus just gave an interview to The Australian that is likely an even better indicator of what Gen. Petraeus thinks.  And Michael Yon's latest photo-filled dispatch from Anbar details how principles from the new counter-insurgency manual are playing out on the ground.

AND THE FROG goes... "Meow?"

COW NEWS:  A herd of cows in the Yorkshire Dales are to have their every move monitored by satellite.  Meanwhile, scientists looking for an alternative to corn as an ethanol fuel source have discovered fluid from the largest chamber of a cow's stomach could be the answer to a new kind of fuel cell.

SOCHA the LABRADOR stepped on a wet manhole cover in SoHo and got zapped by 100 volts of electricity.  I thought stray voltage season in NYC didn't start until after Labor Day.

A MONSTER SPIDER WEB blankets several trees, shrubs and the ground along a 200-yard stretch of trail in a North Texas park. "There are times you can literally hear the screech of millions of mosquitoes caught in those webs."

"THAT'S A MORAY":  Fisherman-turned-comedian Taro Makeburu presents tales of sleeping with the fishes.

1221 Reads

Okkervil River, Hilly Kristal RIP, Great Lakes Myth Society, Bigfoot   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, August 30, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

OKKERVIL RIVER plays "Our Life is Not a Movie or Maybe" for a late night host on the Peacock network.

HILLY KRISTAL, founder of legendary New York rock club CBGB, died Tuesday of complications from lung cancer at 75.  Kristal ran the club for 33 years and helped to launch the careers of the Talking Heads, Blondie, the Ramones, Patti Smith, Television and countless other bands. CBGB, which stood for "Country, Blue Grass and Blues, closed last year.  Free Indie details his career.

GREAT LAKES MYTH SOCIETY singer Tim Monger tells the Chicago Sun-Times that "the regionalism in our material is more a tendency than an intention," and professes his love for the late Trip Shakespeare, an influence I can kinda hear in the tracks streaming from TheirSpace.  "Summer Bonfire" would be my pick to click.  BONUS: The most important links in my tribute to Trip Shakespeare from last November still work... and the fan-maintained page is streaming the band's cover of "Time of the Season."

"KINDIE" ROCK:  North Carolina's News & Observer not only surveys the secene from well-known kid-friendly rockers like Dan Zanes, Laurie Berkner, Lunch Money, the Sippy Cups, They Might Be Giants and Jack Jonson, but also links up to local kindie artists

BAND OF HORSES has a a new track, "Is There A Ghost," to stream and download from TheirSpace.

GLEN CAMPBELL & STONE TEMPLE PILOTS play Jimmy Webb's classic "Wichita Lineman" in this high-quality bootleg video.

BO DIDDLEY was in stable condition at a Florida hospital after suffering a heart attack.  His publicist says "The situation is very serious."

CROWDED HOUSE architect Neil Finn answers five questions from the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, including one about fellow NZ rockers The Conchords.

GRACE POTTER and the NOCTURNALS gave an interview and in-studio performance of their earthy rock to David Dye at the World Cafe, streaming via NPR.

AMY WINEHOUSE texted an apology to her distraught father after he told how he wanted to kill himself because of her drug addiction.

OWEN WILSON:  Brit actor Steve Coogan denies claims that he got the suicidal Wilson into heavy drugs:"These accusations are unfounded, unhelpful and hurtful to all concerned. We are taking legal advice."  Wilson has dropped out of Tropic Thunder, a movie comedy he was set to begin shooting in two to three weeks with longtime pal Ben Stiller.  Elle magazine has pulled an interview with him out of respect for the troubled star.  A look at Wilson's collaborations with filmmaker Wes Anderson, which he has called his most personal films, are often comedic meditations on depression, alienation and suicide.

MADONNA has been given the green light to adopt a second orphan from Malawi - a 13-month-old girl called Mercy.

WHITNEY HOUSTON & BOBBY BROWN: All-new divorce papers obtained by Extra claim Bobby lived in his car while Whitney was in rehab.

GWYNETH PALTROW is putting Hollywood on hold to film her own TV cookery show, leaving hubby Chris Martin and kids Apple and Moses behind for two months as she tours Spain with chef Mario Batali for PBS.

DENISE RICHARDS was "disappointed" to learn of ex-husband CHARLIE SHEEN's statement complaining that Richards sent her assistant in place of a nanny for his supervised child custody, adding in her own statement that "This was and should still be a private matter that we as responsible parents settled privately."

KEIRA KNIGHTLEY is disappearing into thin.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  According to Star Magazine, Tom Cruise's pre-Kitten kids, Isabella and Connor, are away at a Scientology camp in Oregon as part of a "get them while they're young' campaign."

MISS CONDUCT:  Miss South Carolina Teen USA Lauren Caitlin Upton - whose mangled answer to a simple competition question became an Internet sensation - is now hosting a geography quiz at People magazine's website.

INDIE ROCKIN' ACTRESSES:  The L.A. Times posts a photo-essay.

ELISHA CUTHBERT is reportedly back on the market, so I may not be here Monday.

THE DARK KNIGHT:  Some Joker blew up Gotham General Hospital (i.e., the abandoned Brach's candy building) on the West Side of Chicago (not the infamous East Side) yesterday.  Kris Habermehl of Chicago's WBBM-TV was over the scene and immediately went on the radio to assure people that the blast was all part of the script and not a terrorist act.  Video at both links, 'cause you can never get enough video of stuff blowing up.  BONUS:  Here's a Flickr photoset of shooting -- including director Chris Nolan, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart and Anthony Michael Hall -- down by the Chicago Board of Trade.  There are also shots of the extras having to wear fall clothes in our current steamy weather, and the helicopter that bases out of the lot across the street from my digs.

NANOTUBES:  Professor Nicola Pugno, of the Polytechnic of Turin, has worked out a formula for the adhesive power of the technology and he predicts that the first Spider-Man suit will be created by 2017.

DON'T FEAR THE REAPER, unless you belong to the Taliban or Al Qaeda in Iraq.  The Reaper is an upgraded version of the unmanned Predator drone, but twice as fast, with the bombing power of an F-16 and eight times the flying time without refueling.  Let's go to the video.  Of course, it could use a little... more cowbell.

PAKISTAN:  Pres. Musharraf has agreed to step down as army chief as part of a broad and once-unthinkable agreement being finalized with his chief political rival, Benazir Bhutto, officials on both sides said Wednesday.  The agreement, if completed, would likely permit Musharraf to continue as president and allow Bhutto to return to Pakistan after eight years of exile to try to win back her old job as prime minister.  More broadly, the deal would fundamentally alter the political landscape in Pakistan, a top US ally on counterterrorism but also a haven for al-Qaeda and other extremist groups.  The guardian looks at the stakes and angles for Musharraf, Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, who was ousted by Musharraf in a bloodless coup in 1999.

IRAQ:  Radical Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr ordered the Mahdi Army to stop attacks on US-led forces as part of a six-month suspension of the militia's activities after Shiite clashes during the pilgimage to Karbala leave al-Sadr with PR and leadership problems.  And the freeze doesn't extend to rival Shia factions -- gunmen believed to be from the Mahdi Army  attacked several Baghdad offices of the two major governing Shia parties.  Bill Roggio breaks down the internals of the Mahdi Army.  Prime Minister al-Maliki made an "emergency visit" to Karbala, accompanied by two government ministers, amid attempts to defuse tensions between the major Shia parties there after the armed clashes which marred the pilgimage.  Maliki sacked the local security chief.  The US military in Baghdad says a leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq was killed after grabbing a soldier and attempting to detonate a "suicide vest."

BOBBY the BOB-TAILED RACOON outlasts a Southern Illinois cattle rancher.  Video at the link.

OWLS are taking calls from mobile phones in the UK.  It's about time Hogwarts joined the 21st century.

BIGFOOT:  A member of the Canadian Mounted Police has officially notified Parliament that he believes that Bigfoot should be added to the nation's Species at Risk Act, which is similar to the Endangered Species List in the US.

DOGS can now take swimming lessons at Manhattan dog spa houses.  Four months after his first lesson, Salty the miniature schnauzer is the envy of his classmates, who excitedly bark and sniff the water but don't dare jump in without the instructor's help.

325000 TROUT are skydiving into Aspen Colorado.

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Feist, Springsteen, Candie Payne, Horse Soccer   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, August 29, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

FEIST is backed by a choir featuring members of Broken Social Scene, New Pornographers, Grizzly Bear, The National, Mates of State and Nicole Atkins for a special version of "1234" on The Late Show.  UPDATE:  If that link wasn't working for you earlier, try it now.

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN is offering a free download of "Radio Nowhere" from his upcoming LP, though you have to give him your e-mail address.  The Boss has also announced tour dates.

MY BLOODY VALENTINE are likely to reunite for Coachella 2008.  Already, a new MySpace page for the band has appeared.

THE MODERN LOVERS:  GvsB has details on the deluxe reissue of the Jonathan Richman-led classic, which sports eight bonus tracks, including "Roadrunner (Alternative Version)."  Of course, if you have never heard the "official" version of "Roadrunner," you should hear that first!

ALL SONGS CONSIDERED is currently streaming new Iron & Wine, Rilo Kiley, Animal Collective, Maps and more.

KEITH RICHARDS:  The Lord of the Undead ate a cigarette onstage at what is rumored to be the band's last-ever show in London on Sunday, in protest of a new anti-smoking ban.  He has also demanded an apology from Swedish newspapers for their scathing reviews of the Rolling Stones's performance in the country earlier this month.

CANDIE PAYNE:  London's Telegraph asks, "Is she the next Dusty Springfield?"  Not quite, but she's in the ballpark, bringing an updated Northern Soul sound with help from producer Simon Dine on "I Wish I Could Have Loved You More" and Mark Ronson on the upcoming single "One More Chance."  You can stream those and two more cool tunes from HerSpace.  Dee-lish!

LOU REED is singing with The Killers for the band's upcoming album of odds and sods.

YO LA TENGO will be playing more intimate venues this Fall, mixing songs from their extensive catalog with stories and audience interaction.

LILY ALLEN had a pint of Guinness poured over head by reggae singer Bobby Kray at the weekend's Notting Hill Carnival, after she pushed him off the stage and wrestled the microphone away from him.

AMY WINEHOUSE'S father-in law says fans should stop buying her records to force the singer to seek help for what he called a drug addiction.  Meanwhile, Winehouse and hubby have headed off on a an island getaway second honeymoon in the Caribbean.

OWEN WILSON tried to take his own life in the wake of a bitter blowup with a close pal, according to the NYPost.  A source close to the Butterscotch Stallion told Extra that Luke Wilson found him.  He has been visited in the hospital by family members... and Samuel L. Jackson, who chastized the paparazzi in the video at the link.  While the details of his hospitalization remained closely guarded, its impact on the currently filming Tropic Thunder and Wes Anderson's soon-to-be-released The Darjeeling Limited could not be immediately assessed.  UPDATE:  Wilson was hooked on heroin and cocaine, struggling with depression and hanging out with the wrong crowd in the months before his attempted suicide, according to a bombshell new report with exclusive interviews in US Weekly magazine (according to the NYP).  Courtney Love is blaming Wilson's newfound best buddy, British actor Steve Coogan; a Wilson pal says Wilson's addiction was so severe that Woody Harrelson tried to stage an intervention at his home in Maui.  And it's pretty safe to say things are bad if Woody Harrelson is staging an intervention.  A rep for Owen adamantly denies the actor has ever used heroin or cocaine.

KATE HUDSON broke down in tears after she found out about ex-boyfriend Owen Wilson's alleged suicide attempt and had to flee the set of her new film, Bachelor No.2.

BRITNEY SPEARS:  TMZ claims there is an official criminal investigation in the Spears child custody saga -- involving a former counter-terror commando in the Israeli army.  EW.com claims the first single from her fifth studio album will debut as soon as next week - and it's not either of  the two supposed Britney tracks that leaked online at perezhilton.com last week.

SPEARS, LOHAN & HOTEL were shamed into skipping the Teen Choice Awards when they discovered the show was planning a "Newsmakers of the Year' award" featuring their various scandals.

MATT DAMON may be a second-time dad in about six months, according to the ever-reliable National Enquirer.

BRADGELINA:  Jolie is in Iraq to witness firsthand the humanitarian crisis there, the United Nations Refugee Agency UNHCR has announced.  She was also snapped with the Marines at Camp Waleed, near the Syrian border.

MADONNA has caught a break in the saga hindering her and husband Guy Ritchie's successful adoption of young David Banda - a Malawi social worker was finally given permission to visit and assess the family.  But Madge's latest song got some bad feedback at last Thursday's "Pop Rocks" party at NYC's Club 13.

RENEE ZELLEWEGER is looking "painfully thin" and spent some animated face time with Sir Paul McCartney on Saturday at a Tom Petty concert... under the watchful eyes of Christie Brinkley.

OHMIGOD, KENNY'S RICH!  South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have inked a 75-million-dollar deal for three more seasons of the cartoon and a digital offshoot encompassing the Internet, mobile phones and games consoles.

MISS CONDUCT:  Miss South Carolina Teen USA Lauren Caitlin Upton - whose mangled answer to a simple competition question became an Internet sensation (with millions of views on the Tube) -- got her second chance on the Today Show.

JESSICA ALBA has the ultimate sexy strut, according to a team of Cambridge mathematicians.  The Jessica Alba sashay beat off competition from Kate Moss, Angelina Jolie and even Marilyn Monroe.  And it increasingly seems that she's taking Cash back.

SEN. LARRY CRAIG (R-ID) insists, "I am not gay and never have been."  Which earns him a NTTAWWT.  Craig claims he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in a Mpls airport washroom because he and his family "have been relentlessly and viciously harassed by The Idaho Statesman," which today published Craig's List

TERROR in the US:  Al Qaeda has an active plot to hit the West. The United States knows about it but doesn't have enough tactical detail to issue a precise warning or raise the threat level, says Vice Admiral (ret.) John Scott Redd, who heads the government's National Counterterrorism Center.  He also believes another successful terror attack in the US is inevitable.

IRAN offered some cooperation with an International Atomic Energy Agency probe of an alleged secret uranium processing project linked by US intell to a nuclear arms program.  But diplomats say the working document is flawed for apparently ruling out future inquiries by inspectors and making no mention of wider-ranging checks that the UN nuclear agency has said are needed to verify that Tehran has no hidden bomb agenda.  It also does not define what Iran must do to resolve open questions and disregards a UN demand for Tehran to suspend uranium enrichment.  In his first major foreign policy speech as president, Nicolas Sarkozy of France said that Iran could be attacked militarily if it did not live up to its international obligations to curb its nuclear program.  RELATED:  A report by the Non-Proliferation Policy Education Center concludes that the UN atomic watchdog is losing ground in its mission to uncover abuses of nuclear know-how for bombmaking.

IRAQ:  In spite of an announcement that the ministers in the Iraqi National List led by former Iraqi Interim Prime Minister Allawi had withdrawn from their position, three of them attended a regular meeting on Monday, Aswat al-Iraq reports in Arabic.  A curfew and weapons ban was in effect and Shiite pilgrims were evacuated from the southern Iraqi city of Karbala, where fighting has killed up to 50 people and wounded 247 others, the Iraqi Interior Ministry said Tuesday.  Tens or even hundreds of thousands of Shia Muslims are attending a big religious festival there.  A a Georgetown professor of security studies, Colin Kahl, has published a study in International Security that dispels the notion that the US troops regularly disregard the Geneva Conventions.  Nibras Kazimi reports that -- according to jihadi websites -- the number of attacks carried out by the AQ-affiliated "Islamic State of Iraq" have dropped from over 900 to under 200 on a biweekly basis.

KARIBA the HORSE has overcome its violent temperament by playing soccer.  Video at the link.

SKIPPI the KANGAROO, reported killed in a car crash by German police, survived and was captured in a cornfield almost 10 miles from where his journey began.  The fugitive marsupial has returned to his home at a petting zoo in southern Germany,

ORPHANED HEDGEHOGS adopt a cleaning brush as their mother.  Simultaneously cute and sad pics at the link.

MYRON the WAYWARD EMU was corraled by shopping carts in the Wal-Mart parking lot in West Bend, Wisconsin.

INNOCENT WOLVES may be cleared for the mysterious deaths of tame animals by DNA testing,  Jens Karlsson from Grimsö Wildlife Research Station told the Svenska Dagbladet  (a great name for a newspaper or a rock band).

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