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Sly Stone, Figurines, Ryan Adams & Elton John, Cutout Bin, Lion Cub   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, July 20, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

THE WEEKEND STARTS HERE:

...with SLY & THE FAMILY STONE!  The mileage shows, but Sly exceeded my expectations in clips from the North Sea Jazz Festival, just last week.  He is finally brought onstage for "Stand," "If You Want Me To Stay" and "Sing A Simple Song," leaves during "I Want To Take You Higher," but returns with relative gusto for "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)."  It might be the shades and the neck malady, but the mellower Sly almost gives off a bit of a Ray Charles vibe at times.

LUCINDA WILLIAMS talks to the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle about her younger fans, the critical response to her last album and her fear of buying a house.

DAVID VANDERVELDE talks to AZ Central about his glam-rock influences, working with Jay Bennett and touring for the first time.  You can (and should) stream a few now at HisSpace.

"LITTLE" STEVEN VAN ZANDT is chairing the music committee that's overseeing the tracks to be featured on the videogame Rock Band, a highly-anticipated multiple-instrument take on Guitar Hero.

THE FIGURINES:  When The Deer Wore Blue comes out on July 23rd, but you can stream their floaty psych-pop LP now, via this German e-card.

SPOON frontman Britt Daniel talks about the new album's goofy title, misspelt song titles and more with The A.V. Club.

JARVIS COCKER rocks Barcelona's Summercase festival with an encore performance of Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger."

SONIC YOUTH talks to the L.A. Times about their initial reluctance to perform Daydream Nation in its entirety.

RYAN ADAMS & ELTON JOHN shared a stage on April 2, 2002.  And you can jukebox it.SUMMER MIX:  A Deeper Shade of Soul did its first podcast called "A Soul Summer," including tracks from Aretha Franklin, Tony Joe White, Otis Redding, Candi Staton, King Curtis and more.  Coincidentally, Candy Staton is in my Summer mix as well; great minds think alike...

AMY WINEHOUSE appeared to be in tears onstage in London, hitting herself on the head with a microphone in frustration when she forgot the words to her songs, and a fan said she finished by spitting into the crowd.

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN:  Heather Browne reprints Jon Landau's (in)famous "I saw rock and roll's future and its name is Bruce Springsteen" article as a prelude to a February 1975 bootleg from The Main Point in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, featuring -- among other things -- the first known performance of "Thunder Road" (with in-progress lyrics and a different title).  Stream or download at the link.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE:  The supposedly sober supermodel has left her north London home after being hounded by the troubled singer's friends, begging to give her a message from him.

THE CUTOUT BIN:  This Friday's fortutitous finds on the ol' HM are: The Chicago Cubs - Hey Hey Holy Mackerel; Muddy Waters - Got My Mojo Working; Wilson Pickett - Ninety-Nine And A Half (Won't Do); Gladys Knight & the Pips - I Heard It Through the Grapevine; Britt Daniel - Set Me Free (Kinks); Lucky Soul - Ain't Never Been Cool; Belle & Sebastian - Funny Little Frog; Crowded House - Don't Dream It's Over; Nazz - Hello It's Me; Left Banke - She May Call You Up Tonight; The Who - I'm Free; The Jam - So Sad About Us (Demo); The Byrds - It's All Over Now, Baby Blue (B. Dylan); Radiohead - Nobody Does It Better (C. Simon); Queen and David Bowie - Under Pressure; Stone Temple Pilots - Interstate Love Song; Tone Loc - Wild Thing; The Cars - You're All I've Got Tonight; They Might Be Giants - Ana Ng; Electric Light Orchestra - Turn to Stone; and Tom Waits - Time.

NOW SHOWING:  This weekend's wide releases include the movie-tuned-musical-turned-movie musical Hairspray, which is currently scoring an impressive 94 percent on the ol' Tomatometer, and the Adam Sandler-Kevin James comedy I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, which is scoring a decidedly less impressive 20 percent.

CHRISTOPHER WALKEN is talken to Details magazine about Hairspray, his unique cadence and more... cowbell!

RESCUE DAWN:  Platforming to a significant number of theaters is Werner Herzog's Vietnam POW escape drama, Rescue Dawn, which is scoring 89 percent on the Tomatometer.  Herzog first did a documentary of the escape in 1997, Little Dieter Needs to Fly.  Herzog talks about both films, the difficult shoot, and the political climate in America with IFC.

ROTTEN TOMATOES, btw, has issued a Halftime Report for 2007 through the magic of Bayesian mathematics.  Yet another reason to remind you to see Ratatouille.

THE EMMY NOMINATIONS are out, with The Sopranos and Ugly Betty getting the most.  You can see or download the whole list at the official website.  We can all look forward to a tough race for Outstanding Original Music And Lyrics, in which "Dick In A Box" faces off against "Everything Comes Down to Poo."

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  Cruise has started shooting his controversial film about the 1944 plot to kill Hitler -- but the producers have yet to find a character to play the Nazi leader.  BTW, the Scientology angle has overshadowed the usual Hollywood tittle-tattle that bubbles up when a Hollywood production hits Berlin, like Cruise turning down a woman driver because she was taller than him.

THE McCARTNEYS:  Sir Paul has offered a £20 million divorce settlement to Heather Mills - and she in turn has said that she will accept £50 million, The Times of London.

BRITNEY SPEARS takes an ocean dip in her underwear.  Classy!

ADRIAN GRENIER of Entourage managed to date Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Melissa Keller for almost two years without the paparazzi finding out.

HARRY POTTER author J.K. Rowling is more than a wee bit ticked off that The New York Times publiished a fairly spoiler-y review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows before its release date.  Photographed pages from Deathly Hallows, believed to include both fake and real versions, surfaced on the Internet and this week some books were shipped to customers by a US online retailer, prompting Scholastic to take legal action.  Will Collier of Vodkapundit -- one of those who received his copy early -- tells his story at National Review Online.

TRANSFORMERS:  When Shia LeBouf's character joked that they were probably Japanese, he didn't know how right he was.  Here's Japanese video of a real Transformer.

NORMAN BORLAUG (an Iowan, btw) was awarded Congressional Gold Medal, America's highest civilian award, on Tuesday.  Borlaug was the father of the "Green revolution" --  every nation his green thumb touched has known dramatic food production increases, falling fertility rates higher girls' education rates and rising living standards for average people.  At the Huffington Post, Gregg Easterbrook wonders why the mass media ignored it.  I was sick as a dog on Tuesday, but I did mention him last December.

HONOR KILLING in LONDON:  A Kurdish woman was brutally raped, stamped on and strangled by members of her family and their friends in an "honor killing" carried out at her London home because she had fallen in love with the wrong man.

SAUDI ARABIA is touting its rehabilitation center for one time Al Qaeda adherents.

IRAN has recently intensified its harassment of critics and people it deems threatening to the government.  Ali Afshari, a former student leader who was repeatedly jailed in Iran, says that Iran's repressive methods have actually led to the spreading of protests. He said women, students, and activists know they have to pay a price for their activism -- yet they continue their fight.

IRAQ:  The provinces of Karbala and Anbar agreed to form a joint security committee to better achieve security cooperation and to coordinate information.  US and Iraqi officials announced a ban on truck traffic into Kirkuk and proposed digging a trench around the northern city.  US commanders are concerned about "some kind of Tet offensive that's going to affect the debate in Washington."  Speaking of which, US Amb. Ryan Crocker told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that "If there is one word I would use to sum up the atmosphere in Iraq... that word would be fear."  Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, commander of the Multi-National Corps - Iraq, says the military plans to deliver a required progress report a September deadline, it needs at least until November to see whether trends are holding and to make a "more accurate assessment."

THE CIRCLE of LIFE:  The Daily Mail has many more awww...some lion cub pics, for no particular reason.

GIANT SIAMESE CARP landed in Thailand; pic at the link.  At 256 lbs, it's the one that didn't get away.

THE SWARM:  About 10000 bees took up residence under a Pennsylvania woman's lounge chair.

A RABID WOODCHUCK attacked a woman in upstate NY.  I sympathize, as I've heard rabies shots are really painful.  Yet I must confess my first thought was this.

THE DOG ate my 800 dollars.  Try telling that to the landlord.

TWISTER the BEAR CUB gets out of rehab.  No, not that sort of rehab.

A DOG unseated a cyclist in the Tour de France, icymi.

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Decemberists, Fiery Furnaces, St. Vincent, Big Dog Robot   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, July 19, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

THE DECEMBERISTS are doing a mini-tour. playing with local orchestras.  Frontman Colin Meloy talks about it and various other topics with the Baltimore Sun, the Phialdelphia Inquirer, and the Chicago Tribune-affliliated Metromix.  I was keen to see the Chicago show -- it was practically in my backyard and free -- but a stomach ailment and heavy rains approaching on the radar put me off.  Fortunately, we have some Tubed with the L.A. Philharmonic; if I had to pick one, it would be "The Infanta," from the Picaresque LP... though that's mostly because I like the song so much.  The non-orchestral encore of "The Chimbley Sweep" has a couple of amusing moments you may want to see, too.  UPDATE:  My coworker Debbie attended the Chicago gig and said it was very crowded and awesome.  Apparently, at one point, Colin Meloy took someone's baby and ran around with it.

THE FIERY FURNACES are on tour again, and there's a new album, Widow City, on the horizon for fall.  Matthew Friedberger says it will feature electric guitar and electric bass -- and Chamberlins once owned by Foghat.  On tour, he's playing an organ, "trying to revive the soap opera, minor league baseball stadium Hammond sound. It's meant to really feel like summer."  The band's new label, Thrill Jockey, has posted a press kit that seems partially fictional -- at least I hope the imaginary Ouija board stuff is a goof.

MAXIMO PARK stopped by The Current to talk karaoke and play a mini-set you can stream via MPR.

COVER ME:  "R.E.M. used them to open shows, Elliot Smith to close them, and the Replacements to wreck them..."  Harp magazine briefly essays the history of the cover song.

GOGOL BORDELLO played DC's 9:30 Club last night, so you should be able to stream a set of gypsy folk punk on demand from NPR.

ART BRUT meets Harry Potter; pic at the link.

ST. VINCENT:  Annie Clark uses a birdcage, claviettas, melodicas, $25 chord organs and basses you play with your feet, but she professes her love for Iron Maiden to the WaPo-affiliated Express.  You can check out her touching cover of "These Days" (written by Jackson Browne, but first recorded by Nico) at GvsB.

THE WHITE STRIPES played their shortest ever gig -- perhaps anyone's shrtest gig -- treating fans to the sound of just a single note in a surprise show to mark the end of their Canadian tour.

JASON ISBELL talks about the factors behind his split with the Drive-By Truckers at the Cleveland Free Times.  He also says his solo LP is more "pop like Big Star or Cheap Trick."

ZOOEY DESCHANEL & M. WARD:  He's helping the actress with an album, but they play together on a cover of Richard and Linda Thompson's "When I Get to the Border" that will appear on the soundtrack for indie flick The Go-Getter.

KEVIN DREW talks to Billboard about the Broken Social Scene branding of his upcoming solo LP.  And here's a newly-leaked (afaik) track from the album "Safety Bricks."

R.E.M.:  Music Is Art is streaming a 2001 "black session" from French radio.

LINDSAY LOHAN:  A blind item in Page Six had Metro UK asking whether Lohan is taking Ecstasy in a bid to get high without her SCRAM ankle bracelet detecting anything.  But the Metro story has gone offline... somebody threaten a lawsuit?  Meanwhile, the ever-reliable Star magazine is claiming Li-Lo was getting high in rehab on a mix of "whippits" (laughing gas) and Coricidin.

NICK NOLTE, dripping in sweat and barely able to keep his bloodshot eyes open, passed out cold on the terminal floor at the Kauai Airport this week; pics at the link.  At least he wasn't driving!

CATHERINE BELL seems to have gotten a hideous nose job.

JIM CARREY is starting to look like a new age singer, while main squeeze jenny McCarthy is looking like a Vegas floozy from the 1960s.

DREW CAREY is reportedly in negotiations with CBS to host The Price is Right, though Carey has been downplaying the story.  Rosie O'Donnell is going to be so mad if they pick someone just because he's better looking.

BRITNEY SPEARS and Mama and Lynne Spears had a "shocking slapfest" in mid-June that "left Lynne shaken and Britney more determined than ever to cut her mother out of her life for good," according to Star magazine.  The pop tart has taken over as her own business manager and publicist, which is sure to end well.

THE 25 WORST SEQUELS EVER MADE, according to Entertainment Weekly.

MARK HAMILL calls Natalie Portman "gorgeous and one of the great beauties of the world."  Y'know, it was strange enough (in hindsight) that he was kissing Leia in Pts. IV and V... but Padme?

ANNE HATHAWAY tells Marie Claire magazine that she's not as squeaky-clean as you think... and that's before you get to the multi-million-dollar lawsuit alleging that her Italian boyfriend helped to finance their globetrotting lifestyle with "improper" use of corporate funds.

MARTY'S WEDDING was interrupted when when a DeLorean rolled up, and Doc Brown jumped out of the car and yelled, "Marty, you've got to come back to the future with me!"  Click through for the slideshow.  Of course, if they made the movie today, Marty would have been headed to 1977 for some bad disco dancing.

JESSICA BIEL talks to Parade magazine about playing "funny sexy" in I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, and about being persued by the paparazzi.

HARRY POTTER joins the list of stories about which the Associated Press makes things up.

CARTOON JIHAD:  Four Muslim men have been jailed for inciting murder and terrorism during protests at the Danish embassy in London, against cartoons satirising the Prophet Mohammed.  A fifth defendant was cleared of soliciting murder at his trial in February, but convicted of stirring up racial hatred.

FMR REP. LEE HAMILTON, a co-chairman of the Iraq Study Group and the 9/11 Commission, thinks the US should invade Pakistan to rout al Qaeda from the safe haven it has found in the mountains of Waziristan.  Somehow, I doubt we'll hear political candidates rushing to agree.

IRAN:  The US says it is "appalled" at Tehran's treatment of two detained Iranian-Americans.  An editorial by appointed representative of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at Kayhan and one of his close advisers suggests the regime may want to assert claims over the former Persian colony of Bahrain.

IRAQ:  The US command said Wednesday the highest-ranking Iraqi in the leadership of al-Qaida in Iraq has been arrested, adding that information from him indicates the group's foreign-based leadership wields considerable influence over the Iraqi chapter.  Bill Roggio has more details on Khaled Abdul-Fattah Dawoud Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, also known as Abu Shahid.  The NYT/IHT covers radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's two-tiered strategy that reaches out to Iraqis on the street and distances him from the increasingly unpopular government.  This story and the arrest story suggest that, for all of the sectarian violence, there is a nationalism in Iraq that rejects foreign jihadis; otherwise al-Sadr would not be distancing himself from Iran and pursuing a political track.  And for those who think the US is indiscriminately lumping the opposition together as "al-Qaeda," it may be for the Iraqi audience as much as the US audience.  Turkish artillery and warplanes bombarded villages in northern Iraq on Wednesday, as Baghdad responded with an appeal for dialogue instead of force.  Prime Minister al-Maliki accused Arab research centers and media institutions of leading "conspiracy against Iraq."  Col. John Charlton has a progress report from Anbar province.

BIG DOG UPDATE:  Here's your big dog robot video for the day.

A MUM was trapped for an hour with her hand stuck inside her pet boxer's mouth.

SPIDERS save a woman from a house fire.  With great power comes great responsibility.

TAUNTING HIPPOS is not a good idea, though not a bad name for a band.

THE GOOSE WHISPERER:  Martin Hof has become a minor celebrity in the Netherlands, in part for his ability to communicate with fowl, which some say borders on the magical.

A LARVAL INFESTATION of the face can be disturbing and painful.

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More P-Fest, Bright Eyes, Eugene McGuinness, Sand Cat   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, July 18, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

PITCHFORK FEST THREEDUX:  Sadly, there's still no official video, but P-Fork has three days worth of pics and interviews posted.  Plus, there's bootleg video of The New Pornographers opening their set with the new track, "All the Things That Go to Make Heaven and Earth,"  Cat Powers' full-band cover of The Stones' "Satisfaction" Of Montreal playing thier brooding "Bunny Ain't No Kind Of Rider" and their risque take on The Kinks' "All the Day and All the Night."  These don't really convey the live energy in the park, but they're better than nothing at the moment.

THE MERCURY MUSIC PRIZE shortlist has been announced, including Arctic Monkeys and the painfully thin Amy Winehouse.

BRIGHT EYES:  MOKB can point you to five videos Polyydor commissioned for the Cassadaga album.

LILY ALLEN shows you her third nipple.

LAURA VEIRS kicks off a new series of live performances at Oregon Public Broadcasting.

EUGENE McGUINNESS will release his debut album in August.  For now, you can watch the very poppy, yet profane "Monsters Under the Bed."

SMASHING PUMPKINS are trying to track down the siamese twins who featured on the cover of their 1993 album, Siamese Dream.

COLOR ME IMPRESSED:  Fits and Starts has posted a nifty mix of mostly-80s indie, including The Replacements, Husker Du, Minutemen and more.  You can jukebox 'em on the ol' HM.

100 DAYS THAT CHANGED MUSIC, according to Blender magazine.

SQUEEZE cofounder Chris Difford lists his favorite songwriters for Spinner.

BRITNEY SPEARS, having left rehab in March, will host the opening of LAX Las Vegas nightclub at the Luxor on August 31.

THE FRENCH HOTEL is threatening to release a second album.  Even the fluffy, heirhead friendly People magazine notes: "As for Hilton's music career, she has nowhere to go but up..."

MICHAEL BOLTON & NICOLETTE SHERIDAN are teaming up to record an album of duets.  I forget whether that's the fifth seal or the sixth.

STING and his wife have been ordered to pay 51K to a former chef after she won a sexual-discrimination claim against them.  They fired her after she became pregnant.  Very progressive of them.

JON LOVITZ roughed up Andy Dick at an L.A. comedy club over the murder of their Saturday Night Live colleague, Phil Hartman.  That's the ticket.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  New pregnancy rumors swirl around Holmes, but it's far from the first time.

LATE WWE STAR CHRIS BENOIT was on testosterone, painkillers and anti-anxiety drugs when he killed his wife and son and later comitted suicide in his Atlanta, Georgia, home last month.  I'm shocked!

BOBBY BROWN believes he is being targeted by Osama bin Laden, though that's not in the unclassified National Intell Estimate.

HILARY DUFF was confused and devastated to learn that her parents are people.  I was also mildly surprised to learn her parents were humans.

STEVE BUSCEMI, a/k/a "Mr. Pink" (NSFW) talks to IFC about directing and starring in the remake of the late Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh's Interview.

THE WORLD'S TOP-EARNING SUPERMODELS, according to Forbes magazine.  RELATED:  All is not well with Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady, as his baby mama, actress Bridget Moynihan is due to give birth on Gisele's birthday.

REP. KEITH ELLISON (D-MN), the nation's first Muslim congressman, said that he erred in comparing the Bush administration's response to 9/11 to the 1933 burning of the Reichstag -- an event that led to Adolf Hitler's consolidation of power in Nazi Germany.

TERROR in the US?  The FBI is investigating an alleged operation based in Chaparral, NM, that agents say is smuggling "Iraqis and other Middle Eastern" people across the Rio Grande from Mexico.  Maybe to do a job that ordinary Americans won't do?

IRAN:  One of two known Al Qaeda leadership councils meets regularly in eastern Iran, where (fwiw) the American intell community believes dozens of senior Al Qaeda leaders have reconstituted a good part of the terror conglomerate's senior leadership structure.  That is a consensus judgment from a final working draft of a new National Intelligence Estimate.  Iranian arms are entering Afghanistan and reaching Taliban insurgents in such quality and quantity that the Tehran government must know about it, the US ambassador to Kabul said on Tuesday.

IRAQ:  Radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr said his political bloc had resumed participation in Iraq's parliament, suspended last month in protest over an attack on a revered Shi'ite mosque.  Joint Iraqi-US forces raided the office of Adnan al-Dulaimi, head of the Iraqi People's Congress.  The top target for al Qaeda in Iraq south of Baghdad was killed July 14 in Arab Jabour by precision-guided munitions.  Brig. Gen. John F. Campbell has an update on conditions in Baghdad, saying Iraqi Security Forces have shown continued improvements.   And now that Congress is debating the issue, mass media coverage of Iraq has skyrocketed.  Though the amendment debated overnight was expected to falter, Iraqi leaders already have resigned themselves to the likelihood that the US soon will withdraw at least some troops, with a bloodletting to follow.

THE SAND CAT is techinically a "big cat," but in real life, not so much.  (Thanks, Debbie.)

A 15-FT PYTHON was captured in a residential neighborhood of Holly Hill, FL, and it was caught on camera.

DONKEYS in Kenya aren't keen on wearing diapers.

DOLPHINS like to watch.  Of course, you knew this if you have seen The Life Aquatic.

CHINESE RODENT UPDATE:  Yesterday, I noted the abundance of rats.  Today, I note that in the villages around Dongting Lake, rising waters have brought a plague of biblical proportions: an invasion of some 2 billion mice.  That's a phrase that inevitably reminds me of Ghostbusters. (NSFW)

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New Releases, Go! Team, Travis, Detroit Cobras, Stumpy Update   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, July 17, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

PITCHFORK was recovering from the big Fest Monday, but posted a roundup of "overlooked records" from the first half of 2007, including Lucky Soul's The Great Unwanted.  While we wait to see of P-Fork posts any official video, enjoy some bootleg mosh-pit video of Sonic Youth's "Teenage Riot."

NEW RELEASES:  Meat Puppets, the Magic Numbers, Editors, Suzanne Vega and more are streaming in full via Spinner.

THE GO! TEAM:  Ninja and Ian Parton talk to Prefix from China about culture shock, the new album, and the drawbacks of government-authorized funk.

TRAVIS played DC's 9:30 Club last night, so you should be able to stream the gig on demand from NPR.

QUEEN guitarist Brian May has completed his thesis for a PhD in astronomy - more than 30 years after he started the academic paper.  He even passed up a duet with Joss Stone on "Under Pressure" at the Concert for Diana to finish it.

DEEP PURPLE are sounding pretty groovy on a percolating live take on "Hush."  Throw in The Chameleons' (UK) similar riff from "The Only One I Know" and you have your Twofer Tuesday.

PRINCE:  London's Mail on Sunday has threatened legal action against a ruling that means Prince's new album Planet Earth, which was given away in Sunday's paper, will not be chart eligible.  The Daily Mail published a short biography of the Purple One to promote the disc.

INDIE SELLS OUT:  The L.A. Times takes another look at the upsides and downsides of licensing songs for ads.

THE DETROIT COBRAS, cover band extraordinaire, get an audio feature with streaming songs at NPR, including Little Willie John's "Leave My Kitten Alone," which was also covered by the Fab Four.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE:  Another singer, Peter Andre, calls the supposedly sober supermodel "Kate Fungus," adding "She is meant to inspire young girls, but how can a walking skeleton inspire anyone?"

LINDSAY LOHAN is afraid that nude photos taken of her by British bad boy Calum Best have been stolen by a computer hacker and will wind up on the Internet.  Page Six sources the story to "underground" web site Celebslam.com, but how underground is it when you can just click that link?  ALSO:  Should you really celebrate leaving rehab by going to a Vegas nightclub wearing an alcohol-monitoring ankle bracelet?

MAD MEL UPDATE:  Speaking of rehabbers, Gibson looks really... happy surrounded by young women in a bar in Nicoya, Costa Rica.  Good thing that looks like a water bottle placed right in front of him.

THE FRENCH HOTEL told Larry King off-camera that she voted in the Presidential election last year.  Hey, that's the Chicago way -- vote early, vote often.

MADONNA and GUY RITCHIE's private life is going under the microscope as Malawi's top child welfare inspector arrives in the UK to test whether they are fit parents.

ISAIAH WASHINGTON, embattled star fired from ABC's Grey's Anatomy last month, has been stunt-cast on the high-profile remake of 1970s drama Bionic Woman this fall.

BRITNEY SPEARS:  Her bodyguard and "manny" is reportedly caring for the pop tart, too; it probably beats selling adult toys or running a pr0n site on the web.

SIENNA MILLER used to be the subject of gossip over her boyfriends.  Now she's taking flak for her "caterpillar eyebrow look."

ORLANDO BLOOM, otoh, is raising eybrows with his new 70s-pr0n-star mustache.  Couldn't he just have visited PetMoustache instead?

JANN WENNER, publisher of Rolling Stone magazine, talks a green game, but has a carbon footprint like a circus clown.  BONUS:  Same goes for Barbra Streisand.

JACK NICHOLSON:  70-years-old, really overweight, smoking cigarettes... still a chick magnet.

JESSICA ALBA:  Gentlemen's Quarterly saved even hotter photos for the UK edition than the US edition.  Why does GQ hate America?

TERROR in the UK:  The Counterterrorism blog has a link-rich roundup.

NORTH KOREA, icymi, shut down its nuclear reactor.  Oddly enough, the press is not seeking comment from those who criticized the US insistence on multi-lateral talks with the Communist dictatorship.

IRAQ:  US and Iraqi forces have launched a multi-brigade operation south of BaghdadIn Kirkuk, an AQI-style  coordinated attack by a suicide truck bomber killed over 80 and wounded upwards of 200. In Baghdad (and elsewhere), Iraqi and Coalition forces continue to hunt the deadly "Special Group" cells associated with Moqtada al Sadr's Mahdi Army.  Michael Yon has a gripping and graphic dispatch of an IED attack on a Stryker named the "General Lee" while clearing the major supply route for Coalition forces.  The NYT has more on the uneasy relations among US forces, some Iraqi Army brigades, and former insurgent groups now aiding them.  UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that an abrupt US troop pullout could deepen the crisis in Iraq, and he urged the US to keep the Iraqi people in mind when making decisions on the increasingly unpopular war.

IRAQ in the MEDIA:  The L.A. Times reports: "Although Bush administration officials have frequently lashed out at Syria and Iran, accusing it of helping insurgents and militias here, the largest number of foreign fighters and suicide bombers in Iraq come from a third neighbor, Saudi Arabia, according to a senior U.S. military officer and Iraqi lawmakers."  In late 2005, however, longtime Iraq policy critic Anthony Cordesman of CSIS was disputing media reports that Saudis are the largest group of foreign fighters.  In late 2006, twenty percent reportedly were Syrian, a similar number Egyptian, and the rest came mainly from Sudan and Saudi Arabia.  However, what the linked stories also tell us is that the Saudis spent nearly 1.2 billion and deployed 35K troops, in an effort to secure its border with Iraq, with the major problem being the border with Syria.  Moreover, the same day as the LAT story, Reuters reported that Iraq and Saudi Arabia have agreed to monitor sectarian fatwas from clerics which could inflame violence between Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims.  Moreover, the complaints about Iran and Syria never claimed that the foreign fighters were nationals of either country, so the story is attacking a straw man.  Indeed, the complaint that Iran is funding, training and arming Shiite extremists runs contrary to the criticism in the press that the Bush Admin is lumping our enemies together as "al-Qaeda."

IRAQ and the MEDIA II:  Another straw man appears in a  Washington Post story that "Mahdi Army, Not Al-Qaeda, is Enemy No. 1 in Western Baghdad," claiming that "West Rashid confounds the prevailing narrative from top U.S. military officials that the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq is the city's most formidable and disruptive force."  But if you read the story, you will not find any military official claiming that AQI is the biggest problem in Baghdad (as opposed to Iraq in general).

A BABY PANTHER has been adopted by a dog her mother refused to feed her and tried to kill her in the Belgrade zoo.  Let's go to the awww...some video.

STUMPY the DUCK UPDATE:  The four-legged duck who lost a leg after catching one of his feet in chicken wire can now waddle much faster, enabling him to catch up with his lady friend Alice when he is feeling amorous.  Pic of Alice, as well as a previously unseen pic of Stumpy as a duckling, at the link.

FRESH RAT!  Get your fresh rat right here... in China.

HORSE STANDS ON GIRL'S FACE:  The girl is reportedly in stable condition.  The pun writes itself.

STORM the BELGIAN SHEPHERD gets a bionic paw. All that's missing is the na-na-na-na-na-na-na...

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Pitchfork Music Fest, Redwalls, Shirley Bassey, LolCats   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, July 16, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

WHAT I DID ON MY SUMMER VACATION:

PITCHFORK MUSIC FEST 2007:  Rather than attempt a blow-by-blow account, I'll give you an overview, discoveries, and disagreement with the press.  For example, the big show Friday night -- Sonic Youth playing Daydream Nation in full -- was dimmed by a muted sound system (x2); I got closer, and Jim DeRogatis must have been too close to notice that the fab performance (though not quite as fab as the Goose Island Fest, Ken) was not translating to folks in the back half of the venue.  And technical problems plagued a number of the acts this year, though not all were the fault of the Fest.  Fortunately, Union Park was not a blast furnace this year and had enough cool breezes to keep folks from despair when delays would occur.  The other issue this year was that the fest was heavy with more laid-back, intimate folk rock that does not always transfer well to a festival setting.  Thus, DeRogatis may not be keen on the Cure & Smiths-influenced Voxtrot, but he had to admit that they were a welcome shot in the arm Saturday afternoon.  TimeOut Chicago agreed.  I wasn't sure how Grizzly Bear would fare in a live setting as the Yellow House album is such a unique production; it did suffer a little, but it brought out the band's harmonies, which oddly reminded me of early Jefferson Airplane (with Marty Balin on lead), or slightly of Trip Shakespeare.  I think the press was a little hard on Iron & Wine because we already had a number of laid-back acts; newer numbers  like "The Devil Never Sleeps" perked up the crowd and have me looking forward to the new LP.  Similarly, I think Battles got the benefit of being one of the more rocking acts of the day, though their math-prog vibe still leaves me cold.

CAT POWER, however, may have gotten the rawest deal in the press.  She and the Dirty Dozen Blues band had the same sort of volume problem as Sonic Youth, but up close, she converted me from an admirer to a fan.  Contra DeRogatis, her fans were wowed, and TimeOut got it almost completely wrong.  Chan Marshall and her band -- made up of people from Jon Spencer's Blues Explosion and Delta 88, among others -- put on a helluva show, despite the technical problems.  Though drawing largely from The Greatest (starting with the title track), she totally reinvented "New York, New York," belted "The Tracks of My Tears" like it was Stax instead of Motown, pumped up her own cover of "Satisfaction" and -- after joking that it was not "Bela Legosi's Dead" -- delivered "The Dark End of the Street" in a way that likely made Gram Parsons smile (wherever he is).  Now that she's reined in the crazy self-destruction, go see her.

YOKO ONO:  I came, I saw, I heard, I ran as fast as my legs would carry me.  Outside the park, some street musician honked out "The Addams Family Theme" on the sax to assure me that real music still existed.

SUNDAY had a better mix of music.  Deerhunter (think My Bloody Valentine or Sonic Youth), whose frontman, Bradford Cox, suffers from Marfan syndrome.and a penchant for wearing dresses, is not going to lull anyone to sleep.  Nor would the garage-tinged indie rock of The Ponys (who sadly were doubly-cursed with sound problems).  Menomena was good, but not great (imho).  An upside to tech delays was that I caught a bit of Nomo at the third stage; I had not heard them before and they were funkalicious.  The Sea & Cake wisely chose a setlist that kept them out of the "too laid-back" box.  The biggest surprise of Sunday for me was just how dynamic Jamie Lidell was all by himself; the leap in energy level was comparable to Otis Redding in the studio versus live -- he won the crowd over and even had a fair number dancing in the late afternoon heat.  Sadly, I couldn't hear Stephen Malkmus, as I was establishing a position for Of Montreal -- which turned out to be my best decision of the day.  Here, TimeOut gets it exactly right -- the '70s glam/'80s new wave fusion with tight harmonies, the theatrical performers onstage, the roaring encore of The Kinks' "All Day & All Of The Night," etc.  I'll have return to Of Montreal here when the photos and video become available, because it's one thing to write that Kevin Barnes channeled Ray Davies wearing a leather thong and fishnet stockings, but you really have to see it.  It was worth being trapped up front and getting a less-desirable spot for The New Pornographers, which TimeOut also gets right; the band was clearly jazzed to be the penultimate band at the fest, with a set full of fan faves ("All the Old Showstppers," "Mass Romantic," "From Blown Speakers," "Sing Me Spanish Techno," "The Bleeding Heart Show"), a particularly hyper version of "Twin Cinema" and new numbers from the Challengers LP coming this August -- one of which unexpectedly segued into Queen's "We Will Rock You."  They were so good that I felt a little sorry that they had to follow Of Montreal.  As for De La Soul, I liked some of their stuff back in the day, but nipped early to report back to y'all... and to soak my feet.

BONUS:  This year's fest included some of those big video screens, so I'm thinking they should have some sweet clips for the site soon.  In the meantime, P-Fork has reposted clips from last year, from which my picks to click would be Yo La Tengo, Jens Lekman and Man Man.

THE REDWALLS:  Chicago's very own neo-classic rockers stopped by the Current, so you can stream an interview and miniset via MPR.

IT'S ALL PART OF HER ROCK 'N' ROLL FANTASY:  Author and radio host Katherine Lanpher talks to WNYC about her rock 'n' roll fantasy camp experience, which found her singing backup vocals for The Who's Roger Daltrey and Cheap Trick.

ELIJAH WOOD, a/k/a Frodo Baggins, talks to CMJ about his plans for his Yep Roc-distributed indie label, Simian Records.

ALL SONGS CONSIDERED is featuring selections from Spoon, Interpol, The Field, Laurie Anderson and more, streaming via NPR.

DAME SHIRLEY BASSEY brings the Bond vibe to Pink's "Get The Party Started."  She's still got it.

25 MUST-HEAR NEW INDIE ALBUMS, from Gypsy punk to West Coast hip-hop and Swedish death metal to mainstream country and more typical indie rock, according to Billboard.

OKKERVIL RIVER is doing the pre-order our album, download it now thing.  Frontman Will Scheff tells Billboard  it's going to be more upbeat than the often-harrowing Black Sheep Boy: "I felt like if I did that again, I'd fall into the trap of repeating myself..."

SCHMALTZ IS OUT:  Science proves it by studying the "differential affect gap."

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE:  The supposedly sober supermodel, reportedly feeling "old and haggard," is turning to the woman who first made her famous - Storm Model Management boss Sarah Doukas - in a desperate bid to relaunch herself after breaking from the troubled singer.

PATTON OSWALT -- the voice of Ratatouille's Remy -- meets Daniel Radcliffe, a/k/a Harry Potter, on The Tonight Show.  And then proceeds to list the reasons not to see the Potter movie.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE:  Of course, there was no chance that people were going to believe Oswalt, so Hogwarts took in 77 million over the weekend, with a global 330 million total (on a 150 million budget) and the biggest grossing Wednesday ever.  That's magic.  Director David Yates and producer David Heyman talk about the latest Potter on WNYC.  NPR is streaming "Wizard Rock" inspired by the series.  But I digress.  Transformers came in second with 36 million; the studio will be happy to see a drop of under 50 percent.  Ratatouille took the third spot with 18 million and a mere 38 percent drop in the face of the Potter juggernaut.  Live Free of Die Hard dropped a similar amount, making 10.8 milllion and crossing the 100 million mark in the US.  License to Wed and 1408 each dropped less than 30 percent.  Evan Almighty took another 43 percent drop; it remains under the 100 million mark worldwide, with a reported 200 million budget.  Knocked Up quietly took in another 3.6 million, having made at least 100 million over its 30 million budget.  Sicko made 2.6 million; it's 15 milliontotal is more than its 9 million budget, but Fahrenheit 9/11 made 222 million on a 6 million budget, so ouch.  Rounding out the Top Ten is the leggy Ocean's 13 with 1.9 million bucks.

ELISHA CUTHBERT added injury to the insult of starring in Captivity -- which debuted in 12th place -- by getting hit by a car and thrown across the street in NYC, because she wasn't looking where she was going.

LINDSAY LOHAN is out of rehab.  And her close friend, DJ Samantha Ronson, is suing PerezHilton and the Sunset Photo and News Agency for suggesting that cocaine found in Lohan's car after an infamous fender-bender was actually hers.

BRITNEY SPEARS reportedly has a "stalker" calling the L.A. County Department of Child and Family Services and lodging "bizarre" complaints against her, which explains some of last week's events.  Meanwhile, NYPost gossip Cindy Adams is hearing the pop tart still wants Fed-Ex back, while friends speculate that the marriage was a set-up by Fed-Ex (which seems unlikely, given that he's reportedly dating someone other than baby mama Shar Jackson).

THE FRENCH HOTEL:  The L.A. Sheriff's Department on Thursday launched an internal investigation into whether the hotel heiress got special perks while at the Century Regional Detention Center in Lynwood.

REBECCA ROMIJN and JERRY O'CONNELL got hitched on Saturday in Los Angeles.  The couple's two dogs, Taco and Better - dressed in black bow ties - joined in on the celebration.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  Fluffy coverage of Homes and the Tom-Kitten on a playdate claims that "the youngster took tentative steps along a grassy bank," but the video shows her trying to escape several times.  Run, Suri, Run!

CARMEN ELECTRA and JOAN JETT have split up after nine months, according to the ever-reliable Star magazine.

MATTHEW PERRY, HIDDEN COUGAR:  The former Friend and Meg Ryan have been secretly dating for five months, according to US Weekly.

MICHAEL RICHARDS has been seeking some spiritual healing in Cambodia, after he shouted racial slurs at hecklers in a West Hollywood comedy club.

EVAN ALMIGHTY:  If the most expensive comedy ever did not already have enough trouble, Malaysian Muslims have called for a ban on the flick as offensive to their religion, state media reported Friday.

QUEEN ELIZABETH II did not flip out at celeb photog Annie Leibowitz during a Vanity Fair photo shoot.  The BBC has admitted it "misrepresented" what happened in the encounter.  Leibowitz denied the incident several weeks before the BBC launched its version of the events.  RELATED:  Former BBC producer Anthony Jay writes about the decades-long, rampant biases at the BBC.

TROPHY WIVES:  Both ABC News and the NYT have done stories on potential GOP presidential candidate Fred Thompson's wife Jeri, both suggesting that she's a trophy wife and (oddly) that it's likely a plus for him.  Yet neither has covered the fact that Rep. Dennis Kuchinich married his third wife, Elizabeth Harper, in 2005; she's roughly 30 years younger than he is and far more attractive than he is... and he, unlike Thompson, is formally running for President.  Ouch.

ISLAMISM in the UK:  An al-Qaeda fanatic jailed for inciting murder online was caught making a website urging terror attacks - from his cell in Britain's most secure prison.  Up to 4,000 Islamic extremists have attended terrorist training camps in Afghanistan before returning to Britain, security chiefs have revealed.  Former extremist Hassan Butt writes that he still hears British Muslims clinging to conspiracy theories and living in a comforting state of denial.

CARTOON JIHAD:  A Muslim group lost its libel case against the newspaper that published cartoons satirizing jihadi extremism; the group is considering an appeal... and a fatwa!

IRAN:  Anti-stoning activist Asieh Amini finds that few want to talk about what happened to an adulterer in the village of Aghche Kand, even though the national government confirmed the stoning last week.  And Tehran is doubling the number of forces assigned to check up on lax dressing.

PAKISTAN:  The NYT reports that few people attended protests of the raid on the Red Mosque organized by religious parties on Friday, showing how far Islamist radicals are from gaining widespread popular support.  OTOH, the NYT reported that there has been a deadly surge of jihadi violence in the restive North Waziristan tribal region.  As in Iraq, a relatively small number of radicals can present problems.  The army started deploying troops in NWFP's southern districts, adjoining the Waziristan region, amid reports that an operation to curb militancy and extremism was imminent.

IRAQ:  Key tribal leaders from the Ubaidi and Anbakia tribes signed a peace agreement in Baquba to end decades-long tribal conflicts and stand together against al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations.  IraqSlogger has photos of former insurgents joining Coalition forces.  And here's video of US forces and Iraqis celebrating victory over AQI in Anbar province.  On Saturday, Iraqis celebrated the anniversary of the 1958 Revolution, which overthrew the monarchy and founded the first Iraqi republic.  I'm sure much will be made of Prime Minister al-Maliki's comment that if necessary, Iraqi police and soldiers could fill the void left by the departure of coalition forces.  But if you were PM, you would likely say the same, out of nationalist sentiment and pride.  Second-tier Shiite, Sunni and Kurd officials have already said that disaster would follow a hasty US withdrawal.  Meanwhile a robot air attack squadron of killer drones is headed into battle.

LOLCATS:  Time magazine has discovered them, years after the fact.  The mag reports: "It's easier to show lolcats than to explain it."  And then doesn't show any.

THE GIANT, LION-EATING CHIMPS of the MAGIC FOREST:  A story in London's Guardian, not Weekly World News.

BIG DOG UPDATE:  Tiny the Great Dane is challenging Samson for the title of Britain's Largest Dog.  Pic at the link.

MYSTERY REPTILE spotted in the Jayhawker Ponds Natural Area near Loveland, Colorado.

THE PORCUPINE THREAT:  A new type of intruder has been needling authorities at Israel's top secret nuclear research center -- one of the four-legged variety.  Has Spiny Norman been accounted for?

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