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Aimee Mann, Man Man, Midlake, Cutout Bin, Climbing Cat   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, December 20, 2013 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

THE WEEKEND STARTS HERE:

...with AIMEE MANN's CHRISTMAS CAROL (profanity warnings): Part One has your Scrooge-y set-up with Michael Penn. Part Two features The Office's John Krasinski. Part Three has Michael Cera. Part Four has John C. Reilly.

MAN MAN visited WFUV's Studio A for a chat and mini-set.

MIDLAKE stopped by Morning Becomes Eclectic for a session. 

DAUGHTER stopped by World Cafe for a chat and mini-set. 

NICK LOWE explains what's behind his new holiday album, Quality Street, and plays live in the WNYC Soundcheck studio.

THE NEW MENDICANTS, ft. members of the Pernice Bros and Teenage Fanclub, drop "A Very Sorry Christmas."

AGAINST ME! drops "Black Me Out" ahead of Transgender Dysphoria Blues.

SHE & HIM get animated for their take on "Baby, It's Cold Outside," which Zooey originally sang in Elf.

TITUS ANDRONICUS frontman Patrick Stickles gets a meaty profile at Stereogum

KEITH RICHARDS, LORD OF THE UNDEAD, talks "Street Fighting Man" with... the Wall Street Journal?

THE 10 BEST BOB DYLAN SONGS, according to Stereogum.

THE BEST COVER SONGS OF 2013, according to Paste.

THE CUTOUT BIN: From Al Green to Galaxie 500, from The Clash to The Crystals, from The Woodentops to The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, plus The Motels, The Impressions, Van Halen, Primal Scream and more -- this Friday's fortuitous finds are streaming from the Pate page at the ol' HM.

NOW SHOWING: This weekend's wide releases include Anchorman 2, which is currently scoring 75 percent on the ol' Tomatometer; Walking With Dinosaurs, currently scoring 23 percent; the expansion of American Hustle (reviewed below),which scores 94 percent; and the expansion of Saving Mr. Banks (which I reviewed Monday), scoring 80 percent.

AMERICAN HUSTLE: David O. Russell sets the tone for his highly fictionalized take on the ABSCAM investigation with the opening title card: "Some of this really happened."  And yet, even when the movie veers into farce, I could not help but be fully in the movie -- a tribute not only to Russell's direction, which rivals his work The Fighter and Silver Linings Playook, but also to his cast, many of whom are Russell veterans.  As con man Irving Rosenfeld, Christian Bale evokes vintage Robert DeNiro at time, making one turn in the story particularly surreal.  Russell again brings out the best in Bradley Cooper as the overreaching FBI Agent Richie DiMaso.  And Jennifer Lawrence is a comic delight as Irving's poisonously manipulative wife.  But it may be Amy Adams who hits a new career high; her performance as Sydney Prosser requires more range and subtlety than the others and she does everything in this movie except wear a bra, because it's the late Seventies.  Jeremy Renner and Louis C.K.also turn in fine performances in second-tier roles.The art direction, production design, and music supervision is all on-target for the period, sometimes reminding me of a more comedic version of Goodfellas that Scorsese never got around to making.  The overall comedic tone might prevent these folks from converting almost certain Oscars nominations into statue, which is sad, because this is among the best films I have seen this year

PRINCE WILLIAM & KATE MIDDLETON's phone conversations are revealed in court.

PIPPA MIDDLETON: Maybe not engaged, after all.

DUCK DYNASTY: A & E knew all about “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson's feelings toward gays when it hired him.

ROBIN WRIGHT is engaged to actor Ben Foster..

PAUL RUDD is in early negotiations to star in Marvel's Ant-Man.

BRAD PITT & TOM CRUISE: Together again?

GERMANY: The government is becoming increasingly concerned about the flow of German jihadists to Syria; they are now said to number in the low hundreds.

EGYPT: An Islamist militant reportedly blew himself up near Cairo as he was trying to escape arrest. The Muslim Brotherhood denounced charges that former president Mohammed Morsi conspired with foreign groups to conduct terror attacks in Egypt.

ISRAEL: President Peres said the world must continue to pressure Iran.

LIBYA: A severed head was found in Benghazi, said to be that of the father of a senior Benghazi security official; the father was kidnapped weeks ago.

A CAT climbs a Christmas tree.

A DOG adopts two baby armadillos... mass hysteria!

SNAKES IN HATS: This will not end well.

A LAMB born without front legs has learned how to walk like a human solely on his back limbs.

499 Reads

Okkervil River, Bill Callahan, Cate Le Bon, Shina Ibu   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, December 19, 2013 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

THE MILK CARTON KIDS play thier song "Memphis."

OKKERVIL RIVER drops Golden Opportunities 3 -- an EP of 80s covers, starting with a drunken-sounding take on Wang Chung's "Dance Hall Days."

BILL CALLAHAN stopped by World Cafe for a chat and mini-set. 

CATE LE BON stopped by Morning Becomes Eclectic for a session.

TEN ARTISTS You Should Have Known In 2013.

PURE BATHING CULTURE tackles “Good King Wenceslas."

GLAM CHOPS: Art Brut's Eddie Argos has a "Countdown to Christmas."

PITCHFORK's Top 50 Albums of 2013. Plus honorable mentions.

KEITH RICHARDS, LORD OF THE UNDEAD, turned 70 in human years. The Guardian has a profile from 1966.

IAN WATKINS, former frontman for Lostprophets, has received a 35-year sentence after admitting a string of sex offenses involving children including the attempted rape of a baby. He finds it "mega lolz."

ROD STEWART claims The Faces will reunite in 2015. I'm skeptical.

DUCK DYNASTY and PHIL ROBERTSON were profiled by Vanity Fair. Robertson has been suspended indefinitely from the show for his comments about homosexuality in the article.

PIPPA MIDDLETON got engaged to Nico Jackson.

RYAN GOSLING & EVA MENDES are taking a break in their relationship after it was decided they were moving too fast, according to RadarOnline.

JOAQUIN PHOENIX may play the villain in Superman vs Batman. Luthor?

JAY LENO: This is CNN?

EVANGELINE LILLY says ORLANDO BLOOM lied about her getting sick-drunk at a party.

LARRY LUJACK, the legendary Chicago radio personality known as “Superjock” and “Uncle Lar,” died Wednesday in New Mexico, his wife said. He was 73.

AN IRANIAN BUSINESSMAN linked to a sprawling conglomerate controlled by Iran's supreme leader is wanted by the United States for allegedly trying to purchase hundreds of American-made assault rifles to smuggle into Iran.

SYRIA: US Ambassador Robert Ford said the Islamic Front flatly turned down the US' request for talks; Ford added that the US is "ready to sit with them because we talk to all parties and political groups in Syria." The Assad regime called the US offer "reprehensible" as the Islamic Front "agrees in principle, strategy, and goals with" the Al Nusrah Front, a US-designated terrorist group. Saudi Arabia signaled that it will 'go it alone' in Syria given the West's reluctance to arm the rebels.

EGYPT: Former president Mohammed Morsi and 35 others were charged with conspiring with foreign groups, including Hamas and Hezbollah, to conduct terror attacks in Egypt.

LULU the SHINA IBU is not a morning dog.

QUEENSLAND POOCHES are getting hooked on the hallucinogenic cane toads.

A LIVE ALLIGATOR is not legal tender.

A LUCKY DUCK escapes the goose gallows.

374 Reads

The Sadies, Cage the Elephant, Emily Bell, Waffles the Terrible   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

YUCK dropped a video for "Lose My Breath" featuring kids and duckies.

THE SADIES bring their twang to the WNYC Soundcheck studios.

CAGE THE ELEPHANT stopped by WFUV's Studio A to play unpluggedy.

EMILY BELL stopped by KUTX for a mini-set.

SOUND OPINIONS presents Space Age Santa Sounds via Andy Cirzan.

MATTHEW DEAR, with TEGAN & SARA, cover Tears For Fears' "Pale Shelter."

TEARS FOR FEARS covers Aminal Collective's "My Girls."

THE BLACK LIPS drop "Boys In The Wood" ahead of Underneath The Rainbow.

GREGG ALLMAN joins THE NATIONAL to sing "Silver Bells" on the Colbert Report.

THE ROCK & ROLL HALL OF FAME will induct Kiss, Nirvana, Peter Gabriel, Hall & Oates, Linda Ronstadt, Cat Stevens, and the E Street Band. Nirvana's Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl comment. The Replacements were robbed, as usual.

DEV HYNES (Blood Orange) lost his dog an his possessions in an apartment fire.

THE TALKING HEADS, ranked by The Awl.

MIDLAKE talks to The Line Of Best Fit about stepping up after losing frontman Tim Smith.

ANCHORMAN 2 hits theaters today, scoring a perhaps surprising 81 percent on the ol' Tomatometer (76 percent with top critics).  Note most of the positive reviews still deem it inferior to the original.

SHIA LaBEOUF apologized for plagarizing Daniel Clowes in his new short film.

BRADLEY COOPER is profiled by GQ.

BRUCE WILLIS has a fifth child on the way; it's his second with wife Emma Heming-Willis.

ORLANDO BLOOM talks swashbuckling, women, full frontal nudity and more at Elle.

LINDSAY LOHAN threatens to sing again.

KELLY ROWLAND got engaged to Tim Witherspoon.

DWAYNE "THE ROCK" JOHNSON tops the new Forbes list of Hollywood's top-grossing actors. Take that, Iron Man.

GILLIGAN'S ISLAND is headed to the big screen.

SYRIA: A Syrian National Coalition source said Western nations are now signaling that they may prefer the Assad regime to remain for a transitional period in order to avoid possible chaos and an Islamist takeover. The Islamic Front denied reports it was meeting with the US ambassador; an Islamic Front official claimed that the group will not fight against al Qaeda. The Al Nusrah Front and rebels are besieging the Aleppo Central Prison area. he OPCW said it was possible that the Dec. 31 deadline for moving all of Syria's chemical weapons out of the country may not be met, due to poor security.

LEBANON: An explosives-laden jeep detonated close to a Hezbollah military camp in Shouba near the Syrian border, killing the driver and injuring two Hezbollah fighters. The head of the Christian political party Lebanese Forces blamed Hezbollah's involvement in Syria for bringing suicide bombings to Lebanon. French Ambassador Patrice Paoli warned that Lebanon's ongoing political stalemate coupled with security challenges risked "total chaos."

SOUTH SUDAN: While the government claims that it has contained violence in Juba, 73 soldiers have been killed and the US has ordered the evacuation of all non-essential personnel.

IRAQ: The Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham killed 10 Shia pilgrims in attacks in Mahmudiyah and Baghdad.

WAFFLES THE TERRIBLE attempts to leap the chasm from the snow-covered slippery roof of a van to the top of an icy garage.

THE CTHURKEY: A horrifying Christmas meal.

ENDANGERED IGUANAS endangered by diarrhea, high blood sugar and cholesterol. Dang tourists.

A DOG abandoned on a trash heap makes a remarkable recovery.

352 Reads

Deer Tick, Donora, J Roddy Walston, Sleepy Cat   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

LEE RANALDO & THE DUST played "Leece, Leaving" for Conan.

DEER TICK stopped by World Cafe for a chat and mini-set.

DONORA stopped by World Cafe for a chat and mini-set.

J. RODDY WALSTON & THE BUSINESS stopped by WFUV to perform a couple of new songs and chat about the making of Essential Tremors.

A CHRISTMAS GIFT FOR YOU from... Moshi Moshi Records

MARK KOZELEK drops his take on “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.”

SPECTOR covers John Lennon's "Jealous Guy."

ISLANDS drops a new tune, "Hawaii," as a one-off.

KIM WILDE drunkenly warbles "Kids In America" and "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" on the subway.

RAY PRICE: The legendary country singer has died following his battle with pancreatic cancer, after erroneous death reports over the weekend. He was 87.

THE BEATLES are releasing a bootleg album this week.  Also, the Fabs turned up in a court decision against the National Security Agency. Yes, really.

THE GUMMY AWARDS: The Top 50 Albums of 2013, according to Stereogum readers.

MUSICIANS' PICKS for Songs of 2013.

CHARLIE SHEEN claims Denise Richards is ruining Christmas.

MILEY CYRUS peddles her softer side to Barbara Walters.

KHLOE KARDASHIAN is reportedly not already dating Matt Kemp.

BEYONCE shattered the iTunes store record with her surprise album release.

CHRIS BROWN's probation in the Rihanna beating case was revoked due to the fresh assault charges against him. And yet Brown remains at large, because the judge is impressed with his progress in anger management classes.

THE CRITICS' CHOICE AWRDS nominations went to these folks.

JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT is producing, directing and starring in the film adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Sandman.

JAMES CAMERON plans to shoot three Avatar sequels in New Zealand.

TURKEY has shipped 47 tons of weapons to Syrian rebels since June, including 29 tons in September; last month the Interior Ministry said hundreds of Turkish jihadists were fighting alongside al Qaeda forces in Syria.

IRAN almost certainly has CIA contractor Robert Levinson in custody, if he still lives.

IRAQ: More than 70 people were killed in a series of bombings and attacks in Baghdad, Bayji, Mosul, Tikrit, and Jisr Diyala.

A CAT sleeps on demand.

LUCY, a Husky-beagle mix, limped to find help for her unconscious owner after they were plowed down by a speeding car while out on a walk.

INVASIVE FISH SPECIES turn up in Ohio.

A SPERM WHALE's stomach proves explosive.

344 Reads

Nirvana Unplugged, Nick Lowe, White Denim, Peter O'Toole RIP, Buffalo vs Lion   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, December 16, 2013 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

NIRVANA played MTV Unplugged In New York 20 years ago. Watch the whole ting and get off my lawn.

NICK LOWE stopped by WFUV's Studio A to play new songs and chat about the making of his Christmas album.

WHITE DENIM stopped by WFUV's Studio A to play new songs and to talk with me about the making of Corsicana Lemonade.

CRYSTAL ANTLERS put their own unique twist on surf-psych-punk at KEXP.

SARAH JAROSZ played a Tiny Desk Concert at the offices of NPR.

CHARLES BRADLEY covers Black Sabbath's "Changes."

IRON & WINE, CALEXICO, KATHLEEN EDWARDS & GLEN HANSARD team up to cover the Pogues' seasonal classic, "Fairytale of  New York," for Jimmy Fallon.

MOE TUCKER remembers Lou Reed.

UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA's Ruban Nielson talks about insomnia, the occult and more with The Guardian.

WHAT MAKES TENNESSEE MUSIC GREAT? Editors from The Oxford American talk to Weekend Edition about  assembling the Tennessee music issue.

THE TOP ALBUMS of 2013, according to American Songwriter

PETER O'TOOLE, an Irish bookmaker’s son with a hell-raising streak whose performance in the 1962 epic film Lawrence of Arabia earned him overnight fame and established him as one of his generation’s most charismatic actors, died on Saturday in London. He was 81. Sadly, most of his obits omit The Lion in Winter, in which he is terrific and stages one of the most dysfunctional family Christmases evah.I had just watched it again on Saturday, and it still holds up, minus about 20 seconds in the middle.

JOAN FONTAINE, the Oscar-winning actress who strred in Hitchcock's Suspicion and Rebecca, both rival and sister to Olivia de Havilland, has died at 96.

TOM LAUGHLIN, the maverick actor and filmmaker best known for the Billy Jack films, has died. He was 82. One tin soldier rides away.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: As expected, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug tops the chart with 73.7 million, which is mostly good news. Granted, it's not the 85 million record set by the first Hobbit; indeed, this is only the fourth biggest December debut.  OTOH, Hollywood largely avoided competing against the first Hobbit, which ultimately underwhelmed many.  This time, Peter Jackson still faced competition for screens from movies still doing big business, including The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Frozen, and even the debut of Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas. Moreover, worldwide receipts for Smaug are actually running a bit ahead of the last Middle Earth pic, so it's likely this will finish over a billion.  Frozen placed with 22.2 million on a leggy 30 percent drop on over 3700 screens (see what I mean?).  Disney's domestic total here is 164 million and -- based on Tangled's track record -- is likely to rake in another 115 million or so over the holidays. A Madea Christmas shows with 16 million, which is below the 20 million-like-clockwork Perry usually gets.  In fact, the lowest a Madea pic has opened is 25 million, so perhaps Christmas was a bad idea here. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire drops 2 notches, but still rakes in 13.2 million on over 3500 screen; its 356 million domestic still puts this one in range of breaking 400 million over the holiday season. Thor: The Dark World rounds out the Top, but with a mere 2.7 million that tells you who Smaug killed.  Even so, it will cross 200 million domestic soon and is already north of 600 million worldwide. Below the fold, Out of the Furnace is flopping.

THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG is one where I don't think I have much to offer beyond the conventional wisdom.  Many found An Unexpected Journey to be slow to get moving and overstuffed; Smaug is still a bit overstuffed, but not slow-moving, as one would expect from a second act, and better for it.  This one is much less about Dwaves singing and eating, and a bit more about Elves decapitating Orcs and riddling them with arrows.  Orlando Bloom returns as Legolas, though the character did not appear in the book.  I've heard hardcore fans were not pleased that Evangeline Lilly (Lost) was cast as Tauriel, an Elf (and a storyline) invented by Jackson and his wife/partner, Fran Walsh, but I can't say she particularly bothered me.  Smaug is voiced by the seemingly ubiquitous Benedict Cumberbatch (Smaaauuug!), who also reprises his role as the Neuromancer. If you're not overly attached to the book you can settle in for an entertaining ride.

SAVING MR. BANKS is not the film you might expect from the advertising. This is in no small part a (perhaps exaggerated) biopic of Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers, ably portrayed by Emma Thompson, who has experience playing seemingly reserved women with emotions churning beneath the surface.  The movie suggests Travers selling the movie rights to Walt Disney was in some sense therapeutic for her, when the real story is much more one of a woman standing up to The Mouse. But Travers is dead and The Mouse gets to write the popular history of the encounter.  That said, the movie is entertaining and well-executed when taken at face value. As Disney, Tom Hanks plays a smaller, though pivotal, role in the film than the marketing suggests (again, Hanks is well-cast here as he loves anything smacking of the Sixties). Thompson spends as much or more screen time with Paul Giamatti (her driver), Bradley Whitford (screenwiter Don DaGradi) and Jason Schwartzman and BJ Novak (the Sherman songwriting team), all of who make the most of their material. If you watch, stay for the credit sequence, which features some rare audio from the Disney archive.

KHLOE KARDASHIAN filed court documents to divorce Lamar Odom and restore her name. Later that day, she was photographed heading to the gym with baseball star Matt Kemp.

LINDSAY LOHAN is writing a tell-all book.

EMILIA CLARKE (Game of Thrones) will play Sarah Connor in the Terminator reboot, re-teaming with director Alan Taylor.

ED HELMS is rebooting The Naked Gun, presumably without OJ Simpson.

YEMEN's parliament passed a non-binding bill to ban US drone strikes inside the country.

SYRIA: The UK is tightening sanctions on the Assad regime in Syria after discovering that it managed to obtain regime funds from banks in France and used them to buy food for the Syrian army. A coalition of 15 armed rebel groups, including the Free Syrian Army's Supreme Military Council, reportedly joined together to form the "Syrian Rebels Front"; talks between the FSA and the Islamic Front have not produced an accord, and the FSA as a result sought to form a new military coalition to unify the Syrian rebels that support the FSA.

IRAQ: Insurgents killed 20 people in attacks throughout the country.

AFRICAN CAPE BUFFALO vs LION: Who you got?

BUTTONS AND KITTY, living together... mass hysteria!

A ZEBRA is on the lam in Tennessee.

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT: A two-headed piglet.

610 Reads

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