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Robert Pollard, Eleanor Friedberger, Bill Callahan, Kitten vs Dragon   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, December 05, 2013 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


THE KINKS, with the evergreen "Father Christmas."

ROBERT POLLARD is streaming Blazing Gentlemen.

ELEANOR FRIEDBERGER visited Judson Memorial Church in NYC to perform songs from her Personal Record live on KEXP as part of CMJ 2013.

BILL CALLAHAN stopped by KUTX for a mini-set.

ROBBIE ROBERTSON (The Band) stopped by World Cafe for a chat about his book, Legends, Icons & Rebels.

THE VELVET UNDERGROUND drops a 19-minute "Sister Ray" from the White Light/White Heat box.

ROY ORBISON passed away 25 years ago this week. The Guardian reprints his final interview. "It's Over," but only on this plane.

PHIL COLLINS: The Godfather of Pop Culture?

REM expresses a healthy contempt for what now passes for rock n' roll in a vintage interview.

THE BEST ALBUMS of 2013, according to Paste.

PAUL WALKER and his friend Roger Rodas were apparently going over 90 mph when their special-edition Porsche crashed, killing both of them. The two died from the combined effects of traumatic and thermal injuries.

KANYE WEST was accused of anti-Semitism by the Anti-Defmanation League. He and Kim Kardashian have set their sights on France's famed Palace of Versailles for their much-anticipated nuptials.

ORLANDO BLOOM and... Lord of the Rings co-star Liv Tyler?

CHRIS BROWN is getting sued for millions by Frank Ocean's cousin over that massive brawl outside a recording studio.

GAL GODOT has been cast as Wonder Woman in Batman vs. Superman.

EMILIA CLARKE & BRIE LARSON are in the running to play the role of Sarah Connor in a Terminator reboot.

LEBANON: A Hezbollah commander who fought in Syria and had a key role in the group's drone program, was shot dead in Beirut. The Ahrar al-Sunna Baalbek brigade claimed the attack, but Hezbollah blamed Israel and claimed it had targeted him in the past. Israeli officials denied involvement in the killing of a Hezbollah commander near Beirut.

EGYPT: The brother of the leader of Ansar Jerusalem said "it is possible" the group is tied to al Qaeda. US officials said AQAP is in regular contact with jihadist groups in the Sinai.

ISRAEL: Authorities completed the construction of the Israel-Egypt border fence.

LIBYA: A General National Congress vote made sharia law the basis for all legislation and all state institutions.


THE SQUIRREL THREAT: "This is the worst squirrel infestation I have ever seen."

A JACK RUSSELL TERRIER MIX learned a valuable lesson recently after getting his head stuck in a irrigation pipe while chasing a militant squirrel.

WOTTIES: A Westie and a Rottweiler, living together... mass hysteria!





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Of Montreal, Neil Finn, Laura Veirs, Au Revoir Simone, Piano Pachyderm   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, December 04, 2013 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


THE KILLERS celebrate "Christmas in L.A." with Dawes, Harry Dean Stanton and Owen Wilson.

OF MONTREAL stopped by Morning Becomes Eclectic for a session.

NEIL FINN stopped by Morning Becomes Eclectic for a session.

LAURA VEIRS recently stopped by WFUV's Studio A to share some of her new songs and chat about the making of the new album.

AU REVOIR SIMONE plays a set live on KEXP from Judson Memorial Church in NYC during CMJ 2013.

THE RAVEONETTES' 2011 video for 2001's "The Christmas Song."

THROWING MUSES: Kristin Hersh talks to Rolling Stone about the band's first new album in a decade.

PHOSPHORESCENT: Matthew Houck talks to The Guardian about turning his life around.

LEE HAZLEWOOD: The psychedelic cowboy's career is essayed by The Guardian.

THE BEST LPs OF 2013, according to MOJO

PAUL WALKER: TMZ has grisly video of the crash that ended the actor's life; a witness tells THR something was wrong with the car.

KATY PERRY & JOHN MAYER signaled that they had greenlit their romance again with the release of “Who You Love."

JESSICA HART won't get the ax from Victoria's Secret for snarking on Taylor Swift.

ZOOEY DESCHANEL has gone from new girl to mean girl on her sitcom set?

CHRISTIAN SLATER married Brittany Lopez, his girlfriend of a few years.

SOFIA VERGARA tops the new Forbes list of highest-paid TV actors.

GILLIAN ANDERSON wears a giant eel for charity.

THE UNITED KINGDOM: Prime Minister Cameron said the government plans to classify "Islamist extremism" as a distinct ideology that distorts and betrays the principles of Islam. In the wake of the savage murder of an unarmed British soldier by Islamists in Woolwich this summer, Home Secretary May will set out measures to deal with extremism, which may include means to ban groups that preach hatred.

SYRIA: Four rebel battalions in Idlib-- al-Ansar, al-Naser al-Qadem, al-Naser, and al-Muntaser Billah -- split from the Ahfad al-Rasoul brigade and declared they would proceed independently with "armed jihadist struggle" against the Assad regime.

EGYPT: Authorities are reportedly probing whether former president Mohammed Morsi had conspired with jihadists in Egypt.

IRAQ: The Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham killed 24 people in a series of bombings and attacks. Security forces captured the ISIS's governor for Basra and five fighters.

PETER THE ELEPHANT tickles the ivories.

A BRAZEN EAGLE snatched a video camera that was recording crocodiles in northwest Australia and captured fascinating footage of its 70-mile journey across the country's remote landscape.

THOUSANDS OF MICE parachute into Guam to fight snakes. Again.

LIONS halt traffic in Nairobi.



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Dick Dodd RIP, Neil Young, Brendan Benson, Goosnami   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, December 03, 2013 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


DICK DODD, drummer and singer for the Standells - and Mouseketeer! - has died at 68, apparently of late stage cancer. "Dirty Water/ Why Pick On Me", are  obligatory here for Twofer Tuesday.

NEIL YOUNG is advance streaming Live At The Cellar Door, circa late 1970.

BRENDAN BENSON is advance streaming You Were Right.

POLICA played a mini-set at the UBS Forum

THE DISMEMBERMENT PLAN joined KEXP at Judson Memorial Church in NYC during CMJ 2013 for a set featuring songs from their newest album Uncanny Valley, along with some old favorites. 

THE DARKNESS drop "The Horn."

GLAM XMAS:  Wizzard's awesome "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day" and Slade's "Merry Christmas Everybody" (1973's UK Xmas No. 1) are your Twofer Tuesday.

THE KINKS: Dave Davies talks about recovering from a stroke, and drops hints of a reunion.

THE BEATLES, ranked by Stereogum. Wrongly.


THE BEST ALBUMS OF 2013, according to Rolling Stone.

PAUL WALKER: Investigators have been unable to find evidence of a second car in the accident that killed popular Fast & Furious actor.  The area where the accident occurred has a history of street racing, while investigators have received tips that the high-performance red Porsche they perished in was seen racing beforehand. Aside from sheer speed, mechanical issues may have been involved.

THE KARDASHIANS drop a Christmas card of sorts. Oy.

JOE JONAS writes for New York magazine about losing his much-talked-about virginity at age 20, smoking weed with Miley Cyrus and Demi Lovato, and feeling trapped by his life as a Disney superstar.

GEORGE CLOONEY says he hasn't met the love of his life yet. Not even in a mirror?

JOSH BROLIN & DIANE LANE are officially divorced; she dropped the "Brolin" off her name also.

CHARLIE SHEEN and yet another adult video actress.

AMY ADAMS is not getting married anytime soon to fiancé Darren Le Gallo, with whom she has been involved for 11 years.

BARBARA WATERS' most fascinating people for 2013.

SAUDI ARABIA seems to have few viable options for pursuing a more independent and forthright foreign policy, despite its deep unease about the West's tentative rapprochement with Iran. Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf, the Saudi ambassador to London, told The Times newspaper that "all options are available" to Riyadh, including seeking its own atomic weapon, if Iran managed to build the bomb.

EGYPT: Young Islamists seeking a way to confront the military-led state are turning to the ideas of a radical ideologue who waged the same struggle half a century ago and later became a source of inspiration for al Qaeda.

LIBYA: Deepening divisions among Libya’s myriad armed groups are increasingly stirring conflict in the North African state. Now the United States and its allies are prepared to add a new force to the toxic mix.

SYRIA: Saddam al-Jamal, the former leader of the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army's Eastern Front, recently joined the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, and detailed foreign involvement with the Syrian opposition.

GOOSNAMI: Not exactly a Sharknado, but capable of inducing High Anxiety.

THE ORCHID MANTIS: That's some camoflage.

A DOG was pulled from the rubble of an apartment after its ears were spotted sticking up from the debris, nine days after a tornado hit Washington, Illinois.


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Cut Copy, White Demin, The Replacements, Border Rabbit   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, December 02, 2013 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


TWIN SHADOW covers U2's classic "With Or Without You." Eightiestastic.

CUT COPY performed to a packed house at Le Poisson Rouge.

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

ANNA CALVI stopped by Morning Becomes Eclectic for a session.

THE REPLACEMENTS: Missing In Action.

U2 cover "Merry Christmas, Baby (Please Come Home)," ripped from the premiere, for extra retro goodness.

THE WALKMEN are taking an "extreme hiatus."

THE PIXIES lose their second bass-plaing Kim in a year.

BELLE & SEBASTIAN frontman Stuart Murdoch writes about All Tomorrow's Parties -- and its predecessor -- for The Guardian.

BOB DYLAN: A Croatian community association based in France is suing the rock icon over comments he made in a cover story in Rolling Stone.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire repeats atop the chart with 74.5 million. That's a 53 percent drop, but it's on a pace second only to The Avengers, and it's happening in November, which is just bananas.  Katniss & Co. have already racked up 296 million domestic and lamost as much again overseas (an amount equalling the overseas grosses of the original HG movie's entire run).  The only Thankgiving performance even close to this is the first Harry Potter movie, which Catching Fire beats in nominal terms by 34 percent. Disney's Frozen places with an impressive 66 million (93 million over the 5-day holiday) and would be the huge story but for the Games. Frozen beats World War Z as the biggest second-place debut in history (the crown remains held by The Day After Tomorrow).  Disney's last Thanksgiving release, Tangled, made 68.7 million over 5 days, not three.  Look for this to finish over 400 million.  Thor: The Dark World shows distantly with 11.1 million, but worldwide receipts totaling 591 million, well beyond the first Thor movie's entire run.  The Best Man Holiday takes fourth with 8.5 million on a bigger-than-expected 32 percent drop, perhaps reflecting the eighth-place opening of Black NativityHomefront rounds out the Top 5 with a meh 7 million debut against a 22 million budget.

PAUL WALKER, a star of the Fast and the Furious movie franchise, died Saturday in a fiery car crash. The wreckage was so horrific that the coroner cannot identify Walker's body. He was 40. Here's the NYT obit.

RON BURGUNDY read the news in Minot, ND. Yes, really. 

MICHAEL JORDAN is expecting his first child with wife Yvette Prieto.

MILA KUNIS & ASHTON KUTCHER: Ready to have kids and raise them Jewish, reportedly.

KIM KARDASHIAN's raunchy antics in fiancé Kanye West's new video have reportedly ‘appalled’ her mother, Kris Jenner.

CHARLIE SHEEN enjoys a passionate kiss with a mystery blonde as he marks Thanksgiving with a new romance.

GWYNETH PALTROW's mom, Blythe Danner says people don't like her daugther because she is "extraordinarily accomplished in every area." Certainly, Goop's success in acting had nothing to do with having a famous actress as a mother and a powerful director/producer as a father.

DAVID BECKHAM had to bend it as part of his Man U initiation ritual.

JANE KEAN,  best known for her role as Trixie, the long-suffering wife of Ed Norton on the 1960s TV revival of The Honeymooners with Jackie Gleason and Art Carney, has died. She was 90.

THE UNITED STATES continued to reject China's claim to disputed territory over the East China Sea, but urged US commercial airlines to comply with China's demands for notification of any flights through its newly declared air defense zone.

IRAN: Foreign Minister Zarif said Iran will never participate in talks with Israel. Iran's ambassador to Turkey noted that cooperation has improved between the Iranian intelligence and security services and Turkey's National Intelligence Organisation, and said Iran has offered to help Turkey mend ties with Syria.

SYRIA: Over 400 people have reportedly been killed during fighting in Syria since Nov. 28, many of them in Ghouta and Qalamoun. The US offered to destroy Syria's chemical weapons aboard a ship at sea; a US naval vessel is being readied for the purpose.

THE BORDER RABBIT works, while the dog watches.

"WORLD'S UGLIEST DOG" ELWOOD passed away on Thanksgiving.

AMAZING GOATS climb a near vertical dam in Italy.

A KIDNAPPED SQUIRREL rejected by its adopted family has returned home for the holidays.

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Faves 2013   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, November 28, 2013 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


THE HOLIDAY WEEKEND STARTS HERE... with FAVES 2012!  I occasionally hear from folks who want to know what music -- from among all of the posts I do here -- I recommend.  To some degree, I recommend all of it, unless I expressly write otherwise (e.g., it's not my thing, but it might be yours).  With the holiday shopping season upon us, I have tried to make a list of reasonable size.  It's an unordered list. I likely will have overlooked something that I really dig.  Some of these are grouped together, because that's the way they occurred to me at the moment.  And note these are my faves; I'm not purporting to list the "Best" albums of the year.

THE ORWELLS really released just a pair of EPs this year -- Other Voices and Who Needs You -- but I overlooked their debut LP Remember When in 2012 and mean to rectify my error (chalk it up to them being from Elmhurst).  Rock n' Roll always has a place for the young, loud and snotty and that place is where The Orwells live quite comfortably, albeit discontentedly.

SWEARIN': Not as young, loud and snotty as The Orwells on their sophomore LP, Surfin Strange, but this combo led by Allison Crutchfield (twin sis of Waxahatchee's Katie) retains enough of those qualities from their debut; they're just a bit more introspective and musically accomplished this time around.

THE ALLAH-LAs: Their self-titled debut is another one I overlooked when compiling Faves 2012. Vintage garage-y psychedelia. Totally groovy, maaaan.

FOXYGEN: With a title like We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic, you can be sure the band's third LP is psychedelic, but whimisical, not garage-y. As inspired as it is strange, one hopes the band's well-publicized internal strife doesn't make this their last.

CHRISTOPHER OWENS: In his post-Girls career, I think people were prepared to dismiss the folk-y concept album Lysandre for lacking the raw exuberance of his former band.  I think people will eventually re-discover its gentle charms.

IRON & WINE: Sam Beam gets orchestrated here, moving from his typically minimialist folk-rock to something landing somewhere between Belle & Sebastian and Van Morrisson, which is pretty darn good, as neighborhoods go.

YO LA TENGO: Fade is also orchestrated at points, but also very Yo La Tengo, with consistently solid songwriting and the warmth of a Summer's evening, although released way back in January.  Thirteen was not unlucky for them, but the strengths of the LP are not a matter of luck, either.

THE JAMES HUNTER SIX:  Mentioning Van Morrison reminds me James Hunter reurned this year leading a combo on Minute By Minute, which is more of his blend of old skool Morrisson, Sam Cooke and other fine ingredients.

CHARLES BRADLEY: Having veered toward vintage R & B here, it's the spot to mention Victim of Love. Some critics found the former James Brown impersonator diversifying too much on this collection, but not me.

CHRIS STAMEY's solo LPs tend to have a more ethereal and introspective quality than his work with the dB's -- and I suppose solo efforts should be more personal.  Lovesick Blues carries on that tradition, reminding me most of 1991's Fireworks.

VAMPIRE WEEKEND: Maybe I should be at the point where I'm too cool for this band. But I like Modern Vampires of the City. I find "Diane Young" to be a blast. And "Step" may not be entirely right in asserting "Wisdom's a gift, but you'd trade it for youth / Age is an honor, it's still not the truth,”' but it's entirely rock n' roll.

WIRE: Like Wire is going to put out an album that doesn't go on my list.  The fact that Change Becomes Us iscomprised of vintage material recorded for the first time is just a bonus here.

MIKAL CRONIN stepped away from Ty Segall to produce MCII, a tasty slab of power pop for now people, with a dash of psychedelia. There aren't so many practitioners in the genre these days, but this one compares favorably to those of decades past.

TELEKINESIS: Speaking of power pop, it's hard to go wrong with Michael Benjamin Lerner.  Domarion might be faulted for not straying much from the formula of prior Telekinesis albums... but when the formula is this good, I don't complain.

TEGAN & SARA: Okay, so Heartthrob really isn't one of my faves of the year, although "Closer" may be the most infectious tune of the year and almost certainly the best 80s song of the year.  But I wanted to write about them because I on some level admire how brashly commercial they want to be. The Top 40 could and usually does worse, and I was never enough a fan to feel any sense of betrayal, so I wish them well.

HONORABLE MENTIONS: Others on my long list this year included: Neko Case, Deerhunter, Primal Scream, Smith Westerns, Kurt Vile, Laura Marling, and Superchunk.  It speaks of a year where more established artists turned in solid efforts than one of dynamic new entries.

A CHARLIE BROWN THANKSGIVING:  It's always somewhere on the net.

WKRP: "Turkeys Away," in its entirety. And here's the turkey giveaway by itself.

THANKSGIVING has a lot of myths, both traditional and the new "Pilgrims were evil" o­nes taught in some public schools. Not to mention the fights over kindergarteners dressing as Native Americans.  However, if you read the journal of William Bradford -- who served some 35 years as governor of the Pilgims' colony -- you quickly discover that the Pilgrims' relationship with the natives was complex.  Ultimately, Bradford quieted internal discontent by doing away with the collectivism of a company town and granting property rights.

NOW SHOWING? Did that yesterday; check it out.

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