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The Day After Christmas   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, December 26, 2013 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

I'M TAKING THE BLOG DAY OFF, but I didn't want to leave your post-holiday cupboard bare. Insofar as some of you might have some holiday cash or gift cards to deplete, you might consider my Faves of 2013. I worote there that there might be a couple of bands I overlooked and there are.  So check out Jagwar Ma, which puts retro genres in modern clothes, as well as Adam Green and Binki Shapiro, who nicle update the Lee Greenwood and Nancy Sinatra dynamic.

Also, some of you might be headed to the movies for the holiday season, so let me remind you I have recently mini-reviewed American Hustle, Anchorman 2, Inside Llewyn Davis, Saving Mr Banks, and The Hobbit 2: The Desolation of Smaug

Newly wide on Christmas are: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which is currently scoring 44 percent on the ol' Tomatometer; Grudge Match, which is scoring 31 percent; 47 Ronin, scoring 15 percent; The Wolf of Wall Street, debuting at 82 percent and Justin Bieber's Believe, which was not screened for non-Beliebers.

See you Friday!

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Tomorrow is Christmas! It's practically here!   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, December 24, 2013 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

THE CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY STARTS HERE:

... with CHRIS ISAAK, live at Universal Studios. Your holiday-themed numbers include "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," "Hey, Santa," "Last Month of the Year," "Blue Christmas," and "Christmas on TV." Bonus: Dreidel banter!

A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS:  Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about.  Mental Floss has "The Real Story Behind A Charlie Brown Christmas (and why it almost wasn't shown)." The WaPo has reflections from producer-director Lee Mendelson ( piece so populat the WaPo officiall reran it this year.)

DARLENE LOVE & RONNIE SPECTOR duet on "Sleigh Ride" and "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree."

THE POGUES:  It's not Christmas Eve in the drunk tank (or even St. Patrick's Day) without a "Fairytale of New York."

ANTON BARBEAU, an occasional collaborator of the late Scott Miller, crafted his own "Xmas Song."

SLICING UP EYEBALLS has a vintage alternative mixtape for you.

THREE NEW CHRISTMAS TUNES, excludive to The Guardian.

NORAD will be tracking Santa, per usual. CNET has a history and behind-the scenes story.

THE 25 BEST CHRISTMAS ALBUMS, according to Complex.

BILLY MACK: Because "Christmas Is All Around."  ALSO: The Atlantic's Chris Orr spent the season debating whether Love Actually is an awful movie.

THE FLAMING LIPS are streaming their 2008 feature film Christmas On Mars in its entirety.  They also perform "White Christmas" as only they can.

SUPER FURRY ANIMALS: "The Keep That Keeps Giving."  Not to be confused with "The Gift," which is not Christmasey at all.

CALEXICO: Speaking of presents, here's their "Gift X-Change."

THE MUPPETS: "Ringing of the Bells." Not to be confused with Super Furry Animals.

AN XMAS FLASH MOB from the Berklee College of Music broke out into an impromptu performance of the classic Christmas carol “O Holy Night” at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts.

GLAM XMAS:  I started the month with Wizzard's awesome "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day" and Slade's "Merry Christmas Everybody" (1973's UK Xmas No. 1). The circle is now complete.

HALL & OATES: "Jingle Bell Rock," reduced to its molten kitchy essense.

HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS:  The real deal, not Jim Carrey.  Then he slunk to the ice box. He took the Whos' feast. He took the who pudding, he took the roast beast. He emptied the ice box as quick as a flash. Why, the Grinch even took the last can of who hash.

DAVID BOWIE & BING CROSBY'S cross-generational duet o­n "Little Drummer Boy." This historic even was recreated by Will Farrell and John C. Reilly. Plus, Jack Black and Jason Segel have done a cartoon cover

THE YEAR WITHOUT A SANTA CLAUS:  Many people believe human activity is causing global warming.  I blame Snow Miser and Heat Miser.

CHICAGO CHRISTMAS MEMORIES:  If you grew up in Chicago (and I suspect other places), the season is not complete without watching the short cartoons of "Hardrock, Coco & Joe" (a story fantastic, a story so queer), "Suzy Snowflake" and the jazzy version of "Frosty the Snowman."

THE BEATLES fan club messages for 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968 and 1969.

THE TRON 1982 HOLIDAY SPECIAL, courtesy of Funny Or Die.

THE SEX PISTOLS' final UK show was a Christmas benefit.

PU$$Y RIOT will be home for Christmas, in what the band calls a PR stunt by the Russian government.

HOLIDAY BIN: From Cheap Trick to The Band, from The Ventures to Futureheads, from Clarence Carter to The dB's, plus Darlene Love, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, Beach Boys, Yo La Tengo and more -- your stocking stuffers are now streaming from the Pate page at the ol' HM..

IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE: Pate even had a song titled "Rope Around The Moon," so watch the whole thing. BONUS: Vintage Bailey backlash from warped, frustrated old people at the New York Times and Portfolio. DOUBLE-BONUS: 22 TV variations on It's A Wonderful Life.

RUDOLPH, THE RED-NOSED REINDEER:  Pull up an ice block and lend an ear!  Herbie wanted to be a dentistNTTAWWT.  BONUS:  The Rankin-Bass classic continues to inspire ads like 2009's Verizon ad, following 2008's Apple ad, and even more so 2007's AFLAC commercial.

FESTIVUS:  For the rest of us.  Technically already started, so I can be one of your grievances.

SCARY GHOST STORIES: I overheard Andy Williams crooning "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" in a store this month, and the lyric about "scary ghost stories" never really struck me before.  Took me a second, but I supposed he was referring to Dickens.  It turns out -- as noted by a coworker -- that this was a thing in Victorian England...  and the modern day. BONUS: Krampus!

TEN UNFORGETTABLE Musical Christmas Moments On Film.

THE 30 BEST CHRISTMAS MOVIES, according to Empire magazine.

CLASSIC TV CHRISTMAS SPECIALS by the truckload, linked at WFMU, the post is a few years old, but many of the links still work. Also, 23 TV Episodes based on "A Christmas Carol."

NAT KING COLE:  His chestnuts are roasting.

MAYMO THE BEAGLE gets 210 bottles for Christmas.

100 ANIMALS in Santa hats. You're welcome.

THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS, as told by cats.

14 ANIMALS Who Tried to Ruin Christmas.

AN AUSTRALIAN FAMILY shot into the Guinness Book of Records in 2011 after decorating their home with an astonishing 331038 Christmas lights. If the video at the link doesn't work, try this one.

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Wire, Luscious Jackson, Dismemberment Plan, Howlin' Wolf   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, December 23, 2013 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

PAUL McCARTNEY, BARRY GIBB & MADONNA all turned up on SNL with Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake.

WIRE performs live on the KEXP Afternoon Show and talks about the Drill Festival.

LUSCIOUS JACKSON stopped by WFUV to chat and play songs old and new.

LEAGUES stopped by WFUV's Studio A to play a mini-set.

THE DISMEMBERMENT PLAN  perform a very special show for KEXP's VIP club members at the Triple Door while touring for their latest album, Uncanny Valley.

TOM WAITS gives a reading of a "Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis."

ELVIS COSTELLO talks to Esquire about YouTube, pompous critics, Questlove, Hank Williams, and how he just never got into Zeppelin.

KEN STRINGFELLOW talks to ToneDeaf about Big Star, The Posies, and the pre-internet era of music. (Thx to the late Chromewaves.)

LYDIA LUNCH, former frontwoman for Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, is profiled in the New York Times Magazine.

THE TOP 10 FOLK & AMERICANA ALBUMS of 2013, according to NPR.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug repeats atop the chart with 31.5 million. Its 57 percent drop is just about what happened to the first Hobbit -- but that's pretty good news considering the first one had lackluster competition like Jack Reacher and This is 40.Peter Jackson is still likely to make close to 300 million domestic and a billion worldwide.  Anchorman 2 places with 26.8 million and a five-day total of 40 million against its 50 million production budget (and Lord knows about the promo budget).  Probably not bad for a sequel nine years after the original; look for this to finish somewhere between 100 and 150 million domestic.  Frozen shows with 19.2 million on a fantastically leggy 15 percent drop.  As Walking With Dinosaurs debuted in the eighth slot, it's safe to say Frozen will continue to ring the register through the end of the year.  Frozen is playing like Lion King-era Disney.  American Hustle clibs to the fourth slot with 19.1 million -- director David O. Russell's biggest opening to date; the opening augurs well for awards season, though The Wolf Of Wall Street will compete financially come Christmas.  Saving Mr Banks rounds out the Top 5 with 9.3 million, which isn't bad, but must have the Mouse a little concerned about word of mouth.

ANCHORMAN 2: The conventional wisdomon this flick seems on-target. It has most of the flaws of a sequel -- the situtations and jokes are variations on the original, but pumped up a notch.  While the original Ron Burgundy farce used women in the workplace as a plot point, this one employs race, and not particularly well. In particular, the Burgundy's Coming To Dinner scene never quite crosses over from cringeworthy to hilarious. Will Ferrell and director Adam McKay find a better target in the trivial fixations of cable news, although even this bit of satire would have had much more bite five years ago.  Nevertheless, the bits -- derivative as they may be -- are funny enough that fans of the original will likely enjoy it.

INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS may be the saddest film the Coen Brothers have ever made. Set in the immediate-pre-Dylan folk music scene in NYC, Llewyn is apparently still mourning the dissolution of his prior musical partnership and testing the endurance of his friends -- and anyone else who loans him a couch on which to crash. Artistically, he does not seem to have found his purpose, and thus no method to achieve it; he only seems to know he does not want to merely exist, even as he heads down that path.  The cast does well with the script, and the more comic moments, generally involving a cat, John Goodman, or both are a welcome relief.  T-Bone Burnett does his usual impeccable work in supervising the music, obviously a central feature here.  Just be aware you are heading into a mini-tragedy; Raising Arizona, Fargo or The Big Lebowski this ain't.

GABRIELLE UNION & DWAYNE WADE are engaged.

CHARLIE SHEEN threatened Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson.

GWYNETH PALTROW has kissed and made up with Vanity Fair. It also sounds like the mag will be softening its coverage of her. A triumph for journalism.

KATE UPTON broke up with dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy; it's not my fault.

ANNA PAQUIN has been cut from X-Men: Days of Future Past, but only for time considerations.

THE UNITED STATES added two new terrorism charges against Osama bin Laden son-in-law Abu Ghaith.

SYRIA: The Al Nusrah Front carried out two suicide car bombings outside the al-Kandi hospital in Aleppo city. Islamists and al Qaeda-linked groups took over the hospital, which is near Aleppo Central Prison.

LIBYA: A suicide car bomber detonated at a military base in Barsis, outside Benghazi, killing at least six people and wounding 15 more. Benghazi's newly appointed head of military intelligence was assassinated in Derna.

EGYPT: Former president Mohammed Morsi and over 125 others were referred to court over charges related to a mass jailbreak in January 2011.

IRAQ: The Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham killed the commander of the Iraqi Army's 7th Division, the commander of the 28th Brigade, and 16 officers in a triple suicide attack in Rutbah. The commanders were visiting the town after an operation that targeted the ISIS.

HOWLIN' WOLF sings the blues.

A BOBCAT became entangled in a woman's window blinds.

COULD AN OCTOPUS be terrorizing Oklahoma's lakes?

MAYBE THE TERRIER ate your knickers

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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.

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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.

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