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Jon Spencer, Jeremy Messersmith, Martha Wainwright, Escaped Beasts   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, November 29, 2012 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


LOCAL NATIVES drop a video for "Breakers" ahead of their sophomore LP.

JON SPENCER BLUES EXPLOSION stopped by World Cafe to play two songs from their new record and discuss their two decades as one of rock's rowdiest bands.

JEREMY MESSERSMITH played the most recent Caravan du Nord.

CAROLINE SMITH & THE GOOD NIGHT SLEEPS also played the Caravan du Nord.

MARTHA WAINWRIGHT played a Tiny Desk Concert at the offices of NPR.

FRANZ NICOLAY drops "'Did Your Broken Heart Make You Who You Are?"

CAT POWER: "New York, New York."

GRAHAM PARKER tours his musical career with The A.V. Club.

SHANE MacGOWAN is in a sick bed from "overdoing it," but still talks to The Quietus.


THE 50 BEST ALBUMS OF 2012, according to Paste.

JESSICA SIMPSON is reportedly knocked up again already.

CHARLIE SHEEN isn't done blasting "Two and a Half Men" and showrunner Chuck Lorre over the Angus T. Jones brouhaha.

GABRIEL AUBRY will probably not face criminal prosecution for the violent Thanksgiving Day brawl at Halle Berry's home.

DEMI MOORE Demi Moore is back in the arms of another much younger man after splitting with husband Ashton Kutcher, according to Page Six.

JUSTIN BIEBER & SELENA GOMEZ were... wait for it... caught canoodling at Dream Hotel's Marble Lane.

WHITNEY HOUSTON's daughter Bobbi Kristina miraculously emerged unscathed after wrecking her Chevy Camaro in a frightening car crash. She and Nick Gordon recently called off their plans to wed.

PRINCE WILLIAM & KATE MIDDLETON: Trying for a baby... or already pregnant?

STAR WARS: Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg indeed have been hired to work on the Star Wars franchise, but they will likely not be writing episodes 8 and 9.

IRAN: The head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization said Iran would continue to enrich uranium for its nuclear program. Talks between Iran and six world powers are expected to resume later this year or in January.

SYRIA: Two car bombs exploded in Damascus, killing at least 34 people. Rebels shot down a government jet, the second aircraft shot down in two days. The new opposition coalition held its first meeting to discuss forming a transitional government.

EGYPT: Protests against President Morsi continued. Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist parties called for a "million man" rally to support Morsi for Saturday. The committee writing the new constitution said it could complete a draft soon. A court sentenced seven Egyptian Copts to death in absentia for participating in an anti-Islamic video.

A BABY RED PANDA is surprised.

A RUNAWAY ZEBRA AND PONY were on the lam on Staten Island. Video at the link.

AN ESCAPED EMU was detained by police after it was spotted walking through a town during rush-hour on Wednesday.

KILLING A SPIDER with brass knuckles is not a good idea. Video at the link.

689 Reads

Prince, Ben Folds 5, Allah-Las, Elvis Costello, Animal Feeding   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, November 28, 2012 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


THE ARTIST CURRENTLY KNOWN AS PRINCE may hate the internet, but he posted a video for "Rock and Roll Love Affair," and it's pretty darned good.

THE BEN FOLDS FIVE stopped by World Cafe for a chat and mini-set.

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

THE ALLAH-LAs stopped by Morning Becomes Eclectic for a session.

ELVIS COSTELLO & THE ATTRACTIONS: Live at the University of Leicester, Oct. 22, 1977.

OF MONTREAL drops "Dumb Acre" as part of a Kickstarter campaign.

ARTHUR BROWN is the god of hellfire... and he brings you "Fire!" It's a crazy world.

THE KINKS: Ray Davies talks Lola -- including the unreleased sequel -- and songwriting with the BBC.

BLACK MOTH SUPER RAINBOW singer Tobacco tells PopMatters it is not drug music, just its own world.

THE TOP 20 BEST NINE INCH NAILS SONGS, according to PopMatters.

CHRIS STAMP, the former manager for the Who, died Saturday, Nov. 24, at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City after battling cancer. He was 70.

ANGUS T. JONES has blasted Two and a Half Men as "filth" and suggested people should stop watching, in a videotape testimonial for a group linked to the Voice of Prophecy Seventh-Day Adventist church in Los Angeles, where Jones worships.  He has since issued a quasi-apology. The 19-year-old actor coincidentally is not scheduled to appear in the final two episodes scheduled to shoot before the CBS comedy takes a holiday hiatus.  His pastor believes, among other things, that Jay-Z is a Freemason with ties to Satan.

GABRIEL AUBRY took another lump in his war with Halle Berry, after a judge rejected his bid to have the restraining order removed ... which means he still can't visit with his daughter Nahla.

DON'T TOUCH ME ELMO: Kevin Clash - the former voice of Elmo - used alcohol as a precursor to oral sex with an underage boy ... this according to a new lawsuit that has just been filed by a third accuser.

BRADGELINA: Pitt says his wedding to Jolie will happen "soon."

JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT is not playing Batman in either Justice League or Man of Steel. Maybe.

DOLLY PARTON is not a lesbian. NTTAWWT.

10 MOVIES Killed by the Internet.

NORTH KOREA: Satellite photos indicated North Korea was readying to launch a long-range ballistic rocket. The assessment came two weeks after North Korean officials said they would expand their space program and "go through with launches of working satellites of all kinds."

IRAN: Scientists have run computer simulations for a nuclear weapon that would produce more than triple the explosive force of the World War II bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, according to a diagram obtained by The Associated Press.

EGYPT: A massive demonstration was staged in Cairo's Tahrir Square to protest President Morsi's assumption of sweeping new powers. By evening, the crowd had grown to 200K. Morsi's supporters canceled a planned rally, citing the need to "defuse tension."

ANIMALS feeding ANIMALS...Mass hysteria!

TWO GATORS, ONE POLE DANCER... and a pot cache.

A 40-YEAR-OLD ORANGUTAN is obsessed with Pride and Prejudice.

YOUR DOG DOOR should not be big enough for a cougar.

597 Reads

New Releases, Metz, Ted Leo, Two Gallants, Lamb + Retriever   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


THE BEACH BOYS drop "Little Deuce Coupe" from the 50th anniversary video.

NEW RELEASES from Graham Parker & the Rumour, Big Dipper, Rage Against the Machine and more are streaming via Spinner.

METZ brings their aggressive post-hardcore sound to KEXP for an exclusive live performance.

TED LEO performs the music of South African pioneer Hugh Masekela at the World Financial Center.

TWO GALLANTS played a session at WNYC Soundcheck.

LIARS & YEASAYER drop "The Chain" and "Second Hand News," respectively, from the Fleetwood Mac Rumours tribute.

THE BEATLES: "Come Together," split apart into its tracks.

BOTH SIDES NOW: Joni Mitchell performs her 1968 song in 1970 and in 2000, for a reflective Twofer Tuesday

THE JAM: Paul Weller and Buce Foxton talk to The Guardian about the creation of "A Town Called Malice."

SHARON VAN ETTEN talks to Music OMH about being a goofball and working with The National's Aaron Dressner. 

THE GRATEFUL DEAD  gets a longread at The New Yorker.

JIMI HENDRIX: A dozen previously unreleased (but oft-bootlegged) tracks are coming March 5th on People, Hell and Angels.


LINDSAY LOHAN, btw, is devastated by widespread criticism of her Liz & Dick Lifetime outing by Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter and the New York Times, to name a few.

HALLE BERRY  is going to court early this week for a restraining order against Gabriel Aubry after the blowout fight Thanksgiving day.

CHRIS BROWN deleted his Twitter account after a vulgar, sexist attack on comedienne Jenny Johnson.

RYAN GOSLING reaches the ostentatiously incongnito phase.

MAN OF STEEL: Zach Snyder and Henry Cavill talk with the NYP about the Superman reboot.

10 TV SHOWS that are better than the books they're based upon.

IRAN: Authorities raided a company in Durango, Spain suspected of sending over a million dollars' worth of dual-use energy machinery to Iran through Turkey in violation of international sanctions.

LIBYA: The "Private Deterrent Force" has kidnapped a dozen men it accuses of being homosexual and has threatened to torture and execute them. The group is thought to be linked to the "extremist Nawasi militia group" that has also desecrated Sufi shrines in Tripoli.

EGYPT: Pres Morsi negotiated with the judiciary over his seizure of extended powers; no agreement was reached. Morsi's justice minister argued for a retreat, and three other senior advisers resigned. The State Council's Administrative Court said it would consider legal challenges next week.

A LAMB befriends a RETRIEVER...Mass hysteria!

THE SQUIRREL THREAT: Militant squirrels contracted rats to chew through Verizon phone cables.

A MANATEE is not for you to joyride.

A SWISS SHEPHERD DOG adops tiger cubs... (see above)

653 Reads

Sufjan Stevens, Tracey Thorn, Joy Division, Einstein   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, November 26, 2012 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


THE ROLLING STONES drop a NSFW clip for "Doom and Gloom," plus Noomi Rapace and zombies.

SUFJAN STEVENS is streaming all five volumes of Silver and Gold.

TRACEY THORN is advance streaming Tinsel and Lights.

DELTA RAE has a World Cafe mini-set plus web extras.

JOY DIVISION, live at the University of London Union, January 8, 1980.

THE MOVE: "I Can Hear the Grass Grow," live on French TV. 

PINEY GIR: Her sound has been compared to Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn and Patsy Cline, but on her latest album, Geronimo, Gir sometimes seems to be conjuring up '60s pop from girl groups to The Troggs. The singer-songwriter spoke with Weekend Edition about making the album, her music influences and her next project.

SCOTT WALKER: The reclusive crooner gives rare quotes for a profile at The Guardian.

BOBBY WOMACK shares the soundtrack of his life with The Guardian.

THE DEAD MILKMEN are releasing a series of seven-inches.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 repeats atop the Thanksgiving weekend with 64 million (on a 55 percent drop no less, but the real story may be the place and show.  Skyfall places with 51 million, up 24.4 percent over last weekend, and only down 12.4 percent over the regular weekend -- the best hold of the Craig Bond films.  And Lincoln shows with 34 million, up 62 percent and up 19 percent over the regular weekend. Rise of the Guardians debuts in the fourth slot with 32 million (perhaps pinched by Wreck-It ralph's sixth place 16.7 million take).  Life of Pi's debut rounds out the Top 5 with 30 million -- a stronger start than many expected.  Below the fold, Red Dawn opened in seventh with 22 million, which means this likely won't be as big a disaster financially as it apparently is critically.

SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, which took 9th place with 5.9 million on only 367 screens, is the latest from director David O. Russell, who brought us "The Fighter."  Here (based on a novel), he brings his flair for family disfunction to Philly, and swaps out meth addiction and boxing for mental disorders and amateur dancing -- although it's much less formulaic (and much funnier) than I just made it sound.  In fact, a script with its share of twists and strong performances from Jennifer Lawrence and Robert DeNiro may have ended up as a more satisfying movie than The Fighter, despite a few heavy-handed moments.  Bradley Cooper is also good here -- as good as I've seen him -- though I'm not sure I buy him as lower-middle class.  It's easy to go too saccharine when addressing mental illness (Tropic Thunder's joke about never going "full retard" comes to mind), but the unfiltered nature of our protagonists is handled with respect more than sensitivity, making for an engaging romantic dramedy.

EMMA STONE reportedly has a sex tape from her pre-stardom, a source tells RadarOnline.

GABRIEL AUBRY was arrested Thanksgiving morning after a melee at Halle Berry's house, which sent both Gabriel and Halle's fiance Olivier Martinez to the hospital.

LARRY HAGMAN, best known as the conniving J.R. Ewing on “Dallas”  at Maj. Tony Nelson on "I Dream of Jeannie" — has died at age 81.  —  Hagman died in a Dallas hospital on Friday, due to complications from a recent battle with cancer.  This 2011 NYT interview is kinda great.

HECTOR "MACHO" CAMACHO died from injuries he sustained in a drive-by shooting in Puerto Rico.

MAYAM BIALIK is divorcing Michael Stone.

CHEVY CHASE is dropping out of Greendale Community College.

SYRIA: Rebels captured an air base near Damascus, destroying several helicopters and capturing 15 soldiers. Rebels had captured three other military bases earlier in the week along with large quantities of equipment and ammunition.

EGYPT: Protesters clashed with police in Cairo for a third day over President Morsi's power grab. The Muslim Brotherhood called for demonstrations to show support for the president. Morsi said his new powers would be "temporary" and that he wanted dialogue. Uh-huh. Who could've seen all this coming? Everyone, right?

IRAQ: For the first time in eight years, there were no significant sectarian attacks during the Shia holiday of Ashura.

EINSTEIN, the smallest stallion.

THE SQUIRREL THREAT: A militant rodent caused Beaver to go down for about an hour.

THE BIRDS: A hatch on a Swedish church tower inadvertently left open for some three decades resulted in 2 tons of pigeon droppings amassing in the tower, and high anxiety.

A HORSE walks into a bar, finally.

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Faves 2012   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, November 22, 2012 - 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.  And 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 BLACK KEYS, FEIST and GRIZZLY BEAR: I might not rate El Camino, Metals or Shields as the best albums these bands have made (though some would in the case of Shields).  But they are really solid outings from bands reaching as close to critical mass as we might expect from alt-rockers on a fragmented musical landscape.  I have always rooted for the supposed mainstream to be as influenced by such bands as by the more obvious mass appeals; once this meant rooting for U2 and REM to compete with Madonna and Bon Jovi; now it means rooting for the Black Keys, Feist and Grizzly Bear over Lady Gaga and Katy Perry.  And the passage of time also instructs me that the good stuff from better bands tends to outlast the brilliant moments of the more transient artists (though the latter remain worth remembering).  I might also put MUMFORD & SONS' Babel into this lump for this reason, despite it falling into the sophomore slump box, imho.

THE dB's: Maybe it's because I just saw them (humblebrag), but once the reunited band's Falling Off the Sky made it back into my rotation, I became more impressed with it.  Smart as always, if more wise than precocious. In particular, Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey once again demonstrate they are two of the most unique songwriting talents in America and never better than when supported by Gene Holder and Will Rigby. They all bring their post-dB's experiences to the table, and yet the result is undeniably dB's.

BOB MOULD: I suppose I might have put Silver Age into that opening bloc, but someone with the self-awareness to call an album Silver Age desrves his own slot.  Perhaps the most perceptive review of this album discussed the sort of melancholy that accompanies writing that an album represents a "return to form."  But the Sugar-y sounds of Silver Age are a welcome renaissance for Mould, if not a truly golden one.

JAPANDROIDS: Youngsters looking for their own Husker Du or Sugar could do much worse than Celebration Rock, aptly named and anthemic, even when the topics turn less pleasant.  Pete Townshend's comment about rock not solving problems so much as allowing you to dance over them for a while is also appropos here.

TITUS ANDRONICUS: Much of what I wrote about Celebration Rock applies to Local Business, which gets its own slot because -- as the hardestcore version of Springsteen or Hold Steady, frontman Patrick Stickles seems to grasp (knowingly or not) that the local is often more universal than one would suppose... and that the personal is more universal than one would suppose.

CLOUD NOTHINGS: I hope Attack on Memory won't suffer from short memories. This January release manages to be naive, loud, and nuanced in various measures, sometimes simultaneously.  I still have a natural preference for the hookier material that bridges from Dylan Baldi's debut, but he's more ambitious and emotional here, which is also a good thing.  A good companion to the Japandroids and Titus Andronicus offerings.


SHARON VAN ETTEN; Some will call Tramp more coherent than Epic; some will call it more same-y.  Both camps have a point.  Her third album is laden with cameos from her indie colleagues, but they rarely distract from her songs and her voice.

DJANGO DJANGO: This combo's self-titled debut is filled with a very particular flavor of psychedelia.  It's not heavy, Hendrix-esque stuff, or day-glo pop, or even very garagey, except for moments.  Rather, it tends to a more downbeat, acoustic flavor -- a less-arranged Byrds, a less-Latin Love, an un-Anglo Kinks.  Aside from being jsut palin good, it's nice to hear a band with such quiet self-confidence.

TAME IMPALA, otoh, wears its psych influences more on its sleeve. And while I never completely warmed to "Elephant," which seemed to be the bloggers' track of choice, there's plenty of trippy goodness to enjoy on Lonerism. Again, it may be more overtly retro, but I'm fine with that if you can do it well, and Tame Impala does.

TWIN SHADOW: I feel much the same about George Lewis.  Confess is a seamless melange of 80s synthy-pop, from the Human League to Prince to The Cars and more, with at least a hint of Morrissey in the crooning vocals.  Yet one never gets the feeling of a direct steal, and it serves a particular romanticism that rock seemed to have lost once MTV stopped playing music.

ARIEL PINK'S HAUNTED GRAFFITI: Mature Themes may not wear as well as Before Today, but it does occupy the unlikely space between Tame Impala and Twin Shadow, marrying some truly trippy, Syd Barrett-esque lyrics to mellow grooves more common in 70s soft R & B, or Spandau Ballet. An acquired taste, but one for which the hankering recurs.

AC NEWMAN: Shut Down The Streets finds the New Pronographers' songwriter taking a solo paternity leave through the 70s singer-songwriter genre.  It was thus not surprising that the two main critiques of the album were that Newman did not use the occasion to get even more personal in his lyrics, and occasionally broke the mood with tracks that seem better suited to his maing gig.  Nevertheless, for me, Newman's sheer tunefulness carries the day, which here is probably a rainy Sunday afternoon.

DIVINE FITS: Britt Daniel (Spoon) and Dan Boeckner (Handsome Furs) collaborate, sometimes sounding more like one than the other. But Daniel's funky, uptight bass thing and Boeckner's more wild guitar thing usually end up working like the musical equivalent of the peanut butter cup.  So why there's a cherry on the cover of A Thing Called Divine Fits is a mystery.

LEONARD COHEN: I feel as silly putting Old Ideas on a list as I did listing the last Tom Waits album.  You either dig him or don't, and I do.  Old Ideas can still be as good or better than new ones, or so James Bond tells me.

DIRTY PROJECTORS: Dave Longstreth's idiosyncratic project makes a breakthrough of sorts with Swing Lo Magellan.  Reportedly distilled from a wealth of demos, this LP is the project's most direct and coherent to date, while maintaining enough of an element of mystery to draw repeated listening.

FATHER JOHN MISTY: I thought J. Tillman's departure from Fleet Foxes to be madness, but his freak-folky solo vehicle is almost enough to convince me there was a method as well.

TEAM SPIRIT: End of Year lists will be far more likely to focus on Passion Pit's Gossamer than the EP from this side project, which is power pop for now people.  Similarly, DUM DUM GIRLS will fall off most radars this year, but their End of Daze EP shows an increasingly confident combo honing its craft on the downlow.

THE HEAVY: If 2011 had a glut of classic soul revivalists, 2012 had a drought.  So it was a good thing The Heavy returned with the Glorious Dead album.  How do I like them now?  Pretty much as much as always, even if this offering lacks the ubiquitous smash hit.

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.

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