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New Releases, Jesca Hoop, Iron & Wine, Baby Elephant   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

BRANDON FLOWERS is joined by guitarist Andy Summers on "Roxanne."

NEW RELEASES from Girls, the Republic of Wolves, Abby Gogo and more are streaming this lean week at Spinner.

JESCA HOOP stopped by Oregon Public Broadcasting for a chat and mini-set in audio and video.

IRON & WINE dropped "Walking Far From Home" as an advance single.

MERGE 2010: Stream the label's year-end round-up.

DAFT PUNK: Five new tracks are preveiwed by the director of TRON: Legacy.

BOB GELDOF: "I am responsible for two of the worst songs in history. One is 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' and the other one is 'We Are The World.' "

ATLAS SOUND: Bradford Cox has run into problems with Sony over his bedroom recordings.

NICK CAVE talks to the L.A. Times about Grinderman and the question of faith.

ROBERT CHRISTGAU sorta brings back the Consumer Guide as a blog.

JENNY & JONNY: Johnathan Lewis talks to The Skinny about his collaboration with Jenny Lewis. (Thx, LHB.)

WOLF PARADE goes on idefinite hiatus.

IRVIN KERSHNER, the veteran filmmaker who directed the pivotal 1980 "Star Wars" sequel "The Empire Strikes Back," as well as big-budget features like "Never Say Never Again" and "Robocop II," has died at 87. No word on whether he will be stuffed into a Tauntaun or frozen in Carbonite.

JAMES FRANCO & ANNE HATHAWAY are hosting the Oscars.

DAVID BECKHAM was suspected of having late night hotel trysts with multiple women behind-the-back of his Posh Spice wife Victoria, according to court papers filed by a magazine publisher being sued for defamation by the soccer superstar.

MAD MEL UPDATE: TMZ has obtained emails sent from Oksana Grigorieva to Mel Gibson in the months following their nuclear argument on January 6 -- and she sounds very much like a woman scorned.

BRITNEY SPEARS will remain under a conservatorship in 2011.

BARBARA WALTERS reveals 8 of the 10 on her Most Fascinating People list. 

SPIDER-MAN: TURN OFF THE DARK, Broadway's most expensive production ever, was an epic flop in its preview Sunday night.

TERROR in the USA: Many questions remain about the extent of the connections between Mohamed Osman Mohamud, arrested Friday by federal agents and charged with plotting to set off a bomb at a Christmas-tree-lighting ceremony in downtown Portland, and Islamic extremists, whom investigators say he wrote to and plotted with, as well as about the apparent contradictions in his personal life, as a studious, friendly teenager and a young man seeking to wage jihad within his adopted country.

THE UNITED NATIONS won't condemn extrajudicial, arbitrary and summary executions of gay people.

NORTH KOREA: China has signalled its readiness to accept Korean reunification and is privately distancing itself from the North Korean regime, according to leaked US embassy cables that reveal senior Beijing figures regard their official ally as a "spoiled child."

AN IRANIAN nuclear scientist has been killed and another injured in separate attacks in Tehran. State television swiftly blamed Israel for the attacks, though the latest Wikileaks doc dump suggests plenty of suspects.

A BABY ELEPHANT is rescued from a ditch in India.

A CHICKEN was left shell-shocked after laying an enormous four inch tall egg, with her surprised owner describing the poor hen as 'bow-legged.'

TINY, Britain's biggest dog, died at 10 years old. The title now passes to Sampson.

ROO, a two-legged Chihuahua, finds a home. Aw.

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Brendan Benson, Dwight Twilley, Arcade Fire, Otter attack   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, November 29, 2010 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

THE GO! TEAM drops a video for their current advance single, "T.O.R.N.A.D.O."

BRENDAN BENSON did the four free songs thing for Daytrotter. 

CLARE & THE REASONS, with Van Dyke Parks, did a mini-set at World Cafe, including "Heroes & Villains." 

DWIGHT TWILLEY does a mini-set on Mountain Stage, including his two biggest hits, 1976's "I'm on Fire" and 1984's "Girls." 

PINK MARTINI gets a feature plus tracks from Weekend Edition.

ARCADE FIRE talks to The Guardian about adapting to bigger venues, anti-hipsterism, songwriting, faith and more... Plus, the Spike Jonze-directed video for "The Suburbs."

VAMPIRE WEEKEND briefly talk to The Scotsman about the sophomore LP, while Ezra Koenig makes a list for The Guardian as the band sets off on a UK tour.

PINK FLOYD called off a reunion show.

PETER "SLEAZY" CHRISTOPERSON of Throbbing Gristle, Coil and Psychic TV died "peacefully" in his sleep on Nov. 24 at the age of 55 in his Bangkok home.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows edged out Disney's Tangled for the top spot with 50.3 million over the weekend and a total of 76.3 million over the 5-day holiday weekend.  It is still on track to become the biggest Potter film ever in the US.  Tangled made 49.1 and 69 million, respectively -- numbers that would, absent Potter, heve folks remembering Disney's dominance of the early 90s.  The Mouse must be both delighted and relieved, given the flick's rumored 260 million budget.  Megamind comes in third over the family-friendly holiday stretch, making 12.9 and 17.6 million, respectively; its 130 domestic haul now equals its production budget.  Burlesque debuted at No. 4, amking 11.8 and 17.2 million against a reported 55 million budget.  Unstoppable rounded out the Top Five with 11.7 and 16.2 million, respectively.  Below the fold, Love and Other Drugs and Faster debuted at Nos. 6 and 7, which is tolerable only in light of the low budgets for both of them.  IIRC, Faster is The Rock's worst opening ever (unless you count Southland Tales).

LESLIE NIELSEN, the Canadian-born actor who, after decades in dramatic and romantic roles, launched a new, far more successful career as a comic actor in films like "Airplane!" and the "Naked Gun" series, died on Sunday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He was 84.  Nielsen appeared in over 100 films and 1500 television programs over the span of his career, including the lead in the sci-fi classic, "Forbidden Planet." BONUS: icydk, the "Naked Gun" movies started with the short-lived TV series, "Police Squad!"

WILLIE NELSON was arrested Friday morning for allegedly having about 6 ounces of marijuana after his tour bus was stopped at the Border Patrol checkpoint in Sierra Blanca.  Shocka.

EVA LONGORIA: Already targeted by Dane Cook.

LINDSAY LOHAN spent Thanksgiving with Samantha Ronson and her ex-con Dad.

JAKE GYLLENHAAL & TAYLOR SWIFT spent Thanksgiving together.

TIGER WOODS ate pie with his kids this Thanksgiving. I'll skip the joke you just thought up.

JOHN TRAVOLTA & KELLY PRESTON had a baby boy on the 23rd. Missed that in the pre-holiday rush.

LILY ALLEN is reportedly planning a New Year wedding.

GHOSTBUSTERS 3: Dan Aykroyd fueled casting rumors during a WGN radio appearance.

NORTH KOREA on Friday officially protested a joint US-South Korean military exercise planned for Sunday, even as the aircraft carrier USS George Washington steamed toward the region.

IRAN: FoxNews and The Guardian both have features about the amount of work and top-secret information needed to build the Stuxnet computer worm believed to have (temporarily) hobbled Tehran's nuke program.  Meanwhile, Iran has completed fueling the Bushehr nuclear power plant. Also, the latest doc dump from Wikileaks shows that: (a) the US believes that Iran has obtained advanced missiles from North Korea that could let it strike at Western European capitals and Moscow and help it develop more formidable long-range ballistic missiles; and (b) Iran's ascent has unified Israel and many longtime Arab adversaries - notably the Saudis - in a common cause.

AFGHANISTAN: Pres. Karzai's desperation for a "Good Friday agreement for Afghanistan" led officials to ignore repeated warnings from their own spy chief that they should not trust a man who orchestrated a humiliating face-to-face meeting between the Afghan president and a shopkeeper who pretended to be the Taliban's second most powerful leader.

IRAQ: Prime Minister al-Maliki, speaking at his first press conference two days after being formally tapped to form a Cabinet, appeared bullish Saturday on the progress of his security forces and the participation of a key rival in cobbling together a government.

WHEN OTTER ATTACKS: Let's go to the video.

17 RARE SEA TURTLES facing imminent death were rescued on Cape Cod.

PRINCE CHUNK, an enormously fat cat who became famous when he was found wandering in New Jersey after his owner lost her home to foreclosure, has died of heart disease.

PROBLEM BEAVERS have a price on their heads in Manitoba.

GOAT-RUSTLING wave hits the Chilliwack area of Canada.

A MEERKAT STOLEN from the Kansas City Zoo is back home, 11 days after he was taken by someone the zoo director can only describe as an "idiot."

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Faves 2010, Thanksgiving, Cutout Bin   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, November 25, 2010 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

THE HOLIDAY WEEKEND STARTS HERE... with FAVES 2010!  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.

BEST COAST: Regular Pate visitors -- and anyone who has known me since high school -- knows I'm a sucker for the reverb-laden 60s pop produced by Phil Spector and Brian Wilson.  Best Coast's Crazy for you is not nearly so orchestrated as either of those two, but grafts the insular mood of Spector onto the early surf idiom pioneered by Wilson, with indie fuzz added for spice.  Of course, the songs have to pop also -- and these do, esp. the wistful "Boyfriend."  FRANKIE ROSE & THE OUTS are also working this space well, with a dash more of garage rock on tracks like "Candy."

THE LOVE LANGUAGE: The Libraries album taps into the more orchestrated, more romantic sides of the Spector/Wilson vein, but Stuart McLamb will also let the guitar squawk when it needs to (as on "Heart To Tell"). A charming little gem overlooked by many critics.

WAVVES: King of the Beach finds Nathan Williams (like Stuart McLamb) moving away from the lo-fi aesthetic, but the twist on the Cali vibe here is more modern than the bands I've already mentioned.  It's as much or more about the skateboard as the surfboard.

ARCADE FIRE and THE NATIONAL both saw their careers continue to ascend this year, even if the Billboard chart ain't what it used to be.  I've gotten too old to hold a modicum of success against an indie abnd -- whatever that is these days.  Although Arcade Fire's The Suburbs seems more extroverted musically than The National's High Violet, I cannot help but think both bands were exploring the same emotional landscape to a degree and tapped into a zeitgeist, if not the zeitgeist.

TITUS ANDRONICUS was the band that probably impressed me most at this year's Pitchfork Music Festival, and not just for doing an energetic set in stifling heat and humidity.  The Monitor is certainly not the first semi-conceptual LP put out by a hardcore-ish band (Husker Du's Zen Arcade obviously springs to mind).  But there aren't many such LPs, and the historicism, romanticism, and musical ambition evident on The Monitor suggest that Patrick Stickles & Co not only listened to, but also learned from, their share of Springsteen while germinating in Jersey.

LOCAL NATIVES, otoh, is the band I miss having missed at Pitchfest.  They marry the harmonies of the classic Laurel Canyon folk-rockers with world beat influences that put a nifty twist on songs like Talking Heads' "Warning Sign." A warm, West Coast compliment to bands like Grizzly Bear (East Coast) and Fleet Foxes (whom I consider more Pacific Northwest).

DAWES: This is on the verge of cheating, as their North Hills LP actually came out in August or September of 2009 -- but it didn't fully sink its claws into me until this year.  These guys really are from Laurel Canyon and also have great harmonies (and strong songwriting, e.g., "When My Time Comes").  However, what gets me about Dawes is that I think I would have to classify them as Americana, even though they rarely resort to the obvious artisitic flourishes that would go with that genre.

MORNING BENDERS: Do I like West Coast bands with albums full of catchy, harmony-laden tunes?  It appears I do, as Morning Benders is another of them (though they've moved from Berkeley to Brooklyn).  Big Echo is no sophomore slump.  The Everlys-at-the-Ocean sound of "Excuses" is a highlight in my book, though the more modern-sounding tracks are also a treat.

SHE & HIM: I'm on a roll in this sub-genre, so why not?  Vol. 2 was just as charming as Vol 1.  She's still a talented songwriter, has untapped-on-record potential as a singer and is still indies "It" girl.  He's still a great arranger, whose understated guitar work supports her beautifully.  SONNY & THE SUNSETS don't have the same star power, but much of the same vintage charm on songs like "Too Young to Burn."

TALLEST MAN ON EARTH: Swedish Kristian Matsson gets his share of Bob Dylan comparisons, which are always an unfair burden to carry.  But this year's LP, The Wild Hunt, and EP, Sometimes the Blues Is Just a Passing Bird, suggest he's good enough to move past them eventually.

BLACK KEYS never fully grabbed me until this year (they likely suffered from an unfair, involuntary association with the White Stripes).  Brothers broadens the band's sonic pallette and veers a bit from the pure rootsy blues influences of their past stuff into vintage R & B -- including a cover of Jerry Butler's "Never Gonna Give You Up" -- which may have been what turned the bulb on over my head this time.

BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE re-collectivized after a semi-hiatus with Forgiveness Rock Record, and it was worth the wait.  "Forced to Love" is a monster and may be one of my Top 5 songs of the year.

MUMFORD & SONS: Brit-folk rock was "hot" this year, led by this quartet (though Noah & the Whale has been around a bit longer, iirc).  Their Sigh No More came out in late 2009 in the UK, but dropped here in 2010. LAURA MARLING, a truly talented 20-year-old who was once part of Noah's lineup, is wise beyond her years on I Speak Because I Can. STORNOWAY doesn't wear trad folk influences as heavily, but deserve mention here, too.

ARIEL PINK'S HAUNTED GRAFFITI: Pink, like Wavves above, moves beyond the lo-fi home recordings on Before Today and makes the most of it.  Ostensibly influenced by bands like The Cure, Sisters of Mercy and Bauhaus, I hear a fair amount of more mainstream 80s Brit-rock in the mix, with enough psychedelic and near-proggy accents to keep it from sounding derivative of anything.

DALE EARNHARDT, JR.,JR. may be a duo from Detroit with only an EP (Horse Power) and some remixes to its name, but if they keep cranking out McCartney-eque gens like "Simple Girl," this won't be their last appearance on my Faves list.

KINGS GO FORTH: It really wouldn't be my Faves list without some classic R & B revivalism, and this year it comes from... Milwaukee.  However, SHARON JONES & THE DAP-KINGS get an honorable mention for another solid effort on I Learned the Hard Way.

THE MYNABIRDS: Laura Burhenn, formerly of Georgie James, long imagined a band that sounded like Neil Young playing Motown.  What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood doesn't truly sound like that, but has enough of a Dusty (Springfield) vibe on songs like "Number's Don't Lie" to land right in my wheelhouse.

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

NOW SHOWING: The long weekend's wide releases include Tangled, which is currently scoring 89 percent on the ol' Tomatometer; Burlesque, which is currently scoring 31 percent; Love and Other Drugs, which is scoring 42 percent; and Faster, scoring 43 percent.

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.

CUTOUT BIN: From Ray Davies to the Jesus & Mary Chain, from Big Star to Billy Joel, from Sly & the Family Stone to King Crimson, plus Cheap Trick, the Feelies, the Ides of March, ELO, the Plimsouls and more -- this weekend's fortuitous finds are streaming from the Pate page at the ol' HM.

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Sufjan Stevens, Clinic, Joe Strummer, Billie Holiday, Flying Snakes   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

SUFJAN STEVENS may have been "Too Much" for Fallon in his network TV debut.

CLINIC stopped by Morning Becomes Eclectic for a session.

HOLLERADO stopped by The Current for a chat and mini-set.

JOE STRUMMER's RADIO CLASH: Stream all 20 episodes of his BBC show.

ROBERT RANDOLPH & THE FAMILY BAND did three free songs for Daytrotter.

BILLIE HOLIDAY is one of NPR's 50 Great Voices. How could she not be?

ATLAS SOUND:  Bradford Cox releases a second free album this week.

DESTROYER drops "Chinatown" as an advance track to their upcoming Kaputt LP.

CUT COPY drops a new single, "Take Me Over."

CAT POWER: "New York, New York."

PATTERSON HOOD talks about Darkness on the Edge of Town.

SOMEONE STILL LOVES YOU BORIS YELTSIN lead guitarist and co-songwriter Will Knauer took the time to chat with The Oklahoma Daily about Chris Walla, buzz bands and going with the flow. (Thx, LHB.)

RAY DAVIES canceled his US tour to care for an undisclosed medical condition.

JOAN BAEZ was injured falling twenty-feet out of a treehouse on her California land.

THE BEATLES ended up selling another two million songs and 450K albums in their iTunes launch. Not bad, given that most fans of the Fab Four probably ripped their CDs to their iPods years ago.

CHARLIE SHEEN: TMZ has obtained a series of text messages between Charlie and Capri Anderson, sent just hours after The Plaza Hotel incident - in which he is still flirting with her in a big way as he offers her 20 grand. Might make it tougher to prove extortion. Anderson isn't suing Sheen... yet.

PRINCE WILLIAM & KATE MIDDLETON have chosen a wedding date -- on Friday, April 29, 2011.

EVA LONGORIA & TONY PARKER: Her friends say her biggest regret is that she didn't leave him sooner.

MICHAEL L. BREA, who has had roles on the TV series "Ugly Betty" and movie "Step-Up 3-D," allegedly held his mother hostage and then murdered her with a samurai sword while screaming Bible passages.

LINDSAY LOHAN is back behind the wheel.

JENNIFER JASON LEIGH filed for divorce from director Noah Baumbach, just seven months after the birth of their son.

MILEY CYRUS who turned 18 yesterday, was caught in a heavy makeout session at her birthday bash in L.A. Sunday night.

TAYLOR MOMSEN will begin an "indefinite hiatus" from Gossip Girl following next Monday's episode.

OLIVIA WILDE of Tron: Legacy is briefly profiled in Details.

THE 25 BEST BIOPICS, according to Moviefone.

COOKIE MONSTER auditions for SNL.

NORTH KOREA fired dozens of artillery shells onto a South Korean island on Tuesday, killing one person, setting homes ablaze and triggering an exchange of fire as the South's military went on top alert. Meanwhile, North Korea probably needed external assistance to build a uranium enrichment site, which could offer it a second source of weapons-grade nuclear material, but from whom and where remains shrouded in mystery.

IRAN's parliament revealed it planned to impeach Ahmadinejad but refrained under orders from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, exposing a deepening division within the regime.

AFGHANISTAN: The secret talks unfolding between Taliban and Afghan leaders seemed promising, except that the most promising Taliban leader was an imposter.

FLYING SNAKES: They don't even need a plane. Let's go to the video.

1000 RESCUED RATS are up for adoption in San Jose.

TIZZY the CAT plays fire alarm, saves owner.

ROVER, a German Pointer, survived a 400ft plunge off a cliff.

COYOTES in CHICAGO: Catching rats, or covert science experiment?

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New Releases, Stars, Family Bands, Arcade Fire, Cat vs Gator   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

THE MYNABIRDS drop a new video for "What We Gained in the Fire."

NEW RELEASES from Smashing Pumpkins, Orange Juice, Sister Sparrow, the French Horn Rebellion and more are streaming via Spinner. It's the calm before the holiday storm.

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

FAMILY BANDS: A mix of Jacksons, Ramones, Carters, Kinks and more, courtesy of NPR.

DOSH did the four free songs thing for Daytrotter. Jazzy.

ATLAS SOUND: Bradford Cox (Deerhunter) has posted a free EP including covers of Kurt Vile and Dylan/The Band.

ARCADE FIRE played "Ready To Start," "Month Of May," "The Suburbs" and "Modern Man" for Jools Holland, which by my count is Fourfer Tuesday.

THE HOLD STEADY: Craig Finn talks about tour playlists, hip-hop and the World Series with Prefix.

BRYAN FERRY talks to The Quietus about the past and present, art, controversy, Keats, Kate Moss, and being stuck in a lift with Charlton Heston.

OLD SKULL singer J.P. Toulon has died at 30 of as-yet unknown causes.

WILCO: The Coffee.

CHARLIE SHEEN and adult film actress Capri Anderson are trading nasty public barbs about his hotel meltdown. And he's apparently suing her for extortion.

EVA LONGORIA & TONY PARKER: The inevitable stories about her from his frends.

JESSICA SIMPSON is not pregnant, just engaged.

KATE WINSLET and her model boyfriend of four months, Louis Dowler, are dunzo.

KOURTNEY KARDASHIAN and her baby boy Mason were rushed to a Los Angeles hospital by ambulance this past Friday night after the 11-month-old suffered an allergic reaction to peanut butter.

THE AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS had record low ratings. Thanks, Bieber!

MILEY CYRUS pulled the plug on singing "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" on the AMAs after rumors surfaced that Bret Michaels - the man who famously wrote and sang it - had an affair with Miley's mother.

LEO DiCAPRIO recently avoided disaster after one of his plane's engines shut down en route to Moscow.

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER is getting a reboot without Joss Whedon, who comments.

ISLAMISM in the UK: The government says it will not tolerate anti-Semitic and homophobic lessons being taught to Muslim children in the UK.

IRAN's nuclear program has suffered a recent setback, with major technical problems forcing the temporary shutdown of thousands of centrifuges enriching uranium. Suspicions focused on the Stuxnet worm. Meanwhile, Tehran launched air defense missiles as part of recently completed war games.

AFGHANISTAN: Security forces killed and captured scores of Taliban and Haqqani Network commanders and fighters in Kandahar, Helmand, Khost, Paktia, and Logar. (Thx, LWJ.)  Old hands debate the introduction of US tanks into the theater.

CAT vs GATOR: Let's go to the video.

COUGAR CUBS: Aw.

WILD TIGERS could become extinct in 12 years if countries where they still roam fail to take quick action to protect their habitats and step up the fight against poaching, global wildlife experts told a "tiger summit" Sunday.

AN OUTBREAK OF MILLIPEDES on a local train line between Goryo and Ishikaki stations in Japan on the morning of Nov. 21 caused delays and the cancellation of two trains.

DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN CATS: You realize, of course, this means war.

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