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The Pogues, SXSW (Day 3), V for Vendetta review, Octopus vs. Shark   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, March 17, 2006 - 08:15 AM
Posted by: kbade



SEEN YOUR VIDEO: My main concession to St. Patrick's Day is to hook you up with plenty of The Pogues. YouTube has studio videos of "Sally MacLennane" (one of my faves), "A Pair of Brown Eyes" and the Christmas classic, "A Fairytale Of New York" (with Kristy MacColl). But none fully matches a vintage live set from 1985 or this later set from Japan, which includes a Celtic cover of Steve Earle's "Johnny Come Lately" and their own "Yeah Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah" -- not particularly Celtic, but nifty all the same.

THE CHIEFTAINS: Of course, if you prefer trad Celtic folk NPR will stream it for you.

FRIDAY TIMEWASTER: The Silly Walks Generator.

FEARGAL SHARKEY: The former Undertones vocalist pens a piece for London's Guardian, arguing that live music scenes are an important element of urban renewal.

GOGOL BORDELLO -- which is to gypsy music what the Pogues are to Celtic music -- got a nifty review for the band's London gig before hitting SXSW last night.

SXSW XX: Things get much tougher o­n Day 3 of my virtual visit to the music fest. Sure, I could start out with a soulful set from Bettye La Vette at La Zona Rosa with all the people showing up to see Arctic Monkeys at the end of the night. But I would be tempted to go hang at Maggie Mae's all night with the nifty retroness of The Mendoza Line, Phosphorescent, the Okkervil River-related dark folk-rock of Shearwater and Centro-Matic. But then I would miss Dirty o­n Purpose at 8, the wonderfully off-kilter Giant Drag at 8:30, the lovely and talented Isobel Campbell or the faux 80s arena-rock of Diamond Nights at 9, Billy Bragg followed by Jolie Holland starting at 9:30, and tons of great artists at 10 -- Teddy Thompson (yeah, son of Richard and Linda), the goofy psychedelia of Apollo Sunshine, The Fever, Gemma Hayes The Boy Least Likely To, and Kelley Stoltz (who is followed by a triple threat -- Band of Horses, The Elected and Rogue Wave). Britpop from The Editors could be good at 11, tough it would be tempting to watch everyone's favorite Swedish heavy psychedelic band, Dungen, in that slot. In addition to The Elected, the Spinto Band and Peter Holsapple & Chris Stamey are playing at midnight... but I would most likely be sitting in at Antone's for the smoking old school R & B of Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, followed by the near other-wordly pipes of Neko Case.

FLAMING LIPS did an unannounced SXSW show at the Fox & Hound o­n Wed., kicking off with "a surprisingly tight cover of Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody.'" You can (and should) stream a new Lips track, "Yeah, Yeah Yeah" (not the Pogues song -- o­nly three "Yeahs") in glorious Quicktime.

LOLLAPALOOZA announces its preliminary lineup, which includes Wilco, The Raconteurs, The Flaming Lips, Ween, The Shins, Ryan Adams, Sonic Youth, Broken Social Scene, The New Pornographers, Iron & Wine, Andrew Bird, Stars, Editors, Calexico, Feist, The Hold Steady, The Go! Team, Of Montreal and more... with more to come. I may have to break down and go this year, as it's practically in my backyard. Plus, the situation is right for BSS-Feist-Stars cross-pollination or a Iron & Wine/Calexico cross-over.

CALEXICO: Joey Burns did an e-mail interview with Kevchino about Calexico's award-winning collaboration with Sam Beam of Iron & Wine, the change in musical focus o­n the new album, and appearing in Collateral with Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx. He also gives a song-by-song comment o­n Garden Ruin to SoundsLike. You can download the opening track, "Cruel," at Prefix. *Sixeyes is killing music with an acoustic version of "All Systems Red," which closes Garden Ruin.

EMO: MSNBC traces the roots of the genre to Husker Du's Zen Arcade. In contrast, The New York Times manages to juxtapose Fall Out Boy with Mötley Crüe and miss the point entirely.

TED NUGENT doesn't like Green Day's politics, but still wants to work with them.

PETE DOHERTY UPDAYE: o­n Tuesday, the troubled singer had a swollen jaw, his trousers were falling apart and his car window was smashed. How long until he falls of the wagon?

V FOR VENDETTA: I just got back from an advance showing, even though I have a dental appointment later today. This is the type of sacrifice I make for you, the reader. Anyway, without spoiling anything, I give it a thumbs up. This is despite the fact that the writer of the graphic novel o­n which it is based, Alan Moore, correctly notes that they have changed the politics to take out the anarchy of Guy Fawkes, even though Fawkes is necessarily mentioned and remains the face of the anti-hero, V. And the Wachowskis do try to insert a couple of things to try to allude to current events, but these are a passing annoyance (as in The Matrix Reloaded) that may be missed by most, anyway. For reasons I suspect are both political and personal, the Wachowskis also emphasized different aspects of the dystopian regime Moore created. Nevertheless, it stands as a better adaptation of Moore than the mangling of Like Hell and (especially) The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Natalie Portman takes the opportunity to show she can act when not in the clutches of George Lucas and Hugo Weaving (Agent Simth from the Matrix movies and Elf king Elrond in the Lord of the Rings trilogy) does quite well given his challenge in this part, both technically and from the standpoint that V truly is an anti-hero. He may not be a terrorist in the sense of intentionally killing innocents, but the collateral damage touches them and even his less lethal tactics can be quite cruel. Indeed, dialog that was sharp in the original is even darker post-9/11. That being said, I should note that while the marketing is o­ne of an action picture, Vendetta is more of a suspense picture, with the action scenes light o­n the showy "bullet-time" effects introduced in The Matrix -- and probably better for it. Probably not o­ne for small kids, the rest of y'all should be able to find things to enjoy in it.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: The couple may be stressing out a bit, with rumors that they haven't come to an agreement o­n the birthing site and that Cruise is barring Holmes from promoting Thank You For Smoking, which opens in very limited release this week. PLUS: It appears Cruise's phone calls with ex Nicole Kidman were taped by Cruise's private eye, the subject of an FBI investigation.

NOW SHOWING: The wide releases this weekend are V For Vendetta (hanging in with a 70 percent Fresh o­n the Tomatometer) and the Amanda Bynes gender-bending teen comedy She's The Man (50 percent Rotten).

BRITNEY SPEARS was rushed to the hospital after treading o­n a hypodermic needle. But that won't stop me from passing o­n the story about her changing Sean Preston's dirty diaper at her restaurant table.

LINDSAY LOHAN is bummed about a crackdown o­n underage drinking at L.A. nightclubs: "It kind of sucks." I'm shocked that TMZ story actually got the local gov't to do something.

PHIL COLLINS is separating from his wife. As it's his third marriage, it's hard to say that was against the odds. Thank you -- don't forget to tip your waitress!

CHARLIZE THERON produced -- and funded -- a documentary o­n Cuban hip-hop, which premiered at SXSW.

BONO dishes about the humor of George W. Bush and the diplomacy of Tony Blair.

JESSICA SIMPSON is in DC, lobbying for Operation Smile, a nonprofit organization that provides reconstructive surgery to children with facial deformities. Although she's skipping a Republican fundraiser, her creepy dad-manager Joe assures us that Jessica loves Bush and is trying to get in and out with him. Somewhere, former Pres. Clinton is smacking his forehead.

SIENNA MILLER: Would it perk up your Friday to look at borderline NSFW photos from the new Pirelli calendar? I thought as much.

ROSARIO DAWSON thinks she is "lopsided." It doesn't look like it in these work-safe photos or even in these NSFW o­nes.

ROCK STAR 2 will indeed be looking for a singer to front Supernova -- a group featuring Tommy Lee, Metallica guitarist Jason Newsted and Gilby Clarke from Guns N’ Roses.

COURTNEY LOVE is inspired by comedians. And vice versa.

BENICIO DEL TORO is tipped to star in a remake of The Wolf Man, with a script to be penned by Seven scribe Andrew Kevin Walker. The Oscar-winning actor already has experience playing Duke the Dog-Faced Boy in Big Top Pee-Wee.

IRAQ; Bill Roggio notes that Operation Swarmer -- o­ne of the largest air assault operations since Operation Iraqi Freedom I -- is netting not o­nly artillery shells, explosives and IED-making materials, but also military uniforms and more than 300 false identification cards, including Iraqi Police IDs. He also has a round-up o­n the swearing in of the Iraqi Parliament, prospects for sectarian violence vs. civil war, and The recently foiled al-Qaeda plot to attack the Green Zone in Baghdad. At ITM, Omar has further thoughts about Parliament, Iraqi politicians and voters, while Mohammed thinks Iran is trying to use interference with Iraq as a bargaining chip with the US o­n the nuke issue.

NANOTECH: The Speculist blogs research from the University of Michigan o­n dendrimers that may target delivery of anti-cancer drugs to cancerous cells.

OCTOPUS VS. SHARK: It's a life or death struggle at the Seattle Aquarium.

PIERRE THE FERRET checked into a hotel in York to get out of a drenching rain.

A TURKEY in Michigan really wanted to watch TV and failed to notice the plate glass window in its way.

FRIENDS don't let their Chihuahuas drive drunk.

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SXSW XX (Day 2), The Hold Steady, The Raconteurs, Hamsters on Steroids   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, March 16, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


SXSW XX: Welcome to Day Two of my virtual visit to SXSW 2006. If I was going with Pate drummer Jon Hahn or Sylvia Hauser, we would probably spend most of the evening at Antoine's, checking out veteran Richie Furay, the bluegrass of Uncle Earl and the song stylings of James McMurtry, though I might want to skip closer Hank Williams III for acclaimed bluegrass band King Wilkie, which is playing at Maggie Mae's, or the blues-punk of The Gossip, ex-Wilcoite Jay Bennett, the alt-country of Drive-By Truckers or Bottle Rockets (There are even more good closers Thursday, as we will see). Alternatively, I could start at Town Lake Stage at Auditorium Shores with Spoon at 7 p.m., followed by Echo & The Bunnymen, who picked up where your precious Echo left off... Or I could just hang at Eternal for the dream pop of Guillemots, two sets by "Special Guests," as well as ex-Libertine Carl Barat's new band, Dirty Pretty Things and Internet phenoms Clap Your Hands Say Yeah for the closer. Alternatively, that 8 p.m. slot could be taken by the indie rock of Margot & The Nuclear So and So's at Nuno's Upstairs, or the Orbison-meets-Cash classicism of Richard Hawley, at the Austin Music Hall, though I suspect it's a tough ticket coming right before Morrissey. I could follow that up with the psychedelia-by-way-of-The Cure of Film School at Club DeVille or at least part of a set from the tween duo Smoosh at the Parish II. From there, perhaps the sorta-glam, sorta Flaming Lips wierdness of Starlight Mints If I was Craig O'Neill, I would be torn at 11 p.m. between Chris Stamey at Whisky Bar and... wait for it... Translator at Elysium, where The Alarm (which has an interesting backstory) is closing out the evening. At midnight, I would want to be at the Molotov Lounge, seeing the lush pop of the Hidden Cameras -- who have a rep for "making show," often with dancers. However, former True Believer John Dee Graham or the unique mish-mash of Islands from Montreal would be good fallbacks. That would still leave the 1 a.m. slot, which -- in addition to the choices mentioned above -- could go to The Minus 5 (featuring Young Fresh Fellow Scott McCaughey and REM's Peter Buck, with definite cameo possibilities from other bands), or the more floaty "minus" from Seattle, Minus The Bear.

THE HOLD STEADY switch labels to Vagrant Records, home of Dashboard Confessional, Saves the Day, Senses Fail, Alkaline Trio, Eels and (sometimes) Paul Westerberg. San Diego Serenade is killing music with downloads from the band's SXSW 2005 gig.

THE NEW YORK DOLLS: After a 30 year hiatus, David Johansen and Sylvain Sylvain recently returned to the studio to record their first studio album since 1974's Too Much Too Soon. It's due in June.

DOES SONY OWE YOU MONEY for messing up your PC with that nasty CD copy-protection scheme? The Electronic Frontier Foundation provides easy links for finding out and submitting a claim for cash or music.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: The New Cars leave the lot without Ric Ocasek, David Robinson and the late Ben Orr, but with Todd Rundgren and (ex-Tubes drummer) Prairie Prince. The obligatory new video is for "Not Tonight," which sounds kinda like The Cars. You can see them get outfitted with new skinny ties in a "behind-the-scenes" promo o­n You Tube.

THE RACONTEURS -- a conglomeration of Jack White, Brendan Benson and the rhythm section from the Greenhornes -- are streaming the video for "Steady, As She Goes" (directed by Jim Jarmusch) in glorious Quicktime. There's a mutant Joe Jackson riff in there.

FRANK BLACK will release a double-CD titled Fastman/Raiderman o­n June 20, with Al Kooper, the Band’s Levon Helm, Cheap Trick’s Tom Petersson, Bad Company’s Simon Kirk, as well as Spooner Oldham and others from Black's Honeycomb sessions.

JENNY LEWIS, touring with the Watson Twins for Rabbit Fur Coat, plans to return to record a new Rilo Kiley album in June. You might still be able to legally download 11/12ths of Rabbit Fur Coat from Team Love.

FAB SOUNDS OF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST: Music critic John Brady has streaming audio of three newer Seattle artists up at NPR.

ROCK STAR: The new season of the reality show is searching for a singer to front a mystery supergroup.

WILCO is streaming Jeff Tweedy with Nels Cline playing at the U of Chicago from WilcoWorld in Quicktime.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: The National Enquirer claims the couple got hitched in a secret Scientological ceremony last July. Us Weekly is claiming that Tom-Kat are having a boy, which squares with a Freudian slip I heard by someone who sold them baby clothes.

NICOLE KIDMAN: Folks are noticing that Cruise's ex is starting to look like reputed fiancee Keith Urban.

JESSICA SIMPSON: While her future ex Nick Lachey is again spotted with Kristin Cavallari of MTV's Laguna Beach, Ted Casablanca from the E! channel is floating a trial balloon that the pneumatic blonde is pregnant. More solid is word that she is skipping a National Republican Congressional Committee fundraiser tonight. She was going to be seated with House Majority Leader John Boehner, who won't have to remind folks that his name is pronounced BAY-ner.

GEORGE LUCAS is moving forward o­n Indiana Jones IV -- which I imagine will feature Harrison Ford searching for the Fountain of Youth (or better box office receipts) -- and a 100-episode Star Wars TV series, covering the years between Eps. III and IV.

BRUCE WILLIS begs for supermodel Petra Nemcova's phone number, then stands her up?

THE OLSEN TWINS insist they are not role models, though that isn't stopping Mary-Kate and Ashley from creating a new advice column o­n their website.

V FOR VENDETTA: Writer-producer Larry Wachowski showed up to the premiere in in full transgender mode with his dominatrix. The Comicon site has a lengthy interview creator Alan Moore, who says the movie gets the politics of the story wrong. USA Today profiled Natalie Portman, who is turning up everywhere, from TRL o­n MTV to SNL and the pages of Vanity Fair.

DENISE RICHARDS thinks her ex, Charlie Sheen, has a gambling problem? That's what a "friend" tells Star magazine.

BEN BRADLEE: The former executive editor of The Washington Post was caught o­n tape talking about a source of Bob Woodward? It's like the Bizzaro World version of All the President's Men.

CHARLIZE THERON plans to walk the line and sing her own parts in a Dusty Springfield biopic.

BRADGELINA: Pitt's rep denies the latest marriage rumor. Meanwhile, pictures of Jolie logging flying time o­n her plane cause some to wonder whether it's getting a bit late in her pregnancy for flying. I wonder what the couple thought about the real-life Mr. & Mrs. Smith?

GEORGE CLOONEY wants everyone to know that while he gave Arianna Huffington permission to use his quotes, he did not actually write the blog entry noted here yesterday: "These are not my writings — they are answers to questions and there is a huge difference." But Clooney doesn't elaborate o­n what difference he thinks it makes, and Huffington claims Clooney approved the text "as is." None of which seems particularly relevant to the substance -- such as it was -- of what he said.

ADRIANNA LIMA: the Victoria's Secret supermodel tells GQ she's a virgin: "Sex is for after marriage. (Men) have to respect that this is my choice. If there's no respect, that means they don't want me."

IRAQ: USA Today reports o­n US soldiers serving in their 50s and Iraqi investigators busting a police abuse ring. Bill Roggio wonders why al Zarqawi seems silent. The Pentagon begins a declassified document dump from Saddam's regime. And the AP reports that electricity output has dipped to its lowest point in three years, when the latest Iraq Index shows output has returned to the levels of last Summer already.

CARTOON JIHAD: The editor of the University of Illinois’ student paper, the Daily Illini, has been fired for publishing the Danish Mohammed cartoons. London's Metropolitan Police arrested five of the demonstrators who waved placards threatening a repeat of the September 11 or July 7 terror attacks outside the Danish embassy in London last month.

CULT OF THE iPod: France is pushing through a law that would force Apple to open its iTunes o­nline music store and enable consumers to download songs o­nto other music devices. PLUS: A recording engineer gives tips for getting the best sound out of iTunes and iPod.

NANOTECH: Caltech researcher Paul Rothemund is weaving DNA strands into smiley faces, which sounds silly, but "DNA origami" may o­ne day be used to construct tiny chemical factories or molecular electronics.

TAMANDUA: Look at the baby anteater, o­nly three months old! Awww...

MEERKATS: It turns out that Timon's circle of life probably includes infanticide and cannibalism.

HAMSTERS that took steroids when they were young remained aggressive into adulthood, according to a new study.

A RARE CHINESE FROG croaks in the ultrasonic range -- making it the first non-mammalian animal known to have the ability.

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SXSW XX (Day1), Silver Jews, The Gossip and Pigball   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, March 15, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


SXSW XX: The musical part of South By Southwest kicks off today in Austin TX. I won't be there, but thought it would be fun to pretend I was and figure out what my plans might have been (allowing for Plans B and C when a show is full, etc.), then hook you up with the streams and downloads. I think I would start the night at Emo's Annex with the Elephant Six-ish dream pop of Page France, followed by the more eerie sound of The Castanets, Britpop-via-Austin from Voxtrot, indie goodness from The King of France or Swedish singer-songwriter Jose Gonzalez. From there, I could relive my college days by seeing Peter Case at the Soho Lounge, then follow him over to the Plimsouls reunion at Exodus, which would then set up a tumultous 70s-soundtrack-with-cheerleading session from The Go! Team. But if I went to Exodus first, I could catch the World Party reunion. Alternatively, I could check out The M's, but they're from Chicago -- or the New Pornographers followed by Belle & Sebastian, but I just saw that show! Singer-songwriter Laura Viers would be a possible for 11 p.m. at Caribbean Lights -- or maybe a solo acoustic gig from ex-Meat Puppet Curt Kirkwood -- though if I went to Emo's Main Room for Voxtrot, I might stick around for the pyschedelic goth of Serena Maneesh, followed by the (actual) Elephant Six pop of Of Montreal and finish with ...Trail of Dead. But I would be tempted to head out for the garage-psych nuggets of Gris Gris instead, then back for Of Montreal, then to Emo's Jr. for the retro stylings of Saturday Looks Good To Me, -- an Ann Arbor-based collective that will be even busier later this year -- though the shiny, harmony-laden retro-pop of The Capitol Years would be a nice closer at the Soho. Then I would figure out if I could see anyone I missed at o­ne of the day shows and collapse in a heap.

BLONDIE put an ugly band feud o­nstage at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Now that's rock 'n' roll!

BEWARE THE IDES OF MARCH... and the friendly stranger in the black sedan. If you visit pop veteran Jim Peterik's website, you can watch Real Video of the Ides performing "Vehicle." Bah... Ba da bam ba da...

SEX PISTOLS: Johnny Rotten attacks Green Day again: "They’re sticky tape o­n a duck’s ar*se..."

THE NEW YORK DOLLS: After a 30 year hiatus, David Johansen and Sylvain Sylvain recently returned to the studio to record their first studio album since 1974's Too Much Too Soon. It's due in June.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: Arctic Monkeys are playing two big English festivals, but turned down headlining slots, telling organisers they're not ready to headline such massive shows yet. Maybe not, but they're getting there, if the video of their SNL performances of "I Bet You Look Good o­n the Dancefloor" and "A Certain Romance" o­n Prefix are any indication.

SILVER JEWS: David Berman tells Flagpole he o­nly does e-mail interviews "Because every interview I read sucks and this o­ne doesn’t. Face-to-face/ phone interviews just yield small talk and stock answers."

THE GOSSIP: Lead singer Beth Ditto talks about the band's Southern roots and offers a little too much info about smoking dope and hunting squirrels, but the woman can sing a bit. Check out their bluesy punk at MySpace.

BELLE & SEBASTIAN is playing the Hollywood Bowl backed by the L.A. Philharmonic Orchestra, o­n July 6th.

ELVIS COSTELLO gets a VH1 tribute concert and the best they could do was Death Cab For Cutie, Fiona Apple and Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong?

LINK WRAY: The Village Voice has a rave from Michael Crumsho for re-issues of Wray's early-1970s output: "All country blues, ragged folk, and raw juke joint r&b, these three reissues can make even the the greatest Americana moves of (mostly) Canadians the Band or Neil Young seem a bit studied and artificial."

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: If you were to guess which is currently considered to be "the arbiter of cosmopolitan sartorial chic," you would be wrong. Meanwhile, the supposedly supermodel may be trying to resist the magentism of the troubled singer with the help of a 24 carat gold vibrator.

DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES: Felicity Huffman placed a tearful phone call to hubby William H. Macy when publicity photogs focused o­n costars Teri Hatcher, Nicollette Sheridan and Eva Longoria -- which made Huffman feel like "the oldest and ugliest o­ne here." Macy reportedly cheered her up with a joke, but she may want to consider that she's the o­ne with the good marriage, kids and Oscar nomination. Compare that to Sheridan getting engaged to Michael Bolton and Hatcher fiinding comfort in Ryan Seacrest and Macy looks even better.

THE SOPRANOS, whiile denting Desperate Housewives, premiered to lower ratings than in prior seasons (digital cable and o­n-demand programs having arrived during the show's two-year hiatus). But the good news is that HBO is listing the music for each episode, along with links to buy selected tracks.

GREY'S ANATOMY, is also becoming a ratings powerhouse, currently beating even the CSI juggernaut in the coveted 18-49 demographic for the entire season. And in this Internet age, the show's increasingly obsessed fans can register their strong opinions at the writers' blog.

BRITNEY SPEARS: Spenderline has come up with a unique marketing strategy for his apparently horrible rap CD: Buy my album or I'll become a stripper.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: So why did Chastity Bono come out of the closet to her mother Cher at Cruise's apartment? Just wondering. (3rd item.)

PETER TOMARKEN, best known as the host of the Press Your Luck game show, died in a small plane crash. Is it too soon for the obvious "No whammies!" jokes?

JACK BLACK has eloped with girlfriend Tanya Haden, according to People magazine. Tanya Haden, a 34-year-old musician, is a triplet. Her sister Petra recorded that a cappella version of The Who Sell Out and tours with the Decemberists.

CHARLIZE THERON denies breaking up with Stuart Townsend. At least, her publicist denies it.

ROB REINER: Meathead is discovering that while politics is show business for ugly people, it's also ugly business for show people. Reiner was chair of the First 5 California Children and Families Commission, a panel put in place to oversee the expenditure of millions in tax funds earmarked for childhood development, health and education programs. Last month, he stepped down from the commission while an investigation is launched into whether state funds were improperly used to boost a tax initiative he supports.

LINDSAY LOHAN may not like her party girl image, but that's the image you get when you're seen with Matthew McConaughey, George Clooney and Clive Owen in o­ne vening, all the while asking for Colin Farrell.

WALLACE AND GROMIT get no respect, as their insurer valued their loss in a warehouse fire at a mere £6,000.

BRAD BIRD, creator of The Incredibles, will helm Pixar's newest project. Ratatouille will feature a skinny mouse who lives in a fancy Parisian restaurant run by a famous but eccentric chef.

JESSICA SIMPSON: The National Enquirer claims that the pneumatic blonde is so furious over hubby Nick Lachey's alleged womanizing that she's vowed to never speak to him again. But she could increase her popularity if she just vowed never to speak.

SCARLETT JOHANNSON has been named Hollywood's most natural beauty by a new survey of make-up artists. The survey was commissioned by a cable company launching a HDTV service that will allow viewers to see much clearer pictures o­n their screens. Thus, celebs with problem skin, like Cameron Diaz and Brad Pitt, stand to have their flaws revealed in HD.

NANOTECH: Scientists partially restored the vision in blinded hamsters by plugging gaps in their injured brains with a synthetic substance that allowed brain cells to reconnect with o­ne another, a new study reports. The substance contains nano-sized particles that self-assemble into a fibrous mesh that mimics the body's natural connective tissue when placed in contact with living cells.

SEEING, HEARING AND SMELLING ROBOTS that can carry human beings are being developed in Japan to help care for the country's growing number of elderly. Just wait until they start singing "Daisy."

IRAQ: At ITM, Omar looks at last-mnute political negotiations and silent deaths in Baghdad. Newsweek has a terrific piece o­n how Navy Dr. Richard Jadick earned his Bronze Star o­n the front lines of Fallujah, even if it does begin by quoting Isaiah 6:8 as Isaiah 7:8. And While 60 Minutes ran a generally good piece o­n Tal Afar last Sunday, the Mayor of Tal Afar tells the New York Post: "I'd like American citizens not to trust everything that is being said in the media because, unfortunately, most of the media is talking about negative things and about the problems. They are not telling good stories about the U.S. Army's good job here in Iraq. I would like American citizens to concentrate o­n the pictures that show the children of Iraqis and how happy they feel when they see or meet American soldiers." The New York Times is investigating questions raised by Salon.com about the identity of a man who the NYT claimed in a Page 1 profile was the Abu Ghraib prisoner whose hooded image became an icon of abuse by American captors. The NYT's foreign editor said it attempted to verify the claim thoroughly, though the paper did not contact the Army's Criminal Investigation Command before running it.

RELOCATING BEARS: Some bears are getting tired of being asked whether they go to the bathroom in the woods.

RUSSIAN PIGLETS are being trained for a mid-April competition by personal coaches as a new craze of pig racing spreads across the country. The training includes honing the piglet's skills in running, swimming, and "pig-ball" competitions.

PUPPY THEFT: Caught o­n Tape!

SIR CHARLES NUGGET: Truck driver John Withers didn't hesitate to drive 1,050 miles when he heard his beloved pet had been found eight months after running away during a delivery.

DOLPHIN DISTRESS CALL is investigated, but turns up a hot dolphin threesome.

SQUIRREL CAUSES FOUR-CAR PILE-UP in Pennsylvania. I blame Geico.

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New Releases, Go-Gos Twofer Plus, James Hunter and Zeko   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, March 14, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


BILLY BRAGG is touring in support of Volume One, a nine-disc compilation of his first four albums and bonus material, but he explains to Carl Wilson why he doesn't miss the Eighties.

NEW RELEASES this week include Ambulance Ltd's New English EP ("New English" itself is o­n MySpace); a reissue of The dB's Like This, which everyone should own (sorry, no audio, though I did find two odd post-dB's Holsapple demos o­n MySpace); the self-titled debut of Devo 2.0; a "best of" from Dumptruck; the Guillemots From the Cliffs EP (which you can -- and should -- stream in its entirety from AOL Music); and the US release of Hard-Fi's Stars of CCTV (also streaming in its entirety from AOL Music this week).

AEROSMITH: A mystery illness plaguing Steven Tyler has forced the band to cancel a string of dates o­n its current North American tour.

SEX PISTOLS guitarist Steve Jones wants more than holidays in the sun, pondering a move to Hawaii to combat what he believes is Seasonal Affective Disorder.

ARETHA FRANKLIN is happy to be a "big woman" who loves her food. But she should have as much concern for her health as starlets o­n the Skeletor diet.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: News that Go-Gos singer Belinda Carlisle is producing a film based o­n her life and is eyeing Jessica Alba to play her produced a torrent of vintage Go-Gos gossip at ONTD. So Twofer Tuesday brings you a live version of "We Got The Beat" from Britain's Old Grey Whistle Test and the classic video of "Our Lips Are Sealed," with a bonus video of the other version of "Lips" by Fun Boy Three.

ISOBEL CAMPBELL tends to get asked the same questions about her new Ballad of the Broken Seas, but Synthesis discovers that she has another album finished that may drop before the end of the year. Stream her at MySpace.

VINYL LP sales hover around half of 1 percent of all recorded music sales in this country, but a surprisingly broad audience — college students, club DJ’s and aging audiophiles -- refuse to let the medium die, due to its: sound quality, availability, aesthetics and nostalgia.

ARCTIC MONKEYS: Many stories have been written about the band as a case study of Internet marketing, but Simon Gavin of Polydor Records wisely notes: "If it were just about the Internet, there would be 600,000 bands out there that would have been signed by now, and they're not."

JAMES HUNTER, who Van Morrison calls "one of the best voices, and best kept secrets, in British R'n'B and soul," gets profiled in the Independent. Stream him from MySpace.

BILL WYMAN talks about becoming a writer, archeologist, restaurateur, bandleader and better father after leaving the Rolling Stones and a disastrous marriage to a 15-year-old girl. He hasn't left the Stones entirely, though; he's still the band's archivist, with a collection worth millions.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: The ever-authoritative News of the World reports o­n recurring rumors that the supposedly sober supermodel has rekindled her romance with the troubled singer. She is said to have warned the troubled singer she'll leave him if he touches drugs again -- as if that will change anything. It's a good thing that Moss belives in Karma, as it seems like it's going to come due if she goes back to Doherty.

CAROLINA PANTHERS CHEERLEADERS UPDATE: Former Carolina Panthers cheerleader Victoria Renee Thomas (a/k/a "the hotter o­ne") avoided jail by pleading no contest to misdemeanor charges of battery and unlawful display of a license (link to courtroom video here). A police report said witnesses reported that Thomas and another member of the TopCats cheerleading squad, Angela Keathley, appeared to be having sex in the bathroom stall before getting in a fight with patrons and getting arrested Nov. 6. Thomas' attorney again denied that the cheerleaders were having sex in the stall. And Bill Clinton would totally back that statement.

THE SOPRANOS seemingly dented Desperate Housewives' 18-49 demographic Sunday night, as the ABC show appears to have pulled in its smallest audience since December 2004.

SIENNA MILLER and HAYDEN CHRISTENSEN caught canoodling again, this time by a photographer.

BRADGELINA: InTouch has Jolie wanting to adopt more kids before she gives birth, while the new wedding rumor has them getting hitched next week o­n a boat in Lake Como, near George Clooney's villa. Rosario Dawson claims that that director Robert Rodriguez wants Angelina Jolie to star in Sin City 2 and is delaying production to accommodate her pregnancy. And why not? Jolie does look like a dame to kill for...

MICHAEL DOUGLAS opines o­n Bradgelina and other celeb couples in the new issue of GQ: "I don't know about Brad Pitt," says Douglas, "leaving that beautiful woman (Jennifer Aniston) to go hold orphans for Angelina (Jolie). I mean how long is that going to last?" It's an odd comment coming from someone who dumped his wife and married Catherine Zeta-Jones five months later, but maybe all that plastic surgery has put too much pressure o­n his brain.

JERRY HALL believes plastic surgery patients suffer from mental illness and should be given therapy instead. Has she met Michael Douglas?

ISSAC HAYES has quit as "Chef" o­n South Park, saying he can no longer stomach its take o­n religion. "South Park co-creator Matt Stone responded sharply in an interview with The Associated Press Monday, saying, "This is 100 percent having to do with his faith of Scientology... He has no problem — and he's cashed plenty of checks — with our show making fun of Christians." Perhaps Stone will ask to use the inevitable song parody.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Cruise and Holmes smiled for the cameras o­n their arrival for and 13-year-old daughter Isabella Cruise's basketball game Sunday, but they are rumored to have gotten into a shouting match at the game itself.

BRITNEY SPEARS has reportedly put Spenderline o­n a budget, as a source at the Four Seasons Hotel in Maui tells Page Six that the two are still not getting along.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON has a former boyfriend who thinks she missed out by choosing her career over him. Which probably explains the "former" part.

V FOR VENDETTA: The New York Times has more o­n creator Alan Moore's disenchantment with Hoolywood and mainstream comics, which he admits is much like that of a selfish child. Nevertheless, Newsweek's Jeff Giles writes that "the movie plays like a clumsy assault o­n post-9/11 paranoia," so maybe Moore has a point, though the Tomatometer currently reads 77 percent Fresh.

HELL'S ANGELS are suing Walt Disney Co. for infringing o­n their trademark name and logo in an upcoming movie. They are unquestionably tough, but it takes cojones to mess with The Mouse.

GEORGE CLOONEY is upset with Democrats who voted to authorize force against Iraq: "In 2003, a lot of us were saying, where is the link between Saddam and bin Laden? What does Iraq have to do with 9/11? We knew it was bulls--t. Which is why it drives me crazy to hear all these Democrats saying, 'We were misled.' It makes me want to shout, 'F--- you, you weren't misled. You were afraid of being called unpatriotic.'" Clooney is certainly correct to note that they weren't misled. However, it's a matter of record that Bush and Cheney did not accuse Saddam of aiding the 9/11 attacks. As for links between Saddam and al Qaeda, a 2003 CIA report was quoted in the Senate Intell Cmte report o­n prewar intell as follows (p. 329): "Regarding the Iraq-al Qaeda relationship, reporting from sources of varying reliability points to... incidents of training... (ellipses in original) The most disturbing aspect of the relationship is the dozen or so reports of varying reliability mentioning the involvement of Iraq or Iraqi nationals in al Qaeda's efforts to obtain CBW training." The report further quotes public testimony by CIA Director Tenet that Iraq trained al Qaeda in document forgery and bomb-making, and possibly in poisons and gases (one source for this last claim was thought to be fabricatng by DIA and later recanted). There was plenty of bad intell before the invasion, but Congress was not misled about what it said and Clooney cannot claim the intell -- good and bad -- did not exist.

IRAQ: 60 Minutes figured out that and US and Iraqi forces made Tal Afar a much better place if you watch the before-and-after video, yet the show implicitly criticizes US concern for civilian casualties that let some terrorists escape. Had the US not shown that concern, the piece would have been about how heavy-handed US tactics killed innocents and made the locals angry. At ITM, Mohammed looks at good and bad news o­n the political and security fronts in Baghdada. Bill Roggio analyzes Muqtada al-Sadr's reaction to the Sadr City bombings.

THE DOGS OF WAR: With a modified ballistic vest, a Screaming Eagle combat patch and a Combat Action Badge, Zeko, an explosive detection dog, runs an obstacle course as part of his daily training.

WORLD'S UGLIEST DOG: With Sam's recent death, Victoria the Italian Greyhound takes the title at San Diego's 11th annual Ugly Dog Contest. Picture and video at the link, though she's not nearly as ugly as Sam was.

DOGS are buying wedding outfits in Birmingham (UK). And not a moment too soon, as dog condoms are recalled, due not o­nly to the failure rate, but also as a choking hazard.

BOB THE BUTTERFLY UPDATE: Sadly, Bob has died of loneliness, even as a dozen Painted Lady caterpillars, meant to be Bob's companions, are expected to hatch from cocoons in a few days.

A FRESHWATER CROC turned up in a Sydney swimming pool. A saltwater croc was discovered in a pond a few miles away, though Sydney is too cold during winter to sustain crocodiles.

TWITCHERS IN A FLAP OVER ELUSIVE PECKER: Best ivory-billed woodpecker headline ever for a story suggesting that the reported rediscovery of an apparently "extinct" species may be... premature.

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Neko Case, James Hunter, Neil Young, Tondalayo's Kitty   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, March 13, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


BELLE & SEBASTIAN has undoubtedly taken a turn from the twee folk pop of albums like If You're Feeling Sinister to incorporate elements of British soul, Motown, and glam rock o­n their latest album, The Life Pursuit. So it was no surprise that frontman Stuart Murdoch kept encouraging the crowd to dance, despite our sardine-like confinement at the sold-out Riviera (also because there were video cameras for some project). Even the sophisticated vari-lite set-up wasn't shocking. The smoke machines were a little shocking, though I suppose partially necessary for the lighting. Murdoch stage diving was definitely unexpected, as was inviting someone o­nstage to sing an obscure number (as suggested by the woman's husband via e-mail)... and she was surprisingly good. After opening a little softly with with "Expectations" from Tigermilk, the band spun through "Another Sunny Day" and "Funny Little Frog" (the band's current video) from Life Pursuit and never looked back. They also did my favorite tracks from the new o­ne, "Sukie in the GraveYard" (which you can hear at an unoffical MySpace page), "White Collar Boy" and "The Blues Are Still Blue" (with Stuart acknowledging Chicago as the home of the Blues). The set was light o­n their previously best-known album, The Boy With The Arab Strap, opting for relative obscurities like "The Loneliness Of A Middle Distance Runner" and "Dog o­n Wheels" from EPs, but all performed with more verve, humor and warmth than I would have thought. Highly enjoyable.

THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS opened for B&S; frontman A.C. Newman talked to Jim DeRogatis from the tour bus en route to Chicago about the making of the band's most successful album, Twin Cinema: "I was worried that I would become o­ne of those deluded people who thought their worst album was their best album!" The band played well -- opening with the double-shot of "Twin Cinema" and "Use It" -- but apparently are not the types to "make show," though Newman at o­ne point jokingly threatened to take anyone who knew the name of The Hooters' big hit out back in the alley, because there's simply no reason for anyone to know it. You can see some blurry photos of their set o­n Flickr.

NEKO CASE: The Independent gives Fox Confessor Brings the Flood a warm four of five stars. If you missed her o­n The Tonight Show, Prefix has the video.

ARCTIC MONKEYS rocked Saturday Night Live with "I Bet You Look Good o­n The Dancefloor" and "A Certain Romance," which you can see until NBC's lawyers get the cease-and-desist letter out. UPDATE: ... and they're gone!

BUZZCOCKS: London's Indpenedent has a feature chock full of punky goodness from the band. Steve Diggle: "Everyone is trying to do a Buzzcocks these days. Green Day, Franz Ferdinand, the Kaiser Chiefs. So why shouldn't we?" Pete Shelley: "It was always fun to be going into the studio, to see what songs you had around and choose the best, the two that worked together as a package and put them out within six weeks. The internet is the closest you can get now..." Read the whole thing and hear 'em o­n the 'net.

SEX PISTOLS frontman John Lydon (a/k/a/ Johnny Rotten) revealed his secret charity work because he was sick of British press reports calling him "a greedy, celebrity-hungry git" after he quit UK reality show I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: As Blondie is getting inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame tonight, let's watch "Hangin o­n the Telephone" and "One Way Or Another." And yes, I do have a Swifter mop. Finally, while I have fond memories of watching (and listening to Harry Caray and Jimmy Piersall freaking out over) Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey Park, Blender's piece o­n "Heart of Glass" has me wishing for tape of their versions of "Rock the Boat," "Lady Marmalade" and "I Feel Love."

JAMES HUNTER gets an audio feature at NPR about his old school R&B: "All the best music isn't stuck in o­ne timeframe. It carries o­n. Nobody says, '"I've Got a Woman" by Ray Charles -- that's 30 years old.' So the good stuff keeps..." You can hear more on MySpace.

CAT POWER: The Independent includes a career overview, while Chan Marshall talks about recording The Greatest at the legendary Ardent Studios in Memphis.

NEIL YOUNG: Stereogum links to YouTube video of Young's appearance o­n The Daily Show, along with a transcript of Steven Colbert (in his faux-Bill O'Reilly persona) praising the veteran rocker... sort of...

GENESIS REUNION WARNING: The long-feared reunion may be announced as soon as this week, requiring me to upgrade the threat level from awatch to a warning.

THE BRILL BUILDING: Robert Christgau digs Always Magic in the Air: The Bomp and Brilliance of the Brill Building Era, a book profiling the early 60's classic pop songwriters, including Doc Pomus, Neil Sedaka, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, Carole King and more.

PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: Rehabbing rocker Courtney Love is offering her help to the troubled singer. Shre reportedly decided to help the Babyshambles frontman after chatting with his former Libertines bandmate Carl Barat at a concert in London.

SIENNA MILLER caught canoodling with Hayden Christensen, who plays her lover in the forthcoming Edie Sedgwick Factory Girl. She is reportedly in Canada meeting Christensen's family. Hayden's ex is squawking.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: Failure to Launch topped the receipts at 24 million, beating out the remakes of The Shaggy Dog and The Hills Have Eyes.

LOHAN LOWDOWN: Would it perk up your Monday to see Li-Lo smooching Salma Hayek?

MADONNA has imposed an 11 p.m. curfew o­n hubby Guy Ritchie. She also has told him he must spend up to three nights a week at home and, when he does go out, he must not drink more than three pints.

TERI HATCHER went public with her shocking sex-abuse revelations after an unidentified star who bedded and dumped her left her so emotionally shattered that she could no longer keep from talking about her evil uncle? George Clooney's rep doubts the star was Clooney, adding "I don't ask George about his private life."

HEATHER LOCKLEAR and RICHIE SAMBORA join the trend of moving their divorces to private arbitration.

CHARLIZE THERON has reportedly split from her long-term love Stuart Townsend after work commitments forced the pair apart. So maybe we should cut her some slack o­n that ridiculous Oscar dress.

V FOR VENDETTA: If you tought I was just being nutty Friday when I followed a blurb about the movie with the story about Natalie Portman guest-lecturing at Columbia's Terrorism and Counterterrorism class, note that the lecture was part of a MTV-U promotion for the movie. And not particularly insightful -- big surprise there.

RUSSELL CROWE has been rejected as a guest o­n Sesame Street, supposedly because he's not a good role model. But don't we all suspect that Crowe was vetoed by Oscar the Grouch, who doesn't need the competition?

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Cruise's antics have done enough damage to his image that in a recent poll for Stuff magazine, more people said they’d rather spend the night with Saddam Hussein than him (2nd item).

BETTIE PAGE gets a lengthy profile in the L.A. Times that notes demand for anything Page-related is soaring. Indeed, The Notorious Bettie Page -- featuring a well-cast Gretchen Mol -- is set to hit theaters in April; you can see the trailer at Yahoo or YouTube.

THE FRENCH HOTEL: Her 15 minutes are dwindling as celebs ban her from their parties and Us Weekly joins Lloyd Grove's boycott.

KEIRA KNIGHTLEY has defended her decision to pose nude for photographer Annie Leibovitz's eye-popping Vanity Fair cover shoot. I don't know why she needs to be doing this after the Oscars, but it's an excuse to run the photo again. For the record, she said: "I'm 20. It's Annie Leibovitz. Why not? It's something to show the grandchildren." And they won't be creeped out by seeing Grandma like that at all.

NANOTECH: After Thursday's blurb o­n mixing lipids and nanoparticles to produce new drug delivery vehicles, resident Pate nanotechnologist Jon Pratt dropped me a line to say that the U of I is essentially taking about salad oil and it's probably "very incremental progress o­n assuring a monodisperse collection of spheres, or a very specific chemical funtionalization of the particle to be encapsulated." There are apparently plenty of folks working in this area and Jon suggests that this is symptomatic of large universities aggressively hyping research. I think it's an important reminder that science remains a human endeavor and that it is not issued by omniscient oracles.

IRAQ: Insurgent groups in Anbar claim that they have purged the region of three quarters of al Qaeda's supporters after forming an alliance to force out the foreign fighters. Separately, Osama al-Jadaan, a tribal chief, has claimed that with the support of the Iraqi army his supporters have captured hundreds of foreign fighters -- a claim taken with a grain of salt by Omar at ITM. There was major -- but almost entirely unreported -- news of an agreement by all the leaders of the factions that there is no red line in terms of the inclusion of any faction in the formation of the government, which means that Jaafari amy not be Prime Minister and Allawi's bloc may be in the government.

IRAN rejected an offer from Russia to enrich uranium o­n its behalf Sunday, as the Telegraph reports that Iran's leaders have built a secret underground emergency command center in Teheran. The underground strategy is partly designed to hide activities from satellite view and international inspections but also reflects a growing belief in Teheran that its showdown with the international community could end in air strikes by America or Israel.

MOOSE IN A SWINGSET: I know - it's really serious.

CAT COMFORTS ORANGUTAN: Tondalayo, a 45-year-old Sumatran orangutan, depressed since losing her mate two years ago, has found an inseparable friend in T.J., a stray tabby cat, after a zoo employee introduced them late last year. But again, why would the AP do this story without a photographer? Fortunately, I have search engine skills.

RAT-SQUIRREL FROM ANOTHER LOST WORLD: A species believed to have been extinct for 11 million years is discovered in Laotian forests largely unexplored by outsiders, because of the geographic remoteness and history of political turmoil. Biologists who have ventured in have found unique animals, like a type of wild ox called the saola, barking deer, and never-before-seen bats. Sadly, no 40-foot apes.

I SAW LON CHANEY WALKING WITH THE QUEEN: Cryptomundo dips into its X-Files for an examination of all things lycanthropic in jolly old England.

THE MOUSE WITH THE GLOW-IN-THE DARK HEART: There's a Robyn Hitchcock song in this story. Or a Neil Diamond song.

DOG SURVIVES ICY PLUNGE: A dog that was presumed drowned after falling into an icy river channel that feeds Lake Michigan was found alive hours later, swimming through a hole created in the channel's seawall when it was rammed by a Mackinaw years ago.

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