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Martin Courtney, Squeeze, Rickie Lee Jones, Orangutan   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, December 28, 2015 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


FATHER JOHN MISTY updates John Lennon's "God" at the Troubadour.

MARTIN COURTNEY of Real Estate stopped by World Cafe for a chat and mini-set.

SQUEEZE: Difford & Tilbrook stopped by World Cafe for a chat and mini-set.

RICKIE LEE JONES stopped by World Cafe for a chat and mini-set.

BONO & FRIENDS busked on Grafton Street in Dublin on Christmas Eve to raise money for homeless charities.

THE POGUES: Shane MacGowan uses his new teetth to give a pretty Grinchy interview to Vice.

STEVIE WRGHT, who fronted the band the Easybeats in the 1960s and is widely regarded as Australia’s first international pop star, has died at the age of 68.

WILLIAM GUEST, a member of Gladys Knight and the Pips from 1953 to 1989, died on Thursday in Detroit. He was 74.

CAMERA OBSCURA's keyboardist, the late Carey Lander, remembered by by bandmate Tracyanne Campbell.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: Star Wars: The Force Awakens, with 153MM in its second weekend, 5444MM domestic and over one billion dollars worldwide, continues to shatter just about every record it encounters and is now seems pretty likely to dethrone Avatar as alltime champ by the time it's done. Daddy's Home placed a distant second, but 38MM makes it Will Farrell's best debut since Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby. Maybe all those TV showings of Elf helped.The production budget for Daddy's Home was around 50MM, which means this will likely make a tidy profit as it runs into January.  Joy shows with 17.5MM, a likely tribute to the draw of Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper and barely enough to think the studio can profit against a 60MM budget.  Sisters came in fourth, but the holidays gave it a leggy 13.9MM, about what it made in its debut. Alvin and the Chipmunks The Road Chip rounds out the Top Five with 12.7MM.  Below the fold, Concussion debuted at sixth with 11MM, which is probably enough to take it to profit against a 35MM budget.  The seventh place expansion of The Big Short was also successful at 10.5MM against a 28MM budget.  The remake of Point Break debouted in eighth with 10.2 MM against a 105MM budget...but this seeming flop may be saved overseas where it has grossed 43MM (40MM of which is from China alone).

ROBERT DOWNEY JR., who spent time behind bars in the late 1990s on drug convictions, received a Christmas Eve pardon from Gov. Jerry Brown, effectively removing a black mark from the movie star's checkered past.

MADONNA's 15-year-old son has flown the coop so he could stay with his dad.

CHRIS BROWN & SCOTT DISICK are sober buddies?

KHLOE KARDASHIAN is continuing her commitment to the rehabilitation of Lamar Odom.

CARSON DALY wed his longtime love, fiancée Siri Pinter, in a private ceremony on Wednesday.

DEADPOOL dropped a red-band trailer for the holidays.

HASKELL WEXLER, Oscar-winning cinematographer (and he should've won another for his Herculean last-minute effort on American Graffiti) has died at 93.  Seriously, he was working in Los Angeles on already scheduled jobs during the day and helicoptering to Petaluma to work on American Graffiti every night, providing enough light to hold camera focus whilestill  making it look naturalistic.

SACHA BARON COHEN & ISLA FISHER donated a million dollars to aid refugees in Syria.

ARIZONA: The man accused of training and arming two men who went on to attack a “draw Muhammad” cartoon contest in North Texas has been indicted on charges that he accessed an Islamic State list that recorded the names and home addresses of U.S. service members.

BELGIUM: Authorities have announced the arrest of a ninth suspect linked to last month’s Paris attacks, a man they said had been in contact with the suspected ringleader’s cousin.

IRAQI troops who have fought their way deep into the Islamic State stronghold of Ramadi were consolidating their positions on Friday ahead of a planned final assault to capture the city.

AN ORANGUTAN turns her blanket into a hammock.

A FLOCK OF CHICKENS was set loose in Oregon's Department of Revenue.


A COYOTE was stopped by airport security in South Carolina.

1916 Reads

Hurry Christmas, Hurry fast.   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, December 23, 2015 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



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

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

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

THE POGUES:  It's not Christmas Eve in the drunk tank (or even St. Patrick's Day) without a "Fairytale of New York."  From 2012, here's the backstory. And at The Week, Michael B. Dougherty argues that it's the greatest Christmas song of all time.

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

DEAN WAREHAM Does The Holidays.

THE 10 BEST PUNK CHRISTMAS SONGS, according to L.A. Weekly.

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

THE 25 BEST CHRISTMAS ALBUMS, according to Complex. BONUS: The L.A. Times rounds up the Merry and the Meh, including the evolving Christmas Time Again, by The dB's and Friends.

THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY of Christmas Songs.

BILLY MACK: Because "Christmas Is All Around."  ALSO: Is Love Actually is an awful movie? PLUS: We now know for sure what happened to Harry and Karen.

THE FLAMING LIPS perform "White Christmas" as only they can.

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

THE COURTEENEERS drop a video for "Winter Wonderland" that's not that Winter Wonderland.

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

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

JON BON JOVI sings "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" to R2-D2 in his first professional recording.

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

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

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

THE MOST COVERED CHRISTMAS SONGS, according to FiveThirtyEight.

MARIAH CAREY's “All I Want For Christmas Is You” has slipped to number two in the ranking of holiday shoppers’ most-heard songs.

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

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

NOW SHOWING: Christmas will see the wide openings for: Daddy's Home, which is currently scoring 35 percent on the ol' Tomatometer; the remake of Point Break, not screened for critics; David O. Russell's Joy, currently scoring 62 percent; Concusssion, scoring 60 percent; and the expansion of The Big Short, scoring 86 percent.

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

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

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

TEN OR TWELVE UNDERRATED Holiday Tracks (Some of which already appear here).

A CHRISTMAS GIFT FOR YOU...FROM PHIL SPECTOR: Essayed by Aquarium Drunkard and NME.

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

THE SEX PISTOLS & THIN LIZZY played "A Merry Jingle" for Top of the Pops.  BONUS: The Pistols' final UK show was a Christmas benefit.

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

RUDOLPH, THE RED-NOSED REINDEER:  Pull up an ice block and lend an ear!  Herbie wanted to be a dentistNTTAWWT.  BONUS:  The Rankin-Bass classic continues to inspire ads like 2009's Verizon ad, following 2008's Apple ad, even more so 2007's AFLAC commercial, and AT & T bringing in Rudolph and Santa for 2015.

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

SCARY GHOST STORIES: I overheard Andy Williams crooning "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" in a store this month, and the lyric about "scary ghost stories" never really struck me before.  Took me a second, but I supposed he was referring to Dickens.  It turns out -- as noted by a coworker -- that this was a thing in Victorian England...  and the modern day. BONUS: Krampus, which has now inspired a major motion picture. DOUBLE BONUS: NME rounds up 10 Deliciously Scary Christmas Movies. TRIPLE BONUS: 18 Killer Santas From Film and TV.

TEN UNFORGETTABLE Musical Christmas Moments On Film.

THE 30 BEST CHRISTMAS MOVIES, according to Empire magazine.

DRECK THE HALLS: A Holiday TV Specials Retrospective.

23 TV EPISODES based on "A Christmas Carol."

NAT KING COLE:  His chestnuts are roasting.

MAYMO THE BEAGLE gets 210 bottles for Christmas.

100 ANIMALS in Santa hats. You're welcome.


A SHETLAND PONY in a Christmas foursie.

14 ANIMALS Who Tried to Ruin Christmas.

CHRISTMAS ON CHRISTMAS ISLAND involves millions of crabs.

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

2521 Reads

Springsteen, Sharon Jones, All Songs, Eurythmics, Santa Hound   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, December 22, 2015 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN played "The Ties That Bind" and was joined by Paul McCartney for "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town."

SHARON JONES & THE DAP-KINGS played a holiday Tiny Desk Concert.

ALL SONGS CONSIDERED's 2015 Holiday Spectacular, with Carrie Brownstein, Dan Auerbach, Aimee Mann, Ben Folds and more.

YOUTH LAGOON visited WFUV's Studio A for a chat and mini-set.


EURYTHMICS: We split the duo for Twofer Tuesday. Dave Stewart dropped "Christmas is For Lovers" last year, while Annie Lennox teamed with and Al Green covered Jackie DeShannon's "Put a Little Love in Your Heart" for the Scrooged soundtrack.

CBGB is reopening...as a restaurant in Newark Liberty International Airport.

THE GRATEFUL DEAD's Fare Thee Well was only the beginning.

THE 100 BEST TRACKS of 2015, according to Pitchfork.

THE GUMMY AWARDS: Stereogum's reader poll for 2015.

R KELLY walked off from an interview on HuffPost Live after getting questioned about sex abuse charges.

LENNY KRAVITZ: Police raided a free dental clinic he sponsored in the Bahamas.

NICOLAS CAGE returned a stolen dinosaur skull to Mongolia.

STEVE HARVEY announced the wrong winner of the Miss Universe pageant.

JAMES FRANCO is remaking Mother, May I Sleep With Danger?

BRIDGET JONES's BABY: Entertainment Weekly has a first look.

BELGIAN police delayed a raid in the search for Paris terror attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam last month because of a legal ban on conducting them at night, the federal prosecutor’s office said Wednesday.

THE ISLAMIC STATE has lost 14 percent of the territory it held in January, according to an analysis by IHS, a defense research firm.That's good, though not the 40 percent claimed by the US.

A HOUND in Santa gear.

A SIAMESE CAT is currently the frontrunner to take over the Mayor's seat in Barnaul, a city of 650K that is about 2000 miles east of Moscow.

A PIG ON THE LAM was captured in Tennessee with donuts.

A LARGE SNAKE, possibly a ball python, took a weekend ride on an MTA bus in Brooklyn.

2118 Reads

Ray & Dave Davies, Son Little, Dave Rawlings, T. Rex. Amur Tigers   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, December 21, 2015 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


ANOTHER RECORD TRAFFIC DAY on Saturday. Thanks for stopping by!

RAY & DAVE DAVIES shared a stage for the first time in almost 20 years. The song? "You Really Got Me," of course.

SON LITTLE played a Tiny Desk Concert.

DAVE RAWLINGS MACHINE (incl Gillian Welch) stopped by World Cafe for a chat and mini-set.

T. REX: T. Rexmas!

EL PERRO DEL MAR drops her cover of RHCP's "Breaking The Girl," an outtake from her last LP.

SHARON JONES & THE DAP-KINGS are dreaming of a "White Christmas."

THE BEATLES may be streaming on Christmas Eve. (They will be here, per usual.)

KEITH RICHARDS, Lord of the Undead, turned 72; NME rounded up some of the most insane stories from his life and aferlife.

AQUARIUM DUNKARD's 2015 Year In Review.

THE TOP 40 ALBUMS of 2015, according to The Guardian.

SCOTT WEILAND died of a toxic mix of drugs that included cocaine, according to a medical examiner's office in Minnesota. Shocka.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: The little film that could, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, shatters the domestic record of Jurassic World (209MM) to open with 238MM, and possibly more like 241-46MM. If it's that higher number. The Force Awakens may move above 517MM worldwide to edge out the dinosaurs' 525MM global record as well. This positions Disney to make as much as 2 Billion in ticket sales against a 200MM production budget (and undoubtedly yuge marketing budget), but with estimates for merch sales ranging from 3-5 Billion through the holiday season, Disney's 4 Billion purchase of Lucasfilm will likely be recouped on this film alone (and does not account for additional valuable assets like Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound).  Alvin and the Chipmunks The Road Chip placed light-years distant with 14MM, far less than the previous intallmet's 23MM, but let's face it--it's amazing families went to see anything but TFA this weekend, and it's still going to do well enough while kids are on vacation to spawn a fourth film. Sisters showed with 13.4MM and with 30MM budget, this is likely to do alright as counter-programming against the Star Wars juggernaut...if Joy and Daddy's Home don't nudge it out next weekend.  The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 skids from the top slot to fourth with 5.7MM, but a 595MM worldwide total leaves no one hungry. Creed rounds out the Top Five with 5M; it may have reached profit on the big screen and could even stage a slight rally through year's end.

NME announced its first list of People of the Year.

LAMAR ODOM made a huge stride in his recovery this week ... taking steps for the first time without assistance.

GWEN STEFANI & BLAKE SHELTON met each other's parents.

CAITLYN JENNER is Barbara Walters' most fascinating person of 2015.

MADONNA legally declared that Sean Penn never struck her during their relationship in the 1980s.

DANIEL CRAIG's secret role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. {Spoiler Warning, obvsly.]

THE ISLAMIC STATE may have stolen "tens of thousands" of blank passports that it could use to smuggle its fighters into Europe as refugees, a German newspaper reported Sunday.

RUSSIA is trying its hand at creating its own private military company -- in Syria and Ukraine.

IRAN: Changes to a U.S. visa waiver program that impose travel restrictions on those who visit Iran contradict the landmark nuclear agreement between Tehran and world powers, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said Sunday.

IRAQ: An airstrike by the U.S.-led coalition this past week killed 10 Iraqi troops, the Iraqi government said Saturday, in an apparent friendly fire incident in which the U.S. defense secretary says both sides shared responsibility.

A REHABILITATED AMUR TIGER gave birth for the first time in the wild.

BJORN THE REINDEER cantered down a high street in Carlton, Nottingham, pursued by a crowd of people after a car horn startled him at a Christmas event.

AN INTERNATIONAL TEAM of scientists and conservationists has undertaken a first-of-its-kind effort to revive two extinct tortoise species -- not using high-tech genetic engineering, but by breeding living creatures related to the ones now gone.

DOGS HUNTING COYOTES: Coyote coursing has spawned a subculture in Nebraska, but it has come under fire by animal activists.

2029 Reads

Aimee Mann, Tom Jones, Juila Holter, David Bowie, Star Wars, Otter   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, December 18, 2015 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



...with AIMEE MANN's CHRISTMAS CAROL (profanity warnings): Part One has your Scrooge-y set-up with Michael Penn. Part Two features The Office's John Krasinski. Part Three has Michael Cera. Part Four has John C. Reilly.

TOM JONES stopped by WFUV for a chat and mini-set.

JULIA HOLTER stopped by WFUV's Studio A for a chat and mini-set.

THE LINE OF BEST FIT has compiled a free Christmas album featuring all new songs.

DAVID BOWIE drops "Lazarus," ahead of ★. There's also some chat with Bowie's long time friend and producer Tony Visconti and his new found friend/saxophonist and band leader Donny McCaslin.

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

CHEAP TRICK (a Pate influence), Deep Purple, Chicago and Steve Miller among the acts that will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  RICK NIELSEN held court with Rolling Stone and Billboard regarding the honor.

ALL SONGS CONSIDERED released their Listeners' Poll for 2015.

THE CRANBERRIES' singer Dolores O'Riordan is facing jail time after pleading guilty to assaulting an air hostess and police officers whilst on a flight during November 2014.

ADAM ROTH, a guitarist who played with the Del Fuegos, Jim Carroll, Evan Dando and many more, has passed away after a battle with bile duct cancer.

NOW SHOWING: This week's wide releases include Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which is currently scoring 94 percent on the ol' Tomatometer; Alvin and the Chipmunks The Road Chip, which is scoring 18 percent; and and Sisters, scoring 71 percent.

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, the seventh episode in the franchise, is the seventh one I've seen on opening day, so I may be a little biased here...but I shant spoil anything.  Suffice it to say it could never be like the original, which was literally unlike anything anyone had ever seen and which (for better or worse) largely reshaped the modern movie business.  It is also a marked improvement on the sequels, which I probably liked more than most of you (and most of you are right -- if you have never seen the epic-length critique of The Phantom Menace from Red Letter Media, it's well worth the time). Being post-Return of the Jedi allows J.J. Abrams & Co. to maintain the funkier 70s-80s look and vibe of the original trilogy, whereas the prequels had a much glossier, overly CGI-ed feel. Many beloved characters from the original trilogy also return, and bringing in screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back) ensures their dialog has just the right tone. The new characters are not the archetypes of the original, but are sufficiently revealed for this episode through the machinations of the plot.  The opening crawl inspires confidence of a return to form. Over the ensuing hours, you will see old things, new things, new twists on and upgrades of old things, many things you want to see and at least one thing you really don't want to see. I got a lump in my throat several times, but I think even casual fans will find The Force Awakens to be a worthy successor to the original trilogy and  a promising start to Disney's expansion of the universe Lucas created.

AZALEA BANKS was arrested outside Meatpacking club Up&Down on Wednesday after she allegedly went berserk and attacked a female security guard by punching her and “biting her in the boob."

JUSTIN BIEBER & KOURTNEY KARDASHIAN are a thing, even if it's just a fling.

MACAULAY CULKIN plays a disturbed, adult version of his Home Alone character in a new web series.

MICHAEL JACKSON's Thriller has become the first album ever to be certified 30 times multi-platinum for U.S. sales.

SAN BERNADINO: Enrique Marquez, the friend of terrorist Syed Rizwan Farook, has been arrested on criminal charges in connection with the Dec. 2 massacre in San Bernardino, federal authorities said Thursday.

GERMAN Chancellor Angela Merkel's refugee policy has attracted praise from all over the world, but her latest speech called muti-culturalism a "sham" and addedg that Germany may be reaching its limits in terms of accepting more refugees.

AN OTTER snacks and chills out.

HOW TO RAISE 30-year-old cats.

A BABY GOAT suffered a horrible fate in Gothenburg, Sweden.

A RACCOON was found lounging near the bathroom sink in a Houston family's home.

2001 Reads

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