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Go! Team, Grizzly Bear, Wilco, Pig-Sitter Update   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, November 07, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


THE GO! TEAM finally did a video for one of my faves from their new album, "The Wrath of Marcie."  The horn lick kills.  Rapper Ninja talks to PopMatters about the song (among others) and how her career choice was received by her father:  "He said to me, `Wrap what? Presents?' He really had no idea what I was talking about..."

GLENN MERCER talked to PopMatters about The Feelies and his solo album, complete with embedded video.

ERIC CLAPTON is reuniting with Steve Winwood, his former bandmate in '60s supergroup Blind Faith, for three shows in NYC.

GRIZZLY BEAR got an audio feature on NPR's Morning Edition.  You can stream the band's current album this week via GrizzlySpace.

WILCO has posted the video for "Impossible Germany" from their appearance on Austin City Limits on WilcoWorld in glorious Quicktime.  The band is also re-releasing Sky Blue Sky for Europe with a 5-song bonus CD containing new and live recordings; the bonus material will be downloadable for those who already bought a copy of the album.

A LESS PALE SHADE OF WHITE:  The Phoenix reports on the blues and old-school R&B resurgence rumbling in the indie-music underground, going well beyond the White Stripes to include Bettye LaVette teaming with the Drive-By Truckers, North Mississippi All Stars, the Black Keys, Nashville's Black Diamond Heavies and the Dynamites, Kansas's Moreland & Arbuckle, Memphis's Richard Johnston, Oregon's Hillstomp, and Texas's Jawbone.  The article also surveys bluegrass-influenced indie bands.  Sasha Frere-Jones should read it; so should you.

ROSANNE CASH has announced she is to undergo brain surgery for a "rare but benign condition."  She expects to recover fully from the operation.  Best wishes to her.

THURSTON MOORE played "Fri/End" for Jimmy Kimmel, who gets the title wrong.

PRINCE has sicced his lawyers on several of his biggest fan sites, demanding they remove any image that bears his likeness, and prompting fans to form a group to fight the demands.

RADIOHEAD generated a firestorm of publicity when it announced last month that it was making its new album, In Rainbows, available for download at whatever price fans were willing to pay.  A study of traffic to Radiohead's In Rainbows Web site during the first 29 days of October showed that 38% of those who downloaded the album at the site paid something to get the album, while 62% paid nothing.  Parlophone will release all of Radiohead's EMI output, from Pablo Honey to Hail to the Thief (sans singles and EPs), in three different formats, including a "Limited Edition" 4-gig USB stick, which features all the albums in CD quality WAV files, plus digital artwork.

ANIMAL COLLECTIVE:  The experimental rockers did an interview and mini-set for KEXP you can stream on demand via NPR (or you can just stream the songs).

LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III talked to LAist about working with Joe Henry and director Judd Apatow.

MAN MAN has signed to Anti- Records to release their third album, due in early 2008.

PETE DOHERTY says he feels fantastic post-rehab and that he and ex-gf Kate Moss are becoming buds again.  But London's Sun has video of Doherty shooting heroin again.

BRITNEY SPEARS:  If you think she looked bad shopping the other day, consider how bad she may look after 25 more years of sun, smoking and empty calories.  And you can bet she's going to look bad when she finds out that The Eagles easily beat her to No. 1 on The Billboard 200 after Billboard revised a significant chart policy today.

DAVID COPPERFIELD:  TMZ has obtained portions of a secret document outlining in extreme detail how the magician's assistants were supposed to rope in the women that David found attractive -- and hold their boyfriends and husbands at bay.  The ever-reliable National Enquirer claims that the woman accusing Copperfield of raping her got a rape kit done and later wore a wire for the FBI.

KEANU REEVES hit a photographer with his Porsche in a not-so-excellent encounter in March, according to a lawsuit filed by the paparazzo.  Sounds like Reeves needs to work on his "Whoa!"  Allegedly.

CHRISTINA APPLEGATE, basking in the glow of success with Samantha Who?, was... wait for it... caught canoodling ex-hubby Johnathon Schaech at L.A. hot spot Les Deux on Friday night.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  A special screening of Lions for Lambs at the Museum of Modern Art was stocked with Scientologist honchos invited by Cruise.  According to one insider, Holmes also attended, but seemed "robotic."

THE McCARTNEYS:  Heather Mills has defied legal advice to deliver yet another stinging attack on Sir Paul, making a barely-veiled threat that she would make more embarrassing revelations about their marriage.  Stella McCartney denies claims that she is designing a one-legged pendant as a dig at Mills.

SHIA LeBEOUF:  The Smoking Gun has the mugshot from his trespassing arrest in Chicago, complete with red, glassy eyes.

AMERICAN GANGSTER:  It turns out that when Hollywood says "Based on a true story," they mean 80 percent made up.  The real Richie Roberts is miffed; the real Frank Lucas is making big money from it, because he was convicted before the passage of New York's "Son of Sam" law.

JOSH HARTNETT and... RHIANNA:  To quote Paul Carrick, how long has this been going on?

DANIEL RADCLIFFE (a/k/a Harry Potter) is said to have become "very close" to Laura O'Toole, a muggle four years his senior, since appearing opposite one another on the West End stage in the controversial play Equus earlier this year. 

WINONA RYDER is reportedly dating Rilo Kiley guitarist Blake Sennett... until she wears him out with her non-stop demands for sex.  Spinner has a slideshow of Ryder's many musical boyfriends at the first link.

VENEZUELA:  At Slate, Anne Applebaum looks at why actors and models love to hang out with Hugo Chávez.

TERROR in EUROPE:  A total of 20 suspected Islamic extremists were arrested across Italy, Britain, France and Portugal Tuesday on charges ranging from association with the aim of committing international terrorism, to falsifying documents to aid illegal immigrants.  Police believe the detainees had been setting up "Salafist jihadi" militant cells, which have recruited and assisted would-be suicide bombers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

IRAQ:  The milbloggers at Blackfive, along with embedded bloggers Bill Roggio and David Tate, have produced a video report on the "Concerned Citizens" groups who have banded together to fight al Qaeda and the Shia extremists in thier communities.  Prime Minister al-Maliki went on a rare walkabout in central Baghdad in the latest sign of the improving security situation in the war-ravaged capital.  US and Iraqi forces have uncovered 5000 weapon caches since the beginning of 2007.  Rear Adm. Greg Smith added that have IED attacks have dropped 50 percent since the start of the "surge."  Iraqi Security Forces conducted a large joint operation along the foothills of the Hamrin Mountains of Tikrit, detaining 39 suspected insurgents and uncovering a torture cell, a mobile hospital, vehicle-borne bombs, rocket-propelled grenades, machine guns and a Katyusha rocket.  The US military says it intends to release nine Iranians being held in Iraq, including two detained on suspicion of helping Shia militias.

FIFTEEN PUPPIES get help from an extra surrogate mother.  More awww...some pics at the link.

GALE, a border collie, survived an incredible nine days in the boot of a car - by going into hibernation.

SNAKE BATH:  A Guinness official certified a record for spending about 45 minutes in a see-through bathtub with 87 rattlesnakes.  The record setter?  Jackie Bibby, the "Texas Snake Man."  He was also the prior record holder.  He's now working on breaking another of his old records by by holding 11 rattlesnakes by their tails in his mouth at once.

PIG-SITTER UPDATE:  Mary Beesecker has been charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty for fattening a co-worker's part-feral, part-potbellied pig from 50 pounds to 150 pounds.  The owner said some have questioned whether 50 pounds was really a healthy weight for the pig.  Indeed, Pate's resident hog expert, Dale Stevermer, questions it.  But the owner and the pig's veterinarian, Dr. Randy Snell, say 50 pounds is more normal for the mixed breed.  Whether "less normal" amounts to abuse is another issue.

COW!  Life imitates Twister, this time one mile east of Manson, Michigan.

4113 Reads

Sharon Jones, New Releases, Superdrag, Ryan Adams, Houdini   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, November 06, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


SHARON JONES and the DAP-KINGS:  The video for "100 Days, 100 Nights" was directed by Adam Elias Buncher, who achieved the old skool look using two vintage TV cameras bought on eBay for 50 dollars each.

NEW RELEASES are hitting the pre-holiday season lull.  The new Sigur Ros and the reissue of Joy Division's "Unknown Pleasures" are streaming in full via Spinner.  Grizzly Bear is streaming its new Friend album -- presumably so named because it collects remakes, covers (by and of the band) and collaborations.  Avant-folkie Richard Youngs releases his Autumn Response.

CANADA'S HOTTEST BANDS, according to a bloggers' poll conducted by i (heart) music, with a slate of honorable mentions.

SUPERDRAG:  The crew from Daytrotter attended the band's recent reunion shows at Chicago's Metro, which led to the band sitting for an interview and recording free songs in the Quad Cities.  The band also did a Lounge Act set for WOXY.

BIG DIPPER is reuniting and releasing a 3-CD set in April 2008.  Rock Town Hall interviews guitarist Gary Waleik about the past and future of the band.

CARIBOU:  Dan Snaith talks about his influences (including The Zombies), the new album, working with the Junior Boys' Jeremy Greenspan and more with Loyola University's Phoenix.

RYAN ADAMS and the CARDINALS played "How Do You Keep Love Alive" and "Pearls on a String" (with a cameo from Nellie McKay) in an exclusive webcast for Dave Letterman.  And that is your Twofer Tuesday.

MONITOR MIX:  Carrie Brownstein (ex-Sleater-Kinney) is blogging for NPR about why people are drawn to certain songs, genres, voices, or instruments.

PROJECT SONG:  Magnetic Fields guru Stephin Merritt kicks off a new series from NPR in which writers are given 48 hours to complete a song from a group of six photos and six words.  BONUS:  Magnetic Fields announces tour dates in advance of a new album due in January.

INTERNET KILLED THE ROCK STAR?  In the Detroit Free Press, Brian McCollum argues that the Information Age is causing rock stars to lose their mystique.

IRON & WINE:  Sam Beam talked to London's Sun about his nom de band and musical influences.

PETE DOHERTY spoke exclusively to NME.com about his struggles to stay clean after completing his rehab.

BRITNEY SPEARS spent her court-approved visitation time chandelier shopping, leaving her two kids in her car with the court-required monitor.  Oh, that's going to look about as good in a court report as she looked shopping -- bloated, pasty-faced and with greasy hair, while her skin-tight jeans and transparent vest top exposing her black bra seemed to be straining at the seams.  The former manager suing Spears for back commissions thinks the pop tart ought to try farm life.  She's already lived like the Beverly Hillbillies, so Green Acres would be a natural next step.  BONUS:  The Eagles beat Spears on the UK album charts... and in US sales (by at least a factor of two), though Billboard will list Spears at the top because Wal-Mart is not reporting the numbers on its exclusive release.

BRADGELINA:  W magazine has managed to get Jolie and Jennifer Aniston to agree on one thing -- neither likes the fact that the mag put their faces on competing covers for November's issue of the mag.

OPRAH WINFREY called the abuse scandal at her 47-million-dollar South African school for girls "the most devastating experience of my life."  Video at the link.  A former dorm matron appeared in court Monday to face a series of charges that she mistreated girls at the school.

ROSIE O'DONNELL is in serious discussions to host a prime-time show on MSNBC, according to executives on both sides of the negotiations who have been briefed directly.

JESSICA SIMPSON was escorted by National Guardsmen through New York's JFK airport Friday night control -- at the request of American Airlines (I guess I missed when they got in the chain of command).  Video at the link.  Woody Harrelson reportedly flirted up a storm with Simpson at Willie Nelson's recent video shoot, even though Harrelson is married with three children.  She politely rebuffed him and moved onto the Butterscotch Stallion, Owen Wilson.

JOHN MAYER, Simpson's last boyfriend, has decided that Americans are so celebrity obsessed that he will blog his meals to slake their thirst for gossip.  I've never been a big fan of his music, but I'm liking his blogging.

THE McCARTNEYS:  Heather Mills is demanding that Sir Paul tell the world she is 'not a fantasist or a golddigger' as part of their divorce settlement.  Meanwhile, the Cute One was spotted getting cozy with the wife of a millionaire New York lawyer who has recently dropped her husband's name.

CELEBS DUMPING THE DOLLAR?  Supermodel (and Pats QB Tom Brady's squeeze) Gisele Bundchen reportedly has insisted that she is paid in Euros rather than US dollars as the dollar hit an all-time low against the Euro.  Her agent later denied the story and said she would be seeking 'clarification' on what the model's sister said -- but not before I got to look at the pics of Bundchen from the Victoria's Secret fashion show at the first link.  Meanwhile, Jay-Z flashes large stacks of €500 Euros in his new video based on by the Ridley Scott movie "American Gangster."  In this case, however, it may be that Jay-Z knows that the large-denomination Euro is the modern gangsta's currency of choice.

JULIA ROBERTS tells the next issue of Vanity Fair that she wants to make less garbage, but is referring to her homelife, not her movie career.  Indeed, her dream is to be "a highly fulfilled and productive stay-at-home mom and wife."

SCARLETT JOHANSSON & JOSH HARTNETT broke up in part because Scar-Jo was jealous of seeing Hartnett in the arms of other actresses.  At least, that's what Hartnett suggests in an ungentlemanly interview with InTouch Magazine.

THE HOLLYWOOD WRITERS' STRIKE over residual payments for DVDs and Internet content puts "hypenates" like the writer-actors of The Office in a tough position.  The L.A. Times has created a strike blog -- my favorite entry so far is this one.

STEPHEN COLBERT has dropped his bid for the White House after the South Carolina Democratic Executive Council voted last week to keep the host of "The Colbert Report" off the state's primary ballot.

WALK HARD:  Entertainment Weekly has the title track from the mock biopic of musician Dewey Cox (John C. Reilly) co-written by Judd Apatow, due in theatres Dec. 21.

NANOTECH:  Ultracapacitors may replace batteries someday, as MIT scientists work on a device that can hold up to 50 percent as much electrical energy as a comparably sized battery.  Commercially available ultracapacitors already can provide many times the power of batteries of the same weight or size.

AFGHANISTAN:  Close to 90000 children who would have died before age 5 under Taliban rule will stay alive this year because of advances in medical care in the country, according to a new study by Johns Hopkins University.

PAKISTAN:  Attorney General Malik Abdul Qayyum told Reuters that Pakistan would hold its national election by mid-January and Pres. Musharraf pledged to quit the military after criticism from the US for imposing emergency rule.  AFP quotes Musharraf as saying January's planned polls would be held "as close as possible to the schedule."  Meanwhile, the crackdown on protesters apparently continues, and deals are already being cut with the Taliban.

IRAN celebrated "Death to America" Day yesterday.  Let's go to the video.

IRAQ:  US and Iraqi forces launched a massive assault targeting al-Qaeda fighters in the northern provinces of  Diyala, Salaheddin, Kirkuk and Nineveh, where some AQI fighters fled from the "surge."  Iraqi and US forces detained 81 people and found a large weapons cache during an operation against AQI near Suwayra, 40 miles south of Baghdad.  At least 683 detainees held in US-run prisons across Iraq have been released since the middle of last month, according to VP al-Hashemi's office.  The Iraqi government has resumed discussions about an amnesty program to encourage insurgents and militiamen to lay down their weapons as daily violence lessens across the country.

HOUDINI the IGUANA lived up to his namesake by disappearing last week, but he has reunited with his owners in Portage Michigan.  Let's go to the video.

THE FANTASTIC MR. FLY rides a bike, and plays both piano and guitar for Belgian amateur photographer Nicholas Hendrickx.

THE SQUIRREL THREAT:  A militant squirrel took down the power grid in Auburn, CA.  Judging from the comments, squirrels have targeted the city several times since 2003.

WHEN ONE DOG CLOSES, a cat opens.

CAMEL BEAUTY CONTESTS have been banned by a fatwa from Saudi Arabia's Senior Clerics Association.

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R. Hitchcock, Spoon, Hold Steady, American Gangster, Supermice   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, November 05, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


Photo by Drake LeLane

ROBYN HITCHCOCK:  Don reviewed Friday's show at Shank Hall, so I'll just add a few notes of my own.  I must mention that Robyn's first stream-of-subconscious speech about when it is appropriate to cry over spilt milk -- e.g., when you are making off with the Holy Grail and milk spills out of it and over a causeway where a long-tailed series- three alien is lurking -- included a mention of Ames, IA (Pate's hometown and a later stop on this tour).  Hitchcock also seemed to be struggling slightly throughout for technical reasons, some of which are mentioned in Don's review, but it also turned out that he didn't have enough of his vocal in his monitor for most of the show.  Such are the pitfalls of opening night.  I can also give you some audio/video of the setlist.  Since Hitchcock dedicated "The Ghost Ship" to Colin Meloy, we can enjoy him joining Meloy's band The Decemberists for a live version of "Lost Madonna of the Wasps."  I think those tech problems may have partially caused RH to momentarily forget the end of "City of Shame," only to remember it during a really countrified "Olé! Tarantula."  I had not seen the video for "Raymond Chandler Evening" until it turned up on the Tube all these years later.  In over 20 years of seeing RH, I can't recall him playing "The Lizard" more than a couple of times. We have vintage video of "Queen Elvis," which (as RH notes) appears on the Eye album, not Queen Elvis.  I agree with Don that the b-side "Alright, Yeah" was a highlight (and one of my favorite latter-day RH tracks).  In the encore, I thought "New York Doll" translated well to a solo performance.  His cover of the Velvet Underground's "Candy Says" was a delightful surprise.  And I just discovered that the UK video for "Adventure Rocketship" is animated.

BEIRUT:  London's Telegraph is quite taken with Zach Condon's use of non-traditional instruments and old European influences, while the NYT spends an evening with Condon, which starts at the Brooklyn Instrument Museum.

NICKEL CREEK played one of its final shows (for now) at DC's 9:30 Club Friday.  You can stream the whole gig from NPR on demand.

SPOON:  Though drummer Jim Eno tells the Orlando Sentinel that the band is comfy with its steady rise in popularity, a writer for The Strand frets that Spoon is suddenly in danger of becoming a household name.  Frontman Brit Daniel has been pleased in the past that his new songs have been compared to Van Morrison, but seems less pleased when compared to BIlly Joel.  The Houston Chronicle actually consulted Pandora's Music Genome Project to scientifically compare Spoon's "The Underdog" with Joel's "Only the Good Die Young."

ROBERT CHRISTGAU:  Rumors of the death of the dean of US rock critics are geatly exaggereated.

THE HOLD STEADY:  MFR truned up a live video of "Lord, I'm Discouraged," one of the new songs the band is trying out on tour.  Craig Finn talked to the Stranger about his favorite lyricists, while HeraldNet talked to guitarist Tad Kubler about a few of his favorites and linked to a post the Leather Canary on the band covering various tunes, including Led Zeppelin's "Hey, Hey What Can I Do."

ART BRUT stopped by The Current for a chat and mini-set you can stream on demand via MPR.

RAY DAVIES talked to London's Sun about how being shot in New Orleans turned his world on its axis.

DENNIS WILSON was the only Beach Boy who actually surfed.  PopMatters is miffed that his haunting solo album, Pacific Ocean Blue, remains out of print.  Tracks from the album do surface from time to time on the ol' HM.

AMY WINEHOUSE should know she's on the wrong track when Pete Doherty thinks he has to defend her.

AMERICAN GANGSTER:  More than one reviewer is calling this film Superfly-meets-Scarface, but it has a more realistic tone than that.  At least, it has as realistic a tone as screenwriter (and family friend) Steven Zaillian could muster for the truth-is-stranger-than-fiction tales of mobster Frank Lucas and policeman-agent Richie Roberts.  But that tone makes it no less entertaining.  With this year's proliferation of movies running over 2 1/2 hours, it is nice to finally have one that does not have you checking your watch.  Director Ridley Scott and stars Denzel Wasington and Russell Crowe all bring their "A" games.  Between this pic and 3:10 to Yuma, 2007 marks a comeback year for Crowe, whose recent efforts have faltered at the box office.  This pic may also reinforce the view created by Training Day that Washington plays a better villain than hero, though here he is more Corleone than he is Scarface.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE:  American Gangster was a killer at the cineplex, opening with 46.3 million with a 15,174 per-screen average on over 3000 screens.  The big theaters here in Chicago were selling out most showings.  That is the second biggest opening ever for an R-rated movie over 2 1/2 hours, the second biggest drama opening in November ever, and the biggest opening for both Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe.  Jerry Seinfeld's PG-rated Bee Movie opened a big No. 2 with 39.1 million (at 90 minutes, it could be screened many more times than American Gangster).  Whether it can recoup its 150 million budget will depend on whether the next round of family flicks give it competition.  Saw IV plunged a severe 65%, earning only 11 mil.  Dan in Real Life earned 8.1 mil, off an okay 31%.  Rounding out the Top Five is 30 Days of Night, which dropped 42 percent, but which has made 34 million to date on its 30 million budget.  The Game Plan earned 3.9 mil, off 37% - its biggest drop so far, but this has to have been a big moneymaker for the Mouse.  and Joan Cusack's Martian Child opened in seventh with 3.7 mil and is unlikely to recoup its 27 million budget.  Michael Clayton dropped 41% -- likely due to American Gangster -- to make 2.9 mil.  Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married? finished in the ninth spot, but has crossed the 50 million mark.  Gone Baby Gone rounds out the Top Ten with 2.4 million.

THE McCARTNEYS' divorce dispute gets ever nastier.  Sir Paul is applying for full custody of his four-year-old daughter Beatrice after estranged wife Heather's astonishing TV rants, according to the uber-reliable News of the World.  Of course, with Heather Mills blaming "jealous" Stella McCartney for her split from the former Beatle, and reportedly re-airing allegations that Paul hit his late wife Linda once or twice, the story sounds plausible.

CHRISTINA AGUILERA confirmed the already widely-reported observation that she is expecting a baby.

CATE BLANCHETT revealed during a glamorous red carpet appearance in Sydney last night that she is expecting her third child.

BRITNEY SPEARS:  The LAPD is conducting an investigation into a traffic mishap Friday, when Spears reportedly ran over an L.A. County Sheriff deputy's foot.  Financial papers unsealed in the ongoing custody battle between Spears and Fed-Ex show that the  pop tart spends about 102K monthly on entertainment, gifts and vacations, while giving 500 bucks to her own charity. Spears is also said to have a crush on ex-friend of the French Hotel, sextape starlet, reality TV starlet and now Playboy model Kim Kardashian

LINDSAY LOHAN looks like she visited the trout pout shop.  Pucker up, buttercup.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  Holmes ran the New York City Marathon on Sunday, because you really have to be in shape if you're planning to outrun Cruise.

VANESSA HUDGENS:  The High School Musical starlet's nude photo scandal must be officially over -- she is set to sign on to a HSM3 movie for a "substantial increase" in pay.

SHIA LeBOUF, who starred in Disturbia and Transformers and co-stars in the next Indiana Jones movie, was busted for misdemeanor criminal trespassing at a Walgreen's drugstore on Michigan Ave. in Chicago.

BRADGELINA:  Jolie said she felt a bit shy about her computer-animated nudity in the upcoming movie version of Beowulf.  Which is either unbelievable, or makes her acting in her sex scene with Antonio Banderas from Original Sin all the more impressive.  Yes, that second link is nsfw.

OUR FRIENDS, THE SAUDIS:  The Times of London names the kingdom as the hub of world terror, which supplies the cash and the killers.  Which makes it all the more appropriate that the Brits played the Imperial March when King Abdullah met the Queen.

PAKISTAN:  As you probably know, Gen. Pervez Musharraf seized emergency powers, rounded up leading opposition figures and said Sunday that parliamentary elections could be delayed for as long as a year. The suspension of the constitution comes just days before Pakistan's Supreme Court was to rule on the constitutionality of Musharraf's recent presidential reelection victory.  Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry has reportedly been sacked and is being confined to the Supreme Court with ten other judges.  Musharraf attempted to remove Chaudhry during the spring of 2007.  Security forces rounded up opposition leaders and rights activists, though the Western media does not note that some -- like Imran Khan and former intell chief Hamid Gul -- .have known Islamist ties.  Musharraf promulgated two Ordinances barring print and electronic media from publishing or broadcasting statements that abet terrorist activities or terrorism.  Discussions of current court cases and criticism of the Head of State and members of the armed forces are also prohibited.  Former Pakistani premier Benazir Bhutto said on Sunday that declaring emergency rule would only encourage extremists and give them "a new lease of life."  The Bush Admin. called the declaration of a state of emergency a "sharp setback" for democracy and urged a swift return to a civilian government.

IRAQ:  More than 3000 Iraqi families driven out of their Baghdad neighborhoods have returned to their homes in the past three months as sectarian violence has dropped.  A "significant" fall in US air raids has been recorded over the past few weeks.  The Islamic Army in Iraq -- one of the largest and most influential Sunni insurgent groups -- has issued yet another stinging condemnation of al-Qaeda's network.  On Friday, Sunni officials from Anbar province laid out what they want now from the US: money to rebuild its battle-damaged cities, help expanding its police force by a third and private U.S. investment in its oil reserves.  They also discussed the lingering problem that is hampering efforts to build on the gains there -- limited support for the predominantly Sunni region from the Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad.   Turkish soldiers who were held as hostages by separatist Kurds in northern Iraq have been set free.  Michael Yon was interviewed on CNN on the recent progress in Iraq.

SUPERMICE -- with incredible stamina, enviable metabolism, a longer life expectancy and the ability to breed for three times as long as a standard mouse -- have been created by scientists.  We can only imagine what Andy Kaufman would say.

POLLY, a five-year-old chocolate labrador, was saved, ironically, by a CAT scan.  3D pic at the link.

A 7ft 9in CROCODILE was jailed overnight in northern Australia after it menaced local fishermen.

TOO MUCH MONKEY BUSINESS:  Three macaque monkeys were abducted from Monkey Island, MO on Friday.

A RAMPAGING POSSUM caused thousands of dollars in damage and destroyed valuable historical artefacts at a museum in New South Wales.

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Tom Petty, The Sonics, Nicole Atkins, Cutout Bin, and... Khan!   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, November 02, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



...with TOM PETTY!  Earlier this week, the NYDN's Jim Farber wrote that "there's barely a wasted minute" in director Peter Bogdanovich's four-hour film on Petty, "Running Down a Dream."  I don't know that I would go quite that far, but the documentary is quite good -- and reminds me of how underrated Petty is.  The doc goes as far back as Petty's days in Mudcrutch, which led him -- and some future Heartbreakers -- to legendary A&R man Denny Cordell, who would produce the first TP records, including "American Girl," "I Need To Know" and "Listen To Her Heart."  He fought -- and beat -- his label twice.  The first fight -- over the sale of hsi contract to MCA -- preceded the seminal Damn The Torpedoes album (the master tapes were kept in hiding during litigation) that would launch the band to super-stardom with tracks like "Here Comes My Girl," "Even The Losers," "Don't Do Me Like That" and the signature "Refugee."  The second fight was over the pricing of his follow-up, Hard Promises, though in the movie Petty also shares the backstory for "The Waiting" from that LP.  The movie is not just PR, however; it is acknowledged that while the video for "You Got Lucky" was state of the art for that era, the Long After Dark album was treading water creatively.  

Bogdanovich also makes clear that Petty's success is due in no small part to a relentless drive that occasionally strays into the ruthless.  Petty was not above dumping band members, stealing band members and collaborators -- like Eurhythmics' Dave Stewart, whom he suggested write for Stevie Nicks, but ended up making off with him and "Don't Come Around Here No More" for himself, even though its psychedelic sound did not really fir with songs like "Rebels" on the Southern Accents album.  Indeed, the Wonderland-themed video for the former would supply Petty the Mad Hatter persona who would pop up in later videos for songs like "Into The Great Wide Open," which was expanded to almost seven minutes just because they had great footage from Johnny Depp and Faye Dunaway.  And in the movie, Nicks doesn't seem to mind, esp. in light of the success of their collabration on tracks like "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around."  While I'm less of a fan of Petty's later work, the film tells the engaging backstory of the Traveling Wilburys, which reminds you that not just anyone gets to be in a band with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne and the late Roy Orbison.  Indeed, TP & the Hartbreakers would later back Johnny Cash on one of those Ric Rubin productions.  And Petty is still capable of turning out great stuff, as the movie documents TP's solo LP, which spawned hits like "Won't Back Down," "Free Fallin'" and "Runnin' Down A Dream."  Somewhat surprisingly, it was Petty's biggest album to that point.  There's also some great footage of Petty standing up to some music-biz types who wanted former Byrd Roger McGuinn to record some piece of pop fluff;  Petty & McGuinn would turn out "King Of The Hill," a song about "Papa" John Phillips (though they don't say so in the movie).  McGuinn also tells the story of the first time someone played him "American Girl": "When did I record that?"  Catch it on Sundance or queue it.

ROBYN HITCHCOCK:  Like Don at Timedoor, Ken King are going to Hitchcock's show at Shank Hall tonight.  But Don is the one with a six-part interview of Hitchcock he did for Milk magazine in 1996.  At the moment, there's plenty of Hitchcock streaming via the ol' HM.  The Architectural Dance Society reviews Robyn's box set, adding rarities not included.

THE SONICS:  Seattle's seminal garage rockers of the 60's have semi-reunited and make their NYC debut tonight, playing for the first time in 35 years on a bill including the Stawberry Alarm Clock, the Fleshtones and the Lyres.  WFMU is still streaming their best known stuff and an interview with guitarist Larry Parypa.  Have love?  Will travel!

JOE JACKSON has reteamed with original Joe Jackson Band members Graham Maby (bass/vocals) and Dave Houghton (drums/vocals) for a new album due in January.  You can -- and should -- stream "King Pleasure Time" from the 'Gum Mix.

LINDA STEIN, who helped pioneer the punk music scene, influenced the careers of Madonna and the Ramones and went on to become known as a real estate agent to the stars was found bludgeoned to death Tuesday night in her apartment at 965 Fifth Avenue.  The ex-wife of Seymour Stein, the founder of Sire Records, Stein later parlayed her show business connections - including a decades-long friendship with Elton John - into a high-profile real estate career.

DEVENDRA BANHART did an interview and mini-set for the World Cafe you can stream on demand via NPR.

NICOLE ATKINS wowed Letterman with a particularly torchy take on "The Way It Is" -- they even snuggle a bit at show's end.  If she looks familiar, maybe you have seen her American Express ad.  Her new album, Neptune City is streaming in full this week via Spinner, which also has video clips of Atkins re-visiting the Saint Club in Asbury Park, NJ, which borders Neptune City.  She also talked about immortalizing her hometown with the New Jersey Star-Ledger.

THE SEX PISTOLS were on Leno opposite Atkins, playing "Anarchy in the UK."  Johnny Rotten talked to the Orange County Register about the band's latest reunion: "Well, it's an anniversary of punk in England, and there's been garbage rubbish bands performing all year trying to claim the credit for what existed 30 years ago. We just decided to put our foot down on that and tell a few home truths..."

JOSE GONZALEZ did an interview and mini-set for the World Cafe you can stream on demand via NPR, in which the Argentinian Swede talks about the music scene in Sweden - the third-largest exporter of pop music in the world.  He also names a few of his favorite things for Pitchfork's Guest list feature.

LED ZEPPELIN:  The November 26th reunion concert has been pushed back to December 10th because guitarist Jimmy Page fractured his finger.

THE TOP TEN COWBELL SONGS, according to Cracked magazine, with plenty of embedded video... though it could have used, you know...

CUTOUT BIN:  This Friday's fortuitous finds on the ol' HM are: Casey Kasem - Long Distance Dedication (nsfw); Charles Fox - Wonder Woman Theme; Jackson 5 - Want You Back (DJ Skeet Skeet Edit); Band of Bees - Chicken Payback; Boots Randolph - Yakety Sax; Curley Moore - Soul Train; Pastel Vespa - The Boys are Back in Town (yes, that one); Sam & Dave - Soul Man; The Soul Survivors - Respect (O. Redding); Marlena Shaw - California Soul; Marvin Gaye - Let's Get It On; Dusty Springfield - Just A Little Lovin'; Moody Blues - Go Now; Jan & Dean - Dead Man's Curve; Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich - Hold Tight; The Leaves - Hey Joe; The Staple Singers - The Weight; The Hold Steady - Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window? (B. Dylan); The Byrds - So You Want To Be A Rock N Roll Star; Bob Dylan - Positively 4th Street; The Sadies - Never Again; M. Ward - Chinese Translation; eels - I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man (Prince); The Suburbs - Love Is The Law; The Jam - Start!; Cake - Short Skirt, Long Jacket; and Arctic Monkeys - I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor.

BRITNEY SPEARS invited a man to snort cocaine off her chest during a wild party at her Hollywood mansion just two days after losing visitation rights to see her sons, it has been reported.  The pop tart says she's doing the best she can.  Meanwhile, she's being sued by a former manager, Johnny Wright.  Nevertheless, Blackout sold an estimated 124,000 albums the first day of its release Tuesday and is set to become Spears' fifth consecutive number one album... although the top slot may go to the Eagles, if Wal-Mart chooses to report sales of its exclusive album.

THE FRENCH HOTEL dressed as a prisoner for Halloween.  The one thing she does know is PR, though TMZ now has video of her tantrum in a Toronto adult video store.

THE McCARTNEYS:  Heather Mills, otoh, faces a PR backlash from her televised claim that the British press was engaging in a "hate campaign" against her, with the same British press referring to her as "out of control" and "wild-eyed," and scarier than Halloween on a "day of unhinged ranting."  Mills has been dropped by her publicist, who understands that you don't pick fights with those who by ink (and pixels) by the barrel.

LINDSAY LOHAN's aides are going out of their way to make sure the actress/singer stays sober after spending much of the summer in rehab, they've told staff at all her old hangouts not to let her drink alcohol.

LANCE ARMSTRONG & ASHLEY OLSEN were... wait for it... caught canoodling again, this time in the wee hours Wednesday at hip NYC restaurant the Waverly Inn, along with Armsrtong pal Owen Wilson.

OWEN WILSON, btw, has taken to relieving himself with the stall door open.  Despite having been spotted enjoying an occasional cocktail, Kate Hudson's ex is trying to prove he is not partaking of any other substances.  Or hanging out with Sen. Larry Craig.

NOW SHOWING:  This week's wide releases include Jerry Seinfeld's much-hyped Bee Movie, which is currently scoring 43 percent on the ol' Tomatometer (That's got to sting); The Ridley Scott-Russell Crowe-Denzel Washington crime drama American Gangster, currently scoring 82 percent; and John Cusack in the drama Martian Child, which is scoring 30 percent

GYLLENSPOON WITHERHALL took Reese's kids trick-or-treating, dressed as a witch and an ape.  Pics at the link.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  Cruise is shooting his Nazi movie, learning to run United Artists and promoting his marriage to Holmes, but what he'd really like to do is direct.

DOG the BOUNTY HUNTER was caught spewing an explosive, racist rant on tape of phone conversations with his son.  A&E has suspended production on his TV show.  "Pastor to the stars" Tim Storey says Dog is not a racist and has apologized for the tirade.

DAVID SPADE finally admitted that he dated Heather Locklear during an appearance on Letterman.  Video at the link.

JOSS WHEDON has created a new TV series, titled Dollhouse.  Starring Eliza Dushku, Whedon already has a seven-episode commitment from Fox.

SAVE THE CHEERLEADER, SAVE THE DOLPHINS:  Hayden Panettiere attempted to play real-life hero, teaming with the Save Japan Dolphins coalition in trying to disrupt the annual slaughter of dolphins by Japanese fisherman, who kill an estimated 23K of the sea creatures each year.  Let's go to the video.

NANO-RADIO:  Harnessing the electrical and mechanical properties of the carbon nanotube, a team of researchers has crafted a working radio from a single fiber of that material.  The source content for the first lab test of the radio was "Layla," by Derek and the Dominos, followed soon after by "Good Vibrations" by the Beach Boys.

IRAN:  The new central bank governor warned Pres. Ahmadinejad over money supply growth, urging measures to prevent a further rise in inflation.  Representatives of the six major powers involved in talks about Iran's nuclear program will meet in London today.  The US said that Russia and China had been blocking tough UN sanctions against Iran for months and pledged a drive to impose them if Iran did not halt nuclear activity within two weeks.  Pres. Ahmadinejad said he was "not worried at all" about broader economic sanctions, dismissing them as ineffective, but threatened unspecified economic retaliation against European countries that follow the US in imposing them.

IRAQ:  "Al Qaeda in Iraq is defeated," according to Sheik Omar Jabouri, spokesman for the Iraqi Islamic Party and a member of the widespread and influential Jabouri Tribe.  Another member of the party said that al Qaeda has shifted targets, now trying to generate friction between tribes, but the tribes are not playing that game.  Embedded blogger Michael J. Totten writes about whether he only saw what the Army wanted him to see.  Tribal leaders from Anbar province pressed US SecDef Gates for help in expanding the size of the local police forces.  Iraq will set up more checkpoints along its northern frontier to keep out supplies for Kurdish rebels, while the Pentagon maintains that the US has given Turkey's armed forces "actionable intelligence" on the PKK rebels.

KHAN the WONDER DOG!  A rescued doberman saved a toddler from a king brown snake - the world's third most venomous - by throwing her out of harm's way as it attacked, biting the dog's leg.  Let's have a big shout out for... Khaaan!  Heck, let's play two.  BONUS: Khan really should be sporting a doggie mullet.  DOUBLE BONUS:  A kelpie named Tess, hailed as a lifesaver, is in a coma after defending its owner from an attack by a deadly giant eastern brown snake on Australia's Gold Coast.

15000 DUCKS INCINERATED in a fois gras-related fire near Swan Lake in NY.  An apparent duck feces eruption ensued.

A PIG-SITTER in Winona MN may face abuse charges for letting the potbellied porker get too fat.

MAN WRESTLES and RESCUES SHARK on Miramar Beach in Florida.  Let's go to the video.

AN ESCAPED KANGAROO is on the lam in Copenhagen.

SILENCE of the SHEEP:  Swiss police are baffled after a flock of 90 sheep vanished from a remote Alpine pasture - for the second time.  Anyone seen Harold?

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Hold Steady & Art Brut, Pipettes, Vetiver, Pet Fit Club   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, November 01, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


THE HOLD STEADY knocked 'em dead for Halloween at the Metro.  I had not seen the Hold Steady on this tour, so it was my first time seeing newer songs like set opener "Stuck Between Stations," "Chips Ahoy" and  "You Can Make Him Like You" or Tad Kubler unleashing the double-necked guitar  as he does here on "Party Pit."  Sadly, none of these videos captures the band in the spaghetti Western garb they donned for the occasion... but you may see it some day as the gig was being recorded fo a live album and was shot by a video crew also.  I have to think it will be tough to get a good live album because -- like the Who -- the band is so energetic that the visual may come at the expense of a technically perfect take.  But they had an almost equally energetic audience who seized their chances to sing and clap along (there was a group near me that could have stood a little less energy).  My nitpick would be that Craig Finn referred to "Chicago Seemed Tired Last Night," but they didn't play it.  Finn used the encore of "Killer Parties" to tell the crowd -- as always -- how much joy there is in what they do (as he does on this clip of "Most People Are DJs").  

ART BRUT made for a dynamite opener, packing as much energy as their full show into the opening slot.  The band was in full Halloween regalia, with frontman Eddie Argos dressed as Jumpsuit Elvis, while his guitarists came as a Roman centurion and a skeleton.  They launched per usual with "Formed A Band," this time assisted by a karaoke screen behind them.  Ken King and I actually heard newer material like "Direct Hit" at Pitchfork 2006, but it was fully developed now.  Given the opportunity to broaden their audience, Art Brut larded the setlist with show-stoppers like "My Little Brother," "Good Weekend," and the fab "Emily Kane," complete with dialog from Eddie Argos.  BONUS:  Hold Steady axeman Tad Kubler talked to the Northwest Herald in advance of the gig about the benefit of playing with Springsteen and the StonesDOUBLE BONUS UPDATE:  Pitchfork has photos of both bands in costume.

THE PIPETTES:  Gwenno talks to Washington's Herald, noting the group is less manufactured than their 60s girl-group sound might suggest.  The band also has a behind-the-scenes video of a photoshoot posted at MySpaceTV.  (Thanks, Chromewaves.)

RIOT GRRRLS:  Mark Hooper argues that the indie feminist icons of today are a bit of a mess.  I would argue that The Pipettes (unmentioned in the post) are feminist in their own unique way, more subtle and satirical than bands like Bikini Kill.

THE SPICE GIRLS:  As we've got a "girl power" theme going, I note that London's Guardian both loves and hates their reunion single.

DEBBIE HARRY talks about hitting the road, closing CBGBs and more with Ireland's Independent.

SIMIAN MOBILE DISCO is normally not my bag, but the debate over whether second video for "Hustler" is  a "send up (of) glamour girl culture," exploitation or simply nauseating makes it a nice fit with other blurbs today.

QUEENS of the STONE AGE:  Now that Halloween is past, we can look forward to the band's cameo on the Travel Channel's Chef Anthony Bourdain's Holiday Special, which they discuss in a video at the 'Gum.  Frontman Josh Homme also lists a few of his favorite things for Pitchfork's Guest List feature.

VETIVER:  I just noticed that you can stream the current album from this "freak folk" combo from their blog.  It's at the bottom of the left column.

BON IVER has signed to Jagjaguwar for the official release of his sweet-spot-hitting debut For Emma, Forever Ago early next year.  Reveille interviews Justin Vernon about all the blog buzz surrounding the LP and streams some highlights, though you can stream the whole unreleased album now via Virb.

THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS:  John Flansburg reflects on the band's silver anniversary with North Carolina's News & Observer.  The band's classic "Birdhouse In Your Soul" turned up on ABC's fantasy drama Pushing Daisies.

BRITNEY SPEARS is actually getting good reviews for her new album from the AP, BBC and Chicago Tribune, even from Entertainment Weekly and the Guardian.  Not everyone likes it, natch.  At the NYDN, Jim Farber wrote: "If a blowup sex doll could sing, this is what she'd sound like."  However, her label has officially given up on getting the troubled pop tart more involved in marketing the album.  She even stopped in mid-interview with Ryan Seacrest to take a shower.  Meanwhile, Spears' personal assistant, Kalie Machado, is dishing details of Brit's breakup with Fed-Ex and declaring, "She needs mental help."  And Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo is laughing off rumors that he and Spears are an item.

LINDSAY LOHAN has wised up and has bailed on hosting a New Year's Eve party for Vegas nightclub LAX.

ASHLEY OLSEN & LANCE ARMSTRONG were... wait for it... caught canoodling at NYC's Gramercy Park Hotel on Monday night.  She is as skinny as a bicycle.

THE McCARTNEYS:  A 'suicidal' Heather Mills broke down during a television interview, claiming that the media has been smearing her name and treating her in the same way as Princess Diana and Kate McCann.  She also accused a "certain party" of spreading smears against her to prevent the truth coming out.   Video at the link.  Also, Mills' recent firework display scared her neighbor's dog to death, the pooch's owner has claimed.

BRADGELINA:  Jolie pulled out of a talk in Italy about global topics and the future of humankind due to "personal reasons."  Italian papers claimed it was because she is expecting her second child with Pitt.  Meanwhile, Sen. Barack Obama's campaign has turned town an offer from Pitt to make appearances on the presidential candidate's behalf.

OWEN WILSON... and JESSICA SIMPSON?  They raced lawnmowers with Willie Nelson, and reportedly spent Sunday evening together at the Huntley Hotel in Santa Monica.  Better get Vader warming up in the bullpen.  There are also equally dubious reports that Wilson is exchanging phone calls and e-mails with ex-gf Kate Hudson.  BONUS:  At Slate, Troy Patterson defends the much-criticized interview, posted to MySpaceTV last weekend, between Wilson and director Wes Anderson.

JENNIFER LOPEZ:  Weeks after her new album tanked and her movie El Cantante fell flat, her next film is going straight to video.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  David Beckham insists that while he and wife Posh Spice have become friends with Tom-Kat, 'Cruise doesn't shove Scientology down our throats.'  Oh, there's a punchline in there somewhere, but I would have to put on the lawyer's hat to word it properly.

GYLLENSPOON WITHERHAAL were caught getting cozy on the beach.  Video at the link.

WALK THE LINE was named best music biopic in a poll taken by the British Internet DVD site Lovefilm.com.  The Top Ten are at the link.

THE WORST CELEBRITY PLASTIC SURGERY, according to Maxim magazine.  I should have posted this yesterday, as it's plenty scary.

ISLAMISM in the UK:  A primary school was accused of forcing teachers dress up as Muslims for a day, to celebrate the end of Ramadan: "Staff have got to go along with it - or let's face it, they would be branded racist."  OTOH, books calling for the beheading of lapsed Muslims, ordering women to remain indoors and forbidding interfaith marriage are being sold inside some of Britain's leading mosques, according to research by a conservative think-tank.  The Times of London reports that five of the books were also found in searches during Scotland Yard antiterrorist investigations since 2001.

MALAYSIA:  Muslim men are suffering sleepless nights and cannot pray properly because their thoughts are distracted by a growing number of women who wear sexy clothes in public,  a prominent cleric said.

AFGHANISTAN has been the subject of grim news as of late, but Bill Roggio reports that the Taliban is surrounded in Kandahar and Helmand provinces.  Even so, NATO and Afghan forces will continue to fight a holding action in Afghanistan until the Taliban and al Qaeda are uprooted from their bases along the borders in Pakistan.

IRAQ:  US combat deaths are headed for the lowest level in more than a year and a half and the fifth consecutive monthly decline.  In Taji, terrorists are now "on the run" because of sectarian reconciliation.  As a result, the overall quality of life in rural North Baghdad Province has improved.  The tribal sheikhs rescued from an AQ kidnapping vowed to move forward: "We are an integrated Sunni-Shiite group that has pledged itself to reconciliation and which had come to Baghdad to agree on its mechanisms."  British forces are to transfer responsibility for security in Basra province to Iraq's government in December.  Iraqi police killed an al Qaeda commander in western Iraq.  Iraqi soldiers east of Baghdad gave the US military a thousand-dollar check last week to aid victims of California's wildfires.  An Iraqi fisherman caught a six-foot shark in a river more than 160 miles from the sea.  Of course, this means we must go to the video. (NSFW)

IRAQ and the MEDIA:  Time magazine's piece "Has the Surge Reached Its Limits?" leads with a "horrible discovery" -- "Iraqi police said they found 20 decapitated bodies dumped near a police station west of Baquba, the capital of Diyala province."  In fact, Iraqi police denied earlier reports that 20 headless bodies had been found dumped near Baquba.  The story's point about the national gov't still needing to get its act together is valid, though reconciliation and progress may eventually be driven by the provinces.   The Time story also notes Iraqi data showing that sectarian violence has dropped about 85 percent from its peak. 

PET FIT CLUB:  A group of podgy pets with a combined weight of more than a sixth of a ton were unveiled today as contestants in the Pet Fit Club competition organised by the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals.  Doesn't this kind of press violate the first rule of Pet Fit Club?

THE ASHERA is billed as the world's "largest, rarest and most exotic" domestic cat.  One can be yours for the low, low price of about 24 grand.

A PIG MONUMENT has been unveiled in a Russian region famous for its sausages.  I imagine the pigs have mixed feelings about it.

WOOF WATER:  Dogs ask for it by name!

WILE E. FOXES embrace the easy city life in Germany.  Mu-NICH is where they'd rather stay.

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