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R.I.P. Syd Barrett, GbV, Tilly & the Wall, and a Gassy Sea Turtle   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, July 12, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


SHINE ON, YOU CRAZY DIAMOND: Roger "Syd" Barrett, the troubled former lead singer and songwriter of Pink Floyd died last Friday at the Cambridgeshire home to which he retreated as a recluse more than 30 years ago. It has been reported that he died from complications related to diabetes or cancer. Barrett named the band, which became a favorite in the underground movement, playing at such prominent venues as the UFO club, the Marquee Club and the Roundhouse. You can see rare live (and a little NSFW) footage from the UFO club in a video featuring "Interstellar Overdrive" and dedicated to Barrett. He wrote the band's first hit singles, "Arnold Layne" and "See Emily Play." The band's debut album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, predominantly written by Barrett, is considered to be a prime example of British psychedelic music, and is still viewed as o­ne of the better debut albums by many critics. But Barrett quickly grew to hate playing note-perfect renditions of the pop hits live, leaned further in favor of trippier, freer-form numbers like "Astronomy Domine" and began to publicly lash out at record-company executives who were pressing him for more commercial material. Barrett infamously suffered from a psychedelic-drug induced breakdown in late 1967, though many think that the drugs aggravated a pre-existing condition, possibly schizophrenia. You can see him struggling through the "Jugband Blues" video from this period. In January 1968, Barrett was replaced by the band with his old Cambridge chum David Gilmour.

Barrett had a brief solo career, releasing two solo albums in 1970 -- The Madcap Laughs and Barrett --with production help from Gilmour and Roger Waters. However, much of the material was drawn from late '66 to mid-'67, as his mental health continued to decline, as demonstrated in a rare 1971 interview. Barrett's fate nevertheless continued to haunt Pink Floyd, as material o­n their greatest works, The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, and The Wall all deal with mental breakdown, with "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" expressly written as a tribute and elegy. You can see Roger Waters talk about "Crazy Diamond" and the rest of the band talk about Syd in the opening segment of VH1's Legends documentary o­n Pink Floyd, which also has loads of Syd bio. (Part Two charts Syd's rapid rise and the start of his fall; Part Three covers his accelerating decline during Pink Floyd's first -- and truncated -- US tour, followed by his replacement with Gilmour.) Barrett continued to live as a recluse in Cambridge, indifferent to the Pink Floyd reunion for the Live 8 concert last summer. Gilmour, Floyd's original managers and others all talked about Barrett with the Independent to mark his 60th birthday in January. Tributes from David Bowie, Graham Coxon and more began to be issued as news of Barrett's death became public. Obviously, there's plenty of early Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett getting posted o­n music blogs streamable via the Hype Machine.

GUIDED BY VOICES: At the GbV database,Robert Gray has a nifty compilation of rare and unreleased GbV radio sessions, broadcasts, and interviews. You can stream a sampler from the Captain's Dead blog. From the sampler, I would pick the roaring "Watch Me Jumpstart," the early take of of "Bulldog Skin" and the unplugged "Surgical Focus," but you really need to go to the first link to download "Alone, Stinking and Unafraid."

STOLEN BEATLES TAPES contained more than 200 o­ne-off performances and unique covers, including Rod Stewart's "Maggie May" and Bob Dylan's "Blowing In The Wind," according to court testimony from original Beatles road manager Neil Aspinall.

TOP DEBUT ALBUMS, according to Uncut magazine.

TOP SOPHOMORE ALBUMS are discussed o­n the Rolling Stone blog.

BONO has come under fire from left-wing political activists after investing in a video game which depicts Venezuela in a negative light.

TILLY AND THE WALL, recently featured o­n All Things Considered, gets some print from the L.A. Daily News, with Nick White declaring that "putting the records o­n the Internet was probably the best idea (label) Team Love has had yet." You can download the whole album for free via the label's website. You can see the video for "Bad Education" o­n YouTube or stream some from the Hype Machine.

PITCHFORK INFINITE MIXTAPE adds Girl Talk's "Smash Your Head to the prior list of 21 free MP3s. A little too dance-rap for me, but YMMV.

KINKY FRIEDMAN will be allowed to appear o­n Texas election ballots as Richard "Kinky" Friedman, the state's top election official said o­n Monday.

SHINY HAPPY PEOPLE: At Timedoor, Enik shares memories and versions of the REM hit, including a cover by former REM producer Mitch Easter.

MY SPACE: The social networking site, which has become a haven for bands as well as teens, due to its free music streaming capabilities, now has more traffic than Yahoo e-mail and Google.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: The troubled singer's latest BBC interview can be seen in three parts via YouTube. Meanwhile, the supposedly sober supermodel was partying hearty o­n a trip to the Maldives, much to the chagrin of traveling companion (and Jude Law ex) Sadie Frost. The trip was previously rumored as having a detoxing element.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: According to the ever-reliable National Enquirer Cruise and Holmes have been fighting over the Tom-Kitten's naming ceremony. Cruise has been demanding a Church of Scientology ceremony, natch, while Holmes is insisting that she be baptized as a Catholic. So they will do both, supposedly. There are more problems with the Tom-Kitten's birth certificate. And Variety has to write about Paramount's reluctance to sign a new, rich production deal with Cruise's company without using phrases like "PR poison" and "crazy train."

PIRATES: The opening of Dead Man's Chest reminded a Hollywood screenwriter to sue pretty much everyone involved with the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie for copyright infringement. Otherwise, he might have forgotten about the original, which grossed over 300 million domestically.

SUPERMAN RETURNS, BUT MAYBE NOT AGAIN, unless the movie grosses 200 million in the US.

BRADGELINA: Jolie's still-estranged father, Jon Voight, has yet to see his granddaughter Shiloh outside the pages of People magazine. You figure he sends someone else to get the magazine, right? How sad would it be to see Voight standing in the checkout lane of some grocery store, ponying up his buck-fifty?

LINDSAY LOHAN is creating a new book of sexy photographs of herself -- suggesting she has become Darth Lohan and apprentice to Madonna. Meanwhile, MiceAge has gossip o­n La Lohan's 20th birthday party at Disneyland: "Between the obvious smell, rude behavior and the snotty attitude the entire party displayed, there were very few Lindsay Lohan fans working at Disneyland by the end of that night..."

BRITNEY SPEARS has quashed reports she was planning to quit the music business. I didn't report them here, as it was too good to be true.

JESSICA SIMPSON: The pneumatic blonde claims that she has had "no dates" since her break with Nick Lachey. Which presumably means that she distinguishes between a date and shagging Adam Levine or Jude Law at the Chateau Marmont.

ROBERT DOWNEY, JR. has psychic powers that allow him to dream about film projects years before they become reality. If had those powers about the rest of his life, he might have avoided that whole madly-addicted, waking up in a skeevy hotel room with someone dressed as Wonder Woman phase. BTW, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is o­n cable "on demand" now, so look for it.

EVA LONGORIA: The Desperate Housewife has some sort of cosmetics deal with L'Oreal, iirc, so they could use these "before" pictures to show how good you can look with the make-up.

THE FRENCH HOTEL is reportedly giving up sex for a year. And the "ding" you just heard was the timer o­n her 15 minutes.

MISCHA BARTON: The former O.C. hottie has enrolled in acting classes at London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. I heard it was a suggestion from Sir Richard Attenborough.

ERNEST AND BERTRAM: Suppressed by lawyers' threats years ago, this controversial documentary spoof has resurfaced o­n YouTube.

WHEW: After train bombings killed 160 in Bombay (which might have an al Qaeda connection) and learning that an alleged plot to bomb New York transit tunnels had an al-Qaeda connection, the train derailment and fire o­n Chicago's Blue Line was a bit disconcerting, particularly o­n an 11th. Fortunately, there appears to be no terror angle.

THE MILITARY IN THE MEDIA: The New York Times recently ran a story claiming that recruiting shortfalls caused by the war in Iraq have allowed "large numbers of neo-Nazis and skinhead extremists" to infiltrate the military," based o­n a report by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which in turn claimed that the numbers could run into the thousands. Working backwards, if you read the report, you will find little basis to conclude that the number is in the thousands. Moreover, Scott Barfield, the Defense Department investigator quoted by both the SPLC and the NYT, is actually discussing 320 soldiers identified over 4 years as gang members, mostly from street gangs like the Gangster Disciples and Latin Kings, which are not known as white supremacist groups. So there's little to no evidence of thousands of neo-Nazis signing up to fight in a war that most of them probably think is a war fought for the Jews they hate. The Army's Criminal Investigation Command admits there are gang members in the military, but claims the number is not significant in a million-man Army. Barfield himself said he knows of a gang member who fought valiantly in Iraq as an Army Pvt. Sgt. 1st Class Domingo Ruiz is a former Coney Island Cobra who apparently served well in Mosul. Conversely, we have yet to hear of gang members being involved in the cases of war crimes currently under investigation and prosecution. The increase in cases of waivers for enlistees with a criminal record -- generally misdemeanors -- may be due in part to screening applicants more closely than ever, requiring a national electronic fingerprint check for every applicant and searching sex offender databases. So gang members in the Army may be a problem, but it's not clear that they are a big problem, let alone the neo-Nazi threat claimed by the NYT.

A GREEN SEA TURTLE had to be rescued in Hawaii due to flatulence.

MICE ARE BRED WITH ARTIFICIAL SPERM, but defects mean the technique is still too risky for humans. Which is okay, as we could always use more mice.

PET HOARDING, WITH A TWIST: Police in Dover, MD, went to a home to remove about 110 cats and three dogs -- the decomposing 84-year-old mother found in a large blue tupperware container was just a bonus. (Thanks, Dad!)

MOJO THE POLICE DOG: You can try to beat him with an iron bar, but he knows where to take a bite out of crime.

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New Releases, the Infinite Mixtape, BSS, and a Panda Birthday   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, July 11, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


THOM YORKE gets pub from the Boston Globe, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Village Voice for The Eraser, which Rolling Stone gives four stars, but which gets a mere 6.6 o­n the Pitchfork. Its currently scoring a 77 via Metacritic. The whole album is streaming from the AOL link below. You can also see him perform an unplugged version of "The Clock" o­n the Henry Rollins Show via YouTube.

NEW RELEASES: Albums from Thom Yorke, Sufjan Stevens, Phish, James Figurine (a/k/a Jimmy Tamborello of the Postal Service), Soul Asylum, Jeus & Mary Chain (re-releases), Ramblin' Jack Elliot and more are streaming in full from AOL Music. The Hellacopters move further down the pop path with Rock & Roll Is Dead. Killing Joke returns with Hosannas from the Basements of Hell. Shapes and Sizes puts out a self-titled debut o­n Sufjan's Asthmatic Kitty label.

PITCHFORK LAUNCHES THE INFINITE MIXTAPE: Pitchfork starts an "infinite mixtape" with "21 free MP3s that've kicked our collective a** in 2006 so far," with more to follow every few days.

ONEIDA: In the Village Voice, Chuck Eddy profiles Brooklyn's weirdest and finest, now in their thirties. You can get a flavor of the band -- including some from the band's ne Happy New Year -- via the Hype Machine.

SON VOLT frontman Jay Farrar talks to the Edmonton Sun about the difference between playing solo versus with the band and says Son Volt 2.0 has enough recorded for a new album slated for next Spring.

BAD VIBRATIONS: The UK's Daily Mail offers a primer o­n the Brian Wilson saga for the uninitiated.

BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE will be taking time off after the band's Fall tour. BSS mastermind Kevin Drew told Billboard: "Things kept getting bigger and changing. But we've had an incredible, incredible, incredible run. It's something that can't be taken for granted. If we kept going (without a break), we'd be taking it for granted. Next time, we'd be doing college tours for money. That sucks the music out of you. Next thing you know, you're trying to get teenagers to buy your albums." The picture is from the video for "Almost Crimes." You can see 'em live o­n "Superconnected" from the Ottawa Folk Festival and "Fire Eye'd Boy," which somehow escaped the network's eye.

CBGB: September 30 will mark the end for New York City's famous punk rock venue, though it may be the club of the undead in Vegas. Owner Hilly Kristal is taking the bars, the stage and "the urinal that Joey (Ramone) p****d in" to Sin City.

MATES OF STATE: The husband-wife duo talk to the Sydney Morning Herald about their creeping success and join the crowd of bands adding Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" to their set list.

OVERCOMING TWANG-PHOBIA: PopMatters offers a guide to sneaking in the twang: "Straight off, admit to yourself that you probably won't get anyone to replace their Celine Dion or Sting CDs with Hank Williams or Jason & the Scorchers. If they're that far gone, there's really no helping them anyway. So be realistic, and merely hope that your friends will begin accepting twang with the same tolerance with which they might greet their jovial but slightly off-kilter uncle at Thanksgiving..."

THE... WHO? Roger Daltrey and the band reportedly had to produce ID to get back stage at the Oxegen festival. I just hope they didn't wake up in a Soho doorway.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: TMZ has posted a copy of the official birth certificate of the elusive Tom-Kitten, but Jossip asserts that it "might as well have come from a document purveyor in Chinatown." MSNBC's Jeanette Walls relays speculation that nobody's seen Suri Cruise yet because she's being raised in accord with Scientology. The same column has speculation that Cruise is being overcome by his Scientology training and that’s leading to a paranoid world view that is being reflected in his behavior with the baby.

PIRATES STORM THE WORLD: Not content with shattering US B.O. records, Dead Man's Chest reportedly broke records in many overseas markets, raking in 46.6 million in Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the U.K. and Uruguay. China, however, has banned the flick o­n the grounds of supernatural content or its portrayal of human cannibalism (though it's not actually shown), or it had not been submitted to the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television for approval, So it remains to be seen whether the Chinese will have to see Pirates o­n the pirated DVDs for which the country is famous. depending o­n your source.

KEIRA KNIGHTLEY could tell you about Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, but she'd have to kill you. As it is, MTV News quasi-spoils part of Dead Man's Chest in the article.

MICKEY ROURKE cut his little finger off because he thought he "didn't want it." So there was less acting in Sin City than I thought.

MATTHEW McCONAGHEY, following his three-day bender in Costa Rica, is videotaped bumming money from the paparazzi to buy some sandwiches o­n a bike ride with Lance Armstrong.

ALICE COOPER and CORBIN BERNSEN helped 26-year-old Kyle MacDonald trade o­ne red paper clip all the way up to a house.

LINDSAY LOHAN has been caught canoodling with Harry Morton, scion of the Morton's steak-house chain, CEO/founder of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, and founder of the fabulously named Pink Taco chain. Yet other reports have her buying a home in the UK after falling for Welsh actor Rhys Ifans. Click the second link if you do not realize how bizzare that story is.

KATE WINSLET has the hottest bod in Britain, according to a survey of female magazine readers.

JESSICA SIMPSON gets a haiku for her 26th birthday.

BRADGELINA: Jolie is going back to work as the voice of Tigress in the DreamWorks animated feature Kung Fu Panda

THE TOP TEN UNFINISHED FILMS of all time, according to Film Threat.

SIENNA MILLER: Engaged to Jude Law again, or caught canoodling with new co-star James Franco?

DENISE & HEATHER & RICHIE & CHARLIE & DAVID: Denise Richards has a near wardobe-malfunction pumping gas. Video at the link.

IRAQ: At ITM, Mohammed writes o­n the rising violence in Baghdad, which he does not consider to be sectarian. The typical report o­n the violence does not mention that it occurred in the wake of operations against the the Mehdi Army militia noted here yesterday. Michael Yon, who has blogged from Iraq and Afghanistan, writes: "Please do not let your respective media delude you: we are winning in Iraq, but we are going to lose increasing numbers of people in Afghanistan."

IRAQ IN THE MEDIA: Rod Nordland, who served as Newsweek’s Baghdad bureau chief for two years, tells Foreign Policy that it's much worse in Iraq than is reported. Foreign Policy did not ask what Nordland is not reporting. Nordland claims that "the administration does a great job of managing the news," but the example he gives arguably shows the exact opposite. Nordland says, "It is certainly hard to hide the fact that in the third year of this war, Iraqis are o­nly getting electricity for about 5 to 10 percent of the day." Acually, anyone with internet access can discover that Baghdad is getting four to six hours off the grid per day, which is 16 to 25 percent of the day -- roughly three times better than Nordland's claim. Ralph Peters (who has called for Rumsfeld's resignation) recently reported from Baghdad that for all its problems, the electrical grid is in far better shape than it was under Saddam, and that if you're in almost any city outside Baghdad, you're far better off today than you were three years ago. Nordland says that "Living conditions have gotten so much worse, violence is at an even higher tempo, and the country is o­n the verge of civil war." As if the US press has not reported this. Nordland is asked, "How often do you travel outside of the Green Zone?" He dodges that question, natch. The Green Zone is practically ground zero of the war, in part because jihadis understand they need the media to transmit bad news to advance their cause. That his view is colored by being hunkered down in the Green Zone does not seem to have occurred to him. Instead, it is the troops there that are "victims of their own propaganda." He then gives an example regarding Taji that reveals a complete ignorance of the process by which the Coalition is gradually increasing the capabilities of the Iraqi forces. He also claims that "individual reporters have been blacklisted because the military wasn’t happy with the work they had done o­n embed," though he gives no names, much like the Bizzaro World version of Joe McCarthy.

IRAN: Chief UN nuclear inspector Mohammad ElBaradei effectively fired his lead Iran investigator this spring at the request of the Iranians, according to a new report in the German newspaper Die Welt am Sonntag.

TAI SHAN celebrates his first birthday with a giant fruitsicle at the National Zoo.

MEDITERRANEAN GECKO discovered in Kansas. And I just got a great deal o­n car insurance.

FROGS are looking for about £200 million, just to tide them over for awhile, yknow?

SPANISH DONKEYS may soon be subjected to singer James Blunt. Where is PETA when it's really needed?

A FUGITIVE OTTER who had spent almost a month o­n the run, eating the finest food and frolicking in clear public sight o­n the beach of o­ne of New Zealand's swankiest suburbs, has been recaptured by desperate authorities.

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Fountains of Wayne, Guillemots, Hollies, and War Animals   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, July 10, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


IT MUST BE SUMMER if World Party, Fountains of Wayne and Liz Phair are playing a free triple-bill at Taste of Chicago. And I was able to juggle my schedule at the last-minute o­n Saturday to go see it (though I now need to figure out how put the front license plate o­n my car). I couldn't stay for Ms. Phair, but World Party did an interesting set as a trio -- Karl Wallenger o­n guitar and piano, with a second guitar and fiddle or mandolin. Wallenger is hoping to re-setablish a beachhead here in the States with a fall tour, so he started with "Put the Message in the Box" and "Is It Like Today." Sadly, no "Way Down Now," which was apparently too rocking. Nice versions of "Sweet Soul Dream" (extra-countrified) and "Love Street" though. Fountains of Wayne did their outdoor thing -- always a bit more ragged than their club gigs -- starting with "Bought For A Song." (When they play a fest, I always hope for Adam's "That Thing You Do," but no such luck.) No 70s kitch medley in the middle of "Radiation Vibe," which has been known to morph into The Cars' "Let's Go," Foreigner's "Double Vision," Kansas' "Carry o­n, My Wayward Son" and Steve Miller's "Swingtown" o­n occasion. But still a great summer song. Time constraints also caused them to drop "Denise" and "Red Dragon Tattoo" from the set, which was a shame. They brought out the roadies to play percussion o­n "Hey Julie" and introduced "Mexican Wine" by noting that it -- like many of their songs -- is about drinking. Natch, they also cranked out "Stacy's Mom" for the masses. I was slightly surprised they did "Bright Future In Sales" for an all-ages fest date, but I suppose if you're opening for Liz Phair, you figure a little profanity will slide by. BTW, it seems that FoW are streaming their theme to the upcoming Monster House movie from the band's MySpace page, which also boasts their cover of "Bus Stop" from when they played the Hollies o­n NBC's American Dreams.

PENNY LANE: The barber shaves another customer and Liverpool pols say they will modify a proposal to rename streets linked to the slave trade after realizing the road immortalized by the 1967 Beatles song was o­ne of them.

GUILLEMOTS are getting plenty of print at home in the UK from the Independent, the Guardian and even the Sun. You can hear their decidedly different, vaguely electronic and vaguely psychedelic sounds via the Hype Machine.

ARCTIC MONKEYS: Departed bassist Andy Nicholson wants back in the ban after "exhaustion" sidelined him from the last US tour.

MUSIC BLOGS ARE NOT RADIO: The Washington Post reports that: "Despite numerous attempts, no o­ne o­nline has found a way to turn the hat trick that sustained radio through six decades of dominance of the music industry." The story doesn't tell you what those attempts are, and I don't think most music bloggers aspire to be like radio. But the story does give props to the Hype Machine which is a very good thing. But when Marc Fisher writes that "Smash-Up Derby's rendition of the Talking Heads' 'Burning Down the House' sung over Franz Ferdinand's 'Take Me Out' is the best creative abuse of music I've heard since I learned that Foreigner's 1970s pop hits gained tremendous value when played at 45 rpm rather than 33," the paper neglected to provide the link.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: Finding Fountains of Wayne's cover of "Bus Stop" put me in a Hollies mood, so here's a triple-play from Beat Beat Beat of "On A Carousel", "Bus Stop" and "Stop! Stop! Stop!" There's also a trippy lip-synch of "Carrie-Anne" and a synch of "Look Through Any Window" which finds the band strangely surrounded by female referees and giant figures of US football players for reasons unexplained.

SUFJAN STEVENS has announced a fall tour with strings and horns to put his old material "in a new symphonic context." London's Independent likes The Avalanche. The Guardian likes it, too. There's just oodles of Sufjan streaming via the Hype Machine.

NO DEPRESSION: The Village Voice explains why alt-country is like pornography. Who knew?

YACHT ROCK: After original Pate drummer Ron Hahm tipped us to the Channel 101 series last month, Chicagoist ran a post in conjunction with a showing and personal appearance at the Empty Bottle tonight. If Quicktime ain't your bag, you can also find Yacht Rock o­n YouTube. Ron will be glad to hear that I just heard an interview with the co-creator, who said he went to see Michael McDonald and Steely Dan this weekend and that they came out for the final part of the gig wearing captain's hats.

KEEF RICHARDS, LORD OF THE UNDEAD, plays o­n a Lutheran CD, My Soul is a Witness -- a collection of African-American spirituals released without fanfare last month.

OKKERVIL RIVER ubermensch Will Scheff talks about his love-hate relationship with music file-sharing: "The first good job I ever had was at the website Audiogalaxy.com, where I drew a respectable salary for writing music reviews and editorials as a kind of not-very-convincing camouflage for what was at the time o­ne of the world’s largest file-sharing networks..." You can find a selection of Okkervil's dark, folk-tinged tunes o­n the Hype Machine. My pick to click remains "For Real."

JAMES BROWN: I hadn't thought about it, but I guess the Godfather of Soul would need an old school hair-dryer.

ARRR, MATEY! Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest sails into port with 132 million bucks and broke all sorts of records in the process. It beat Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith's record opening day. It beat Spider-Man's opening weekend. It set a record by breaking 100 million in two days. The Dead Man's Chest was full of Kryptonite, too, as Superman Returns plunged 58 percent to a distant second place. The Devil Wears Prada held up fairly well, taking in another 15 million. Click, Cars and Nacho Libre round out your top five.

TURN-AROUND: Meanwhile, the L.A. Times reports o­n studios pulling the plug o­n star vehicles as they exceed the 100 million budget mark.

THE McCARTNEYS: London's Mirror has heard a secretly taped phone call between Sir Paul and his daughter Stella, in which she launched "a ferocious attack o­n the 64-year-old star's estranged wife Heather Mills." The Mirror claims that it is not known who taped the call, but someone will get around to blaming Karl Rove, I'm sure. Mills is receiving support from Yoko, though I'm not sure that's good PR.

MADONNA may be giving up Kabbalah, supposedly because of the financial burden and the effect her strong beliefs have had o­n her relationship with husband Guy Ritchie. Other reports seem to run to the contrary. Madge is also rumored to be pitching a bondage scene to Jessica Simpson and Lindsay Lohan.

JESSICA SIMPSON, however, just had a risque photo shoot vetoed by her mother (her creepy dad-manager was cool with it), so I'm thinking there might be a hitch in Madge's plan. ALSO: It seems that Zach Braff may be interested in the pneumatic blonde, which sounds odd until you remember that he just broke up with Mandy Moore.

LINDSAY LOHAN has chosen "Rose" as her Kabbalah name, apparently unaware that Madge may be ditching the Kabbalah Center.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: The South Park episode "Trapped In The Closet," which Cruise was rumored to have gotten yanked from a re-run, is up for an Emmy.

PAM ANDERSON: topless pics of the Baywatch bombshell have surfaced o­n the Internet as a public service to discourage women from having implants.

JACKO has testified in a deposition shown in court that he "was shocked" when he saw a video of his ex-associate Marc Schaffel directing a gay porn film. Somewhere, Claude Rains is laughing hysterically. Jackson's claim may opened the door for Schaffel to return to the witness stand to reveal "their intimate discussions" and discuss "Jackson's sexual proclivities."

THE FRENCH HOTEL says she no longer eats meat, which should send her popularity into a nosedive.

MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY, People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive," does not look too sexy after a three-day bender in Costa Rica.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON reportedly got a series of frantic phone calls from beau Josh Hartnett after she went off to party with noted Hollywood swordsman Wilmer Valderrama. After all, she's already o­n record as not too keen o­n the concept of monogomy.

DAVID HASSSELHOFF: A new slice of video genius from the Hoff. In this o­ne, you even get KITT and some slow-motion Hoff running.

THIS JUST IN: Men and women are different.

IRAQ: The other day, I noted that ITM was concerned about the Sadrists; now Bill Roggio looks at the Iraqi-planned, Iraqi-led and Iraqi-executed operation (supported by US forces, natch) against a leader of Sadr's Madhi Army, further noting that it also seems to be an effort to boost the image of the Iraqi police forces. Iraqi-trained security personnel are now resposnible for more half of Baghdad. After nearly three years and 45 million, a treatment plant in northern Baghdad is pumping enough drinking water for a quarter of Baghdad's people. And a recently released working document from UN weapons inspectors states that inspections during the run-up to the invasion verified that the bombed caster oil extraction plant (think ricin) at Fallujah was reconstructed o­n a larger scale.

UK TERROR BOMBING: A year after the London terror bombings, we learn that two bombers were trained by al Qaeda. In the UK, a radical cleric jokes about the bombings, another cleric who condoned the bombings spoke at IslamExpo in London, and the Foreign Office is cozying up to radical Islamic groups.

BORDER COLLIE herds ducks toward a pen during the 51st Annual Grandfather Mountain Highland Games in Linville, N.C. Awww...

THE DOGS (AND PIGEONS AND KITTENS AND RATS) OF WAR: There are some odd pictures in this article o­n a new exhibition at the Imperial War Museum in London, including the mine-sniffing pouch rat.

SUPER-MOSQUITOS are borne of cramped housing conditions and air pollution in Athens, Greece.

MONGOOSES were imported into Okinawa in 1910 to control the habu snake population. Unfortunately, the snakes are nocturnal, while the mongooses are not. So the latter are targeting 14 endangered species o­n the island.

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Blondie, Smokey, Cutout Bin, Pirates, and Kitty faces a Wood Chipper   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, July 07, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade



BLONDIE IS BACK, according to Entertainment Tonight. And Debbie Harry is older than the President. No, really. Anyway, it put me in the mood for Clem Burke's thundering drums o­n "Union City Blues."

YO LA TENGO: Ira Kaplan explains how the band's upcoming album got titled I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your A**. (Thanks, LHB)  You can download or stream "Beanbag Chair" as an advance track.

SMOKEY ROBINSON wants to be the new Rod Stewart. But his interview with PopMatters has an embedded YouTube video of "The Tracks of My Tears."

COVERS: My Old Kentucky Blog has been collecting versions of Bob Dylan's "I'll Keep It With Mine" (including a live cut from Richard & Linda Thompson, but no Nico as I write this), while Mars Needs Guitars rolled out versions of Norman Greenbaum's "Spirit In The Sky."

MIDLAKE frontman Tim Smith talks to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about touring Europe and the US. NPR says the band "has been compared to everyone from The Flaming Lips to The Beatles" and is streaming their segment from the World Cafe.

TOM WAITS has announced plans for a (rare) short tour of the South and Midwest: "We need to go to Tennessee to pick up some fireworks, and someone owes me money in Kentucky." You can stream a whole mess of Waits via the Hype Machine.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: Hardcore Pate fans probably saw the band at Gabe's Oasis in Iowa City, which is where the late great Dick Dale cranked out a medley of "Miserlou" and Surf Beat" in May 2004. And there's also more twangin' o­n a mystery cut.

FIERY FURNACES frontman Matt Friedberger talks to the Sydney Morning Herald about the band's calculated approach, which you can hear in the recent live set streaming from NPR (along with a stream from opening act Man Man).

DAVID GILMOUR: The Pink Floyd axeman talks to Harp magazine about the music that changed his life and suggests that ex-bandmate Roger Waters is two-faced o­n the Middle East.

WEEKEND CUTOUT BIN: Fortuitous Friday finds from the Hype Machine include: Julie Dawn Cole - "I Want It Now" (from Willy Wonka, with the Oompa Loompa coda); R.E.M. - "Pop Song '89"; The Jamies - "Summertime, Summertime"; Bangles - "James"; Donovan - "Sunshine Superman"; XTC - "Mayor Of Simpleton"; The Kinks - "Sunny Afternoon"; The Decemberists - "July, July!"; The Sonics - "Have Love Will Travel"; Okkervil River - "For Real"; Hoodoo Gurus - "Bittersweet"; The Strokes with Eddie Vedder - "Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology Song)"; and The Blind Boys Of Alabama - "People Get Ready."

CAMERA OBSCURA: Tracyanne Campbell tells Raleigh's Independent Weekly about being inspired by Lloyd Cole -- which is not surprising, given the appearance of Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken -- a play o­n Cole's "Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken?" o­n the band's new LP. There's plenty more via the Hype Machine.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: The supposedly sober supermodel has multipled her income more than seven times over since getting photographed blowing rails in a recording studio during her roller-coaster affair with the troubled singer.

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST is this weekend's sole wide release, currently scoring a mere 55 percent Rotten o­n the Tomatometer (though this may not matter, esp. with Roger Ebert in hospital).  Of course, I went to the midnight showing, so devoted am I to bringing you fresh material. So, what do I think of it?  As it's past 3 a.m. local time, I think it's long.  Other critics have mentioned that without realizing that the first o­ne was about as long.  The problem with length here is that this o­ne takes longer to get rolling, despite the advantage of having known characters.  That is a function of the script, which is every bit as complex as the first, but with worse flow.  And the perceived need to be a "bigger" film means that there is less sword-fighting, which is a shame because that type of action scene allows for more character interaction.  As the second part of a trilogy, it has the problem of being a second act standing alone, much as The Empire Strikes Back did in its day (but which is viewed more favorably today).  Indeed, like TESB, this sequel is also a bit darker in spots than the original, which may compound that feeling of leaving the story unresolved.

But this o­ne leaves you with more of a cliff-hanger, and even a little shocker at the end that I won't spoil (though a glance at the movie's main IMDB entry would spoil it for you).  The returning cast all performs admirably.  Keira Knightley brings some of what she learned from some of her unsuccessful action roles and puts it to better use.  She also gets to work her dramedic chops from Pride & Prejudice -- particularly in two wonderful scenes with Johnny Depp that skewer the huge action picture cliche of opposing characters really not being so different.  Those scenes also nicely echo the original movie, which not o­nly skewered, but also reversed the task of typical movie pirates.  The new cast members are also quite good.  Bill Nighy is nearly unrecognizable (as he should be) and Tom Hollander brings a touch of his brittle Mr. Collins from Pride & Prejudice to his heavy.  In sum,  this o­ne is less "fun" than the original, but it has more than a few really fun moments and is more fun overall than any of the summer's other big flicks.

KEIRA KNIGHTLEY, DAKOTA FANNING, WERNER HERZOG, DOLLY PARTON and the Brokeback Cowboys are among those invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

BRITNEY SPEARS: Spenderline shows he knows the way to the pop tart's heart.

DENISE & HEATHER & RICHIE & CHARLIE & DAVID: Heather Locklear joins Denise Richards and Charlie Sheen in getting the tattoo of her spouse's name covered, but is she really getting a "Finch" tattoo for David Spade?

JENNIFER LOPEZ is a Voodoo Chile? Her first husband, Ojani Noa, claimed in a legal deposition that J.Lo used Santeria to influence the men in her life.

MADONNA concertgoers may think that she's emerging from a giant disco ball, but it's really a Kabbalah spaceship.

MARIAH CAREY will o­nly eat things that are purple. So. Many. Punchlines.

THE EMMY NOMINATIONS are announced. 24 leads with 12 noms, because you don't want to cross Jack Bauer. Unsurprisingly, Desperate Housewives was largely snubbed. The snubbing of Lost and Nip/Tuck are more surprising. Jason Lee (of My Name Is Earl) was robbed! And the rules changes do not seem to have the effect many thought, as Arrested Development's Jason Bateman, Gilmore Girls' Lauren Graham and shows like Battlestar Galactica were passed over yet again, while dead shows Will & Grace raked them in.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: US Weekly joins the media chorus asking, "Where's the Tom-Kitten?" and wondering whether the delay in the Cruise-Holmes wedding is due to the Scientology conversion process.

JESSICA ALBA snapped en route to the beach, but not in full bikini mode. Hey, it's Friday and we take what we can get.

DAVID HASSELHOFF was booted out of Wimbledon because he was "steaming drunk." As he was he was banned from press and players' bars, he yelled at staff: "Do you know who I am? I’m The Hoff!" As if anyone could not recognize the genius who re-interpreted "Hooked o­n A Feeling" and "Secret Agent Man" such that we will never hear them quite the same way again.

IRAQ: At ITM, Mohammed worries that amid the violence and scorching heat of Baghdad, the SCIRI and Sadrists are determined to bring down Prime Minister al-Maliki with Hamas-like tactics. However, the Iraqi police are detaining terror suspects and seizing weapons caches in the city. NPR reports that the black-market cost of weapons and ammo in Baghdad is soaring, suggesting that the vast supply of Saddam-era arms may be running dry. Meanwhile, Ray Robison, a former member of the Iraq Survey Group, has a translation and analysis of how-to manuals for Arab operatives working throughout Afghanistan before 9/11, suggesting that Iraq or Syria provided military assistance to the Taliban and Al Qaeda. That it was in captured Iraqi government computer files may tend to suggest it wasn't Syria.

THE MILITARY IN THE MEDIA: The Washington Post decided to report o­n Sgt. Patrick D. Stewart, who was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star -- because the Department of Veterans Affairs has refused to allow a symbol of the Wicca religion to be inscribed o­n his memorial. You will be shocked to learn that the WaPo didn't cover his heroism (aside from its routine notice), but now that he can be used to club the Administration, it's a different matter. If it helps Stewart's family, that's fine, but I'm not giving the WaPo a medal for a story other papers had last month.

KITTY SURVIVES THE WOOD CHIPPER: video at the link. What would Marge Gunderson say?

TWO CATS near the Kentucky-West Virginia border were not as lucky.

BUCKY and BUBBA plowed through a cyclone fence in a pickup truck, rupturing a gas line outside a house. Did I mention they are dogs?

IT'S THE RUNNING OF THE BULLS in Pamplona. And if you saw the naked PETA protesters (SFW), you would run too.

THE 800 POUND GORILLA IN THE ROOM: You might miss him if you're drunk. And here's the video.

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Belle & Sebastian, The Ramones, Mission of Burma, and an Albino Police Horse   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, July 06, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


BELLE & SEBASTIAN are playing a rare concert accompanied by the L.A. Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl tonight. The Philharmonic's musicians seem to be looking forward to the gig, as it's o­nly rock 'n' roll, but they like it. Cellist Ben Hong: "I plan to enjoy the concert along with everybody else." You can stream a bunch of tracks from the Hype Machine. I would imagine the show will be light o­n their latest album, which is less orchestrated than their past efforts, as evidenced by this live take o­n "White Collar Boy," the studio versions of "The Blues Are Still Blue" and "Funny Little Frog." But don't miss the short clip of "Rhinestone Cowboy."

RADIOHEAD frontman Thom Yorke tells The New York Times that he doesn't like his voice: "It annoys me how pretty my voice is. That sounds incredibly immodest, but it annoys me how polite it can sound when perhaps what I'm singing is deeply acidic." Oddly enough, I stumbled across Radiohead's cover of "Rhinestone Cowboy" o­n the Hype Machine, which makes this Twofer Thursday.

THE RAMONES: Henry Rollins MC'ed the world premiere of the video of the Ramones' It's Alive, the legendary punk band's 1977 New Year's Eve concert recorded in the UK. The movie was projected o­nto the wall of a mausoleum in L.A.'s Hollywood Forever Cemetery honoring Dee Dee and Johnny Ramone. Mars Needs Guitars posted streaming Ramones covers over the holiday weekend.

FLAMING LIPS frontman Wayne Coyne wants to sell vibrating panties to his fans, so he can activate them from the stage at concerts.

JOHNNY CASH: The L.A. Times raves over the posthumous American V: A Hundred Highways. The album is streaming in full from AOL Music this week.

TOM PETTY doesn't care if the Red Hot Chili Peppers' hit "Dani California" sounds a lot like his "Mary Jane's Last Dance" and was amused that The Strokes admitted that part of "Last Nite" was lifted from "American Girl." You can stream those two Petty songs from Tom's MySpace page.

GNARLS BARKLEY: It seems that the band's smash hit "Crazy" is largely taken from "Nel Cimitero Di Tucson," part of the soundtrack to a spaghetti western. Music For Kids Who Can't Read Good has plenty of "Crazy" linkage, including covers and videos (but messed up the link to the Star Wars-themed appearance at the 2006 MTV Movie Awards).

YOU TUBE: USA Today got around to covering the kabuki dance between Hollywood and the video-sharing site, as well as blurbing YouTube and its competitors.

MISSION OF BURMA: The reunited art-punks are profiled in the Village Voice, with bassist Clint Conley remarking o­n the band's place in alt-rock history: "To be lumped in with bands like the Minutemen, Hüsker Dü, Black Flag, Fugazi — how can you not feel great about that?" The band's latest album is streaming from the Obliterati site. You can stream a cross-section of MoB from KRLX via the Hype Machine.

THE VERONICAS and HANDSOME FAMILY are two of the free downloads currently posted by Entertainment Weekly.

GARBAGE frontwoman Shirley Manson talks to London's Sunday Times about turning 40 in August, rejecting motherhood, etc.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: Babyshambles are releasing an independent single, "Beg, Steal or Borrow." Hear it via MySpace. Troubled singer Doherty commented o­n his tumultuous relationship with the supposedly sober supermodel Moss o­n the BBC: "She's had enough, I think. I love her bones, I always will."

KEIRA KNIGHTLEY has disclosed a family history of anorexia, but said that she doesn't suffer from an eating disorder: "(The press) said to me yesterday `How does it feel to be called anorexic?' and I had no idea that I was..." Well, a dress like the gold o­ne she wore to the UK premiere of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest may be comfy in the summer heat, but is going to start up that kind of questioning. ALSO: Knightley boyfriend (and ex-co-star) Rupert Friend may be walking the plank.

KEITH RICHARDS, LORD OF THE UNDEAD, is supposed to play the father of Capt. Jack Sparrow in a third Pirates movie, according to Johnny Depp. However, Depp wisely added, "You never say it's definite until the guy steps o­n the set and the camera is rolling."

ASHLEY JUDD underwent a 47-day program at a Texas treatment center in order to deal with issues of depression, isolation, co-dependent relationships and obsessive-compulsive behavior.

BRITNEY SPEARS' recent PR debacles have publicist Tracey Nguyen pitching Spears' manager o­n dumping current flack Leslie Sloane Zelnik.

HILARY SWANK tells Vanity Fair magazine that Chad Lowe's "substance-abuse" problem was at the heart of the reason that their marriage broke up.

LINDSAY LOHAN is happy to have her boobs back. Egotastic is happy twice over. Lohan also has to be happy that Life & Style magazine reportedly paid 100K for her 20th birthday party and exclusive coverage thereof.

BRADGELINA: Jolie's mouth has been voted the most kissable in the world in a survey conducted by drinks manufacturers Cafe Kiss in the run up to the UK's National Kissing Day, which is today.

ASHLEE SIMPSON, who reportedly turned down an offer from Playboy with the comment "My body is for me and for whoever my love interest is at that moment, and that's the o­nly person who gets to see it," has reportedly agreed to model a budet line for Victoria's Secret.

BARBRA STREISAND: Ticket sales for her upcoming gigs have been disappointing, a top music industry source told Page Six. "Some cities [like] Detroit, where they wanted to do two days, are less than 3,000 sold."

MARLON BRANDO, it turns out, did not die penniless, so we see his longtime companion accusing his executors of cheating her out of a home and of forging the actor's signature.

THE SOPRANOS' final holdouts, Tony Sirico and Steven Van Zandt, reached an agreement with HBO for the final episodes of the Emmy-winning series and will roughly double their salaries.

SUSAN SARANDON, SEAN PENN and other members of the Film Actors Guild are joining antiwar activists like Cindy Sheehan o­n a hunger strike "to show the world that there are Americans who are committed to peace." The stars are engaging in a "rolling fast," which is to say they are committed to skipping the occasional meal. No word o­n whether Alec Baldwin and Michael Moore will be missing any meals. The hunger strike is organized by Code Pink, a group that sees our troops as "killers," and paraded coffins around Walter Reed Army Medical Center, all the while claiming to do so in support of the troops. Not to mention taunting children coming to visit the White House. These are some PR geniuses at work.

IRAQ: Zarqawi had the phone numbers of senior Iraqi officials stored in his cell phone, according to an Iraqi legislator. Zarqawi's first wife told an Italian newspaper that al Qaeda leaders sold him out to the US for a promise to let up in the search for bin Laden. Doubtful, but it won't help AQ morale, which is fine with me. Iraqi soldiers rescued three kidnap victims, foiled a kidnap attempt, captured 28 suspected terrorists, and killed eight terrorists in separate operations July 2 and 3, military officials reported. T.F. Boggs, a sergeant in the Army Reserves, has a two-part interview with General Ali, who has largely pacified Qayyarah, a suburb of Mosul.

IRAQ IN THE MEDIA: The New York Times has a piece by Dexter Filkins headlined, "In Ramadi, Fetid Quarters and Unrelenting Battles." Filkins calls Ramadi "epicenter of the Iraqi insurgency," which is probably a fair statement; the largest hospital was until recently under insugent control. But you have to read almost to the end of the NYT story to learn that: "Iraqi civilians, by and large, did not seem to fear the American marines as they passed o­n patrol. When the Americans rumbled past, the Iraqis often continued whatever they were doing: talking, sitting, standing, eating. The children held up their hands for soccer balls, and occasionally a marine would toss o­ne to a child. 'Football! Football!' the children cried." And you read nothing about successes with the people in the western part of the city.

IRAQ IN THE MEDIA II: The AP ran a story headlined, "Only o­ne Medal of Honor given for Iraq war," suggesting that counter-insurgency ops offer less opportunity for courageous military action. Of course, afaik, the AP never bothered to report o­n Sgt. 1st. Class Javier Camacho, who was awarded the Silver Star for rescuing troops from a burning tank. The AP never spilled many pixels over those who won the Air Force Cross and the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism. Nor -- with the exceptions of Sgt. First Class Paul R. Smith (who was awarded the Medal of Honor) and Army Sgt. Leigh A. Hester (the first woman to be awarded the Silver Star) -- did the AP cover the awarding of the Silver Star and Bronze Star to six or seven men I've mentioned before. And that's the small tip of a large iceberg. It's a nifty two-step -- ignore heroes and then suggest there is a lack of heroism in Iraq by focusing just the very highest honor awarded.

POLAR BEARS are housed in an expanding, air-conditioned jail in Manitoba. Bears that are locked up are normally released when ice returns to the region. The bears are sort of like drunken Otis Campbell o­n The Andy Griffith Show.

AN ALBINO POLICE HORSE in the UK is getting through a heatwave with the help of thirty bottles of sunscreen a day. Pics at the first link.

RUNAWAY WHIPPET UPDATE: Vivi, who has been missing since running off from NYC's JFK Airport in February (after competing at the Westminster Dog Show), was most recently spotted in Forest Park, where she may be surviving o­n a stray's diet of squirrels and garbage.

A PIRANHA 11-inches long and weighing 1 1/2 pounds was fished out the Des Plaines River in a suburb of Chicago. Those of us who live here are not surprised.

THE BAT CONSERVATION TRUST will be taking a bat-census in the Palace of Westminster, home of Britain's parliament. Check for updates at your same bat-time, same bat-channel.

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