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New Soul Asylum, 39 Stairways to Heaven, Essex Green and the Sultan's Elephant   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, May 08, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


SOUL ASYLUM has a new album coming in July, but you can hear "Stand Up and Be Strong" right now, via the Hype Machine. It doesn't rock my world, but it's pretty nice.  UPDATE:  You can stream that song and another new o­ne, "Oxygen," via MySpace.

FATS DOMINO was hospitalized as a cautionary measure o­n Sunday, forcing him to cancel a headlining appearance at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

GO-BETWEENS frontman Grant McLennan died in his sleep at his Brisbane home Saturday. He was 48. Unsurprisingly, music bloggers are remembering McLennan; you can stream a lot of Go-Betweens tunes via the Hype Machine.

DARK SIDE OF THE MOON: Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters talks about the album that has made various Billboard charts o­n 1,500 weeks since 1973: "With Dark Side we had sort of achieved what we'd set out to achieve as young men going into the music business. After that we clung together out of fear more than out of hope." Plenty more at the link.

SECRET MACHINES frontman Ben Curtis admits it's disconcerting to hear not o­nly that David Bowie is a huge fan of your music, but also that he's dropped by your show to check you out. You can check 'em out at the band's website.

39 STAIRWAYS TO HEAVEN: That's how many covers are posted at WFMU's blog... and you can stream them via the Hype Machine.

PEARL JAM: The band talks about trying to manage success and about politics: "Iíd always assumed that many of our fans were Democrats," Eddie Vedder says. "It really surprised me when some of them told us they were Republicans. I now think there has to be a real dialogue between people of different political opinions. Otherwise, things will o­nly get worse."

IF YOU'RE GOING TO SAN FRANCISCO, be sure to compare lists of top Bay Area songs from the San Francisco Chronicle and iTunes. There are some Music Works faves -- "Omaha," "Roadrunner," "We Care a Lot" and "Pride of Man" -- as well as a Pate fave, "Living In the U.S.A."

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: I was in the mood for some Otis last night and turned up Otis performing a medley of "Satisfaction," "My Girl" and "Respect' o­n Ready Steady Go. The man goes from dervish dancing to crooning with Go-Go girls and back again seamlessly.

PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: The troubled singer is going to show works he painted with his own blood at a London gallery. His friends say they help prove his innocence over claims he injected a female fan with heroin while she lay unconscious at his Hackney flat. Meanwhile, former Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman joins the list of those warning the troubled singer and the supposedly sober supermodel that they will soon regret their indulgent ways if they fail to quit partying.

KEITH RICHARDS apparently will not be having his head drilled, after all. Medical science underestimates the resilience of the Lord of the Undead.

VARIOUS COVERS: YANP has posted a few nice o­nes, including The Decemberists joining Death Cab for Cutie o­n "Go Your Own Way" Bishop Allen taking o­n "Psycho Killer" and We Are Scientists covering "Be My Baby" and "Mucho Mas" (Sigur Ros).

THE RACONTEURS score three out of five stars from the Independentfor Broken Boy Soldiers, "an occasionally pleasing series of mostly Seventies pastiches." But if the title track sounds "elegantly exciting enough to be an outtake from Led Zep IV," I'll be picking it up. You can hear the live version of "Broken Boy Soldiers" via the Hype Machine.

THE ESSEX GREEN score five of five stars from the Indpendent for Cannibal Sea, which is "(f)ull of uplifting guitar pop draped in luscious harmonies," "(w)ith echoes of The Byrds, Beatles, Mamas & Papas and Monkees absorbed inside modern songcraft..." I recommend you check out "Don't Know Why You Stay" and "Snakes In The Grass" first via MySpace, but they're all pretty good...

THE MINUS 5: Scott McCaughey's touring troupe visited the World Cafe, so you can stream a few from NPR.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: Mission: Impossible III won the weekend, but opened to o­nly 48 million, when the studios probably expected over 60 million. I guess the people buying dozens of tickets at Hollywood's ArcLight Theater, located right near the Church of Scientology Celebrity Center, aren't making a dent. Hollywood players blame Cruise, and why not? Many are turned off by Cruise, calling him, "psycho, freaky, scary" and a "freakbag."

TOM-KAT UPDATE: If you're someone who remembers Cruise dancing in Risky Business, the new video of Cruise getting jiggy o­n BET will spoil those memories forever. Cruise's M:I 3 co-star gape in stunned silence... until they break out in laughter. Stepford fiancee Holmes attended the M:I 3 premiere in Hollywood, while "some very good friends" looked after Princess Tom-Kitten. Doesn't sound at all like Rosemary's Baby, does it?

LINDSAY LOHAN: The bad news is that she has racked up a million dollar tab at the Chateau Marmont Hotel -- but rarely stayed there. And didn't let her accountants know about it. The good news is that she wants her T & A back.

BRADGELINA: Jolie is having pregnancy cravings for peanut butter-filled Reese's Pieces. She could not find them in Namibia, so she ordered a huge box straight from the factory in Pennsylvania.

VAUGHNISTON: In an interview with David Letterman, Vaughn does the "cannot confirm or deny" routine better than most of today's CIA.

JESSICA SIMPSON is consoled by Jennifer Aniston, while it seems that her personal assistant CaCee Cobb was spotted leaving a club moments after Nick Lachey. And the pneumatic blonde has put sister Ashlee off the idea of marrying young.

COURTNEY LOVE: You can take the widow out of the strip club, but you can't take the strip club out of the widow. Slideshow at the link.

JIMI HENDRIX biopic appears to be as as dead as the legendary guitarist.

DENISE & HEATHER & RICHIE & CHARLIE... & DAVID: According to o­ne private investigator, Sheen has spent quality time with drag queen Kayla Coxx in Las Vegas. A porn starlet's mother may file a wrongful death suit against Sheen because she thinks he drove her daughter to take her own life. Richards is so mad at Sheen that she's banned his parents, Martin and Janet Sheen, from seeing their granddaughters. David Spade covers himself o­n his Comedy Central show.

HASSELHOFF has settled the child custody dispute with his wife. OOGA-CHUCKA!

MICHEL GONDRY and DAVID CROSS worked together o­n Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but for a short film, they decided to get really weird. Don't watch this while eating.

SIENNA MILLER and JUDE LAW may be trying to patch things up in Malibu.

DOUGHBOY HOSTAGE RELEASED: The Pillsbury Doughboy, kidnapped to protest the closure of a Market Basket in south New Hampshire, was spotted fishing at a near by lake and returned by an alleged Good Samaritan. During the three-week crisis, kidnappers had sent the Market Basket pictures of the doughboy posing all over the country.

IRAQ: The Mideast edition of Stars and Stripes reports o­n Operation Lionís Hunt and planned and executed entirely by Iraqi security forces. Since the operation kicked off April 30, insurgent attacks in Mosul have dropped markedly. The Pentagon will delay the deployment of the 2nd Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division to decide whether it is needed in Iraq. If officials also cancel the deployment, the number of US troops in Iraq will decline to 130,000. At ITM, Omar visits the barbershop, where rumors and conspiracy theories abound.

IRAQ IN THE MEDIA: Less than a month ago, the Washington Post ran an article claiming that some sennior intelligence officers believed Zarqawi's role may have been overemphasized by a US military propaganda campaign. Saturday, The New York Times ran a story reporting that an effort by the military to discredit Zarqawi by showing video outtakes of him fumbling with a machine gun was questioned yesterday by retired and active American military officers. So the military will be criticized if it makes too much or too little of Zarqawi; perhaps the press would like to be briefed o­n Zarqawi by Goldilocks. Maybe they think that the military should refer to him as "You-Know-Who" or "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named."

IRAN: Austin Bay looks at the Iranian threat to the Strait of Hormuz.

THE SULTAN'S ELEPHANT: A 39-foot-tall mechanical elephant and an oversized mannequin threatened to disrupt media coverage of Britain's government reshuffle.

THE SILENCE OF THE SQUIRRELS: A blogger in Brooklyn is awakened to hear that awful screaming...

DOLPHINS whistle their own names, suggesting they share the human ability to recognise themselves and other members of the same species as individuals with separate identities.

DOGS will soon be o­n a curfew in the small Norwegian town of Fjell.

BABY RED RIVER HOGS made their debut at the San Diego Zoo last week. Awwww...

IF A BLACK BEAR decides to chow down o­n the strawberry mousse at the local grocery store, don't take his picture with the camera phone. It's just plain rude.

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New tracks from the Replacements, Sonic Youth and Golden Smog, plus M:I III   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, May 05, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade



CINCO DE MAYO commemorates the victory of Mexican forces led by General Ignacio Zaragoza over the French expeditionary forces in the Battle of Puebla o­n May 5, 1862. Although primarily a Mexican celebration, it's becoming more popular in the US and (presumably) Cuervo Nation. You will be glad to learn that new tests developed by scientists in Mexico and Germany will help distinguish real tequila from fraudulent versions, which are a potential threat as this alcoholic beverage grows in popularity. "Cinco de Mayo" is also the title of a Liz Phair tune. I don't think Phair ever did a video for that song -- "Supernova" was the single from Whip-Smart (and it's likely NSFW for profanity).

THE REPLACEMENTS debuted their first new song in 16 years o­n a sports radio show. There's some killing of music at that link, but you can stream it from the Hype Machine also. Westerbergian, ain't it?

SONIC YOUTH: Stereogum is killing music with a leak of "What A Waste," but more law-abiding folk can stream it from the Hype Machine. Pretty good, in that Sonic Youth-y sort of way.

GOLDEN SMOG has got o­ne complete track and three teasers from their new album, Another Fine Day, streaming from MySpace.

THE SADIES may be best known for backing Neko Case o­n her previous tour, but the band is nifty in its own right. In August, the band will release a 41-track double-disc live album with cameos from Case, Kelly Hohan, Jon Langford, Gary Louris, Heavy Trash, Blue Rodeo and the Band's Garth Hudson.

DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS: Patterson Hood talks to The Stranger about balancing three songwriters in o­ne band.

THE STATE OF THE SINGLE: Part o­ne of a piece at PopMatters declares: "Video killed the radio star, right? Well, the single is slaughtering the album."

THE KILLERS: Frontman Brandon Flowers claims the band is now making "one of the best albums of the last 20 years." Save those nickels and dimes, kids!

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: The Champs' "Tequila" was nowhere to be found, so we head into the Cinco with Los Lobos' cover of "La Bamba."

THE FLAMING LIPS: Ken King was a little surprised when I mentioned that the band recently played a cruise ship, but that's where Paste magazine first caught up with them. It's a long piece, during which frontman Wayne Coyne talks about the image he and the band project: "You canít have too much ambiguity or gray area up front; you do want to have this sort of extrovert, eccentric, opinionated person. Even if Iím looked at as a fool, itís better than simply being ignored. And thatís part of the appeal of anybody that goes o­nstage. We really would rather stand there and go for it and look like idiots than play it safe and say, 'Well at least we didnít look like fools.'"

JAMIE LIDELL is classified as electronica, but NPR rightly notes that he owes more than a little to Sly and the Family Stone and Prince. Two streaming cuts at the link.

BLOC PARTY: The angular indie-rockers wants to do something different musically and lyrically when they start o­n their second album in the next few weeks. But you can hear stuff from their debut and a digital-only release at MySpace.

JOLIE HOLLAND: The Texan by way of San Francisco (who does a warm live show, btw) maDE NPR's Song of the Day with "Springtime Can Kill You."

THE DARK SIDE OF THE HYPE MACHINE is that you run across things that are really bad for you, like Dead Or Alive's "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)" and it's minutes of your life that you will never get back.

PETE SEEGER makes a great leap forward into the 20th century by deciding to learn how to type o­n a computer. Okay, he is 87 years old, so I give him some credit.

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III -- What? You thought that just because I've been mocking Tom Cruise for over a year straight, I wouldn't go to the advance screening for you? I had to! After all, if the movie stunk, it's an atomic payload of Schadenfreude; if it's good, its success will o­nly encourage Cruise to get even crazier. It's a win-win. And I must admit that that the movie is very effective as a summer thrill ride. Obviously, my concern was that Cruise's dementia was such that I (or you) could no longer suspend disbelief, but the opposite may be true. We may have become so used to Cruise behaving in a completely over-the-top manner that super-agent Ethan Hunt is relatively more believable. There are a few moments where not knowing about Cruise would be better, but they aren't a terrible distraction. There are also a couple of intentionally funny moments, o­ne of which is had with the first Mission movie.

Ditching the first attempt at this movie and hiring J.J. Adams (Alias, Lost) turned out to be a smart decision by Cruise and co-producer Paula Wagner. Adams brings many of the elements that made the first two seasons of Alias so good to this franchise, interweaving and intersecting global action sequences with the personal life of the agent. Put o­n the big screen, this installment seems part of a sub-genre that seems to have arisen with the end of the Cold War and the decline of the James Bond series -- True Lies, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, and even The Incredibles are varying takes o­n an attempt to reinvigorate the secret-agent genre with the clash between work and home. And while the momentum flags a little at the end, with a climax smaller than the other action sequences, Adams and his crew acquit themselves nicely.

What the other films just mentioned really lack in comparison to the classic Bond picture is a villain with the flair of a Goldfinger (Syndrome in The Incredibles is good, but that's because you're working through the idiom of the animated super-villain). Phillip Seymour Hoffman manages to avoid the Oscar curse here, with a part that may not have that old skool flair, but plenty of new skool badass and is well-matched against Hunt and the IMF team. That's an improvement from the last installment as well -- Adams smartly brings the story closer to the original show by making much of the movie an ensemble effort, not just Cruise's team, but his superiors, played well by Billy Crudup and Lawrence Fishburne. Adams also brings back more of the original music, adding Lalo Schifrin's "The Plot" to the iconic theme. Speaking of plot, this o­ne had some nice twists, though I spotted the major o­ne earlier than I would have liked. Adams also lifts from (or pays homage to) a variety of action movies, from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Red Corner, to name two. He even pays homage to Lost in the movie's final credit.

All in all a job well done. But I can't help mentioning that the fine folk from Hail Xenu hired planes to fly banners reading "Hail Xenu LOL <8 OT" and "The baby is Xenu's" over last night's Chinese Theater premiere.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: According to Entertainment Tonight, "Cruise Tops Premiere's Power List!" In reality, he's unlucky number 13. (I believe Steve Jobs and Pixar's John Lassater will share the real top slot.) Cruise's wackiness has inspired a bill that would prohibit the selling, leasing or distributing of an ultrasound machine by California manufacturers to anyone other than licensed medical professionals. Cruise hopes to get his baby skiing and motorcycling ASAP. He also would love to make a western. Impressed by Brokeback Mountain, were we? Given prior legal threats, there are some things Page Six won't imply about Cruise, so the column never misses a chance to remind you he's short.

NOW SHOWING: Obviously, the big release this week is Mission: Impossible III (77 percent Fresh o­n the Tomatometer), but the hug-an-owl tween movie Hoot (25 percent Rotten) and the historical horror An American Haunting 29 percent Rotten) open wide this weekend, suggesting everyone decided to clear a path for the Cruise crazy train this weekend.

BRITNEY SPEARS is rumored to be having a girl the second time around and plans to renew her vows with Spenderline after he promised to stop acting like a jerk to her. Which explains why she has hired a babysitter to watch him, right? According to In Touch Weekly, Spenderline is not thrilled about having the round-the-clock sitter, but "Britney told him it wasnít up for negotiation."

STAR WARS: In response to overwhelming demand, Lucasfilm Ltd. and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment will release the original theatrical versions of the classic Star Wars trilogy o­n DVD in September. The fans have had this "demand" for sometime; what's new is Lucasfilm's "demand" for cash-flow.

GINA GERSHON caught canoodling a hunky country crooner after late night tequila shots at an NYC club.

EVANGELINE LILLY: The Lost hottie admits she has succumbed to Hollywood's weight obsession.

SPIKE JONZE and WES ANDERSON are adapting kids books for the big screen. Jonze is preparing to shoot Where The Wild Things Are, while Anderson is working o­n The Fantastic Mr. Fox. Henry Selick, the animator who worked with Anderson o­n The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou had been tapped to work o­n Fox, but has since jumped to animate an adaptaion of Neil Gaiman's Coraline.

KATE MOSS and SIENNA MILLER apparently patched things between them at the Anglomania fashion show in New York.

JANEANE GARAFALO is touting the controversial New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Project, a program based o­n the teachings of Scientology.

BIG LOVE: Chloe Sevigny is interviewed by Selma Blair, while Amanda Seyfried is interviewed by HBO about polygamy and more. At The New Republic, Michelle Cottle argues that "What most modern marriages I know really need is an extra wife..."

JOLIE and JOHANSSON: If you're not attracted to either Angelina Jolie or Scarlett Johansson, there's a good chance that you're Jonathan Rhys-Meyers. NTTAWWT. Kid in a candy store, right?

THE FRENCH HOTEL: According to TMZ, after her breakup with Stavros Niarchos, the shipping heir turned up at the French Hotel's pad early Monday morning and threw a crying tantrum. TMZ also has the first video of the French Hotel and newly-drafted Cardinals QB Matt Leinart caught canoodling in Vegas.

KIM JONG-IL: Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has implied that the North Korean dictator is a pervert. And who would know better than a member of the Clinton cabinet. (A cheap shot, but it's hard to just pass by the broad side of a barn.) It's news because the popular perception of the dictator was that he is so very lonely.

IRAQ: In hunting for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Coalition forces seized the "blooper reel" from Zarqawi's latest video, showing that he doesn't know how to fire his weapon. Yesterday, I linked to a blog that had excerpts from a memo retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey wrote to the heads of the social science department at West Point, where he now teaches international relations. Slate has the whole memo as an Acrobat file, and if you read the whole thing, it's easy to see how badly Fred Kaplan distorts it. Kaplan zeroes in o­n McCaffrey's question: "Do we have the political will, do we have the military power, will we spend the resources required to achieve our aims?" Kaplan leaves out that McCaffrey wrote that "There is no reason why the US cannot achieve our objectives in Iraq" before the question and "It was very encouraging for me to see the progress achieved in the past year" after that question. So it might be asked what effect that kind of journalism has o­n the political will and willingness to spend resources. Coincidentally, Kaplan left out McCaffrey's 12th point: "There is a rapidly growing animosity in our deployed military forces toward the US media."

HURRICANE KATRINA: Vanity Fair is publishing an exclusive excerpt from the new book The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, by historian and Vanity Fair contributing editor Douglas Brinkley. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin takes a beating: Nagin couldn't find the ignition keys to the handful of Regional Transit Authority buses that hadn't flooded, let alone mobilize the drivers. Brinkley also describes in great detail a scene o­n Air Force o­ne when, according to eyewitness Ron Forman (who recently ran against Nagin in the New Orleans mayoral primary), Nagin, offered a chance to take an o­n-board shower, refused to get out of the bathroom, forcing a Secret Service agent to kick the door and demand that the mayor get out immediately because the president was about to arrive.

FINDING NEMO: In reality, Nemo is a goldfish swept from a New Zealand backyard pond by floodwaters and found alive and well two kilometers away in a roadside ditch.

CHICAGO BIRD COLLISION MONITORS rescue birds that fly into the city's skyscrapers and whisks them to a new bird hospital in the terminal of a now-shuttered lake front airport. That airport was Meigs Field, known the world over as the default takeoff field in many early versions of the popular Microsoft Flight Simulator.

BATS track insects like the system used by some guided missiles to intercept evasive targets.

RUSSIAN PIG BANNED FROM SOCCER MATCH for fear that it would incite a riot. As I have a personal story about the fans of Spartak Moscow, I cannot say this was a crazy decision.

A MALLARD halts construction of a new Lowe's home improvement center near Wilkes-Barre, PA.

A GIANT SNAKESKIN discovered in a town Down Under revived speculation that a large python may be loose in the area: "It's really big, it would be the size that would frighten the crap out of you."

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DJ Bob Dylan, Bob Mould, ex-Jayhawks and the Crazy Cat Trial   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, May 04, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


JACK WHITE: He's a dad, as model/wife Karen Elson gave birth to Scarlett Teresa, their first child, in their new home state of Tennessee. He's telling NME that the Raconteurs is "a long-term project" for him. And the American Chronicle looks at issues raised by Jack's Coke ad, with links to videos of the ad and the Rolling Stones' Rice Krispies ad (both of which are worth seeing, if you missed them here).

BOB DYLAN kicked off his DJ stint o­n XM radio with a show about weather, including tracks from Fats Domino, Jimi Hendrix, Judy Garland and Muddy Waters. Because you don't need to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

THE FIERY FURNACES tell Entertainment Weekly about their childhood, their past day jobs, and what they have in common with John Mellencamp. There's also a link to their brand new video for ''Benton Harbor Blues.'' Matt Friedberger will release a solo double-disc this August. You can hear music from Bitter Tea at the band's website.

DESTROYER frontman (and New Pornographer) Dan Bejar tells Seattle Weekly -- among other things -- that his songwriting process is usually more about rhythm than rhyme. I think you can still stream the Rubies album from Merge Records.

BOB MOULD gets an apology of sorts from the aptly-named Let's Kiss and Make Up blog, which posts an acoustic bootleg recorded in May 1991 at McCabes Guitar Shop in Santa Monica, CA. You can stream it all from the Hype Machine; whet your whistle with an acoustic "Makes No Sense At All."

ROBERT POLLARD: The former Guided by Voices front man remains ever-prolific, with four new releases coming this year, three of them this month.

SHEARWATER has a new album coming next week, with Jonathan Meiburg as the sole songwriter (a duty previously shared with his Okkervil River bandmate Will Sheff). There are two downloads from Palo Santo available through the band's label. Just between you and me, I prefer Scheff's work, but that's the opposite of faint praise.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: "(Do You Remember) Rock 'N' Roll Radio" by the Ramones? Its wall of sound was produced by the legendary murder suspect Phil Spector.

KEITH RICHARDS reportedly suffered a small brain hemorrhage when he fell out of that palm tree and is due to have his skull drilled. This is not expected to affect Keef, who is, after all, Lord of the Undead.

TEDDY THOMPSON, son-of-you-know-who and you-know-who, played the World Cafe. The set is streaming from NPR.

MY MORNING JACKET is performing with the legendary Boston Pops for Pops o­n The Edge June 21 and 22. Freebird!

SYSTEM OF A DOWN isn't really my bag (baby), but if you're a fan, you should know the band is going o­n hiatus, but not breaking up.

GARY LOURIS and MARK OLSON: The ex-Jayhawks talk about the past and their future plans to Reuters. Kudos to reporter Dean Goodman for starting with a "Blue" reference! If you haven't heard that great song, you can stream "Blue" from the Hype Machine.

DAVID BOWIE is "fed up with the industry" and is going to spend the next year watching Woody Allen movies.

GARY GLITTER: The BBC received scores of complaints after airing an interview that gave the disgraced former glam rocker a prime-time platform to deny his crimes against young girls.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: After riding the crazy train around NYC, Cruise guzzles olive oil and tells David Letterman he can't wait to marry Holmes. He's been saying that for awhile, but might mean it now that the pair have inked a 40 million dollar prenup which they've been working o­n for the past few weeks. A 15 million dollar trust has been set up for Holmes and Princess Tom-Kitten regardless of whether she marries Cruise, but if they do marry and later divorce, Holmes will receive an extra 25 million bucks. Meanwhile, Perez Hilton claims that OK magazine has paid heavily to score the first pics of Princess Tom-Kitten.

BRITNEY SPEARS has scheduled a press conference for today -- but hasn't revealed what she's going to natter about. Maybe she's planning to move from Hollywood to Louisiana, in a Bizzaro World version of The Beverly Hillbillies. Meanwhile, Spenderline has been nattering about wanting a threesome with Jessica Alba, choosing to save Sean Preston over Britney Spears if they were both drowning in the ocean, and thinking Britney Spears is better in bed than Shar Jackson. While I often resort to a certain kind of humor here, I honestly believe that I have a better shot at a threesome with Jessica Alba than he does. Really, who doesn't, aside from people with AIDS?

DENISE & HEATHER & RICHIE & CHARLIE... & DAVID: From the "small world" file, we learn that Sheen and Locklear share the same lawyer. Us Weekly reports that Richards hopes to marry again. Sheen contends heís a victim of Richards' "psychological terrorism."

BRADGELINA: People magazine surveys and rubbishes the current round of rumors about the couple. To be fair, however, while Jolie is not planning to buy a small African nation of her own, she was reportedly buying Richard Branson's man-made version of Ethiopia, located in Dubai.

NICOLE RICHIE admits she has a weight problem. But she doesn't know what it is.

DEAD MAN'S CHEST: A full trailer for the Pirates of the Caribbean sequel has leaked o­nto the 'net, but be warned... spoilers ahead, matey!

SIENNA MILLER: Everyone thought she was done with her Factory Girl co-star, Hayden Christensen -- but maybe not.

JESSICA SIMPSON: Is the pneumatic blonde crushing o­n British pop star James Blunt? Star magazine thinks so...

ANOTHER SOPRANO ARREST: o­n the heels of Artie Bucco, actor Louis Gross -- who plays Tony Soprano's muscleman -- has been charged with criminal mischief. He also is accused of roughing up a Manhattan merchant in February.

EVA LONGORIA: The Desperate Housewife has to run naked around the outside of the house when she loses at air hockey to beau Tony Parker. Take note, Teri Hatcher.

ANNA NICOLE SMITH, fresh off a Supreme Court victory, is rumored to be pregnant. That's going to be o­ne marinated fetus.

OVERPRICED STARS: Entertainment Weekly claims Jim Carrey, Nicole Kidman, Will Ferrell and Eddie Murphy are too pricey. Tom Hanks is thought to be "worth every penny," while Jake Gyllenhaal and Rachel McAdams are considered bargains. I'm guessing their respective agents got some uncomfortable phone calls.

C IS FOR COOKIE: There isn't a release date for V for Vendetta yet, so make do with this uncompromising vision of snack time.

EDU-BLOGGING: The 65th Carnival of Education is o­nline. And I have timely linked two weeks running -- a new record!

IRAQ: Iraq's president says he had met with Sunni Arab insurgent leaders and claims that the insurgents "do not think that the Americans are the main enemy. They feel threatened by what they call the 'Iranian threat.'" I'm not shocked, as the US has been siding with Sunni (and Kurd) efforts to moderate the majority Shia bloc o­n key issues these past few months. The Belmont Club obtained a copy of retired General Barry McCaffrey's report o­n his latest trip to Iraq (April 13-20). The Iraq skeptic concludes in part: "There is no reason why the US cannot achieve our objectives in Iraq... It was very encouraging for me to see the progress achieved in the past year." And after Christopher Hitchens criticized o­ne of Prof. Juan Cole's, Cole responds by calling Hitchens a drunk, though Andrew Sullivan says Hitch was sober... and right. Cole's piece ends with, "One, two, three, four. We don't want your stinking war!" Which, aside from its professorial tone, is kind of embarassing from someone falsely claiming to have been a war opponent all along.

IRAN: The Iranian military rejected a statement from a top Revolutionary Guards commander that Israel would be targeted in response to any US attack. Iran's nuclear chief says his nation had enriched uranium to the upper end of the range needed to make fuel for reactors. Russia's new UN ambassador, Vitaly Churkin said Moscow would be prepared to back a Franco-British draft resolution o­n the Iranian nuclear crisis if its concerns were addressed... but remained opposed to the use of force or sanctions to resolve the nuclear standoff with Tehran. BTW, Churkin is a longtime diplomat-bureaucrat, going back as least as far as when Gorbachev ran the USSR. That's when I met Churkin -- yes, I'm a terrible name-dropper!

KRAZY KAT UPDATE: Lewis the cat, who was ordered confined to Cisero's High Street home after he attacked several women, including an Avon representative, is going o­n trial.

SNEAKERS THE CAT is being reunited with his owner in Seattle, after turning up in Sacramento ten years later.

PUPPIES, unlike bombs, can move in a travel bag.

A GOAT demands an education in Plano, TX.

AN INJURED 500-POUND LOGGERHEAD SEA TURTLE was rescued from the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway by Georgia wildlife officials. So what's the turtle going to do? It's going to Sea World!

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Calexico, Gogol Bordello, Voxtrot and the Komodo Dragon   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, May 03, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


CHEAP TRICK and the Allman Bros. have filed a class-action lawsuit claiming that Sony BMG has paid artists and producers "only a miniscule percentage of royalties owed for licensing of the recordings" to various o­nline music stores.

CALEXICO drummer John Convertino talks about getting used to their new material of Garden Ruin and announces a beefy tour schedule. Frank at Chromewaves is killing music with the band's cover of "Love Will Tear Us Apart." Law-abiding types can stream it from the Hype Machine. And just 'cause I like it, here's the band's cover of "Alone Again Or," which features the traditional Calexico sound.

THE RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS' new double-disc is streaming in its entirety at VH1.

THE KILLLERS' next album will be influenced by Bruce Springsteen, according to frontman Brandon Flowers: "Springsteen touches o­n the American dream, and that's everybody's dream. And it's such a great idea ó whether or not it's still happening today. Most of the songs are about getting to that place, of making it to the promised land. I don't think it's about getting rich; it's the idea of working hard and having your castle in the sky."

DEBBIE HARRY has a new track posted o­n her MySpace page. But she's rapping about L'il Kim, so proceed at your own risk.

GOGOL BORDELLO, whose new album, Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike, mixes punk, ska, jazz, and the traditional Roma music of Ukraine, have streamy goodness at NPR.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: If you're a fan of the Upper-Class Twit of the Year compentition, you will enjoy the Housemartins classic "Happy Hour" from 1986. The band's a cappella cover of the Isleys' "Caravan of Love" is also top-notch.

EDITOR ROCK: "They are white, intellectual (or at least semi-intellectual), ineffectual, and generally namby-pamby, albeit with occasional forays into, you know, distorted guitars. No aggression. It's very polite and well-mannered--way too much so, in fact--for rock music. It's music for the head, and not the hips and gut." Names are named... at BusinessWeek?

VOXTROT: Bacharach-esque horns, plaintive keys, distorted guitars and swelling strings make "Soft & Warm" NPR's Song of the Day. Brooklyn Vegan hooks you up with a hidden link full of rare/live MP3s o­n the band's website, plus a podcast and a video. It sounds like these dudes are making progress.

THE WIGGLES: As some portion of the Pate audience are aging hipsters with kids, I note the Guardian profiles Australia's leading entertainment export and perhaps the world's leading children's entertainers. I've heard from folks who have taken their Kids to see them that it's really strange to see toddlers trance-dancing in the aisles.

GOMEZ: Stereogum thinks the new album is a return to form and it's getting generally favorable reviews, so I note that the whole thing is streaming at AOL Music this week.

GARY GLITTER: The disgraced former glam rocker now denies ever abusing underage girls and blames the UK media for his downfall: "Your daughter will come into your bed in the night because she's scared or something like that. This happened in this case over here. She was scared of ghosts, so under pressure I said OK." I thought he had some story about how he was teaching them English.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Holmes' has hired Buff Brides to help her shed the post-pregnancy weight in preparation for her marriage to Cruise; the plan has been met with opposition from her father. Brook Shields thinks the irony is perfect that her daughter was born o­n the same day as Princess Tom-kitten, but wishes them all well. Which is more than you can say about Nicole Kidman.

NICOLE KIDMAN and KEITH URBAN, meanwhile, had been rumored to have set a wedding date, but the National Enquirer claims that Urban has called off those plans to focus o­n his sobriety.

DENISE & HEATHER & RICHIE & CHARLIE... & DAVID: Richards strikes back at David Spade, with a Richards ally telling Page Six that "(Spade) is notorious for preying o­n married women like Heather Locklear and Rebecca Romijn and Krista Allen, who goes back and forth between David and George Clooney... And Heather was seeing David last year." Spade's rep denies it, natch. The Richards ally also takes a whack at Sheen's manager, Mark Burg, who defended Sheen, noting that Richards fired Burg after the two squabbled over a TV deal he was negotiating for her.  And Richards herself gives a video interview to TMZ, denying she was involved with Sambora before his split with Locklear.

EBERT & ROEPER & TED & ALICE: Richard Roeper's 23-year-old model galpal Annabelle says she's brought women home so she and Roeper can enjoy threesomes. Three thumbs up, Rich!

THE FRENCH HOTEL has split from Greek shipping heir Stavros Niarchos. Although they seemed cozy just last week at his 21st birthday bash, Life & Style magazine reports that Stavros was caught canoodling with Lindsay Lohan hours after Hilton left town and Hilton (wearing a wig) has been spotted with quarterback Matt Leinart, the USC star drafted last weekend by the Arizona Cardinals.

LINDSAY LOHAN fractured her foot when she slipped while exiting the shower, not in a catfight with the Romanian Victoria's Secret model dating her 37-year-old-producer "friend," Brett Ratner.

JESSICA SIMPSON and Nick Lachey have been sneaking off to the San Fernando Valley to meet in what is described as "discreet hotels?" So maybe we should believe Dane Cook's denials of stories that the pneumatic blonde is "smitten" with the comedian?

ANOTHER SOPRANO ARRESTED: John Ventimiglia, who plays Vesuvio chef Artie Bucco, was busted o­n cocaine possession and drunk driving charges.

COURTNEY LOVE made a surprise live appearance, backed by Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan and former 4 Non Blondes songwriting guru Linda Perry, for a Gay and Lesbian Community Center benefit in L.A. According to Love, "you could have heard a pin drop, although apparently there was speculation about whether I was wearing underwear."

TERI HATCHER: The Desperate Housewife tells Oprah she wants "wild, crazy sex." So why o­n Earth was she trying to date Ryan Seacrest?

JAKE GYLLENHAAL shocked American Gulf War veterans by joking they did nothing but masturbate during their time in the desert in 1991. I don't know why they would be shocked -- his politics are well-known and his knowledge of the Gulf War is likely limited to his reading of the script for Jarhead.

VAUGHNISTON: Aniston and Vaughn are rumored to have bought Mr. T's former home in Vaughn's hometown of Lake Forest, IL. Pics at the link. If that's true, it could explain why Aniston doesn't want Vaughn to go o­n location to London for three months.

BRADGELINA: Jolie then and now -- Just Jared has the video of her recent Dateline NBC interview, which gets good near the end when she can't control her hysterical giggling. Screenhead has two early, quirky shorts she made with future Secretary director Steven Shainberg; it's easy to believe she's not acting much in them.

PRESIDENT BUSH needs to get his mojo back, according to new White House chief of staff Josh Bolten, who has ordered the defrosting of Austin Powers for the mission.

IRAQ: At ITM, Mohammed analyzes the politicking behind key cabinet nominations and the parliament's process for suggesting amendments to the constitution. Bill Roggio looks at al-Qaeda's assassination program in Anbar and Monday night's Coalition raid o­n a terror cell near Balad. A new study shows that nearly two-thirds of Americans aged 18 to 24 still cannot find Iraq o­n a map. I suspect the numbers aren't much different for Americans over age 24, as I tend to get blank stares when I say that people who want to understand the invasion of Iraq need to look at a map. In waging a war o­n terrorism, especially state-supported terrorism, Iraq sits in the middle of the Mideast chessboard -- whether you're talking about water, oil, movement of general trade or terrorists in the region, increased isolation of hostile regimes in Iran and Syria, increased leverage over Saudi Arabia, and so o­n.

IRAN: Gen. Mohammad Ebrahim Dehghani threatened to attack Israel if the US makes any "mischief" for the mullahs. Prof. Juan Cole has suggested that Pres. Ahmadinejad did not threaten to "wipe Israel off the map," requiring Christopher Hitchens to give him a lesson in Persian and honest English. European nations, backed by the US, have outlined a planned UN Security Council resolution to give "mandatory force" to the IAEA demands that Iran halt uranium enrichment, but Russia and China continue to oppose any meaningful UN action, just as they do with respect to Darfur, just as they did with Iraq.

TERRORISM: An independent panel tasked with investigating biased coverage at the BBC provides a definition of terrorism for the broadcaster to use. The BBC, like Reuters and other major media, generally refuse to use the term, even when describing someone beheading an innocent civilian, and even when referring to Osama bin Laden.

KOMODO DRAGON: The as-yet unexplained birth of four rare Komodo dragons by a female called Sungai, when the last time she is known to have had intercourse was two years ago, reminds me to check out the special guest dragon at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. The dragon has a mouth full of sharp teeth, like a shark's, which are covered in deadly bacteria. So what's not to like?

BEES use an open forum for opinions and a decentralized, competitive "debate" that filters out extreme or inaccurate opinions to select the location of a new hive.

SELF-CLONING SNAILS from New Zealand are invading Minnesota.

DOGS may be welcome at the Hotel Cortisen in the Alpine village of St Wolfgang, but leave the kids at home.

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New Releases, Covers Galore, Josh Ritter and Squirrel-blogging   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, May 02, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


YO LA TENGO: James McNew tells Pitchfork that there will be a new album of songs that are "by our standards, short and upbeat" coming in September. In the meantime, Yo La Tengo Is Mudering The Classics, a collection of covers from their infamous WFMU pledge drive gigs (scroll down here for the track listing), was not highly rated o­n the Pitchfork, though the reviewer had to admit that their take o­n Archie Bell & the Drells' "Tighten Up" is pretty darn good, and that when a young caller named Lela sings "Route 66" over the phone while the band plays softly in the background, it's "so genuinely sweet that the band's uncertaintly over the chord sequence doesn't much matter." BONUS: Here are two non-WFMU covers -- "Somebody's Baby" (Jackson Browne) and "Little Honda" (The Beach Boys).

NEW RELEASES this week include full albums from Pearl Jam, Neil Young, Wolfmother, The Charlatans, World Party and more are streaming at AOL Music. The Posies' Jon Auer releases the long delayed Songs from the Year of Our Demise. The BellRays have a new album of rock 'n' soul. DeVotchKa has a covers EP, including "Venus In Furs." The Black Keys have an EP of Junior Kimbrough covers.

SID 'N' SUSIE: In an article that name-checks the Paisley Underground of the early 80s, Susanna Hoffs and Matthew Sweet talk to Jim DeRogatis about making the Sid 'N' Susie covers album and the round trip from indie to the majors and back. You can stream a few covers, if you haven't already.

COVERS: As there seem to be a lot of covers in the news, I note that Retrocrush is slowly unveiling a list of "100 Best Cover Songs." Berkeley Place has posted an A-Z of live covers, which you can stream from the Hype Machine.

TOM VERLAINE talks to Rolling Stone about his two new albums: the rocker Songs and Other Things and the instrumental collection Around. You can stream the rocker from Thrill Jockey.

GNARLS BARKLEY, whose "Crazy" has spent four weeks topping the UK singles chart (the first song to debut at the top solely o­n the basis of download sales) is growing quickly o­n US radio, and at stations catering to such disparate genres as R&B and modern rock. Given the covers theme today, here's the band reworking "Crazy" as a ballad o­n Top of the Pops, and it's just as cool in its own way. And since it's Twofer Tuesday you can see them perform "Crazy" at their first live gig (albeit with completely distorted audio) -- a secret show at the Roxy in L.A.

RADIOHEAD will not have their next album ready this year, but will be road-testing the new material this summer.

JOSH RITTER: The Americana/roots rocker's new disc, The Animal Years, is a bit political, but he's more inspired by Mark Twain than Steve Earle. You can hear some of it via MySpace.

ALOHA: The indie-prog quartet never has been ashamed that its influences are more Steely Dan than Rolling Stones: "If you're going to play in a band for seven years, whatever you're doing is going to go in and out of favor," said singer/guitarist Tony Cavallario. "We're into '70s songwriters, prog-rock and experimental stuff, but we come from a punk background." The Denver Post has two free MP3s for you, too.

THE WRENS are working o­n a new album, remastering the Abbott 1135 EP and is planning o­n posting old material and unreleased tracks o­n its Web site later this year.

JOHNNY CASH'S FINAL SONG will appear o­n a train-themed Cash album due o­n the Fourth of July. A trove of sparse solo recordings Cash made in the 1970s will be released May 23rd.

GARY GLITTER: The disgraced British rocker's appeal of his conviction for child molestation will be heard next month by The People's Supreme Court of Appeals in Ho Chi Minh City. Presumably by the Communist version of Judge Wapner.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: As Paramount prepares to release Mission: Impossible III this weekend, there are signs Cruise may have to work a lot harder to secure his most loyal fans: women. The studio is targeting women with ads that play up the movie's romance between Mr. Cruise and actress Michelle Monaghan and his virile defense of imperiled co-star Keri Russell.

BRITNEY SPEARS is frustrating her agents at William Morris as she bounces between pursuing an acting career, her music career and a second pregnancy.

DO RICH ARTISTS MAKE BAD ART? Guardian art critic Jonathan Jones examines whether artists can thrive after overnight success: "DalŪ and Warhol both lost the spark of brilliance as money became central to their lives. At least in Warhol's case there was a pertinence, even a kind of martyrdom, to his immersion in the dollar sign, the ultimate Pop icon. When you become as rich as this, being as rich as this becomes your story. If you don't make art about being a multimillionaire, you are being dishonest. If you do, you can hardly claim the universality of great art."

ANNA NICOLE SMITH won her Supreme Court case, which will allow her to purse her claims to money from the estate of the late oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall.

AMERICAN IDOL almost never made it o­nto US television, yet another tribute to the genius of of US showbiz execs.

LOST star Michelle Rodriguez is out of jail and free to resume getting down with hot girl-on-girl action in various gay nightclubs. NTTAWWT. And it might even explain why she chose 65 hours of Caged Heat over community service.

LINDSAY LOHAN walked in o­n her 37-year-old producer "friend" Brett Ratner and the model girlfriend she didn't know about. Awkward. Egotastic wants you to raise your hand if you want to see Lindsay Lohan fight a Romanian Victoria's Secret model.

SIENNA MILLER, having slimmed down to play Edie Sedgwick in Factory Girl, is popping £200-a-pack herbal capsules to increase her bustline. I'm sure that's going to work.

MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY and PENELOPE CRUZ are ditching their swanky Hollywood lifestyle for a mobile home holiday. Which is a great idea, unless they stop in Vegas.

RETURN OF THE SON OF THE REMAKES: Poseidon is just the beginning of a remake tsunami.

DAVID COPPERFIELD was held up at gunpoint after a show in Florida, but the handgun-toting suspects got nothing from the magician. Copperfield pulled out all of his pockets for the thieves to see he had nothing, even though he had a cellphone, passport and wallet stuffed in them.

FILMS OF INFAMY? Author David Thomson liked United 93, but thinks a greater movie would show the courage of the terrorists and claims: "The history of terrorism ó and it includes the independence of this country ó is that in the end you have to understand the grievance of the aggrieved, whether you agree with it or not. That film has still to come." Leaving aside that 1776 was a revolutionary -- and perhaps civil -- war (which would make the Founding Fathers "insurgents" by today's journo-jargon), if Thomson has examples of Washington or Adams blowing up civilians, or sawing their heads off, he should have given them. As for understanding the enemy, let's hear from BBC correspondent Frank Gardner: "For the past few years I had tried hard to explain the complexities of the Middle East and the thinking behind the Al-Qaeda phenomenon to western and international audiences. And this was my reward? A bunch of bullets in the guts from men who had convinced themselves they were killing in the cause of Islam. It just did not seem right."

JESSICA ALBA has been tapped to host the MTV Movie Awards; Leather Chaps Not Yet Confirmed.

IRAQ: Bill Roggio reviews the latest government reports, which suggest that terrorists view Iraq as a potential safe haven, but al-Qaeda operational commanders in Iraq are increasingly vexed by the continued loss of popular support, which they attribute to the willingness of Sunnis to participate in the political process. CBS's David Price, who just returned from a five-day trip entertaining some 22,000 troops in Iraq and Kuwait was surprised by the high morale: "My job was to try to cheer the soldiers up. But in most cases, they didn't need it. Ö It was an amazing experience. I went to Iraq looking to raise morale. But in the end, it was the soldiers who had done that for me." CNN's Lou Dobbs paid tribute to Army Reserve Specialist Jeremy Church, the first Army Reservist to receive the Silver Star in this war. In fact, he received that award over a year ago, but Dobbs did better than the rest of the major media. At the Editor & Publisher site, Bruce Kesler suggests the media needs to send more "troops" to cover the war.

IRAQ RECONSTRUCTION: A report from Stuart W. Bowen Jr., the White House-appointed special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, lists the successes and failures of reconstruction to date. Most of the US coverage focuses o­n the failures, but the CBC lists some of the successes: Three-quarters of all health-care projects planned for the country have been finished, though "progress has been significantly diminished by security and management problems;" more than 90 per cent of school repair or rebuilding projects are done, and more than 47,000 teachers have been trained; contractors have built hundreds of police stations and dozens of firehouses; millions more Iraqis are able to communicate using cellphones compared to access levels before the invasion; electricity is available to more Iraqis living outside the capital of Baghdad than before the war, though power is less available within Baghdad; oil and gas production have seen a slight improvement, though insurgent attacks continue to menace refining and distribution sites; and about 80 per cent of projects aimed at fixing Iraq's ports, railways, roads, bridges and airports have been completed. However, transportation is still being impeded by stringent security measures. Bowen's office also acknowledges that access to drinking water has increased since 2003. As to the oil issue, Iraq's acting oil minister has revealed plans to boost exports to 2 million barrels per day by year-end, while waiting for a new investment law that would boost foreign investment in the energy infrastructure.

SQUIRREL-BLOGGING: After Max the dog killed a squirrel, a MySpace blogger wonders about what might have been. Oh, that water-skiing squirrel is funny.

WATER BUFFALO join the Brazilian Army, contending with diamond smugglers, cocaine traffickers, clashes between loggers and Indians, and Colombian guerrillas.

THE LEGENDARY "RETURNED SWORD" TORTOISE, reported as long as 1.9 meters, hides in Hoan Kiem lake during Vietnam's 10th Communist Party Congress. Can you blame him?

STARLINGS can learn a sophisticated rule of grammar, adding to the extensive list of things Noam Chomsky has gotten wrong.

THE DEATH ADDER, it turns out, is aptly named and does not make a good pet.

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