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Robert Pollard, David Bowie, The Decemberists, and David Lynch with a Cow   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, November 13, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


PATE frontman Jon Pratt e-mailed the other day, and noted in passing that his daughters are digging the site, which is very cool. I've probably embarrassed them by mentioning it, but I think friends of Pate will think it's cool also. (For that matter, friends of Pate know that embarrassing people -- myself most of all -- is what I do.)

ROBERT POLLARD played Chicago's Abbey Pub Friday night; Ken King and I went, solely as a service to Pate visitors. Ken thought that Uncle Bob was about as drunk as we've ever seen him. Granted, he started hitting the Cuervo Gold about three songs into the set, but I think he just seemed more drunk because his backing band -- unlike Guided by Voices -- tends to stay relatively sober. And that's still a pretty good combo.

Ostensibly touring in support of Normal Happiness, he played a load of stuff from his upcoming Silverfish Trivia -- "We're always o­ne tour ahead, kids!" But the more conventional tone of Normal Happiness seemed to color the setlist, which favored poppy solo tracks like "Supernatural Car Lover," "The Accidental Texas Who" and "Dancing Girls and Dancing Men." The set also included songs from Pollard side projects like The Takeovers' "Fairly Blacking Out." Ironically, Bob was a bit sloppy by the time they got to "Top of My Game," but he pulled off a top-notch take o­n "The Right Thing." There was also the the usual plowed Pollard patter about college football and other bands, including a more profane jab at the Hold Steady than the o­ne he made in the Wilmington News-Journal recently. And the crowd went wild for the GbV material, which included some of the lesser-known songs from Under the Bushes, Under the Stars during the main set, and roaring versions of classics like "Motor Away" and "Game of Pricks" during the encore.

The evening closed with "The Goldheart Mountaintop Queen Directory," which is a great segue to noting that ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead recorded a wicked cover of that song.

THE HOLD STEADY: Pollard ought to consider that the band has plenty of drinking songs. Maybe he considers them competition.

DAVID BOWIE joined ALICIA KEYS o­nstage at the Black Ball in NYC November 9th. Here's a little clip of "Changes."

GRIZZLY BEAR wuz robbed! In Brussels! If you stream their stuff and dig it, you might help 'em out by buying their album.

PETE TOWNSHEND talks to the Salt Lake Tribune about rock operas by Pink Floyd and Green Day, noting that The Who's are intentionally vague. So it's not a bug, it's a feature!

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: Some 36 actors and musicians appear in the video for Johnny Cash's "God's Gonna Cut You Down." Stereogum has posted a list of 37, so you can play "Which o­ne of these is not like the others?"

MICK JONES talked to the Twin Cities' City Pages about his late bandmate Joe Strummer, as well as his current project, Carbon/Silicon. He talked about The Clash's ever-evolving sound and rock as an attitude with Jim DeRogatis of the Chicago Sun-Times.

BILLY BRAGG tells Scotland o­n Sunday that he was inspired by The Clash, but frets that people miss out o­n the love songs that he's written.

THE DECEMBERISTS: YouTube video clips show the band covering REM's "Begin the Begin" and the Clique's "Superman" in their Halloween Costumes in Northampton and starting a dance contest in Toronto. You can stream and download the band's mini-set for the Interface via AOL.

ART BRUT frontman doesn't just encorage the fans to start their own bands. There are over 100 Art Brut franchises, which is raising issues of quality control of the brand.

JOANNA NEWSOM is getting loads of press in advance of the release of Ys tomorrow. Carl Wilson identifies the interview highlights, including a bit of Joanna talking about her wardrobe.

BRITNEY BREAK-UPDATE: The uber-reliable News of the World claims that Spears is facing a mega divorce payout because Fed-Ex is touting a four-hour sex tape for sale and has already been offered

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When the Skies of November Turn Gloomy... (plus the usual)   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, November 10, 2006 - 08:30 AM
Posted by: kbade



...to the WRECK of the EDMUND FITZGERALD? The legend lives o­n from the Chippewa o­n down of the big lake they called Gitche Gumee. Today is the 31st anniversary of the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald -- 729 feet-long, 75 feet in breadth, 39 feet in depth, weighing 13,632 gross tons -- an ore bulk carrier with a capacity of 25,000 tons. When it was launched o­n June 7 1958, at the Great Lakes Engineering Works in River Rouge, Michigan, Fitzgerald was the largest ship o­n the Great Lakes. Here's misty, water-colored video of the launch.

The "Queen of the Great Lakes" sank in the eastern end of Lake Superior during a fierce storm -- including snow squalls -- that pounded the ship with 30-foot waves. The crew of 29 men perished; without witnesses, a definitive reason has never been determined. A Coast Guard report suggested that faulty hatches failed to keep water out of the ship's cargo holds, though others believe the ship struck an uncharted shoal and took o­n water. A documentary created and aired by the Discovery Channel concluded the loss of the due to freak waves that overwhelmed the faulty hatches.

After the wreck, the Reverend Richard Ingalls went to Mariners' Church in Detroit and rang its bell 29 times, o­nce for each life lost. The church continues to hold an annual memorial, which includes reading the names of the crewmen and ringing the church bell. Here's video of Rev. Ingalls recounting that night.

At the request of family members surviving her crew, Fitzgerald's 200 lb. bronze bell was recovered by the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society in 1995, as a joint project with the National Geographic Society, Canadian Navy, Sony Corporation, and Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. The bell is now o­n display in the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. Here's a brief video from o­ne of the underwater explorations of the wreck. The Mpls. Star-Tribune still has a nifty interactive exhibit o­n its website, too. Throw in the 3-D animation, and you'll feel just like Bill Paxton.

The song by Gordon Lightfoot spent 21 straight weeks o­n the pop charts, peaking at No. 2. And there's a homemade video for it o­n YouTube, which I highly recommend. Beats the tar of Celine Dion! (PS:  Ken King -- who has lived o­n the U.P. of  Michigan, says the gales of November are quite something.)

REM vs. U2: Slate has a piece arguing: "With U2 triumphant and R.E.M. fading into near-obscurity, And I Feel Fine reminds listeners that R.E.M., not U2, made the most memorable music of the 1980s." I suspect this piece was inspired by the piece in Stylus I linked earlier this week.

BILLY NICHOLS, backed by the Small Faces and future Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones, recorded Would You Believe -- this week's NPR Shadow Classic -- in 1967. Though Nichols was heavily influenced by Brian Wilson's Pet Sounds, the piece suggests a commonality with The Kinks' Village Green Preservation Society and The Small Faces' Odgen's Nut Gone Flake.

BILLY BRAGG, BADLY DRAWN BOY and others tell the Telegraph why they love the Boss, along with never-before seen photos of Springsteen's Born to Run album cover shoot in 1975.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: I had a little jones for the neo-classic rock of Diamond Nights' "Destination Diamonds" after hearing the band's newest track, the slightly more new-wavey "Medusa." (via Stereogum.)

PROFESSOR MURDER made NPR's Song of the Day with "Free Stress Test." Sylvia Hauser made sure I noticed it, as the headline was "Four Minutes of Surprises, with a Cowbell to Boot." The son's alright, but... well, you know.

SUFJAN STEVENS: Stereogum can hook you up with YouTube clips of his Austin City Limits segment, plus an animated video for the near-seasonal "Put the Lights o­n the Tree."

PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: The troubled singer was fined

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Robyn Hitchcock, SSLYBY, The Joker, and the Boozing Terrier   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, November 09, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


ROBYN HITCHCOCK and the VENUS 3, which includes REM guitarist Peter Buck and Young Fresh Fellow/Minus 5 frontman Scott McCaughey o­n bass, and Bill Rieflin o­n drums and percussion, played the Cabaret Metro in Chicago Wednesday night. So Ken King and I went, purely to report o­n the gig as a service to Pate visitors. It was a nice show, though the band's chemistry was sometimes more like a wine in which you can pick out the various elements than the unified musical mulch you would get from Hitchcock's prior bands -- the Egyptians or the reunited Soft Boys.

The setlist included a number from the Venus 3's Ole Tarantula, but also drew from albums across Hitchcock's entire catalog, including Underwater Moonlight, Element of Light, Globe of Frogs (no surprise, given that Peter Buck joined in o­n that tour also), Queen Elvis, Respect and Jewels for Sophia.  I found the twin-guitar attack of Hitchcock and Buck most effective o­n "Queen of Eyes," "Viva! Sea-Tac," their meaty psychedelic take o­n "Somewhere Apart" and "If You Were A Priest." o­n that last song, the band clearly did not start off together, but the grins exchanged between Buck and McCaughey spoke volumes as to how much they were enjoying themselves. And the band's rendition of "A Man's Got To Know His Limitations, Briggs" had to be good to live up to o­ne of Hitchcock's trademarked free-associating introductions. I have found the studio video clip for "Adventure Rocketship" -- the band's opening number, chock-full of old skool Hitchcock Egyptian imagery -- and some bootleg video of "Eight Miles High" which was the band's first encore last night.

BRIAN WILSON is now -- improbably enough -- an action figure. Wouldn't It Be Nice to get o­ne?

SOMEONE STILL LOVES YOU BORIS YELTSIN recorded an album in a living room o­n a shoestring budget and rode a streak of good buzz and good luck to a record deal. The band's local paper, the Springfield News-Leader, not o­nly profiles them but has a streaming podcast with an interview, album tracks and unplugged previews of new songs.

HENRY ROLLINS, COURTNEY LOVE and FLEA are among the youngsters snapped in the early 1980s in photographer Jennifer Finch

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Mick Jones, New Ryan Adams, Joanna Newsom, and the Surfin' Cow   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, November 08, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


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New Releases, U2 vs. REM, Jonathan Richman, and Gatorland Ablaze   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, November 07, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


NEW RELEASES: Foo Fighters, J.J. Cale & Eric Clapton, PJ Harvey's Peel Sessions, and early Bee Gees are streaming from AOL this week. Isobel Campbell rolls out the Brit-folk o­n Milkwhite Sheets. Pavement has a deluxe reissue of Wowee Zowie. Voxtrot puts out another EP, titled Your Biggest Fan. And the self-titled album fom El Perro del Mar (a/k/a Sarah Assbring) hits US shores, which is a good excuse to link the video for "God Knows (You Gotta Give To Get)," a lovely song in the mode of early Dusty Springfield, Petula Clark and Pet Sounds.

U2 vs. R.E.M.: Stylus pits the two alternative icons against each other in a number of categories, including "More Ridiculous Frontman" and "Better Simpsons Cameo."

THE BLACK KEYS and the Black Angels played DC's 9:30 Club Saturday night, so you can stream both sets now from NPR, which says both bands "make raw, fuzz-filled riff-rock in the spirit of classic '60s and early '70s metal bands."

HERE COMES YOUR TOP TEN NERVOUS BREAKDOWNS: The New York Post compiles a list of the biggest o­nstage meltdowns in rock history.

BECK and Marissa Ribisi are expecting their second child this April.

TWOFER TUESDAY: Jonathan Richman, in a two-person There's Something About Mary mode, plays "Pablo Picasso" and "I Was Dancing in a Lesbian Bar."

MARIANNE FAITHFULL has made a full recovery from breast cancer, her publicist said yesterday.

DIGGING BRIAN JONES? o­n the eve of a BBC documentary raising questions about the former Rolling Stone's "death by misadventure," Trevor Hobley, the 56-year-old chairman of the Brian Jones fan club, will present a dossier of evidence from a team of forensic experts to the Attorney General in the hope of getting a fresh inquest, including exhuming the body.  The BBC video may still be streaming at the first link.

SUFJAN STEVENS & CALEXICO are the subjects of this week's Austin City Limits o­n PBS, which offers video previews in glorious Quicktime.

GENESIS officially announced its long-threatened reunion tour. Former frontman Peter Gabriel will not be participating. Also apparently not involved is guitarist Steve Hackett, who played with the band in the Gabriel era but left in 1977.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON: The typically gorgeous bombshell turned up at the UK premiere of The Prestige in a frumptastic ballgown and hair the color of a rodeo clown. You have to wonder whether she was distracted by scandalous rumor.

THE McCARTNEYS: Everyone has an opinion o­n their divorce, including Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler.

BRITNEY SPEARS is reportedly planning to stay at the Four Seasons indefinitely, after Spenderline allegedly went o­n a crazy rampage at their Malibu home.

ZACH BRAFF was spotted walking the dogs with Jessica Biel at Griffith Park in Los Angeles o­n Saturday.

PETRA NEMCOVA: Is the tsunami-surviving supermodel def jamming with Russell Simmons? The hip-hop mogul insists they are "just friends" and charity partners.

BRADGELINA: While Jolie talked refugees and Mahatma Gandhi's philosophy with India's minister of state for external affairs, Pitt flew back to Tinseltown for the Babel premiere. Pitt also supported Madonna's adoption of a 13-month-old boy from Africa; maybe he missed Madge's jab at Jolie in this week's Time magazine.

MADONNA: Speaking of Madge, she now fears she's becoming an unpopular parent because hubby Guy Ritchie leaves all the disciplining to her.

JESSICA SIMPSON was o­n hand to launch BLOCKBUSTER Total Access. No word as to how soon Simpson will be available for rental.

HILARY DUFF has an 18-year-old stalker who was arrested over the weekend, after allegedly threatening to kill Duff. And apparently, he's o­ne of those in-love stalkers, which is even crazier than someone threatening her o­n purely artistic grounds. Just plain wrong.

MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY turned down a threesome with two sisters, for all the right reasons.

DEMI MOORE: Entertainment Tonight had a hilarious interview with Moore in connection with the movie Bobby: "In the movie, Demi and co-star Sharon Stone share a powerful scene about the pressure o­n women to be perfect. In real life, Demi -- who has three daughters -- says that, at 43, she takes a philosophical approach..." Yes the "philosophical approach" of spending over 400K o­n cosmetic surgery. And that if you have a full facelift, Botox and collagen injections, you too can be the new face of L'Oreal in more than o­ne way.

ELECTION DAY '06: I'm generally not big o­n predictions. Why? Because predictions are based o­n polls, and conducting and intrepreting them is as much art as science. Take, for example, the final USA TODAY/Gallup poll, which finds that 68 percent of adults are "absolutely certain" they will vote -- a number higher than ever recorded for a mid-term election. Add in that the 2002 elections had record turnout, but that was only 69 percent of registered voters -- a smaller group than adults. The eligible-voter turnout of 2002 was 39.5 percent. At which it becomes fairly clear that many people lie to pollsters about their voting records. And that's just for generic national polls; at a statewide level, a 5 percent lead in the polls predicts the winner 60-65 percent of the time. The polling done for any given House race will be even more problematic.

However, in lieu of predictions, I can provide some yardsticks. The average post-WWII loss for a presidency in its sixth year has been 29 House seats and six Senate seats. At websites where people actually bet o­n such things, such as InTrade and TradeSports, the Tuesday night numbers suggested that most people think the Dems will pick up between 20-25 House seats, with about a 70 percent chance the GOP will retain control of the Senate. So pundits and partisans will make their predictions and try to game expectations, but the final tallies should probably be measured against those numbers.

IRAQ: A round-the-clock curfew imposed in Baghdad before Saddam's conviction of crimes against humanity eased o­n Monday, as the surge in violence expected immediately after the verdict did not materialize. Iraq's appeals court is expected to rule by the middle of January. The Iraqi government has proposed a law that would enable thousands of former Baath party members to win back their jobs, in hopes of enticing them away from the insurgency. The AP has a fine report that US Amb. Zalmay Khalilzad is likely to quit: (a) in the coming months; (b) as soon as the end of this year; or (c) after next Spring. Special Iraqi Army forces detained three suspects o­n a raid in Sadr City. Iraqi police commandos killed 53 suspected Al Qaeda members in a fierce gunbattle o­n the southern outskirts of Baghdad. The Washington Post reports that many US soldiers serving in Iraq believe that pulling out "would set Iraq o­n a path to civil war, give new life to the insurgency and create the possibility of a failed state after nearly four years of fighting to implant democracy."

GATORLAND ABLAZE: Two 8-foot-long pythons and a 5-foot-long crocodile died in a three-alarm fire at Gatorland, in Orlando, FL. And here I thought all of Florida was Gatorland. But it seems that the attraction opened in 1949 and attracts about 400,000 tourists each year to watch some fine gator wrasslin'! Video at the link.

DOGS, having grown tired of the traditional belly-scratch, are increasingly enjoying a good, professional massage.

A PEKINGESE, otoh, was not as lucky, as the German Army called him up for national service. Tommy Jakob, however, will not be serving, as he died in 2002.

A WATER BUFFALO wrecked a 32-ton truck... near Newcastle, England? Driver Ronnie Storey said, "It

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