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Best Releases, Stars, Ben Wilkins, Jackson 5, Christmas Puppehs   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, December 28, 2010 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


JOAN AS POLICE WOMAN releases "The Magic" as the first video from her upcoming album, The Deep Field.

BEST RELEASES from Superchunk, Tracey Thorn, The National, Beach House and more are streaming via Spinner.

STARS did the four free songs thing for Daytrotter.

BEN WILKINS, whose piano-powered alt-pop recalls Ben Folds, gets a feature plus tracks from Weekend All Things Considered.

THE JACKSON 5's unreleased first studio recording --a version of "Big Boy" -- is streaming a bit via the Chicago Reader.

THE SMITHS: Unreleased Demos & Instrumentals.

SIMON & GARFUNKEL: "Homeward Bound" and "I Am a Rock" for Twofer Tuesday.

THE YEAR IN MUSIC NEWS, courtesy of Pitchfork.

DAFT PUNK talks to the L.A. Times about scoring Tron Legacy (Part 1, Part 2).

MARNIE STERN is profiled by Sasha Frere-Jones for The New Yorker.

ARCADE FIRE: Will and Win Butler joked with the BBC about Harry Potter and Kanye West as they reflected on their stellar year.

NATALIE PORTMAN and choreographer Benjamin Millepied are engaged and expecting their first child. I sense a great disturbance in the Force.

ALANIS MORISSETTE and Mario 'Souleye' Treadway welcomed a baby boy on Christmas Day. Obligatory "you oughtta know" reference goes here.

THE TOP 10 MUGSHOTS of 2010, courtesy of E! Online.

LYDIA HEARST SHAW, a model, 26-year-old heir to the Hearst publishing fortune and daughter of once-kidnapped Patricia Campbell Hearst and Bernard Shaw, has landed her first big Hollywood role as a comic character based on troubled starlet Lindsay Lohan.

TRUE GRIT: Back in the Sixties, Paramount bought copies of the novel to make it a hit.

TRON: UPRISING is coming to a TV screen near you, with Bruce Boxleitner, Elijah Wood, Linda Moore, Paul Reubens, and Lance Henriksen.

THE 10 MOST BEAUTIFUL FILMS of 2010, according to / Film's David Chen.

15 GREAT PUBLIC DOMAIN MOVIES streaming online, including His Girl Friday and a great Fleischer Bros. Superman short, via Moviefone.

TERROR in the UK: A court charged nine Muslim men for conspiring to carry out terror attacks in the United Kingdom.

AFGHANISTAN: Internal UN maps show a marked deterioration of the security situation in Afghanistan during this year's fighting season. A Pentagon report mandated by Congress drew similar conclusions when it was released last month.

PUPPEHS FOR CHRISTMAS: Let's go to the videos.

PAUL the PSYCHIC OCTOPUS has won a Dafta award, which celebrates the best weird news stories of 2010.

200000 REINDEER in Norway are being fitted with reflectors to protect them from being run over.

CHUPACABRA shot in Kentucky? Or just a follicly challenged raccoon?

3128 Reads

PJ Harvey, Gorillaz, Sharon Jones, World's Smartest Dog   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, December 27, 2010 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl




PJ HARVEY drops the "Last Living Rose" from the upcoming Let England Shake.

GORILLAZ are streaming The Fall in return for your address.

SHARON JONES & THE DAP-KINGS: The Current is streaming their full set from Rock the Garden.

DAVID GRAY stopped by Morning Becomes Eclectic for a session.

PUNCH BROTHERS play a short set on Mountain Stage.

THE BANGLES: It's getting almost impossible to find this version of their cover of "Hazy Shade of Winter," but worth it.

GUIDED BY VOICES: Robert Pollard tells Spinner the secrets to the band's success.

GRIZZLY BEAR: Daniel Rossen talks to the NYDN about scoring Blue Valentine and the the band's next album.

THE TOP 10 of 2010, according to NPR's Ken Tucker.

THE DOORS responded to Florida's pardon of Jim Morrison.

IN MEMORIAM: Bands We Lost In 2010. Also, the NYT mag celebrates Alex Chilton and Bobby Hebb. Plus, add R & B singer Teena Marie to the list, dead at 54.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: It was not a Merry Christmas at your local coneplex. The Top 12 movies made 142.1 million bucks. That's a lot less than the 259.9 million in receipts last Christmas... but then again, Avatar was only in its second weekend.  But it's even less than the 179.6 in receipts from Christmas 2008, when the big movie was Marley & Me. So ouch.  Little Fockers tops the chart with 34 million, and $48 million since opening Wednesday, but that's not the 60 million many expected it to make.  Worse, the Jack Black-led Gulliver's Travels opened in seventh place, with 7.2 million against a reported 115 million budget.  However, True Grit came in second with 25.6 million (and 36.8 million since opening), about ten million above tracking estimates.  Tron Legacy dropped to the third slot with 20.1 million on a 54.3 percent drop that seems steep, but likely expected, given that its primary appeal would be to men of a certain age who ran out to see it immediately. Tron Legacy has grossed 111.3 million worldwide against a 170 million budget, so it ought to turn out alright at the end. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader dropped to the fourth slot with 10.8 million, only dropping 12.8 percent, despite losing 200 screens.  Its worldwide gross of 192.9 million against a 155 million budget looks good, though the franchise's future likely remains in doubt.  Yogi Bear rounds out the Top Five with 8.8 million, with a disappointing 36.8 million total against an 80 million budget.  Below the fold, The Fighter and Black Swan had small enough drops to keep their awards buzz percolating.

TRON LEGACY was a disappointment, primarily because Disney had decades to discern the flaws in the ground-breaking original cyberspace opera, but failed to correct them.  Moreover, the admittedly stunning 3-D action sequences were occasionally shot and edited in a way that made them difficult for the viewer to follow, except as beautiful spectacle (and they were that).  However, you do get Jeff Bridges playing several versions of his Flynn character, including one that melds Jeff Lebowski with Obi-Wan Kenobi.  And Olivia Wilde looks awfully sharp as a program, so I didn't exactly feel cheated... just a bit disappointed.

TRUE GRIT, otoh, was not a disappointment at all, despite the Coen Bros. leaving most of their quirkiness at home.  Jeff Bridges, to his credit, made no effort to recall John Wayne's version of Rooster Cogburn, while leaving no doubt as to how much he likes to pull a cork.  Similarly, Matt. Damon. will remind no one of Glen Campbell as LaBoeuf, but puts a nifty spin on the character.  However, this is really a coming out party for Hailee Steinfeld, whose Mattie Ross entirely transcends Kim Darby's take in the original.  That's no offense to Darby; it's more of a commentary at how much Hollywood has improved its craft over the past few decades, when it chooses to rise to an occasion.  The same could be said of the production design, art and set direction, costuming and cinematography -- and I just did.  True Grit was not a movie that needed to be remade, but if Hollywood's remakes turned out as well as this one, few would complain about the recycling.

LINDSAY LOHAN: The ex-Betty Ford staffer who claims Li-Lo assaulted her earlier this month will drop her criminal complaint and refuse to cooperate with authorities.  The woman could face criminal action and a civil lawsuit for violating HIPAA.

DANIEL CRAIG & RACHEL WEISZ were photographed laughing and holding hands over the Christmas weekend in the southwest English countryside town of Somerset.

RYAN REYNOLDS & SCARLETT JOHANSSON took an official step to divorce. Reynolds filed the papers.

HUGH HEFNER got engaged to girlfriend and Playmate Crystal Harris, in a May-December-60-years-later romance.

GINNIFER GOODWIN got engaged to her boyfriend Joey Kern.

COURTNEY COX and her Cougar Town costar Brian Van Holt were inseparable at the show's holiday party.

2010'S MOST CHARITABLE STARS, according to Do Something.

THE TOP FILMS of 2010, according to the Washington Post, the Village Voice and L.A. Weekly.

IRAN: Many critics say a number of personnel changes by Ahmadinejad have to do with the growing influence of one of his closest aides.

AFGHANISTAN: A potential attack against the US Embassy appeared to be thwarted Friday as a joint Afghan and international military patrol killed two men during an operation in Kabul. Meanwhile, American-led NATO forces have claimed gains in the southern provinces of Helmand and Kandahar, but a strategically vital part of Afghanistan's east, at the crossroads of Highway 1 from Kabul to Kandahar and along roads out to the provinces of Paktia and Paktika, has proved stubborn.

CHASER the BORDER COLLIE has learned the names of 1,022 individual items -- more than any other animal, even the legendary Alex the parrot.

A RARE AFRICAN LION CUB was born at the Henry Vilas Zoo in Wisconsin. It's the Circle of Life.

SEVEN SMALL DOGS are in quarantine at the city-county animal shelter after their 98-year-old owner's toes were eaten as she slept.

SYLVESTER the FERAL CAT: A Christmas story.

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Ho Cubed, Holiday Bin, Etc.   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, December 23, 2010 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



... with CHRIS ISAAK, live at Universal Studios last December 12th. Your holiday-themed numbers include "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," "Hey, Santa," "Last Month of the Year," "Blue Christmas," and "Christmas on TV." Bonus: Dreidel banter!

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

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

THE POGUES:  It's not Christmas Eve in the drunk tank (or even St. Patrick's Day) without a "Fairytale of New York."

JULIAN CASABLANCAS of The Strokes covers SNL's "I Wish It Was Christmas Today" with Jimmy Fallon, Horatio Sanz, and The Roots.

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

BILLY MACK: Because "Christmas Is All Around."

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

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

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

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

DAVID BOWIE & BING CROSBY'S cross-generational duet o­n "Little Drummer Boy." This historic even was recently recreated by Will Farrell and John C. Reilly. Plus, "Gulliver's Travels" co-stars Jack Black and Jason Segel have done a cartoon cover.  The Detroit Free Press has a column on the duet embedding all three.

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

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

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

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

HOLIDAY BIN:  Darlene Love, the Pretenders, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Mayer Hawthorne, Ray Charles, Dave Edmunds, and Sufjan Stevens are just a few of the stocking stuffers now streaming from the Pate page at the ol' HM.

IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE: Pate even had a song titled "Rope Around The Moon," so watch the whole thing.  (If you don't want to download the Veoh player, it's Tubed in B & W or colorized. BONUS: Vintage Bailey backlash from warped, frustrated old people at the New York Times and Portfolio.

NOW SHOWING:  The wide releases for on Christmas (or as early as yesterday in some cases) include Little Fockers, which is currently scoring 7 percent on the ol' Tomatometer; the Coen Bros take on True Grit, currently scoring 97 percent; and Gulliver's Travels, scoring 22 percent.  The King's Speech, which is getting all sorts of awards buzz, expands to 600 screens scoring 95 percent.

RUDOLPH, THE RED-NOSED REINDEER:  Pull up an ice block and lend an ear!  Herbie wanted to be a dentistNTTAWWT.  BONUS:  The Rankin-Bass classic continues to inspire ads like last season's Verizon ad, following 2008's Apple ad, and even more so 2007's AFLAC commercial.

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

CLASSIC TV CHRISTMAS SPECIALS by the truckload, linked at WFMU. Also, 23 TV Episodes based on "A Christmas Carol."

NAT KING COLE:  His chestnuts are roasting.


100 ANIMALS in Santa hats. You're welcome.


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The Old 97s, Sahron Van Etten, REM, Baby Red Pandas   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


BEACH HOUSE played their "10 Mile Stereo" for Conan.

THE OLD 97s did the four free songs thing for Daytrotter.

SHARON VAN ETTEN stopped by the World Cafe for a chat and mini-set.

R.E.M. drops "It Happened Today," along with a trailer for the Collapse Into Now album.

FRANK YANG rounds up less obvious holdiay covers at Chromewaves.

MATT WILSON's jazz trio plays a Cristmassy Tiny Desk Concert.

REMINDER: Amazon MP3's 25 Days of Free continues.

THE RAMONES: "Merry Christmas (I Don't Wanna Fight Tonight)."

CONOR OBERST talks to Spinner about the upcoming, sci-fi themed 'The People's Key,' his favorite science fiction authors, his work helping jailed immigrants and the future of Bright Eyes. "Shell Games" is already online as an advance track to the LP.

ANTICIPATED RELEASES of 2011, according to Prefix and American Songwriter.

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART: 17 Reasons He Was Cool.


LINDSAY LOHAN has been moved to an undisclosed location after a clash with a Betty Ford Center staffer. Lohan, a suspect in a criminal battery investigation arising from the incident, claims the staffer started it. The staffer claims that Lohan had been drinking. Betty Ford has fired the staffer -- ostensibly for talking about the story.

RYAN REYNOLDS told the usual anonymous pals that Scarlett Johansson treated him badly during the filming of Green Lantern.

BRET MICHAELS finally asked his on-off girlfriend of 16 years, Kristi Gibson, to marry him on the finale of his VH1 reality show.

BRADGELINA is headed for a nuclear breakup, according to TV's Dr. Drew, based on no solid evidence whatsoever.

STEVEN TYLER gushes over Jennifer Lopez, his new co-judge on American Idol.


HARRY POTTER and the Honor Beating.

TERROR  in the UK: British security officials say a large-scale terror attack was aimed at landmarks and public spaces, as more details of the plot emerged and police searched the homes of 12 British suspects being held for questioning.

IRAN: Lebanese members of parliament denounced Supreme Leader Khamenei's comments on the investigation of the assassination of Rafiq Hariri.

IRAQ: Parliament approved Nouri al Maliki as Prime Minister, and also approved three deputy prime ministers and 29 cabinet positions.

BABY RED PANDAS: Let's go to the video.

A DOG has given birth to 17 puppies, leaving their owner thrilled but fatigued. Pics and video at the link.

DEER RESCUERS face a fine.

 100-LB AFRICAN TORTOISE found in the Arizona desert.

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Belle & Sebastian, Fake Problems, Hall & Oates tribute,   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, December 21, 2010 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


NICOLE ATKINS drops a video for "Vultures" from her upcoming Mondo Amore LP.

HIGHLIGHTED RELEASES from British Sea Power and Percy Sledge join Springsteen, Local Natives, Mumford & Sons, BSS, Budos Band, MGMT, Titus Andronicus, The National and more at Spinner.

BELLE & SEBASTIAN are doing a live webcast from Glasgow today at 4 p.m. ET (but NPR's countdown clock suggests it starts earlier than that).

FAKE PROBLEMS did five free songs for Daytrotter.

HALL & OATES get the indie tribute treatment for download or streaming at HeroHill.

SUFJAN STEVENS & BRYCE DRESSNER (The National) drop two Christmas tunes - one classic, one original.

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

RONNIE SPECTOR talks to Vanity Fair about plastic surgery, serving the troops, Keith Richards, and Christmas songs.

GUEST LISTS: Pitchfork asks a bunch of artists for the Best of 2010, but only Marnie Stern offers "Top 10 ways not to get laid on tour in 2010."

OKKERVIL RIVER's Will Scheff talks to Spinner about the band's collaboration with the legendary Roky Erickson.

JAY FARRAR's Top 20 Songs, according to American Songwriter.

LINDSAY LOHAN: The FBI is now in possession of threatening and harassing messages sent to the actress and other members of her family.

SHANIA TWAIN gets engaged... to the man whose wife stole her husband.

TRACY MORGAN will miss at least two episodes of 30 Rock because he's recovering from kidney transplant surgery.

VINCE VAUGHN and his wife welcome a baby daughter.

BETTY WHITE was Entertainer of the Year, according to the Associated Press.

MARILU HENNER has Total Recall.

JACK BLACK has a meaty New Year's resolution.

STEVE LANDESBERG, famous for his roles on "Barney Miller" and more recently "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," has died of cancer at 65.

GOLDEN GLOBES voters bribed into nominating Burlesque?

TERROR in the UK: British authorities rounded up a dozen suspects in a conspiracy to launch multiple-point attacks around the UK. 

IRAN: A parliamentary commission voted to cut off diplomatic relations with Britain. The US suspects Indian companies were aiding Iran's missile program and Syria's chemical and biological programs. Police were deployed in Tehran as food and fuel subsidy cuts began.

IRAQ: Followers of Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr stand to gain control of powerful posts in the new coalition government.

BABY OTTER SIDNEY PLAYING: Let's go to the video.

SNAILS that coil one way trade sex for an increased chance to not being eaten by snakes that have specialized to eat snails that coil the other way.

HAMMERHEAD SHARK accidentally killed in Egypt. Gonna need a bigger butt.

***** RING busted in Dallas.

A TRIP to see Father Christmas' reindeer in a country park goes very, very wrong.

2870 Reads

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