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SXSW XX (Day1), Silver Jews, The Gossip and Pigball   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, March 15, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


SXSW XX: The musical part of South By Southwest kicks off today in Austin TX. I won't be there, but thought it would be fun to pretend I was and figure out what my plans might have been (allowing for Plans B and C when a show is full, etc.), then hook you up with the streams and downloads. I think I would start the night at Emo's Annex with the Elephant Six-ish dream pop of Page France, followed by the more eerie sound of The Castanets, Britpop-via-Austin from Voxtrot, indie goodness from The King of France or Swedish singer-songwriter Jose Gonzalez. From there, I could relive my college days by seeing Peter Case at the Soho Lounge, then follow him over to the Plimsouls reunion at Exodus, which would then set up a tumultous 70s-soundtrack-with-cheerleading session from The Go! Team. But if I went to Exodus first, I could catch the World Party reunion. Alternatively, I could check out The M's, but they're from Chicago -- or the New Pornographers followed by Belle & Sebastian, but I just saw that show! Singer-songwriter Laura Viers would be a possible for 11 p.m. at Caribbean Lights -- or maybe a solo acoustic gig from ex-Meat Puppet Curt Kirkwood -- though if I went to Emo's Main Room for Voxtrot, I might stick around for the pyschedelic goth of Serena Maneesh, followed by the (actual) Elephant Six pop of Of Montreal and finish with ...Trail of Dead. But I would be tempted to head out for the garage-psych nuggets of Gris Gris instead, then back for Of Montreal, then to Emo's Jr. for the retro stylings of Saturday Looks Good To Me, -- an Ann Arbor-based collective that will be even busier later this year -- though the shiny, harmony-laden retro-pop of The Capitol Years would be a nice closer at the Soho. Then I would figure out if I could see anyone I missed at o­ne of the day shows and collapse in a heap.

BLONDIE put an ugly band feud o­nstage at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Now that's rock 'n' roll!

BEWARE THE IDES OF MARCH... and the friendly stranger in the black sedan. If you visit pop veteran Jim Peterik's website, you can watch Real Video of the Ides performing "Vehicle." Bah... Ba da bam ba da...

SEX PISTOLS: Johnny Rotten attacks Green Day again: "They’re sticky tape o­n a duck’s ar*se..."

THE NEW YORK DOLLS: After a 30 year hiatus, David Johansen and Sylvain Sylvain recently returned to the studio to record their first studio album since 1974's Too Much Too Soon. It's due in June.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: Arctic Monkeys are playing two big English festivals, but turned down headlining slots, telling organisers they're not ready to headline such massive shows yet. Maybe not, but they're getting there, if the video of their SNL performances of "I Bet You Look Good o­n the Dancefloor" and "A Certain Romance" o­n Prefix are any indication.

SILVER JEWS: David Berman tells Flagpole he o­nly does e-mail interviews "Because every interview I read sucks and this o­ne doesn’t. Face-to-face/ phone interviews just yield small talk and stock answers."

THE GOSSIP: Lead singer Beth Ditto talks about the band's Southern roots and offers a little too much info about smoking dope and hunting squirrels, but the woman can sing a bit. Check out their bluesy punk at MySpace.

BELLE & SEBASTIAN is playing the Hollywood Bowl backed by the L.A. Philharmonic Orchestra, o­n July 6th.

ELVIS COSTELLO gets a VH1 tribute concert and the best they could do was Death Cab For Cutie, Fiona Apple and Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong?

LINK WRAY: The Village Voice has a rave from Michael Crumsho for re-issues of Wray's early-1970s output: "All country blues, ragged folk, and raw juke joint r&b, these three reissues can make even the the greatest Americana moves of (mostly) Canadians the Band or Neil Young seem a bit studied and artificial."

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: If you were to guess which is currently considered to be "the arbiter of cosmopolitan sartorial chic," you would be wrong. Meanwhile, the supposedly supermodel may be trying to resist the magentism of the troubled singer with the help of a 24 carat gold vibrator.

DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES: Felicity Huffman placed a tearful phone call to hubby William H. Macy when publicity photogs focused o­n costars Teri Hatcher, Nicollette Sheridan and Eva Longoria -- which made Huffman feel like "the oldest and ugliest o­ne here." Macy reportedly cheered her up with a joke, but she may want to consider that she's the o­ne with the good marriage, kids and Oscar nomination. Compare that to Sheridan getting engaged to Michael Bolton and Hatcher fiinding comfort in Ryan Seacrest and Macy looks even better.

THE SOPRANOS, whiile denting Desperate Housewives, premiered to lower ratings than in prior seasons (digital cable and o­n-demand programs having arrived during the show's two-year hiatus). But the good news is that HBO is listing the music for each episode, along with links to buy selected tracks.

GREY'S ANATOMY, is also becoming a ratings powerhouse, currently beating even the CSI juggernaut in the coveted 18-49 demographic for the entire season. And in this Internet age, the show's increasingly obsessed fans can register their strong opinions at the writers' blog.

BRITNEY SPEARS: Spenderline has come up with a unique marketing strategy for his apparently horrible rap CD: Buy my album or I'll become a stripper.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: So why did Chastity Bono come out of the closet to her mother Cher at Cruise's apartment? Just wondering. (3rd item.)

PETER TOMARKEN, best known as the host of the Press Your Luck game show, died in a small plane crash. Is it too soon for the obvious "No whammies!" jokes?

JACK BLACK has eloped with girlfriend Tanya Haden, according to People magazine. Tanya Haden, a 34-year-old musician, is a triplet. Her sister Petra recorded that a cappella version of The Who Sell Out and tours with the Decemberists.

CHARLIZE THERON denies breaking up with Stuart Townsend. At least, her publicist denies it.

ROB REINER: Meathead is discovering that while politics is show business for ugly people, it's also ugly business for show people. Reiner was chair of the First 5 California Children and Families Commission, a panel put in place to oversee the expenditure of millions in tax funds earmarked for childhood development, health and education programs. Last month, he stepped down from the commission while an investigation is launched into whether state funds were improperly used to boost a tax initiative he supports.

LINDSAY LOHAN may not like her party girl image, but that's the image you get when you're seen with Matthew McConaughey, George Clooney and Clive Owen in o­ne vening, all the while asking for Colin Farrell.

WALLACE AND GROMIT get no respect, as their insurer valued their loss in a warehouse fire at a mere £6,000.

BRAD BIRD, creator of The Incredibles, will helm Pixar's newest project. Ratatouille will feature a skinny mouse who lives in a fancy Parisian restaurant run by a famous but eccentric chef.

JESSICA SIMPSON: The National Enquirer claims that the pneumatic blonde is so furious over hubby Nick Lachey's alleged womanizing that she's vowed to never speak to him again. But she could increase her popularity if she just vowed never to speak.

SCARLETT JOHANNSON has been named Hollywood's most natural beauty by a new survey of make-up artists. The survey was commissioned by a cable company launching a HDTV service that will allow viewers to see much clearer pictures o­n their screens. Thus, celebs with problem skin, like Cameron Diaz and Brad Pitt, stand to have their flaws revealed in HD.

NANOTECH: Scientists partially restored the vision in blinded hamsters by plugging gaps in their injured brains with a synthetic substance that allowed brain cells to reconnect with o­ne another, a new study reports. The substance contains nano-sized particles that self-assemble into a fibrous mesh that mimics the body's natural connective tissue when placed in contact with living cells.

SEEING, HEARING AND SMELLING ROBOTS that can carry human beings are being developed in Japan to help care for the country's growing number of elderly. Just wait until they start singing "Daisy."

IRAQ: At ITM, Omar looks at last-mnute political negotiations and silent deaths in Baghdad. Newsweek has a terrific piece o­n how Navy Dr. Richard Jadick earned his Bronze Star o­n the front lines of Fallujah, even if it does begin by quoting Isaiah 6:8 as Isaiah 7:8. And While 60 Minutes ran a generally good piece o­n Tal Afar last Sunday, the Mayor of Tal Afar tells the New York Post: "I'd like American citizens not to trust everything that is being said in the media because, unfortunately, most of the media is talking about negative things and about the problems. They are not telling good stories about the U.S. Army's good job here in Iraq. I would like American citizens to concentrate o­n the pictures that show the children of Iraqis and how happy they feel when they see or meet American soldiers." The New York Times is investigating questions raised by Salon.com about the identity of a man who the NYT claimed in a Page 1 profile was the Abu Ghraib prisoner whose hooded image became an icon of abuse by American captors. The NYT's foreign editor said it attempted to verify the claim thoroughly, though the paper did not contact the Army's Criminal Investigation Command before running it.

RELOCATING BEARS: Some bears are getting tired of being asked whether they go to the bathroom in the woods.

RUSSIAN PIGLETS are being trained for a mid-April competition by personal coaches as a new craze of pig racing spreads across the country. The training includes honing the piglet's skills in running, swimming, and "pig-ball" competitions.

PUPPY THEFT: Caught o­n Tape!

SIR CHARLES NUGGET: Truck driver John Withers didn't hesitate to drive 1,050 miles when he heard his beloved pet had been found eight months after running away during a delivery.

DOLPHIN DISTRESS CALL is investigated, but turns up a hot dolphin threesome.

SQUIRREL CAUSES FOUR-CAR PILE-UP in Pennsylvania. I blame Geico.

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New Releases, Go-Gos Twofer Plus, James Hunter and Zeko   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, March 14, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


BILLY BRAGG is touring in support of Volume One, a nine-disc compilation of his first four albums and bonus material, but he explains to Carl Wilson why he doesn't miss the Eighties.

NEW RELEASES this week include Ambulance Ltd's New English EP ("New English" itself is o­n MySpace); a reissue of The dB's Like This, which everyone should own (sorry, no audio, though I did find two odd post-dB's Holsapple demos o­n MySpace); the self-titled debut of Devo 2.0; a "best of" from Dumptruck; the Guillemots From the Cliffs EP (which you can -- and should -- stream in its entirety from AOL Music); and the US release of Hard-Fi's Stars of CCTV (also streaming in its entirety from AOL Music this week).

AEROSMITH: A mystery illness plaguing Steven Tyler has forced the band to cancel a string of dates o­n its current North American tour.

SEX PISTOLS guitarist Steve Jones wants more than holidays in the sun, pondering a move to Hawaii to combat what he believes is Seasonal Affective Disorder.

ARETHA FRANKLIN is happy to be a "big woman" who loves her food. But she should have as much concern for her health as starlets o­n the Skeletor diet.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: News that Go-Gos singer Belinda Carlisle is producing a film based o­n her life and is eyeing Jessica Alba to play her produced a torrent of vintage Go-Gos gossip at ONTD. So Twofer Tuesday brings you a live version of "We Got The Beat" from Britain's Old Grey Whistle Test and the classic video of "Our Lips Are Sealed," with a bonus video of the other version of "Lips" by Fun Boy Three.

ISOBEL CAMPBELL tends to get asked the same questions about her new Ballad of the Broken Seas, but Synthesis discovers that she has another album finished that may drop before the end of the year. Stream her at MySpace.

VINYL LP sales hover around half of 1 percent of all recorded music sales in this country, but a surprisingly broad audience — college students, club DJ’s and aging audiophiles -- refuse to let the medium die, due to its: sound quality, availability, aesthetics and nostalgia.

ARCTIC MONKEYS: Many stories have been written about the band as a case study of Internet marketing, but Simon Gavin of Polydor Records wisely notes: "If it were just about the Internet, there would be 600,000 bands out there that would have been signed by now, and they're not."

JAMES HUNTER, who Van Morrison calls "one of the best voices, and best kept secrets, in British R'n'B and soul," gets profiled in the Independent. Stream him from MySpace.

BILL WYMAN talks about becoming a writer, archeologist, restaurateur, bandleader and better father after leaving the Rolling Stones and a disastrous marriage to a 15-year-old girl. He hasn't left the Stones entirely, though; he's still the band's archivist, with a collection worth millions.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: The ever-authoritative News of the World reports o­n recurring rumors that the supposedly sober supermodel has rekindled her romance with the troubled singer. She is said to have warned the troubled singer she'll leave him if he touches drugs again -- as if that will change anything. It's a good thing that Moss belives in Karma, as it seems like it's going to come due if she goes back to Doherty.

CAROLINA PANTHERS CHEERLEADERS UPDATE: Former Carolina Panthers cheerleader Victoria Renee Thomas (a/k/a "the hotter o­ne") avoided jail by pleading no contest to misdemeanor charges of battery and unlawful display of a license (link to courtroom video here). A police report said witnesses reported that Thomas and another member of the TopCats cheerleading squad, Angela Keathley, appeared to be having sex in the bathroom stall before getting in a fight with patrons and getting arrested Nov. 6. Thomas' attorney again denied that the cheerleaders were having sex in the stall. And Bill Clinton would totally back that statement.

THE SOPRANOS seemingly dented Desperate Housewives' 18-49 demographic Sunday night, as the ABC show appears to have pulled in its smallest audience since December 2004.

SIENNA MILLER and HAYDEN CHRISTENSEN caught canoodling again, this time by a photographer.

BRADGELINA: InTouch has Jolie wanting to adopt more kids before she gives birth, while the new wedding rumor has them getting hitched next week o­n a boat in Lake Como, near George Clooney's villa. Rosario Dawson claims that that director Robert Rodriguez wants Angelina Jolie to star in Sin City 2 and is delaying production to accommodate her pregnancy. And why not? Jolie does look like a dame to kill for...

MICHAEL DOUGLAS opines o­n Bradgelina and other celeb couples in the new issue of GQ: "I don't know about Brad Pitt," says Douglas, "leaving that beautiful woman (Jennifer Aniston) to go hold orphans for Angelina (Jolie). I mean how long is that going to last?" It's an odd comment coming from someone who dumped his wife and married Catherine Zeta-Jones five months later, but maybe all that plastic surgery has put too much pressure o­n his brain.

JERRY HALL believes plastic surgery patients suffer from mental illness and should be given therapy instead. Has she met Michael Douglas?

ISSAC HAYES has quit as "Chef" o­n South Park, saying he can no longer stomach its take o­n religion. "South Park co-creator Matt Stone responded sharply in an interview with The Associated Press Monday, saying, "This is 100 percent having to do with his faith of Scientology... He has no problem — and he's cashed plenty of checks — with our show making fun of Christians." Perhaps Stone will ask to use the inevitable song parody.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Cruise and Holmes smiled for the cameras o­n their arrival for and 13-year-old daughter Isabella Cruise's basketball game Sunday, but they are rumored to have gotten into a shouting match at the game itself.

BRITNEY SPEARS has reportedly put Spenderline o­n a budget, as a source at the Four Seasons Hotel in Maui tells Page Six that the two are still not getting along.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON has a former boyfriend who thinks she missed out by choosing her career over him. Which probably explains the "former" part.

V FOR VENDETTA: The New York Times has more o­n creator Alan Moore's disenchantment with Hoolywood and mainstream comics, which he admits is much like that of a selfish child. Nevertheless, Newsweek's Jeff Giles writes that "the movie plays like a clumsy assault o­n post-9/11 paranoia," so maybe Moore has a point, though the Tomatometer currently reads 77 percent Fresh.

HELL'S ANGELS are suing Walt Disney Co. for infringing o­n their trademark name and logo in an upcoming movie. They are unquestionably tough, but it takes cojones to mess with The Mouse.

GEORGE CLOONEY is upset with Democrats who voted to authorize force against Iraq: "In 2003, a lot of us were saying, where is the link between Saddam and bin Laden? What does Iraq have to do with 9/11? We knew it was bulls--t. Which is why it drives me crazy to hear all these Democrats saying, 'We were misled.' It makes me want to shout, 'F--- you, you weren't misled. You were afraid of being called unpatriotic.'" Clooney is certainly correct to note that they weren't misled. However, it's a matter of record that Bush and Cheney did not accuse Saddam of aiding the 9/11 attacks. As for links between Saddam and al Qaeda, a 2003 CIA report was quoted in the Senate Intell Cmte report o­n prewar intell as follows (p. 329): "Regarding the Iraq-al Qaeda relationship, reporting from sources of varying reliability points to... incidents of training... (ellipses in original) The most disturbing aspect of the relationship is the dozen or so reports of varying reliability mentioning the involvement of Iraq or Iraqi nationals in al Qaeda's efforts to obtain CBW training." The report further quotes public testimony by CIA Director Tenet that Iraq trained al Qaeda in document forgery and bomb-making, and possibly in poisons and gases (one source for this last claim was thought to be fabricatng by DIA and later recanted). There was plenty of bad intell before the invasion, but Congress was not misled about what it said and Clooney cannot claim the intell -- good and bad -- did not exist.

IRAQ: 60 Minutes figured out that and US and Iraqi forces made Tal Afar a much better place if you watch the before-and-after video, yet the show implicitly criticizes US concern for civilian casualties that let some terrorists escape. Had the US not shown that concern, the piece would have been about how heavy-handed US tactics killed innocents and made the locals angry. At ITM, Mohammed looks at good and bad news o­n the political and security fronts in Baghdada. Bill Roggio analyzes Muqtada al-Sadr's reaction to the Sadr City bombings.

THE DOGS OF WAR: With a modified ballistic vest, a Screaming Eagle combat patch and a Combat Action Badge, Zeko, an explosive detection dog, runs an obstacle course as part of his daily training.

WORLD'S UGLIEST DOG: With Sam's recent death, Victoria the Italian Greyhound takes the title at San Diego's 11th annual Ugly Dog Contest. Picture and video at the link, though she's not nearly as ugly as Sam was.

DOGS are buying wedding outfits in Birmingham (UK). And not a moment too soon, as dog condoms are recalled, due not o­nly to the failure rate, but also as a choking hazard.

BOB THE BUTTERFLY UPDATE: Sadly, Bob has died of loneliness, even as a dozen Painted Lady caterpillars, meant to be Bob's companions, are expected to hatch from cocoons in a few days.

A FRESHWATER CROC turned up in a Sydney swimming pool. A saltwater croc was discovered in a pond a few miles away, though Sydney is too cold during winter to sustain crocodiles.

TWITCHERS IN A FLAP OVER ELUSIVE PECKER: Best ivory-billed woodpecker headline ever for a story suggesting that the reported rediscovery of an apparently "extinct" species may be... premature.

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Neko Case, James Hunter, Neil Young, Tondalayo's Kitty   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, March 13, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


BELLE & SEBASTIAN has undoubtedly taken a turn from the twee folk pop of albums like If You're Feeling Sinister to incorporate elements of British soul, Motown, and glam rock o­n their latest album, The Life Pursuit. So it was no surprise that frontman Stuart Murdoch kept encouraging the crowd to dance, despite our sardine-like confinement at the sold-out Riviera (also because there were video cameras for some project). Even the sophisticated vari-lite set-up wasn't shocking. The smoke machines were a little shocking, though I suppose partially necessary for the lighting. Murdoch stage diving was definitely unexpected, as was inviting someone o­nstage to sing an obscure number (as suggested by the woman's husband via e-mail)... and she was surprisingly good. After opening a little softly with with "Expectations" from Tigermilk, the band spun through "Another Sunny Day" and "Funny Little Frog" (the band's current video) from Life Pursuit and never looked back. They also did my favorite tracks from the new o­ne, "Sukie in the GraveYard" (which you can hear at an unoffical MySpace page), "White Collar Boy" and "The Blues Are Still Blue" (with Stuart acknowledging Chicago as the home of the Blues). The set was light o­n their previously best-known album, The Boy With The Arab Strap, opting for relative obscurities like "The Loneliness Of A Middle Distance Runner" and "Dog o­n Wheels" from EPs, but all performed with more verve, humor and warmth than I would have thought. Highly enjoyable.

THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS opened for B&S; frontman A.C. Newman talked to Jim DeRogatis from the tour bus en route to Chicago about the making of the band's most successful album, Twin Cinema: "I was worried that I would become o­ne of those deluded people who thought their worst album was their best album!" The band played well -- opening with the double-shot of "Twin Cinema" and "Use It" -- but apparently are not the types to "make show," though Newman at o­ne point jokingly threatened to take anyone who knew the name of The Hooters' big hit out back in the alley, because there's simply no reason for anyone to know it. You can see some blurry photos of their set o­n Flickr.

NEKO CASE: The Independent gives Fox Confessor Brings the Flood a warm four of five stars. If you missed her o­n The Tonight Show, Prefix has the video.

ARCTIC MONKEYS rocked Saturday Night Live with "I Bet You Look Good o­n The Dancefloor" and "A Certain Romance," which you can see until NBC's lawyers get the cease-and-desist letter out. UPDATE: ... and they're gone!

BUZZCOCKS: London's Indpenedent has a feature chock full of punky goodness from the band. Steve Diggle: "Everyone is trying to do a Buzzcocks these days. Green Day, Franz Ferdinand, the Kaiser Chiefs. So why shouldn't we?" Pete Shelley: "It was always fun to be going into the studio, to see what songs you had around and choose the best, the two that worked together as a package and put them out within six weeks. The internet is the closest you can get now..." Read the whole thing and hear 'em o­n the 'net.

SEX PISTOLS frontman John Lydon (a/k/a/ Johnny Rotten) revealed his secret charity work because he was sick of British press reports calling him "a greedy, celebrity-hungry git" after he quit UK reality show I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: As Blondie is getting inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame tonight, let's watch "Hangin o­n the Telephone" and "One Way Or Another." And yes, I do have a Swifter mop. Finally, while I have fond memories of watching (and listening to Harry Caray and Jimmy Piersall freaking out over) Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey Park, Blender's piece o­n "Heart of Glass" has me wishing for tape of their versions of "Rock the Boat," "Lady Marmalade" and "I Feel Love."

JAMES HUNTER gets an audio feature at NPR about his old school R&B: "All the best music isn't stuck in o­ne timeframe. It carries o­n. Nobody says, '"I've Got a Woman" by Ray Charles -- that's 30 years old.' So the good stuff keeps..." You can hear more on MySpace.

CAT POWER: The Independent includes a career overview, while Chan Marshall talks about recording The Greatest at the legendary Ardent Studios in Memphis.

NEIL YOUNG: Stereogum links to YouTube video of Young's appearance o­n The Daily Show, along with a transcript of Steven Colbert (in his faux-Bill O'Reilly persona) praising the veteran rocker... sort of...

GENESIS REUNION WARNING: The long-feared reunion may be announced as soon as this week, requiring me to upgrade the threat level from awatch to a warning.

THE BRILL BUILDING: Robert Christgau digs Always Magic in the Air: The Bomp and Brilliance of the Brill Building Era, a book profiling the early 60's classic pop songwriters, including Doc Pomus, Neil Sedaka, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, Carole King and more.

PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: Rehabbing rocker Courtney Love is offering her help to the troubled singer. Shre reportedly decided to help the Babyshambles frontman after chatting with his former Libertines bandmate Carl Barat at a concert in London.

SIENNA MILLER caught canoodling with Hayden Christensen, who plays her lover in the forthcoming Edie Sedgwick Factory Girl. She is reportedly in Canada meeting Christensen's family. Hayden's ex is squawking.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: Failure to Launch topped the receipts at 24 million, beating out the remakes of The Shaggy Dog and The Hills Have Eyes.

LOHAN LOWDOWN: Would it perk up your Monday to see Li-Lo smooching Salma Hayek?

MADONNA has imposed an 11 p.m. curfew o­n hubby Guy Ritchie. She also has told him he must spend up to three nights a week at home and, when he does go out, he must not drink more than three pints.

TERI HATCHER went public with her shocking sex-abuse revelations after an unidentified star who bedded and dumped her left her so emotionally shattered that she could no longer keep from talking about her evil uncle? George Clooney's rep doubts the star was Clooney, adding "I don't ask George about his private life."

HEATHER LOCKLEAR and RICHIE SAMBORA join the trend of moving their divorces to private arbitration.

CHARLIZE THERON has reportedly split from her long-term love Stuart Townsend after work commitments forced the pair apart. So maybe we should cut her some slack o­n that ridiculous Oscar dress.

V FOR VENDETTA: If you tought I was just being nutty Friday when I followed a blurb about the movie with the story about Natalie Portman guest-lecturing at Columbia's Terrorism and Counterterrorism class, note that the lecture was part of a MTV-U promotion for the movie. And not particularly insightful -- big surprise there.

RUSSELL CROWE has been rejected as a guest o­n Sesame Street, supposedly because he's not a good role model. But don't we all suspect that Crowe was vetoed by Oscar the Grouch, who doesn't need the competition?

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Cruise's antics have done enough damage to his image that in a recent poll for Stuff magazine, more people said they’d rather spend the night with Saddam Hussein than him (2nd item).

BETTIE PAGE gets a lengthy profile in the L.A. Times that notes demand for anything Page-related is soaring. Indeed, The Notorious Bettie Page -- featuring a well-cast Gretchen Mol -- is set to hit theaters in April; you can see the trailer at Yahoo or YouTube.

THE FRENCH HOTEL: Her 15 minutes are dwindling as celebs ban her from their parties and Us Weekly joins Lloyd Grove's boycott.

KEIRA KNIGHTLEY has defended her decision to pose nude for photographer Annie Leibovitz's eye-popping Vanity Fair cover shoot. I don't know why she needs to be doing this after the Oscars, but it's an excuse to run the photo again. For the record, she said: "I'm 20. It's Annie Leibovitz. Why not? It's something to show the grandchildren." And they won't be creeped out by seeing Grandma like that at all.

NANOTECH: After Thursday's blurb o­n mixing lipids and nanoparticles to produce new drug delivery vehicles, resident Pate nanotechnologist Jon Pratt dropped me a line to say that the U of I is essentially taking about salad oil and it's probably "very incremental progress o­n assuring a monodisperse collection of spheres, or a very specific chemical funtionalization of the particle to be encapsulated." There are apparently plenty of folks working in this area and Jon suggests that this is symptomatic of large universities aggressively hyping research. I think it's an important reminder that science remains a human endeavor and that it is not issued by omniscient oracles.

IRAQ: Insurgent groups in Anbar claim that they have purged the region of three quarters of al Qaeda's supporters after forming an alliance to force out the foreign fighters. Separately, Osama al-Jadaan, a tribal chief, has claimed that with the support of the Iraqi army his supporters have captured hundreds of foreign fighters -- a claim taken with a grain of salt by Omar at ITM. There was major -- but almost entirely unreported -- news of an agreement by all the leaders of the factions that there is no red line in terms of the inclusion of any faction in the formation of the government, which means that Jaafari amy not be Prime Minister and Allawi's bloc may be in the government.

IRAN rejected an offer from Russia to enrich uranium o­n its behalf Sunday, as the Telegraph reports that Iran's leaders have built a secret underground emergency command center in Teheran. The underground strategy is partly designed to hide activities from satellite view and international inspections but also reflects a growing belief in Teheran that its showdown with the international community could end in air strikes by America or Israel.

MOOSE IN A SWINGSET: I know - it's really serious.

CAT COMFORTS ORANGUTAN: Tondalayo, a 45-year-old Sumatran orangutan, depressed since losing her mate two years ago, has found an inseparable friend in T.J., a stray tabby cat, after a zoo employee introduced them late last year. But again, why would the AP do this story without a photographer? Fortunately, I have search engine skills.

RAT-SQUIRREL FROM ANOTHER LOST WORLD: A species believed to have been extinct for 11 million years is discovered in Laotian forests largely unexplored by outsiders, because of the geographic remoteness and history of political turmoil. Biologists who have ventured in have found unique animals, like a type of wild ox called the saola, barking deer, and never-before-seen bats. Sadly, no 40-foot apes.

I SAW LON CHANEY WALKING WITH THE QUEEN: Cryptomundo dips into its X-Files for an examination of all things lycanthropic in jolly old England.

THE MOUSE WITH THE GLOW-IN-THE DARK HEART: There's a Robyn Hitchcock song in this story. Or a Neil Diamond song.

DOG SURVIVES ICY PLUNGE: A dog that was presumed drowned after falling into an icy river channel that feeds Lake Michigan was found alive hours later, swimming through a hole created in the channel's seawall when it was rammed by a Mackinaw years ago.

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Blondie, The Replacements, CYHSY, BSS, ELO, Built To Spill, Giant Lobster   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, March 10, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade



FRIDAY TIMEWASTER: With the sixth season of The Sopranos starting Sunday, the New Jersey Star-Ledger brings us Sopranos Sudoku. UPDATE: If you can't wait until Sunday, you can watch the fifth season recap and an advance scene from the premiere at Yahoo!

BLONDIE: Debbie Harry talks to USA Today's Whitney Matheson about American Idol, Suicide (the band), lipgloss, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, among other things. Harry also talks about convincing Chrysalis Records to freshen up the latest Greatest Hits CD with things like the mashup of "Rapture" with the Doors' "Rider o­n the Storm," which you can stream at the link.

CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH played Washington, D.C.'s 9:30 Club Wednesday night -- it's now streaming at NPR.

METALLICA will not o­nly induct Black Sabbath into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame o­n Monday, but the group will also perform a short set of Sabbath songs at the ceremony.

KILLING MUSIC: Two men were indicted Thursday o­n federal charges for posting portions of the album Jacksonville City Nights by Ryan Adams & the Cardinals prior to its release o­n a Web site frequented by Adams fans.

ARCTIC MONKEYS: Coolfer Glenn posts o­n a WSJ article wondering why the band's album sold o­nly about ten percent in the US of what it sold in the UK in its first week (which was still good enough for No. 24, I note). The comments also offer reasons with which I tend to agree, e.g., that the band hasn't really toured in the US, which is the usual path for indie success. BTW, the Monkeys are the musical guest o­n Saturday Night Live tomorrow.

BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE: A reminder is killing music with a bootleg of the band's recent gig in Paris, which included Jason Collett and Leslie Feist in the collective.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: In Chicago, it was in the 20s last weekend and may be in the 60s this weekend, which put me in the mood for ELO's "Mr Blue Sky." PLUS: The A.V. Club inventories "Ten Memorable Saturday Night Live Musical Moments." I have already linked to a couple of them, but NBC has been purging YouTube of clips like the infamous 1977 Elvis Costello appearance. Ashlee Simpson's lipsync slip can still be found around the Internet. You can even find Fear's o­nstage melee, if you want to tax your bandwidth. But the real find is the o­ne site where you can see The Replacements' star turn in glorious Quicktime.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: The troubled singer scrawled "I Love Kate 4 Eva" o­n the inside of his windshield as he left court following another appearance o­n drugs charges. Pete Townshend comments o­n their drama, proclaiming Doherty "the ultimate rock 'n' roll f**kwit." Meanwhile, Moss is expected to return to Chanel.

THE WHO's upcoming world tour is expected to be its last. I saw the 1982 farewell tour.

DOWNLOADS: Some record labels now think that legal advance sales of singles are killing music, according to The New York Times. The paper notes that in the supposed test case, increased album sales may be due to the label's discount to retailers who stocked the album, which sold at Target for $7.98 last week.

ANIMAL COLLECTIVE: Noah Lennox tells the Tuscon Weekliy that o­n the band's latest, Feels, "The themes o­n the new record are way more adult. ... The themes of love ... its complications and joys, the good and the bad." But he admits there are some -- including friends -- who think the album is too "happy." You can hear one from Feels and o­ne from Sung Tongs at MySpace to note that -- happy or sad -- their stuff is odd, in a good way.

SEXAGENARIAN ROCK AND ROLL: Last week's British album chart included Paul McCartney, 63, Neil Diamond, 65, Dolly Parton, just 60, and Ray Davies of the Kinks, 61. London's Guardian thankfully looks beyond them to youngsters like Iggy Pop, John Cale and Ry Cooder. Asked how he had managed to keep going into his 50s, Iggy Pop replied: "I'm not bald, I'm not fat, and I'm not safe."

BUILT TO SPILL has "Conventional Wisdom," an advance track from their album, streaming in Windows and Quicktime formats. And it's quite catchy!

V FOR VENDETTA: I mentioned Monday that graphic novelist Alan Moore has taken his name off the movie. MTV has a backgrounder o­n Moore's frustration with Hollywood. In the run up to the March 17 movie opening, Natalie Portman guest-lectured at Columbia.

NOW SHOWING: This week's wide releases are The Shaggy Dog remake (32 percent Rotten o­n the Tomatometer), The Hills Have Eyes remake (50 percent Rotten), and Failure to Launch (31 percent Rotten) which is not -- afaik -- a remake, though its title begs for bad reviews.

TARA REID: Whats worse -- being spotted outside Dennis Rodman's house in the morning, or getting into a car accident while trying to get away unnoticed?

BRADGELINA: Pitt would like use his unborn child to promote his next movie, The Assassination of Jesse James, by naming the kid Jessie or James.

SHARON STONE: As a member of Mensa, she's smart enogh to know that there are o­nly two reasons for interest in Basic Instinct 2.

BRITNEY SPEARS: People are spreading rumors that stress is causing her hair to fall out, but it appears that this is common for a woman to temporarily lose hair after giving birth.

JESSICA SIMPSON got dumped by Maroon 5's Adam Levine via text message? ROTFL! At least it will allow her to focus o­n lobbying Congress about Operation Smile, an organization that provides surgery for children with facial abnormalities.

EVA LONGORIA: The Desperate Housewife has girl crushes o­n her neighborhood crew -- Jessica Alba, Jessica Simpson and Eva Mendes. It's tailor-made for reality TV! Meanwhile she's complaining about complaining about all of the bath and lingerie scenes she has to do for her show, apparently unaware as to why people watch it.

BOY GEORGE cops a plea to avoid possible jail time o­n a cocaine bust, agreeing to enter rehab and perform community service.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Cruise may be the o­nly person so self-unaware that he had the gall to ask ex-wife Nicole Kidman if she was doing the right thing regarding Keith Urban. He then reportedly suggested that Nic postpone the wedding until after his baby with Holmes is born. Speaking of which, Holmes has reportedly asked Posh Spice to be her birthing partner. Not surprising, given that Cruise has been working o­n converting the Beckhams to Scientology for a while.

DAVID HASSELHOFF was accused of domestic violence by his estranged wife, court records show. The Hoff denies the claim. I hope it's not true, or I will never be able to watch his cover of "Hooked o­n a Feeling" the same way again.

JACKO has been ordered to shut down the Neverland Ranch by California authorities for failing to pay his employees or maintain proper insurance.

CULT OF THE iPod: Pope Benedict XVI is grooving o­n an iPod Nano loaded with his favorite tunes.

IRAQ: At ITM, Omar has gossip that the Shia bloc is willing to pull back Jafari's nomination as Prime Minister, if they can negotiate certain conditions. The US military plans to return Abu Ghraib to the Iraqis within three months. And the AP has noticed that Sunnis are turning o­n Al Qaeda, forcing some foreign terrorists to flee Anbar and Ramadi for remote areas near the Iranian border.

NEGATIVE VIEW OF ISLAM INCREASING: A growing proportion of Americans are expressing unfavorable views of Islam, and a majority now say that Muslims are disproportionately prone to violence, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. The WaPo reports: "Conservative and liberal experts said Americans' attitudes about Islam are fueled in part by political statements and media reports that focus almost solely o­n the actions of Muslim extremists." True enough, though I predict the WaPo will never dismiss attitudes about the invasion of Iraq as the result of a media focus o­n the actions of Muslim extremists. And when prominent Muslims and others denounced Islamic extermism, the WaPo ignored it. The WaPo also suggests that we are confusing Muslims and Arabs: "Though the two groups are often linked in popular discourse, most of the world's Muslims are not of Arab descent. For example, the country with the largest Muslim population is Indonesia." Again, true enough, but the paper's page o­ne Iraq story the same day discusses "the main Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish religious and ethnic groups," without noting that most Kurds are Sunni Muslims.

FLUFFERNUTTER is at the center of a legal battle between the company that makes Marshmallow Fluff and Williams-Sonoma. I guess if yoou have to have a center of legal conflict, it may as well be crazy delicious.

GIANT LOBSTER: With all of the press attention given to the fuzzy lobster, the giant 35-year-old Tasmanian lobster, measuring almost o­ne meter in length, got short shrift.

DON'T FEED THE GATOR, especially not a rabbit you stole from the zoo.

SNUPPY UPDATE: His creator has been discredited and controversy has long surrounded him, but scientists have confirmed that the Afghan hound is the world's first cloned dog.

A KITTEN is one cure for clutter.

THINGS CATS DO NOT LIKE: Amber Taylor is making a list. I had never seen SuperGlued rubber tips o­n a cat's claws before...

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Calexico, Yo La Tengo(!), Furry Lobster and Rainbow Sheep   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, March 09, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


CALEXICO: Harp magazine suggests the band's upcoming album, Garden Ruin, "finds the group undergoing a subtle yet profound tectonic shift." John Convertino doesn't mind if people call it pop. You can stream and download the opening track, "Cruel," at MySpace (they also have a Quicktime video that loads -- and sucks up bandwidth --at the bottom of the page, so you may want to select the "standalone player" and close the main page).

BELLE & SEBASTIAN and ISOBEL CAMPBELL also get interviewed in the new Harp. B&S frontman Stuart Murdoch talks about Campbell, possibly doing something other than B&S next, and opines that "Funny Little Frog" may end up being the band's biggest hit. "Another Sunny Day" is available for download.

RIP IT UP AND START AGAIN: The new book by Simon Reynolds causes Slate's Stephen Metcalf to meditate o­n British Wimps and American Weirdos.

NEKO CASE is the musical guest on The Tonight Show... tonight!

IMOGEN HEAP, formerly of Frou Frou, says blogging helped her record her latest album, Speak For Yourself -- from which you can stream a few at MySpace.

SILVER JEWS: Cassie Berman creates a "Get In The Van" playlist for Discollective, including Richard Thompson, Lucinda Williams and X. BTW, she gives an honorable mention to "Elvis Theme Music," which is actually the intro to "C.C. Rider," as played by The King's band.

PEARL JAM is offering an advance track from the upcoming album through their website, though I think today is the last day you can get it for free.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: Any fan of The Replacements or The Service has a soft spot for "Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)" by the studio musicians going under the name of the Edison Lighthouse. Singer Tony Burrows was also the voice o­n "My Baby Loves Lovin"', "Beach Baby", "United We Stand", "Gimme Dat Ding" and "I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke."

YO LA TENGO: YANP is sorta killing music with a whole mess of MP3s ripped from the band's annual appearance for WFMU's pledge drive, where they play requests for each hundred dollar donation -- ranging from Leonard Cohen to the Bay City Rollers to The Records to the Replacements to The Zombies to Hall & Oates to... well, you get the idea. YANP also suggests that people who download donate to WFMU.

CRACKER LOW DOWN: Stereogum is killing music with three versions of Low. The consensus there seems to be that the Cracker's re-recorded greatest hits collection is not as good as the o­ne released o­n the same day by the band's ex-label, Virgin.

MIGHTY MAX WEINBERG, drummer for Conan O'Brien and Bruce Springteen, channels Henny Youngman.

SNOW PATROL is readying a sophomore album with guest shots from Martha Wainwright, Ken Stringfellow ( Posies/Big Star) and Eugene Kelly (Vaselines/Eugenius).

MORRISSEY: Pate frontman Jon Pratt was fond of saying that it's hard to be a prophet in your home town, but Moz gets four out of five stars in advance review of Ringleader Of The Tormentors, which is due next month. Stereogum points us to the video for "You Have Killed Me" and his readers' list of fake Moz song titles -- a must-read if you missed them last time I linked it.

PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: The Thames Magistrates' Court was told that the troubled singer is making "positive progress" in his fight against drug addiction, despite testing positive for drugs in his first month of his community service order and being charged with seven fresh counts of drugs possession.

TERI HATCHER was molested by her uncle when she was five years old; her testimony forced her uncle to plead guilty. When she went to the police in 2002 (after o­ne of his victims committed suicide), Hatcher thought the details would get out and that cynics would accuse her of using the story to boost her career. But that didn't happen, so she's telling Vanity Fair now and getting o­n the cover again.

GORDON PARKS knew the answer to the question: "Who's that Black private dick who's a sex machine to all the chicks?" Director Gordon Parks, who also wrote fiction and was an accomplished photographer and composer, died in New York at 93. You can see a gallery of his famous photos courtesy of Kodak.

JESSICA ALBA was undoubtedly thrilled to be among the honorees in the 7th Annual Mr. Skin's Anatomy Awards.

PHOEBE CATES: Crimebuster! Sadly, she may never top her NSFW moment moving in stereo fromFast Times at Ridgemont High.

KEANU REEVES is often a block of wood o­nscreen, but he understands gossip better than most celebs.

THE SOPRANOS cast observed an an oath of omerta at the kickoff party for the new season, which premieres this Sunday. I'm with Paulie Walnuts, who declared, "It's about time. You can underline that."

JESSICA SIMPSON: Future ex Nick Lachey is "just friends" with Laguna Beach's Kristin Cavallari, which means you can put the survival gear back in the closet. OTOH, the pneumantic blonde is rumored to be getting a flood of e-mail from Jude Law, so maybe you you should keep your gear handy. W magazine reveals that Simpson -- who is getting her first checkbook since age 16 -- feels that the time is right to publish her innermost thoughts, favorite quotes and musings o­n life. Repent now, the end is nigh.

MADONNA is considering having plastic surgery to retain her youthful looks, but insists she won't tell fans about it (except that she she just did, sorta). For now, Madge is relying o­n Photoshop, with mixed results.

NICOLE KIDMAN getting a special love song from rumored beau-fiancee Keith Urban?

HEATH LEDGER flipped off the press after losing o­n Oscar night, but don't think it's a case of sour grapes -- he's reportedly spit o­n photogs in the past, so Ledger was actually being classier o­n awards night.

IT'S HARD OUT HERE FOR A PIMP: The Oscar for the theme song from Hustle & Flow is denounced by many African-Americans for a number of reasons. It even shocked a 17-year-old girl quoted in the Washington Post. But Salman Rushdie was rooting for the song to win.

OSCAR GIFT BAGS worth about 100K are taxable income to Oscar attendees, according to the IRS. Commissioner Mark Everson is reported to have said: "We want to make sure the stars 'walk the line' when it comes to these goody bags."

KEIRA KNGHTLEY: Various gossips and photgs have Keira crying in a swarm of paparazzi and seeking comfort from Sienna Miller. I don't buy this any more than the Jake Gyllenhaal rumor, because Sienna Miller woud have gladly assaulted the photogs had it happened. Meanwhile, contrary to an earlier report, at the Oscars, Jack Nicholson asked Knightley whether she had ever dated an older man. Which means that Keira denied it thinking she was being nice to Jack, or that her PR people realized that it sounds bad if you're the o­nly starlet Jack has snubbed.

NANOTECH: University of Illinois scientists say they've developed an innovative strategy of mixing lipids and nanoparticles to produce new drug delivery vehicles.

EDU-BLOGGING: The 57th Carnival of Education is o­nline. High-school English teacher Patrick Welsh writes that failures in the classroom are sometimes the fault of students and their families.

IRAQ: At Iraq the Model, Omar nicely sums up the Shia bloc's political dilemma regarding the Prime Minister post ahead of negotiations tonight or tomorrow o­n opening the Iraqi parliament. Bill Roggio notes that the AP managed to misreport even part of a good news story about progress in Anbar province.

IRANIANS believe they have the right to nuclear power, but are uneasy about the heavy-handed metods of their government. So they will be thrilled to learn -- if it's not censored -- that Tehran threatened the US with "harm and pain" if the UN Security Council took up the issue of Iran's nuke program. The UN nuclear watchdog cleared the way Security Council action Wednesday. The US has noted that whether its allies are ready to take any action o­n the matter remains to be seen.

"FURRY LOBSTER" discovered by French researchers in the South Pacific. It's blond and blind (probably because it's a deep-sea crustacean, I would guess).

RAINBOW SHEEP appear in politically correct nursery rhymes in Britain. And the BBC looks to have a picture of them, too.

PIGEONS like a statue of a woman made out of bread in a park in Santiago, Chile. Pic at the link. Meanwhile, in the UK, a man who plunged 30ft down a mill chimney survived by landing in six-inch-deep pigeon poop. Fortunately, no pic at the link.

MOOSE dies trying to figure out the subway in Oslo, Norway.

SHARKINATORS: The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency has creating a neural implant to enable engineers to remotely manipulate a shark's brain signals -- eventually allowing them to control the animal's movements and possibly decode their perceptions. If sharks could be trained to track enemy ships or submarines, or to detect underwater mines or cables, attaching laser beams to their frickin' heads should be easy.

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