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Some New Year's-y Items and some lovelorn beaver   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, January 01, 2009 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


WELCOME... TO THE NEW YEAR: You can stream a live version of Pate's "New Year" (and three others from the 2003 reunion) at PateSpace.

U2: Crushingly obvious, I know.

OTIS & CARLA: "New Year's Resolution."

EARL GREYHOUND rawks out on four free songs for Daytrotter, three previously unreleased: "It's the sound of a Trans-am kicking buckets full of gray gravel and driveway dust into our faces as it peels away to carry its Hendrix and 80s arena rock-loving passengers off to do some bowling, hit the county fair for some hellraising and then cap the night off with some drunk driving."

TIM FITE has a downloadable song clelebrating the fishes and loaves and ducks at the Linesville Spillway in northwest Pennsylvania -- one of America's oldest roadside attractions.  Video at the link also.

THE HOLD STEADY's Franz Nicolay talks to C-Ville (Charlottesville) about his new solo album and tour, and busking before proper gigs. (Thx, Chromewaves.)

ABBA wishes you a "Happy New Year,"  but it doesn't sound anywhere as celebratory as "Take A Chance On Me." 

BEATLES vs. STONES:  Magnet matches three albums from each, head-to-head.

ROBERT PLANT was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by the Queen.

BJORK has turned venture capitalist, with a new fund that aims to revive Iceland's economy.

COLDPLAY frontman Chris Martin took the London Tube to his recent concert at the O2 arena. Not only was he unrecognized on the train, but he was stopped by security at the arena gate.

THE MOUNTAIN GOATS perform "This Year" at the M-Shop in Ames, IA.

MATT DILLON: Busted driving 106 miles per hour on Interstate 91 in Newbury, VT.

CHARLES BARKLEY: Busted on suspicion of DUI.

DANE COOK's  brother/ business manager was busted for allegedly stealing millions from the comedian.

JOAQUIN PHOENIX is looking bloated and dishevelled since claiming he would quit acting.

JENNIFER GARNER & BEN AFFLECK may be delivering a kid to celebrate the new year.

MADONNA's Ray of Light Foundation gave away 3.1 million last year -- nearly all to the Kabbalah Center of Los Angeles.  Madge gave no money to her other charity, Raising Malawi, in 2007 -- even though that was the year she adopted little David Banda from that country.

THE UNITED STATES OF TARA: Here's a sneak preview of the first episode of the Showtime series created by Steven Spielberg, written by Diablo Cody (Juno) and starring Toni Collete as a mom with a split personality. The password is "Tara."

THE FRENCH HOTEL: Trying to save the global economy with an Aussie spending splurge.

TIME WARNER CABLE subscribers might be missing a few channels today.

INDIA: Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives directly linked to Mumbai attacks.

IRAN: Volunteer suicide bombers seek to attack Israel.

AFGHANISTAN: The complexity of the military undertaking in Afghanistan, and the US approach to it, can be seen in miniature in the Army Corps of Engineers' plans to build a forward operating base next year in western Afghanistan.

IRAQ: Seventy-six percent of the Sons of Iraq members will be under Iraqi government responsibility by today. Police arrested a leading figure in a messianic Shiite cult that has battled Iraqi and US forces, possibly thwarting attacks against hundreds of thousands of pilgrims that will gather next week at one of Iraq's holiest shrines.

FERRET GHOST RIDES A MOP: Let's go to the video.

FERRET & DOG, living together... I think you know what this means.

LOVELORN BEAVER hunted in Britain.

PET HANGOVERS: Veterinarian Lee Woods said his south Boulder clinic sees a spike in alcohol-related dog and cat illnesses around the holidays.

FREAKIEST WORM-LIKE THING I've seen all week. Let's go to the video.

3178 Reads

All sorts of Year In Review-type stuff   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


CHRIS BELL was profiled by the Memphis Commercial Appeal on the 30th anniversary of his death. In 2009, Rhino Records is releasing a Big Star box set and an expanded edition of Bell's lone solo work, I Am The Cosmos.

AULD LANG SYNE: Should auld acquaintance be forgot, there's always El Perro del Mar, Wooden Shjips, Vanderveer and Jimi Hendrix.

MARNIE STERN: In the Village Voice, Rob Trucks chronicles their songwriting experiment.

THE ACORN is offering two unusual downloads at its website.

THE AVETT BROTHERS, on the cusp of a breakout year, get a timeline of ascent, courtesy of the Charlotte Observer.

THE MUSIC THEY MADE: An audio slideshow of musicians who died this year, including a "Wimoweh" trifecta.  And don't I feel like a complete moron for missing Bo Diddley on my own year-end mix!

INDIE ROCK IN MEMORIAM, 2008: These are bands that died, died. With an Oscar-worthy soundtrack.

FLAMING LIPS: Wayne Coyne talks to SPIN about his band's confetti budget, working at Long John Silver's, and his new film, Christmas on Mars.

BOB MOULD: Magnet claims his next album (due in April) is "almost certainly Mould's best since Sugar's sophomore album, 1994's File Under: Easy Listening."

PAUL WELLER has reportedly been questioned by police in Prague after apparently being found drunk in the street.

NEIL DIAMOND has been named 2008's MusiCares Person of the Year, and will be honored at a ceremony featuring performances by the Foo Fighters, Coldplay, John Mayer, Jennifer Hudson and the honoree himself. Diamond joins past honorees including Brian Wilson, Bono, Paul Simon, Sting, and Aretha Franklin.

CATE BLANCHETT garners the latest Vanity Fair cover story.

KEVIN BACON & KYRA SEDGWICK are among the many victims of the massive Ponzi scheme run by disgraced New York money manager Bernard Madoff.

WOODY HARRELSON and his longtime galpal Laura Louie were officially married on Sunday on the island of Maui.

BRITNEY SPEARS has been been swept off her feet by a Bollywood dance instructor, according to the ever-reliable Daily Mirror. Sources close to the pop wreck deny the report -- and it seems implausible that no one else would have noticed.

BRADGELINA: OK! Magazine claims that Jolie's last two pregnancies were so fraught with complications, she has been advised to wait a long time before getting pregnant again - or not to get pregnant at all.

JENNIFER LOPEZ & MARC ANTHONY are not on the verge of separating, according to J-Lo's rep.

POPEYE becomes semi-public property shortly.

JIBJAB: The 2008 Year In Review.

USA TODAY'S CELEB HEAT INDEX: Britney Spears is tops for the year; the full list can be viewed here (and why the first story didn't link it is just dumb).

CELEBS & SCIENTIFIC ILLITERACY 2008, courtesy of the Indepenedent.

ISLAMISM in the NETHERLANDS: The country's biggest left-wing political grouping, the Labor Party, has issued a position paper calling for the end of the failed model of Dutch "tolerance."

IRAQ: When the calendar flips to 2009 on Thursday, Iraq's government will gain control over the Green Zone and its own airspace and some jurisdiction over security contractors under the terms of the US-Iraqi Status of Forces Agreement.

PITBULL & KITTEN, living together... you know it's a disaster of Biblical proportions.

THE UNDOG & NONCAT: New Yorkers finding themselves stymied by their apartment buildings' restrictions on cats and dogs have turned to parrots, rabbits and chinchillas.

FOUR RARE RHINO CALVES have been found in remote jungle on Indonesia's Java island, giving hope to efforts to save them from extinction.

LONE WOLF ROMEO returns to Juneau, looking for his lost Juliet.

SIX KITTEHS were revived by firefighters in Buckinghamshire with breathing apparatus adaptors usually reserved for babies.  Pic at the link.

3172 Reads

Zooey & Ben, Twin Cities rock, The Earles, Wunder Boner   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, December 30, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


ZOOEY DESCHANEL is reportedly engaged to Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard.  To celebrate, here's a snippet of the couple dueting on the Everly Brothers' "(All I Have To Do Is) Dream."

NEW RELEASES: Christmas offerings from The Raveonettes, Rosie Thomas and more are still inexplicably streaming via Spinner.

MAKING THE SCENE: The Current streams an oral history of Twin Cities rock from the mid-1960s through the '90s, through the eyes and ears of key figures from each decade.

STEVE & JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE were featured on NPR's Morning Edition.

BEN LEE is getting married to Ione Skye and getting a grip on his place in the pop world.

BOTH SIDES NOW: Joni Mitchell performs her 1968 song in 1970 and in 2000, for a reflective, final Twofer Tuesday of 2008.

WHITHER POP MUSIC? Brian McCollum writes in the Detroit Free Press: "If there's any defining question to the era's popular music, it's the very definition of "popular." In a sense, we live in an age of two separate but equal music worlds: the old mainstream -- found on radio, TV and magazine covers -- and the new one, which flourishes on the Internet..."

SONGS FROM THE HEART OF A MARKETING PLAN: The NYT's Jon Pareles asks, "What happens to the music itself when the way to build a career shifts from recording songs that ordinary listeners want to buy to making music that marketers can use?"

THE SHORT TAIL: More than 10 million of the 13 million music tracks available on the internet failed to sell a single copy last year, a study has found.

AND YET: Major record labels are hoping to revive the music video business online by creating a single digital destination for their artists' output.


HEATHER MILLS is being taken to court by her nanny over allegations of sex discrimination and intimidation.

JENNIFER LOPEZ & MARC ANTHONY:  Their reportedly rocky marriage will likely bite the dust right after Valentine's Day, says an insider.

MADONNA & GUY RITCHIE apparently put aside their differences as they visited a Kabbalah Center over the weekend. But Madge ain't looking so good recently.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Cruise reportedly tells The Sun he wants ten kids.

EMMA WATSON says she is "uncertain" that her future lies in acting and is uncomfortable with her £10 million fortune.

BLACK DYNAMITE: "When 'the man' kills his brother, pumps heroin into the local orphanage, and floods the ghetto with a secret weapon disguised as Anaconda Malt Liquor, there is only one brother bad enough, strong enough, and brave enough to take them on: the legendary Black Dynamite." Here's the trailer.

MICKEY ROURKE is allegedly trash-texting his likely toughest Oscar competitor, Sean Penn.  He apparently hasn't quite worked his role in The Wrestler out of his system.

SALMA HAYEK is the latest closet celebrity smoker to be exposed.

IRAN: Rising numbers of Iranians are spurning marriage and having sex illegally outside wedlock, Iran's state-run body for youth affairs has said.

IRAQ: Brookings Institute analysts find that the Iraqi government has met 7 of the 11 "Iraq index" benchmarks they previously laid out.

IRAQ and the MEDIA: The NYT reports that America's three broadcast network news divisions have stopped sending full-time correspondents to Iraq, and that many newspapers and magazines have also curtailed their presence in Baghdad. What the NYT fails to report is that this hardly qualifies as news.  The number of embedded reporters plunged from somewhere between 570 and 750 when the invasion began in March 2003 to roughly 100 by that Fall to as few as nine by October 2006. "Hotel journalism" was so endemic that In early 2004, an AP reporter told Rolling Stone, "If we know one percent of what's going on in Iraq, we're lucky."  Television airtime devoted to coverage of Iraq plunged dramatically every year, as the daily death tolls consumed an ever-larger share of this dwindling coverage.  As a result, the establishment media blew the story of the Anbar Awakening, and missed major battles during the "surge."  The Baghdad bureau of the NYT was its own soap opera, complete with allegations of rampant infidelity and lead stories being cobbled together from secondary sources of dubious relaibility.  By August 2007, most Americans had more confidence in the US military than the media when it came to Iraq war news. Given this track record, the missing reporters may hardly be missed.  Will they do any better in Afghanistan?

AND NOW A WORD FROM OUR SPONSOR: The Wunder Boner: "My wife would like that..."

CUTTHROAT LAKE TROUT in Yellowstone National Park may be eliminated with Jell-O.

A DENVER DOG is trained as a bed bug inspector. Video at the link.

A GOLDFISH survived for 13 hours on the floor after apparently leaping from its bowl, according to its owner.

BABY BOLIVIAN TITI MONKEYS debut at the Bronx Zoo.  Aww..some pics at the link.

3435 Reads

Eartha Kitt, Yo La Tengo, WOXY double-CD, Dog shoplifts   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, December 29, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


EARTHA KITT, known for songs like "Santa Baby" and for playing the Catwoman on the Batman TV series, died Christmas Day of colon cancer at 81.

YO LA TENGO performed their eight nights of Hanukkah at Maxwell's.  You can read their diary (w/ pics) at the band's official site and download audio for December 23rd24th and 27th via nyctaper.

WOXY is offering a freely downloadable double-CD featuring the Best of their Lounge Acts from 2008.

ERIC CLAPTON is a fan of shooting trips in the countryside, and collected guns as he did guitars. But he's still in denial about the deputy.

THE OLD 97s: Murry Hammond talks about the band's most recent album and his solo LP with My San Antonio.

PINK FLOYD: Old and busted? Syncing Dark Side of the Moon to the Wizard of Oz.  The new hotness? Syncing it to extinction-level event CGI from the Discovery Channel.

MY MORNING JACKET had a pretty good year, as chronicled at the Louisville Courier-Journal.

BETTY LaVETTE had a pretty good year, as chronicled at MLive. Embedded videos at the link, too.

THAO NGUYEN talks to the Washington Post as part of a Best of 2008 series.  Embedded video there as well.

LOCAL H gets some local lvin' from the Chicago Tribune's Greg Kot.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: Marley & Me takes it with 37 million over the weekend, and 51 million since opening on Christmas.  Team Aniston has to be happy that it beat out Team Pitt for biggest Christmas opening, though this movie -- like the recent Beverly Hills Chihuahua -- is more evidence of the power of a cute dog to bring people to the multiplex. Over the weekend, Disney's Bedtime Stories (28 million) ascended to the second slot while The Curious Case of Benjamin Button took the third slot (27 million), though Button won by a million over the entire Christmas period (39 to 38 mill).  Bedtime Stories will probably be Adam Sandlers second 100 million dollar grosser this year.  Button has a reported 150 million production budget, but an opening this big may boost its Oscar odds. Valkyrie debuted in the fourth slot with 21 million (30 since Christmas) -- not bad considering the bad buzz surrounding the flick.Yes Man dropped from the top to round out the Top Fve, with 16.4 million.  Below the fold, The Spirit opened in ninth place with 6.5 million (10.3 since Christmas).

TOM-KAT are living in fear after receiving death threats believed to have come from groups opposed to Scientology.

GISELE BUNDCHEN & TOM BRADY engaged? Brady's dad says he hasn't heard anything about it.

MARIAH CAREY: Another pregnancy rumor.

AMY WINEHOUSE: A truckload of dirt from her ex-personal assistant in the uber-reliable News of the World.

WATCHMEN: In a surprise ruling, a federal judge in Los Angeles said he intended to grant 20th Century Fox's claim that it owns a copyright interest in the highly-anticipated superhero saga shot by Warner Brothers and Legendary Pictures and set for release in March.

DREW BARRYMORE & JASON SEGEL sing "Rainbow Connection."  Let's go to the video.

JAY MOHR is adding the last name of wife Nikki Cox to his own. Yes, really.

ASHLEE SIMPSON & PETE WENTZ: Even more TMI from the latter.

LAURA ZUNIGA, a reigning Mexican beauty queen from the drug-plagued state of Sinaloa, was arrested with suspected gang members in a truck filled with guns and ammo, police say.

RUSSIA has thrown down a new gauntlet to Barack Obama with an announcement that it will sharply increase production of strategic nuclear missiles. Shocka.

AFGHANISTAN: The CIA is winning the hearts and minds of tribal chieftains with little blue pills

DOG takes the five-fingered discount on a rawhide bone at Smith's Food & Drug for Christmas.  Video at the link.

A CONFUSED SEA LION that approached the west end of the main runway at Oakland International Airport was taken to an animal sanctuary in Sausalito.  Video at the link.

SQUID: Rough Sex at 40,000 Leagues Under the Sea. It's a whale of a tale, lad.

THE SNUB-NOSED MONKEY makes Ugly Overload.

CAN BOTTLENOSED DOLPHINS survive a winter near the Jersey shore?

3299 Reads

Careful with that gift card, Eugene.   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, December 26, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


I'm technically taking the day off, but as people may be looking to spend some holiday cash on music, I thought I would relink to my faves list, the aggregated reviews at Metacritic, and the expansive List of Lists at Largrehearted Boy.  A cross-section of all of those lists going beyond my tastes -- but not too far beyond my tastes -- might include those from Aquarium Drunkard, Berkeley Place, Chromewaves, Drowned in Sound, Gorilla vs. Bear, I Am Fuel, You Are Friends, Largehearted BoyMuzzle of Bees, Paste, Pitchfork, PopMatters, Stereogum's Gummy Awards and Tiny Mix Tapes.  Many of those have streaming audio or video samples to pique your interest.  Those are primarily links to lists of albums, LHB's big list of lists can hook you up with best songs lists, often from the same sources I just linked.

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