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The Gales of November Remembered (plus more)   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, November 10, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


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 33rd 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 Rev. 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. 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.)


THE DECEMBERISTS played the Electric Factory in Philly on Friday, you can stream the whole gig on demand via NPR.

THE REPLACEMENTS: Captain's Dead has posted their April 5, 1985 gig from scenic DeKalb, IL for downloading or streaming in three parts (Pt. One, Pt. Two, Pt. Three), which concludes with three Cheap Trick covers.

THE HOLD STEADY: Craig Finn talks about forgiveness, redemption and the Drive-By Truckers with the Philadelphia Inquirer.

ROBYN HITCHOCK talks to Paste about the next Venus 3 album and various collaborations, and about his past work with Jim DeRogatis, mostly the fabulous I Often Dream of Trains album.

ROGER McGUINN talks to the Rocky Mountain News about the Folk Den and why he's not keen on a Byrds reunion.  He also mentions this recent cameo with Bruce Springsteen on "Turn, Turn, Turn!"

THESE UNITED STATES got some of their ragged-edged folk, rock and Americana on All Things Considered over the weekend.

ANDREW BIRD will be getting into Target with his latest release, just one reason the whistiling violinist is happy about his new label, Fat Possum.

NICOLE ATKINS talks to the Washington Times about her covers, EP, the aptly-titled "Nicole Atkins Digs Other People's Songs."

O'DEATH singer Greg Jamie tells Spinner why he likes having some blog backlash.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa sits atop the chart with 63.5 million -- the high end of expectations and roughly what the original made over the four days of Memorial Day weekend in 2005.  With Harry Potter having moved to a summer release, the animals should clean up this month, and perhaps next as well.  Role Models came in second with 19.3 million -- which vastly exceeded expectations. The unofficial budget estimate for Role Models was 15 million.  HSM 3 finally dropped from the top slot to third with 9.2 million, having made 75.7 million on an estimated 11 million budget (might this have done better at Thanksgiving or Xmas?).  The Changeling held in fourth place with 7.2 million, while Zack & Miri rounded out the Top Five with 5.6 million.  Z&M has no official budget number, but this has probably broken even -- making the weekend a good one for Elizabeth Banks, who also features in Role Models. Soul Men debuted in sixth, which makes for an inauspicious coda to the career of the late Bernie Mac.  Overall this weekend was much improved over the same frame last year.  This Friday, the name is Bond -- James Bond.

ROLE MODELS: Another "slacker coming of age" comedy, though the characters played by Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott actually have jobs.  The sitcom-like setup finds them mentoring troubled young boys, and succeeds because the script has plenty of laughs (generally less crude laughs than Zach & Miri, but with its share of nudity and profanity), because the cast executes it well, and because of the timeless music of KISS.

CHARLIE SHEEN and his pregnant bride, Brooke Mueller have hit a rough patch, according to InTouch magazine. Denise Richards filed for divorce from Sheen while pregnant with their second daughter.

SIENNA MILLER confirms she has split from boyfriend Balthazar Getty as she enjoyed the company of Olivier Martinez, Josh Hartnett and Leonardo DiCaprio. She needs new friends, as she was reportedly dropped from Guy Ritchie's movie Sherlock Holmes after her ex, Jude Law, agreed to play Dr Watson.

NICOLE KIDMAN will play the world's first post-op transsexual, married to Charlize Theron, in The Danish Girl. Hey, she won an Oscar for doing The Hours with a fake nose, so you can imagine the potential.

EVAN RACHEL WOOD rubbishes reports circulating about why she and Marilyn Manson broke up.

PEACHES GELDOF denies she's divorcing after 96 days -- but admits her marriage to Max Drummey has problems.

OUR FRIENDS, THE SAUDIS seem to be defying a religious ban on birthday celebrations.

PAKISTAN: US fighters and artillery targeted Taliban fighters in the Khyber agency in hot pursuit after Afghan forces along the border were attacked. In North Waziristan, up to 14 were killed in the first cross-border attack in Pakistan's tribal areas in one week. Three of al Qaeda's top 20 leaders have been killed in recent strikes, said General Petraeus.

IRAQ: Abu Ghazwan, the former leader of the "northern Baghdad belts," was killed in a joint raid in the Tarmiyah region. Iraqi troops detained 42 suspected terrorists in Mosul. Coalition forces captured eight al Qaeda operatives in Baghdad, Mosul, and Tikrit. 

PINGU, a penguin muscled out of its family by a greedy sibling, now cuddles up with a stuffed friend.

THE SQUIRREL THREAT: Many Britons do not understand the danger posed by suicide squirrels.

BIG BLUE  -- believed to have been the largest North American catfish in captivity -- has died in a Nebraska aquarium.

CAT survives a 17-story fall in Ontario.

TWO THIEVES were caught in southern Hungary with 12 pigs stuffed in their small van during a routine traffic check, Hungarian police said on Thursday.

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Ben Folds Five, Matthew Sweet, Cutout Bin, First Dog Attacks   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, November 07, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



...with the BEN FOLDS FIVE!  Back to Front presents the band's recent reunion concert, in which the trio played the 1999 album "The Unauthorized Biography Of Rienhold Messner" in its entirety.  Or you can click on individual tracks or interviews at the link. BONUS: This time of year always reminds me of "Kate." The Five looked so much younger then, but so did I. DOUBLE-BONUS: If you want to see the BFF live from that pre-Reinhold period, you should watch their Session at West 54th in August 1998.

JACK BRUCE of Cream attacks Led Zeppelin like it was the Hindenburg.

RICK ASTLEY  was awarded the title of Best Act Ever at the MTV Europe Music Awards. Astley, who has described the "Rickrolling" phenomenon as "very bizarre", refused to attend the awards but thanked fans. BONUS: The literal Rickroll could have used a better singer, but the script wasn't bad.

THE KINKS are writing songs for a potential reunion album, frontman Ray Davies told BBC News, even though his estranged brother and bandmate seems to want no part of it.  But could you have a Kinks reunion without Ray and Dave fighting?

MATTHEW SWEET stopped by the World Cafe for a chat and mini-set you can stream on demand via NPR.

UTOPIA: Todd Rundgren & Co. play "Couldn't I Just Tell You" live on German TV. 

OF MONTREAL frontman Kevin Barnes talks to The Line Of Best Fit about Iceland, London, Barcelona, and assures the interviewer that there is no such thing as a Georgie Fruit song.

ELLIOT BROOD uncorks a mini-set of "death country" for KEXP.

BLITZEN TRAPPER talks to the Indianapolis Star about quitting their day jobs and their favorite Madonna songs.

MY BRIGHTEST DIAMOND: Shara Worden talks to the Indianapolis Star about her choice of instruments and the influence of German visual artist Anselm Kiefer (whose works, btw, are quite impressive in person).

CUTOUT BIN: From Sly & the Family Stone to Everything But the Girl, from Gram Parsons to the Sex Pistols, from T. Rex to Iron & Wine, from James Brown to the Rutles and more  -- this Friday's fortuitous finds can be jukeboxed or streamed separately via the Pate page at the ol' HM.

NOW SHOWING: This weekend's wide releases are Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, currently scoring 63 percent on the ol' Tomatometer; Role Models, which is currently scoring 73 percent; and the late Bernie Mac paired with the ubiquitous Samuel L. Jackson in Soul Men, scoring 53 percent.

MADONNA and JUSTIN and BRITNEY: Oh My? No confirmation at presstime... UPDATE: Britney and Justin appeared onstage, but not together.

DANNY BONADUCE, a/k/a Danny Partridge, will pay 16K a month to his ex-wife, Gretchen, for spousal and child support. Apparently he thought wrong. The real shocker here is that Bonaduce can afford 16K monthly, though I guess I shouldn't be shocked; he and I used to ride the same train from time to time.

SARAH SILVERMAN explains what went wrong in London (among other things) in an interview with the NYP that totally steers clear of her relationship status with Jimmy Kimmel.

CHARLIZE THERON has settled the 2007 lawsuit filed against her by the luxury Swiss watchmaker Raymond Weil for deigning to wear other timepieces on her wrist in violation of an exclusivity clause in her contract.

WATCHMEN has a new featurette online, titled "Girls Kick A$$."

THE JENNIFER ANISTON NEURON could pave the way for mind-reading technology. Like I could make that up.

CELEBRITY OBSESSION reduces people's fear of death -- and estimates of how long various living and dead celebrities would be remembered increases with how representative of American values people considered them: "It's nice to know that people value MLK and JFK over Britney. But wow, apparently Joan Baez is almost as forgettable as Paris Hilton." Well, yeah -- just ask Bob Dylan.

IRAN: Pres. Ahmadinejad has offered his congratulations to Barack Obama on his US presidential win. It is the first official message of goodwill presented to an American leader by the Islamic theocracy.

IRAQ will purchase 516 military aircraft from the US and France for its new Air Force. The US has accepted some Iraqi proposals to change a pact governing the presence of U.S. troops, but had reservations about others, necessitating further talks.

FIRST DOG BARNEY was caught biting a member of the White House press corps Thursday in Washington DC; video at the link. Someone must have heard that the Obamas are adopting a rescue puppy.

A MISCHIEVOUS MINK that "eats" cabin cruisers is being hunted at a posh marina.

A TIMID PITBULL was stolen in deKalb County, GA; it's owners fear Sophia may be sold into the dogfighting underground.

ESCAPED TIGERS were foiled by chickens in the western city of Zitacuaro, Mexico.

LEMMINGS not jumping off cliffs; scientists blame global warming.

FOX on the RUN: With a fox locked onto her arm, an Arizona jogger ran a mile to her car, where she was able to dislodge the animal, throw it into the trunk and drive to a Prescott, AZ hospital. Cue The Sweet.

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Emmy the Great, Born Ruffians, Laundro-Matinee, Cats in the Box   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, November 06, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


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The Annuals, Yma Sumac RIP, The Posies, Stealth Octopus   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, November 05, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


MAGICAL MYSTERY CHORD: A mathemetician unlocks the secret of the opening chord of The Beatles' "A Hard Day's Night." All it took was a little Fourier analysis.

THE ANNUALS get a Twofer from the World Cafe.

FLEET FOXES: Robin Pecknold talks to Filter about the influence of The Zombies' Odyssey and Oracle, and to Rolling Stone about the depths of high-school geekdom.

SST: From an inauspicious beginning selling spare radio parts, SST went on to establish the US indie underground of the 80s. But its 30th anniversary earlier this year went uncelebrated - even by its own bands.

YMA SUMAC, the Peruvian-born singer whose spectacular multi-octave vocal range and exotic persona made her an international sensation in the 1950s, has died of cancer. She was 86.

THE POSIES get some local love from the Bellingham Herald, joining Loretta Lynn, keyboardist Larry Knechtel, rock singer Randy Bachman, and the indie-rock group Death Cab for Cutie on the list of musicians with musical connections to Whatcom County, WA. A nice opportunity to link "Golden Blunders." Still fab 18 years later.

THE HOLD STEADY: Craig Finn talks to the Associated Press about the value of smiling, not to mention forgiveness and redemption.

FLYOVER ROCK: A piece by Ann Powers in the L.A, Times spurs discussion of "blue-state coastal elitist music journalism," as well as the observation that mid-America still buys its music. There are related observations at PopMatters: "At the end of the day, glam rock sold more albums, and Reagan grabbed more votes, than anything that has come since, and the reason why is a principle of human communication that we might as well call the Tao of Motley Crue... All you need is a slogan, something catchy and seductive and ambiguous and self-actualizing like 'Girls, Girls, Girls' or 'Pour Some Sugar on Me' or 'We are the Change We've been Waiting For'."

OKKERVIL RIVER: Will Scheff talks to Filter about The Stand-Ins album, as well as being a "stand-in" of sorts: "I see myself as a working musician. I'm not Justin Timberlake, I'm not even Vampire Weekend..."

DRESSY BESSY gets a meaty profile at Aversion, including sage words from singer/guitarist Tammy Ealom: "I just have the desire to rock. I don't have the desire to be a rock star," she exclaims. "That's the difference between a lot of us. I do it for me."

KATE WINSLET bares all in the new Vanity Fair, inlcuding revealing that Emma Thompson was her matchmaker. Winslet is furious at suggestions that she was Photoshopped into shape.

AMY WINEHOUSE has turned in demos for her next album; Universal Music Group CEO Lucian Grange says they're "sensational."

LINDSAY LOHAN loses yet another gig -- this time as hostess of the World Music Awards. She's being replaced by denise Richards. Ouch.

MADONNA: Guy Ritchie has hired a top lawyer in his battle with Madge over where their children should live.

KEANU REEVES is cleared in a civil suit brought by a paparazzo who claimed he was run over by Reeves.

MONSTERS vs. ALIENS, due in March, has released its first trailer.

TIM ROBBINS: Victim of voter suppression?

BRADGELINA: Jolie still sees herself as "just a punk kid with tattoos."

PEANUTS appear in 20 new webisodes; for a limited time, fans will be able to download two episodes of the series for free on Apple's iTunes.

BARACK OBAMA won the US presidential election. I don't do much domestic politics here -- and y'all probably already heard about it -- but it seems kinda notable.

SOMALIA: A 13-year-old girl was raped, then stoned to death for adultery.

IRAQ: A top Shiite lawmaker said on Tuesday that Iraq has received "positive" signals from Washington for the changes which Baghdad proposed to the draft security deal between the two countries. Iraq's Sunni Arab vice president said the pact should be put to a referendum. The Iraqi military is moving beyond just counter-terrorism efforts to building combat and logistics capabilities. Jihadis are criticizing Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and the Islamic State of Iraq.

STEALTH OCTOPUS: Pretty amazing camoflage.

THE GHOST BAT: Awesome pic, but couldn't you have gotten this out for Halloween?

JURASSIC PARK: One step closer.

A ROOSTER was busted in downstate Illinois after it allegedly confronted a woman and her child.

COCKATOO vs. PYTHON: The cockatoo never had a chance.

THOUSANDS of JELLYFISH shut down a nuclear reactor at the Diablo Canyon Power Plant. No word on whether militant squirrels masterminded the attack.

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Stephen Malkmus, New Releases, Lucinda Williams, Rhino Attack Drill   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, November 04, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


STEPHEN MALKMUS & THE JICKS are joined by Blitzen Trapper for a rendition of the James Gang's "Funk 49" in St. Louis. More Cowbell!

NEW RELEASES: Mavis Staples and Led Zeppelin are among those streaming in full this week via Spinner.  Merge Records is re-issuing albums from Camera ObscuraMagnetic Fields, and Polvo on vinyl.

STEVE ALBINI talks to The List about Shellac and All Tomorrow's Parties.

LUCINDA WILLIAMS has an interview + tracks streaming at NPR from All Things Considered.

THE U2 TOWER, slated to be th tallest building in Dublin, has been put on hold due to the slumping property market.

THE TOP TEN AUTUMN ALBUMS, according to Rawkblog.

THAT PETROL EMOTION plays "Big Decision" and "Swamp" on The Tube, circa 1987. It's your Twofer Tuesday. Whatcha gotta do in this day and age? Gotta agitate and educate and organize.

GARY GLITTER is commercial poison for Hewlett Packard.

THE NERVES will release their first full-length compilation Nov. 25th.

LAURA MARLING picks out a playlist of tracks that inspire her art for Drowned In Sound.

THE DESCENDENTS: Co-founder and original guitarist Frank Navetta died Friday, after a seeming sudden, undisclosed illness.

JOAQUIN PHOENIX maintains that he is quitting acting to pursue music, but friends reportedly fret that he may be off the wagon.

AMY WINEHOUSE has returned to the hospital for ongoing treatment, after a weekend at home.

GUY RITCHIE was threatened by a crazed, knife-wielding Madonna fan who burst onto the set of his new Shelock Holmes movie.

JOHN CLEESE is selling his second home - just weeks after settling a messy divorce.  So don't call him "Two-Sheds."

IRON MAN 2: Was dropping Terrence Howard about more than money?

HEROES: Co-exec producers Jesse Alexander and Jeph Loeb were axed, reportedly for both creative and budgetary reasons.

QUANTUM OF SOLACE: The new James Bond movie shattered UK box office records. FNC's Roger Friedman did not like it, but he wanted the gadgets and comedy that were also missing from Casino Royale. The Communist Party in St. Petersburg says Olga Kurylenko has betrayed her roots. I'm thinking the Ukranian hottie sees it differently.  Meanwhile, a professor finds that the once improbable seeming Bond villains have become close to the real threats face faced by modern security services.

NATALIE DORMER talks to the Daily Mail about Heath Ledger, The Tudors, martial arts, poker and more...

OUR FRIENDS, THE SAUDIS claim they stopped a terror attack against the US in 2003.

SYRIA has mobilized some 3000 troops and heavy equipment near its border with eastern Lebanon, Beirut's As-Safir newspaper reported over the weekend.

IRAQ: The US is actively transferring ownership of Iraq's troubled Diyala Province, using a tough-love approach to force Iraq to take on greater control ahead of whatever security pact may be entered into by the two nations. The Iraqi government plans to cut salaries for the estimated 100K members of the Sons of Iraq, a move certain to aggravate building tensions between the Sunni volunteer force and the Shiite-led government.

RHINO ATTACK DRILL, complete with pantomime rhino: Let's go to the video.

CAT CAMS: Inquisitive owners can find out exactly what their pets are getting up to - by hanging tiny digital cameras from their necks.  Pics at the link.

PYTHON in a TOILET leads Dutch authorities to uncover an illegal exotic animal trading ring set up in a hotel.

CRICKET-FIGHTING: Shanghai police have smashed a professional cricket fighting ring in a raid that snared the city's most notorious handler of the insects, according to state media.

THE BIRDS: An elderly woman has been forced to have her leg amputated after it became infected and then gangrenous when she was pecked by a pet magpie.

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