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Lester Bangs, Advance Wilco and Bjork, Dungen, Knut   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, May 02, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


CHUCK BERRY and JOHN LENNON, along with Yoko and Elephant's Memory, play "Johnny B. Goode" on The Mike Douglas Show.

LESTER BANGS:  Portrayed by Oscar winner Philip Seymour Hoffman in Almost Famous, and paid tribute in song by musicians as diverse as the Ramones, Bob Seger, R.E.M., the Buzzcocks, the Mekons and Big Audio Dynamite, his iconoclastic rock criticism remains inspirational 25 years after his death.  So much so that PopMatters has posted an anguished open letter to Bangs on the sorry state of rock criticism.  BONUS:  The final chat with Lester Bangs from 11/99.

WILCO is now streaming Sky Blue Sky in full on demand ahead of the May 15 release date.

FEIST is offering three bonus downloads... if you get her new album through Best Buy!  What will this do to her indie cred?

BJORK'S new album is due next week, but you can stream the whole thing now from NME, in return for your e-mail address.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO:  Since we're between the new Son Volt album and the upcoming Wilco album, I was in the mood for "Chickamauga" by Uncle Tupelo.

BOBBY "BORIS" PICKETT, whose dead-on Boris Karloff impression propelled the Halloween anthem "Monster Mash" to the top of the charts in 1962, making him one of pop music's most enduring one-hit wonders, has died of leukemia. He was 69.

DUNGEN has released "Familj" as an advance track from Tio Bitar, due May 15th.  Brandon Stuosy recently talked to guitarist Reine Fiske about his day job as a Swedish postal worker.

THE PHIL SPECTOR TRIAL has been canceled until Monday, May 7, because of problems with defense attorney Bruce Cutler's diabetes medications.

NEIL YOUNG:  The Age notes that the recently released Crazy Horse at the Fillmore 1970 and Live At Massey Hall 1971 are just appetizers for a 10-disc box of CDs and DVDs due in September, The Archives Vol. 1, 1963-1972. That box, in turn, is one of "four or five" that Young has up his chequered flannel sleeve for future Christmases.

THE McCARTNEYS:  Sean Ghent, hired last May to head up a new three-man close protection team for the couple as they prepared to announce their divorce, says Heather blames Sir Paul's broken promises over changing his boozy, dope-smoking lifestyle for splitting them up.  He also claims Sir Paul was depressed and seeing a shrink after the split.  Meanwhile, speculation is growing over the "deepening friendship" between the Cute One and brewery heiress Sabrina Guinness.

TOM POSTON, a comic TV fixture from "The Steve Allen Show," "To Tell the Truth," "Mork & Mindy," "The Bob Newhart Show" and "Newhart," to name but a few, died Monday at his L.A. home after a brief illness; he was 85.

BRITNEY SPEARS was the victim of attempted blackmail after a fan gave her a bugged teddy bear in order to eavesdrop on the pop tart's private conversations.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  Cruise seems to have made a friend of former target Brooke Shields, as the two (and their spouses) were betting their blues away in Sin City.

NO SECRET:  Gisele Bundchen is giving up her wings as lead angel for lingerie giant Victoria's Secret because it wouldn't up her $5 million-a-year salary.  A source told Page Six: "Her demands were outrageous. She got a new lawyer who was unrealistic."

ROSIE O'DONNELL says "you'll hear very soon" about her post-View plans.  In the meantime, she's using the show to suggest that Afghanistan had nothing to do with 9/11, that the gov't made things up to invade Iraq (though Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) would disagree), that the "vast majority" of the US military join because they are poor and uneducated (all data to the contrary), and remind us that terrorists are "mothers" and "fathers."  Osama bin Laden has fathered anywhere from 12 to 24 children, so what's not to like?

LINDSAY LOHAN admits that part of her loves being a paparazzi target -- but she wishes the photogs would stop bothering her for a while so that she can win an Oscar.  I don't think she could live without the cameras for that long.

ORLANDO BLOOM hugged an angry stalker who broke into his hotel room.  He may end up regretting telling that story.

BRADGELINA:  Angelina Jolie has more pull with the US Marshals than Supreme Court Justice Sam Alito.

KIM KARDASHIAN:  The celebutard has dropped her lawsuit against Vivid Entertainment over the release of her sex tape with former BF, R&B artist Ray J... and will reportedly receive close to five million in the settlement.

IRON MAN:  There's a "first look" at the superhero movie -- including quotes from Robert Downey Jr. and director Jon Favreau -- in the USA Today.  Actually, I'm digging this picture of the original armor from the movie.

RATATOUILLE:  It's not due until June 29th, but you can see nine minutes of Pixar's next picture (with intros from director Brad Bird) at Uncle Walt's place now.

GLOBAL WARMING:  During the last 10,000 years climate has been seesawing between the North and South Atlantic Oceans, according to a new study.  The results imply that Europe may face a slightly cooler future than predicted by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

TURKEY'S three-way standoff between the government, opposition and military over the next president moved to the nation's top court, where an expected ruling could send the nation to early elections - or to continued parliamentary balloting under the shadow of disapproving generals.

IRAN:  A grand coalition of anti-government forces is planning a second Iranian revolution via the ballot box to deny Pres. Ahmadinejad another term in office and break the grip of what they call the "militia state" on public life and personal freedom.  Meanwhile, the First International Congress on the Culture of Resistance got under way with a discussion of "The Islamic World, Victim of Terrorism."  Since yesterday was May Day, it's worth noting that Tehran has not been shy about partially severing the tongue of a labor organizer, or arresting the head of the bakery workers, or jailing striking teachers, and banning labor activities by metal and electrical workers.

IRAQ:  An Iraqi Interior ministry official announced the death of Abu Ayyoub al-Masri, known also as the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, but uncertainties have emerged and the claim is denied by  the "Islamic State of Iraq."  Shaker of salt.  A rumor is circulating in Baghdad that Moqtada al-Sadr has ordered the Mahdi Army to attack trucks transporting concrete blocks, in order to frustrate the plan to build a wall separating the area of Adamiya from the rest of the capital, according to IraqSlogger.  Bing West, on his 13th trip visiting with units in Iraq, reports from Combat Outpost Fort Apache in Adamiyah.  Owen West (Bing's son), who has served two tours in Iraq, has a NYT op-ed on the "surge."  Nationwide, it appears that US casualties were up and civilian casualties were down this month.  Prime Minister al-Maliki said that the Iraqi Cabinet accepted a draft law which states how Iraq's oil profits will be shared and outlines terms of how foreign oil agencies will be able to operate in the country.

KNUT UPDATE:  The polar bear's days of extreme cuteness are numbered now that he is gradually mutating from a fluffy porridge-lapping cub into a heavy bruiser with a penchant for meat off the bone.

LITTLE DEBBIE vs. THE BEAR -- and the snackcake wins!

REGGIE RETURNS!  Reggie the alligator reappeared Monday after vanishing for 1 1/2 years in L.A.'s Lake Machado, where the reptile turned up in 2005 and repeatedly skunked would-be 'gator wranglers.

DUCKS have evolved complicated genitals in what appears to be an "arms race" between the sexes, researchers reported on Tuesday.  Yeah, that's it... an "arms" race.

THE FASTEST CHIHUAHUA IN AMERICA competition has started up again.  Here's some video from last year.

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Beirut, New Releases, PB&J, Grizzly Bear, Goatgate   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, May 01, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


BEIRUT:  The band's latest video, for "Elephant Gun," (from the Lon Gisland EP) sports trunks, trumpets, and the Middle-European sound for which the band is currently known (word is there will be less of it on the upcoming LP).

NEW RELEASES:  Dinosaur Jr., Feist, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, the indie-friendly Spider-Man 3 sdtk and more are all streaming in full this week via Spinner.

JOY DIVISION:  The Ian Curtis biopic, Control, will open the Director's Fortnight at this years Cannes Film Festival.

PETER BJORN & JOHN played DC's 9:30 Club last night, so you can stream their set and that of opener Fujiya and Miyagi via NPR now.

ARCTIC MONKEYS may have set a new UK chart record this weekend with 18 songs in the top 200 -- a position not seen since the heyday of The Beatles -- albeit with help from the new rules counting download sales.

TWOFER TUESDAY:  From the "Where Are They Now?" file, we have "I Spy for the FBI" and "Free Yourself" from Hollywood ska-soul combo The Untouchables -- both from Back Porch Video, which seems to have been a cross between early MTV and Wayne's World.

WARREN ZEVON:  The New York Times reviews  "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead," a no-holds-barred oral history of the lovable but wildly aberrant singer-songwriter, as told to his estranged wife, Crystal Zevon, after learning he had terminal cancer.

GRIZZLY BEAR frontman Ed Droste is interviewed about touring, tattoos and technology at Daytrotter, along with the free song downloads, including the band's take on "He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss)":  "I think we were really struck by the lyrical content and how dark it was. Dan had gotten the Phil Spector box set and he'd been listening to it a lot. He said, ‘I think we need to play this song.' I'd never heard that one before. And a man singing it was really intriguing to us."

GRUFF RHYS:  Releasing his second solo album, Candylion, is just the latest in an eventful year for the Super Furry Animals frontman. The SFA have just finished recording their eighth studio album, likely due in August; he also has a number of festival gigs and just announced the formation of Neon Neon, a side project with Boom Bip, whose first record is also due for release this summer.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE:  The troubled singer and the supposedly sober supermodel are getting blamed for encouraging kids to smoke by making the habit "look cool."  Which is faintly amusing, considering that Doherty is set to miss the launch of his fiancée's new fashion line because he is having a new implant fitted to help him quit drugs.

ROSEANNE BARR has emerged as the top contender to replace Rosie O'Donnell next year on The View, according to Page Six.  RELATED:  O'Donnell is a TV maestro who could mean big bucks for the next studio that signs her up, TV industry experts say.  And it appears that Elisabeth Hasselbeck is knocked up again.

BRITNEY SPEARS:  The pop tart's  family feud may soon be coming to a magazine near you. Spears, who fired her manager and is fighting with her dad, is in talks with Allure to do a makeover shoot for its cover and give a tell-all interview.  Vanity Fair is also interested.  Also, she's been spotted again with rehabbing rocker Howie Day.

THE McCARTNEYS:  Heather Mills believes she will be awarded £25 million in her divorce from Sir Paul McCartney, friends claim. They spoke out after Miss Mills's former bodyguard, Sean Ghent, suggested she was seeking a £200 million settlement.

BOY GEORGE is being investigated by London detectives probing assault and false imprisonment allegations made by a 28-year-old male escort.

COURTNEY LOVE plans to auction Kurt Cobain's belongings at Christie's , with "a bunch" of the money going to charity.  Love feels she has to move on with her life:  "I still wear his pajamas to bed. How am I ever going to go form another relationship in my lifetime wearing Kurt's pajamas?"

BRADGELINA:  Jolie and Mariane Pearl (the widow of murdered  Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, whom Jolie is playing on film), sit for a joint interview with Glamour magazine, which starts with the unusual way they met.

JON VOIGHT, Jolie's estranged father, talks to Radar magazine about the war on terror... and does not give the typical Hollywood answers.

ANNA NICOLE SMITH IS STILL DEAD, but publishers are being pitched a book based on hours of never-printed interviews, in which the former Playmate talks about everything from her alleged childhood sex abuse to bedroom memories of billionaire husband J. Howard Marshall.

MADONNA will be unable to adopt another child from Malawi until legal difficulties with David are resolved.

TOM-KAT gets a tabloid round-up of the rumors surrounding their marriage via MSN.

JODIE FOSTER will play Leni Riefenstahl in a movie bound to generate controversy over the life and work of the Nazi documentarian.  The project has been in the works for at least seven years, but now a script is being written, and a director is being negotiated.

REESE & RYAN BREAK-UPDATE:  Witherspoon has reportedly told Jake Gyllenhaal to "date other people until she's ready to commit."

MIRACLES of SCIENCE:  A wonder pill has been developed which not only boosts a female's sex drive, but helps her lose weight at the same time. So far it has been tested only on shrews and monkeys, so I'm sure there are plenty of punchlines to be had.

GLOBAL WARMING...on MARS:  The red planet is being hit by climate change and so fast that it could lose its southern ice cap.  The mechanism at work on Mars appears, however, to be different from that on Earth, as Martians have yet to invent the SUV.  So much for that War of the Worlds thing.

TURKEY:  Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul has failed to gain enough support in parliament to become president.  Secular opposition parties want to stop the Islamist-rooted AK Party from winning the presidency and will challenge the election in court.

AFGHANISTAN:  NATO and Afghan forces killed 136 Taliban in a weekend offensive in the Zerkoh Valley of Herat.  Infant mortality has dropped by 18 percent, one of the first real signs of recovery for the country five years after the fall of the Taliban regime.  That means that 40,000 to 50,000 infants who were dying annually during the Taliban era are alive today.

IRAQ:  Al-Sabah reported that some community leaders in Adhamiya are working on forming a council for their own district like that formed in Anbar province to fight al Qaeda.  A department of the prime minister's office is playing a leading role in the arrest and removal of senior Iraqi army and national police officers, some of whom had apparently worked too aggressively to combat violent Shiite militias, according to US military officials in Baghdad.  Michael Yon, embedded with the 1-4 Cavalry securing Babel College in Baghdad, has posted a photo essay of his journeys, with notes on the impact of the new joint operation strategy in the capital: "Despite so much bad news, much of which I deliver, it's heartening that most of the Iraqis are not fearful of Americans. What many Iraqis REALLY want - and they say it clearly - is to communicate directly with Americans at home..."

GOATGATE:  Electronics giant Sony has sparked a major row over animal cruelty and the ethics of the computer industry by using a freshly slaughtered goat to promote a violent video game.  Gaming site Kotaku sought out Sony for... the rest of the story.

BRAZILIAN FIRE ANTS:  A 2001 study shows the state of Texas spent nearly billion trying to fend off these ants, which are blamed for attacking farm animals, destroying utility boxes and land.

A BEAR ATTACK may not be much worse than the recovery from a bear attack.

SUMATRAN ORANGUTANS at Zoo Atlanta are playing computer games while researchers study their cognitive skills -- and zoo visitors get to watch for fun.

A SUMATRAN RHINO from L.A. is getting the pampered treatment from his Indonesian keepers -- including mud, massages and frequent foot rubs -- in hopes of preserving the species.

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JAMC, Guilty Pleasures, Glenn Mercer, White Stripes, Tiny Dancer   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, April 30, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


THE JESUS & MARY CHAIN:  The band's real first reunion show since 1998 at Pomona's Glass House was called "rocky" by Tony Pierce at LAist, but other attendees commenting at Stereogum disagreed...and my prior online encounters with Pierce give me more confidence in the 'Gum folk.  No Scarlett Johansson singing backup, but Giant Drag queen Annie Hardy (linked here on Friday) joined in on "Just Like Honey."  Both of the first two links have an extra clip.  BONUS:  Here's video of "Sidewalking."  DOUBLE-BONUS:  Scarlett Johansson did show for the Coachella festival.  ALSO:  Jim Reid is working with Rhino Records on an extensive rarities box set.

COACHELLA got plenty of press, but I enjoyed the coveage from Stereogum and even Rolling Stone, who had Grizzly Bear's Ed Droste blog it for them.

GUILT BY ASSOCIATION:  Some of the biggest names in indie music -- including Devendra Banhart, Superchunk, Mike Watt, Jim O'Rourke and Luna -- have recorded versions of their favorite guilty pleasures for a compilation due August 7th.  You can stream Petra Haden's fab take on Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" (which also quotes Wilson Phillips), plus Will Oldham's cover of Mariah Carey's "Can't Take That Away" and Devendra Banhart's cover of Oasis' "Don't Look Back in Anger" at the AlbumSpace -- where all are the subject of a video contest. 

IGGY POP talks to Spinner about Mike Watt, Steve Albini and Ashlee Simpson.

GLENN MERCER, late of the Feelies and Wake Ooloo, has a solo album coming from Pravda Records (where you can still get your Pate on).  Wheels In Motion will feature ex-Feelies Stan Demeski, Vinny DeNunzio, Dave Weckerman, Anton Fier (all played drums on various tracks) and Brenda Sauter (bass).  You can stream a couple from Glenn at HisSpace.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO:  Speaking of guilty pleasures, they don't get much guiltier than Al Stewart's "Year of the Cat."  "Strolling through the crowd like Peter Lorre?'  NTTAWWT.  But at least I posted the shorter version, from the Old Grey Whistle Test.

CROWDED HOUSE will release its first album in nearly 15 years in July, featuring Smiths/Modest Mouse guitarist Johnny Marr on a pair of songs.

THE WHITE STRIPES:  I've been remiss in not mentiong a few things about Icky Thump, which is due June 19th.  You can check out the cover art, which has Jack and Meg dressed as a Pearly King and Pearly Queen.  Paste has the track listing.  And most important, the title track was played on XM radio, which means it has turned up on the ol' HM.

PETER BJORN & JOHN:  Peter answers questions for Gothamist, including "What came first, the music or the misery?" (which he may not have caught as a High Fidelity reference).  In the Washington Post, Bjorn talked about the "Young Folks" and the Stop Peter Bjorn and John blog: "That was one of the best blogs I ever read," Yttling says, "but it stopped too early."  The trio plays DC's 9:30 club tonight, so you should be able to stream it live on NPR, and on demand starting Tuesday.

THE TRAGICALLY HIP has a live set streaming from the World Cafe via NPR.  Pate fans may be amused to discover one of the songs in the set is titled "Bobcaygeon."

PETE DOHERTY UPDATE:  The troubled singer and Carl Barat have dismissed the idea of a full-blown Libertines comeback, following their recent reunion at London's Hackney Empire earlier this month.

BRADGELINA:  The National Enquirer is reporting that Jolie has a potentially fatal "serious health problem" (does it get more serious than fatal?), claiming she is "losing her hair", suffers "uncontrollable shaking" and is plagued by blinding headaches.  It adds that Pitt will stand by the actress, despite rumours that he wants Jennifer Aniston back.  I dunno... these pics of Jolie autographing some dude's balls look alright.  Other rumors have the couple discussing a sequel to Mr. & Mrs. Smith.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE:  Folks took the pre-Spidey weekend off, with no films cracking the $10 million mark.  Disturbia took number one for the third week, making $9.1 million on a mere 30% drop; it has performed well above expectations and raises Shia LeBouf's profile for the fourth Indiana Jones flick.  The Invisible and Next debuted at $7.6 million and $7.2 million; two flops that may have to make their money on the Spidey overflow next weekend.  Fracture was not far behind at $7.1 million this weekend, but its performance has been anemic overall.   Blades of Glory rounds out the Top Five, having now made $108.1 million on a $60 million budget.  Disney's Meet the Robinsons falls to sixth, earning $4.9 million in its fifth weekend.  Hot Fuzz added 464 venues, earned $4.8 million, and dropped a negligible 18%.  Vacancy slid from fourth to eighth, earning $4.2 million, and dropping a serious 45%.  WWE's The Condemned finishes ninth; its per screen average is below even other WWE movies.  Are We Done Yet? wasn't, but will be next weekend.

ALEC BALDWIN may have dumped CAA as his agency last week because a video posted on FunnyOrDie.com -- a site started by CAA's Will Farrell -- that showed Dora the Explorer listening to his infamous phone rant against his daughter.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  Cruise's friend Jenna Elfman is shooting down reports that the actor's five-month marriage to Katie Holmes is unstable.  Elfman, who, like Cruise, is a fellow Scientologist, rejects tabloid stories alleging that Holmes has been living in a "prison-like" environment and that Cruise has pushed her to adopt his spiritual beliefs.

BRITNEY SPEARS was pulled over by Beverly Hills police for allegedly speeding but was let off with a warning.

SNOOP DOGG has been banned from entering Australia after failing a character test, according to officials.

JESSICA BIEL keeps her distance from the Hollywood celebrity party scene, mainly because she has no interest in being photographed rolling out of nightclubs drunk.  She is also convinced she could take care of herself in a physical confrontation; thanks to the training she's received on action flicks, she feels "sort of feel unstoppable."

ANNA NICOLE SMITH IS STILL DEAD, and baby daddy Larry Birkhead got one million bucks richer in a secret deal with NBC that provided exclusives for the network's Today and Access Hollywood programs, and on its Bravo channel.

RICHARD GERE, ordered arrested by an Indian court for kissing Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty, offered a "sincere apology" for any offense he caused: "My clumsy attempt at a 'Shall We Dance' move was a naive misread of Indian customs and I assure you nothing more."  He also tried to get Shilpy off the hook: "Of course, I've felt terrible that she should carry a burden that is no fault of hers. The burden is mine and no one else's."

WILL & GRACE creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan will get "a s**tload" of money" in settling a lawsuit they brought against NBC, alleging the network screwed them out of a fortune in profits by cooking the books. In a twist, the jury had already rendered a verdict for $48.5 million plus an untold amount in punitive damages, but before the verdict was read, NBC lawyers told the court that they discovered new information that the juryforeman had a website which revealed he allegedly hated big corporations, which resulted in the foreman's removal and would have resulted in new deliberations.

REESE & RYAN BREAK-UPDATE:  Reese Witherspoon's rumored romance with co-star Jake Gyllenhaal is rumored to be dunzo, supposedly over family demands on Witherspoon's time.

FHM's 100 SEXIEST WOMEN 2007 is topped by Jessica Alba, but the entire list (with photos and webclips) can be found at the link.

IRAN has banned Western-style haircuts and eyebrow plucking for men.  Ther seems to be a similar ban in the Palestinan Territory.

TURKEY:  Some 700,000 Turks waving the red national flag flooded central Istanbul on Sunday to demand the resignation of the government, saying the Islamic roots of Turkey's leaders threatened to destroy the country's modern foundations.  More than 300,000 people took part in a similar rally in Ankara two weeks ago.

BIG FISHES CAUGHT:  Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi was captured by the CIA as he was attempting to travel back to his native country, Iraq to "manage" al Qaeda's operations, including plots on Western interests outside of Iraq.  He's so big he's listed just a few lines below Osama bin Laden in Executive Order 13224, executed by Bush on September 23, 2001.  He brokered the relationship between bin Laden and Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi.  Also in General Petraeus' public comments about conditions in Iraq, he noted the the detention of Abu Mustafa al-Sheibani, who is not a Baathist or a member of al-Qaeda, but was working for Iran, heading a network of insurgents created by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps with the express purpose of committing violence against US and coalition forces in Iraq. He was on the Iraqi Government's "41 most wanted" list.

IRAQ:  In a massive synchronized effort to disrupt the al-Qaeda network, Coalition Forces descended on targets in Anbar and Salah ad Din provinces, capturing 72 suspected terrorists and seizing bomb-making materials.  Up to 20 thousand policemen have been recruited by the Anbar Salvation Council in recent weeks.  The Iraqi Command of the Saddam's old Baath Party announced that 30 senior command members of the party have been expelled for attempting to divide the party, for contacting "foreign intelligence agencies," and for "high treason" against the party and nation.  Armed clashes broke out in Kadhmiya district in northern Baghdad after US forces stormed Muqtada Al-Sadr's office and arrested some of the people inside.  Details of a long-anticipated cabinet shake-up are due to be announced soon, two Iraqi members of parliament said.  And the NYT reports on the improved climate in Anbar province, while doing its best to assure us that doom could still be just around the corner.

TINY DANCER, a rust-colored, long-haired Chihuahua that may just be the world's smallest dog, weighing 18 ounces and standing not much more than 4 inches tall.  Born June 8, Dancer can't officially claim the title until he is 1 year old.  (Thanks, Dad.)

THE DOG-SHEEP SCAM, mentioned here Friday, looks to be an urban myth which last did the rounds in February 2006.

A ZHENGZHAO CITY CAT gave birth to four kittens, one of which looks like a white poodle.  Or maybe a sheep!

THE SQUIRREL THREAT:  A South Carolina squirrel seems to be shaking down local businesses in some sort of protection racket.  Meanwhile, a squirrel found dead of the plague near Denver raises questions about the rodents' WMD program.

PEGGY, a six-month-old Rottweiler cross, set fire to her home -- then survived by leaping into the bath and gulping air through the plughole.

HOGZILLA, the near-mythical monster hog that roamed south Georgia, is headed for the big screen in an indie horror flick.

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Animals, Pipettes, Flaming Lips, Cutout Bin, Dog Tails   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, April 27, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



...with THE ANIMALS!  Because nothing fuels a Friday like "Don't Bring Me Down"  and other classics like "We Gotta Get Out of this Place" (on an odd set), "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" (at the 1965 NME poll-winners concert), "It's My Life" (on another weird set for Hullaballoo), and "House of the Rising Sun" (natch).

THE PIPETTES announce US tour dates and release dates for an EP and their album.  Do I have my ticket?  Why, yes. (If you haven't heard them, visit their website.)

THE FRAMES played DC's 9:30 Club last night, so you should be able to stream the gig on demand from NPR now.

20 THINGS YOU NEVER KNEW about Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, excerpted from The Act You've Known For All These Years, due on June 1 -- the 30th anniversary of the LP's release.  Take it with a grain of salt; No.2 -- "Paul hadn't taken LSD when he wrote 'Lucy'," overlooks the fact that "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" was written mainly by John.

THE FLAMING LIPS:  Stereogum can hook you up to streams of "The Supreme Being Teaches Spiderman How To Be In Love," which will appear on the Spider-Man 3 soundtrack.  Because it would be just too weird -- even for the Lips -- to have that on the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO:  A guilty pleasure just popped up on the Tube -- "Baker Street," by Gerry Rafferty.  BONUS:  Foo Fighters.

PHIL SPECTOR may be facing a murder rap, but it didn't stop him from trashing Jacko, Brian Wilson, Bruce Springsteen and more in an upcoming biography.  Meanwhile, the first witness in his trial, Dorothy Melvin, testified this afternoon that the music legend pulled a revolver and assaulted her in his Pasadena home in 1993.

GIANT DRAG:  Annie Hardy talks to LA Weekly about soldiering on without multi-instrumentalist Micah Calabrese, and about her imaginary boyfriend.  The article mentions GD's raw cover of Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game," but their stripped-down cover of "God Only Knows" is pretty good, too.

SOPHOMORE SLUMPS?  MTV News suggests that second albums from buzz bands like the Arcade Fire, Arctic Monkeys, Bloc Party, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah have landed "with a thud."  But the Arcade Fire scores an 87 on Metacritic and debuted at No.2 on the Billboard chart, with the Arctic Monkeys scoring 82 on Metacritic.  Bloc Party scored 65 and debuted at number 12 on the Billboard chart,  CYHSY scored 63 and debuted at 47 on the Billboard charts -- their debut has sold three times as much, but never made the US charts.  So in MTV's haste to point out that the hype machine worked so well that nothing these bands did could possibly live up to the expectations, their continued success is unfairly discounted.

THE CUTOUT BIN:  This Friday's fortuitous finds from the ol' HM are:  Bernard Herrmann - Twisted Nerve;  Otis Redding - I Can't Turn You Loose; Wilson Pickett - Everybody Needs Somebody to Love; Cheap Trick - Surrender; Urge Overkill - Sister Havana; Thin Lizzy - The Boys Are Back In Town; Van Halen - You Really Got Me; The Kinks - The Village Green Preservation Society; The Feelies - Let's Go; The Smithereens - Behind the Wall of Sleep; Mando Diao - Long Before Rock 'n' Roll; The Jesus & Mary Chain - Taste Of Cindy; Teenage Fanclub - Like A Virgin; Snow Patrol - Crazy In Love; Arctic Monkeys - Baby, I'm Yours; The Zombies - When the Lovelight Starts Shining Through Your Eyes; The Detroit Cobras - I Wanna Know Whats Going On; Space Negroes - In A Gadda Da Vida; and Rare Earth - I Just Want To Celebrate.

HUGH GRANT was arrested after allegedly hurling a tub of baked beans at a paparazzo.  He also reportedly kicked snapper Ian Whittaker.  Alleged pics at the link.

BRITNEY SPEARS:  Speaking of paparazzi, her hostility toward the press makes a lot more sense once you see her convertable trailed by eight carloads of photogs.  But it would be less crazy if she wasn't phoning the paps before she goes out.

NOW SHOWING:  The weekend before Spider-Man 3 finds studios dumping the following into wide release:  Nicolas Cage and Jessica Biel in Next, currently scoring 33 percent on the ol' Tomatometer; WWE Films' The Condemned, scoring 12 percent; the supernatural teen thriller The Invisible and Jamie Kennedy Kickin' It Old School were not screened for critics.

ROSIE O'DONNELL'S departure from The View was triggered when when Barbara Walters failed to defend her against Donald Trump?  Or was it because Rosie wanted Barbara's job?  I don't pretend to know, and tend to believe the obvious answer that she didn't want to be locked into a three-year deal if she thought she could make more money doing other things.  But I also think these ruminations are a fitting way to bid adieu to TV's biggest conspiracy theorist.

EVE was busted on suspicion of DUI after she crashed her gold Maserati on Hollywood Boulevard, but the really odd part of the story is the early-hours jailhouse visit from Sean Penn.

LINDSAY LOHAN, consistent with a prior rumor, reportedly "made out" with her female DJ best friend in front of Japanese clubbers.  DJ Samantha Ronson was certainly there when Li-Lo told Nylon magazine: "I will say, though, that it's so much harder to stay sober in New York. Though it's hard in L.A. not to go out, it gets lonely. Being an actress is lonely, and I never want to be alone. I hate sleeping alone."

THE FRENCH HOTEL was publicly dissed by the Artist Currently Known As Prince during a Vegas club gig.

SHARON STONE, otoh, publicly dissed Barry Manilow at a charity event raising cash for the Women's Sports Foundation.

RICHARD GERE and Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty are now subject to arrest warrants issued by an Indian court after the two (gasp) kissed in public.

KATE BECKINSALE may be a former anorexic, but was nevertheless accused of insensitivity when she likened anorexic girls to "crack whores" and said family problems were often to blame, rather than pictures of skinny celebrities.

BE AFRAID, BE VERY AFRAID:  ICYMI, Celine Dion duets with Elvis Presley on "If I Can Dream."  You could probably feel the spinning in the backyard at Graceland.

THERE IS STILL GOOD IN HIM:  I really want to see this on the big screen.

GLOBAL WARMING:  The Financial Times has an in-depth feature on carbon offsets, including articles suggesting that millions have been spent on "carbon credit" projects that yield few if any environmental benefits, including paying for emissions reductions that do not take place.  Progressive political consultant Matt Stoller worries about the global cap-and-trade program, too.  And when you hear Al Gore touting offsets, keep in mind that Al Gore is the chairman of a carbon offset intermediary.

SUICIDE BOMBERS:  There's an interesting story at NPR on research into a single neighborhood in the Moroccan village of Tetuan that produced over 30 suicide bombers, sent first to Spain and later to Iraq.  In particular, we should take note of the connection with the non-jihadi criminals in the drug trade, as there are people who will argue that jihadis do not work with infidels.

IRAQ:  The Interior Ministry says the Adhamiya Wall has led to a substantial drop in sectarian killings, a claim disputed by human rights groups and the local press -- and they are probably right, at least as to the magnitude.  A joint US-Iraqi force, backed by military choppers, stormed Sadr City early Thursday.  The Baghdad operations command claimed it had arrested 217 suspected militants in various parts of the capital over the past 24 hours -- which is as-yet unconfirmed and would represent a massive sweep.  Bill Roggio looks at al Qaeda in Iraq's capaign in Diyala province, while IraqSlogger looks at the US and Iraqi forces building up there, including a search for the self-appointed leader of the so-called "Islamic State of Iraq."  J.D. Johannes blogs on the tough but necessary job of taking the census in Fallujah.  A representative of the Anbar Salvation Front recently called for the Iraqi government to allow them to pursue al-Qaeda elements into strongholds in neighboring provincesCNN's Michael Ware -- who is no fan of current US policy in Iraq -- talks about Diyala and also says that a US pullout will hand Iraq to Iran and al Qaeda.

ALL THE NEWS THAT'S FIT TO PRINT:  The New York Times covers breakthrough research into dog body language.

THOUSANDS of rich Japanese women were conned by a firm into believing lambs were valuable miniature poodles.  A must-see pic of a lamb shaved like a poodle at the link. 

COWARDLY CANINES are being taught to face their fears at a self confidence course designed to bring out the inner wolf.  No word as to whether it's taught by Toto.

KNUT UPDATE:  Berlin zoo chiefs have slammed a sick and/or funny Internet game that encourages players to kill cuddly-wuddly polar bear Knut.

A MAGICAL SNAKE appears when a self-proclaimed Zimbabwean prophet is accused of rape.  Yes, an actual snake.

116-YEAR-OLD GOATHERD claims his long life is down to never having had sex with a woman.

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Spinal Tap, Death-Proof, Dr. Dog, Rock Shots, Raging Deer   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, April 26, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


CHRIS CORNELL  presents a bluesy, full-band arrangement of Jacko's "Bille Jean," which is probably how it will turn up on his solo LP next month.  I think I may still prefer the solo acoustic version.

SPINAL TAP IS REUNITING to play the Live Earth concert at Wembley Stadium in London in July.  In keeping with the event's global warming message, they are also releasing a new single called "Warmer Than Hell."  Marty DiBergi has directed a new 15-minute film about the band's reunion, which was to be shown at the opening night of the Tribeca Film Festival in NYC last night.

DEATH-PROOF:  Pitchfork can hook you up to streams of Jack Nitzsche and Smith from the soundtrack of Quentin Tarantino's half of Grindhouse.

BLOODSHOT RECORDS, which provides a home to Chicago's overlooked alt-country musicians, gets a nice profile from the Detroit Free Press.  Co-founder Rob Miller doesn't want to be pigeon-holed, however, noting the label also hosts bands like the Detroit Cobras, who talk to Harp magazine abut their new album, Tried and True.

DR. DOG, dug here before have a mini-set streaming from the World Cafe via NPR, where they are described as "Filtering classic rock and pop hooks through a willfully lo-fi aesthetic a la Pavement or Guided by Voices."

BABY GOT BACK:  The Sir Mix-A-Lot classic is performed in the style of Gilbert & Sullivan by some seriously ill people.

MICK JAGGER encountered a rare, luminous cigar-shaped mothership while camping at the Glastonbury festival in 1968, according to Michael C Luckman, author of Alien Rock: The Rock 'n' Roll Extraterrestrial Connection.

ROCK SHOTS:  Tom Wright, who traveled as a road manager with bands like the Rolling Stones, the Faces and the Who from the late 1960s through the early '80s, has a photo-filled memoir coming out in May.  NPR has audio, photos and an excerpt to whet your appetite.

FORTY SONGS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD is a sponsored feature at Rolling Stone, but it's not bad, if a bit dodgy as you get closer to the present-day.  You can stream the songs at the link, too.

THE PHIL SPECTOR MURDER TRIAL opened yesterday, with prosecutor Alan Jackson telling jurors that Spector had a "rich history of violence against women" and that he is someone "who, when he's confronted with the right circumstances, when he's confronted with the right situations, turns sinister and deadly."  A jury of nine men and three women was sworn in last week in L.A.. The trial will be televised; there's multimedia coverage at CourtTV's website, and at the L.A. TimesCBS has a short video recap.

APPROPOS OF NOTHING:  Pres. Bush gets his groove on.

ALEC BALDWIN will appear on The View this Friday, having approached the show after Rosie O'Donnell said she was sympathetic to him in the wake of the incendiary voice mail he left for his 11-year-old daughter, calling her a "thoughtless little pig."  Didn't Alec put out a statement saying he wasn't going to talk about this?  In any event, the audience for the pre-taped segment found it riveting and emotional.  The part that would get me emotional is his suggestion that he is interested in being released from his 30 Rock contract.  Fortunately, NBC says that's a non-starter.

ROSIE O'DONNELL will stop hosting The View in mid-June, after she and ABC could not agree on a contract.  But our national nightmare is not over; she will still be on the show in smaller doses.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  Cruise has reportedly told Holmes to attend "mommy classes" taught by Scientologists.

BEYONCE is pulling her album B'Day - Deluxe Edition amidst a lawsuit that claims the singer recorded someone else's song without permission, according to MTV.

COURTNEY LOVE is selling her clothes on eBay, with proceeds going to charity.

BRITNEY SPEARS is already back on the bottle, according to the upcoming issue of In Touch.  And Jessica Simpson's creepy dad would like to handle... her comeback.

BRADGELINA:  Jolie is petitioning the Los Angeles Superior Court to legally change the name of her newly adopted son to Pax Thien Jolie-Pitt.

GIRLS GONE WILD mogul Joe Francis has been charged with one count of misdemeanor sexual battery by the L.A. City Attorney.  This has not been Joe's month.

VANESSA MINNILLO is leaving MTV's Total Request Live to pursue other projects, like shacking up with boyfriend Nick Lachey.

CATE BLANCHETT:  Golden Fiddle has you first look at her playing Bob Dylan in I'm Not There, Todd Haynes' bizarro biopic.

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE 2007, according to People magazine.  There's a photo gallery, starting with Scarlett Johansson, plus sidebars on Beauties at Every Age, video of The Models of Victoria's Secret, and more.

ROBOTS that can think for themselves could soon be caring for our children and the elderly and policing our streets, say experts.  Are we safe from robots that can think for themselves?  Scientists have expressed concern about the use of autonomous decision-making robots, particularly for military use.

IN THE EVENT OF ALIEN INASION, humans may have to mount a mujahideen-type resistance, according to Travis Taylor and Bob Boan, who have done consulting work for the Defense Department and NASA.  Which by no means rules out their being completely wacky.

IRAQ:  Baghdad was unusually low yesterday, with no major attacks inside the city.  It seems that the Adhamiya security barrier will be built, albeit in a modified fashion.  Moqtada al-Sadr called for a protest against the Adhamiya barrier.  A high-level Sunni opposition MP has said that a new, non-sectarian political coalition will soon be formed, but we've heard this before.  Coalition forces killed a senior al Qaeda leader during a raid northwest of Baghdad; his car bomb cell "used 12- to 13-year-old children as drivers.  Though violence in Ramadi has decreased, the US military has reportedly begun issuing special identification cards to locals as a measure to keep non-residents away from the city.  NBC News reports that the commander of Camp Cropper, the massive US Army detention center in Baghdad, has been charged with aiding the enemy.  Michael J. Totten blogs a tour with the Kurdish police, complete with embedded video of the cops tuning up a suspect.  Time magazine reports that Iraq may have twice as much oil than previously thought, including about 100 billion barrels of oil and a large amount of gas in the Sunni-dominated Al-Anbar province -- which, if true, might help a political reconciliation.

NORA the piano-playing cat is an Internet sensation, with 2.5 million viewers across the globe logging on to see her antics.  Embedded video of the puss playing atonal jazz at the link.

CORNELL'S CAT EXPERT dies after swerving his motorcycle to avoid hitting a cat.

SUICIDE SQUIRREL takes down the grid in Dover, Rochester, Rollinsford and Somersworth, New Hampshire.

DEER RAMPAGE through a New Oxford, Pennsylvania retirement home before making their escape.  Surveillance video and pics at the link.

A CAMEL sat on and killed the owner of an exotic animal farm while were being filmed by a local television station on Sunday.

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