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Iron & Wine, Animal Collective, Augie March, Bear Rescue   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, October 01, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS:  The clip for "I'm Impressed" is a Greco-Roman epic... with robots and tanks.

THE PIPETTES have been forced to delay their US tour until Oct. 25  in L.A. due to visa problems, but will be announcing rescheduled tour dates ASAP.  Their debut LP finally reaches the US tomorrow, so this gives folks more time to hear them, too.  And I won't miss Tuesday's installment of The War on PBS.

OKKERVIL RIVER frontman Will Scheff talks to Filter about the general musical influences on The Stage Names album and his fave lyricists.  He talks to the Philadelphia Daily news about some of the songs on the album, with a number of movie references in the answers.  The latter raises my suspicion that referring to Okkervil as a "mid-level band" in "Unless It's Kicks" is an allusion to Almost Famous.

IRON & WINE played DC's 9:30 Club Saturday night, so you can stream the whole gig on demand via NPR.

JENS LEKMAN is "encouraging journalists to make up stories" about him.  He also tells London's Guardian that he writes songs to force himself to do things, or to cheer himself up.

ANIMAL COLLECTIVE played DC's 9:30 Club Friday night, so you can stream the whole gig on demand via NPR.  The band was also briefly profiled in the NY Daily News last Friday.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE:  The supposedly sober supermodel has co-writing credits on four of the troubled singer's new tracks... and "French Dog Blues" isn't bad.

FEIST did an interview and mini-set for the World Cafe you can stream from NPR.  In its second week on the US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, "1 2 3 4" has shot up to No. 28 from a No. 61 debut, on the strength of that Apple iPod Nano commercial. Its digital sales have almost doubled, from 41K downloads to 73K.

NELLE McKAY talks to the Boston Globe about working with respected jazz cats like sax men Phil Woods and David Liebman and quirky vocalist Bob Dorough on her third album.  The 80-something Dorough mentored her as a teen, and is also the voice to Schoolhouse Rock favorites like "Conjunction Junction."

AUGIE MARCH (whose name comes from the book "The Adventures of Augie March" by Saul Bellow) stopped by The Current for an chat and mini-set you can stream on demand via MPR.

BONO was in Philadelphia on Thursday night to accept the Liberty Award for his humanitarian work in Africa, but it was the current political unrest in Burma that was on his mind as he addressed the audience, which included one of last year's recipients, former President George H. W. Bush.

JOHN VANDERSLICE talks about the value of changing styles with the Washington Square News (Thx, LHB) and acting as an unstable narrator with Artvoice.

PAMELA ANDERSON & RICK SOLOMON (the French Hotel's sextape co-star) got hitched, according to the paparazzi at X17.  At the very least, they got a marriage license.  Third time's a charm for both of them, I'm sure.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE:  In a major upset, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson had the winning Game Plan, beating The Kingdom at the cineplex by 22.7 million to 17,7 million.  The two were neck-and-neck on Friday, but The Game Plan pulled away when the familiues poured in on Sat and Sun.  It also spells trouble for The Kingdom, which reportedly has an 70-80 million budget to recoup.  Resident Evil: Extinction plummeted a huge 66 percent to earn a mere 8 mil in its second frame; Good Luck Chuck took in 6.3 mil on a 54 percent decline.  3:10 to Yuma rounded out the Top Five with 4.2 mil; the Western's total is 43.9 mil, which means it will likely break even in the US.  The Brave One continued to lose ground, earning 3.7 million on a 50 percent drop.  Mr.  Woodcock made 3 mil; it's 19.6 million total to date makes it unlikely to break even.  David Cronenberg's Eastern Promises dropped 49 percent to make 2.9 million.  Sydney White also drops 49 percent with a take of 2.7 million.  Across the Universe rounds out the Top Ten by growing 5 percent on a wider release, but its overall total is only 5.5 million.  Feast of Love opened in 11th place.


BRITNEY SPEARS:  According to the uber-reliable Life and Style Weekly, friends and family are desperate for her to join Lindsay Lohan in rehab, after mama Lynne Spears received a phone call about the pop tart taking Ecstasy -- and anti-anxiety drug Ativan to come down from the Ecstasy.

LINDSAY LOHAN:  Her ex-con dad is heading to Utah next week to spend five days of "quality time" with his troubled daughter at the Cirque Lodge rehab facility.

EVA LONGORIA has a sex tape?  Inquiring minds want to know.


TOM-KAT UPDATE:  Publicist David Hans Schmidt, who pleaded guilty last month to attempting to extort Tom Cruise, was found dead of an apparent suicide in his Phoenix home on Friday.  Tom Cruise is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life.

DAVE NAVARRO, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Jane's Addiction guitarist, has directed and co-written his first pr0n flick.

BRADGELINA:  Contrary to prior reports, Jolie has not been fired as the face of St. John... yet.  Jolie and Jennifer Aniston now have more than Pitt in common -- they have just scooped the joint title for Most Powerful Actress awarded by Guinness World Records.

NICOLE RICHIE has enrolled in an alcohol education class... though I would have thought she could teach one.

SHILPA SHETTY'S UK spokeswoman has denied that the Bollywood star was arrested in India over her kiss with Richard Gere.

OWEN WILSON, recovering from a suicide attempt, was visited by comedian Steve Coogan, whom Courtney Love claims dragged Wilson into a hard-living party lifestyle helped accelerate his downward spiral into drugs and depression.  Coogan has denied the accusations.

OUR FRIENDS, THE SAUDIS:  A Saudi man divorced his wife for watching alone a television program presented by a male, an act he deemed immoral, the Al Shams newspaper reported on Saturday.  ALso:  London's Independent reports that recent information on the kingdom's efforts to crack down on terrorist financing is almost non-existent.

TERROR in the US:  Investor's Business Daily looks at evidence from the Holy Land Foundation trial showing that several leaders of the Muslim establishment in the US over the last decade conspired to infiltrate the US political system, change Middle East policy, gradually Islamize America, and hatched a plot to fund overseas terrorists.

IRAN:  On Saturday, Iran's parliament approved a nonbinding resolution labeling the CIA and the US Army "terrorist organizations," in apparent response to a US Senate resolution seeking to give a similar designation to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.  Call it the "I Know You Are, But What Am I? Act" of 2007.

IRAQ:  A senior leader of AQI responsible for bringing foreign fighters into the country and seizing and executing US soldiers in 2006 was killed Monday in a US airstrike.  A new GAO report found the average number of daily attacks decreased to 123 in August 2007 -- the lowest level since June 2006.  The report noted that attacks in Iraq normally increase during the month of Ramadan, but so far violence during Ramadan has fallen by almost 40 percent from last year.  US military deaths in Iraq stood at a 14-month low on Sunday.  Indeed, in September, violence was down in every category, especially deaths due to al Qaeda's suicide bombers and to Shiite death squads in Baghdad.

IRAQ II:   More than 30000 tribal members in Iraq have come forward to work with US and Iraqi forces over the past six months, a phenomenon that is spreading beyond Anbar province to Baghdad and other regions of the country.  The Iraqi gov't, at the urging of the US, has ordered Iraqi army and police units to integrate the volunteers into their operations.  However, questions remain over whether these alliances will hold, whether they can improve security in mixed-sectarian areas such as Diyala province and Baghdad, and whether they will promote stability and national reconciliation or spur Iraq's fragmentation by proliferating armed groups.  The "Concerned Citizens" movement has spread to cities like Tarmiyah and Baghdad, but have yet to get official sanction from the Iraqi gov't.

A BEAR under a bridge near Lake Tahoe is rescued after dangling for almost 24 hours.  Let's go to the video.

...AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT:  A flock of green sheep...explained at the link.

BUNNY DUMPING:  Is there anything lower?

MISSOURI, now with more beaver than you can shake a gnewed stick at.

MATTHEW HIASL PAN -- a 26-year-old chimpanzee -- has been denied human status by an Austrian court.  Animal rights activists vow to appeal, because the chimp really has no interest in the matter.

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dBs, New Pollard and Springsteen, Cutout Bin, 2-Headed Turtle   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, September 28, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



...with THE dB's!  The influential, but oh-so-unlucky modern pop combo has been largely missing from the Tube, but we now can enjoy "Happenstance," "Bad Reputation" and "Living A Lie" from Sweden circa 1982.  Post-Stamey, we have the infamous, banned-from-MTV clip for "Amplifier," plus live takes of "She Got Soul" and "Not Cool" from the legendary Maxwell's in Hoboken, NJ circa 1986.  From the same time period, you can see the band help close down Folk City in NYC with a cover of Bob Dylan's "Positively 4th Street."  BONUS:  The fabulous Marti Jones and Windbreaker Tim Lee cover the dB's classic "Neverland," also from 1986.

ROBERT POLLARD, ever-prolific, is releasing not one, but two albums on October 9th, Coast To Coast Carpet Of Love, and Standard Gargoyle Decisions, but you can stream them now.  Bob says "one focuses on his super-catchy pop side the other his more down and dirty rock side. It's like Beatles Vs. Stones! A battle to the death and, of course, Bob emerges as the victor."

SPOON:  Britt Daniel and Jim Eno answer six questions for Rolling Stone, which also hosts a live video of "Don't Make Me a Target" from Austin City Limits.  The band's Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga album is still streaming in full from Merge Records.

THE WEAKERTHANS stopped by The Current for a chat and mini-set you can stream via MPR, while NPR serves up an audio feature on the new Reunion Tour album, full of songs about "bus drivers in Winnipeg, men in curling clubs, Bigfoot spotters and Edward Hopper paintings. "  At the moment, you can stream the whole album at TheirSpace.

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN and the E STREET BAND:  Magic comes out next Tuesday, but you can stream the whole thing today via Q104.3 out of NYC.  Yep, I'm Mr. Full Album Streams for the weekend today.

TEGAN & SARA cover "Umbrella," the Rhianna hit that sparked converstaions about cover songs at NPR and here.

FIONN REGAN:  The Irish singer-song writer is getting written up in the Chicago Sun-Times and the Boston Globe, where names like Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Nick Drake, James Joyce and Samuel Beckett are being tossed around.  He's signed to the Lost Highway label, home to Lucinda Williams, Van Morrison and Willie Nelson.  So you may want to stream a few tracks at FionnSpace.

THE GO! TEAM mastermind Ian Parton lists a few of his favorite things for Pitchfork's Guest List feature.

BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB:  Heather Browne scored her own interview with the lads last week, with a bit on the value of speaking out.  I thank Frank Yang for reminding me.

THE CUTOUT BIN:  This Friday's fortuitous finds from the ol' HM are: Quincy Jones - The Streetbeater; Todd Rundgren - Wolfman Jack; Sam & Dave - Hold On, I'm Coming (Live); Marvin Gaye - Let's Get It On (Live); KT Tunstall - I Want You Back (Live; Jackson 5); The Soul Survivors - Expressway To Your Heart; Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs - Wooly Bully; Question Mark and The Mysterians - 96 Tears; The Who - Happy Jack; The Kinks - Waterloo Sunset; The Pretenders - Kid; Eddie & The Hot Rods - Do Anything You Wanna Do; Nick Lowe - Heart Of The City; The Members - Working Girl; Art Brut - Formed a Band; The Replacements - Favorite Thing (slightly nsfw); The Lemonheads - Confetti; The Bangles - Walk Like An Egyptian; The Flaming Lips - Just Like Starting Over (J. Lennon); Voice of the Beehive - I Think I Love You (yes, that one); Foo Fighters - Baker Street (G. Rafferty); The Byrds - The Christian Life (G. Parsons vox); Beach Boys - Sail On, Sailor; Bob Dylan - Like A Rolling Stone; Neil Diamond - Cherry, Cherry; The Replacements - Route 66; and Beat Farmers - Happy Boy.

THE KINGDOM:  Seeing this movie was like going to a restaurant, getting an okay appetizer, followed by a meal that is rather good, until you find a dead cockroach in the bottom of your dish.  The movie opens with a brief, flashy, over-simplified history of US-Saudi relations  (e.g., the 1973 oil embargo had as much or more to do with US economic policies, such as price controls and dropping the gold standard, as with supporting Israel in the Yom Kippur War).  What follows is a largely well-made police procedural-turned-action flick. Although one could question how helpful the Saudis are in reality, the movie depicts a range of Saudi characters -- a prince, terrorists, a reformed terrorist, competent police, incompetent police, etc.  There is a range of Americans also -- with some depicted less favorably than the FBI investigators who are the focus of the story.  Unfortunately, the final scene imposes a sense of moral equivalence between the FBI and al-Qaeda that does not follow from its own plot and characters, let alone reality.  Neverheless, the suspense, action and chemistry of the ensemble make the other 97 percent of The Kingdom highly entertaining.

NOW SHOWING:  Ironically, The Kingdom is scoring a mere 45 percent on the ol' Tomatometer, primarily because the critics wanted it to be as heavy-handed and ideological as the final scene, as opposed to a conventional action movie with a Saudi backdrop.  In contrast, In the Valley of Elah, which ham-fistedly suggests the Iraq war is turning US soldiers into immoral, dysfunctional, drug-addicted criminals -- and takes liberties with the facts of the true story  to do so -- reaches 700 screens this weekend with 69 percent.  The Rock tries Disney comedy in The Game Plan, which is scoring 30 percent.  The romantic drama Feast of Love is scoring 56 percent overall, though 67 percent from the "Cream of the Crop" critics.

HOLLYWOOD DUST-UP:  In the L.A. Times, Andrew Breitbart and David Ehrenstein are debating the fall season of antiwar flicks, the role filmmakers should and do play in the domestic political debate, and Hollywood values.

ROGER EBERT, icymi, is America's most influential pundit, according to Forbes magazine.  Keep in mind that what is actually being measured is awareness and likability measurements among respondents within the demographic gold mine of advertisers--those between the ages of 25-54, with a college degree, making at least 50K annually.  So the list tends to exclude polarizing figures like Rush Limbaugh and Keith Olbermann.

KNIGHT RIDER is returning as a two-hour backdoor pilot -- nttawwt -- with tentative plans to air it as a telepic on NBC later this season. 

MAD MEL UPDATE:  Mel Gibson is ignoring safety warnings from the US government and is going ahead with plans to move his wife Robyn and seven children 300 miles away from their home in California to a 26-million-dollar ranch in a rural area of Costa Rica that is known as "bandit territory."

PAMELA ANDERSON and DENISE RICHARDS have been offered a million to strip for Playboy... together.  No doubt it would promote their upcoming movie Blonde And Blonder.

BRADGELINA:  Jolie has been fired as the face of St. John, for whom she'd been modeling since September 2005.

LINDSAY LOHAN, contrary to prior reports, will not be leaving the Cirque Lodge rehab program in Utah this weekend, according to her mother.  Meanwhile, Jackass star Steve-O told Howard Stern on his radio show that Lohan once took a bag of cocaine from him.

HUGH GRANT stars in the real life story of three ladies and a taxicab.  Pics at the link.

SHILPA SHETTY was arrested at the Mumbai Airport in India over her infamous clinch with Richard Gere, after airport officials said she was still wanted in connection with obscenity charges.  Immigration officials had no record of the Supreme Court ruling which overturned a ban on her leaving the country.  And here I thought US airport security was a mess...

WES ANDERSON:  New York magazine's profile of the quirky director reads like one of his scripts, complete with a train trip and a virtual cameo from Bill Murray.  Anderson also says Owen Wilson is happy The Darjeeling Limited is being released now (in NYC and LA this weekend).  BTW, the Hotel Chevalier short prequel to The Darjeeling Limited is a free download at iTunes.

FURRIES vs. KLINGONS:  It's a mighty subcultural clash and bowling tournament in Atlanta on Saturday... or is it?  Poster at the link.  (Thanks, Amber.)

TERROR in the US:  Ahmed Abdellatif Sherif Mohamed -- one of two Egyptian students arrested in Goose Creek, SC after authorities found four PVC pipes containing a mixture of potassium nitrate, kitty litter and sugar in his car's trunk -- reportedly admitted to FBI agents that he made a training video to show people in "Arabic countries" how to use remote-controlled bombs against American soldiers.

IRAN:  France does not believe claims by Pres. Ahmadinejad that his country's nuclear activities are peaceful, President Nicolas Sarkozy's office said Thursday.  Russia opposes new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program at this time because it would undermine a study by the UN atomic watchdog of Iran's activities.

IRAQ:  More than 19000 militants have been killed in fighting with coalition forces since the insurgency began more than four years ago, according to military statistics released for the first time.  The statistics show that 4882 militants were killed in clashes with coalition forces this year, a 25% increase over all of last year.  Saddam Hussein signaled that he was willing to go into exile as long as he could take a billion dollars and information on weapons of mass destruction, according to a report of a Feb. 22, 2003, meeting between Pres. Bush and then-Spanish Pres. Aznar published by El Pais yesterday.  Which raises the questions: why did Saddam attach so much importance to information on Iraq's WMD program, and what message did that send to the West?  Barcepundit has some translation of the El Pais story, with background on the Spanish politics at work. 

IRAQ II:  Iraq's top Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani met the country's Sunni vice president on Thursday for the first time to discuss "The Iraqi National Compact," a set of 25 political principles unveiled by the largest Sunni Arab party on Wednesday aimed at removing deep mistrust among politicians.  Prime Minister al-Maliki seems to have weathered a political crisis that once threatened to bring down his government, though VP Hashemi's bloc currently remains at odds with the ruling alliance (which may be the impetus for the Compact and sitdown with Sistani).  Thousands of Iraqi Arabs have accepted financial compensation to leave Kirkuk, which leaders of the autonomous Kurdish region are seeking to control.  Tensions between Kirkuk's Kurdish, Arab, and Turkmen communities have risen ahead of a constitutionally mandated popular referendum on the oil-rich city's future, which is supposed to be held this year.  NPR claims that Diyala province remains in turmoil and the local population is increasingly anti-American.

...AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT:  A turtle with two heads.  Story and Video at the link.

...AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT: See-through frogs let us observe organs, blood vessels and eggs under the skin without performing dissections.  Pic at the link.

HORSE ROUND-UP:  Someone smuggled a miniature horse in a dog crate onto a plane that landed at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta.  Pics and Video at the link.  Meanwhile, an Oklahoma City hockey coach bit the ear of a horse to stop a potentially dangerous stampede during the recent Oklahoma State Fair.  The hockey coach said his instinct took over.  Yes, really.

FUFI the CAT took a £7,000 private helicopter trip from Rome to Sardinia because it was afraid of planes and boats.

FUGITIVE MONKEY and OWNER are wanted for questioning in Boone County, MO.  Pic at the link.

THREE HOMESICK CROCODILES in Australia have shocked experts by walking 250 miles back "home" after being relocated.  It's like The Incredible Journey, but with crocodiles.

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Editors, Pipettes, Rilo Kiley, Apparitions, Goat Justice League   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, September 27, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


THE EDITORS, oft compared to Joy Division, Echo and the Bunnymen, Franz Ferdinand and early U2, play the title track from their second LP, "An End Has A Start," on the late night show with the lantern-jawed host.

THE PIPETTES:  As their first full US tour prepares to launch RiotBecki explains to Detroit's Metro Times how The Beatles ruined everything.  That's actually part of the band's standard PR, but the writer actually provides another argument in support of the claim (such as it is).

RILO KILEY played DC's 9:30 Club last night, so you should be able to stream the gig on demand via NPR.

THE PHIL SPECTOR TRIAL:  A judge declared a mistrial in the murder case against legendary pop producer Phil Spector after a jury announced for the second time in eight days that it was hopelessly deadlocked at 10-2.  The jury's inability to reach a verdict capped a five-month trial that played like a Hollywood film noir classic -- with a twist of the bizarre.  Also, a death threat against Judge Fiedler was posted on MySpace.

IRON & WINE:  Sam Beam (again) defends licensing his version of the Postal Service hit "Such Great Heights" for an M&Ms commercial: "I eat M&Ms... There's no reason to be hoity-toity about it if you eat them..."

PETER BJORN & JOHN stopped by The Current for a chat and some whistling you can stream on demand via MPR.

THE APPARITIONS break out the stop-motion animation for "God Monkey Robot," part of what the band calls its "spacey golden pop rock."  You can also stream it, along with three more, at ApparitionSpace.  Though I first ran accross 'em when Heather Browne posted "Electricity + Drums" last month, I thank Amber for reminding me to blurb 'em.

BLONDE ON BLONDE:  Just a day after that video of Bob Dylan & Jack White from Nashville, LHB turned up a great piece in the Oxford American about the recording of Dylan's classic double-LP in Music City.  And don't tell anyone you don't own Blonde on Blonde.

THE GO! TEAM:  Ian Parton and Ninja talk to the Scotsman, with Ninja claiming she'll do a solo album someday.

THE WHO are the subject of two movies, "Amazing Journey: The Story of the Who" and "Six Quick Ones," due Nov. 6 on DVD.  Producer Nigel Sinclair tells Billboard.com that "almost half of the (clips) have never been seen before in any context," including film shot by managers Chris Stamp and Kit Lambert in 1964, when the Who were still known as the High Numbers.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE:  The supposedly sober supermodel is saying she's engaged to Kills guitarist Jamie Hince in part as a way of letting Doherty know it is over between them - forever.

BRITNEY SPEARS hides from the paparazzi in the bathroom at Quizno's subs.  Let's go to the video.

JESSICA & ASHLEE SIMPSON have not turned into Britney-scale trainwrecks, and creepy dad-manager Joe takes the credit.  But Ashlee's nose job?  He had no say about it.

NATALIE PORTMAN:  You've heard about her nude scenes in Hotel Chevalier -- the short film played at festivals before Wes Anderson's The Darjeeling Limited?  Let's go to the video! (nsfw, natch.)

BRADGELINA:  The New York Observer observes the goings-on around Maddox Jolie-Pitt starting school at the Lycée Français de New York on East 75th Street.

PAM ANDERSON:  Friends are worried about her increasingly wild behavior, especially now that she's hanging with the French Hotel's sex-tape partner, Rick Salomon.  And she's telling pals alternately that she is either engaged or already married to Salomon, whom she's only known about six weeks.

THE FRENCH HOTEL, meanwhile, is headed to Rwanda as part of her new, postjail commitment to spotlight what she feels are important causes around the world.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  Cruise plans to build a ten-million-dollar bunker to protect himself from the return of Xenu under his Telluride, Colorado, mansion, a source tells the ever-reliable Star magazine.

BRIDGET MOYNIHAN debuts her son John in OK! magazine, with no sign of baby daddy Tom Brady.

JOHN McTIERNAN, director of hit films including Die Hard and Predator, will spend four months behind bars for lying to the FBI about hiring the indicted private investigator Anthony Pellicano.  And that's federal time, not L.A.-days-equal-minutes time.

KEVIN SPACEY becomes the latest actor to meet with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, though perhaps he was just getting tips for when he reprises his role as Lex Luthor in the next Superman flick.

TALES OF THE HOFF:  The E! channel is readying a a Ryan Seacrest-produced scripted comedy starring David Hasselhoff, following the dark, twisted trials and tribulations of an international icon as he navigates Hollywood and the world of dating after divorce.  Hasselhoff will play the title role in the project, which insiders said will have a "Curb Your Enthusiasm" feel.  Ooga-Chaka!

JESSICA BIEL is in talks to play Wonder Woman in Warner Bros.' all-star superhero film Justice League of America, reports Variety.  The movie is set to be directed by George Miller, who gave us both Happy Feet and the Mad Max movies.

CARTOON JIHAD:  In the interest of fairness, I must report that a Swedish artist's sculpture depicting Christ as a well-endowed dog vanished within hours of the sculpture being installed on a roundabout.  OTOH, it does not seem to have sparked international protest, arson and murder.

IRAN:  Robert Stengel writes for Time magazine about the swank dinner Pres. Ahmadinejad threw as part of "a media campaign that - in its shrewdness, relentlessness, and quest for attention - would rival Angelina Jolie on a movie junket. And like any international figure, Mr. Ahmadinejad hones his performance for multiple audiences: in this case, the journalists and academics who can filter his speech and ideas for a wider American audience."  As Stengel then proceeds to regurgitate Ahmedinejad's talking points with not even a hint of skepticism, it seems to be working.

IRAQ:  A suicide bomber smashed his car into the house of a tribal sheikh in the Iraqi town of Sinjar, killing five people and wounding nine; it is not known if the sheikh was among the dead or injured.  This is near where AQI blew up nearly 400 Yezidis in August.  Hundreds of Iraqi police recruits, some of them coaxed back from the anti-US insurgency, graduated on Tuesday and pledged to help stabilize the volatile Abu Ghraib region just west of Baghdad.  Bill Roggio reports on three Baghdad neighborhoods thought to be among the last bastions of AQI in the capital.  The Council on Foreign Relations weighs in on the debate over casualty statistics, concluding (as I did earlier), that  the trend in the data as a whole is quite similar across sources.  Two Iraqi parliamentary blocs announced opposition to a plan aiming to subdivide Iraq on ethnic lines that passed the US Senate as a non-binding resolution.  While the US public and policy debate revolves largely around exit strategies and "redeployment," there is apparent consensus among European policy analysts that US troops should remain in Iraq for the foreseeable future.

FIGHTING GIRAFFES!  Let's go to the video!

A 12-FT, 550 LB HAMMERHEAD was caught off the Central Florida coast.  Danny Ficocello pulled the shark in along Flagler Beach without needing a bigger boat.  Video at the link.

PUPPERWARE PARTIES:  The events are ringing up revenues for companies like Shure Pets, based in Chicago.

A CAT sparks a divorce by eating his owner's spouse's parrots.

A PYTHON is no substitute for payment at the Taco Bell drive-thru window in Round Rock, TX.

PYGMY GOATS are legal pets in Seattle thanks to the heroic efforts of the Goat Justice League.

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SFA, Richard Thompson, Jack White & Bob Dylan, Alpacas   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, September 26, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


SUPER FURRY ANIMALS:  The video for their new single, "Run-Away," subtly captures the essential cheesiness of videos from the early 80s.

THURSTON MOORE tells critics of Sonic Youth's Starbucks pact to switch to decaf: "There's no difference between working with Starbucks and working with record labels like Universal and Geffen. It's a knee-jerk reaction from PC watchdogs..."  RELATED:  Apple and Starbucks will be offering "Song of the Day" cards between October 2 and November 7.

RICHARD THOMPSON:  The preeminent Brit-folk-rock singer-songwriter-guitarist did an interview and mini-set for the World Cafe you can stream on demand via NPR.  (Thanks, Sylvia.)

NEW PORNOGRPAHERS frontman A.C. Newman is fine with being called "the west coast Broken Social Scene... as long as reciprocally they get called The New Pornographers of the east."  BONUS:  Don't miss the band's second challenge in its ongoing contest for fans.

THE NATIONAL:  Matt Berninger talks to USC's Daily Trojan about the band's higher profile, which was helped in part by reverse exposure when Clap Your Hands Say Yeah opened their last tour.  (Thanks, LHB.)

JACK WHITE joins BOB DYLAN for "One More Cup of Coffee" at Nashville's historic Ryman Auditorium.  So bootleg it ends abruptly when the videographer gets caught by security.  You can see the prior gig's setlist at Stereogum.

EMMYLOU HARRIS does a Q&A about Songbird, her upcoming four-CD retrospective, in the latest issue of Fader Magazine.  Oddly, you can download the whole mag for free.

THE GREENCARDS:  According to NPR, they may be "the best Americana artist with no native claim to North America."  You can stream an entire gig from Cleveland's Beachland Ballroom, or sample four tracks (including the Bluegrass-y "Lonesome Side of Town") at the link.

PRE-SCALPING:  Fan clubs are getting miffed over members selling presale passwords on specialized Web sites and even eBay and Craigslist.

THE POLARIS MUSIC PRIZE:  Chromewaves reports on Patrick Watson's surprise win, rounds up other reax and hooks you up with A/V links for Watson and his fellow nominees.

KEIFER SUTHERLAND was busted on suspicion of DUI in West Hollywood late Monday night, after allegedly blowing more than twice the legal limit of .08. He has been convicted of DUI in the past five years; a second conviction carries a mandatory minimum of five days in jail.  Of course, it's the L.A. County jail, so maybe more like 90 minutes.  And he's Jack Bauer, so he could escape in less time than that.

BRITNEY SPEARS:  Lawyers made an unscheduled appearance in the pop tart's child custody battle to "refine" the court order requiring Spears undergo semi-weekly random drug and alcohol testing and parenting classes.

LINDSAY LOHAN is reportedly set to leave rehab this weekend.  Lock your medicine cabinets.

DREW BARRYMORE danced and worked the counter for a "Drunk and Horny" party at a West Hollywood gay bar.  NTTAWWT.

HEATH LEDGER was recently caught canoodling Helena Christensen, but The Joker may still be on the prowl.

SIENNA MILLER is mighty miffed that pictures emerged of her in her birthday suit with a daisy chain crown on the set of her new movie.  That second link may be nsfw, natch.

BRADGELINA:  Jolie is meeting with British Foreign Secretary David Miliband in New York this week to discuss global diplomacy.

REESE WITHERSPOON & JAKE GYLLENHAAL:  Is their on-again, off-again relationship on-again?

KEIRA KNIGHTLEY:  If you sue the Daily Mail for libel, you can expect to be painted by the paper as a whining diva later.  US Weekly has a more benign spin on the same quotes.

INDIANA JONES IV:  An extra working on "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" has been fired for dishing major spoilers to his hometown paper.  And the story has disappeared from the paper's website and from Harry Knowles' influential Ain't It Cool News site.  Sounds like a job for Indiana Jones!

MYANMAR: It will always be Burma to J. Peterman... and to Pres. Bush, who announced new sanctions Tuesday against the military dictatorship there, accusing it of imposing "a 19-year reign of fear'' that denies basic freedoms of speech, assembly and worship.  Troops moved into the streets of Rangoon in apparent readiness for a confrontation with pro-democracy protesters.  Others concerned about the situation include Ensign Pavel Chekhov and Jim Carrey.  BONUS:  Boston Herald editor and columnist Jules Crittenden titles his roundup "Mission of Burma."

SAUDI ARABIA:  Girls used pepper spray on members of the religious police who were "politely" trying to advise and guide them regarding their inappropriate clothing.  One of the girls videoed the incident with her mobile phone.  Saudi women are petitioning King Abdullah in an unprecedented bid to push the government to lift a ban on females driving in the Kingdom.  Saudi women's rights activist Wajeha Al-Huweidar says the petition is only the beginning, which gave me an earworm.

IRAN:  Pres. Ahmadinejad continued his propaganda tour at a meeting of US Muslim leaders, claiming the Holocaust was a pretext for occupation of Palestine and the differences between Shia and Sunni Muslims have been created by enemies (as opposed to going as far back as 600 AD).  Iran's judiciary has sealed off the offices of a popular news Web site critical of Ahmadinejad's policies after journalists continued to update it, despite official filtering.  French Pres. Nicolas Sarkozy piled pressure on Iran at the UN, saying it would be unacceptable for the Islamic republic to get hold of nuclear weapons.

IRAQ:  Civil war has been averted and Iranian intervention has "ceased to exist," Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki said Monday.  I'm taking that with a grain of salt.  Iran is smuggling advanced weapons, including surface-to-air missiles, into Iraq to be used against US troops, and the Iraqi gov't remains a mess.  However, the Iraqi parliament's newly formed women's caucus will pressure the government to roll out concrete policies to help victims of the war.  Female MPs have also reached an accord on "general principles," such as the rejection of violence and the support for national reconciliation efforts.  Non-sectarian caucuses seem like an encouraging development.  Supporters of radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, otoh, have embarked on a tour of neighboring countries to explain his group's latest anti-US strategies.  MSNBC takes a look at how the US military defines a sectarian killing without the hyperventilation that surrounded the report from Gen. Petraeus in September. 

IRAQ II:  The AQ-affiliated "Islamic State of Iraq" accuses the 1920 Revolution Brigades of betraying Islam by joining US forces in their fight against AQ, while rolling out a new propaganda video featuring small children with AK-47 assault rifles.  The group is also likely behind a systematic campaign to assassinate police chiefs, police officers, Interior Ministry officials and tribal leaders throughout Iraq.

ICYMI:  A Swedish TV hostess vomits on camera, ostensibly due to female health issues.  Consider yourself warned.

A PAIR of PERUVIAN ALPACAS -- William and Harry -- have been hired to protect Cornish hens on a British farm.  Video at the link.

ANOTHER PURLOINED BUNNY in Washington State.  This time, a pet rabbit named Sugar Bunny was stolen from a preschool and fliers protesting circus animal acts were left in its empty cage.  PETA denies responsibility, though its name appeared on some of the fliers.

THE SQUIRREL THREAT:  Lumpy squirrels are hosts for botfly larvae.  But still good eatin'!

SNAKE HEAD found in a can of green beans in Iowa City, IA:  "It was ... yuck, it was really yuck."

AN ORANGUTAN attacks the paparazzi in Borneo.  And why not?  She's bound to be judgment-proof.

WOMAN tells police someone shaved her cat.  So many punchlines, only some of which involve Mr. Bigglesworth.

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New Releases, Weakerthans, Marshall Crenshaw, Goat news   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, September 25, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


SHARON JONES & THE DAP-KINGS ask "How Do You Let A Good Man Down?" live on French TV, complete with the old skool Dap-Tone introduction.

NEW RELEASES:  Ooh, it's a big Tuesday.  Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, Stars, Jose Gonzalez, Devendra Banhart, Cave Singers, Sea Wolf, Matt Pond PA, Shicking Pinks and more are streaming via Spinner, while the new Foo Fighters is streaming at AOL.  PJ Harvey, Iron & Wine, Nellie McKaySteve Earle and Bettye LaVette are among the more established artists with albums out today.  The Weakerthans are streaming their new LP in full as is  The Acorn.  Other lesser-known worthies include albums from Georgie James, and Damon & Naomi (the part of Galaxie 500 that is not Dean & Brita).  And there's an EP from lush pop duo the Bird and the Bee.

STEVE EARLE talks to PopMatters about politics and the more personal themes on his new album.

THE WEAKERTHANS talk to ChartAttack about the somewhat accidental creation of the band's first album in four years.  You can stream the whole album at the "New Releases" link above.

JOHN VANDERSLICE and BISHOP ALLEN both played the Rock and Roll Hotel in DC over the weekend; you can stream both sets (or either) on demand via NPR.

MARSHALL CRENSHAW, an influence on early (and arguably late) Pate, doesn't have a lot of vintage video online, but MTV was good enough to post "Whenever You're On My Mind" from Field Day and "Little Wild One (No. 5)" from Downtown at iFilm.  That's your Twofer Tuesday, but as a bonus, I'll toss in his solo rendition of "Someday, Someway" from his recent World Cafe Live DVD.

INDIE SELLS OUT:  More indie rock ad licensing sparks more spirited discussion at the 'Gum.  I do have to chuckle over the comments from "justin," who claims to be an art director at an ad agency and claims the bands aren't paid significant money.  Ad deals paid for the Spinto Band's European tour, Of Montreal's elaborate stage show, and Tracy Spuehler's second album, to name a few examples.  And that's just the direct effect.  Feist's "1 2 3 4" entered the Top 40 in the UK after the iPod Nano ad started airing, while her album went from No. 95 to No. 44 in the US.  Even larger bands like Wilco see ad deals as a way of getting their music in front of the public as getting commercial radio airplay route gets more difficult.  I also think it's funny that some folks don't realize that musicians were doing this as far back as the 1960s.

PAUL WESTERBERG played ten songs and was interviewed by former Del Fuego Warren Zanes for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.  More tidbits in the Strib's PopLife blog.

BEN HARPER did an interview and mini-set for the World Cafe you can stream on demand via NPR.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE:  The troubled singer sent his former lover a brooch with a dead mouse attached to it, according to the UK's uber-reliable Daily Star.  Doherty has met his dad for the first time in three years - as pals insist he is kicking drugs.  Meanwhile, Moss and actress Sienna Miller reportedly got into a verbal catfight over Rhys Ifans at a reception.

MEG WHITE:  The Internet was abuzz with reports of a sex tape featuring the White Stripes drummer, but her rep vehemently denies Meg is on the tape.

HANNAH MONTANA:  A rep for 14-year-old star Miley Cyrus strongly denies a fake teen magazine article making the celebrity blog rounds claiming Cyrus is pregnant.

LINDSAY LOHAN:  Her rep strongly denies allegations in divorce proceedings that Dead Stays Alive frontman Tony Allen had sex with Lohan while staying at the Cirque Lodge rehab clinic.

BRITNEY SPEARS:  "Secret witness" Tony Barretto said on Monday's Today show he witnessed Britney using drugs on two occasions, but not in front of her children.

VANESSA HUDGENS:  More risque photos of the High School Musical starlet surface, though not the additional nudes pics rumored to be floating around.

BRADGELINA:  Prepping for his next role, Pitt paid a visit to The Washington Post's newsroom on Friday and sent the hearts of hard-nosed scribes aflutter: "It was like angels singing."  Meanwhile, Jolie was taking meetings with Colin Powell and then with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to discuss her recent trips to Iraq and Syria.

DENISE & CHARLIE:  Charlie Sheen says he will not dignify allegations made by ex-wife Denise Richards in recent court papers... and then goes on for another six paragraphs.

OJ SIMPSON's creepily-looking-like-Nicole-Brown girlfriend Christie Prody did not sleep with OJ's gardener, according to Prody's mother.  Which is what you would say in any event if you were concerned about your daughter losing her head.

CELEBRITY BREAST IMPLANTS are evaluated for the Daily Mail by cosmetic surgeon Patrick Mallucci.  A dirty job, but someone had to do it.

JESSICA ALBA has been voted the most desired single female celebrity in a poll at the Yahoo! Personals dating site.  Others in the Top Five may surprise you.

HARRISON FORD & CALLISTA FLOCKHART ride Space Mountain.  And they aren't even the funny part of the pic at the link.

MARCEL MARCEAU:  Now even quiter at age 84.  His new "I'm dead" act is stunningly realistic.

DITA VON TEESE portrays a sexy schoolteacher in a new campaign urging animal lovers to spay or neuter their cats and dogs.  But in a reversal for both the burlesque dancer and PETA, Von Teese keeps her clothes on for the ad.

IRAN:  After days of public criticism, Columbia U's Pres. Bollinger did not introduce Iran's Pres. Ahmadinejad as much as indict him, for Iran's brutal crackdown on scholars, journalists and human rights advocates, the denial of the Holocaust, calling for the destruction of Israel, funding terrorism, the proxy war against US troops in Iraq, and Iran's refusal to adhere to international standards for nuclear weapons verification.  To his credit, it was better than I expected, but it raises the question of why Ahmedinejad was invited in the first place.  Bollinger claimed it was "consistent with the idea that one should know thine enemies" -- as though we don't know what Iran has been up to recently.  Moreover, Bollinger admitted that he doubted Ahmedinejad would have the intellectual courage to answer the questions raised -- and of course he did not.  So the net result was that Ahmedinejad was given a (once) prestigious platform to again defend Holocaust deniers and raise questions about who carried out the 9/11 attacks.  No doubt the clips shown on TV throughout the Middle East will be those where Ahmedinejad got applause, rather than the derisive laughter he got for suggesting there are no gays in Iran (though maybe he thinks all of them have been executed already).  And Bollinger will be portrayed as rude and disrespectful to a head of government, which was pretty much the take of Hamid Dabashi, a professor of Iranian studies at Columbia University.  Iranian state media claims Ahmedinejad got a standing ovation and repeated applause, ignoring Bollinger's introduction, natch.

IRAQ:  As top Shiite and Sunni Muslim leaders broke their Ramadan fast together in a symbolic show of unity Monday, a suicide bomber struck in their midst, killing as many as 25 people and injuring 40 in Baqubah.  Anbar tribes are still helping secure the main highway through the province to the border with Jordan and Syria.  The assassination of a Mahdi Army leader reignites sectraian violence in one Baghdad neighborhood.  Michael J. Totten interviews 3rd ID Lt. Col. Mike Silverman about (among other things) how Baghdad differs from Anbar and Diyala provinces.

POLAR BEARS will pursue you if you wear a seal costume.

...AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT:  An albino Koala bear.  Awww...some pic and video at the link.

A GOAT was left behind by burglars in Reefton, NZ.  No, the home did not already have a goat.

NANNY the GOAT, meanwhile, is still on the lam near Decatur, Alabama.

PET HOARDING:  Seventy-four cats were seized from a couple in a trailer in the Saint John area of Canada; the SPCA seized 123 cats from the same trailer in April.

COWS stare unamazed at pint-sized Herefords raised on the ranchettes replacing working ranches in much of California.

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