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Husker Du, Aerovons, Cat Power, Cutout Bin, Performing Pigs   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, October 19, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



...with HUSKER DU!  This bootleg video of the power trio was taken in Indy circa June 1985.  The crowd is way too sedate, but may have been warned to remain seated.  Part 1 includes "New Day Rising," "It's Not Funny Any More," "Everything Falls Apart" and "The Girl Who Lives On Heaven Hill."  Part 2 includes "I Apologize," "If I Told You," "Folklore" and "Every Everything."  Part 3 includes "Makes No Sense At All" and "Keep Hanging On."  Part 4 is "Find Me."  Part 5 is "All Work And No Play."  Part 6 includes "Terms Of Psychic Warfare," "Drug Party" and "Powerline."  Part 7 includes "Books About UFOs" and "Chartered Trips."  Part 8 includes "Diane" and "Celebrated Summer."  Part 9 includes "Pink Turns To Blue" and "Ticket To Ride."  Part 10 concludes with "Eight Miles High" and "Love Is All Around."

ALL SONGS CONSIDERED:  Radiohead, Neil Young, Jole Holland & Booker T, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Levon Helm and more are streaming on demand via NPR.

SPOON drummer Jim Eno talked to the Boston Globe about the band's sparse arrangements, the studio chatter left on the new LP, and how the band decided 36 minutes is the perfect album length.

ERIC CLAPTON:  All Things Considered has an excerpt from his autobiography and is streaming his early influences, plus a couple of his classics in a two-parter at NPR.

THE AEROVONS:  A "shinsaholic" at MOG is streaming four tracks from the obscure, but so-Beatlesque band with the great backstory.

DOVEMAN joins the list of artists doing tours of blog love, starting with the video for "The Sunken Queen" at Frank Yang's Chromewaves.

CAT POWER:  GvsB was just as disappointed as I was yesterday that Chan Marshall is leaving "The Tracks Of My Tears" off her next covers LP, but they found the video!  So for a bonus, I'll add a freaky clip of Smokey and the Miracles in which the instruments and vocals are alternately isolated.

A PALER SHADE OF WHITE REDUX:  The Sasha Frere-Jones article asserting the unbearable whiteness of indie rock I noted on Tuesday was also discussed at the Village Voice and dumped on at Prefix.  New York Magazine rounds up more (mostly negative) reax.  At Slate, Carl Wilson argues that identity politics, class and other factors are at play as well.

WILCO:  While Jeff Tweedy recently spoke to Billboard about rediscovering the band's back catalog on tour, drummer Glenn Kotche talked to the Columbus Dispatch about a few of his favorite songs from the set lists.

THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS stopped by The Current for a chat and mini-set you can stream via MPR.

DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS:  Patterson Hood is quick to note that when the band goes out early next year to support the band's upcoming album, it will be with an electric vengeance

AMY WINEHOUSE & PETE DOHERTY have teamed up for a new duet... and she was reportedly busted on tour in Bergen, Norway.

CUTOUT BIN:  This Friday's fortuitous finds from the newly-redesigned HM are:  Ike & Tina Turner - River Deep, Mountain High; The Ronettes - Baby, I Love You; El Perro del Mar - God Knows (You Gotta Give To Get); Lucky Soul - Add Your Light To Mine, Baby; The Mighty Mighty Bosstones - The Impression That I Get; The Spinners - The Rubberband Man; James Brown - It's A Man's, Man's, Man's World; Queen w/David Bowie - Under Pressure; The B-52's - Dance This Mess Around; The Chambers Brothers - Time Has Come Today; Tom Petty - I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better (Byrds); Mamas And The Papas - California Dreamin'; Buffalo Springfield - Bluebird; Dar Williams - Ripple (Grateful Dead); The Flying Burrito Brothers - Do You Know How It Feels?; Richard Hawley - Just Like The Rain; The Minus 5 - Ballad Of John And Yoko (Beatles); The Beatles - Dream Baby (R. Orbison); The Yardbirds - Smokestack Lightnin' (Howlin' Wolf); Creedence Clearwater Revival - Run through the Jungle; Foo Fighters - Band On The Run (Wings); Warren Zevon - Lawyers, Guns and Money (nsfw); Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers - Someone I Care About; Wilco - Passenger Side; Blair - Adrogynous (Replacements); AC/DC - You Shook Me All Night Long; and Guided By Voices - Echos Myron (nsfw).

BRITNEY SPEARS has had her visitation rights with her kids suspended until she complies with all court orders.  TMZ claims the pop tart did not provide contact info for those random drug tests.  Her camp claims drug-testers couldn't reach her cell phone because the reception isn't good enough.

ELLEN DeGENERES says she will stop speaking publicly, for now, about her former adopted dog Iggy, after reports that the rescue agency which repossessed the dog she gave away has been threatened with violence.  Video at the link.

OWEN WILSON has reportedly fallen off the wagon already.

NOW SHOWING:  This weekend's wide releases are: The Comebacks, a sports comedy not screened for critics; 30 Days of Night, an adaptation of the graphic novel about vampires in Alaska currently scoring a sad 33 percent on the ol' Tomatometer, Rendition, the Witherspoon-Gyllenhaal thriller scoring 43 percent; Gone Baby Gone, the abduction thriller scoring 84 percent; Sarah Landon and the Paranormal Hour, which was not screened for critics; and Things We Lost in the Fire, the drama starring Halle Berry and Benicio Del Toro, scoring 85 percent.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  A source tells US Weekly that Holmes treats the Tom-Kitten "like her best girlfriend."  Would that be because the Scientologists have chased off Katie's old friends?

RACHEL McADAMS & RYAN GOSLING are dunzo.  Gosling tells GQ that he has had to console their fans, when it should be the other way around.  "Lazy Sunday" will never seem the same.

LINDSAY LOHAN:  New bf Riley Giles claims -- contrary to other reports -- that he and Li-Lo started dating after he broke up with gf Bree Tierney, and denies they were engaged.

O.J. SIMPSON wanted armed men with him when he confronted two sports memorabilia dealers, according to a co-defendant who has agreed to a plea deal agreed to testify for the prosecution in the armed robbery case.

JESSICA BIEL doesn't mind her girl friend groping her butt literally behind Justin Timberlake's back.  Pic at the link.

SIENNA MILLER:  The Daily Mail is asking her friends what she sees in Rhys Ifans -- best known as Hugh Grant's grubby flatmate Spike in the 1999 film Notting Hill.

STAR TREK REBOOT:  The roles of Kirk and McCoy have been cast in J.J. Abrams' Trek feature for Paramount.  Chris Pine will star as the young Captain Kirk, while Karl Urban will play Dr. McCoy.  Already cast were Zoe Saldana as the young Uhura, Anton Yelchin as the young Chekov, John Cho as young Sulu, Simon Pegg as young Scotty and Zachary Quinto as the young Spock.  Eric Bana has been cast as the villain, who is named Nero.  The role of Christoper Pike remains uncast to date.

SOUTH PARK went a little "Team America" in this week's episode, in which the boys visit Imaginationland, only to see it destroyed by jihadis.  That's the excerpt, but you can watch the whole thing if you want the testicular humor also.

CARTOON JIHAD:  Lars Vilks -- the artist under a fatwa, death threats, and an al-Qaeda bounty for drawing a cartoon depicting Mohammed as a dog -- has bought a guard dog... and named her Mohammed.

AL QAEDA and NUKES:  The WaPo's David Ignatius -- no fan of the Bush Admin -- looks at the historical record and the current lack of intell on the subject.

IRAN:  Yesterday, I speculated that Russian Pres. Putin might be giving Tehran a different "atomic message" in private than what he was saying in public.  Pres. Ahmadinejad said on Thursday that Putin "made no words" on Iranian nuclear issue.  But other Iranian officials said Putin put forward a proposal to break the deadlock over Iran's nuclear program.  Michael Rubin -- no fan of either government -- blogged that arabic media was quoting chief nuclear negotiator Larijani as saying, "Putin proposed an end to uranium enrichment (to defuse the nuclear crisis), but we do not agree with him."

IRAQ:  Multi-National Force's troops detained a local official from the Sadr party suspected of facilitating terrorist attacks.  Time magazine looks at one of the remaining dangerous frontline outposts outside Ramadi.  And there's a great picture with a story about the 51 women joining hundreds of male residents that are already helping secure Baghdad's Adhamiyah neighborhood by guarding important public sites like schools, hospitals, and government buildings.

PERFORMING PIGS jump through rings of fire and twirl on pedestals at the Sriracha Tiger Zoo in the Thai resort province of Chon Buri.  More pics at the link.  The zoo is famous for mixing pigs with tigers.

A SEVEN-FOOT PYTHON turns up in a Brooklyn toilet.  Pics, video at the link.

CATS are supposed to be washed by hand, not by a washing machine.  Who knew?

ELEPHANTS can tell whether a human is a friend or foe by their scent and colour of clothing, according to experts.  Video at the link.

A GIANT SALMON thought to be the biggest caught in Britain will not enter the record books because there were no scales big enough to weigh it.  You're gonna need a bigger scale.

A RUGBY-MAD PARROT named Severiano Ballesteros has learned to chant for his favourite team... with a Gloucester accent.  Video at the link.

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New Pornographers, Dan Wilson, Hard-Fi, Skinny-Pig   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, October 18, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS have a colorful new video for "Challengers," the title track of their new LP.

NEIL YOUNG is previewing new songs on his YouTube channel.

CAT POWER has settled on the tracklist for Jukebox, her second (mostly) covers album.  And while it should be great to have studio takes of "New York, New York" and "Dark End of the Street," I wish she had found room for her interpretation of "Tracks Of My Tears."

DAN WILSON talks to Dodge at My Old Kentucky Blog about working with Rick Rubin and ex-Jayhawk Gary Louris... and tells Dodge not to hold his breath for a Trip Shakespeare reunion.  Wilson's solo LP is streaming via Spinner this week; Dodge says it's a "slow-burner" that "should ultimately be compared to Elton John's Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy."

ALWAYS ON MY MIND can be always in your ears, as MOKB is streaming at least 15 covers of the sappy 1972 classic.

HARD-FI:  Spinner has the premiere of " Can't Get Along (Without You),"  which the site rightly calls "one of the band's catchiest numbers."

DEVENDRA BANHART has been making mix CD's for Lindsay Lohan to help the troubled star beat her problems.

NELLIE McKAY played a mini-set and talked pop & politics at the World Cafe, which you can stream via NPR.

RADIOHEAD:  Pitchfork rounds up some fan reax to the semi-freely downloadable In Rainbows LP, while the Washington Times gauged reactions at the White House.

ANGIE STONE talked to NPR's Day to Day about her new album, which was recorded in same studio where Marvin Gaye made many of his later albums.  The Art of Love & War is streaming in full this week via AOL.

ELLEN DeGENERES talked about her ongoing battle with a dog rescue group that took back a dog she adopted after discovering the talk show hostess had given it to her hairdresser. She then supposedly suffered a sobbing breakdown on national TV, while other reports have her privately threatening the pet adoption agency, while her rabid fans hound the agency off the Internet with threats of death and arson.  The Insider has Ellen's spin on the story.

LINDSAY LOHAN has denied breaking up a marriage while in rehab, but her new beau was engaged -- the ex-fiancee found out he'd moved on from the tabloids.

THE McCARTNEYS are on the brink of a divorce deal after Sir Paul offered Heather Mills £25 million.  A non-disclosure clause remains in dispute, but the two sides are said to be "within touching distance" and could shake hands on a deal by Friday.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  From odd formula to permissive parenting, US Weekly reports on how Scientology influences the Tom-Kitten's life on a daily basis.

ORLANDO BLOOM has been interviewed by the LAPD in the investigation of his early morning car wreck last week.  Police are still looking at the possibility that he committed hit and run.

BRITNEY SPEARS is reportedly set to meet a Native American shaman to help cleanse her soul.  The pop tart was inspired to arrange the visit by Owen Wilson, who met the healers following his suicide bid in August.  Probably untrue, but to funny to keep to myself.

PAMELA ANDERSON:  OK! magazine has the details of her trashy Vegas wedding to Rick Salomon.

BRADGELINA:  After son James Haven accused him of "mental abusing" his and Jolie's mother in a recent magazine article, Jon Voight is speaking out.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON:  The next Angelina Jolie?  At Elle magazine's Women in Hollywood tribute, the blonde bombshell talked about her recent trip to Sri Lanka and India with Oxfam (as noted here previously), and her plans to visit troops overseas with the USO in early 2008.  And looked gorgeous.

PAUL BETTANY always amuses me and he was on his game accompanying wife Jennifer Connelly to the aforementioned Women in Hollywood tribute:  "I'm kind of like the eye candy.  You know, as we walk down the red carpet, I know everybody's kind of looking at us thinking, 'How did she snag him?' So it boosts my confidence."

DAVID HASSELHOFF is back on the road to recovery, which in a just world would inspire a re-imagining of "Knight Rider" in which the Hoff's character is also a recovering alcoholic and KITT the talking car is his sponsor.  Ooga-chucka!

THE NETHERLANDS:  Moroccan-Dutch youths rioted in Amsterdam overnight Tuesday, after police shot 22-year old Dutch-born Bilal Bajaka, who entered the police station in Slotervaart and stabbed two police officers with a knife.  Bajaka had been involved in several major criminal incidents -- including armed robberies -- and was personally acquainted with Islamic extremist Mohammed Bouyeri, the convicted killer of the late film director Theo van Gogh, as well as with other Moroccan-Dutch terrorist suspects.  Meanwhile, radical Muslims have taken control of the Dutch Muslim public broadcasting service.

MIDEAST MYSTERY:  Syria denied reports that its representatives to the UN admitted that a nuclear facility was hit last month by Israeli warplanes, and added that "such facilities do not exist in Syria."  A UN press release quoted Syria's UN ambassador, Bashar al-Jaafari, as saying that a nuclear facility was hit.  However, the web version of the release has been edited, changing the ambassador's accusation that Israel "had taken action against nuclear facilities, including the 6 July attack in Syria" to claiming that Israel "carried out military aggression against them, as had happened on 6 September against Syria."  The UN is blaming an interpreter.  How does an interpreter manage to get the month and a reference to nuclear facilities wrong?

IRAN:  Russian Pres. Putin forged an alliance with Iran Tuesday against any military action by the West and pledged to complete the controversial Iranian nuclear power plant at Bushehr.  OTOH, Putin also gave Iran a "special message" on its disputed atomic program and other issues.  Some political analysts had said before Putin's visit to Tehran that he might use the opportunity to seek a diplomatic compromise.  Perhaps what got said in private differed from what got said in public.  Meanwhile, Stuart Levey, undersecretary for terrorism and financial intell at the US Treasury, says financial institutions -- including major European banks -- have agreed to jump on board the US-led campaign to squeeze Iran's economy in a bid to persuade it to suspend uranium enrichment, a key process in making nuclear weapons.  Some observers say the campaign's impact may be more significant than the current UN sanctions.

IRAQ:  Commanders have decided to begin the drawdown of US forces in Diyala province.  A local AQI warlord and two of his cohorts were killed in a shootout with Iraqi forces in Mosul, the US military said.  Clashes erupted between AQI and the Islamic Army -- a Sunni Arab armed group -- in Samarra.  The AP reports on grassroots reconciliation efforts between Shiites and Sunnis, as well as on improvements in electricity delivery and other reconstruction projects.  However, the US is concerned that Iraq has agreed to award over a billion in contracts to Iranian and Chinese companies to build a pair of enormous power plants.

THE WAR and THE MEDIA:  Having noted on Monday that the media generally ignored that the Medal of Honor would be posthumously awarded to Lt. Michael P. Murphy, it's only fair to note that NBC ran a good piece on Murphy yesterday.

THE SKINNY-PIG:  A bizarre breed of guinea pig that was created for laboratory testing more than 30 years ago has become the latest designer pet.

PARROT warning spells death for an intruder.  Video at the link.


PET HOARDING:  More than 250 dogs and cats are being moved out of a home in rural Lee County, outside Rochelle, IL.  Video at the link.  (Thanks, Dad.)

JACKSON the NEWFOUNDLAND survived a a fire that destroyed its Farmingville, Long Island home by hiding in the bathtub with his nose pressed against the drain getting fresh air.

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Van Halen, Arcade Fire & Bruce, Sharon Jones, Toygers   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, October 17, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


VAN HALEN:  Driving home from the first show in the reformulated ("Three parts original, one part inevitable," to quote David Lee Roth) band's two-night stand in Chicago, I caught audio froma press concert where Roth invited, even dared the press to judge them harshly.  I could do that.  I could say Diamond Dave is down to about 80-85% of his old vocal range and that Eddie Van Halen's son Wolfgang was alright, but no Michael Anthony, whose high backing vocals could have covered Dave's patchier moments (e.g., "Little Guitars," "Dance The Night Away," where he -- imo -- intentionally blew the lyrics to avoid the high notes, "Hot For Teacher," where the riotous cacophony of the combo helped bury Dave's lead).  But the reason to go see a Roth-fronted VH is not to judge it harshly.  Rather, it is to enjoy Roth's showmanship and smartass swagger, even if he left his signature twirling kicks until the last few numbers.  Who can deliver a line like, "Have You Seen Junior's grades?" or "That suit is you!" like Roth?  No one.  If he avoided some of the trickier vocals by going a bit Vegas, who could do it better than Diamond Dave?  No one.  It is to appreciate his effort (reportedly lacking back in the day) to stay in tune.  It is to soak in the 70s SoCal vibe and the mob singalongs on "Dance The Night Away" and "Jamie's Cryin'," or the joy of fist-pumping fans enthralled that "Mean Street" made the set list.  It is for the warmth that Roth and EVH genuinely seemed to have for each other after decades of estrangement, as the pair wandered into The Who's Live at Leeds version of "Magic Bus" in mid-song, or a bit of the classic "Spoonful" during "Somebody Get Me a Doctor."  It is to realize just how much of the early VH catalog was woven into the fabric of classic rock; I am a casual VH listener at best, yet was familiar -- more or less -- with the entire setlist, mostly from radio airplay over 28 years or so.

But most of all, it is to stand in the same hall and listen to the virtuosity of Eddie Van Halen, who seemingly has enough energy post-rehab for two bands.  It is to discover that you never fully appreciated just how physical Eddie is with his axes.  And it is to hear the roar of one of the Monsters of Rock announcing its authority at well over 100 decibels.  If this type of show is like spending a night at the museum, the guitar of EVH would be the CGI T-Rex that chases you down the hallway, particularly on the iconic openings of songs like "Runnin' With the Devil," "Everybody Wants Some," and the set closing "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love."  You can get a slight flavor of the gig from these extended videos from the band's last rehearsal, both the show opening salvo of "You Really Got Me" and "I'm The One" (on which they were in tune last night) and especially "Everybody Wants Some."  Sadly, a lot of the bootleg clips on the Tube have awful audio, though "Jamie's Cryin'" in Philly turned out alright.  You can see the setlist and more rehearsal clips at Blabbermouth.

DEVENDRA BANHART may be a hippy-folk weirdo who blew a quarter of his recording budget on crystals, but he's just as happy drinking rum and listening to Oasis, according to the Guardian's Sylvia Patterson.

ARCADE FIRE joined BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN onstage in Ottawa, Canada for his "State Trooper" and their "Keep the Car Running."  Let's go to the video!

DAN WILSON talks to the L.A. Times about the long road to his first solo album, which is streaming in full this week via Spinner.  I profiled his first major effort, Trip Shakespeare, last November.

THE KILLERS' new single, "Tranquilize" (featuring Lou Reed), has found its way to the Tube, albeit as audio-only.

SUFJAN STEVENS:  For three nights beginning November 1,  the cult-embraced purveyor of freaky chamber folk-pop-will present an actual symphonic evocation of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway at the Next Wave Festival.

SHARON JONES is profiled at JamBase, and read excerpts from Douglas Wolk's 33 1/3 series book about James Brown's Live at the Apollo at Daytrotter.  The latter was probably good prep for an' Oct. 6th gig at the Apollo, for which Jones and labelmate Lee Fields worked up a James Brown medley with the Daptones.

NOW PLAY IT is a (relatively) new website where in a series of video downloads, musicians recite the stories behind their hits and demonstrate how they played them.  Guest tutors include Paul McCartney, Graham Coxon, The Magic Numbers and K.T. Tunstall, with plenty of indie tunes from house tutors.

FEIST spends 60 seconds with Metro, which is twice as long as that iPod Nano ad (which she discusses at the first link).

GRAM PARSONS gets a major addition to his discography with Gram Parsons Archives Vol. 1: The Flying Burrito Brothers "Live" at the Avalon 1969, due November 6 from the newly formed Amoeba records label. The two CD, 27-track set includes a number of never-before-heard -- though long rumored -- rarities.

JOHN FOGERTY:  The CCR songwriter is profiled by the Sunday Times of London in support of his new album, and seems to have reconciled with his stormy past: "It's hard for me to talk about that now, because I'm healed. It's like someone else's story..."

BRITNEY SPEARS turned herself in to be booked on misdemeanor charges of hit and run... and hit the town in a shocking pink wig.

KATE HUDSON is said by the uber-reliable Post-Chronicle to be desperate to woo back Owen Wilson - who was hospitalized in August after a failed suicide bid - after realizing she still loves him.

GEORGE CLOONEY & LEONARDO DiCAPRIO are in discussions to join forces for a movie loosely based on fmr VT Gov. Howard Dean's 2004 presidential campaign.  Which at least should be short.

DREW CAREY had one contestant flip out -- and wipe out -- during his first day hosting "The Price is Right."  Video at the link.  The same show is the subject of a conspiracy theory.  Video at the link.  BTW, in addition to hosting "The Price Is Right" and "The Power of 10," he's offering libertarian proposals to alleviate traffic gridlock.  Video at the link.

MUST SEE MOVIES of 2008:  I'm guessing most people will not see all 55 listed by /Film.

BRADGELINA:  Jolie is sporting a period look as she starts shooting The Changeling, directed by Clint Eastwood.  People are starting to wonder whether she will be taking that year off for her family, as stated back in May.

THE OFFICE:  Joss Whedon is directing another episode this season: "I don't know how much I'm allowed to say about it, but I can say that... Jim kills Pam, which I thought was weird," Whedon says, tongue firmly planted in cheek. "I probably shouldn't have revealed that..."

THE DARJEELING LIMITED:  Though I was disappointed by Wes Anderson's new film, I still agree with Amber Taylor that the critics playing the race card on Anderson's body of work are off-base.

THE TOP TEN HOTTEST SMART GIRLS IN HOLLYWOOD, according to Celebrity Top.  Not all actresses are drop-outs.

INDIANA JONES IV:  Peter Sciretta was among a small group of online press invited to the set by Steven Spielberg as a reward for aiding in the capture of a thief who stole thousands of photographs, scripts and the budget from the Indy offices on the Universal backlot.

TRANSFORMERS came out on DVD this week, so it seems like a good time to watch eight Chinese dudes make one out of a Citroen.

TWO CONCERTS led by Byran Adams, calling for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, have been scrapped after Palestinian supporters were threatened, organisers said.  For a second, I though that the Palestinians might hate "Summer of '69," but it turns out the threats came from extremists on the issue of refugees.

AYAAN HIRSI ALI:  The Dutch lawmaker and author has declined an offer to live in Denmark and says that she intends to return to the US, even though the Netherlands cut off funds for the 24/7 security she has had since the 2004 murder of her friend, flimmaker Theo van Gogh, by an Islamic extremist.

IRAQ:  Iraq launched a diplomatic offensive on Tuesday aimed at fending off increasingly vocal Turkish threats to send troops into northern Iraq to crush Kurdish rebels.  On Monday, US soldiers tracked down and detained "the top terrorist" in Baghdad.  Security is improving enough that more Iraqis are volunteering for the police forces, though selecting good candidates will take time.  Iraqi governmental officials met with more than 300 sheikhs from the Mada'in Qada in Baghdad to discuss the way ahead for reconciliation, a plan that would lead to the eventual acceptance of concerned local citizens into the Iraqi security forces, and a plan to increase coordination between tribal leaders and the government.  Since May, there has been an 85 percent reduction in violence in northwestern Baghdad.  A dozen Army captains write in the WaPo that Iraq is a shambles and that the US should leave immediately or reinstitute a draft.  None served in Iraq this year under the new strategy, and the op-ed ignores the falling US and Iraqi casualty numbers.  Shi'ite Islamist political parties are imposing strict Islamic rules in the oil-producing southern provinces of Iraq and using their armed wings to create a state of fear, a group of tribal Shi'ite leaders said.  Eventually, the Shia there will turn on the extremists, as is happening now in Baghdad and in Musayyib.

TOYGERS are quickly becoming the latest must-have designer pets.  More pics at the link.

CATS are highly trainable, but you'll have to make it really worth their while.  "Dogs will work for free. They're happy to please you," says animal-behavior consultant Steve Dale. "Cats aren't going to volunteer their time forever for nothing. They want to be paid."

THE SQUIRREL THREAT:  One British restaurant is fighting the grey squirrel invasion by serving up free grey squirrel pancakes to hungry diners.

DISEASED FERAL PIGS pose a threat to farmers and the environment in Queensland, Australia.

HENS lay more eggs while listening to classical music.  And if the eggs weren't being shipped off to market for food, the chicks would be much smarter.

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Fiery Furnaces, New Releases, Isaac Hayes, Tiny Pig, Big Sharks   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, October 16, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


THE FIERY FURNACES:  Matthew Friedberger says the subject matter of the Widow City album is feminine, but the music is "often the masculine part of the song." (Thanks LHB.)  Part of the melody of "Ex-Guru" seems eerily like John Lennon's "In My Life," but your mileage may vary.

NEW RELEASES:  Oof.  Kinda slow week.  Dan Wilson (Trip Shakespeare, Semisonic) is the main thing streaming via Spinner.  The soulful Angie Stone is streaming via AOL.  R.E.M. releases that live CD/DVD combo.  The Capstan Shafts (a/k/a Dean Wells) brings more lo-fi pop and Americana on Environ Maiden.

THE WHITE STRIPES are selling limited-edition cameras.... but not just any cameras.  No, these are Lomography cameras.  Inasmuch as a picture is worth a thousand words, you can check out the Flickr pool for the Lomographic Society International to see how the original cheap Russian design plays out in today's cameras.

THE CMJ MUSIC MARATHON:  Selected sets are streaming live via KEXP and NPR.  For example, The Hold Steady are playing at 4 p.m. ET today.

RAY DAVIES will release his new solo LP, Working Man's Café, free with every copy of The Sunday Times of London on October 21.  Times Online has the track "Vietnam Cowboys" -- about globalization -- available as a free download, if you register at the site.

ISAAC HAYES:  Sure, we've heard the theme from "Shaft" (and we can dig it) -- but you may not have seen Hayes unveiled by the Rev. Jesse Jackson.  Or heard his take on the Burt Bacharach-Hal David classic "Walk On By."  So that's your Twofer Tuesday.

THE KLAXONS, this year's winner's of the UK's Mercury Prize, got a good write-up from Jon Pareles in the NYT.  But in London's Guardian, John Harris thinks future British Invasions -- by the Klaxons or others -- are a pipe dream.

THIRTEEN:  Over at MOKB, Dodge is streaming multiple covers of the Big Star classic.

A PALER SHADE OF WHITE:  At The New Yorker, Sasha Frere-Jones wonders "why rock and roll, the most miscegenated popular music ever to have existed, underwent a racial re-sorting in the nineteen-nineties."  That he refers to the nineteen-fifties as "when Elvis Presley stole the world away from Pat Boone" suggests a certain lack of clarity, but we get the point.  OTOH, the folks at NPR recently wrung their hands when white artists covered Rhianna's "Umbrella" -- a song originally offered to Britney Spears.  It's so hard to figure out the politically correct position these days.  Maybe we should just let people make music.

LED ZEPPELIN is finally offering its catalog to digital-music fans; ringtones this week, downloads at spots like iTunes on Nov. 13.

KEITH RICHARDS, LORD of the UNDEAD, has staged interventions with bandmate Ron Wood, at knife- and gunpoint.  Of course, if you're so wacked that Keith Richards thinks an intervention is needed, weapons are likely also required.

SIENNA MILLER was... wait for it... caught canoodling co-star Rhys Ifans over the weekend in Notting Hill.  Pics at the link.

PAM ANDERSON and French Hotel sex tape co-star RICK SOLOMON, contrary to prior reports, may not have gotten hitched due to pregnancy, but instead to pitch a reality TV show.

THE FRENCH HOTEL:  Remember how the heirhead was going to show the world she's a changed woman?  It turn out that her trip to Rwanda may be filmed not only for a reality TV show, but also by her own crew for a film about herself.  In the meantime, she's been spotted partying with Kid Rock in Toronto.  I'm sure neither one was thinking of Pam Anderson or Rick Solomon, either.

PEREZ HILTON, high-traffic gossip blogger, is being sued by Lindsay Lohan's friend Samantha Ronson for libel, by Britney Spears' label for copyright infringement, and was booed at an AIDS benefit in L.A. the other night.

CHAD VADER:  The NYT profiles Aaron Yonda and Matt Sloan, who have become Tube stars with their satirical series depicting Darth Vader's brother as a power-hungry manager at a grocery store.

COLIN FARRELL has revealed that his four-year-old son James was born with a rare form of cerebral palsy called Angelman Syndrome.

JENNIFER ANISTON is reportedly obsessed with bikini waxing, according to the ever-reliable Star magazine.

RATATOUILLE:  The animated French rat is really cooking overseas, having raked in 271.4 million so far.

JUSTICE LEAGUE:  Director George Miller flew in Saturday from his native Australia for a marathon casting session of younger (and cheaper) actors.

STACY HEDGER:  It seems right -- but so very wrong -- to feature Miss Douglas County on the same day as Chad Vader.

TERROR in the US?  The FBI's elite Joint Terrorism Task Force in Newark says it is not only monitoring a number of North Jersey residents with ties to al-Qaeda, but that agents have quietly "disrupted" their activities and even deported a few.

MIDEAST MYSTERY:  The NYT joins the list of media outlets reporting that Israel's air attack on Syria last month was directed against a site that Israeli and American intelligence analysts judged was a partly constructed nuclear reactor, apparently modeled on one North Korea has used to create its stockpile of nuclear weapons fuel, according to American and foreign officials with access to the intelligence reports.  The paper claims that "Neither Iran nor any Arab government except for Syria has criticized the Israeli raid...North Korea did issue a protest," when in fact Iran did condemn the raid.  So the two remaining members of the "Axis of Evil" are identifying themselves here.  We can all take great comfort that the UN's nuke watchdog did not know about any undeclared atomic plant in Syria and has asked Damascus about information that such a site was targeted by the Israeli air strike.  If Syria had an undeclared nuke site, would they start blabbing about it to the UN now?

IRAQ:  There is widespread agreement that AQI has suffered major blows over the past three months, but is not defeated.  There has been a 50% drop in monthly suicide bombings, from more than 60 in January to around 30 a month since July. Captures and interrogations of AQI leaders are on the rise; the flow of foreign fighters from Syria has slowed, as AQ may be sending them to Afghanistan instead.  Lt. Gen. Odierno, the second-ranking US commander in Iraq, estimated that the group's capabilities have been "degraded" by 60 to 70 percent since the beginning of the year.  Writing the linked article had to gall the WaPo's Thomas Ricks.  A year ago, he was painting Anbar province as lost, while milbloggers and embedded reporters were reporting on the Anbar Awakening Council's nascent campaign against AQI.  In March, as the first "surge" troops were getting in plcae, Ricks wrote a piece trying to throw cold water on one of its premises -- that the February 2006 Samarra mosque bombing was a major tipping point for the war; the bias in that piece was exposed by Evan Kohlmann at the Counterterrorism Blog.  Ricks should re-read his own book to remind himself that the personnel, strategy and tactics have changed since the time he wrote it, in ways that should encourage him.

TETLEY the miniature pig is the smallest of a litter of eight piglets born to Poppy Two Socks.  More awww...some pics at the link,

COW!  It was like a scene from a Steven Spielberg movie, Roger Rollin said, describing what began in a dense fog and ended with "squealing tires, thuds and a few moos mixed in there."

THE SQUIRREL THREAT:  The Irish Squirrel Survey recommends that grey squirrels should be given a contraceptive in a bid to prevent the wiping out of their red cousins.  However, the co-author of the survey said such a product was not currently available.  If left unchecked, the grey squirrel population could also affect the timber industry.

THE WORLD'S WEIRDEST MOTHS:  The Death's Head Hawkmoth made famous in The Silence of the Lambs is just the beginning.

GOING TO NEED A BIGGER BOAT:  Six friends went to a fishing tournament looking to catch some grouper. They caught an 844-pound shark instead.  Pics and video at the link.  BONUS:  An Australian woman who was attacked by a great white shark described how she fought back.  Her husband described how he saw the shark rise up and bite the back of his wife's sea kayak: "(It) literally lifted itself in the back of Linda's boat ... and had the back of the boat in its mouth and gave it a shake."  Of course, this means we must go to the video. (NSFW)

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Decemberists, CMJ, Steve Earle, Python Attack   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, October 15, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


THE DECEMBERISTS were on this weekend's edition of Austin City Limits.  Laura Veirs joined them for "Yankee Bayonet."  There's another clip and an interview in glorious Quicktime at the ACL site.

SPOON frontman Britt Daniel spins some songs for Harp magazine.  The band stopped by The Current for a chat and mini-set you can stream now via MPR.

THE CMJ MUSIC MARATHON, which officially begins on Tuesday and runs through Saturday, has once again attracted 1,000 buzz-seeking bands to play at more than 50 locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Hoboken, NJ.  Insound has a free digital sampler of 15 of them, including Jesu, Health, British Sea Power, Georgie James, Hallelujah the Hills and younger-than-Smoosh rockers Tiny Masters of Today.  Or you can stream 237 songs from CMJ artists via iMeem.

RADIOHEAD = GREEDHEADS?  The sentiment among many fans seems to have gone from admiration for the group's willingness to let the consumer decide how much to pay for the new album to anger over the low quality of the downloads - and dismay over the band's manager's statement that the you-choose-the-price downloads were just a promotional tool for the release of the physical CD.

BEIRUT isn't exactly a "breaking band," but Rolling Stone thinks so, so they have some interview and performance video from Zach Condon.

PAUL SIMON turned 66 over the weekend.  To celebrate, here's a clip of Stevie Wonder and the Dixie Hummingbirds joining Simon on "Loves Me Like A Rock" at the concert earlier this year honoring Simon's selection as the first recipient of The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.  Wonder goofs it up, but recovers nicely.

SUFJAN STEVENS:  A profile in this month's Smithsonian magazine suggests that his "old" sound and intense, starkly personal lyrics make more sense when you know his history.  Stevens plans to speak at NYC's PENultimate Lit event Nov. 28, on the topic, "What Makes Writing Matter in the 21st Century?" The Franciscan Friars, who trace their lineage back to Francis of Assisi, chose Stevens' "All the Trees of the Field Will Clap Their Hands" as October's "theme for Franciscanized World Vocation."

INTERNET RADIO:  Tim Westergren, founder of Pandora -- a free service suggests artists and songs users might enjoy, based on preferences they submit -- tells The NJ Star-Ledger that he's "cautiously optimistic" Internet radio will survive a negotiation of new royalty rates.

STEVE EARLE performed a concert for World Café Live in Philadelphia on Friday.  You can stream the whole gig on demand via NPR.

PETE DOHERTY interviews SIR PAUL McCARTNEY for the Sunday London Observer.

ORLANDO BLOOM was involved in a car wreck early Friday morning.  According to LAPD sources, speed was not a factor in the accident, nor were alcohol or drugs.  However, Bloom was reportedly acting strangely shortly before the crash, and tried to walk away from the scene, leaving two women -- one injured and bleeding -- in the smashed-up car.  The paparazzi actually talked him into returning to the scene.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE:  Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married? took the top slot with a surprisingly strong 21.5 million -- at least surprising to Hollywood, which still hasn't figured out that Black churchgoers don't turn up in their consumer surveys, but do turn out for Tyler Perry, regardless of bad reviews. The Game Plan dropped to second, earning 11.5 million, a drop of only 31% from last weekend.  George Clooney's turn as Michael Clayton finishes third with 11 million, below analysts' predictions and tracking survey results.  Clooney's domestic popularity isn't what the media or Hollywood thinks it is; he opens big in ensemble movies, otherwise, not so much.  We Own The Night opened in fourth place, just a few thousand shy of Clooney.  The Heartbreak Kid dropped 47% from second place to round out the Top Five with 7.4 mil.  Elizabeth: The Golden Age, took in more than the original did over any of its weekends at 6.2 mil, but will probably fail to reach the 30 mil that the original grossed.  The Kingdom skidded from third to seventh, earning a mere 4.6 million, on a painful 53% drop.  Across The Universe made it to eighth place from twelfth as it expanded to wide release, earning 4 mil.  Ninth goes to Resident Evil: Extinction, which made 2.7 and looks to end up with about the same total as its predecessor.  The Seeker rounded out the Top Ten with 2.1 mil.

JESSICA SIMPSON is rumored to have gotten a hefty three-million-dollar paycheck for new Proactiv infomercials that will air close to Christmas.

O.J. SIMPSON:  A lawyer said one of the co-defendants in the O.J. Simpson armed robbery case has agreed to plead guilty to a reduced charge and testify against Simpson and four others.

THE McCARTNEYS:  Sir Paul and Heather Mills are said to be close to reaching an agreement over a divorce deal, claimed to be worth as much as £60 million, following a secret meeting at the High Court in London.

ANNA NICOLE SMITH IS STILL DEAD, but agents from the California Department of Justice served two of her doctors search warrants Friday and raided six different locations, including the physicians' offices and residences.  State Attorney General Jerry Brown said that detectives had "serious evidence" in the case, but no arrests have been made.

BRITNEY SPEARS:  I don't think this one is her fault -- A federal prison inmate alleges that the pop tart forced him at gunpoint to commit identity theft, to pay for her abortions, breast implants, cocaine and alcohol.

LINDSAY LOHAN is broke after squandering a staggering seven million dollars on her wild partying, according to the uber-reliable News of the World.

MADONNA:  The day after news leaked that Madge was close to leaving Warner Bros. Records and hitting the road with concert promoter Live Nation, Warner Music was quick to forward a report from a Bank of America subsidiary titled "For 120 Million, She's All Yours," explaining why the former material girl is no longer worth a nine-digit payday.

BRADGELINA:  After a little over a month, Maddox Jolie-Pitt had his last day at the swank Lycee Francais de New York in NYC; this is at least the fourth school change for Maddox, who has also been a student in New Orleans, Prague, and L.A.  Meanwhile, Pitt may not be getting enough action from Jolie.

JOSH HARTNETT and RHIANNA were... wait for it... caught canoodling at NYC club Pink Elephant Thursday night.

THE OFFICE:  You do not have to be a fan of the show to enjoy this fabulous highlight from last Thursday's episode.  All you need to know is that Angela recently broke off her secret relationship with co-worker Dwight.  Andy is now interested, but Angela has rebuffed him.

COUNTER-INSURGENCY:  The IHT has the transcript of Charlie Rose interviewing David Kilcullen -- an adviser to Gen. Petraeus, a reserve lieutenant colonel in the Australian army, with a doctorate in political anthropology.  I have yet to read something he's written without learning something.  The NYT has a piece on how Fort Leavenworth (which one Friend of Pate has called "a real gated community") has become a front line in the military's tension and soul-searching over Iraq.  Though most of the debate the NYT covers whether SecDef Rumsfeld or the generals bore more responsibility for decisions on troop levels, it's a bit more complicated than that.  For example, Pentagon consultant Thomas P.M. Barnett has argued that a light force was right for the initial invasion, but should have been followed on by a much larger force of "System Administrators."  There is the argument that a heavy footprint would have made Iraq resemble Vietnam or Algeria even more closely.  There is the argument that the current generation of senior officers simply didn't have the experience in addressing the unstructured problems one faces in COIN wars.  And the argument that the post-Vietnam Army, for all of its suppsed soul-searching, mistakenly assumed was that if the military trained for major combat operations, it would be able to easily handle less-violent operations like COIN.  And so on.  Also, the NYT reporting, if true, suggests that the "Shinseki myth" lives in some quarters, which is a shame.

IRAN:  Police have warned 122K people, mostly women, about flouting strict Islamic dress codes since April and nearly 7K of those attended classes on respecting the rules, a newspaper said on Thursday.  Presidents Ahmadinejad of Iran and Chavez of Venezuela are sponsoring projects to underline "the ideological kinship of the left and revolutionary Islam," even though socialism -- like liberal democracy -- is punishable by death in the Islamic theocracy.

IRAQ:  In a major reconciliatory gesture, a leader of Iraq's largest Shiite party visited Sunni Anbar province, delivering a message of unity to tribal sheiks who have staged a US-backed revolt against AQI.  The LA Times looks at Sheik Ahmed Buzaigh Abu Risha, who is taking his brother's place leading the Anbar Salvation Council.  The AP reports on Sheik Faisal Chilab's clan striking a deal with the US in the "triangle of death." A senior AQI terrorist was killed in Mosul Saturday, according to the US military.  Iraqi forces ckilled 48 suspected AQI-linked insurgents during a four-day operation in a Sunni enclave of central Baghdad.  The Iraqi army was supported by local Sunni tribal members and other armed civilians who have turned against AQI in the volatile Fadhil neighborhood.  Anthony H. Cordesman, long pessimistic on Iraq, thinks the odds still aren't good, but that the US should stay another year.  The civilian death toll in Iraq fell to its lowest level in recent memory Saturday, with only four people killed or found dead nationwide, according to reports from police, morgue officials and credible witnesses.

THE WAR and the MEDIA:  Pres. Bush announced Thursday that the Medal of Honor would be posthumously awarded to Lt. Michael P. Murphy, a Navy SEAL killed leading a recon mission deep behind enemy lines in Afghanistan in 2005.  The New York Times did not bother to report it, even though Murphy hailed from Long Island.  Neither did NPR.  Indeed, outside the AP report, few media outlets bothered.

A GIANT PYTHON attacked reptile expert Brady Barr, who was wading waist-deep in liquefied bat poop in a dark, bat-infested Indonesian cave.  Let's go to the video!

SCOOBY was best dog at the wedding of his owner, who does not appear to be named Shaggy.

THE SQUIRREL THREAT:  Militant squirrels take down the power grid at the U of Kentucky -- for the third time.  Grey squirrels have caused 10K of damage to a home in Esquimalt, Canada.

A CAT picked the winning lottery numbers for a Shenzhen resident surnamed Wang, but does not seem to be getting a cut of the winnings.

THE SECRETIVE WORLD of Chinese "Lettuce dogs."  Metro is there.

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