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Pitchfork Music Fest, Redwalls, Shirley Bassey, LolCats   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, July 16, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



PITCHFORK MUSIC FEST 2007:  Rather than attempt a blow-by-blow account, I'll give you an overview, discoveries, and disagreement with the press.  For example, the big show Friday night -- Sonic Youth playing Daydream Nation in full -- was dimmed by a muted sound system (x2); I got closer, and Jim DeRogatis must have been too close to notice that the fab performance (though not quite as fab as the Goose Island Fest, Ken) was not translating to folks in the back half of the venue.  And technical problems plagued a number of the acts this year, though not all were the fault of the Fest.  Fortunately, Union Park was not a blast furnace this year and had enough cool breezes to keep folks from despair when delays would occur.  The other issue this year was that the fest was heavy with more laid-back, intimate folk rock that does not always transfer well to a festival setting.  Thus, DeRogatis may not be keen on the Cure & Smiths-influenced Voxtrot, but he had to admit that they were a welcome shot in the arm Saturday afternoon.  TimeOut Chicago agreed.  I wasn't sure how Grizzly Bear would fare in a live setting as the Yellow House album is such a unique production; it did suffer a little, but it brought out the band's harmonies, which oddly reminded me of early Jefferson Airplane (with Marty Balin on lead), or slightly of Trip Shakespeare.  I think the press was a little hard on Iron & Wine because we already had a number of laid-back acts; newer numbers  like "The Devil Never Sleeps" perked up the crowd and have me looking forward to the new LP.  Similarly, I think Battles got the benefit of being one of the more rocking acts of the day, though their math-prog vibe still leaves me cold.

CAT POWER, however, may have gotten the rawest deal in the press.  She and the Dirty Dozen Blues band had the same sort of volume problem as Sonic Youth, but up close, she converted me from an admirer to a fan.  Contra DeRogatis, her fans were wowed, and TimeOut got it almost completely wrong.  Chan Marshall and her band -- made up of people from Jon Spencer's Blues Explosion and Delta 88, among others -- put on a helluva show, despite the technical problems.  Though drawing largely from The Greatest (starting with the title track), she totally reinvented "New York, New York," belted "The Tracks of My Tears" like it was Stax instead of Motown, pumped up her own cover of "Satisfaction" and -- after joking that it was not "Bela Legosi's Dead" -- delivered "The Dark End of the Street" in a way that likely made Gram Parsons smile (wherever he is).  Now that she's reined in the crazy self-destruction, go see her.

YOKO ONO:  I came, I saw, I heard, I ran as fast as my legs would carry me.  Outside the park, some street musician honked out "The Addams Family Theme" on the sax to assure me that real music still existed.

SUNDAY had a better mix of music.  Deerhunter (think My Bloody Valentine or Sonic Youth), whose frontman, Bradford Cox, suffers from Marfan syndrome.and a penchant for wearing dresses, is not going to lull anyone to sleep.  Nor would the garage-tinged indie rock of The Ponys (who sadly were doubly-cursed with sound problems).  Menomena was good, but not great (imho).  An upside to tech delays was that I caught a bit of Nomo at the third stage; I had not heard them before and they were funkalicious.  The Sea & Cake wisely chose a setlist that kept them out of the "too laid-back" box.  The biggest surprise of Sunday for me was just how dynamic Jamie Lidell was all by himself; the leap in energy level was comparable to Otis Redding in the studio versus live -- he won the crowd over and even had a fair number dancing in the late afternoon heat.  Sadly, I couldn't hear Stephen Malkmus, as I was establishing a position for Of Montreal -- which turned out to be my best decision of the day.  Here, TimeOut gets it exactly right -- the '70s glam/'80s new wave fusion with tight harmonies, the theatrical performers onstage, the roaring encore of The Kinks' "All Day & All Of The Night," etc.  I'll have return to Of Montreal here when the photos and video become available, because it's one thing to write that Kevin Barnes channeled Ray Davies wearing a leather thong and fishnet stockings, but you really have to see it.  It was worth being trapped up front and getting a less-desirable spot for The New Pornographers, which TimeOut also gets right; the band was clearly jazzed to be the penultimate band at the fest, with a set full of fan faves ("All the Old Showstppers," "Mass Romantic," "From Blown Speakers," "Sing Me Spanish Techno," "The Bleeding Heart Show"), a particularly hyper version of "Twin Cinema" and new numbers from the Challengers LP coming this August -- one of which unexpectedly segued into Queen's "We Will Rock You."  They were so good that I felt a little sorry that they had to follow Of Montreal.  As for De La Soul, I liked some of their stuff back in the day, but nipped early to report back to y'all... and to soak my feet.

BONUS:  This year's fest included some of those big video screens, so I'm thinking they should have some sweet clips for the site soon.  In the meantime, P-Fork has reposted clips from last year, from which my picks to click would be Yo La Tengo, Jens Lekman and Man Man.

THE REDWALLS:  Chicago's very own neo-classic rockers stopped by the Current, so you can stream an interview and miniset via MPR.

IT'S ALL PART OF HER ROCK 'N' ROLL FANTASY:  Author and radio host Katherine Lanpher talks to WNYC about her rock 'n' roll fantasy camp experience, which found her singing backup vocals for The Who's Roger Daltrey and Cheap Trick.

ELIJAH WOOD, a/k/a Frodo Baggins, talks to CMJ about his plans for his Yep Roc-distributed indie label, Simian Records.

ALL SONGS CONSIDERED is featuring selections from Spoon, Interpol, The Field, Laurie Anderson and more, streaming via NPR.

DAME SHIRLEY BASSEY brings the Bond vibe to Pink's "Get The Party Started."  She's still got it.

25 MUST-HEAR NEW INDIE ALBUMS, from Gypsy punk to West Coast hip-hop and Swedish death metal to mainstream country and more typical indie rock, according to Billboard.

OKKERVIL RIVER is doing the pre-order our album, download it now thing.  Frontman Will Scheff tells Billboard  it's going to be more upbeat than the often-harrowing Black Sheep Boy: "I felt like if I did that again, I'd fall into the trap of repeating myself..."

SCHMALTZ IS OUT:  Science proves it by studying the "differential affect gap."

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE:  The supposedly sober supermodel, reportedly feeling "old and haggard," is turning to the woman who first made her famous - Storm Model Management boss Sarah Doukas - in a desperate bid to relaunch herself after breaking from the troubled singer.

PATTON OSWALT -- the voice of Ratatouille's Remy -- meets Daniel Radcliffe, a/k/a Harry Potter, on The Tonight Show.  And then proceeds to list the reasons not to see the Potter movie.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE:  Of course, there was no chance that people were going to believe Oswalt, so Hogwarts took in 77 million over the weekend, with a global 330 million total (on a 150 million budget) and the biggest grossing Wednesday ever.  That's magic.  Director David Yates and producer David Heyman talk about the latest Potter on WNYC.  NPR is streaming "Wizard Rock" inspired by the series.  But I digress.  Transformers came in second with 36 million; the studio will be happy to see a drop of under 50 percent.  Ratatouille took the third spot with 18 million and a mere 38 percent drop in the face of the Potter juggernaut.  Live Free of Die Hard dropped a similar amount, making 10.8 milllion and crossing the 100 million mark in the US.  License to Wed and 1408 each dropped less than 30 percent.  Evan Almighty took another 43 percent drop; it remains under the 100 million mark worldwide, with a reported 200 million budget.  Knocked Up quietly took in another 3.6 million, having made at least 100 million over its 30 million budget.  Sicko made 2.6 million; it's 15 milliontotal is more than its 9 million budget, but Fahrenheit 9/11 made 222 million on a 6 million budget, so ouch.  Rounding out the Top Ten is the leggy Ocean's 13 with 1.9 million bucks.

ELISHA CUTHBERT added injury to the insult of starring in Captivity -- which debuted in 12th place -- by getting hit by a car and thrown across the street in NYC, because she wasn't looking where she was going.

LINDSAY LOHAN is out of rehab.  And her close friend, DJ Samantha Ronson, is suing PerezHilton and the Sunset Photo and News Agency for suggesting that cocaine found in Lohan's car after an infamous fender-bender was actually hers.

BRITNEY SPEARS reportedly has a "stalker" calling the L.A. County Department of Child and Family Services and lodging "bizarre" complaints against her, which explains some of last week's events.  Meanwhile, NYPost gossip Cindy Adams is hearing the pop tart still wants Fed-Ex back, while friends speculate that the marriage was a set-up by Fed-Ex (which seems unlikely, given that he's reportedly dating someone other than baby mama Shar Jackson).

THE FRENCH HOTEL:  The L.A. Sheriff's Department on Thursday launched an internal investigation into whether the hotel heiress got special perks while at the Century Regional Detention Center in Lynwood.

REBECCA ROMIJN and JERRY O'CONNELL got hitched on Saturday in Los Angeles.  The couple's two dogs, Taco and Better - dressed in black bow ties - joined in on the celebration.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  Fluffy coverage of Homes and the Tom-Kitten on a playdate claims that "the youngster took tentative steps along a grassy bank," but the video shows her trying to escape several times.  Run, Suri, Run!

CARMEN ELECTRA and JOAN JETT have split up after nine months, according to the ever-reliable Star magazine.

MATTHEW PERRY, HIDDEN COUGAR:  The former Friend and Meg Ryan have been secretly dating for five months, according to US Weekly.

MICHAEL RICHARDS has been seeking some spiritual healing in Cambodia, after he shouted racial slurs at hecklers in a West Hollywood comedy club.

EVAN ALMIGHTY:  If the most expensive comedy ever did not already have enough trouble, Malaysian Muslims have called for a ban on the flick as offensive to their religion, state media reported Friday.

QUEEN ELIZABETH II did not flip out at celeb photog Annie Leibowitz during a Vanity Fair photo shoot.  The BBC has admitted it "misrepresented" what happened in the encounter.  Leibowitz denied the incident several weeks before the BBC launched its version of the events.  RELATED:  Former BBC producer Anthony Jay writes about the decades-long, rampant biases at the BBC.

TROPHY WIVES:  Both ABC News and the NYT have done stories on potential GOP presidential candidate Fred Thompson's wife Jeri, both suggesting that she's a trophy wife and (oddly) that it's likely a plus for him.  Yet neither has covered the fact that Rep. Dennis Kuchinich married his third wife, Elizabeth Harper, in 2005; she's roughly 30 years younger than he is and far more attractive than he is... and he, unlike Thompson, is formally running for President.  Ouch.

ISLAMISM in the UK:  An al-Qaeda fanatic jailed for inciting murder online was caught making a website urging terror attacks - from his cell in Britain's most secure prison.  Up to 4,000 Islamic extremists have attended terrorist training camps in Afghanistan before returning to Britain, security chiefs have revealed.  Former extremist Hassan Butt writes that he still hears British Muslims clinging to conspiracy theories and living in a comforting state of denial.

CARTOON JIHAD:  A Muslim group lost its libel case against the newspaper that published cartoons satirizing jihadi extremism; the group is considering an appeal... and a fatwa!

IRAN:  Anti-stoning activist Asieh Amini finds that few want to talk about what happened to an adulterer in the village of Aghche Kand, even though the national government confirmed the stoning last week.  And Tehran is doubling the number of forces assigned to check up on lax dressing.

PAKISTAN:  The NYT reports that few people attended protests of the raid on the Red Mosque organized by religious parties on Friday, showing how far Islamist radicals are from gaining widespread popular support.  OTOH, the NYT reported that there has been a deadly surge of jihadi violence in the restive North Waziristan tribal region.  As in Iraq, a relatively small number of radicals can present problems.  The army started deploying troops in NWFP's southern districts, adjoining the Waziristan region, amid reports that an operation to curb militancy and extremism was imminent.

IRAQ:  Key tribal leaders from the Ubaidi and Anbakia tribes signed a peace agreement in Baquba to end decades-long tribal conflicts and stand together against al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations.  IraqSlogger has photos of former insurgents joining Coalition forces.  And here's video of US forces and Iraqis celebrating victory over AQI in Anbar province.  On Saturday, Iraqis celebrated the anniversary of the 1958 Revolution, which overthrew the monarchy and founded the first Iraqi republic.  I'm sure much will be made of Prime Minister al-Maliki's comment that if necessary, Iraqi police and soldiers could fill the void left by the departure of coalition forces.  But if you were PM, you would likely say the same, out of nationalist sentiment and pride.  Second-tier Shiite, Sunni and Kurd officials have already said that disaster would follow a hasty US withdrawal.  Meanwhile a robot air attack squadron of killer drones is headed into battle.

LOLCATS:  Time magazine has discovered them, years after the fact.  The mag reports: "It's easier to show lolcats than to explain it."  And then doesn't show any.

THE GIANT, LION-EATING CHIMPS of the MAGIC FOREST:  A story in London's Guardian, not Weekly World News.

BIG DOG UPDATE:  Tiny the Great Dane is challenging Samson for the title of Britain's Largest Dog.  Pic at the link.

MYSTERY REPTILE spotted in the Jayhawker Ponds Natural Area near Loveland, Colorado.

THE PORCUPINE THREAT:  A new type of intruder has been needling authorities at Israel's top secret nuclear research center -- one of the four-legged variety.  Has Spiny Norman been accounted for?

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Talking Heads, Dynamites, RT, Cutout Bin, Big Dogs   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, July 13, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



...with THE TALKING HEADS!  Here's the expanded band -- including axeman Adrian Belew (who certainly influenced Jon Pratt's early work in Pate) -- in Rome, circa 1980.  Your setlist: "Psycho Killer," "Stay Hungry," "Cities," "I Zimbra," "Drugs," "Take Me To The River," "Crosseyed And Painless," "Life During Wartime," "Houses In Motion," and "Born Under Punches."

THE PITCHFORK MUSIC FESTIVAL starts tonight; eMusic has a sampler of free tracks from 17 bands appearing at the fest, though you have to download them track-by-track if you don't want to register for a free trial there.

POST-PUNK PANTHEON:  Sonic Youth's Daydream Nation -- to be performed in its entirety tonight at the P-Fork fest -- tops a list of 10 landmark albums that made indie rock at Boston's Phoenix.

THE DYNAMITES, featuring 63-year-old Nashville veteran singer Charles "Wigg" Walker, are bringing the old skool soul and funk to the indie crowd.  You can stream a few tracks you-know-where.

THE GUN CLUB:  Spinner is streaming "She's Like Heroin to Me," from 1981's Fire of Love, just because it's so good.

JIM MORRISON may have died in a nightclub's lavatory cubicle after an apparent heroin overdose, rather than in his hotel bathtub, according to a new book.


RICHARD THOMPSON was interviewed on video for WOXY about his new album, covers of his songs and even Fairport Convention; you can watch via Loudersoft.  RT digs Del McCoury's bluegrass cover of his wonderful ballad, "1952 Vincent Black Lightning."

YELLOW SUBMARINE:  We don't all live on one, but Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen lives on one he just spent 12 million buying.

TELENOVELA: My office's extern tipped me to his brother's duo, whose "Paint It Beige" -- a nifty mix of classic and modern sounds -- is streaming from the Open Mic section at NPR.

CHILDREN & MUSIC:  At PopMatters, Ben Rubenstein advises his newborn niece on developing a well-rounded musical background.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE:  The supposedly sober supermodel is taking refuge at the home of close friend, confidante and celebrity hairdresser James Brown after her break-up with the troubled singer.  And burning a huge stash of love letters, poems and songs given to her by the cheating junkie.

THE CUTOUT BIN:  This Friday's fortuitous finds on the ol' HM are: The Who - Getting In Tune; Prince And The Revolution - Let's Go Crazy; The Ramones - Blitzkrieg Bop; The Replacements - I Will Dare; R.E.M. - Femme Fatale (Velvet Underground); The Cars - Magic; Lindsey Buckingham - Go Insane; Ian Dury & The Blockheads - Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick; The Go! Team - The Wrath of Marcie; Smashing Pumpkins - 1979; Bob Dylan - It Ain't Me Babe; The Raincoats - Lola (Kinks); Love - Seven and Seven Is; The Small Faces - Itchycoo Park; The Clash - Should I Stay Or Should I Go; Robyn Hitchcock - One Long Pair Of Eyes (Live); The Mountain Goats - This Year; Bruce Springsteen - Downbound Train; Foo Fighters - Baker Street (Gerry Rafferty); Queen - It's Late; The Sweet - Wig-Wam Bam; and The Rocky Horror Picture Show - Time Warp.

BRITNEY SPEARS:  The pop tart's train wreck continues, including, but not limited to a warning from Children's Protective Services in L.A. (which seemingly prompted her to move to the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills).  Meanwhile, it appears that Fed-Ex has moved on to a new girlfriend, while Spears may be dating her bodyguard (she denies it).

NOW SHOWING:  Aside from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (reviewed here Wed.), which is scoring 74 percent on the ol' Tomatometer, this weekend's only wide release is the controversial so-called "torture pr0n" of Captivity, which is currently scoring a mere 15 percent.

LOOKING FOR KID-FRIENDLY MOVIES?  My contemporaries often are (and ask me whether ones I've seen are appropriate).  Kids-In-Mind is a website that has almost ridiculously detailed movie ratings for sex, violence, profanity, etc

THE FRENCH HOTEL would get credit for the Warholian 15 minutes reference, if i thought she knew she was making it.

THE McCARTNEYS:  Having polished her image in the States by Dancing with the Stars, Heather Mills is mulling Dancing on Ice in the UK.

JESSICA SIMPSON publicly confirms that they're real and spectacular, though she may well have some renovation work after childbirth.  She claims she's had no plastic surgery, but Tyler Durden doubts that.

CAMERON DIAZ says she can't work out too much or else she begins to look like a man.  Which I'm sure is not a veiled swipe at the buff Jessica Biel, who took up with her ex, Justin Timberlake.

BRADGELINA:  The incredible shrinking Jolie and paramour Pitt  reportedly have a 220-million-dollar "prenup," according to the ever-reliable National Enquirer.

MISS CONDUCT:  Miss New Jersey Amy Polumbo has revealed several racy photographs that she says were being used to blackmail her.  Video at the link. 

SUPERMAN RETURNS (AGAIN):  And so does Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor, according to Variety.  Just don't talk to him.

SILLY WALKS:  Science explains why they would need government grants to survive.

CHEWBACCA framed by Marilyn Monroe?

IRAN:  At Foreign Policy, Monica Maggioni reports that Pres. Ahmadinejad has become a laughingstock in Iran, and not just among ordinary citizens forced to wait in hours-long gas lines.

IRAQ:  In an apparent bid to apply pressure on Mahdi Army fighters, US forces have cut off electricity to the Baghdad district of Kadhimiya, al-Melaf reported in Arabic on Wednesday.  Tipsters led to the capture of south Baghdad's most wanted terrorist.   US troops raided a Shiite area of Baghdad on Thursday, capturing two militants believed linked to Iran and sparking a battle that Iraqi officials said killed 19 people.  Coalition forces opened an outpost in the restive Ameriya neighborhood of western Baghdad.  Iraqi Security Forces and Coalition Forces discovered an al-Qaida safe house and torture chamber, north of the capital of Diyala province.  Columnist Austin Bay outlines seven scenarios following a rapid US withdrawal.  At Newsweek, Joe Cochrane examines whether US benchmarks for Baghdad might be counter-productive.  IraqSlogger reports that despite fiery statements against the Iraqi government by its growing list of opponents, Prime Minister al-Maliki's core alliance can guarantee him a comfortable majority in a confidence vote.

IRAQ and the MEDIA:  The NYT and other outlests breathlessly reported that guards at a Baghdad bank made off with 282 million dollars on Wednesday.  Turns out that it was 366K U.S. dollars and 282 million Iraqi dinars -- less than a million US. 

IRAQ and THE BIG EASY:  It just came to my attention that the 2006 murder rate in New Orleans was between 60 to 81 killings per 100K residents.  The Iraqi government reported that 16,273 Iraqi civilians, soldiers and police died violent deaths in 2006.  The population of Iraq is roughly 27.5 million.  Admittedly crude math suggests the violent death rates are roughly the same.  I'm not making a specific point here, for there are many that could be made -- I just find it interesting.

BIG DOGS:  London's Telegraph profiles Samson, Britain's biggest dog.  But he doesn't look as buff as Wendy the Whippet.

WALLY the STEER may be mooing excessively, but he's also outwitting the authorities.

FUGITIVE ELEPHANTS were nabbed at 3 a.m. on the streets of Newmarket, Ontario.

BABY RHINO is a somewhat relative term; this cute newborn weighs 60 pounds.

RUBBER DUCK:  France seems to be overcompensating for something.

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Bright Eyes, Radiohead, Kids' Music, Lemmy the Lobster   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, July 12, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


BRIGHT EYES goes a little psychedelic in the video for "Hot Knives."

THE PIPETTES talk about the bonus tracks on the US release of their debut LP, fashion, and their disappointment that people didn't invite them out after their US gigs.  I was just trying to be polite, figuring they likely had a surplus of such offers... but I'll keep it in mind.

MORE-THAN-OK COMPUTER: Radioheadheads rejoice -- Stereogum is offering a song-by-song OK Computer covers compilation for free download.

SONG of AMERICA:  Former US Attorney General Janet Reno brings together Andrew Bird, Blind Boys of Alabama, Devendra Banhart, Martha Wainwright and more to reinterpret of beloved songs such as "Yankee Doodle" and "Home on the Range."  I think she's been looking to get back into the music scene ever since they canceled Janet Reno's Dance Party.

POGUES guitarist Philip Chevron will miss the band's North American tour in the fall, after being diagnosed in early June with "locally advanced" throat cancer.  Best wishes to him for a full and speedy recovery.

WAR:  All. My. Friends. Know the "Low Rider."

COOL KIDS' MUSIC -- a recurring theme here given the age of original Pate fans -- is featured and streaming via NPR's All Things Considered.

DON'T GO BREAKING MY EARS!  It appears that Barry Manilow & Rosie O'Donnell want to prove that you could do worse than Elton John & Kiki Dee.

LIVE EARTH:  One theory as to why the concert event flopped is that the music was irrelevant to the target audience: "In fact, Pink Floyd's hit - 'The Wall' - is as contemporary today as 'Chattanooga Choo-Choo' was in 1969."

PHIL SPECTOR TRIAL:  Judge Larry Paul Fidler has ruled that a bodyguard for comedian Joan Rivers could testify before the jury that he heard Spector say all women "deserve to die" and then threaten a woman at a Christmas party in 1989.  Spector has been sporting yet another new hairdo this week, while his former lawyer got a stay of a contempt order entered for her refusal to testify against defense expert (and world-famous forensic scientist) Henry C. Lee, whom she reportedly saw remove potential evidence from the crime scene.

LINDSAY LOHAN:  It appears that a "pal" has shopped Li-Lo's private MySpace musings from rehab to the press, with Star magazine headlining them as "Lindsay's Lesbian Love Letters!"

BRITNEY SPEARS is "drinking heavily again, binge shopping and eating like there's no tomorrow," according to Star magazine. 

DENISE & HEATHER & RICHIE & CHARLIE:  Displaying her usual good PR sense, Denise Richards is congratulating ex-husband Charlie Sheen on his engagement to girlfriend Brooke Mueller.  She is also denying the recent report that she hired a matchmaker.  "But," she adds jokingly, "that's a great idea, maybe I should."

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  Cruise reportedly wants to build a whole production company around Holmes, who is said to be unhappy with the movie roles she's being offered.

CAMERON DIAZ has reportedly dropped magician Chris Angel for British environmentalist and banking heir David de Rothschild.  The pair were spotted in a near-canoodling incident two nights after Live Earth.

MARILYN MANSON'S appeal to 19-year-old actress Evan Rachel Wood can be summed up in one word: "Eyeliner."

ROSIE O'DONNELL returned to attacking Elisabeth Hasselbeck -- her former friend and The View cohost -- in front of a 1,500-person audience on her cruise for gay and lesbian families, doctoring a photo of Hasselback and exclaiming, "Her only f--king credit was Survivor. Come on!"   This from someone with Exit to Eden, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas and Riding the Bus with My Sister on her resume.

JESSICA SIMPSON moved her 27th birthday party at a beach house Tuesday to flee the paparazzi.  NICK LACHEY had his satellite link go down coincidently when the press asked about those X-rated picks with Vanessa Minnillo.  Press avoidance symmetry...catch it! 

JENNIFER ANISTON:  The old gossip was that she had dumped British model Paul Sculfor; the new gossip is that she is prepared to leave L.A. for the UK because he's homesick.

DAVID HASSELHOFF is back on the singles scene, flirting with The Departed actress Sallie Toussaint at Playboy's Fourth of July bash.  She sounds like she's ready to jump in his car.

INDIANA JONES IV:  The official site has a short Quicktime clip of Harrison Ford going before the cameras as Indiana Jones for the first time in more than a decade.

SALMAN RUSHDIE:  Al Qaeda's No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahri, issued a new audiotape threatening retaliation against Britain for having knighted novelist Salman Rushdie.

IRAQ:  Iraqi security forces seized 200 explosive belts in a truck that crossed into Iraq from Syria on Wednesday, Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Abdul-Karim Khalaf said.  Civilians helped coalition and Iraqi forces conduct a massive raid on an al Qaeda hideout in the town of Sherween, which may also help facilitate Sunni resistance fighting in the Muqdadiya area.  At least 11 people died after insurgents locked them into a house in Anbar province and blew it up, in a possible "vendetta attack" against people in the village of Karmah, for supporting the military.  Contrary to prior reports, Al-Hayat reported that Moqtada al-Sadr is in Najaf, not in Iran.  Stephen Biddle, senior fellow for defense policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, writes in the Washington Post that the supposed "centrist" plans floating around Congress do not fit the military reality of Iraq.

IRAQ in the MEDIA:  The Associated Press finally reported on al-Qaeda atrocities in Baqubah reported by Michael Yon almost two weeks ago, though buried at the bottom of a long summary of Iraq news.  The AP gives it bigger play in this story, which for some reason is not by Robert Reid, who is embedded there.  BTW, Michael Yon's latest dispatch has an interview with Abu Ali of the 1920s Revolution Brigades -- an insurgent group now fighting al-Qaeda -- about why they turned and the extent to which AQ relied on local talent to foment sectarian violence.

IRAQ in the MEDIA II:  Related to the new Yon dispatch, The New York Times and some bloggers have been concerned that the media is buying Bush Administration and US military spin lumping all sorts of insurgent groups togather as al-Qaeda to buid support for the current operations in Iraq.  The crudest form of the argument is belied by the military's own press releases.  At the Small Wars Journal blog, author Malcolm Nance does a better job of noting the dangers for both hawks and doves of over-generalizing about AQI.  The Worldwide Standard blog transcribes parts of a conference call with Brig. Gen. Kevin Bergner about AQ, AQI and their influence in Iraq.

IRAQ in the MEDIA III:  Throughout the week, major media outlets including NBC News, the Associated Press, and McClatchy Newspapers have run stories saying that an interim progress report on Iraq will conclude that the US-backed government in Baghdad has not met any of its targets for political, economic and other reform.  Looks like those stories were wrong.  I'm sure there will be prominent corrections issued.

IRAQ in the MEDIA IV:  ABCNews claims that the most recent military intell shows that the overall level of violence in the country -- measured as the number of "violent incidents" -- hit its highest level in June since the war began.  Completely missing from the story is the fact that Iraqi deaths nationwide were at an 11-month low in June, while US losses were the lowest since March.  So there are more attacks, but fewer deaths, which sounds like they are becoming less effective.  Personally, if there were a 1000 attacks daily and only a couple of people died, I would still consider that an improvement... but nowadays, it seems that even good news is bad news.

LEMMY the LOBSTER:  Yes, he is named after the Motorhead frontman.  This wll be devastating news to Fred Schneider.

THE SQUIRREL THREAT:  A suicide squirrel plunged the Sauk County Fair into darkness and left 800 to 1,000 Baraboo, WI homes without electricity Tuesday night.

FLORIDA GATOR WRASSLING on the decline.  It's the end on an era.

SNAKE IN THE BEDROOM:  And not in that good trouser-snake kinda way.

GIANT BADGERS are stalking the Iraqi port city of Basra by night. British troops are being blamed for it, but it may be why the Brits are keen to leave Basra early.

COWS stare unamazed as their mere presence terrifies seven schoolgirls, sparking a major search and rescue mission in Swanage, Dorset.

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Spoon, Crowded House, St. Vincent, Harry Potter, Fire-fighting Goats   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, July 11, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


SPOON has released the video for "The Underdog," which is the official single from Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, which you can stream in full from Spinner this week.

CROWDED HOUSE:  You can stream the new Time On Earth album in full, via VH1.

DEBBIE HARRY talks to Pitchfork about making music then versus now, what made Blondie unique for a punk band, and the end of the CBGB's era.

STARS hopes to battle Internet leaks from their upcoming album by selling the downloads now, before the official September release date.  You still may be able to stream and download "The Night Starts Here" for free.

GENE SIMMONS of KISS talks about the death of rock stardom, originality, the Mideast and more with Spinner.

ST. VINCENT, a/k/a Annie Clark, is Paste magazine's "Band of the Week."  You can see takes on "Paris Is Burning" and "Your Lips Are Red" via the 'Gum.

DEAN & BRITTA spent time with The New York Times; Dean talks about Britta's cartoon voice-over work and kissing Justine Bateman in the 80s.

WILSON PICKETT:  A Deeper Shade of Soul has posted a short set from Stockholm, Sweden in February 1969.  You can jukebox it  (and more) via the ol' HM.

THE CURE:  Robert Smith has agreed to sell the band's upcoming double album at a single album price, because it "almost impossible to get a double album nowadays."  Yet there will likely be a single album version as well.

SLY STONE actually showed up for a set with Little Sister at Summerfest '07 in San Jose.  Unfortunately, he was reportedly as underwhelming as his last ill-fated cameo at the Grammys.

HARRY POTTER and the ORDER of the PHOENIX:  This is the moment when Emma Watson, who plays Harry's sidekick Hermione, saw Daniel Radcliffe turn from the innocent Harry Potter into a sultry magazine model.  Before my spoiler-free review of the latest installment of the HP franchise -- currently scoring 74 percent on the ol' Tomatometer -- I have an observation about going to the midnight showing.  As you might expect, some people show up in Potter garb, but it's summer, when Hogwarts is out of session.  Thus, to adjust for the summer heat, the women tend to dress like naughty Hogwarts schoolgirls, which is not a bad thing.  As for the movie, I should note at the outset that I have not read the books, but do know a bit about them.  My main muggle Amber has read them, and has asked, "So is it just me or is Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix going to be the new Empire Strikes Back?"  Having seen the movie, I can answer, "More or less, yes... though sadly, no Billy Dee Williams."  A lot of great stuff to chew on, some things unresolved, will probably be seen in a better light by the non-readers in hindsight.

BRITNEY SPEARS:  Why was she spotted sobbing at the Four Seasons hotel in 90210?  Because she walked away with the Biggest Celebrity Train Wreck award in the Washington Post, handily beating Li-Lo and the French Hotel?  Because Mama Lynne Spears has earned her own portrait at the Gallery of the Absurd?

THE FRENCH HOTEL, who told Larry King in her big post-jail interview that she'd never done drugs, emerged from an SUV in front of Hollywood club Teddy's the other night in what witnesses describe as a cloud of ganja smoke.

LINDSAY LOHAN says rehab has changed her life; she now relies on meditation, "serenity prayers" and Machiavelli to help her through troubled times.

DAVE MATTHEWS told the press at Live Earth that he and his wife "use cloth diapers for our new baby because I think diapers might be the No. 3 piece of garbage (in terms of environmental damage),"  The press nicely avoided mentioning that bust for dumping human waste on tourists cruising the Chicago River a while back.

DENISE & HEATHER & RICHIE & CHARLIE:  Charlie Sheen and girlfriend Brooke Mueller are engaged, while Sheen's ex, Denise Richards, is reportedly paying 50 grand to an exclusive matchmaking agency that specializes in the rich or famous.  To be fair, before he met Mueller, Sheen allegedly pretended to be a talent scout when using the dating site MillionaireMatch.com.

JOHN TRAVOLTA travels with two chefs and eats a pie a day, according to Marisa Tomei.

CATHERINE ZETA-JONES plasters her hair in Beluga caviar at £200 per treatment.  Her hair is washed with a truffle-based shampoo.  No, really.

RATATOUILLE seems like it was about food, but Ryland Walker Knight thinks it's about the movies.  I think it's actually about more than either.

THE SPINDLE you know and love from Wayne's World will be removed this summer to make room for a Walgreens, said Berwyn, IL Mayor Michael O'Connor.  There's still a possibility the Spindle -- also known locally as Eight Car Pileup -- could be moved to another location but an estimated 300K would need to be raised.  (Thanks, Dad.)

1-18-08:  The untitled trailer for a movie being produced by Lost co-creator and Mission: Impossible III director J.J. Abrams is causing quite a stir.  I admit it It piqued my interest before Transformers.

TINY ROBOTS played nano-soccer for the Nano Cup, a competition hailed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology as the world's first nanoscale soccer game.

PAKISTAN:  Abdul Rashid Ghazi, the cleric who led a standoff by militants at Islamabad's Red Mosque, was killed in the crossfire after Pakistani troops stormed the complex to end a weeklong siege.  BTW, the Red Mosque is a place where they mass-produced DVDs of US troops being shot by snipers.  There was little sympathy for the extremists in Islamabad.

IRAN has confirmed that a man convicted of adultery was stoned to death last week in a village in the northern part of the country.  Iran's judiciary spokesman didn't elaborate on how the stoning was carried out, but under Islamic rulings, a male convict is usually buried up to his waist while a female criminal is buried up to her neck with her hands also buried.

IRAQ:  Sunni tribal leaders, politicians, clerics and professors met in Ramadi last weekend, issuing a statement that they have agreed to "stand in one line against the terrorism and defeat it" and work united to return life to its previous nature in Anbar province.  US Marines recently completed another phase of Operation Allja, designed to provide stability and protection for the citizens of Fallujah.  Milblogger Badger 6 is there and reports that the mean streets of Fallujah are gradually transforming into the clean streets of Fallujah.  US and Iraqi forces in Diyala province are faced with Iraqi Army turncoats supporting al Qaeda-linked militants and Shiite militias.  Operations continue in Baghdad, with US and Iraqi troops clearing the Mansour neighborhood and opening a new police station in the Khadra neighborhood, both in the western part of the capital.

IRAQ in the MEDIA?  Events in Iraq stayed out of the top stories on broadcast and cable media for a second week running.

RIDICULOUSLY CUTE chihuahua puppy has been born in Japan with a large, clear, love-heart-shaped pattern in his coat.

FIRE-FIGHTING GOATS ignite debate anew about whether they do their job too well and harm the environment in Laguna Beach.  (Thanks, Dad.)

SEA MONSTERS "much bigger than cruise ships" spotted again in Kanasi Lake, China.  For hundreds of years there have been rumors about mysterious creatures that devour livestock near the 25-kilometer-long and 188-meter-deep lake.

MORE THAN 800 CATS were saved from becoming Chinese dinners, thanks to alert Internet surfers.

A STOLEN HORSE turned up in a Fourth of July parade in Streator, IL.

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Grizzly Bear, New Releases, Spinal Tap, The National, Octosquid   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, July 10, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


GRIZZLY BEAR releases the second video from Yellow House, "Central and Remote" premiering at Subterranean.

NEW RELEASES:  Smashing Pumpkins, Spoon, Interpol, Nick Drake and more are streaming in full via Spinner.  Ex-Drive-By Trucker Jason Isbell releases his solo LP.

BUFFALO TOM also have a new release, from which you can stream a few tracks.  Band members talk to the Boston Globe and The Phoenix about their non-breakup and non-reunion.  (Thanks, Chromewaves.)

THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS:  John Linnell talks to PopMatters about working with the Dust Bros. and what he digs about making children's music.  The Else has been available on iTunes, but it hits stores today; you can stream the album via AOL.

ART BRUT frontman Eddie Argos surveys the UK music scene for Filter magazine.

LIVE EARTH may have been a TV ratings flop in the US and the UK (esp. among the 18-49 demo), but thanks to the InnerTube, you can see Spinal Tap and an army of bass players rock "Big Bottom" at Wembley.  Toss in "Gimme Some Money," which Pate covered a few times, and you have Twofer Tuesday.

THE PITCHFORK MUSIC FESTIVAL (which I'll be attending this weekend) got the Chicago Sun-Times talking to Pitchfork founder Ryan Schreiber, promoter Mike Reed and co-headliner Yoko Ono.

THE NATIONAL did the interview plus free songs thing at Daytrotter -- including a cover of the Psychedelic Furs' "Pretty In Pink."

ALL YOU NEED IS A DIAPER:  Procter & Gamble's new "All You Need is Luvs" marketing campaign uses the classic Beatles song "All You Need is Love" to spread the word about Luvs' Bear Hug Stretch diaper.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE:  The supposedly sober supermodel will be devastated to learn that another woman has claimed the troubled singer cheated on her while they were together.  The tabloids are now calling Doherty a sex addict.

DENISE & HEATHER & RICHIE & CHARLIE:  A "pal" of Denise Richards tells the NYDN she had been expecting Richie Sambora to propose on a romantic trip to Hawaii; instead, he broke up with her.  Ouch.

DAVID SPADE, recently linked with Heather Locklear, was getting kissed by Pam Anderson in Vegas over the weekend.

THE SPICE GIRLS will be accompanied by a therapist for the duration of their reunion tour, according to a report in the uber-reliable Daily Star Sunday.

MADONNA:  London's Mirror reports that US TV presenters who interviewed Madge at Live Earth were bizarrely ordered never to lose eye contact with her.

TONI COLLETTE:  The Oscar-nominated actress got knocked up after realizing her body clock was ticking.

NATALIE PORTMAN intimidated her Goyas Ghosts co-star, Javier Bardem: "She's so intelligent it's scary. When I was talking to her, I didn't know what to talk about because she knows a lot of things."  Well, yeah... she does neuroscience on the side.

MEGAN FOX:  The Transformers starlet tells Maxim magazine, "I've done drugs, and that's how I know I don't like them."  If you ended up dating Brian Austin Green, you would feel exactly the same way.  BTW, please note I'm paying attention to the interview, not just looking at the pictures.

TRANSFORMERS director Michael Bay tells Entertainment Weekly that he has a lot of ideas for a sequel.  Who'da thunkit?

MISS CONDUCT:  Miss New Jersey insists that she has no idea who might have assembled the packages of supposedly tame photos lifted from a private web page on Facebook, sent to two pageants last week.  Nor does she know what the pageant will do about it, if anything.  Ironically, she has adopted promoting Internet safety as part of her Miss America campaign.

LARRY & LAURIE DAVID are divorcing at the same time as the caretaker of the Davids' summer house on Martha's Vineyard is getting divorced from his wife.  Must be something in the air.

MICHAEL MOORE was probably in need of healthcare after CNN got done with him on the Situation Room.

KATIE COURIC "playfully" slapped a CBS News editor, after he injected a word she detested -- "sputum" -- into a script.

HARRY POTTER!  Daniel Radcliffe is happy to have sex with girls who are only interested in him because of his fame.  However, he is adamant he wouldn't stay with a girl who called him Harry during sex.


TERROR in the UK:  Four men were found guilty of plotting to bomb London's transport network on 21 July 2005.  More than 100 suspects are awaiting trial in British courts for terrorist offences - a figure unprecedented in modern criminal history.  MI5 is attempting to monitor more than 200 extremist networks across the country.  Suspects in the recent London and Glasgow plots continue to be questioned in both England and Australia.  Suspect Kafeel Ahmed may have ties to two radical groups -- Tablighi Jamaat and Hizb ut-Tahrir.

LEBANON is being invaded by Syria, though few have noticed.

PAKISTAN:  Pakistani forces stormed the Red Mosque compound in the capital on Tuesday to clear it of militants after talks to end a week-long standoff broke down.

IRAN has slowed down the expansion of its nuclear enrichment capabilities at its strategic plant in Natanz, UN nuclear chief Mohamed ElBaradei said Monday.  Except for the start of a major tunnel complex inside a nearby mountain.

IRAQ:  National Security Adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie said Sunday that Iraqi lawmakers have cut their planned two-month recess in half and will be working six-day weeks for the rest of this month to try to meet key political benchmarks set by the US Congress.  He also warned that a no-confidence vote against al-Maliki's government would result in a "hurricane in Iraq."  Iraq's foreign minister warned Monday that a quick US troop withdrawal could lead to civil war and the collapse of the Iraqi state.  Sunni Arab Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, speaking to Reuters by telephone, warned of the security vacuum that would follow a US withdrawal, thus completing the trifecta -- the foreign minister is Kurdish and the NSA is Shia.  Turkey has massed 140K soldiers on its border with northern Iraq; the Iraqi foreign minister called Turkish fears of Kurdish rebels based in Iraq "legitimate" but better resolved through negotiation.  Iraqi and Arab media focused Monday on the recent clash between the Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and the Sadrist Current.  Michael Yon has another dispatch from Baqubah on a variety of topics, including Gen. Petraeus's visit to the city and a revealing interview with an Iraqi stringer for the Associated Press.

THE OCTOSQUID:  An as-yet unidentified speciment found off Keahole Point on the Big Island of Hawaii.

THE SQUIRREL THREAT:  With typical projection, the Iran's national Police chief has implicitly verified the news about the confiscation of a number of squirrels, equipped with eavesdropping devices, on the Iranian borders.

BUFFALO GIVES BIRTH TO A SNAKE in Nepal, supposedly due to a hormone disorder.  Uh-huh.

DOG FALLS in Dog Falls.  Yes, Little Tommy, he's going to be alright.

A CALICO CAT survives a 19-day trip from Hawaii to California in a shipping container.

COWS stare unamazed, but probably nervously, at the news from Skipwith, England.

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