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Super Furry Animals, Animal Collective, TopCats, and Cow-tipping   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, November 09, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

LESLIE FEIST, sometime member of Broken Social Scene, talks to PopMatters about her solo album, Let It Die, and also promotes a solo album coming next month from fellow BSSer Jason Collett.

SUPER FURRY ANIMALS: The Welsh quintet, out supporting Love Kraft (scoring 76 and 8.9 at Metacritic) and a slew of deluxe reissues, seems ready for a visit from Scientologists: "We are atheists and not very superstitious, but we just have this desire that our friends from outer space come and sort the world out." Gort! Klaatu barada nikto!

THE QUASI-ELITISM OF INDIE ROCK: In the Stanford Daily, David Blackman writes: "The Internet has done for music what pornography did for relationships — it took away all the intimacy and made everyone restless."

ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN guitarist-songwriter Will Sergeant thinks the band well equipped to handle today's music game. "We're more comfortable now because we're not trying to be the next anything."

MICK JONES: The Clash guitarist has such a vast collection of magazines, records and videos, he wants his own museum to put them in.

STEVIE WONDER is saying all the politically correct things about Africa and war, but it hasn't stopped the bad reviews for his new album: "Gloopy balladry and formulaic funk, both serving lyrics of banal sentimentality or vapid sloganeering, have threatened his pioneering reputation. Back from a 10-year break, Wonder sticks like a particularly stubborn limpet to this particularly unlovely template." Put another way: "Is it in fact unfair to criticize a formerly great artist for his latter day sins, is it better to burn out or fade away?"

ANIMAL COLLECTIVE: The band's Feels is streaming as Album of the month at Radio Indie Pop. The album is scoring an average 82 from critics and 8.7 from users at Metacritic.

GEEK RAP, replete with rhymes and references to Star Wars heroes and scientific theories, is gaining ground o­n the Internet. NPR reports.

U2 were joined o­nstage by The Killers frontman Brandon Flowers for a special performance of "In A Little While" at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas at the weekend.

ON THE PITCHFORK: Ray Davies is putting out a benefit EP, Thanksgiving Day, o­n November 22nd, with an album, Other People's Lives, coming in February. High School Reunion: A Tribute to Those Great 80s Films hits stores o­n December 1st, featuring covers by Frank Black, Kristen Hersh, Matthew Sweet and more.

MICHAEL STIPE: The R.E.M. frontman had a fire in his apartment o­n Halloween, so he turned up at Paper magazine's first Nightlife Awards at Hiro o­n Sunday night wearing the green parakeet costume that Generation X writer Douglas Coupland designed for him.

ROD STEWART just says "No" to cocaine, because it's too common and not as pure as it used to be.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: Fellow supermodel Tyra Banks hopes Moss' drug problems will prompt modelling bosses to stamp out drug use. Moss may be seeking a quiet life in the countryside of the Cotswolds, but is unlikely to return to Britain before Christmas.

PANTHERS CHEERLEADERS UPDATE: Former TopCats Renee and Angela were not o­nly together in a bathroom stall, but there seems to have been a little catfighting with other bar patrons. Screaming, "I'm a Panthers cheerleader. You need to let me go. I'm a Panthers cheerleader!" at the bouncers was a smart move, too. They've been fired by the team, natch. Renee Thomas (imho, the cuter o­ne) denies any sexual conduct in the bathroom, which hasn't stopped Penthouse magazine from trying to convince them to pose nude, natch. If you missed their cheerleading pics, check yesterday's entry here, natch.

MADONNA: No Rock and Roll Fun notes rumors that no o­ne in the US wants to be part of the celebrity turn-out for Madge's album launch. PLUS: A gay blogger dissects Madge and questions the gay community's reflexive adoration of her: "The gay default musical taste is Madonna. She is the fail-safe choice, the aural equivalent of shopping at the Gap."

HALLE BERRY PREGNANT? So says MTV Europe, but it's the o­nly place I've seen it.

HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE: The first British reviews seem quite positive. The Sun says it's "a gripping watch from start to finish, well acted by all and with enough jokes to keep its audience laughing between sitting in awe." The Mirror calls it the "best yet." The Times thinks director Mike Newell's "considerable triumph is to keep the thrills up to exhilarating scratch." The Times also reported raves from British tweens and teens, as did the Observer.

KING KONG: The latest trailer is up in glorious Quicktime 7.

VAUGHNISTON: Jennifer Aniston, making the rounds to promote Derailed, is refusing to discuss whether she's with Vince Vaughn. But the couple is doing the whole "Bradgelina strolling o­n the beach thing," aren't they?

TOMMY LEE is furious to discover o­nly now that his ex, Pam Anderson, is a good singer. He may have to smack her around a bit. Seriously, Tommy, wasn't Pam's ginormous lung and throat capacity a hint?

THE FRENCH HOTEL has her pose mastered.

BRITNEY SPEARS: Her husband Cletus is total nimrod (which the pop tart has pressured OK magazine into ignoring) -- but she's the o­ne buying raunchy lingerie to spice up her marriage? Okay...

WILLIAM SHATNER is confused by the law of sexual harassment. Who'da thunkit? ALSO: The Shat is writing Star Trek prequels that may be developed for television.

EVA LONGORIA: The Desperate Housewife is recycling her Brazilian wax schtick, which I noted in August. But some schtick is timeless.

SID AND MARTY KROFFT: Debbie tipped me to this NPR piece o­n the creators of H.R. Pufnstuf, Lidsville, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, Land of the Lost and more.

BRAD PITT and GEORGE CLOONEY investing in a Laguna Beach gay bar named The Boom Boom Room? The duo denies it, NTTAWWT.

EVANGELINE LILLY: The Lost lovely's ex-husband is breaking bad o­n her for dumping him after landing the TV role. But was it the fame or the lure of taboo Hobbit love? BONUS: How Lost reinvented television.

HAROLD RAMIS and DAN ACKROYD want to wreck whatever fond memories you might have of the Ghostbusters franchise.

IRAQ: Bill Roggio interviews Col. Stephen W. Davis, the Commander of the Marines engaged in Operation Steel Curtain. Col. Davis reports that Husaybah has been cleared and secured, with Coalition forces constructing bases in the city to maintain a permanent presence. Almost 1,000 Iraqi troops were involved in the operation.

PARIS RIOTS: France declared a state of emergency Tuesday. The AP continues its line: "Although many of the French-born children of Arab and black African immigrants are Muslim, police say the violence is not being driven by Islamic groups." Michel Gurfinkiel, the editor of Paris-based Valeurs Actuelles, partially disagrees: "The fact remains that o­nly ethnic youths are rioting, that most of them explicitly pledge allegiance to Islam and such Muslim heroes as Osama bin Laden, that the Islamic motto - Allahu Akbar - is usually their war cry, and that they submit o­nly to archconservative or radical imams. The fact also remains, according to many witnesses, that the rioters torch o­nly 'white' cars, meaning white owned cars, and spare 'Islamic' or 'black' o­nes..."

CULT OF THE iPod: There's a growing market for used iPods, especially the iPod Mini, which is now deemed "retro-cool" in the wake of the Nano model. Speaking of which, the Nano class action suit has spread to Mexico and the UK.

SONY'S CD ANTI-PIRACY SOFTWARE has been added to Computer Associates' list of spyware programs that collect personal information from computer users without their permission.

CURLY IS FROM MARS, LUCY IS FROM VENUS: Women seem more likely than men to enjoy a good joke, mainly because they don't always expect it to be funny. According to Dr. Allan L. Reiss of the Stanford University School of Medicine, men's brains are less discriminating in evaluating humor: "It doesn't take a lot of analytical machinery to think someone getting poked in the eye is funny," he commented when asked about humor like the Three Stooges. Why, I oughtta...

FUELISH REPORTING: London's Guardian ran a story with the lede: "It seems too good to be true: a new source of near-limitless power that costs virtually nothing, uses tiny amounts of water as its fuel and produces next to no waste." If it seems too good to be true, maybe the reporter should use Google.

IRAQ II: London's Independent claims that US forces used chemical weapons during last November's assault o­n Fallujah, based o­n a documentary o­n Italian state TV. The "reporter" asserts that the assault o­n Fallujah "went unreported by any Western journalists" (when in fact it was all over the media) and uncritically reports that people hit by white phosphorus would just lie in bed. In reality, the use of white phosphorus shells in Fallujah was reported at the time. Indeed, the stuff almost hit US troops. The BBC notes that white phosphorus shells are incindiary, not chemical, weapons and that the US is not a signatory to a treaty restricting their use. The US soldier quoted in the documentary and in the British press has a blog where he's apologizing for suggesting that there was no terrorism in Iraq.

COW-TIPPING: London's Times claims that it's a myth and brings the physics to prove it. Of course, the part about the purported cow-tippers being drunk is most likely true. And in the town where I grew up, it was always crows, never cows...

THE MIGRATION OF THE MONARCH BUTTERFLY: As many as 200 million Monarch butterflies may migrate to Mexico this year — a nearly tenfold increase over 2004, when unfavorable weather, pollution and deforestation caused a drastic decline in the population.

SEALS and SEA LIONS are also growing in population in Cali, which means good eats fror the Condors.

THREE DOWN: A cat is resting up at an animal shelter in Washington state after leaping from a pickup, scampering through traffic, plunging 70 feet into the chilly Columbia River and swimming 600 feet to shore.

2957 Reads

Dr. Wu, Cat Power, Panther on Panther action and Puggles   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, November 08, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

THE SEX PISTOLS: Johnny Rotten wanted to bring the Pistols to Iraq and is upset that the US wanted to restrict the show to troops o­n base, rather than to the Iraqi people: "I know they might hate me and stone me to death, but at least they have the choice."

LED ZEPPELIN wins the Polar Music Prize, receiving o­ne million kroner (£70,523) from the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. The awards are likened to the Nobel Prize, despite the fact that they are the brainchild of Stig Anderson, the former manager of Swedish pop group Abba.

THE ROCK SNOB is dissected at Slate, with a lede irresistible to its subject: "Why o why, ye Rock Gods, do I cherish the Minutemen's cover of the old Steely Dan song 'Doctor Wu' as much as I do?"

SOUL ASYLUM, with Tommy Stinson o­n bass. Who knew? Just don't call him a replacement for the late Karl Mueller.

THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME has yet to announce this year's inductees, but the Cleveland Plain Dealer polled it's readers for their choices. So who topped the poll? (Hint: "Free Bird!")

APOLLO SUNSHINE is playing the M-Shop o­n the 12th... you can (and should) stream a few tunes from MySpace.

CAT POWER: Tracks from the upcoming album, The Greatest, have been leaking and surfacing at Stereogum and Gorilla vs. Bear. Apparently, all those Memphis sidemen are giving the songs a countrified Rickie Lee Jones vibe. Folks less into killing music can legally download the title track from Matador Records.

GENESIS: Phil Collins threatens to get the band back together, unless he is paid the sum of... one million dollars.

DEVENDRA BANHART is profiled in PopMatters. His latest album, Cripple Crow, is garnering generally favorable reviews at Metacritic. You can give it a listen at the website for the album.

CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH: The Pitchfork faves do an interview with Pitchfork while in Chicago, natch. (I completely spaced o­n the gig, sorry.) The band talks road music: Thelonious Monk, Louis Armstrong, Dr. John, Neil Young, Brian Wilson's Smile, NWA, Rachmaninoff, Gang Starr...

THE CONSTANTINES' co-frontman Steve Lambke tells the Boston Globe he is inspired by the grand expanse of his native Canada: ''I find it really fascinating, because it's such a huge, huge country... and it is, compared to the US, really empty, so there's something really romantic about it. There's like a real sense of a journey, in the same way there is driving across America, but there's so many more cities and gas stations and McDonald's and stuff, driving across America." The band's latest album, Tournament Of Hearts is scoring an average 77 from critics and 8.8 (out of ten) from users at Metacritic. You can compare for yourself with the legal downloads at SubPop.

P. DIDDY to be investigated by the Federal Election Commission.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: The troubled singer says he has a second secret love child.

CAROLINA PANTHERS CHEERLEADERS were charged after their arrest at a bar where witnesses told police the women had sex in a restroom stall. The team has taken down the cheerleaders' web page, but Google preserves the PR photos of Renee and Angela for posterity. Angela's "Best Thing About Being A TopCat?" Friendships. Indeed.

THE FRENCH HOTEL is a material witness in the LAPD's investigation of an alleged burglar who targeted L.A.'s fabulous set, including Girls Gone Wild creator Joe Francis.

CHARLIZE THERON attacks the casting couch using public humiliation.

SARAH MICHELLE GELLAR attacks the cult of celebrity: "Nowadays, women are famous for the way they wear their hair. Or designers they wear. Or who they date. Someone like Rosa Parks reminds you that fighting for women's causes is the most important thing we can do." That, and slaying vampires.

ENTER SANDMAN: Official confirmation that Thomas Hayden Church will be playing the villain in Spider-Man 3.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Awakening to the smell of a flood of coffee, Cruise has hired veteran publicist and Rogers and Cowan co-chairman Paul Bloch, replacing Cruise's sister, Lee Anne DeVette. I'll bet Holmes drops Cruise's sister also.

BRADGELINA UPDATE: Not many can still look hot full-body motion-capture suit.

KING KONG: Can Peter Jackson's remake of the 1933 classic -- running over three hours and 200 million bucks -- take home the Oscar for Best Picture? Tom O'Neil makes the argument and also makes a list of frontrunners for the Golden Globes.

CRUISE SHIP COUNTER-ATTACKED PIRATES with a sonic weapon. It wasn't the Love Boat's Magic Band, either.

GROKSTER is shutting down, but will likely be reborn soon as a legal digital music service, a la Napster.

WHO'S o­n THE PHONE? Yahoo and Google will be soon.

GLOBAL WARMING: Cause celebre of evangelical Christians. For some reason, no o­ne calls them "the Religious Right" in this story.

THE SUPREME COURT: The L.A. Times reports: "Although liberal activists are portraying Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. as a right-wing extremist, his 15 years' worth of legal opinions do not promise fealty to any ideology. Though many of his rulings favor business or prosecutors, they are often narrow — and a sizable number cut the other way. Accordingly, Democrats in the Senate are cautious, and there is little or no talk of a filibuster" of his nomination to the high court.

FRENCH RIOTS spread to almost 300 towns, with over 1,400 vehicles torched and at least o­ne death. (btw, at least o­ne French TV network is refusing to report the number of torched vehicles.) Unrest is also spreading to Belgium and Germany. The AP makes a Freudian slip, reporting that Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin "did rule out the possibility that radical Islamists are involved, saying: 'That element must not be neglected.'" (i.e., he did not rule it out) Newsweek hastens to report that while the rioters shout "jihad," it really isn't. Rather, the riots are the result of "years of racism and neglect." Those are factors, but the foreign press is reporting that the religious tension goes both ways. The CBC story linked above notes that "high unemployment, racial discrimination and despair (is) fertile terrain for crime of all sorts as well as for Muslim extremists." Germany's Der Spiegel observes that "Jihad may not be what's inspiring the rioters, but Islam is undeniably an inseparable component of their self-identity." And an AFP reporter spent time with rioters, showing their "thumbs up" support for the London terror bombings, attraction to bin Laden and terrorists' snuff videos, as well as anti-Semitism.

IRAQ: Bill Roggio rounds up day three of Operation Steel Curtain. Iraqi Army Captain Arkan Hussein predicts that Husaybah will be cleared in three or four days.

MOROCCO: Al Qaeda members in Iraq will suffer the "horrors of hell" if they kill two Moroccan hostages and the victims will die as martyrs, Morocco's influential Islamic scholars organisation said o­n Saturday. Tens of thousands marched through Casablanca to demand the release of two Moroccan Embassy employees reported kidnapped in Iraq and threatened with execution. Demonstrators chanted "No to terrorism" and "Islam is a religion of love, not hatred" during Sunday's march. According to Al-jazeerah, some members of Islamist parties that back Iraqi fighters battling US-led forces in Iraq also joined the march. That Zarqawi is a PR genius.

TERROR ARRESTS DOWN UNDER: Sixteen people were arrested in raids in Melbourne and Sydney, including radical Islamic cleric Abdul Nacer Benbrika. Government and police officials said the group was stockpiling chemicals that could have been used to make explosives.

PUGGLES: A new hybrid mix designer dog that is a cross between a pug and a beagle is the new must-have dog in New York City and other cities, according to a Local 6 News report. More pics and video at the link. Awwww...

ANIMAL HOARDING: New Kensington, PA police thought the strong ammonia-like smell might be the tell-tale sign of a meth lab, but it was 35 cats and a dog.

A COW IN EVERY POT: Politics, Sri Lankan-style.

HONG KONG THIEF PINCHES 70 HAIRY CRABS: Too. Many. Punchlines.

3686 Reads

Neil Diamond, the Sex Pistols, How to Spot Robert Pollard, Blommer! and Deercam   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, November 07, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

NEIL DIAMOND: A wise man o­nce said, "There are two types of people in this world: those who like Neil Diamond and those who don't." I liked the earlier stuff and not the newer stuff, so the Newsweek piece calling his forthcoming, Rick Rubin-produced 12 Songs "the best work Diamond has done in 30 years," I filed it away in my bottomless pit of trivia. The album comes out tomorrow, but you can stream the whole thing at My Space, including the two bonus tracks that will appear o­n the Digipak edition -- o­ne of which features Brian Wilson.

ANOTHER BEACH BOYS LAWSUIT: Greed and chutzpah combine in Mike Love's multi-million dollar claim that Brian Wilson, his cousin, promoted the 2004 release of Smile in a way that "shamelessly misappropriated Mike Love's songs, likeness and the Beach Boys trademark, as well as the Smile album itself." Love hated Smile and was o­ne of the main reasons it wasn't finished 35 years ago (and a likely factor in Brian's meltdown). Love is griping about a newspaper giveaway of a Beach Boys comp CD, claiming millions in illicit profits. Because last year was supposed to be huge for another Beach Boys comp in England. Riiiiight.

THE SEX PISTOLS: Thirty years ago yesterday, the Sex Pistols played their debut gig at St Martins College of Art, o­n the Charing Cross Road in London; they were thrown off the stage after 20 minutes. Nevertheless, the college organised an evening commemorating the occasion, featuring films from punk's in-house cinematographer, Don Letts, various DJs, and performances from a handful of present-day groups -- alleged descendants of the Sex Pistols's anarchic spirit. ALSO: London's Independent talks to some who were at that first gig, including Pistols, future Vibrators and Adam Ant.

JEFF TWEEDY talks to Mlive.com about his freewheeling solo acoustic tour: "This way, I can do any of the 200 or so songs I've written over the years... and it allows me to change it around every night, which is also part of the appeal -- it'll be fun to just get up there without a firm set list.''

ROGER DALTREY comments o­n the McCartneys, Pete Townshend, Pete Doherty and more: "Paul acts like what is expected of him. I find it very strange - but it's how he deals with his life. Everything, though, becomes The Paul McCartney Show."

JACK WHITE confirms he has recorded a new song as an ad for Coca-Cola. Because he'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony, natch: "To be asked to write something particular along o­ne theme of love in a worldwide form that I'm not really used to appealed to me." ALSO: Jack has told fans he wants to be known as "Three Quid" while touring in the UK. Which is odd, but at least it's not "Two Sheds" or some unpronouncable symbol.

ART BRUT is profiled in a Village Voice piece that asks wheteher the band is "cooly uncool."

MILK 'N' COOKIES: The Village Voice also gave a good review to the reissue of this sorta glam, sorta powerpop outfit's self-titled album from the 1970s. The VV says they "sounded like the New York Dolls at times," Blog to Comm asks you to "imagine the perfect three-way bop between the Bay City Rollers, Sparks and the Ramones and you'll be halfway there." You can stream a tune from WFMU by clicking o­n the band's name at the link.

THE NATIONAL, a band I mentioned here Friday, is lauded by London's Independent as "The band who may just have made the year's best album." You can grab their MP3s to decide for yourself.

RILO KILEY lists what's o­n their iPod playlist.

BILLY IDOL is desperate for even more women to sate his desires.

U2 invited unsigned rockgrrls o­nstage in L.A. to cover "Out of Control." And got record execs interested.

GUIDED BY VOICES: Being There magazine provides a newcomer's guide to the band in the guise of an article about Robert Pollard. Those who have seen the band will enjoy the section entitled, "How To Spot Him."

THE ARCTIC MONKEYS are invading America for a few shows. Stereogum quotes the Pitchfork's delightfully snarky coverage: "There's hype and then there's HYPE. The Sheffield, England-based baby band Arctic Monkeys have somehow harnessed the power of the video iPod, Asian bird flu, the Arcade Fire, and Samuel Alito into o­ne big blazing ball of buzz, resulting in mass hysteria and the UK-chart-topping debut of their second single ever, 'I Bet You Look Good o­n the Dancefloor.'" Even the band can't stand the hype and has asked the press to tone it down. You can (and should) stream their hit and a few others from MySpace.

MY SPACE: Tere have been a few articles lately noting how it makes it easier for bands, but it should be noted that it also makes things easier for stalkers.

MY MORNING JACKET is profiled in Straight and drummer Patrick Hallahan talks to Glide about "dealing with loss and finding new treasures, kittens o­n fire and babies in a blender, staying true to mystery, pushing through, and understanding the value of both sonic and physical space."

KINKY FRIEDMAN is turning his campaign for Governor of Texas into a TV reality show.

THE MAGIC NUMBERS are profiled in Straight, including their closeted love of Guns N' Roses.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: London's Guardian sends a reporter to interview the troubled singer: "After 40 minutes or so, we are told that Doherty has tidied up and is ready to receive us. God knows what his room looked like before, because it's in a pretty shocking state now. Drug paraphernalia and CDs are scattered across the bed, and there are rows of blackened, broken miniature bottles of alcohol from which he has been smoking, a trunk full of junk, a motorcycle by the bed, and the words 'ROUGH TRADE' daubed o­n the wall in fresh, dripping blood..." He says Moss wants to get him into rehab. The shamed supermodel will be making her comeback with Cavalli. In another interview, Doherty says he's had hallucinations long before he got into drugs.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: Chicken Little and Jarhead overcame marginal reviews to top the box office, though Jarhead's larger budget will be harder to recoup. I saw Shopgirl -- which also got borderline reviews -- and liked it, Clare danes' performance in particular. I think the movie's problem is that it does not fit neatly into any category -- it's not really a romantic comedy, nor is it a "serious" drama.

CLARE DANES and BILLY CRUDUP spend evenings with a trampoline and a trapeze.

MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY is sexually aroused by food and the smell of suntan lotion. Well, alright, alright, alright...

MADONNA lashes out at the French Hotel for dabbling with Kabbalah: "People like Paris Hilton who come into a centre and buy a book or a band and that's it for them. It doesn't mean they study it."

JON FAVREAU is pushing maximum density.

WALK THE LINE: Joaquin Phoenix was doing just fine walking the red carpet at the Hollywood premiere of the Johnny Cash biopic until he asked a reporter, "Do I have a large frog in my hair?" ALSO: The new Cash comp entered The Billboard 200 at No. 11 -- the highest-debuting title of Cash's career.

LYLE LOVETT is engaged?

LEO DiCAPRIO may be a little rusty in the pick-up department after his split with longtime gal pal and Victoria's Secret supermodel Gisele Bundchen.

JUDE LAW and SIENNA MILLER were reunited by Health Ledger?

SEANN WILLIAM SCOTT, who will forever be known as Stifler, is finishing up Mr. Woodcock and will begin Cockblockers soon. Are we noticing a pattern here?

DENISE RICHARDS and CHARLIE SHEEN: Their once doomed marriage seems to have weathered the storm.

CAROLYN MURPHY: The 2005 SI Swimsuit Issue covergirl's sex tape has fallen into the hands of the Internet Commerce Group, which specializes in such things. But any deal to distribute it is contingent o­n the outcome of the Colin Farrell sex tape case, which could be resolved as early as next month.

GEORGE CLOONEY is denying a report that he got into a shoving match with a security guard outside a bar in London's West End... but he did get into an argument with someone being unkind to a woman.

BRADGELINA UPDATE: Jolie is having the tattoo of ex-husband Billy Bob Thornton's name removed from her arm: "I'll never be stupid enough to have a man's name tattooed o­n me again." George Clooney has previously denied rumors that Pitt and Jolie would get married at his Italian villa, but friends of his are getting married there soon.

VAUGNISTON: Jennifer Aniston's "Seven Things I’d Rather Talk About... Than the Men in (or Out) of My Life."

BOY GEORGE is rumored to be the latest celebrity to fall under the spell of the Kabbalah, after having a huge Star of David tattooed o­n his bald head.

MARIAH CAREY, having been given dozens of unwanted fur coats by a Russian tycoon, gave the coats to PETA for distribution to the homeless. As Page Six notes, "Here's hoping that animal-rights activists don't add to the homeless fur-wearers' woes by beating them up for donning the stoles."

ELLEN DeGENERES and PORTIA DE ROSSI are considering becoming first-time parents. Maybe right after Thanksgiving dinner?

FREE BLOMMER! Smells wafting from a the Blommer chocolate factory in Chicago might make mouths water, but the EPA says they also could violate the Clean Air Act. Even the Sierra Club thinks this is ridiculous. It appears to be the target of complaints due to gentrification in the area. Both Sylvia Hauser and I can attest that there is nothing like the smell of Blommer in the morning.

IRAQ: Five regional leaders of al Qaeda in Iraq were confirmed killed in an airstrike in Husaybah, while Iraqi Security forces designated for western Anbar are in training. When the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force returns to Anbar province in February, they will be bolstered by 18 battalions from the new Iraqi army, plus a large number of Iraqi police and border security forces. Training and mentoring Iraqi forces will be the Marines' primary mission, rather than directly confronting the insurgents. Iraqi Arab companies are seeding the formerly war-torn Kurdish region with boom towns. The road between Baghdad International Airport and the capital used to be the most dangerous highway in Iraq; in October, o­nly o­ne person was wounded o­n the road and no o­ne was killed. In Mosul, Tikrit (Saddam's hometown) and even Baghdad, Iraqis celebrated the end of Ramadan with a sense of increasing security. Michael Rubin, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, reports that there is an economic boom despite insurgent attacks and that the political situation is also better than it is depicted by critics.

IRAQ II: Bill Roggio has several posts o­n Operation Steel Cutrain, particularly in the context as a follow-on to the Anbar Campaign. He also looks at IEDs and snipers in Ramadi.

ANTIWAR MARINE Staff Sgt. Jimmy Massey has been telling anybody who will listen about the atrocities that he and other Marines committed in Iraq. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that each of his claims is either demonstrably false or exaggerated.

PARIS RIOTS: Mayhem in the city continued unabated, spreading to the city center as rioting, clashes between police and rioters and arson escalated o­n Sunday, the 11th night of destruction. Police found a gasoline bomb-making factory in a derelict building south of Paris, as well as fuel stocks and hoods for hiding rioters' faces. With the shouting "Allu Akbar" and talking about waging "jihad," it was getting hard for the press to ignore the Muslim aspect of the riots. So there are now stories blaming the riots o­n discrimination against Muslims, noting that one of France's largest Islamic groups issued a fatwa against rioting and that Muslim "big brothers" are being called o­n to help quell the violence. So it's apparently okay to use the "M" word, so long Muslims are portrayed as the victims and heroes of the riots. I have no doubt that the French attitude towards its Muslim population is a factor here. However, the relationship is a two-way street. The press seems unwilling to report o­n the French government's own study showing the dramatic rise in Islamic extremism in France's Muslim ghettoes. The "big brothers" being called upon now may well be those enforcing strict Islamist codes of dress and behavior in these ghettoes... often violently against women with more modern attitudes.

DEERCAM: Researchers at the University of Missouri have mounted wireless video cameras o­n white-tailed deer because they think deer look really funny with video cameras o­n their heads. The National Science Foundation has awarded a million dollar grant for the work. The UM research team also plans to put footage from the deercams o­n a Web site.

DEER COLLISIONS: State Farm lists the top ten states, mostly in the Great Lakes region, but also including Texas and Georgia.

RED THE CAT becomes a millionaire.

UNLICENSED CAT lands a North Dakotan in jail.

BEES attack dozens of Baltimore schoolchildren; 40 were taken to the hospital as a precaution.

THE LOCH NESS MONSTER moved to China? That would explain why they never seem to be able to find it Scotland...

GOATS may become legal pets in Lake County, CA.

TWEETY BIRD rescued from a partially collapsed building by a robot built to disarm bombs.

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Okkervil River, The Hold Steady, The Soup Nazi and the Monitor Lizard   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, November 04, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

THE WEEKEND STARTS HERE:

GIANT DRINKING BIRDS: It's Friday... need I say more?

FRIDAY TIMEWASTER: Stack The Cats. Like Tetris, but with, you know... cats.

OKKERVIL RIVER: I have been remiss in failing to mention Okkervil River here. The band's latest album, Black Sheep Boy, rates Metacritic scores of 85 from critics and 9.3 from users. As far back as June, MSNBC ran a piece titled, "The stunning band you’ve been longing for," hailing the band's "orchestral countrified power pop." Frontman Will Scheff used to be a music critic for the Austin Chronicle and his lyrics are often compared to those of Decemberists frontman Colin Meloy. Black Sheep Boy and the impending Black Sheep Boy Appendix (due Nov. 22nd) pay tribute to 60s folk casualty Tim Hardin. There's streaming audio at the MSNBC link; you can download tracks from the band's catalog at the official website.

DEERHOOF drummer Greg Saunier talks to the University of Colorado Denver's Advocate: "We all quit our jobs about two years ago. The o­nly way we could make enough income to survive was to tour more." Always nice to give the drummer some.

MY SPACE: London's Guardian catches o­n to the social network's explosion, as noted here yesterday. Though Rupert Murdoch's recent purchase of the site shows just how savvy his empire is, it may be a misstep to spin off a record label with Interscope, because it feeds the suspicion that new media is being swallowed by old media.

GOOD VIBRATIONS: Build your own junior theremin.

THE "WHERE ARE THEY NOW?" FILE IS filled with hair metal.

BEATALLICA: If you haven't heard the band, it sounds very much like its name. For legal reasons, their material is all freely downloadable, including the five tracks available at veritas lux mea.

THE LIGHT FOOTWORK: You Ain't No Picasso calls them "your new favorite band." Matt of YANP likens them to Beulah and the Unicorns; there's a fair amount of the "Elephant 6 collective" (Neutral Milk Hotel, Apples In Stereo, etc.) there too. Two of the MP3's at YANP are available directly from the band, but I don't think they mind that third track, either, as they acknowledge YANP right o­n their home page.

LOOKING FOR MP3s? Hublog has developed a plug-in for the Firefox browser for quick-searching the Hype Machine MP3 blog aggregator.

KANYE WEST is in the middle of a bitter pay dispute after members of his video production crew failed to receive a salary. Worse, he's getting stalked by John Mayer.

THE NATIONAL have given up their day jobs and signed with Beggars Banquet when the money ran out. Allmusic says "The National ultimately present melodious and inspiring compositions also enlightened by a set of influences, including country-rock and even British pop/rock." The band has free MP3s, so you can give 'em a spin.

THE BELLRAYS: A critic for the Calgary Sun writes: "If you love rock 'n' roll, and if you believe, at its very best, at its purest, it can change your life, if o­nly for a couple of hours, then you need to see them." The band has WMA downloads available.

STING STUNG: A concert by the normally enviro-friendly former Policeman was recently sponsored by the world's dirtiest airline.

THE HOLD STEADY: I'm reposting this NPR profile with streaming audio in part because "Chicago Seemed Tired Last Night" is a cool song, but also because webvomit is killing music with the band's cover of "Hey Hey What Can I Do." Not that I would download it, but I'm sure the lads would do a boffo version of the classic Zeppelin flip side to "The Immigrant Song."

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: Is Moss so addicted to Doherty that she will ignore her drug counsellor's advice and see the troubled singer again? Is a Moss-Doherty sex tape floating around London?

ASHLEE SIMPSON: We do know there is video of the less attractive and improbably less talented Simpson sister spectacularly drunk and obnoxious in a Canadian McDonald's for the whole world to mock.

MADONNA stole the show at the MTV Europe Music Awards o­n Thursday. Robbie Williams said, "She's amazing. She's an absolute legend. I can't believe she's 89 and looks like that." Host Sacha Baron Cohen (a/k/a Ali G and others) remarked, "It was very brave of MTV to start the show with a transvestite."

GWEN STEFANI, responding to a catty comment from Madge, says she doesn't copy Madonna, but was as influenced by her as anyone her age. Her current solo tour is being called "far closer to a Madonna-like extravaganza than a No Doubt tour." But the critics aren't happy about it. Thanks to Flickr, you can check her myriad of costume changes for yourself.

LOHAN LOWDOWN: I'm sure the New York Post juxtaposed a picture of Lindsay Lohan dressed as a slutty firefighter with a story about a man posing as a fireman to rape a woman o­n Halloween by accident, really.

BRITNEY SPEARS: Us Weekly reports that has kicked her husband Cletus out of their Malibu home and demanded a trial separation. K-Fed is reportedly spending his time clubbing, drinking and smoking the ganja. And Shar Jackson, K-Fed's other baby mama, seems to be enjoying the comedy of it all: "C'mon, kiddo, did you think things were going to be different? Kevin was there for (daughter) Kori every single day of her life until I told him to go out and get a job."

AL PACINO admits it's been mostly downhill for him since Dog Day Afternoon.

VAUGHNISTON: Aniston is looking to buy a house in Chicago, where Vaughn's family lives, and even considering having a baby with Vaughn. Let's hope Vince leaves fewer bruises than Clive Owen.

JARHEAD: At presstime, the Gulf War drama was scoring a rotten 53 percent o­n the Tomatometer. But as a public service to the ladies (and gay men who can't wait for Brokeback Mountain), I note that Jake Gyllenhaal is naked in a Santa hat.

THE SOUP NAZI launched his first chain soup store, but without the word "Nazi." Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Soup Nazi didn't bother to show for the opening.

CHIP KIDD is an incredibly talented book designer. The fact that he often works o­n comics-related projects is just icing o­n the cake. The New York Times notes his superhero-related books, but if you look at a page from his Peanuts book, you can see the sort of thing that inspired the booklets that come with the Pate boxes.

PETRA NEMCOVA accepted Glamour magazine's "The Survivor" award after losing her boyfriend and almost dying herself in the last year's tsunami. It turns out that she's not just a supermodel, she's a Supermodel: "I've been very fast with the recovery. Some people do it in two years and I did it in three months." Nemcova is no spoiled, stupid little stick figure with poofy lips who thinks o­nly about herself... she's Wolverine.

THE SUPREME COURT: The L.A. Times reports that liberals who have worked with nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr. say he is fair, not a rigid ideologue.

IRAQ: Reuters reports that the U.S. Army is adapting its training to "the war of the flea," but it sounds like the internet is allowing the troops to adapt faster than Army institutions.

MUSTAFA SETMARIAN NASAR, an al Qaeda leader in Europe the suspected mastermind in the March 11, 2004 Madrid bombings, and an early suspect in the first London bobings in July, may have been killed in Pakistan.

RIOTS IN PARIS ENTER A SECOND WEEK, gaining fresh momentum as youths shot at police and firefighters, and attacked trains despite more than 1,000 riot police patrolling the streets. Press outlets are starting to notice that France, like other countries in Europe, is showing a growing intolerance for those who follow alien customs, overburden welfare systems and foster radical Islam. An American student in France e-mailed screenwriter Roger L. Simon with some interesting observations about the attitude of the French people toward the US and the prospects for a brutal crackdown o­n the rioters.

PETTING ZOO CLOSED over fears of a deadly bacterial infection.

CARNIVOROUS MONITOR LIZARD intrudes o­n toddler's toilet training.

ELEPHANTS, unlike many other animals, really do show special interest in their dead.

HERE WE SEE THE PANOTOMIME HORSE, engaged in a life-or-death struggle for democracy in Hong Kong...

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Loads of Downloads, Broken Social Scene, My Space and Rabid Vampire Bats   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, November 03, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

THE MOUNTAIN GOATS' Halloween show was attended by dressed as their favorite MG tune. The Village Voice had a backgrounder that also reviewed the band's prior gig at the Bowery Ballroom.

LEGAL INDIE DOWNLOADS OUT THE WAZOO at Spacelab. Dungen, Metric, The M's, Deerhoof, Wolf Parade, Iron and Wine, Fruit Bats, BMRC, Spoon, an entire Flaming Lips album and many, many more.

100 SONGS ON ONE CD: someone is killing music with songs under 74 seconds long.

NEW DAY RISING gets second thoughts from a 25-year-old at Stylus magazine who used to think it was terribly pasteurized and in no way subversive.

NINE INCH NAILS: I was never a big fan, but Trent Reznor may have a future as a music critic.

AUDIOSLAVE is mining the RATM and Soundgarden catalogs o­n the current tour.

BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE: Kevin Drew declares the band's new album is no longer self-titled: "Go get a pen. Go write your own f---ing title down. It's called 'Choose Your Own Title.' We're giving the choice back to the people because it's getting taken away from them." Drew also notes that the album's concept drifted from the political to the personal. As of presstime, you can stream the album from overseas.

BELLE AND SEBASTIAN are organizing a compilation album to raise money for children's charities, including Snow Patrol.

ANTONY AND THE JOHNSONS are all over the Pitchfork, with a review of three recent EPs and an interview with Antony. It's not my bag, but he's good copy.

ANIMAL COLLECTIVE: London's Guardian joins in the praise for the band's latest album, Feels: "More accessible than their earlier work, its rich, acoustic songs simultaneously melt your heart and set it racing." At Metacritic it's scoring an average 81 from critics and 8.6 (out of ten) from users. SPIN has a legal MP3. And you can stream a few via the band's label.

DEBBIE HARRY is thankful she never had enough money for a serious drug habit, because substance abuse would have ruined her music career. And you don't want to know how old she is.

JUKEBOX JURY: Seattle Weekly plays with Rockrgrl magazine's 's Carla DeSantis. It's an all-girl line-up, from The Runaways and Patti Smith to Britney Spears.

U CANT TOUCH THIS? Oh, yes you can, if the price is right.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: The shamed supermodel reportedly has hired two SAS minders to keep the troubled singer and his friends away from her. The SAS is the British equivalent of the Delta Force. And we are reminded that after Moss' 1998 stint in rehab, a friend asked what she had learned, to which Moss replied, "A lot about alcohol."

MADONNA: Big into Kabbalah, but her nine-year-old daughter is going to be a nun?

LOHAN LOWDOWN: Li-Lo is ready to go public with news that she is dating Jared Leto. And ladies, as the man has no career, I think we know what he has going for him.

HOLLYWOOD wants total control over your television. I thought they would have given up after The Outer Limits.

REJECTED BOND GIRLS: Listed at McSweeney's.

FIRST THEY CAME FOR THE COOKIE MONSTER, then they came for Mr. Potato Head...

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Star magazine claims that Cruise and Holmes are enmeshed in negotiating a prenup agreement. Which is the sort of story both might like leaked to quash those rumors that the two already have an agreement. ALSO: Tom-Kat duets o­n "Mustang Sally" and "Old Time Rock and Roll" at the big Scientology soiree in Britain, which reminds me that Cruise thrashed on a couch in Risky Business, too. BONUS: A Chinese fan of Cruise realized her dream to meet the movie star and even was invited to play a character in his new film Mission Impossible 3 after Cruise read her book My Love for You, Tom Cruise – A Desperate Chinese Girl's Confession.

THE FRENCH HOTEL knows how to pick 'em! New boyfriend Stavros Niarchos III offered a homeless man outside a Benjamin to dump a soda o­n himself, which the man did.

YES, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus; his name is Rupert Murdoch.

WARREN BEATTY and ROB REINER are working against ballot propositions championed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Are they testing the waters for running against the Governator himself?

WOODY ALLEN may marry Soon-Yi Previn and offers this portrait of his relationship: "All the women I went out with were basically my age. Now, here, it just works like magic. The very inequality of me being older and much more accomplished, much more experienced, takes away any real meaningful conflict."

EVA LONGRIA: Cityrag wants the Desperate Housewife to get together with Eva Mendez. I've heard worse ideas.

BRADGELINA UPDATE: Pitt is furiously denying UK tabloid reports he has wed Jolie in a secret Buddhist ceremony. He also spotted a peeping paparazzo, but the photog eluded police. Jolie is the woman lesbians would most like to marry, according to a new poll by Gaydar Radio.

EDU-BLOGGING: The new Carnival of Education is o­nline... at the Dayton Daily News, no less.

THE SUPREME COURT: I would hope that the DNC has better criticisms of Judge Alito than innuendo of mob ties based o­n his Italian heritage. How about his lousy trumpet playing? How about his chairing an undergraduate task force at Princeton that recommended the decriminalization of sodomy, accused the CIA and the FBI of invading the privacy of citizens, and said discrimination against gays in hiring ''should be forbidden?" How about voting o­n the pro-choice side in all but o­ne of the abortion cases he heard as a judge? The L.A. Times reports that those who know Alito say he keeps "an almost allergic distance from discussions of ideology or politics."

RIOTS IN PARIS have now been going o­n for a week. Yet you can still read stories from Reuters, London's Times and others that completely avoid mentioning that the rioters are Muslims. If o­nly France would pull out of Iraq... ALSO: Muslims rioted for days in Denmark, too.

IRAQ: Bill Roggio rounds up coverage of efforts to divide the insurgency and the "removal" of al Qaeda facilitators near the Syrian border. AFP has a story o­n the battle for hearts and minds near the border waged by the US and Sunni fundamentalists.

JIMMY CARTER, appearing o­n NBC's Today show, said that the Bush Administration's prewar claims that Saddam had WMDs were "manipulated, at least" to mislead the American people. o­ne wonders where he gets that claim, which was unanimously rejected by the Senate Intelligence Cmte (Conclusions 83 and 84) and the bipartisan Robb-Silberman Commission (Conclusion 26). But I suppose that if I was Jimmy Carter yesterday, I would have rather talked about anything besides the anniversary of the takeover of the US embassy in Iran, where Islamic militants took 52 American hostages. After all, falling down o­n the job at the modern o­nset of Islamic extremism doesn't look any better now than it did in 1979, especially with the hardline Iranian government purging moderate ambassadors while preparing a new round of conversion of uranium.

THEO VAN GOGH: Yesterday, politicians, relatives and religious leaders in the Netherlands marked the anniversary of the brutal slaying of the director and critic of radical Islam.

STRANGE BEDFELLOWS: They don't come much stranger than the former Reps. Pat Schroeder and Bob Barr... who have joined forces against Google.

SONY COPY-PROTECTION scheme exposes users to threats from hackers and virus writers. It's worse than root canal to remove. And installing the Sony program o­n a machine running Windows Vista -- the beta version of the next iteration of Microsoft Windows -- breaks the operating system spectacularly.

MY SPACE: Wired magazine is calling the social networking site "The Hit Factory." The site is getting more hits than Google. And bands using the site are selling hundreds of thousands of albums.

LITTLE RED PANDA is on the loose in Birmingham, Britain's second-largest city. The panda has broken out of a nature preserve twice in two weeks.

RABID VAMPIRE BATS kill 23 people in Brazil. And the BBC couldn't break this story in time for Halloween?

CZECH APES get their own reality TV show.

DEER stops at a nurse's station after smashing through two glass panes and entering a hospital. The deer was injured, so where should it go? SEMI-RELATED: Wayne Goldsberry killed a five-point whitetail buck that crashed through a bedroom window at his daughter's home Friday. At this time of year, a buck that sees its reflection in a window often charges, believing it is fighting off a rival.

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