THE WEEKEND STARTS HERE:
...with THE dB's! The influential, but oh-so-unlucky modern pop combo has been largely missing from the Tube, but we now can enjoy "Happenstance," "Bad Reputation" and "Living A Lie" from Sweden circa 1982. Post-Stamey, we have the infamous, banned-from-MTV clip for "Amplifier," plus live takes of "She Got Soul" and "Not Cool" from the legendary Maxwell's in Hoboken, NJ circa 1986. From the same time period, you can see the band help close down Folk City in NYC with a cover of Bob Dylan's "Positively 4th Street." BONUS: The fabulous Marti Jones and Windbreaker Tim Lee cover the dB's classic "Neverland," also from 1986.
ROBERT POLLARD, ever-prolific, is releasing not one, but two albums on October 9th, Coast To Coast Carpet Of Love, and Standard Gargoyle Decisions, but you can stream them now. Bob says "one focuses on his super-catchy pop side the other his more down and dirty rock side. It's like Beatles Vs. Stones! A battle to the death and, of course, Bob emerges as the victor."
SPOON: Britt Daniel and Jim Eno answer six questions for Rolling Stone, which also hosts a live video of "Don't Make Me a Target" from Austin City Limits. The band's Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga album is still streaming in full from Merge Records.
THE WEAKERTHANS stopped by The Current for a chat and mini-set you can stream via MPR, while NPR serves up an audio feature on the new Reunion Tour album, full of songs about "bus drivers in Winnipeg, men in curling clubs, Bigfoot spotters and Edward Hopper paintings. " At the moment, you can stream the whole album at TheirSpace.
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN and the E STREET BAND: Magic comes out next Tuesday, but you can stream the whole thing today via Q104.3 out of NYC. Yep, I'm Mr. Full Album Streams for the weekend today.
TEGAN & SARA cover "Umbrella," the Rhianna hit that sparked converstaions about cover songs at NPR and here.
FIONN REGAN: The Irish singer-song writer is getting written up in the Chicago Sun-Times and the Boston Globe, where names like Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Nick Drake, James Joyce and Samuel Beckett are being tossed around. He's signed to the Lost Highway label, home to Lucinda Williams, Van Morrison and Willie Nelson. So you may want to stream a few tracks at FionnSpace.
THE GO! TEAM mastermind Ian Parton lists a few of his favorite things for Pitchfork's Guest List feature.
BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB: Heather Browne scored her own interview with the lads last week, with a bit on the value of speaking out. I thank Frank Yang for reminding me.
THE CUTOUT BIN: This Friday's fortuitous finds from the ol' HM are: Quincy Jones - The Streetbeater; Todd Rundgren - Wolfman Jack; Sam & Dave - Hold On, I'm Coming (Live); Marvin Gaye - Let's Get It On (Live); KT Tunstall - I Want You Back (Live; Jackson 5); The Soul Survivors - Expressway To Your Heart; Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs - Wooly Bully; Question Mark and The Mysterians - 96 Tears; The Who - Happy Jack; The Kinks - Waterloo Sunset; The Pretenders - Kid; Eddie & The Hot Rods - Do Anything You Wanna Do; Nick Lowe - Heart Of The City; The Members - Working Girl; Art Brut - Formed a Band; The Replacements - Favorite Thing (slightly nsfw); The Lemonheads - Confetti; The Bangles - Walk Like An Egyptian; The Flaming Lips - Just Like Starting Over (J. Lennon); Voice of the Beehive - I Think I Love You (yes, that one); Foo Fighters - Baker Street (G. Rafferty); The Byrds - The Christian Life (G. Parsons vox); Beach Boys - Sail On, Sailor; Bob Dylan - Like A Rolling Stone; Neil Diamond - Cherry, Cherry; The Replacements - Route 66; and Beat Farmers - Happy Boy.
THE KINGDOM: Seeing this movie was like going to a restaurant, getting an okay appetizer, followed by a meal that is rather good, until you find a dead cockroach in the bottom of your dish. The movie opens with a brief, flashy, over-simplified history of US-Saudi relations (e.g., the 1973 oil embargo had as much or more to do with US economic policies, such as price controls and dropping the gold standard, as with supporting Israel in the Yom Kippur War). What follows is a largely well-made police procedural-turned-action flick. Although one could question how helpful the Saudis are in reality, the movie depicts a range of Saudi characters -- a prince, terrorists, a reformed terrorist, competent police, incompetent police, etc. There is a range of Americans also -- with some depicted less favorably than the FBI investigators who are the focus of the story. Unfortunately, the final scene imposes a sense of moral equivalence between the FBI and al-Qaeda that does not follow from its own plot and characters, let alone reality. Neverheless, the suspense, action and chemistry of the ensemble make the other 97 percent of The Kingdom highly entertaining.
NOW SHOWING: Ironically, The Kingdom is scoring a mere 45 percent on the ol' Tomatometer, primarily because the critics wanted it to be as heavy-handed and ideological as the final scene, as opposed to a conventional action movie with a Saudi backdrop. In contrast, In the Valley of Elah, which ham-fistedly suggests the Iraq war is turning US soldiers into immoral, dysfunctional, drug-addicted criminals -- and takes liberties with the facts of the true story to do so -- reaches 700 screens this weekend with 69 percent. The Rock tries Disney comedy in The Game Plan, which is scoring 30 percent. The romantic drama Feast of Love is scoring 56 percent overall, though 67 percent from the "Cream of the Crop" critics.
HOLLYWOOD DUST-UP: In the L.A. Times, Andrew Breitbart and David Ehrenstein are debating the fall season of antiwar flicks, the role filmmakers should and do play in the domestic political debate, and Hollywood values.
ROGER EBERT, icymi, is America's most influential pundit, according to Forbes magazine. Keep in mind that what is actually being measured is awareness and likability measurements among respondents within the demographic gold mine of advertisers--those between the ages of 25-54, with a college degree, making at least 50K annually. So the list tends to exclude polarizing figures like Rush Limbaugh and Keith Olbermann.
KNIGHT RIDER is returning as a two-hour backdoor pilot -- nttawwt -- with tentative plans to air it as a telepic on NBC later this season.
MAD MEL UPDATE: Mel Gibson is ignoring safety warnings from the US government and is going ahead with plans to move his wife Robyn and seven children 300 miles away from their home in California to a 26-million-dollar ranch in a rural area of Costa Rica that is known as "bandit territory."
PAMELA ANDERSON and DENISE RICHARDS have been offered a million to strip for Playboy... together. No doubt it would promote their upcoming movie Blonde And Blonder.
BRADGELINA: Jolie has been fired as the face of St. John, for whom she'd been modeling since September 2005.
LINDSAY LOHAN, contrary to prior reports, will not be leaving the Cirque Lodge rehab program in Utah this weekend, according to her mother. Meanwhile, Jackass star Steve-O told Howard Stern on his radio show that Lohan once took a bag of cocaine from him.
HUGH GRANT stars in the real life story of three ladies and a taxicab. Pics at the link.
SHILPA SHETTY was arrested at the Mumbai Airport in India over her infamous clinch with Richard Gere, after airport officials said she was still wanted in connection with obscenity charges. Immigration officials had no record of the Supreme Court ruling which overturned a ban on her leaving the country. And here I thought US airport security was a mess...
WES ANDERSON: New York magazine's profile of the quirky director reads like one of his scripts, complete with a train trip and a virtual cameo from Bill Murray. Anderson also says Owen Wilson is happy The Darjeeling Limited is being released now (in NYC and LA this weekend). BTW, the Hotel Chevalier short prequel to The Darjeeling Limited is a free download at iTunes.
FURRIES vs. KLINGONS: It's a mighty subcultural clash and bowling tournament in Atlanta on Saturday... or is it? Poster at the link. (Thanks, Amber.)
TERROR in the US: Ahmed Abdellatif Sherif Mohamed -- one of two Egyptian students arrested in Goose Creek, SC after authorities found four PVC pipes containing a mixture of potassium nitrate, kitty litter and sugar in his car's trunk -- reportedly admitted to FBI agents that he made a training video to show people in "Arabic countries" how to use remote-controlled bombs against American soldiers.
IRAN: France does not believe claims by Pres. Ahmadinejad that his country's nuclear activities are peaceful, President Nicolas Sarkozy's office said Thursday. Russia opposes new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program at this time because it would undermine a study by the UN atomic watchdog of Iran's activities.
IRAQ: More than 19000 militants have been killed in fighting with coalition forces since the insurgency began more than four years ago, according to military statistics released for the first time. The statistics show that 4882 militants were killed in clashes with coalition forces this year, a 25% increase over all of last year. Saddam Hussein signaled that he was willing to go into exile as long as he could take a billion dollars and information on weapons of mass destruction, according to a report of a Feb. 22, 2003, meeting between Pres. Bush and then-Spanish Pres. Aznar published by El Pais yesterday. Which raises the questions: why did Saddam attach so much importance to information on Iraq's WMD program, and what message did that send to the West? Barcepundit has some translation of the El Pais story, with background on the Spanish politics at work.
IRAQ II: Iraq's top Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani met the country's Sunni vice president on Thursday for the first time to discuss "The Iraqi National Compact," a set of 25 political principles unveiled by the largest Sunni Arab party on Wednesday aimed at removing deep mistrust among politicians. Prime Minister al-Maliki seems to have weathered a political crisis that once threatened to bring down his government, though VP Hashemi's bloc currently remains at odds with the ruling alliance (which may be the impetus for the Compact and sitdown with Sistani). Thousands of Iraqi Arabs have accepted financial compensation to leave Kirkuk, which leaders of the autonomous Kurdish region are seeking to control. Tensions between Kirkuk's Kurdish, Arab, and Turkmen communities have risen ahead of a constitutionally mandated popular referendum on the oil-rich city's future, which is supposed to be held this year. NPR claims that Diyala province remains in turmoil and the local population is increasingly anti-American.
...AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT: A turtle with two heads. Story and Video at the link.
...AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT: See-through frogs let us observe organs, blood vessels and eggs under the skin without performing dissections. Pic at the link.
HORSE ROUND-UP: Someone smuggled a miniature horse in a dog crate onto a plane that landed at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta. Pics and Video at the link. Meanwhile, an Oklahoma City hockey coach bit the ear of a horse to stop a potentially dangerous stampede during the recent Oklahoma State Fair. The hockey coach said his instinct took over. Yes, really.
FUFI the CAT took a £7,000 private helicopter trip from Rome to Sardinia because it was afraid of planes and boats.
FUGITIVE MONKEY and OWNER are wanted for questioning in Boone County, MO. Pic at the link.
THREE HOMESICK CROCODILES in Australia have shocked experts by walking 250 miles back "home" after being relocated. It's like The Incredible Journey, but with crocodiles.