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Ray Davies, Mozart, The Boy Least Likely To, Easter Bunnies   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, April 05, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

FATBOY SLIM (a/k/a ex-Housemartins bassist Norman Cook) is threatened by a witch's curse for planning a gig at Loch Ness. And I'll take any excuse to turn someone o­n to Spike Jonze directing Christopher Walken in the fab video for Fatboy Slim's "Weapon of Choice."

RAY DAVIES: The Kinks frontman gets an audio feature o­n his first solo album, along with clips from Other People's Lives and the Kinks' "Waterloo Sunset" (just because it's a great song).

VAN DYKE PARKS, who collaborated with Brian Wilson o­n SMiLE, produced Randy Newman and Rufus Wainwright, and played with Harry Nilsson and Tim Buckley, among others, is handling the arrangements for the next album from indie singer-harpist Joanna Newsom.

ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN singer Ian McCulloch is set to stand trial for allegedly assaulting two people outside a Glasgow venue. McCulloch has denied the charges.

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART was in the top 5% of wage-earners in late 18th-century Vienna, according to newly-discovered documents, but blew it all by the time he died. I await the new episode of VH1's Behind the Music.

THE BOY LEAST LIKELY TO: Their childlike pop wowed crowds at SXSW and their album got a US release this week, but the duo suffers from gadget envy opening for James Blunt in the US. Their goofy video for "Be Gentle With Me" is cheap enough and clever enough to have been a classic, had it been made in the 80s.

FLAMING LIPS frontman Wayne Coyne tells the Toronto Star that the band forces itself to try new things, "even if it's not something we're good at."

THE RACONTEURS: Though Jack White has denied rumors of a White Stripes breakup, a New York Sun review notes that this band may be more than a side lark for White. You can stream their single from the band's website.

SUFJAN STEVENS: Winning the New Pantheon prize gets the singer-songwriter a profile in the Detroit Free Press, including two MP3 clips from his Michigan album.

TOM JONES, who apparently has had a lot of plastic surgery, says he will never retire: "As long as I can sing, I will. I'm enjoying it now more than ever. I'm having more fun now. It's not as frantic. I get more respect from people and it's very gratifying."

MARTIN GILKS, drummer for the Mighty Lemon Drops, the Wonder Stuff and others, died a in a London hospital after a motorcycle accident. He was 41.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: For o­nce, it's someone else in Babyshambles charged with drunken driving, though the troubled singer was trying his best to disrupt an airport in Austria. Meanwhile, the supposedly sober supermodel is reportedly going o­n vacation to Hawaii with Lindsay Lohan and Courtney Love for a celebrity version of Girls Gone Wild.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Cruise is trying to force Holmes into labor by feeding her spicy Indian food. After Holmes gives birth, Cruise plans a PR blitz as overdone as his PDAs for Holmes. Cruise has personally asked for another round with the Today Show's Matt Lauer, with whom he famously argued about anti-depressants. Lauer might want to read the interview in which Cruise recalls being diagnosed as dyslexic as a child as an "absolute affront" to his dignity: "I remember thinking, 'I've got to figure this out. What's normal? Am I normal? Who's to say what's normal?' I didn't understand what 'normal' is. It still doesn't make sense." I'm sure it doesn't.

THANDIE NEWTON is writing letters to Tom Cruise, Madonna and her husband Guy Ritchie; Coldplay's Chris Martin, Barry Manilow, Kevin Costner, Bill Murray, Meg Ryan, Jack Nicholson and Ben Affleck, urging them to ditch their SUVs. A rep for o­ne of them said of the very thin Newton: "she should eat a grilled cheese sandwich and French fries."

JACKO was crowned as America’s most foolish person for the fourth year running, according to a survey by a public relations consultant.

REBECCA ROMIJN is settling down with her fiance Jerry O'Connell in an old brothel.

KEIRA KNIGHTLEY will be joined by Scottish actor James McAvoy in the film adaptation of Ian McEwan’s novel Atonement.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON is cast as a 14-year-old in Napoleon and Betsy, which has historians complaining that Hollywood is putting a salacious spin o­n a very innocent relationship.

BRITNEY SPEARS is slammed by little people as "wicked" and "sick" for hiring dwarves to entertain her husband's guests at his recent birthday bash.

JESSICA SIMPSON has reportedly landed the Pam Anderson role in the movie vesrion of Baywatch. A source told London's Sun: "Jessica has all the assets to make Pammi’s part her own."

MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY, People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive, is beaten by a pair of 14-year old girls... in a 400-meter race: "Those little girls had very, very long legs."

KING KONG took in 100 million bucks in its first week in the US o­n DVD, breaking Universal Studios' record.

JOHN McTIERNAN, director of Predator, Die Hard, and many more, was charged Monday with lying to the FBI, becoming the first Tinseltown figure accused in the unfolding investigation of wiretapping and other alleged wrongdoing by Hollywood private eye Anthony Pellicano.

MICHAEL DOUGLAS thinks modern American men look more like women. Which might explain his new Grizzly Adams look. And Douglas is particularly horrified by the male use of cosmetics. After all, real men have cosmetic surgery.

GEORGE CLOONEY and BRAD PITT may be on the outs over Clooney's failed Vegas casino plan, which would make for some cold shoulders o­n the set of Ocean's Thirteen.

KATE BECKINSALE was reported to have the inside track to play Wonder Woman in Joss Whedon’s new film adaptation. And why not? She looks the part more than Lindsay Lohan, Sarah Michelle Geller and Charisma Carpenter. Plus, she already has the costume. However, it seems that the IMDB fell for an April Fool's prank.

IRAQ: The embattled prime minister is refusing to give up his claim to head the country's next government. At ITM, Omar reports o­n death threats against newspaper sellers. NBC News producer Libby Leist blogs her first night in Baghdad, traveling with Sec. of State Rice, inwhich Leist notes the gulf between the Green Zone and Iraq outside it. I Was There touches o­n the isolation of US troops in the Green Zone in the course of discussing the insurgents seeming superiority in using the media. 2/28 BCT Iron Soldiers blogs Iraqi police and soldiers returning to Ramadi from their training in a pilot program. The L.A. Times concludes a series o­n wounded troops home from Iraq fighting to get back o­nto the battlefield.

IRAQ IN THE MEDIA: The New York Times reports o­n "the deadliest day for American forces since the beginning of the year," burying the following: "At least 13 American troops have died so far this month, setting a pace that could interrupt a trend of steadily declining casualties over the past five months. The monthly tally of at least 31 deaths in March was the second lowest since the invasion of Iraq three years ago." The five-month trend has never been a headline story for the NYT, which rushes to suggest that a bad day or two may interrupt it. If the trend of low US casualties continues at the end of the month, you can bet that the paper will not bother to notice.

IRAN is rolling out a slew of new military hardware this week, as part of its "Great Prophet" naval war games. The "Whale" missile is not the threat Iran claims, and the "flying boat" is a joke, but others are more serious threats to shipping in the Strait of Hormuz. In any event, they are manifestations of an attitude that suggests Iran wants to make more than electricity with nuclear power.

CARTOON JIHAD: Ephraim Karsh, head of Mediterranean Studies at King's College, University of London, writes at the Wall Street Journal that the ambitions of Islamic fundamentalists have little to do with cartoons or alleged western imperialism.

KUWAIT: Women are voting and running for office for the first time in a council by-election.

BUNNIES marry to mark the Easter holiday season, amid complaints from animal rights activists.

DONKEYS are better than wives, according to an Indian schoolbook.

RUFUS THE WILD TURKEY hangs out in the parking lot of the Jacques Spur Junction Cafe.

DON'T EAT CANADIAN BEARS: Sound advice from French health officials. Sometimes you eat the bear, sometimes the bear eats you.

RISE AND SHINE, CAMPERS! It's Brown Kamchatka Bear Day in Moscow. The bear has ended his hibernation o­n hearing the voice of spring.

5423 Reads

New Releases, Pink Mountaintops, a Horse, a Pig and their beer   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, April 04, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

T-BONE BURNETT, who will release his first new album in 14 years next month, talks to Newsweek about his careers as a musician, alt-rock producer, and movie music maven, putting together classics for The Big Lebowski, popularizing bluegrass with the O, Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack, and coaching Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon for Walk The Line.

NEW RELEASES this week include albums from Morrissey, the Flaming Lips, the Concretes, and Serena Maneesh (gothic psychedelia) streaming in full from AOL Music. There is also an album from Islands, new jangly goodness from Tommy Keene (bonus classic jangle, including a cover of the Hollies' "Carrie-Anne" at MySpace), a wider release for the buzzworthy Loon from Tapes 'N Tapes, a US release for the debut of childlike UK popsters The Boy Least Likely To and 70s-influenced R & B from Van Hunt. Plus a reissue from Jose Gonzalez and a Twin/Tone comp from Soul Asylum.

SUFJAN STEVENS won the inaugural New Pantheon Music Prize for Illinois, against competition from Arcade Fire, Fiona Apple, M.I.A., Antony and the Johnsons, and others. Stevens will be awarded a cash prize of five grand and a trophy.

BUDDY BLUE, o­ne of the original Beat Farmers, has passed away unexpectedly.

NEKO CASE talks to the Boston Globe about being single In America and how being invited to join the New Pornographers was a turning point in her career. You can see and hear Neko at her redesigned website.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: Rumors are swirling that Bill Berry may retake the drummer's throne for REM full-time, which coincides nicely with the tip I got from Ken King o­n this clip of "Carnival of Sorts (Boxcars)," which may have been the band's TV debut. Lots of amusing early 80s dancing! And since it's Tuesday, let's make it a twofer with Springsteen joining REM for "Man o­n the Moon."

BELLE & SEBASTIAN have put out the video for "The Blues Are Still Blue." The flip side of the single is a cover of Thin Lizzy's "Whiskey In The Jar."

CALEXICO gets three of five stars for the upcoming Garden Ruin album. You can stream and download "Cruel" from MySpace.

THE MOUNTAINTOPS: Stephen McBean, the frontman for Black Mountain and Pink Mountaintops, talks about playing and gawking at SXSW, which netted Pink Mountaintops an opening slot for the Flaming Lips CD launch shows.

DINOSAUR JR.: With the media usually focusing o­n the drama between J. Mascis and Lou Barlow, it's nice to give some to Murph the drummer as the band headed to Tallahassee FL, where Murph lived for a year.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: The ever-reliable News of the World claims that the supposedly sober supermodel is paying off the troubled singer to keep his silence about their o­n/off romance.

LINDSAY LOHAN apparently flashed children at the Nickolodeon Kid's Choice Awards. No wonder she won the Favorite Movie Actress trophy.

SIENNA MILLER and STEVE BUSCEMI will be getting high security protection while shooting Interview, a remake of a thriller by Theo Van Gogh, who was murdered by Mohammed Bouyeri in 2004 after his film Submission sparked anger among the Muslim community.

SUSAN SARANDON feels that the next US elections should be monitored by international entities, as in Haiti and Iraq, because: "The last o­ne was an embarrassment. Everybody knew there was fraud, but nothing was done about it. In some states there were more votes than people able to vote." Actually, not everybody buys debunked studies from Berkeley. Indeed, even David Corn at The Nation took a pass o­n the conspiracy theories.

BRADGELINA: In the unbelievable category is a News of the Word rumor about Jolie giving birth in Africa. In the more believable category is a report that Pitt is miserable since moving into a squalid 1970s tower block in Paris.

VAUGHNISTON are reportedly shopping for a pad in Chicago.

KIRSTEN DUNST was spotted getting cozy with SNL's Andy Samberg at a Jose Gonzalez concert. Samberg is largely responsible for the the popular Narnia and Natalie Portman rap videos.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Cruise is delaying his marriage to Holmes until after the birth of their child and the premiere of Mission Impossible 3, but assures us: "I won't let this woman get away," which rings true, albeit in a very creepy way. Meanwhile Woman's Day magazine claims that the Cruise-Kidman tapes are so embarassing that that both "could retreat out of the Hollywood spotlight completely." But the mag never says what's o­n the tapes, which are now in the hands of the FBI, which is investigating former celeb private eye Anthony Pellicano.

(LEGAL) DOWNLOADABLE MOVIES reach the marketplace, But you could buy the Special Edition DVD of King Kong o­n sale at Tower Records for less than the cost of the download. There really is no business like show business.

UNITED 93: A NYC cinema has pulled the trailer for forthcoming 9/11 film after several complaints from distressed patrons. Universal Studios said o­n Monday that it would stick with the trailer. Tom Roger, whose 24-year-old daughter was o­n American Flight 11, which flew into the WTC's north tower, said he wished the studio had somehow notified other 9/11 families about the trailer. Sandra Felt, whose husband was o­n United 93, was surprised by the reaction of others: "9/11 is a fact. It happened. Running away from the movie isn't going to resolve underlying factors of why we're upset by it."

EVA LONGORIA doesn't regret her remarks about her relationship with Tony Parker: "I never regret something I say. I regret how people perceive it." Because she never makes mistakes, apparently.

SHARON STONE, fresh from bombing in Basic Instinct 2, is going to focus o­n her songwriting career. No, I didn't know about it either.

EROTIC THRILLERS: The flop of Basic Instinct 2 is dissected across Tinseltown. Paul Verhoeven, director of the first Basic Instinct, and screen scribe Nicholas Meyer want to blame the Bush Administration, whereas producer JC Spink thinks the genre is suffering because sex is more pervasive in our society now than it was 10 years ago. Zalman King blames a more conservative international market. None consider two obvious reasons why more erotic thrillers aren't being made. First, studies show that G, PG, and PG-13 movies are more profitable and more likely to be blockbusters. Second, that Basic Instinct 2 flopped because almost every critic in America thought it stunk.

IRAQ: In the Wall Street Journal, Reuel Marc Gerecht looks at the complex balances of power -- or terror that Iraqis (and the US must navigate to stabilize the country. At ITM, Mohammed looks at the mounting international and local pressure for Jafar to withdraw as nominee for Prime Minister in the next few days. The AP's "blog" from Ramadi has Todd Pitman surprised that the locals don't mind when the Marines take cover in their courtyards, with some welcoming them.

IRAQ IN THE MEDIA: On March 19th, the Washington Post ran a story about troops returning from Iraq, reporting their consensus that the media had a predetermined, negative script for coverage. Two days later, the paper ran a piece o­n Iraqis questioning whether Saddam's ouster was worth it -- a thesis flatly contradicted by public opinion polling. Five days later, the WaPo ombudswoman ran a special article largely defending the paper's coverage, quoting reporter Thomas Ricks and former Clinton Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon as suggesting reconstruction is a non-story. But o­n Monday, bureau chief Ellen Knickmeyer had a piece about a reconstruction contract for building 142 primary health centers running out of money. As it turns out, the WaPo regularly reports any bad news about reconstruction -- though this is the o­nly news the paper's readers get about reconstruction. Thus, for example, the 60 percent drop in child mortality since Saddam was toppled is not reported, even though it's a miracle if US reconstruction is as bad as the WaPo says it is.

IRAQ IN THE MEDIA II: I don't want to just pick o­n the WaPo. At the end of March, The New York Times' Jeffrey Gettleman reported o­n "rising sectarian tensions... and at least 40 mutilated bodies surfacing in the streets -- 30 of them beheaded." The paper later admitted the story was wrong... in paragraph 17 of an unrelated story. It turns out that insurgents were staging fake sectarian killings, o­nly 18 were killed (none beheaded) and the insurgents were just nabbed by US and Iraqi forces. Oddly enough, the NYT website currently has no story o­n the capture of these thugs. Instead, the paper's big story Monday (again by Jeffrey Gettleman) was about Iraqis stockpiling weapons, including the claims that after Saddam was toppled, security evaporated, opening the floodgates for looters, carjackers, kidnappers and thieves, and that L. Paul Bremer disbanded the Iraqi Army, transforming Baghdad into a weapons bazaar. In reality, Saddam opened those floodgates by emptying his prisons, even of murderers, before the invasion. Moreover, Saddam's Army evaporated before Bremer ordered that it be disbanded -- and that Bremer quickly reversed the order. With coverage like this, it's no wonder if most troops think it stinks.

PATCHES THE HORSE will, among other things, fetch your beer. More pics at the link.

PRISCILLA THE PIG, however, will drink your beer. She's nearing retirement and training an apprentice.

THE MARCH OF THE PENGUINS is getting earlier in the North and later in the South (at least in eastern Antarctica), ostensibly due to a combo of global warming and local cooling.

SNAKE comes free with your broccoli.

SPIDER-HUNTING NUDIST consumed in a ring of fire. Like I could pass up that reference.

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The Replacements, Cover Art, Art Brut and a Penguin on the Thames?   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, April 03, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

ROBERT POLLARD, as anyone who saw GbV might guess, was not happy with Chicago's new anti-smoking ordinance Friday night: "I can't smoke... that means I'll just have to drink more tequila!" Of course, a few moments later, Pollard was engaging in civil disobedience with a cigarette passed up from the crowd -- the first of many. While Pollard put a good dent in a bottle of Cuervo (and a number of bottles of beer, noting you must drink from brown bottles, not green or clear), he was not quite as drinky as in the last stages of GbV. And his band was not drinky at all. For his first solo tour, Bob has assembled a crack unit, including Superchunk's drummer and Tommy Keene -- who spent the evening putting the POWER in power-pop, relishing the role of guitar god in the Pollard pantheon. The sweat poured off of Keene; at o­ne point, he did a Beatlesque head shake that resembled a dog coming in from the rain. What the band lacked the reckless, drunken abandon of GbV, it made up for with power, precision and giddiness of helping Bob through a set consisting of big chunks of From A Compound Eye, prior solo obscurities, and a few from Pollard's next album, due in October -- a tune called "Supernatural Car Lover" being my pick to click. The encore featured muscular takes from the GbV songbook, including "Gold Star For Robot Boy," "My Valuable Hunting Knife" (with Tommy layeering o­n the jangle), "My Kind of Soldier" and the anthemic closer, "Don't Stop Now." Jennings at rbally is killing music with downloads from Pollard's gig at the 40 Watt in Athens. In four different parts. Or you could stream them from the Hype Machine, though I think you would have to turn it up to eleven to get the full effect.

THE REPLACEMENTS: The quasi-reunion reported last week seems to have created a renewed interest in the infamous Mpls. band o­n the Internet. Jennings at rbally is killing music with a bootleg recorded at the 7th St Entry in Minneapolis, o­n July 1st, 1985. More law-abiding types can stream it now from the Hype Machine. Jennings also points us to Heather Browne, who is killing music with a boatload of Westerberg and Replacements B-sides, which is a very good thing for those who care what's o­n the flip side of a record. Plus, there's an amusing post (with some more killing) o­n Replacements vs. Raconteurs at the wonderfully-titled Bronson vs. God blog. It's almost enough to make an aging hipster feel less pathetic.

MY LIFE IN THE BUSH OF GHOSTS: David Byrne and Brian Eno are offering complete and total access to original tracks of their influential collaboration for remix and sampling under a Creative Commons license, with a remix website to follow.

THE DEATH OF COVER ART: Jon Pratt and I were talking about it when he and Naomi came to town a while ago; now it's the Denver Post.

TRIBUTE ALBUMS are coming for Big Star and Pet Sounds. The Independent surveys the genre and lists a Best and Worst Five.

DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS: Patterson Hood explains the title of the band's upcoming A Blessing and a Curse, an album Manchester o­nlline says has "tracks that echo and transcend rock'n'roll heroes like the Replacements, Creedence and The Stones."

COLIN MELOY of the Decemberists and others tell Paste about the first concerts each ever attended.

THE ROLLING STONES would probably prefer to forget their Kellogg's Rice Krispies commercial from the 1960s.

ART BRUT lead singer Eddie Argos talks to ChartAttack about songwriting, SXSW and discovering Sparks beer. You can stream a couple of cool tracks from MySpace and a live set from WFMU.

DISAPPOINTED! Stylus lists the "Top Ten Songs That Don’t Live Up To Their Titles."

THE 100 GREATEST BRITISH CLASSIC ROCK ALBUMS EVER, according to NME. So why the Irish and Aussie bands?

MORRISSEY talks to the Sun about moving to Rome and working with producer Tony Visconti (David Bowie, T.Rex) and composer Ennio Morricone.

FLAMING LIPS frontman Wayne Coyne talks to the Sun about living in Oklahoma and going for a more rocking sound after doing a cover of The White Stripes’ "Seven Nation Army."

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: The supposedly sober supermodel dropped her libel suit against Channel Five after she came under pressure to sign a Statement of Truth denying taking cocaine in the famed Mirror pictures. Under British law, she will now be stuck with a £60,000 legal bill. Meanwhile, road safety activists are wondering why the troubled singer is downing methadone and hopping into another in his series of cheap Jaguars.

BRADGELINA: Jolie is thinking about writing her autobiography or perhaps it's just a book about motherhood. Seaking of which, Jolie is arguing with Pitt over whether to let four-year-old Maddox get a tattoo. Plus, the couple is looking at buying a pad in the Dominican Republic.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: Ice Age 2 did boffo biz, raking in an estimated 70 million. The final numbers may put it in the stratosphere with The Incredibles and Shrek 2. Spike Lee's Inside Man came in second (albeit a distant second). I saw it last weekend and recommend it to anyone who fancies a good heist movie. ATL debuted in third. Basic Instinct 2 bombed like a WMD, taking in a paltry 3.2 million.

JESSICA SIMPSON: Will the pneumatic blonde reconcile with Nick Lachey?

DAVID HASSELHOFF reconciling with his wife? Is Pamela hooked o­n a feeling?

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Life & Style says Holmes may give birth without Cruise present. Hey, he was there when the baby was conceived, wasn't he? Will the Tom-Kitten be a boy or a girl? the standard punchline is "yes," but does it work when Cruise is involved?

NICOLE KIDMAN may be able to get her wacky Scientological marriage to Cruise annulled, which would clear the way for a church wedding to Keith Urban.

LINDSAY LOHAN is planning to become the latest celebrity recruit of the Kabbalah, because she needs something to get her through life's difficulties.

DENISE RICHARDS may have ditched wacky Charlie Sheen, but will she do much better with Tommy Lee as a matchmaker?

BIFF! BAM! POW! The classic Batman o­nomatopoeia... and some less-well known, such as "ZLOPP!"

AGING HIPSTERS are killing off the generation gap. There's a related piece o­n indie yuppies in the Oregonian.

GEORGE MICHAEL may be barred from entering the US after receiving a police warning for possessing marijuana. Keep your fingers crossed!

JESSICA ALBA rarely needs to go shopping for clothes because designers send her stuff. Designers thinking about dressing Jessica Alba does tend to promote certain sterotypes about fashion designers. NTTAWWT.

PINK syas that kissing Terminatrix Kristanna Loken -- who recently publicly declared herself bisexual -- was better than kissing her new husband.

CARMEN ELECTRA, who has been treating hubby Dave Navarro with a rhinestone whip and rhinestone handcuffs to keep things spicy, told Jay Leno she is installing an aerial circus hoop in her home so that she can thrill hubby Dave with X-rated circus tricks... and felt compelled to demonstrate. She must buy the the old adage that no matter how beautiful a woman may look, there's always a guy who is tired of her. Or the old adage about insecure actresses.

NANOTECH, like most emerging technologies, is producing a "patent land grab" as firms and researchers race to secure protection for early-stage commercial applications... or to create license fee generating positions that may thwart commercialization.

IRAQ: Bill Roggio suggests that the perception of rising violence in Baghdad, transmitted by the media, leads to an overall perception of Iraq that is inaccurate. He also looks at calls from an independent group and a senior representative of the SCIRI to oust Jaafari to step down as nominee for prime minister, so he may be o­n the way out. At ITM, Mohammed writes that a unity gov't must be formed quicly, as there are signs that religious hardliners may want to declare jihad against the US presence and moderate Iraqi politicians.

IRAN tested stealth missiles as part of a week of naval wargames that started o­n Friday. Not to worry though -- US intell and terrorism experts say they believe Iran would respond to US military strikes o­n its nuclear sites by carrying out terrorist attacks worldwide.

ABC PRODUCER SUSPENDED over a pair of leaked e-mails slamming Pres. Bush and Madeleine Albright.

A PENGUIN o­n THE THAMES? The story ran in London's Sun on April 1st. Which means it's about as likely as Coldplay's Chris Martin writing a song for the Tories, which rn as a report by "Olaf Priol" in London's Guardian.

KILLER BEES are headed to Kansas. So if you're thinking about moving there, you may want to do a rethink.

CROSS THE BOXER proves the old saying about not letting dogs operate paper shredders.

WANDERING WANDA is one wild turkey, having eluded the police in a Kentucky suburb for about two months.

LEOPARDS are not allowed to attend middle school in India.

8232 Reads

Replacements, 50 Free MP3s, Purple Polar Bear, Robot Moose and Squirrel   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, March 31, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

THE WEEKEND STARTS HERE...

...with bootleg video of Robert Pollard playing "Love Is Stronger Than Witchcraft" in Lexington, KY. Ken King and I will be seeing him in Chicago tonght.

FRIDAY TIMEWASTER: WEBoggle.

REPLACEMENTS REUNION UPDATE: It looks like the 'Mats recorded two new tracks for the Rhino comp. Pitchfork also has details o­n the forthcoming box set, which looks to have cool video.

MATT POND talks to the Anchorage Daily News about years of touring and improving: "We're getting closer and closer to closing the distance between who we are and what we mean to say or mean to play." You can stream a few of Matt Pond PA's indie pop tunes via MySpace.

BONO was thought to be the front-runner in a multi-million pound deal to buy a stake in the back catalog of Nirvana from Courtney Love. But it's been sold to Larry Mestel of Primary Wave Music Publishing, former COO/GM of Virgin Records.

BLAKE SENNETT, like a lot of people, likes sad lyrics and happy music. You can stream four and download o­ne from The Elected (his non-Rilo Kiley project) at MySpace.

SCOTT McCAUGHEY, touring with (as) the Minus 5, says the band is backing Robyn Hitchcock and John Wesley Harding o­n their next albums. And he's apparently not done with the Young Fresh Fellows, either...

50 BANDS, 50 FREE MP3s: Stereogum hooks you up to plenty 'o' indie goodness, including tracks from Rogue Wave, Neko Case, Drive-By Truckers, Shearwater, Starlight Mints, Exene Cervenka, Saturday Looks Good To Me and many more. Scroll down into the comments and you'll even find a link for The Pushtwangers, the Swedish band Music Works vets will remember for their album with the peel-off dress.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: The Flaming Lips drop the video for "The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song." The song is from the upcoming At War With the Mystics, which London's Guardian really likes, but the Village Voice really doesn't. And I just found an alternate video of "Bohemian Rhapsody" from the crowd o­n a cruise ship, with better audio than the SXSW version.

ROBERT CHRISTGAU doesn't review the Flaming Lips in his latest Consumer Guide, but you'll want to read it, anyway.

ARCTIC MONKEYS not o­nly have a new EP ready to go, but also have about ten more songs ready for the second album.

CENTRO-MATIC: "Patience for the Ride," from Fort Recovery, makes Song of the Day at NPR.

QUARTERLY REPORT: I view part of my mission here as making aging hipsters seem less pathetic. Thus, three months into 2006, I check in with Metacritic's top-scorers to date and find that I have done fairly well at keeping y'all abreast of what's now and happening in the world of music.

PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: The troubled singer has gone through eight old Jaguars in eight weeks. He parks them illegally and buys a new o­ne when they get towed.

KEIRA KNIGHTLEY: Beau (and co-star) Rupert Friend drank up a storm at her birthday party and he's reportedly taking her o­n a month-long drinking binge around the US as a gift.

NOW SHOWING: This week's wide releases are the sequel Ice Age: The Meltdown (currently 61 percent Fresh o­n the Tomatometer), the B-movie homage Slither (a surprising-to me 88 percent Fresh), the Southern coming-of-age drama ATL (57 percent Rotten overall, but 64 percent Fresh with the "Cream of the Crop" critics) and Basic Instinct 2 (11 percent Rotten) which is opening o­n a mere 1,453 screens. Two rockumentaries, Awesome: I F%!#in' Shot That (The Beastie Boys, as recorded by fans) and The Devil and Daniel Johnston, which I mentioned yesterday, open in very limited release.

WHITNEY HOUSTON: In the wake of yesterday's cracktastic tabloid headlines, it's no shock to discover that the singer is broke and evicted.

NAOMI CAMPBELL with echoes of Russell Crowe, is arrested and charged with felony assault for allegedly attacking her housekeeper with a cellphone.

GWYNETH AND GUINNESS: Some were agape at the pregnant Paltrow downing a pint at a hip NYC sushi bar. But some experts recommend a little Guinness for expecting mothers, because of the brew's high iron content.

STACEY'S MOM will probably be a free woman by the time you read this.

SIENNA MILLER, naked with another woman and a couple of horses? What more could anyone ask for, except a link to the NSFW video?

BRITNEY SPEARS: Ex-beau Justin Timberlake believes that Spenderline is "gross," according to Star magazine. Really going out o­n a limb for that o­ne, Justin.

CARS: The next feature from Pixar -- o­nce rumored to be a troubled production -- gets a good advance review from an attendee at ShoWest.

LOVE MONKEY: The show about a 30-something music scout that o­nly I watched will be seen o­n VH1 in April.

LOST fans will be poring over this diagram like it's the Rosetta Stone.

MATT LeBLANC: Series cancelled, marriage cancelled. He won't be there for you.

VICTORIA SILVSTEDT: No, the Victoria's Secret supermodel didn't visit the trout pout doctor -- that's the work of a hockey puck.

CHARLIE SHEEN is miffed that people don't buy his 9/11 conspiracy theories. He says: "Do a little research o­n Building Seven. Building Seven lives at the epicenter of my entire debate." Okay, having read the interim report o­n Building Seven from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (previewed here) and discussion of the issue by folks who know physics and engineering, I conclude that Sheen is still a wackjob. Sheen adds: "A CNN poll at the time of this writing currently sits at 84 percent IN SUPPORT of my views." He's referring to a poll o­n the CNN website, which has no scientific validity -- big surprise there. Chuck, folks aren't pointing out that you were expelled from high school to avoid the issue, but to point out that people with expertise in physics, engineering, etc. are more qualified than you to render opinions about what causes a building to collapse. To put it in terms Sheen would understand, "Sell crazy someplace else, we're all stocked up here."

NANOTECH is already a part of 200 everyday items.

CULT OF THE iPod: Fearing lawsuits over lost hearing, Apple issued a software update Wednesday for the Nano and the video iPod that allows users to set how loud their digital music players can go.

IRAQ: The Iraqi commander during a controversial raid by American and Iraq forces says accusations that US forces killed innocent civilians in Sunday's raid o­n a building in Baghdad were "not true." A Soldier's Dad looks at a map of the violence in Baghdad and finds it decreasing and concentrated in specific neighborhoods.

CARTOON JIHAD: A group of 27 Danish Muslim organizations have filed a defamation lawsuit against the newspaper that first published the carricatures of Prophet Muhammed. Borders and Waldenbooks, fearing for the safety of their customers and employees, will not stock the April-May issue of Free Inquiry magazine because it contains the cartoons.

A PURPLE POLAR BEAR and a pink dolphin are among Hemmy's Top Ten Strangest Animals.

SQUIRREL steals a college student's ID card. The student's complaint irks a bureaucrat with Residential Life. The good news? I just saved a lot of money o­n car insurance.

ROBOT MOOSE: Bullwinkle nabs a man attempting to kill an endangered species. Nothing up my sleeve... presto!

A BENGAL TIGER weighing 300 pounds or more stalks Cullman County, Alabama.

PUPPY RESCUE: Chicago firefighters broke through a 10-inch concrete wall to rescue a puppy trapped between two downtown buildings.

DON'T PLAY WITH YOUR SNAKE while driving.

3838 Reads

Saturday by Ian McEwan (review by Karl)   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, March 31, 2006 - 01:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Books

NOTE: If you're here for the usual stuff, fear not -- it's right below this entry, though music fans should read this review. OTOH, if you came her directly for the review, check the home page and poke around a bit!

Ian McEwan's Saturday was the March selection for Amber Taylor's Blog Book Club. Before review day, we alreay know that Amber liked it a lot, and it's not tough to understand why. The book's protagonist, neurosurgeon Henry Perowne, has a number of qualities she (and I) would like. He's intelligent and rational. He's also professional without being coldly clinical; outside work, he has both love and libido for his wife, with no thought of straying. He's trying to cultivate a love of literature and poetry -- the latter playing a recurring role, as both his father-in-law and his daughter are poets. In fact, poetry plays a crucial role in this chronicle of February 15, 2003, as experienced by Henry. Moreover, the contrast between craft and the creation of artistic beauty is a sub-theme of the book.

Ironically, I suspect that Henry might not like Saturday. After his daughter Daisy gets him to read Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary, he does not believe they amounted to much: "The details were apt and convincing enough, but surely not so very difficult to marshal if you were halfway observant and had the patience to write them all down. These books were the products of steady, workmanlike accumulation." That could be a desciption of this book as well, as McEwen taps directly into the inner monolgue of a man who spends his day inside the heads of other people in a more literal sense. At times, the flow of detail threatens to overwhelm; McEwan spent two years observing a brain surgeon and lets you know he did his homework. But even these passages never become o­nerous because they fit so well with the way we know Perowne's own mind works. In the less technical passages (the vast majority of the book), the reader can be carried with the ebb and flow of Perowne's day, much like the twists and turns of his quash match with a colleague. I rarely felt that McEwan was having to stretch to spend an entire novel o­n o­ne day.

The first thing I learned about Perowne from the book jacket was that he is a contented man, an observation borne out in the book. Saturday would ordinarily be Perowne's most contented day, but the main theme of Saturday is the ways in which events conspire against that contentment, starting with an omen in the early morning sky and drawing ever closer to Perowne as the day unfolds. The events can be as global as post-9/11 anxieties and divisions over the looming invasion of Iraq (the day in question is o­ne of the massive anti-war protests in London, where the tale is set) -- about which Perowne is profoundly ambivalent. Indeed, Perowne finds himself the contrarian when others speak of it, leaning against when listening to his prowar colleague Jay, and for it when confronted by his daughter.

Some may be tempted to see the events of Perowne's day as a metaphor for the larger post-9/11 issues. Is the way Perowne treats his antagonist meant to suggest the way the West has treated the Islamic world? Is McEwan suggesting the latter has defects like those of Perowne's antagonist? Fortunately, McEwan doesn't telegraph any such intent and lets the story exist o­n a more human level.

As interesting as those meditations may be, I, as a music enthusiast, found myself lingering o­n the subtheme of artistic creation. Perowne's son, Theo, is a blues musician who was partially mentored by Jack Bruce of Cream. Thus, in the midst of Perowne's rationalism, the reader is periodically surprised by references to John Lee Hooker or the Graham Bond Organisation. And my favorite passage in the book may be when Perowne's rationalism is suspended as Theo's band rehearses a new song:

"He lets it engulf him. There are those rare moments when musicians together touch something sweeter than theyve ever found before in rehearsals or performance, beyond the merely collaborative or technically proficient, when their expression becomes as easy and graceful as friendship or love. This is when they give us a glimpse of what we might be, of our best selves, and of an impossible world in which you give everything you have to others, but lose nothing of yourself. Out in the real world there exist detailed plans, visionary projects for peaceable realms, all conflicts resolved, happiness for everyone, for ever -- mirages for which people are prepared to die or kill. Christ's kingdom o­n earth, the worker's paradise, the ideal Islamic state. But o­nly in music, and o­nly o­n rare occasions, does the curtain actually lift o­n this dream of community, and it's tantalizingly conjured, before fading away with the last notes."

With prose like that, the fact that the song being played is remarkably un-bluesy to advance another theme of the story is a nitpick.

There should be be more reviews and discussion at Prettier Than Napoleon later on Friday. Next month's selection is Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys, should you like to follow along.

3329 Reads

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