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Guided by Voices, Black Keys, Trombone Shorty, REM, Gamer Lizard   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, December 19, 2011 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


MY MORNING JACKET plays "I'll Be Home For Christmas" at Madison Square Garden.

GUIDED BY VOICES is advance streaming Let's Go Eat the Factory.

THE BLACK KEYS stopped by World Cafe for a chat and mini-set.

TROMBONE SHORTY stopped by Sound Opinions for a session, some improvised.

R.E.M.'s final holiday fanclub single has live versions of "Perfect Circle" and "Life and How To Live It."

THE PRETENDERS: "2000 Miles." It felt like Christmas time.  And here's a cover by Lissie.

SEASON OF THE LIST: Pitchfork's Top 50 Albums (and more).

THE BEACH BOYS: Brian Wilson is reuniting with Mike Love and Al Jardine for a 50th anniversary album and tour. Bruce Johnson and David Marks will also be there.

SLEIGH BELLS talk to SPIN about the making of their upcoming Reign of Terror.

DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS: Mike Cooley talks about playing solo shows. Fmr Trucker Jason Isbell enthuses over the Atlanta Braves and discusses indie rock love for baseball. (Thx, LHB.)

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows tops the chart with 40 million.  That's well below tracking predictions in the 60-million range, but I was never quite sure why those numbers were so high.  That would have matched the opening of the last Sherlock, which opened on Christmas, always a huge movie weekend.  Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked placed with 23.5 million, about 10 million below tracking estimates.  This may be more surprising, given that the competition -- Hugo, Arthur Christmas and The Muppets - now occupy the bottom three rungs of the Top Ten.  Even so, the rodents travel well, so this is a likely moneymaker. Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol shows with 13 million, almost exactly what gurus predicted, though I think its easier with a smaller release, mostly on IMAX, where most tix are advance ordered.  New Years Eve and The Sitter slide predictably, with the former looking more like a flop.  Below the fold, Young Adult took in 3.6 million at the seventh slot, further suggesting it will profit, but the black comedy is unlikely to do Juno-scale biz.

SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS is -- for better or worse -- pretty much exactly what anyone who saw the first Robert Downey, Jr.-Jude Law outing.  If you don't like Guy Ritchie's hyperactive direction, you won't like this.  If you don't like how little these movies resemble the classic Conan Arthur Doyle stories, you won't like this.  If you at least want a mystery, instead of an action flick, you won't like this.  But if you liked the first one, you'll probably like this one.  Although Ritchie's direction grated a bit more on me in this one, I actually prefer the script here (the first seemed to borrow too much from From Hell and even Young Sherlock Holmes for my taste).  Written by Dermot Mulroney's brother Kieran (perhaps best known for warning George Costanza against double-dipping) and Michele Mulroney, the sequel does a decent job of expanding the scope without overstuffing the film with subplots and characters.  Here we get Moriarity, ably played by Mad Men's Jared Harris, along with Noomi Rapace as a female foil and Stephen Fry as a minor role as Sherlock's brother Mycroft.

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL is also pretty much what you would expect, although perhaps in the top end of the franchise.  It's the live-action debut from Brad Bird, who draws on his experience helming The Incredibles more than The Simpsons.  Tom Cruise may be insane, but everyone benefits when it puts him dngling on the outside of the world's tallest building in the flick's most spectactular setpiece.  Simon Pegg's character is given more to do, and the script exploits his comic gifts.  The team is rounded out by Paula Patton and Jeremy Renner, who -- like Ethan Hunt -- both wrestle with the scars of IMF service.  Action-packed, well-executed, with a little depth and comic relief: what's not to like?

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES:  The seven-minute preview attached to Mission Impossible 4 on just 42 screens admittedly was one of the reasons for me to view the latter.  Having just written about the dangers of sequelitis, I was suddenly struck by the fact that Christopher Nolan & Co. were good enough to have two villains and international scope without seeming overstuffed.  The preview shows us another two villains, though only a glimpse of Anne Hathaway in her Catwoman suit.  It also confirms some international scope, as most of the film's opening sequence takes place outside the US, showing that Bane (played by Inception's Tom Hardy) has an organization big enough to be a problem for the CIA.  I cannot say I was quite as excited about this as the similar preview of The Dark Knight (showing the opening bank job), but it did raise my anticipation level.  Inasmuch as it also suggests a final chapter of a trilogy, I trust Nolan to deliver a fitting finale.

BRITNEY SPEARS got engaged to her former agent, Jason Trawick. Obligatory "oops" punchline here.

LINDSAY LOHAN: Not selling Playboy magazines.

KARDASHIANS: Kris Humphries' family had reservations about his relationship with Kim Kardashian from the beginning.

ELLEN DeGENERES bought Brad Pitt's Malibu manse for 12 million dollars.

ALYSON HANNIGAN (How I Met Your Mother) looks like she'll be a mother again.

KOBE BRYANT is getting divorced by his wife. Can't imagine why.

CHRISTIAN BALE was roughed up by Chinese guards while trying to visit a blind, self-taught lawyer under house arrest who rose to fame in the late 1990s thanks to his legal advocacy for what he called victims of abusive practices by China's family-planning officials.

VACLAV HAVEL, the Czech writer and dissident whose eloquent dissections of Communist rule helped to destroy it in revolutions that brought down the Berlin Wall and swept Mr. Havel himself into power, died on Sunday. He was 75.

KIM JONG IL, North Korean dictator since the 1994 death of his father, has died at the age of 69, state-run television has announced.

IRAN: Senior US officials say they are deeply concerned by reports of the seizure of smuggled radioactive material heading into Tehran and commend the Russian security services for seizing the material.

EGYPT: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Sunday she was "deeply concerned" about continuing violence in Egypt and urged Egyptian security forces to respect the rights of protesters.

AFGHANISTAN: Abdul Baqi Raghbat, the former director of border and tribal affairs in Kandahar province, was assassinated in Kandahar city.

IRAQ's Shi'ite prime minister asked parliament to fire his Sunni deputy, and security sources said an arrest warrant was issued for the Sunni vice president, straining the fragile sectarian coalition on the day the last American troops left.

AN AUSSIE LIZARD has learned to play an online videogame. Next: car insurance.

A 550 LB. BEAR found hiding out in a New Jersey basement had been living there for weeks.

THE SQUIRREL THREAT: A militant rodent steals toast.

ESCAPED OSTRICHES wander the no-go zone around Japan's Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.  What could go wrong?

2822 Reads

Shindig, Beirut, Of Monsters and Men, Cutout Bin, Penguin Chick   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, December 16, 2011 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



...with SHINDIG CHRISTMAS '64! Part One includes The Beach Boys' "Dance, Dance, Dance," Bobby Sherman and Donna Loren singing "Keep on Searching," the Righteous Brothers doing "The Jerk" and an awesome milk commercial. Part Two includes Marvin Gaye with "How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You" and Adam Faith with "Watch Your Step," plus Bobby Sherman singing "Sleigh Ride" and Adam Faith returning with "Santa Claus Is Back In Town."  In Part Three, Donna Loren returns with a Spector-esque, but rougher "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," and The Beach Boys deliver a set including "Little Saint Nick," "Monster Mash" (yes, really) "Papa Oom Mow Mow," and "Johnny B. Goode." Part Four brings Marvin Gaye with "Hitch Hike" and concludes with The Beach Boys on "We Three Kings."

BEIRUT played DC's 9:30 Club and you can stream the whole gig on demand.

OF MONSTERS AND MEN stopped by KEXP for a live performance.

DIEGO GARCIA (Elefant) visited The Current for a chat and mini-set.

NPR MUSIC streams their 100 Favorite Songs Of 2011.

SLEIGH BELLS drops "Born to Lose" in advance of their Reign of Terror.

CRAIG FINN: Go behind the scenes of his upcoming solo LP.

WILCO: Jeff Tweedy does the weather report. Really.

THE BEATLES: Randy Bachman solves the mystery to the opening chord of "A Hard Day's Night."

THE DARKNESS wuz robbed when "Christmas Time (Don't Let The Bells End)" only made it to No.2 in the UK for 2003.  Frontman Justin Hawkins was reportedly very bitter about the defeat.

SEASON OF THE LIST: Top Albums from Chromewaves, Stereogum, PopMatters, NPR MusicGorilla vs. Bear, PrefixMetacritic, Drowned in SoundSpinner, A.V. Club, Filter, Sasha Frere-Jones, the DJs at KCRW, Magnet, Rolling Stone, and SPIN.

ST. VINCENT: Annie Clark talks to NOW about stockpiling riffs. (Thx, LHB.)

WILD BEASTS: Tom Fleming and Chris Talbot talk to Drowned in Sound about touring, America, and more...

SYL JOHNSON: The soul legend is not happy with two Grammy nominations.

CUTOUT BIN: From Elmer Bernstein to Eddie & the Hot Rods, from the Replacements to Rick Springfield, from the Supremes to the Sundays, plus XTC, M Ward, Rush and more -- this Friday's fortuitous finds are streaming from the Pate page at the ol' HM.

NOW SHOWING: This weekend's wide releases include Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, which is currently scoring 13 percent on the ol' Tomatometer; and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, which is currently scoring 63 percent.  Young Adult expands wide scoring 81 percent.  Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol opens on about 400 screens at 93 percent.

KIM KARDASHIAN and...Kanye West? ALSO: Barbara Walters is tough on the family.

HOWARD STERN has signed on with America's Got Talent.

COURTNEY LOVE is being evicted from her West Village townhouse after she set it on fire and "ruined" its designer décor.

NATALIE PORTMAN is ticked that Marvel fired Thor 2 director Patty Jenkins.

THE TOP EARNING WOMEN IN MUSIC, according to Forbes.

THE GOLDEN GLOBES nominations went to these folks. Congrats!

IRAN: IRGC General Gholam Reza Jalali says Iran will move its uranium enrichment facilities to safer locations underground if necessary. Iran and Saudi Arabia held a rare high-level security meeting in Riyadh.

PAKISTAN: Prime Minister Gilani said President Zardari went to Dubai for medical treatment after receiving death threats.

IRAQ: The United States military officially declared an end to its mission in Iraq on Thursday even as violence continues to plague the country and the Muslim world remains distrustful of American power.

COUNTERTERRORISM: In an interview on Tuesday, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that US operations against al Qaeda will decline in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that US operations will now focus on groups in Yemen, Somalia, and North Africa.

A GENTOO PENGUIN CHICK hatched last week at Sea World - a first for the theme park.

WILBUR the WOMBAT gets a bathroom visit from Grammy Award-winning cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

A BABY FUR-SEAL wriggled through the cat-door of a Bay of Plenty house - and made himself at home on the couch.

BOOIE, the (reformed) smoking chimp, has died at a California animal refuge at 44.

3710 Reads

Laura Marling, Jesse Sykes, Talking Heads, Patsy Cline, Reindeer   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, December 15, 2011 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


SUFJAN STEVENS: "Put the Lights on the Tree."

LAURA MARLING stopped by The Current  and WNYC Soundcheck for chats and mini-sets.

JESSE SYKES and the SWEET HEREAFTER stopped by Morning Becomes Eclectic for a session.

TALKING HEADS: Watch Seymour Stein, co-founder of Sire Records, describe the first time he heard the band at CBGB in 1975, see footage of an acoustic version of "Psycho Killer" from that performance, and read an essay from the late Lester Bangs.

WINDY CITY SOUL CLUB: I don't often link to DJ sets, but a medley of Northern Soul at WBEZ? Yes, please.

YOUTH LAGOON covers John Denver's "Goodbye Again."


REAL ESTATE is profiled at Filter. (Thx, Chromewaves.)

SHCHOOL OF SEVEN BELLS: Benjamin Curtis talks to SPIN about the amped-up vibe of Ghoststory, due February 28th.

JOHN LENNON, recording a song for Christmas, with the help of Phil Spector, circa 1971.

THE STOP ONLINE PIRACY ACTS pending in Congress would likely stop music blogs from promoting bands.

LINDSAY LOHAN missed a flight bacjk from Hawaii, blowing off an Ellen taping without apology, but partied at a Jay-Z concert before her latest probation hearing, where she got good marks for a change.

DEMI MOORE is still Mrs. Kutcher on Twitter, and isn't rushing to change her handle.

CHARLIZE THERON talks to USA Today about Young Adult, Snow White & the Huntsman, and... the Kardashians.

DEREK JETER, one of New York's most eligible hunks since his split with longtime gal pal Minka Kelly, is bedding a bevy of beauties in his Trump World Tower bachelor pad - and then coldly sending them home alone with gift baskets of autographed memorabilia.

GIULIANA RANCIC underwent successful double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery for her breast cancer and is already cracking jokes.

THE SAG AWARDS nominations went to these folks. Congrats!

SYRIA: It will be a sombre Christmas in Syria's northeastern Upper Mesopotamia where a Christian minority of mostly Assyrians will limit themselves to strictly religious celebrations as a way of commemorating the thousands of people who have lost their lives amid a government crackdown on an anti-government movement.

ONLY IN EGYPT has such a radical group as the Salafists been able to establish itself as a party. This has serious implications, given that this is the most populous and culturally influential country in the Arab world.

IRAN could soon launch sensitive atomic activities in an underground facility deep inside a mountain, diplomatic sources said on Wednesday.

AFGHANISTAN: The top commander in Afghanistan said Tuesday that US forces would begin a major shift next year to an advisory role, in hopes of building up the Afghan army's fighting skills and gradually extricating American and allied units from a combat role.

TEDDY the PORCUPINE returns with a pumpkin.

CANYON the DOG reunites with his family 3 years and a state later.


DOBBEY the REINDEER follows his London owner like a dog, including to the local pub and in the taxi for Christmas shopping.

3294 Reads

John Doe, Blitzen Trapper, Wild Beasts, Radiohead, Waving Bear   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


JOHNNY CASH, with June Carter Cash, family and friends, on "The 12 Days Of Christmas." I'm a day late, but it kinda repeats, don't it?

JOHN DOE stopped by Morning Becomes Eclectic for a session.

BLITZEN TRAPPER visited WNYC Soundcheck for a chat and mini-set.

WILD BEASTS played the Other Voices festival; you can watch the whole set online.

BOB DYLAN: How to stream Amnesty International's 75-song tribute collection.

RADIOHEAD premiered "The Daily Mail" on the BBC.

RUDOLPH: (You Don't Have To Put On The Red Light).

OF MONTREAL: Kevin Barnes recently opened up to Rolling Stone about grappling with depression while working on the new album, his plan to change the tone of the group's theatrical live show and his disappointment with the response to his band's previous album, False Priest.

WILCO: John Stirratt talks to Red Eye Chicago about the band's 5-night residency at different Chicago venues, including the band's first gig evah at Metro.

PERFUME GENIUS: Mike Hadreas talks to Washington City Paper about his upcoming sophomore album, why he's befuddled by dubstep, and why he's more or less stopped listening to new music. (Thx, LHB.)

NILS LOFGREN talks to Songwriters on Process about songwriting. And process!

ANGELINA JOLIE wants to talk about all the atrocities of 20th-century warfare: death camps, ethnic cleansing, massacres of civilians, innocents used as human shields, and rape.  Most of the press will quote her on pregnancy.

CAMERON DIAZ was... wait for it... caught canoodling with Sean "Diddy" Combs last  Saturday night.

JENNIFER GARNER claims her secret to happiness (and sanity) is, er, Ben Affleck.  It takes all kinds.

MATT. DAMON. is profiled for the new GQ ahead of Cameron Crowe's We Bought a Zoo.

NICK NOLTE: One of Hollywood's leading experts in hard living showed GQ's Chris Heath that he's still a wild child at heart.

MILEY CYRUS did or did not get breast implants.

KATIE COURIC has split with her boy-toy boyfriend Brooks Perlin after five years.

JAMES FRANCO is now reviewing movies at The Paris Review, justaposing The Descendants and Twilight: Breaking Dawn.

OUR FRIENDS, THE SAUDIS beheaded a woman convicted of sorcery.

IRAN's military experts are in the final stages of extracting data from a sophisticated US drone that crashed in Iran under mysterious circumstances this month, a lawmaker said Monday. Uh-huh.

PAKISTAN: The leaders of a US House-Senate negotiating panel said on Monday they had agreed to freeze 700 million in US aid to Pakistan until it provides some assurances of assistance in the fight against improvised explosive devices in the region. Coincidentally,  the top NATO commander in Afghanistan said Tuesday that he's seeing some signs of a possible lifting of Pakistan's communications blackout imposed on the US-led coalition after NATO airstrikes killed two dozen Pakistani forces last month.


A BLACK BEAR hitched a ride to Vancouver in a garbage truck.

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT: A pig with two snouts and one eye.

A LEMUR, commonly found in Madagascar, has been admitted to hospital in the UK after being discovered freezing on Tooting Common.

2817 Reads

New Releases, Crooked Fingers, JEFF the Brotherhood, Glam Xmas, Pug Soccer   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


THE DODOS and NEKO CASE "Don't Try and Hide It" on Fallon.

NEW RELEASES from Dear Lions, the Lower 48, Ross and the Wrongens and more are streaming this week at Spinner.

CROOKED FINGERS visited the the KEXP studios for an exclusive live performance.

JEFF THE BROTHERHOOD played a Tiny Desk Concert at the offices of NPR.

MIDNIGHT CLEAR: Heather Browne shares her annual Christmas Mix.

GLAM XMAS:  Wizzard's awesome "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day" and Slade's "Merry Christmas Everybody" (1973's UK Xmas No. 1) are your Twofer Tuesday.

REAL ESTATE talks to The Quietus about how their childhood memories and "lack of liberal guilt" inspired their new album.

THE TWILIGHT SAD is profiled at The Line of Best Fit. (Thx, Chromewaves.)

MIDNIGHT OIL's former bassist has gone into the micro-bikini business and is on permanent tour.

PETER FRAMPTON sets the record straight about overdubbing on the iconic Frampton Comes Alive!

LINDSAY LOHAN completely wigged after someone stole her purse in Hawaii this weekend -- telling friends she was terrified the ordeal would land her in jail.

MERYL STREEP talks about takes on the iconic British prime minister Margaret Thatcher at Vogue.

JESSICA SIMPSON inked an estimated three million dollar deal with Weight Watchers.

KIM KARDASHIAN and Kris Humphries had seriously considered having a baby. As seriously as people who stay married less than 3 months do.

RYAN REYNOLDS & BLAKE LIVELY are heating up NYC in December.

KATE WINSLET reportedly brutally dumped some dude who didn't get that he was her rebound guy.

CHARLIE SHEEN's ex, Brooke Mueller, is getting rehab at home.

IRAN categorically rejected a claim newly raised by a US court that linked Tehran with terrorist bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998. A "mysterious" explosion occurred at a steel mill in the city of Yazd; killing seven employees, including foreign nationals. Iranian authorities blamed the blast on "old munitions."

PAKISTAN may continue blocking NATO convoys from delivering supplies to Afghanistan for several weeks.

NATO will end its mission to train the Iraqi military after the US withdraws from Iraq at the end of December. The US will sell Iraq an additional 18 F-16 fighters.

PUG SOCCER: Let's go to the video.

FERAL HOGS escaped from a Fort Worth meat processing plant Sunday morning.

THE "ELVIS MONKEY" & PSYCHEDELIC GECKO are among the more than 200 new species discovered in the Greater Mekong region last year, environmental group WWF said on Monday, dashing my hopes for an awesome double-bill at the Empty Bottle.


3397 Reads

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