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REM RIP, Low, James Blake, Viva Voce, Hold Steady, Dancing Chimps   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, September 22, 2011 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


R.E.M. have decided to call it a day as a band, just over 30 years after releasing their debut single on Hib-Tone Records. Generally considered the Godfathers of Indie (back when it was merely "college rock"), one might ask, "Well, how did they get there?"  Some of it was being in the right place (America) at the right time (post-Punk and post-New Wave). The old joke was that it took four to make a R.E.M. record -- three to listen to the Soft Boys and one to write indecipherable lyrics.  But these four from Athens were always a bit more than that; the echo of Robyn Hitchcock's old band was just as much a melding of the Byrds and the Velvet Underground with Wire and power-pop into something simultaneously challenging and accessible.  Of course, signing to promo-savvy IRS Records, which was having success with the Police, the Go-Gos and others didn't hurt a bit.  They steadily climbed the ladder of music industry success, but altered the pop music landscape in the process, and tended to remember where they came from, promoting vital bands like the Replacements, Hüsker Dü, the Minutemen and Sonic Youth with opening slots (Bill Berry told me they tried to get Camper Van Beethoven after their debut LP, but the schedule didn't work out), along with forerunners like The dB's and yes, Robyn Hitchcock (REM axeman Peter Buck would also guest on Hitchcock's records before joining one of his bands).  Indeed, the band also adopted various indie figures as touring members of the band -- dB's frontman Peter Holsapple, The Posies' Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow, and Young Fresh Fellow Scott McCaughey all spring to mind.  When drummer Bill Berry left following a brain tumor, the band's album's tended to hold less of the public's attention, although this may have been simply another case of music fans constantly on the search for the new sound, the flavor of the month (Up and Reveal may be underrated albums in their catalog).  Even during this period, the band produced solid work, with a number of memorable tunes.

So let's close this era with a video dump, starting with "Radio Free Europe" and "So. Central Rain (I'm Sorry)" from their network TV debut, and the clip for "Pretty Persuasion" and an acoustic take on "(Don't Go Back To) Rockville." Next, live takes on "Driver 8" and "Can't Get There From Here" recorded in Raleigh, NC, circa 1985. "Begin the Begin," which opens the 25-year-old Lifes Rich Pageant is represented with a clip featuring Bill Berry from the band's 2006 induction into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. That album's follow-up "These Days" is represented with a clip from Tourfilm, but "Fall On Me" was the band's first major foray into the pop charts.  Document's "The One I Love" took them up another rung, although "It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" may have ended up embedded further in popular culture over time. The band's WB debut, Green, boasted a couple of chart-toppers, "Orange Crush" and the inspiredly goofy "Stand," though I'll take "Pop Song '89" over the latter most days.  Out of Time would be the band's first No. 1 LP, riding the improbably mandolin-driven worldwide hit "Losing My Religion" and another goofy track, "Shiny Happy People" (again, give me the harmonies of "Near Wild Heaven").  Automatic for the People most likely makes us think of "Man In The Moon" and especially "Everybody Hurts," although the challending lead single, "Drive," actually charted higher in the US at the time.  Monster was one, topping the US and UK charts; "What's The Frequency Kenneth?" entered the pop culture in a very odd way, so I have to link the Dan Rather clip.  New Adventures in Hi-Fi, the band's final LP with Berry reached No. 2 in the US, and "E-Bow the Letter" and "Bittersweet Me" got comparatively modest airplay.  Up slipped another notch, reaching No. 3 in the US; the lead single, "Daysleeper," had a typical REM vibe, but I loved the Brian Wilson-esque sound of "At My Most Beautiful."  That sound would also feature on the Reveal LP, although "Imitation Of Life" was the safe single. I'll confess to having lost my passion for the band by this point -- and thus have zero to say about Around the Sun -- but it was still always comforting to hear them knock a song out of the park, particularly "Supernatural Superserious" from 2008's Accelerate.  I hoped that would be the start of a second wind for the guys, but it was to Collapse Into Now, apparently.  Here's your bonus track, bringing things full circle.

LOW stopped by Morning Becomes Eclectic for a session and did the four free songs thing for Daytrotter.

YOUNG MAN is advance streaming Ideas of Distance.

JAMES BLAKE stopped by Morning Becomes Eclectic for a session.

VIVA VOCE stopped by The Current for a chat and mini-set, including a cover of Big Star's "Thirteen."

THE HOLD STEADY at Beekman Beer Garden, Sept. 17, 2011.

THE JAYHAWKS "She Walks in So Many Ways" from the new Mockingbird Time, at Hollywood's Ocean Way studios.

PEARL JAM: Cameron Crowe takes a a track-by-track look at the "Pearl Jam 20" soundtrack, complete with quotes from his liner notes.

FLEET FOXES: Robin Pecknold talks to the Baltimore Sun about the pressures of writing the band's sophomore LP, and the future. (Thx, LHB.)

TORI AMOS talks to Spinner about Night of Hunters, its real-life inspirations, her friendship with pro wrestler Mick Foley and how she'll take on any "f---ing heavy metal band" with her emotional lyrics.

BATTLES drummer John Stanier talks to PopMatters about the band's unique take on lyrical expression, the zone of indistinction between rhythm and melody, and the recontextualization of the pop-rock formula.

BON IVER's Justin Vernon is briefly profiled by the L.A. Times.

MINKA KELLY exploded after getting groped on the set of Charlie's Angels's, according to the ever reliable Star magazine.

TEAM ANISTON apparently went ballistic after Brad Pitt's Parade interview, which would explain his copious clarifications.  And maybe Pitt's domestic life with Angelina Jolie and the brood really does resemble One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

MAD MEL UPDATE: Gibson allegedly tried to run over a man outside a Costa Rican bakery ... but at least one eyewitness tells TMZ the man's a liar.

RYAN GOSLING and his current go-to girl Eva Mendes were snapped hiking near Griffith Park Observatory.

STEVE MARTIN has Oscars advice for Eddie Murphy.

ELIN NORDEGREN, the wealthy and beautiful ex-wife of Tiger Woods, is ramping up her romance with her new beau, Jamie Dingman; that there are already rumors of marriage for the pair.

TEEN BRIDE Courtney Stodden has signed a deal with a production company to produce her own reality show. Shocka.

THE 10 GREATEST MOVIE TRILOGIES, according to PopMatters.

TERROR in SWEDEN: A Swedish cartoonist who has received death threats for depicting the Prophet Mohammed as a dog was the target of a planned attack in Gothenburg earlier this month, according to reports.

IRAN: Two American hikers imprisoned as spies for more than two years were released on bail Wednesday, just in time for Ahmadinejad to arrive in NYC for the big UN confab.

AFGHANISTAN: The assassination of Burhanuddin Rabbani in Kabul - apparently by the very group he was trying to negotiate with - suggests a political solution in Afghanistan remains a distant prospect - and is another reminder of how fragile security is in the Afghan capital, according to analysts and diplomats

IRAQ: Prime Minister Maliki called for Syrian President Bashir al Assad to step down. Admiral Mullen said the number of US forces in Iraq will drop to 30,000 by the end of September.

CHIMPS clog dancing. It's CGI, but I don't care.

ADORABLE BABY SQUIRRELS survive a hurricane.

A YOUNG WOMAN on a big horse likely saved a boy from a head-on charging grizzly bear.

PARROT FRAUD: I would like to register a complaint.

2935 Reads

Girls, Dum Dum Girls, Stepkids, REM, Nirvana, Phone Kittens   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, September 21, 2011 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


GIRLS dropped a video for the infectious "Honey Bunny," which boasts the occasional riff reminiscent of "Kodachrome."

DUM DUM GIRLS are advance streaming Only In Dreams.

VERONICA FALLS are streaming their self-titled debut, out now.

THE STEPKIDS are advance streaming their self-titled debut.

DOMINANT LEGS are advance streaming Invitation.

MASTODON is advance streaming The Hunter.

R.E.M., Live at Tyrone's O.C., April 10, 1981.

TOM WAITS, Live at the Ivanhoe Theater in Chicago, Nov. 21, 1976.

NIRVANA: Three previously unreleased tracks from the upcoming Nevermind box have hit the 'net.

JUNIOR WALKER & THE ALL-STARS: Live at the Ram Jam Club, circa 1967.

WILCO: Jeff Tweedy and Pat Sansone talk to the L.A. Times about the production of The Whole Love.

TORI AMOS talks to PopMatters and Billboard about her new label, the challenge of stepping into the shoes of legends and the upcoming 20th anniversary of her landmark 1992 debut on Atlantic, Little Earthquakes.

NEIL YOUNG is working on an auto-biography.

LEONARD COHEN is issuing a massive box set including all 17 of his studio and live albums.

THE POLARIS MUSIC PRIZE: Arcade Fire beat out artists like the Weeknd, Destroyer, Austra, Colin Stetson, and Braids to win the award.

CHARLIE SHEEN will get as more than 100 million dollars over time from his Two and a Half Men settlement.

TWO AND A HALF MEN, btw, had a stunning 27.7 million viewers Monday night - that's in the ballpark of an American Idol premiere.

ROBERT PATTINSON is recording an album of music described as "stripped-down Ray LaMontagne meets Van Morrison."

RYAN GOSLING is contemplating early retirement.

BRAD PITT further clarifies his recent remarks about Jennifer Aniston.

TRACY MORGAN is engaged.

SIX THINGS the Film Industry Doesn't Want You to Know About.

TERROR in the UK: Six men and a woman were detained in Birmingham for plotting an al Qaeda-inspired mass casualty attack.

IRAN: US officials are considering establishing a direct military hot line with Iran.

SYRIA:  Increasingly convinced that Assad will not be able to remain in power, the Obama administration has begun to make plans for American policy in the region after he exits.

EGYPT has prohibited the formation of a political party by Al Gamaa al-Islamiyya, an Islamist group that was once involved in a bloody insurgency against the government.

PAKISTAN: Nawaz Sharif, head of Pakistan's second-largest political party the Pakistan Muslim League said political parties with armed wings should be banned.

WHEN KITTENS run the phone company.

THE BIRDS: Pet parrots, such as cockatoos, that are let loose in the wild are teaching native birds to talk.

A PACK OF COYOTES has taken up residence in a fire-damaged and abandoned house in the Los Angeles suburb of Glendale, worrying neighbors and sparking a controversy over animal rights.


3718 Reads

New Releases, Wilco, Twin Sister, Raveonettes, Jedi Kittens   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, September 20, 2011 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


EMMY THE GREAT's latest video is for "Paper Forest (In The Afterglow Of Rapture)."

NEW RELEASES from Pearl Jam, Jimi Hendrix, CYHSY, Jayhawks, Jens Lekman, Peter Wolf Crier, Ivy, Megafaun, and many more are streaming this week via Spinner.

WILCO is advance streaming The Whole Love.

TWIN SISTER is streaming In Heaven.

dEUS is streaming Keep You Close. (Thx, LHB.)

THE RAVEONETTES drop "Oh Stranger" from the 'Batman: Arkham City' video game soundtrack.

TORCHE is covering Guided by Voices on a new EP, including "Exit Flagger."

JAN & DEAN:  I figured I'd slip in "Surf City" before the Summer officially ends.  Toss in a fan-made vid for "Dead Man's Curve" and you have Twofer Tuesday, not to mention an argument between Barry & Dick.  FYI, technically, neither Barry nor Dick is right, though Dick is closer to the truth.

PEARL JAM: Cameron Crowe writes about the obsession that led to his documentary.

FEIST talks about her upcoming album and more in a New York Times profile by Jon Pareles.

OKKERVIL RIVER: Will Scheff talks to Offbeat about varying thematic interpretations of the new album, Viking sagas, and the potential for an Okkervil River laser show. (Thx, LHB.)


MILA KUNIS & JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE deny sharing intimate photos on their cellphones.

CHARLIE SHEEN is days away from settling his mega-dispute with Warner Bros. over "Two and a Half Men," but sources connected with the negotiation tell TMZ Charlie is not getting what he wants.

LINDSAY LOHAN had a pathetic Fashion Week.

ZOOEY DESCHANEL talks to the New York Post about music, The New Girl and more...

MADONNA talks to Rolling Stone about her upcoming movie about the true-life 1930s love story involving King Edward VIII and American socialite and divorcée Wallis Simpson.

AARON SORKIN broke his nose... writing?

NINE ACTORS You Didn't Know Were in Star Wars Movies.

OUR FRIENDS, THE SAUDIS have begun the trial of an al Qaeda cell that plotted to attack the Al-Udeid and As-Sailiyah US bases in Qatar.

YEMEN: The costs of ignoring the conflict.

PAKISTAN: The Movement of the Taliban said it would continue to strike weddings and funerals of tribal groups who support the Pakistani and US governments.

JEDI KITTENS STRIKE BACK: The highly-anticipated sequel.

A HEDGEHOG was found amid a donation of soft toys to a Wokingham charity shop. Dinsdale!

A WILD HOG with the munchies smashed through a glass entrance at a Goliad Whataburger on Friday night and frightened customers.

HOW TO artificially inseminate a rhino.

2645 Reads

The Sadies, Harold Budd, Superdrag, NMH, Cat vs Slipper   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, September 19, 2011 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


ARCTIC MONKEYS drop a nsfw video for "Suck It And See."

THE SADIES stopped by Oregon Public Broadcasting for a chat and mini-set.

HAROLD BUDD is advance streaming In The Mist.

APPARAT is advance streaming The Devil's Walk.

SUPERDRAG, Live at The Casbah, July 7, 2000.

NEUTRAL MILK HOTEL drops "Little Birds (Unfinished Version 2)," an outtake in advance of the box set.

ATLAS SOUND drops "Te Amo" from the upcoming album.

EARTH, WIND and FIRE: Because it's "September."

WILCO: Jeff Tweedy talks to the Wall Street Journal about his new songs, the struggle to remember his old songs and Wilco's worst moment on stage.

BEIRUT's Zach Condon talks to Drowned In Sound about EPs vs LPs and more...

THE 40 BEST NEW BANDS of 2011, according to Stereogum.

THE BEATLES refused to play for  a segregated audience in 1965 at the Cow Palace in San Francisco, a recently released contract and concert rider reveals.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: The Lion King 3-D tops the chart with 29.3 million, blowing away industry expectations and causing some analysts to grumble about Disney's supposed lack of originality.  But before home video became ubiquitous, Disney would rerelease their classics every seven years, and it was great to see them on the big screen, so I'm not feeling the outrage.  Contagion drops to the second slot with 14.5 million and 44.2 million so far against a 60 million budget.  Drive debuts with 11 million against a 13 million production budget (tho I'd bet some serious cash was dropped on marketing); FilmDistrict's flicks tend to be leggy, so stay tuned to Drive.  The Help drops to fourth with 6.4 million, but has made 147.4 million so far against a 25 million budget.  The debut of Straw Dogs rounds out the Top 5 with 5 million, maybe reflecting a general rough patch for horror films at the moment.  Below the fold, I Don't Know How She Does It opens in the sixth slot with 4.5 million, again demonstrating how little people care to see Sarah Jessica Parker in things not named Sex & The City.

DRIVE is a Tarantino-esque take on action-thrillers of the late 70s and early 80s.  Even its title credit font and its synthy soundtrack evoke the period.  And for a movie about a part-time mechanic/stunt driver/getaway driver, there is more in the way of suspense than car chases; Fast & Furious this ain't.  That's all to the movie's credit, even the untraviolence that punctuates the second half of the film.  The ensemble cast is also fine, particularly Albert Brooks and Ron Perlman as the heavies.  However, I never really bought Ryan Gosling's character or motivation, although made obvious by the script what it's supposed to be.  So I find myself kinda on the opposite side of the near-unanimous critical accalim on this one.  There was plenty to admire in Drive, but on the key thing, it left me flat.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON, fresh off having nude pics hacked from her phone, visits a strip club.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE wants to make it clear - the explicit picture on Mila Kunis' cell phone is not him.

BRAD PITT: A story posted on Parade magazine's website on Thursday in which Pitt talks about his life with ex-wife Jennifer Aniston put the actor in damage control mode, saying his words had been misinterpreted.

CHARLIE SHEEN would love to return to Two and a Half Men, though his character is being killed off.

MATTHEW FOX is now being sued by the bus driver who claims she was punched by the Lost actor.

EVAN RACHEL WOOD tals to Marie Claire about George Clooney, Justin Bieber, and more...

THE EMMYS went to these folks.

TERROR in SWEDEN: National security service officers searched the offices of a mosque in Gothenburg in connection with the arrests of three men linked to a planned terror attack on an art gallery.

YEMEN: Saudi officials said that Pres Saleh, who has been recovering from injuries sufferred in an attack three months ago, may not return to Yemen. Protesters have been struggling for months to overthrow Pres Saleh. But unity and order are in short supply, and Al Qaeda is the stronger for it.

EGYPT's Prime Minister said the Camp David agreement with Israel was not "sacred" and could be changed for the benefit of peace or the region.

CAT vs SLIPPER: Who you got?

THE LONELY GINGER SEAL, shunned by his colony, will now be cared for at a dolphinarium.

A GIANT SNAIL INVASION in a southwest Miami subdivision has federal and state agricultural officials launching a time-consuming expensive counter-attack to remove the large slimy creatures.

THE SWARM: Killer bees attacked several farm animals at an Arizona animal farm, killing a 1,000-pound hog, Tucson's KOLD News 13 reports.

A COUGAR reported Wednesday afternoon in east Iowa City is the third sighting of a cougar or mountain lion in the area in two weeks.

2797 Reads

Moby Grape, Laura Marling, Grace Potter, Vetiver, Cutout Bin, Dogs Jump Rope   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, September 16, 2011 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



...with MOBY GRAPE! Listen, my friends... the band was largely a victim of corporate overhype and Skip Spence's madness, but their self-titled debut album is really solid. So here we have "Omaha" and "8:05" from the Mike Douglas Show, plus "Hey Grandma" and "Sitting By The Window" from a trippy documentary. "It's a Beautiful Day Today" isn't from the debut, but is still very nice.  And "Dark Magic," performed in the movie The Sweet Ride, is a heavier vibe altogether.

LAURA MARLING plays a set for Spinning On Air at the WNYC studios.

GRACE POTTER & THE NOCTURNALS did three free songs for Daytrotter.

THE CHAPIN SISTERS did the four free songs thing for Daytrotter.

VETIVER played a set live on KEXP from the Bumbershoot Music lounge.

TENNIS: Denver's surf-pop band also played a set live on KEXP from the Bumbershoot Music Lounge.

ALL SONGS CONSIDERED: Tracks from Feist, Fanfarlo, Atlas Sound, Bjork, Lana Del Rey, Los Campesinos! and more feature in the latest installment of the long-running NPR series.

DALE EARNHARDT, JR., JR. finally drop a video for the charming, McCartney-esque "Simple Girl."

ST. VINCENT: Annie Clark talks to The Line Of Best Fit about the Rain Dogs Revisited concert, Strange Mercies, and more...

NICK LOWE talks to the L.A. Times about "pretty good" music, Rockpile, taking the low-key approach, and more.  The New York Times writes of his "remarkable second wind."

BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE figurehead Kevin Drew talks to Pitchfork about the band's impending hiatus, what's next for its members, how he feels about music-making apps, and what advice he has for young bands.

WILD FLAG: Carrie Brownstein and Mary Timony talked to The A.V. Club about their return to music, Sleater-Kinney's breakup, and the power of being in a band.

NIRVANA'S NEVERMIND, compared to Gus Van Sant's My Own Private Idaho.

GRUNGE railed against a consumerist culture that hipster rock revivalists wearily accept. Is rock dead?

THE 100 GREATEST COVER SONGS, according to Popdose.

CUTOUT BIN: From the Soft Boys to Patti LaBelle, from Fun Boy Three to Richard Thompson, from the Runaways to Mary Wells, plus Husker Du, Otis Redding, Guster, the Count 5, Beck's Record Club and more -- this Friday's fortuitous finds are now streaming from the Pate page at the ol' HM.

NOW SHOWING:  This weekend's wide releases include: I Don't Know How She Does It, which is currently scoring 22 percent on the ol' Tomatometer; Drive, currently scoring 94 percent; Straw Dogs, scoring 33 percent; and the 3-D re-release of The Lion King (at 89 percent).

SCARLETT JOHANSSON is warning a bunch of websites that she owns the copyright to her hacked nude pics and anyone who doesn't take them down will be hearing from her attorney again.

LINDSAY LOHAN threw a drink at a photog to celebrate Fashion Week.

BRAD PITT is this week's EW cover story.

JUSTIN THEROUX: Jennifer Aniston's new boyfriend talks to GQ about her, his rides, and the life of his beard.

JANUARY JONES gave birth to a baby boy named Xander Dane Jones on Tuesday.

GERARD BUTLER has dropped a lot of weight in prep for a surfing movie.

NICOLAS CAGE was once awakened by a naked man with a Fudgesicle. NTTAWWT.

MICHAELE SALAHI, White House gate-crasher, was reported kidnapped by her husband -- but she really has run off with Neal Schon, the lead guitarist for the band Journey.

DEADLINE is suing The Hollwood Reporter for copyright infringement. 

THE 25 MOST EXPENSIVE BAD MOVIES, according to Rotten Tomatoes.

YEMEN: Twelve al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula fighters and two civilians were killed in fighting in Zinjibar. Saudi armor is rumored to have entered the country to help quell uprisings.

SYRIA: Dozens of tanks and hundreds of soldiers stormed 10 villages near Syria's northwest border with Turkey.

LIBYA: The growing influence of Islamists in Libya raises hard questions about the ultimate character of the government and society that will rise in place of Gaddafi's autocracy.

IRAN's judiciary has said that a bail offer for two Americans convicted of spying is still under review, in a potentially embarrassing rejection of Ahmadinejad's prediction that their release could come in a matter of days.  But there is precedent for such quarrels before a release.

13 DOGS jump rope at the same time.

A CALICO CAT named Willow, who disappeared from a home near the Rocky Mountains five years ago, was found on Wednesday on a Manhattan street and will soon be returned to her family, where two of the three children and one of the two dogs may remember her.

A PET RABBIT woke its owner when the house was on fire, allowing the woman to get herself and her daughter safely out of the burning building. But the rabbit ended up dying from smoke inhalation.

A DRUNKEN ELK ended its binge by making off with a family's swing set and hiding it in the woods.

A BADGER ate Gordon Ramsay's pr0n dwarf double.

3838 Reads

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