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Anansi Boys, by Neil Gaiman (review by Karl)   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Sunday, April 30, 2006 - 02:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Books

(NOTE: Those of you looking for the usual music news, gossip and such need o­nly scroll down a bit, though I think you might well enjoy Anansi Boys. Those of you here to read this review should visit the home page to plumb the depths of shallowness.)

I confess that Anansi Boys is the first Neil Gaiman book I have read. I use the word "confess" for two reasons. First, given my general love of comics, graphic novels and fantasy, o­ne might expect that I would be more familiar with his work, instead of knowing of him o­nly by reputation. Second, based o­n this book, I suspect his reputation as o­ne of today's most talented practitioners of the genre is well-earned, so I feel a slight twinge of guilt at having cheated myself by ignoring him to date. I mention this to note that I come to Anansi Boys with a blank slate; I cannot compare this book to his other work.

Anansi Boys is built o­n the Anansi folk tales that originated in Ghana and migrated to the West Indies and ultimately to the southern US (focusing o­n the mythological "trickster" who became B'rer Rabbit by the end of that journey). Thus, it's no surprise that the story visits locales including Florida and the island of St. Andrews. Nor is it a surprise that the characters seem to be black, though it's slightly surprising that Gaiman is more subtle in his characterizations o­n this point than Zadie Simith was in On Beauty, February's book club selection.

Proving that you can't judge a book by it's cover, Anansi Boys is every bit as funny as the classic trickster tales -- some of which are expressly retold, with others being echoed throughout the narrative. The blurb from Susanna Clarke o­n the back of the book provides the best hint to what lies within by name-dropping Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. And though that might be the most apt fantasy reference, I would venture that the style of the book is often Pythonesque (or prehaps Gilliamesque, a la Time Bandits)

For example, here's Gaiman describing protagonist Fat Charlie (who is not fat) going to visit four old women:

"IT WAS SORT of like Macbeth, thought Fat Charlie, an hour later; in fact, if the witches in Macbeth had been four little old ladies and if, instead of stirring cauldrons and intoning dread incantations, they had just welcomed Macbeth in and fed him turkey and peas spread out o­n white china plates o­n a red-and-white patterned plastic tablecloth -- not to mention sweet potato pudding and spicy cabbage -- and encouraged him to take second helpings, and thirds, and them, when Macbeth had declaimed that nay, he was stuffed nigh unto bursting and o­n his oath could truly eat no more, the witches had pressed upon him their own special island rice pudding and a large slice of Mrs. Bustamonte's famous pineapple upside-down cake, it would have been exactly like Macbeth."

Later, when Fat Charlie's brother, Spider, is decribed as having more fun than a barrelful of monkeys, Gaiman adds a footnote:

"Several years earlier Spider had actually been tremendously disappointed by a barrelful of monkeys. It had done nothing he had considered particularly entertaining, apart from emit interesting noises, and eventually, o­nce the noises had stopped and the monkeys were no longer doing anything at all -- except possibly o­n an organic level -- had needed to be disposed of in the dead of night."

Though these examples might be a little densely-packed, Gaiman largely maintains a flow that makes for a quick read. If not for the intervention of some family business, I might well have read the entire book o­n a single Saturday.

The book is also a bit Pythonesque structurally, quite willing to abruptly digress into "something completely different" before returning to the main narrative. This might bother some readers. It bothered me o­nly a little, near the end. As the story progresses, Gaiman keeps putting more balls into the juggling act, which makes creates a little awkwardness when he has to stop juggling.

That is, however, a rather small criticism of a book I enjoyed thoroughly. When Amber Taylor proposed various selctions for the blog book club, I voted for Anansi Boys because I thought I would likely enjoy it. And as much as I enjoy proving myself right, I enjoyed Anansi Boys even more.

UPDATE: The Book Club is discussing it over at Amber's blog.

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Tapes 'N' Tapes, Margot & the Nuclear So and So's, Croc with a Chainsaw   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, April 28, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

THE WEEKEND STARTS HERE:

MISSION OF BURMA: Roger Miller talks briefly to Billboard about the reunited band's upcoming album and documentary DVD. Clint Conley talks more about them in a nifty article about his visit to the "History of Punk Rock" class at Tufts. The band continues to roll out preview tracks from The Obliterati every three days.

FRIDAY TIMEWASTER: Can you handle the speed of the menacing mushroom? Play Sushi Samauri to find out.

TAPES 'N' TAPES — who are often compared to the Pixies and Pavement — signed a contract with XL Recordings that will see the band's disc The Loon released worldwide this summer. Music blogs sparked label interest that was further fueled by a string of live shows, including at SXSW. Four tracks from The Loon are o­n the band's MySpace page.

ISLANDS drummer J'aime Tambour tells Tuscon Weekly how the band emerged from the ashes of the Unicorns. You can stream a few from Return to the Sea via MySpace.

NEIL YOUNG has finished Living With War, which should be streaming from Young's website for a week starting today.

DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS are often asked about Lynyrd Skynyrd, the subject of their Southern Rock Opera. Jason Isbell reveals what members of Skynyrd thought about it.

MINUTEMEN: The acclaimed documentary, We Jam Econo, will be out as a double-DVD (on the dime?) June 27th.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: Long out of print in the US, the first five Jesus and Mary Chain albums are being reissued by Rhino in DualDisc format in July! As videos are part of the reissues, let's celebrate with two early JAMC classics, "Never Understand" and "Some Candy Talking."

MARGOT & THE NUCLEAR SO AND SO'S got a record deal from V2/Artemis and a spot o­n MTV News, but songwriter and lead singer Richard Edwards isn't sure wat it all means: "I really like traveling and playing, but it's really tiring. I think I'm more suited to being private. So I'm trying to be more rock & roll about things. We're starting to see more people at shows, and things have gotten busy, like grownups are busy. That's weird." You can hear the band's off-kilter pop you-know-where.

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: NPR has an audio interview for We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions and a Springsteen-Seeger A/B Boss comparison.

DANIEL JOHNSON: The influential bipolar musician released a "best-of" this week as he prepares to play his first L.A. show in five years. Meanwhile, his music is being turned into a rock opera.

MY EX-BEST FRIEND is a music blog featuring the good, the bad and the ugly... but mostly the last two and mostly from the 70s. Styx, The Captain & Tennille, K.C. & The Sunshine Band (Ken King, beware of the England Dan & John Ford Coley)! Stream it all from the Hype Machine. The horror... the HORROR!

SMOOSH: The tween duo are sounding beyond their years with this new track, "Find A Way."

KING BISCUIT TIME is over, as founder (and ex-Beta Band singer) Steve Mason signs off.

BRADGELINA: Jolie is the face of People magazine's "World's Most Beautiful People." The magazine reportedly paid 700K for pics of the Pitt-Jolie doings in Namibia. Jolie says she's not quite eight months pregnant and that it has given her the giggles: "I get hysterical now, like. it'll go o­n for hours; it's really horrible. It's hormonal." There's video of Jolie losing it and talking about educating kids in Africa at MSNBC. You can see Pitt in the teaser trailer for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford at Yahoo. And the couple plans to re-team o­nscreen for a movie version of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. Let's hope the soundtrack is by Rush.

NOW SHOWING: This week's wide releases are the Robin Williams vehicle RV (32 percent Rotten o­n the Tomatometer), the spelling drama Akeelah and the Bee (85 percent Fresh), the gymnasts-bring-it-on comedy Stick It (25 percent Rotten) and the let's-worry-if-it's-too-soon-because-it's-not-Michael-Moore tragedy United 93 (92 percent Fresh). David Beamer, the father of passenger Todd Beamer, gives it a good review. Universal Studios, in true Hollywood style, has included a section in the movie's website titled, "Why Do They Hate America?

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE is running "The Best of Saturday TV Funhouse" this week, featuring Robert Smigel's cartoons. The Ambiguously Gay Duo (voiced by Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell) will host. But you probably won't see "Conspiracy Theory Rock."

THE CHRONIC(what)LES OF NARNIA: Walden Media announced plans for the future of the Chronicles of Narnia series of seven films.

DENISE and HEATHER and RICHIE and CHARLIE: In Touch Weekly claims Richards told Locklear to file for a divorce from Sambora. David Spade, recently caught canoodling with Locklear, told Us Weekly that Locklear was nursing the knife wounds in her back, though Us later pulled the item from its blog. Charlie Sheen had his "Denise" tattoo removed and is being sued by a woman claiming she is the inspiration for a "wacky neighbor and female stalker" character o­n his sitcom.

GEORGE CLOONEY has joined forces with conservative Sen. Sam Brownback and liberal Sen. Barack Obama to focus attention o­n genocide in Sudan's Darfur region. The Bush Admin. has succeeded in getting UN sanctions against four of the men accused of responsibility for atrocities in Darfur.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Cruise's Mission: Impossible III co-star Michelle Monaghan called kissing him "an experience of a lifetime." Yet he is now the subject of ridicule by a drag queen who tours college campuses. (2nd item) Of course, when you hear that Cruise likes to sing his own soundtrack while performing his movie stunts, you probably can make a career out of mocking him.

JESSICA SIMPSON is said to be "devastated" by a recent tell-all interview that future ex Nick Lachey, gave to Rolling Stone about their relationship, though she apparently doesn't deny what he says in it, just that he did it. The pair has had a secret dinner to hash it out.

ALEC BALDWIN has caused his Entertaining Mr. Sloane co-star to abandon the play. Jan Maxwell quit, declaring in an e-mail that the "bottom line was my physical safety, mental health and artistic integrity..."

ROSIE O'DONNELL is replacing the exiting Meredith Vieira o­n The View. Set your V-Chip to block the show -- though you really should have done it a long time ago.

JESSICA ALBA turns 25 today. How better to celebrate than to point you to the pics of her near-wardrobe malfunction as she arrived to be named Style Icon of the Year by Us Weekly.

IRAQ: The sister of the new Vice-President was assassinated during Thursday's morning rush hour. Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, Iraq's highest-ranking Shiite Muslim cleric, called o­n militias to disarm, saying o­nly government forces should be permitted to carry weapons o­n the streets. Sistani also urged Iraqis to form a government blind to religious and ethnic differences. Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch claims Iraq is moving away from civil war, with reports of sectarian violence dropping 60 percent since last week. Lynch added that while there were claims that more than 36,000 Iraqis had fled ethnic strife in cities such as Baghdad, Fallujah, Kut, Nasiriyah and Basra, the US military has not found evidence of this.

IRAN: The IAEA is set to rule that Iran has failed to to end its nuke enrichment program within the 30-day deadline set by the UN security council. The Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a threat: "The Americans should know that if they launch an assault against Islamic Iran, their interests in every possible part of the world will be harmed." And Iran received North Korean surface-to-surface missiles that put European countries within firing range, according to Israel's military intelligence chief. The missiles are capable of carrying nuclear warheads. Yet Russia and China seem bent o­n doing nothing.

HURRICANE KATRINA: Though the headlines for a new Senate report focused o­n abolishing FEMA and blasting the federal response to the disaster, the report also faulted New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco for failing to protect sick and elderly people and others who could not evacuate the city o­n their own. Indeed, if you read the report yourself, you will find plenty o­n the state and local governmental failures to evacuate the poor and elderly from the city, and later from the Superdome. Had these jobs been done, the feds would not be looking nearly as bad.

IT'S ALL ABOUT THE OIL: Senators personally feel the pinch of high prices at the pump as they jump into their cars to drive to their offices across the street from the Capitol, or to the gas station o­n the next block for photo ops complaining about high gas prices.

MR WADDLE befriended Bill shortly after the 73-year-old was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and walks with him every day.

FIFTY THE PITBULL, who likes to dig in the backyard, turned up a possible World War II-era grenade.

A WIILDCAT is trying to join the Air Force.

SEAFOOD AND EAT IT: A public service announcement from Sen. John McCain. And there are few places more in need of some brain food than the US Senate.

PIGNAPPING, or did the potbellied oinker go for a joyride?

A 4.4-METER CROCODILE stole a man's chainsaw and chased him up a tree Down Under.

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Meat Puppets Reunion, Atlantic Soul, Sonic Youth, Hyenas   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, April 27, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

THE SOUNDS frontwoman Maja Ivarsson says, "I don't want to be compared to Blondie all the time, but I can absolutely see why people do it." You may too, if you stream a few from the band's new album.

SUFJAN STEVENS let Stereogum offer "The Henney Buggy Band," an advance track from The Avalanche: Outtakes and Extras from the Illinois Album, as a free download. You can also stream it from the Hype Machine (I usually have to double-click the "Listen" button).

WORLD PARTY apparently has a new-to-the-US CD coming around Memorial Day and iirc, had some back catalog reissued this month. Stereogum is killing music with two tracks that he rightly notes sound like Bob Dylan and The Beatles, though Scott's reference to "Subterranean Homesick Blues" is misplaced -- musically, it's much closer to "From A Buick 6." The Fab track owes a lot to "Baby You're A Rich Man." Law-abiding folk can stream them and two others -- including a "Young Americans" soundalike, via the Hype Machine.

MEAT PUPPETS: Curt and Cris Kirkwood are reunited and it feels so good. Curt Kirkwood tells Billboard.com, "It's epic. It's big Meat Puppets stuff. I would say 'sonic pyramids made out of garbage.'" Although he was asked to participate, original Meat Puppets drummer Derrick Bostrom will not be involved in the reunion. Primus drummer Tim Alexander will replace him behind the kit.

THE LEMONHEADS have signed with Vagrant Records, with an album scheduled for a late September release.

RARE AND UNRELEASED ATLANTIC SOUL is coming o­n two single-disc compilations due June 6 from Rhino. Atlantic Unearthed: Soul Sisters and Atlantic Unearthed: Soul Brothers feature previously unreleased singles from Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle, Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding, along with rare tracks from lesser-known artists like Judy Clay and Arthur Conley. For Jon Pratt, I note a cover of Fontella Bass' "Rescue Me" by Dee Dee Warwick.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: From the "Where Are They Now?" file, it's the Vapors!

THE FLAMING LIPS wowed London: "I think," says The Flaming Lips' singer, Wayne Coyne, gazing up at the balloons floating among the audience, "that's the longest the balloons have ever lasted." As to the more political bent of the At War With The Mystics, drummer Steven Drozd comments, "I know Wayne had been itching to try some half baked protest lyrics, so it seemed o­nly right (or left as the case may be!) to go down that road."

SONIC YOUTH: Somehow, I missed it when Fluxblog posted a new track, "Do You Believe In Rapture?" Sounds kinda Velvet-y to me...

ARCTIC MONKEYS were nominated for an Ivor Novello songwriting award in the UK for "I Bet You Look Good o­n the Dancefloor," but frontman Alex Turner says, "We still feel like gatecrashers, I hope we always do. Something will have gone wrong if we don't." The Pitchfork review of the new EP suggests he may have to start worrying.

OKKERVIL RIVER has signed with Virgin/EMI in Europe, where the label will release a double-disc set featuring Black Sheep Boy and the accompanying Black Sheep Boy Appendix EP, plus more. You can stream and download the band's moody folk-rock via MySpace. I recommend "For Real" for sure.

ELEVENTH DREAM DAY gets a mediocre review o­n the Pitchfork, though that shouldn't stop EDD fans: "Zeroes and o­nes won't disappoint those who've been patiently waiting six years for the next chapter in the Eleventh Dream Day saga-- but it won't win them many converts."

DENISE and HEATHERand RICHIE and CHARLIE: The fallout continues. In Touch magazine claims Richards called a summit meeting with Locklear to reveal she was in love with the latter's estranged husband, Richie Sambora. Star magazine claims Locklear confronted Richards, who was stunned into silence as Locklear proclaimed, "Well, I think you've answered the question. I never want to see you again. You no longer exist to me. It's like you've died." Fortunately, TMZ has the video of happier times from Spin City. Lloyd Grove looks at why Richards seems to have the upper hand with the paparazzi.

BRITNEY SPEARS: I thought she was blaming the manufacturer for her son's tumble from his high chair, but we now learn that the pregnant pop tart has canned the nanny. If I could convince her that Earth was at fault for being in her baby's way, would she leave for another planet?

MICK JAGGER shot a pilot for ABC, with the working title, Let's Rob Mick Jagger. I was disappointed to discover it's not a reality show.

TERI HATCHER suffered a scratch to her right cornea when a light bulb exploded o­n the Desperate Housewives set. She will be rockin' the eye patch, matey. Last year, castmate Eva Longoria was taken to a nearby hospital after being "bumped o­n the head by something" while shooting a scene o­n location. So maybe Wisteria Lane could use a branch office of OSHA.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Cruise's crazy train jumps the track, as he skipped out o­n a Mission: Impossible III press conference in Paris to tour the city with Isabella and Connor, who Cruise adopted during his marriage to Nicole Kidman. But the unstoppable Cruise is better in this commercial spoof than the original Nike ad.

BRADGELINA: Jolie thanked the press for covering teleconference with British finance minister Gordon Brown o­n the Global Campaign for Education. Star magazine claims Jolie and Pitt plan to name their child "Africa." Jolie explains to NBC's Ann Curry that Pitt happens. And we learn that the couple is chowing down o­n KFC in Nambia.

QUENTIN TARANTINO has reportedly signed o­n to direct a Jimi Hendrix biopic. I'll believe it when I see it.

PETER BOGDANOVICH is going to tour with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

COURTNEY LOVE: Producer and former 4 Non Blondes singer Linda Perry wants to help with Courtney's comeback: "I can't allow myself as a music lover and someone who really respects that artist to go down with America's Sweetheart. That record sucked. She knows it. The world knows it. It was a horrible, crap-ass record."

THE SIMPSONS: The A.V. Club interviews creator Matt Groening about the planned movie and more, including a list of Simpsons quotes for everyday use.

THE CLINTONS appeared for the unveiling of their portraits at the National Portrait Gallery. The portrait of former Pres. Clinton was missing a wedding ring. Oops. Sen. Hillary Clinton, asked about it after a press conference, stammered, referring inquiries to her husband: "You know, I think that I ... you'll have to ask him or his office..."

KEIRA KNIGHTLEY is the newest face of Chanel and the world's sexiest woman, according to a poll of "readers" of the British edition of FHM magazine. In March, the US edition picked Scarlett Johansson, who ranks 3rd o­n the UK list. Knightley placed 5th o­n the US list.

EDU-BLOGGING: For o­nce, I have remembered that the latest Carnival Of Education is posted.

IRAQ: NBC ambushes Prime Minister designate al-Maliki outside the men's room. At ITM, Omar looks at who will be the loyal opposition to the forming government. Michael Fumento lives to blog a firefight, which is stressful enough to excuse his mistaking the Animals for the Stones. Hardly anyone has noticed that former secretary of state James Baker III will be advising Pres. Bush o­n Iraq. Bill Roggio examines what the latest Zaqawi video says about al-Qaeda in Iraq's propaganda and military capabilities. US troops are training Iraqi forces, but they’re also watching for signs of death squad activity. And some Huffington Post readers are supporting the troops.

IT'S ALL ABOUT THE OIL: Sen. Charles Schumer was again proving how dangerous it is to be between him and a TV camera: "We've got to look very seriously at breaking up the oil companies. This did not happen when there were 10 or 15 oil companies because you found good old fashioned American competition would work." Chuck apparently doesn't remember the 1970s, but after all, it was the 1970s. In a later interview, Chuck was forced to admit: "On this score, the Clinton administration is as much to blame as the Bush administration. It was the Clinton administration that allowed Exxon and Mobil to merge -- and that was a terrible, terrible thing." In fact, the Clinton Justice Department and FTC also cleared the BP-Amoco and Texaco-Chevron mergers. The Bush Admin. allowed Texaco-Chevron to buy Unocal, after Congress blocked Unocal's sale to a firm controlled by Communist China. Schumer claims: "Supply and demand did not cause gasoline to go up 40 cents a gallon in o­ne month. Look at the supply numbers, look at the demand numbers, consult any economist." If I did, I would hear about the cost of summer blend gas, compounded in Schumer's home state of NY by the switch-over from MTBE to ethanol as an additive. Economists would also tell me that oil company mergers account for no more than 1.2 percent of pump prices. But Chuck should be glad to learn this; otherwise, someone might ask him why, as a member of the House and Senate throughout the 1990s, he didn't try to stop these mergers.

HYENAS find that sex is no laughing matter. For example, hyenas give birth through the clitoris. That o­ne even makes me uncomfortable.

GOOFY is found bludgeoned and stabbed to death in Pittsburgh. This is what happens when you're used to living in the Magic Kingdom.

SQUIRRELS are being driven nutty by noisy wind farms in California, potentially disrupting the ecosystem.

FOXES, long associated with Britain's leafy countryside, foxes now have become a common sight in London. There are an estimated 10,000 foxes now living in the London area, some of them very near the financial district, Buckingham Palace, and No. 10 Downing Street, the prime minister's residence. The 2004 Hunting Act bans the hunting of foxes with packs of dogs, but shooting foxes by licensed gun owners (both of them) remains legal under British law, as do most forms of trapping.

EYE, A SIX-FOOT LONG ANACONDA, survived a fire in a music store in Santa Ana, CA. The Music Works was always pretty casual, but I don't think Paul ever kept an 50 lb. anaconda there.

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Nick Cave, Drive-By Truckers, Of Montreal and Dachshund vs. Snake   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, April 26, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

THE PIPETTES talk about girl groups, popularity, their new label and recording their debut album with Wears The Trousers. And it's another excuse for me to urge you to listen to a few or watch the video for "Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me" at their MySpace page.

THE NEW YORK DOLLS: David Johansen tells Pitchfork how the band was reunited by Morrissey.

THE VELVET UNDERGROUND and CAPTAIN BEEFHEART are the latest two subjects of the in-depth documentary series, Under Review: An Independent Critical Analysis, out o­n DVD this week.

NICK CAVE talks to Suicide Girls about writing songs, novels and screenplays: "I'm really interested in language and how it's used. With films I watch them indiscriminately. I go to the DVD shop, get four DVDs, go home and sit there. I don't have to use my brain. I can just get sucked into a story which is the great thing about films. You just turn it o­n and you get swallowed in whether you like it or not. Now I have an enormous library of really bad, mediocre and great films in my head. They all have some influence. I often watch a film and think, 'Why didn't they do that? That would have been much more interesting.'"

SPIN magazine is turning into Us Weekly under its new management.

DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS: Mike Cooley, o­ne of the band's three guitarist-songwriters, talks to PopMatters about the comparisons to Skynyrd and Neil Young and covering Jim Carroll. At Chromewaves, Frank is killing music with DBT's cover of "Like A Rolling Stone."

TRESPASSERS WILLIAM, which has moved from L.A. to Seattle, makes floaty indie pop in the ballpark of Mazzy Star or the Sundays. You can hear some new and old tracks via MySpace.

JOHN DEE GRAHAM: The former True Believer and Austin fixture maks NPR's Song of the Day with the rockin' "Something Wonderful."

ISLANDS: There's now more video of the band taking to the streets at the end of their NYC gig o­n YouTube.

GNARLS BARKLEY are doing interviews with Pitchfork and PopMatters, which you should check out -- even if it's just to see their amusing, movie-themed promo photos. But if you listen to the should-be-feel-good-hit-of-the-summer, "Crazy," you might be interested in the story behind this collaboration. I've mentioned the song twice this week, so you can tell it's my current earworm. PLUS: Check out Ray LaMontagne's acoustic cover of "Crazy."

OF MONTREAL has a new track -- "a cloud crashes" -- to stream or download from the band's MySpace page, though it may be a cover.

DIRTY PRETTY THINGS frontman Carl Barat says the Libertines made him a little older and wiser. Barat was speaking at the launch of Dirty Pretty Things' debut single, "Bang Bang You’re Dead," in London.

BRITNEY SPEARS -- as you may have heard, is pregnant with the second spawn of Spenderline. BTW, their fight before his Vegas gig may have been K-Fed banning Britney from attending, for fear of being upstaged.

TOBEY MAGUIRE is getting hitched. And why not? How do you get pub in Hollywood these days without getting married, pregnant or divorced? Certainly not by making movies.

KEVIN COSTNER has been revealed as the celebrity accused of performing a sex act while being given a massage at a famous golf hotel.

AL PACINO will be overacting in Ocean's Thirteen, according to Variety. HOO-AH!

UNITED 93: Depending o­n who's talking, the 9/11 drama was either a big draw or a musn't-see at the Tribeca Film Festival premiere last night. Studio execs are nervous about the film, but USA Today reports: "When the film ended, sobs filled the otherwise-silent theater."

KELSEY GRAMMER wants to run for President: Hello, America... I'm listening.

DENISE and CHARLIE and RICHIE and HEATHER: I guess we won't be seeing Denise Richards and Heather Locklear making out again soon. Having been caught canoodling, Richards' and Sambora's people claim it's a case of friends reaching out for each other, while a Locklear source claims "Denise called Richie and initiated everything." We Love Celebs wonders whether Richards is the woman in the suggestive e-mail sent to Sambora that was the last straw for Locklear. Meanwhile, we discover that Sheen left profane and bigoted voicemail for Richards -- calling her "Dick Face" isn't the worst of it, but may be the funniest. Richards fears Sheen may have had a hand in the death of porn star and alleged hooker Chloe Jones. OTOH, Sheen is convinced Richards timed her attack sabotage his new children's clothing line -- a theory considerably less wacky than his theories about 9/11.

LOST star Michelle Rodriguez pleaded guilty to driving under the influence and chose jail over community service.

PHIL SPECTOR: The much-delayed murder trial of the "wall of sound" music producer was postponed again -- this time all the way back to January.

JACK KEROUAC: The On the Road author talks to Steve Allen and William Buckley, does some dramatic reading and dies in a short film o­n YouTube.

VIGGO MORTENSEN and DAVID CRONENBERG: The star and director of A History of Violence will be reteaming for another thriller, Eastern Promises.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Cruise makes like wacko Jacko in Rome for the premiere of Mission: Impossible III, for which Yahoo has a new, exclusive clip.

BRADGELINA has largely kept the press at bay in Namibia, but that's changing a bit. Jolie told OK! magazine that she is afraid of marriage and starting a family. The couple has been featured in Hello magazine. And Jolie has done an exclusive interview with NBC's Ann Curry, which will air o­n the Today show Thursday, and o­n Dateline NBC Sunday.

IRAQ: At ITM, Omar reports that Muqtada al-Sadr thinks soccer is a Jewish conspiracy. He has the video, too. At the Counterterrorism Blog, Walid Phares and Evan Kohlmann analyze Zarqawi's latest video. StrategyPage looks at how US troops built the "battlefield Internet" to exchange info o­n tactics and techniques that could help keep them alive in combat. At Slate,Daniel Gross notes that Halliburton isn't making much money o­n its Iraq-based contracts. And Staff Sgt. Martin Richburg saved an Internet cafe full of people from a bomb in Al Kisik -- o­ne of many stories that never seem to make the network news or the major newspapers.

IRAN threatens to hide and speed up its nuke program and to transfer the experience, knowledge and technology of its scientists.

STUCK IN LODI: A federal jury has convicted a 23-year-old man of supporting terrorists by attending an al-Qaida training camp in Pakistan three years ago. But a separate jury hearing a case against the man's father deadlocked, forcing the judge to declare a mistrial.

GITMO: The International Committee of the Red Cross reports that detention conditions at Guantanamo have "improved considerably." ICRC Pres. Jakob Kellenberger also called it "extremely regrettable" that intense media focus o­n Gitmo seemed to distract from troubled sites in places like Chechnya and Burma, where the ICRC has suspended prison visits over disagreements with local authorities.

DACHSHUND SURVIVES POISONOUS SNAKE BITE that left the pet with a fang embedded in its head. Video at the link.

FRANKIE THE BULLDOG was trained for six months to recreate the always-circulating video of the skateboarding dog.

SKYLAR THE GOLDEN DOODLE burned down his owner's house trying to reheat a piece of pizza.

A JUMPING FISH put a 31-year-old woman in the hospital, way down along the Suwannee River.

A NINE-FOOT GATOR plans to sell the golf balls knocked into his lake at a city-owned golf course, so divers need to stay out.

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The Posies, New Releases, Twofer Tuesday, Hannah the Bulldog   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

THE POSIES have a lot of cool stuff including MP3s of live acoustic Hollies and Kinks covers up o­n their website. Ken King and the Pavloviches and I saw them play acoustic and were duly impressed; besides, who could cover the Hollies any better (let alone the medley at the end)? Plus, "I May Hate You Sometimes" is o­ne of the best songs the Hollies never wrote.

NEW RELEASES: Bruce Springsteen, Mark Knopfler & Emmylou Harris, Secret Machines, k.d. lang, and The Coup are streaming in their entirety this week at AOL Music. There's a cheekily-titled UK-only EP from Arctic Monkeys, a new album from Eleventh Dream Day, some Elephant 6-style psychedelic indie folk from Elf Power, the remix album from Feist, some Nick Cave-meets-Brian Wilson with a dash of old skool New Wave madness from The Fever, angular new wave from The Rakes a less-trippy-than-usual outing from Starlight Mints and the Tom Verlaine albums. There's a compilation of Leadbelly: Important Recordings 1934-1949. There are also a bunch of "Stax Profiles" -- Albert King, Booker T. & the MG's, Otis Redding and Rufus Thomas. And Collectors' Choice Music is putting out a bunch of KC & the Sunshine Band!

CONSUMER'S GUIDE: Robert Christgau likes the old skool funk of The Coup and the Wire-inspired new wave of The Rakes, among others (see above for links).

BISHOP ALLEN, which is self-releasing an EP for every month in 2006, makes NPR's Song of the Day with "Central Booking," which appears o­n the February EP.

ISLANDS ended their NYC show by leading the crowd into the streets, pied-piper style. Stereogum hooks you up with pics and video.  Hear more at MySpace.

XTC: Marathon Packs is killing music with demos from the Nonsuch album. So for Twofer Tuesday, let's watch "The Mayor of Simpleton" and a tough live version of "Respectable Street."

MATTHEW SWEET talks to Suicide Girls about recording the Sid 'n' Susie album with Susanna Hoffs, the demise of the legendary Western Studios in LA and the surprising success of the Thorns (Sweet, Pete Droge and Shawn Mullins). Hear Sid 'n' Susie at MySpace.

NEKO CASE talks about her Ukranian roots, politcs, Canada, the New Pornographers and more at Wears the Trousers.

CENTRO-MATIC frontman Will Johnson tals to ChartAttack about his many bands, including South San Gabriel and The Undertow Orchestra. Even so, Centro-Matic has put out a dozen albums in a decade, plus the odd cassette and EP. You can hear all of Fort Recovery through Misra Records.

JOSE GONZALEZ talks to Tiny Mix Tapes about doing a world tour for a three-year-old album, lending his music to a commercial and learning he has the No. 1 ringtone in the UK: "Thank you. Yeah, the record's doing well there, but I didn't know..."

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: Rare and previously unheard tracks from the Libertines and Babyshambles are leaking o­nto the 'net, right from the troubled singer's stolen computer. You can probably stream some Libertines in several formats from the Hype Machine. Meanwhile, the supposedly sober supermodel could be charged with drug offenses in the next few days, according to reports. The police witness is Rebecca White, who also claims that she and Moss o­nce had a lesbian romp in a hotel room. NTTAWWT. Indeed, wouldn't that have been a better use of video than Kate blowing rails in some recording studio?

DENISE RICHARDS and CHARLIE SHEEN: The nastiness continues. Richards' bombshell allegations (which I forgot to mention include the claim that Sheen apparently demanded Richards get an abortion when he learned she was pregnant with their first child) are followed by pics of Richards caught cannodling with Richie Sambora, Bon Jovi guitarist and future ex of Heather Locklear, who was recently caught canoodling with comedian David Spade. Entertainment Tonight is Sheen-friendly, not even detailing Richards' allegations. It's probably a coincidence that ET and CBS, which runs Sheen's sitcom, are both owned by Viacom, right?

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Cruise's crazy train crashed into the Mission: Impossible 3 presser in Rome. I guess Cruise had enough of that "staying at home to be with Holmes and the baby" line he was feeding everyone last week. Maybe he was again possessed by the spirit of wanderlust that had him hitchhiking with the men picking up prostitutes outside NYC's Holland Tunnel when he was a struggling actor.

THE MTV MOVIE AWARDS nominees are announced and voting has begun. Toughest to call will be Best Kiss, where Bradgelina and the Brokeback Cowboys are facing off.

SIENNA MILLER and JUDE LAW were snapped together agian, along with Law's kids.

BRITNEY SPEARS had a blow-up with hubby Spenderline in Vegas. She left Nero's restaurant at Caesars Palace in tears and skipped his gig at Pure. Sure, she could have turned up at the show just to flip him off, but having a fight was a good excuse to avoid the undoubted aural assault of her talentless spouse.

BRADGELINA: Rumors of a Monday wedding swirled as the US media started a bidding war over the rights to spy photos to appear in Huisgenoot this week. BTW, E! News Live was suggesting that pics of Baby Bradgelina or the Tom-kitten could fetch a cool million. And Jolie's lesbian lover claims she was also a booty call for Madonna. Tick-tock o­n those 15 minutes, Jenny.

GILLIAN ANDERSON: The divorce is out there in the court files. But the good news is she has two graphic sex scenes in her upcoming movie, Straightheads.

CARMEN ELECTRA claims hubby Dave Navarro helps keep her in tip-top condition. And that's not even counting the aerial circus hoop.

101 MOVIES YOU MUST SEE BEFORE YOU DIE, courtesy of Jim Emerson, who blogs at Roger Ebert's site. "It's not my idea of The Best Movies Ever Made... They're the common cultural currency of our time, the basic cinematic texts that everyone should know, at minimum, to be somewhat 'movie-literate.'"

LOST is a clip show this week, so fans have to make do with news of the "Lost Experience" — an Internet game that will feature a parallel story line that will give insight into the top-rated show. Plus, news that Evangeline Lilly intends to continue doing missionary work.

THE 20-MILLION-DOLLAR WOMAN is not Julia Roberts... at least not when it comes to celebrity endorsement deals. That honor goes to Catherine Zeta-Jones, who tops a list compiled by Adweek magazine.

WES ANDERSON directed JASON SCHWARTZMAN in Rushmore. The duo is reunited in a new ad for American Express. No word o­n what they were paid, but it was probably less than Catherine Zeta-Jones.

IRAQ: With al-Maliki the presumptive prime minister, Mohammed at ITM begins to look at party posturing over cabinet positions. Defense, Interior and Oil will be the o­nes to watch. Bill Roggio discovers that bin Laden did mention Iraq in his latest tape, calling Baghdad the epicenter of jihad. AQ No. 2 Zawahiri calls it "the place for the greatest battle of Islam in this era." So why was OBL was urging jihadis to go to the Sudan instead?

BIN LADEN IN THE MEDIA: Speaking of OBL, while Reuters has a policy against calling anyone a terrorist, did you know that the AP and AFP refer to OBL as a "Saudi dissident?" I hear people -- including folks at the wire services -- say that o­ne person's terrorist is another person's freedom fighter, but when OBL makes these tapes, there's no mention of freedom o­n them. If his side ever won, these journalists would soon find themselves beheaded, having outlived their usefulness to his propaganda efforts.

IRAN IN THE MEDIA: The AP notes that Iranian Pres. Ahmadinejad said o­n o­n Monday that "We say that this fake regime (Israel) cannot not logically continue to live." The AP refers to this as "criticism" of Israel. But at least the AP reported the comment, which is more than Reuters could manage.

HANNAH claimed the top prize in the 27th annual "Beautiful Bulldog" contest in Des Moines, IA, which marks the beginning of the Drake Relays, o­ne of the nation's oldest and most prestigious track and field meets.

SNUPPY, the world's first and o­nly cloned dog, celebrated his first birthday with ice cream and sausages.

A MALLARD has made a nest for herself and her babies-to-be in a Minnesota hardware store's garden department. And why not? It's outdoorsy, but much more comfy. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (does Doug Newman still work there?) said the birds are federally protected and their nests cannot be relocated until the eggs hatch.

MORMON CRICKETS are munching their way across millions of acres in the arid West. I thought that we expect the Mormons to travel across the arid West.

SHEEP are billboards in the Netherlands. Burma-Shear!

BABY PIGMY HIPPO debuts at the Tokyo Zoo. Awww...

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