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Spinto Band, Dan Wilson, Tom Waits, Reindeer Toupee   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, December 15, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


BLOC PARTY presents a fractured fairy tale in "One Month Off," from the band's upcoming album.

THE SPINTO BAND brought their irrepressible energy to the World Cafe for a set you can stream on demand via NPR.

DAN WILSON: The Grammy-winning former frontman in Semisonic and guitarist in Trip Shakespeare stopped by The Current for a chat and mini-set you can stream on demand via MPR.

THE MINUS STORY does the four free songs thing for Daytrotter, with one previously unreleased.

MATES OF STATE talk to The A.V. Club about their busy year, traveling with kids, and The A.V. Club's D+ review of Re-Arrange Us.

TOM WAITS gives a reading of a "Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis."

THE SMITHS: Morrissey and guitarist Johnny Marr are now reported to be regularly in touch with each other, prompting a fresh round of reunion rumors.

LOVE IS ALL: The Chicago Tribune's Greg Kot talks to frontwoman Josephine Olausson about advancing artistically while keeping a DIY attitude on the Swedish band's sophomore album.

2008 IN REVIEW: The Times of London asks musicians, including Elbow's Guy Garvey, Adele and Justin Vernon (a/k/a Bon Iver) about their year.

NPR announces layoffs and program cancellations to fix a 23 million dollar budget deficit, bit its execs make more than the President and the Chief Justice of the United States.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE:  The Day the Earth Stood Still sits atop the chart with 31 million -- but that's far less than past films kicking off the holiday season (I Am Legend and National Treasure: Book of Secrets both made about 45 million). Nevertheless, with an 80 million production budget, the movie should end up in the black. Four Christmases drops to second with 13.3 million, dropping only 20 percent. It has now exceeded the production budget and should hit 100 million next weekend. Twilight made eight million; it has now topped 150 million on a 37 million production budget, and will almost certainly finish in the Top Ten for the year. Disney's Bolt came in fourth with 7.5 million, dropping only 23 percent; it will beat Meet The Robinsons, but fall well short of Chicken Little. Baz Luhrmann's Australia rounds out the Top Five with 4.2 million, but it has taken in only 37.8 million at a production cost of $130 million -- those are Speed Racer type numbers. Ouch. Below the fold, Quantum of Solace continued toward becoming the most lucrative Bond movie ever, and  Nothing Like The Holidays had a disappointing debut with 3.5 million. Overall, this weekend was off significanly from this weekend last year.

NAOMI WATTS & LIEV SCHREIBER welcomed their second child, a baby boy, on Saturday.

MADONNA & GUY RITCHIE are to call a Christmas truce for the sake of their children.

CHARLIE & DENISE: Sheen and Richards's daughters are unharmed after being involved in a car accident Friday in Malibu.

HUGH JACKMAN will host the 81st annual Academy Awards in February.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Cruise has obtained a restraining order against a military veteran facing a weapons rap who repeatedly showed up uninvited to Cruise's Beverly Hills home to try and hand deliver a letter to the star. I think I have to concede Cruise that one. But then he had to go imitate Elvis Presley on the Tonight Show. ALSO: Variety gives Valkyrie a "Meh."

AMY WINEHOUSE has been helping out as a nurse during her hospital stay in a bid to avoid being kicked out.

GWYNETH PALTROW faces rumors that she has had work done on her chassis.

MICHAEL BOLTON & NICOLETTE SHERIDAN: Their breakup left him "basically homeless - and stuck with two houses."

JENNIFER ANISTON, no doubt still puzzled over interest in her private life, blabs more about her nekked-but-for-a-necktie GQ cover.  And on-again bf John Mayer gets in on the act.

PAULA ABDUL is looking to leave American Idol, perhaps as early as this season's auditions.  She has other projects, you see.

BETTIE PAGE, the 50s pinup queen whose popularity underwent a cult-like revival in the last 20 years, died Thursday in Los Angeles at 85. After largely disappearing in 1957, her private life - two failed marriages, a fight against poverty and mental illness, resurrection as a born-again Christian, years of seclusion in Southern California - was a mystery to all but a few close friends.

ANNA NICOLE SMITH IS STILL DEAD... and her two and a half ton monument features quotes from a particularly wacky episode of her reality show.

INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS: Stills from Quentin Tarantino's WWII flick have surfaced online.

ROGER AVARY, the Oscar-winning co-screenwriter of Pulp Fiction, was charged with gross vehicular manslaughter on Friday for a deadly car accident in January.

AL QAEDA: A growing feud between Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's chief lieutenant, and Sayyed Imam al-Sharif, the jailed ex-leader of Egypt's Islamic Jihad, could weaken support for Al Qaeda.

PAKISTAN:  The president said the ISI has no links to Lashkar-e-Taiba. The foreign minister said there is no evidence Jamaat-ud-Dawa is a front group for Lashkar. The interior adviser said action was not taken against Jamaat-ud-Dawa due to pressure form India. Let's hope all that denial is just for public consumption.

IRAQ: The specialized Oil Police should be ready to take over full responsibility for protecting the nation's oil pipelines from theft and attack by late 2010. Iran is no longer actively supplying Iraqi militias with a particularly lethal kind of roadside bomb, suggesting a strategic shift by the Iranian theocracy.

BUBBA EATS A BURRITO in one second. Let's go to the video.

D-BOY the PITBULL took three bullets for his family while fending off an intruder. Video at the link.

A CHIPMUNK fills a woman's engine compartment with thousands of black walnuts. Investigation continues as to links with militant squirrels.

CAT SHOOTS MAN: The man claims it was an accident.

SHAGGY the REINDEER models the world's first antler toupee after his horns fell off during mating season. Ho-ho-ho worthy pics at the link.

3291 Reads

The Band, Ryan Adams, Cutout Bin, Animal Videos galore   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, December 12, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



...with THE BAND!  The Last Waltz, billed as a "farewell" concert after 16 years of touring, found The Band joined by special guests, including Eric Clapton, Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Ringo Starr, Muddy Waters, Dr. John, and Neil Young.  Someone has posted virtually all of Martin Scorsese's 1978 documentary, which features concert performances, scenes shot on a studio soundstage and interviews by Scorsese with members of The Band.  The Wikipedia entry for the show has a tracklisting and is pretty good place to start for more background on the concert and the movie.

RYAN ADAMS stopped by The Current for a chat and mini-set you can stream on demand via MPR.

4AD is offering a free 2008 sampler with tracks from TV on the Radio, Deerhunter, Dept. of Eagles, Stereolab, Bon Iver and more, in return for your e-mail address.

GUSTER, whose members have been busy breeding, move from Reprise to Columbia.  Of course, at this time of year, you will also find Adam Gardner playing Hannukah tunes in The LeeVees.

JIMI HENDRIX: You can download Electric Ladyland for 1.99 at Amazon.

JOHNNY CASH, with June Carter Cash, family and friends, on "The 12 Days Of Christmas."  Fish, meet barrel... Bang!

ADELE talks to the Telegraph about her Grammy nominations and critical acclaim, and to Billboard about plans for her sophomore album.

THE DECEMBERISTS have a release date and tracklisting for their next LP, Hazards of Love.

UGLYSUIT pianist Jonathan Martin talks to the Austin American-Statesman's 360 music blog about life since hooking up with the Touch & Go label.

TOM JONES, featured here on Tuesday, talks to the Washington Post about his first album to get a US release in 15 years.

CUTOUT BIN:  From Quincy Jones to Bishop Allen, from Al Stewart to the Music Machine, from Belle & Sebastian to Grand Funk Railroad, Badfinger, the Del Fuegos, Mates of State, Tobin Sprout, Adele, The Kinks and more -- this Friday's fortuitous finds can be jukeboxed or streamed separately via the Pate page at the ol' HM.

NOW SHOWING: This weekend's wide releases are: the remake of the sci-fi classic, The Day the Earth Stood Still, which is currently scoring 21 percent on the ol' Tomatometer; the animated Delgo, which is currently scoring nine percent; and the dysfunctional family comedy Nothing Like the Holidays, which is scoring 54 percent.

UNNECESSARY REMAKES: A full list of essential remakes might be shorter, but this slideshow at PopEater isn't bad.

THE GOLDEN GLOBES nominations were announced yesterday, marking the point where awards season starts to move into full swing, followed immediately by discussions of nomination snubs and surprises.

MADONNA & GUY RITCHIE remain locked in a prolonged legal battle over custody of their children, according to the Daily Mail.

GWYNETH PALTROW & CHRIS MARTIN are holed up in their London home "trying to make their marriage better," a source tells the NYDN.

KATE WALSH of Private Practice is getting divorced by her husband, after a little more than a year of marriage.

ASHLEE SIMPSON & PETE WENTZ have found no buyers for their baby photos? Ouch.

JENNIFER ANISTON, likely still puzzling over public interest in her private life, wears only a necktie on the cover of the January GQ.

KATE WINSLET & LEO DiCAPRIO do a joint interview with Entertainment Weekly, which ends up being more about how Titanic affected them than their upcoming pic, Revolution Road.

THE WRESTLER, which features new Golden Globe nominees Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei, has been in very limited release, but you can watch a clip at Yahoo! Movies

THE DARK KNIGHT shatters DVD sales records, though the double-DVD is indeed disappointing in the extras. Fortunately, the movie is pretty good.

CARRIE FISHER promotes her new book, Wishful Drinking, on the Today Show.  She is clearly a hit with Matt Lauer, and even the crew is laughing as she tells stories like the one where her parents got Cary Grant to counsel her to stop doing LSD.

STAR TREK fans may be glad to hear that Majel Barrett-Roddenberry will reprise her role as the voice of the Enterprise computer in the JJ Abrams reboot.  The widow of series creator Gene Rodenberry, she also played Nurse Christine Chapel in the original series.

PAKISTAN has banned Jamat-ud-Dawa -- a charity linked to militants suspected in the Mumbai attacks -- after the UN declared it a terrorist group. The UN Security Council also added the group and four of its leaders to the list of entities and organizations known to support al Qaeda and the Taliban, and as an alias of the proscribed Lashkar-e-Taiba terror group.

INCREDIBLE ANIMAL VIDEOS: Wired's Top Ten list (of which I have posted at least six over the years) has inspired a follow-up Readers' Choice list (of which I have poseted at least seven over the years).

DOGS have a sense of fairness and resent it when other dogs get better treatment. (Thx, Dad!)

THE SQUIRREL THREAT: The Daily Mail has posted pics of militant squirrels training in Kung-Fu.

BAT and TORTOISE SPECIES NAMES are up for auction by Purdue University, just in time for the holidays!  Like the Star registry, but even bettah!

A FUGITIVE EMU has been on the lam for three weeks after he was sprung by a pig at his 22-acre animal sanctuary in Foster, RI.

BONUS FRIDAY TIMEWASTER: I haven't posted a timewaster in a while, but here's Parachute. (Thx, Ken!)

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Little St. Nick, Top Debut Albums, Watson Twins, Broccoli Kitten   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, December 11, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


THE BEACH BOYS serve up a vintage take on "Little St. Nick."  Contrary to what it says at the link, it's from Shindig!, iirc.

SMASHING PUMPKINS: Billy Corgan talks to the Chicago Tribune about the retooled band's new business model.

DAVID BYRNE weighs in on the Mattel-Bratz fight. Yes, really.

THE TOP 11 DEBUT ALBUMS of 2008, with streaming tracks, according to KEXP.

THE YEAR IN MUSIC, with streaming tracks, according to All Songs Considered.

THE WATSON TWINS are the latest video session at LaundroMatinee.  Songs include "Only You," the Cure's "Just Like Heaven" and a medley that features a slice of Bill Wither's "Ain't No Sunshine."

RA RA RIOT singer Wes Miles talks to the Louisville Courier-Journal about his Vampire Weekend connection and the band's wild emotional ride after the death of drummer John Pike.

STARS: Amy Millan talks to JAM! about the band's quickie, self-released Sad Robots EP, plus future plans. 

MOUNTAIN GOATS: John Darnielle talks about his love for heavy metal, Howard lovecraft and more with the New Zealand Herald.

THE HOLD STEADY: Craig Finn talks to This Is Nottingham about The Wire, his role models and lterary style, plus more...

BRITNEY SPEARS tops the Billboard 200 albums chart for the first time in more than five years.

MARK RUFFALO mourns the death of his younger brother Scott, who has died after being shot in the head last week in Beverly Hills.   The main suspect says Scott shot himself playing Russian Roulette.

GOSSIP GIRL: Life imitates television.

BRADGELINA: Pitt's Rolling Stone interview is excerpted online: "'I normally need my kids to do this,' he mutters, as he attempts to connect my iPod into his stereo..."

JENNIFER ANISTON, reportedly baffled that people care about her personal life, blabs some more about on-again bf John Mayer, calling him "extraordinary."  And blabs some more about Angelina Jolie in GQ.

WATCHMEN: The Philip Glass-scored footage from the Watchmen Comic-Con 2008 panel has finally been released online. You can download it for free via iTunes.

THE 25 SMARTEST PEOPLE ON TV, according to Entertainment Weekly, includes the cast of The View.  Which might explain why TV is in such dire straits.

PAKISTAN has announced it will take action against the leaders of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Lashker-e-Taiba groups for their roles in the Mumbai terror attack, including freezing assets of the groups.  The prime minister confirmed that Pakistan has arrested two leaders of Lashkar-e-Taiba.  The Mumbai attacks ahve prompted concerns among US intell officials that Lashkar-e-Taiba is emerging both as a more potent threat to American interests and as a potential successor to Al Qaeda.

IRAQ is developing its National Police forces, frreing up its military to focus on exxternal threats.

BROCCOLI KITTEN, Broccoli Kitten what are they feeding you?

CAT BURGLAR has got his claws into 35 teddies and soft toys in the last year, but really likes a type of stuffed leopard.

RARE WHITE TIGER CUBS were rescued after being abandoned in the wild in South Africa. Slideshow at the link.

A BABY MALE GORILLA may be abandoned and left to the care of the staff at the San Francisco Zoo. Pics and video at the link.

BANDIT the TORTOISE, having surprisingly survived being run over by a car, gets his own set of wheels.

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Holiday Mixes, Matthew Sweet, New U2, Shark Attack   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, December 10, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


THE RACONTEURS' bluegrass version of "Old Enough," with Ricky Scaggs and Ashley Monroe, is online, with a hint of Everlys.

MATTHEW SWEET played a short set for Mountain Stage, which you can stream on demand via NPR.

WOXY is again streaming its Holiday Mixer 24/7, "filled with unique renditions of your holiday favorites by modern rockers from around the globe."

NPR is also offering a streaming holiday mix that is more eclectic by genre, but a mere 100 songs in length.

PARTS & LABOR get a World Cafe twofer of tracks featuring samples sent in by fans.

U2 premieres "I Believe in Father Christmas," a charity track for (RED)WIRE, at iLike.

BLUR will reunite next summer in Hyde Park for their first performance since 2000, with more shows "in other parts of the country."

THE GUMMY AWARDS, Stereogum and Videogum's annual readers poll celebrating the best entertainment offerings of the year, are online.  Fleet Foxes tops the Best Albums list.

KEN STRINGFELLOW talks to the Jerusalem Post about The Posies and his other ongoing projects.

THE PIPETTES: With her solo single on the way, former Pipette Rose Elinor Dougall tells The Quietus about the perils and pleasures of leaving the pop world behind.

JESSICA BIEL makes the Jaunary cover of the UK edition of GQ, in which she talks about Hollywood and her good looks, but not about bf Justin Timberlake. But beyond those pics, you may want to check out the trailer for Powder Blue, in which she plays an exotic dancer.

GREY'S ANATOMY: Multiple sources confirm to Entertainment Weekly that T.R. Knight has asked to be released from his contract, a request that both ABC and Grey's show-runner Shonda Rhimes appear poised to grant.

MARIAH CAREY was spotted coming out of a well-known ob/gyn's office in L.A., "clutching what looked like a sonogram and being greeted by her entourage with cheers.

MADONNA is looking to find Yankee Slugger Alex Rodriguez a new home base just a short throw from her own.

ANNE HATHAWAY: We now have video of the actress auctioning herself for chariity.

CLINT EASTWOOD might want to stay away from the singing. A man's got to know his limitations.

THE VICTORIA'S SECRET FASHION SHOW, icymi, offered as a public service, what with it being the holiday shopping season and all. Just call it Gratuitous Wednesday.

THE BREAKOUT STARS of 2008, according to Forbes magazine.

THE MOST DISAPPOINTING MOVIES of 2008, according to About.com's Jürgen Fauth. and Spoutblog's Karina Longworth.

PAKISTAN: Masood Azhar, the founder and leader of the Jaish-e-Mohammed, has been placed under house arrest. Azhar established Jaish-e-Mohammed the next year as an offshoot of the Harkat-u-Ansar, one of many terror groups created with the help of Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence agency to fight the Indians in Kashmir. Pakistani forces targeted offices and camps in Muzaffarabad run by Lashkar-e-Taiba, the main terror group behind the Mumbai terror siege. India claims that all of the Mumbai terrorists have been traced back to Pakistan.

AFGHANISTAN: Military commanders are exploring options for getting supplies into Afghanistan after recent attacks on logistical depots in Pakistan.

A GREAT WHITE SHARK attacks two scuba divers in Mexico.  What say you, Police Chief Brody?

CATS and DOGS and HUMANS: Comparative evolution.

BIZARRE ASSASSIN SPIDERS discovered in Madagascar.

HEY, IS THAT a sedated monkey in your shirt?

BEAVERS accused by environmental activists of illegal logging.

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New Releases, Cold War Kids, Tom Jones, Kitty slide   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, December 09, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


OH, PRETTY WOMAN: All Things Considered marked the 20th anniversary of the death of rock 'n' roll pioneer Roy Orbison with the backstory of his signature hit. Here's a star-studded version with Elvis Costello, Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Browne, J.D. Souther, Tom Waits and more having an absolute blast. Rrrrrrawr.

NEW RELEASES: Funeral Party, Justice and Neil Young are among theose with albums streaming via Spinner in another thin week for new releases. Holiday discs from The Raveonettes, Elvis Presley, Bela Fleck, Rosie Thomas, Manheim Steamroller and many more are streaming via AOL.

COLD WAR KIDS stopped by the World Cafe for a chat and mini-set you can stream on demand via NPR.

MY BRIGHTEST DIAMOND does the four free songs thing for Daytrotter.

RYAN ADAMS has started writing for BlackBook magazine. In his debut, he does not disappoint -- though his response to negative concert review in the L.A. Times is also a good read in its own way.

TOM JONES was interviewed for NPR's Weekend Edition, along with new audio tracks and classic Tube links.  In that spirit, and the spirit of Twofer Tuesday, check out Sir Tom singing "It's Not Ununsal" and the new "If He Should Ever Leave You" on Canadian Idol, which opens with some great archival footage.

DUFFY has an interview and retro-tinged fashion layout the Evening Standard magazine.

RICHARD THOMPSON: The British folk-rock icon, up to his ears in accolades, talks to JAM.

MARK LANEGAN gives Prefix a characteristically gruff interview about working with Isobel Campbell: "I always consider myself to be a pretty good breakfast cook that ended up as a singer..."

MICHAEL BOLTON gets preferential tratment from airport security? Isn't that exactly backwards?

BILL MURRAY is NYC's most unlikely new party guy, turning up at bars and house parties alike, not to mention party-hopping with the band MGMT: "He's not a boozy, sweaty party hound who gets caught on camera cheesing it up with pretty young girls (see: Mel Gibson, Bono); rather, he's more like a ghost in the night, who shows up out of nowhere, engages in utterly random conversations and then exits gracefully-leaving witnesses to wonder what the hell just happened..." FLASHBACK: In 2006, Murray turned up at a students' party in St. Andrews, even doing some dishes.

JAY LENO will remain at NBC in May 2009, doing a show at 9 p.m. when Conan O'Brien takes the reins at The Tonight Show.

JENNIFER ANISTON says she doesn't get why people care about her life so much, which may make it unanimous, absent false modesty.

LINDSAY LOHAN was nuzzling Sean Penn at his proivate dinner for the movie Milk? Don't worry; if she splits from galpal Samantha Ronson, you'l be able to read about it on her MySpace page.

ANNE HATHAWAY: Three fans bid 12K for drinks with the Rachel Getting Married actress at the Cracked X-mas Fundraiser in Los Angeles Sunday night.

JESSICA ALBA: Real vs. Photoshopped. And the real story may be how little airbrushing was done.

WATCHMEN releases its 9th video journal entry; this one gives props to the props.

THE NANNY wants to be The Senator. IMHO, she should tout playing a nanny on television as experience directly relevant to the job.

THE STANS: Taliban raiders destroyed hundreds of NATO vehicles over the past several days in Pakistan's insurgency-wracked Northwest Frontier Province. A US military spokeswoman described Sunday's attacks in Peshawar as "militarily insignificant." US intelligence circles are now re-evaluating a long-discarded proposal to declare Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism. The Taliban has a permanent presence in nearly 75 percent of Afghanistan, a new report by an international think tank says.

IRAN rejected a proposal by President-elect Barack Obama that a combination of economic incentives and tighter sanctions might persuade the Iranian government to change its behavior. Shocka.

THE MUMBAI ATTACKS were the subject of a panel held by the Counterterrorism Blog. What caught my eye were comments by Dr. David Kilcullen, an Aussie who has been advising Gen. Petraeus on counter-insurgencies:  "This was not some Islamic charity or some group working alone from the Deccan Mujahedeen: this has all the hallmarks of a Special Forces raid, closer to a commando or SBS raiding activity than a traditional Al Qaeda style terrorist attack... We can deduce they had some professional help though I think it is much too early to state who that support came from. It has been set up to look like a Pakistani government operation. We should be careful until we know more..." UPDATE: It turns out those comments caught the attention of Newsweek's Fareed Zakaraia, too.

KITTENS ON A SLIDE: Let's go to the video. Music by Dick Dale.

PUPPIES save toddler lost in the woods. BONUS: Dog owner leaps into freezing lake Michigan to save his pet.

BABY ELEPHANTS: Awww...some pics from a breeding center in the Nepalese city of Chitwan.

DANCES WITH WOLVES? A wildlife park in China is looking for three human volunteers to share an enclosure with 36 wild wolves.

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