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Vampire Weekend, More New Releases, Black Mt, Heath Ledger   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, January 23, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



VAMPIRE WEEKEND: The self-titled debut album due next week is streaming in advance from Much Music, assuming that they haven't crossed the lawyers again.  The combo also peformed a "Take-away" threefer for La Blogotheque.

MORE NEW RELEASES:  Spinner finally updtaed this week's full album streams to include Drive-By Truckers, MGMT, Super Furry Animals, Matt Costa, Biirdie and more.  And there's a new stream for Cat Power's Jukebox. (Thx, Chromewaves.)  YepRoc is streaming the Jason Ringenberg retrospective and the new Fleshtones.  There is also a stream for Dan Bejar's latest project, Hello, Blue Roses.  (Thx, LHB.)

CAT POWER:  Speaking of which, Chan Marshall gets a profile in the NY Sun that does not focus on her personal travails, while Harp magazine obsesses over her new mole.

BLACK MOUNTAIN also has a new album released this week.  The Vancouver Sun talks to co-vocalist Amber Webber about rocking out with the band and going more ambient when playing with Lighning Dust.  You can stream the first half of the new Black Mountain via TheirSpace, and a few from Lightning Dust for comparison.

DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS frontman Patterson Hood has a wide-ranging interview with Pitchfork, talking about democracy in the band, rejected album titles, album length, working with Bettye LaVette and more.

THE KILLS kick off the video for "Cheap and Cheerful" from their upcoming album with just a wee bit of vomiting.

MARSHALL CRENSHAW talks to The Morning Call about writing songs for movies like Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, and mentions an upcoming tour and album -- his first since 2003.

RINGO STARR walked off the set of "Live With Regis and Kelly" rather than cut short one of his songs.


AMY WINEHOUSE was filmed blitzed out of her skull and struggling to talk after sucking in crack fumes from a glass pipe.  The Daily Mail has learned that the footage could be investigated by police and has cast serious doubt on whether she will be allowed to fly to the US next month for the Grammy awards.  Friends say the video has plunged Winehouse's family into further despair after their failed attempts to persuade her to have treatment in rehab.

HEATH LEDGER whose breakthrough role as a gay cowboy in the 2005 movie "Brokeback Mountain" earned him a nomination for an Academy Award and comparisons to the likes of Marlon Brando, was found dead Tuesday in an apartment in Manhattan at 28 years old.  Though sleeping pills were found near his body, no obvious indication of suicide, like a note, was found in the bedroom.  Three bottles of prescription pills containing antidepressants and Ambien found in the apartment, a police source told PageSix.  Anonymously-sorced rumors of depression, drug abuse and rehab ricocheted around the internet, though the false rumor that he died at Mary-Kate Olsen's apartment may have been the most bizarre.  TMZ claims Ledger was sick with pneumonia.  Ex-fiance and baby mama Michelle Williams is "devastated" and reportedly headed for NYC.  Warner Bros., the studio readying The Dark Knight, in which Ledger plays Batman's nemesis, The Joker, has issued a statement of condolences.  My bet would be the movie is released as planned, but that the marketing, which juxtaposed Ledger with the bloody slogan "Why So Serious?" -- will be changed.  However,as of post time, the viral website is still active, even though it opens with a note reading, "The only sensible way to live in this world is without rules."  I would prefer to remember him with a laugh, as he delivers singing Frankie Valli's "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" in 10 Things I Hate About You.

THE LEAKED SCIENTOLOGY VIDEO DU JOUR features testimonials from John Travolta, Kirstie Alley and Anne Archer, but the wacky intro is worth a peep long before you get to the actors.

TOM-KAT:  Scientology is an inspiration for the latest artwork at Pretty on the Outside.

REESE WITHERSPOON engaged to Jake Gyllenhaal?  Her rep denies it.

SIMON COWELL has revealed that he is planning to leave £90 million to charity in his will.

BRITNEY SPEARS:  The pop wreck's lawyers will go to court today and ask Commissioner Scott Gordon to allow her "monitored visitation in a therapeutic setting," as her family and the professionals in her life have been planning a "creative way" to get her mental help.  However, as Spears has defied court orders for psychological evaluation, so the request may be opposed by Fed-Ex and even the court.  Meanwhile, Fed-Ex's lawyer says the deposition of Spears has been "very, very gut-wrenching,"

DENISE RICHARDS & CHARLIE SHEEN are battling again in their ongoing child custody case.  Richards wants to star in a reality show with the kids, which Sheen opposes.  Surprisingly, I have to go with the deranged 9/11 conspiracist on this one.

MADONNA is sporting a black eye, sparking speculation about plastic surgery.  It certainly would not come from a fight with hubby Guy Richie, as I am certain she could totally take him down.

BRADGELINA are adopting another girl from Africa, according to London's Mirror.  Hey, it's been at least two weeks since the last such rumor, so why not?

ASHLEE SIMPSON is being encouraged by her creepy dad-manager Joe to dump boyfriend Pete Wentz, so she can be the star of a new reality dating show.  Think SimpsonCo is running low on funds, or does Joe hate Pete that much?

THE OSCARS:  For once, I  have already seen all of the nominees for Best Picture.  You can revisit my reviews for Atonement, Juno, Michael Clayton, No Country For Old Men and There Will Be Blood for comparison, but I will have to think about how I would vote.  It's great that the adorable Juno got that nod, as well as star Ellen Page, director Jason Reitman and screenwriter Diablo Cody, though the Oscar rarely goes to comedy.  Variety notes that political films were largely shut out this year in its round-up of snubs, including A-list actors, screenwriters and The Simpsons.  There were snubs a-plenty in the song category, some noted by Variety, but especially Eddie Vedder and Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood, whose score for There Will Be Blood was disqualified.

TERROR in the US:  Jose Padilla was sentenced to a relatively lenient 17-year prison term on his conviction for supporting terrorism.  At trial, prosecutors avoided the "dirty bomb" claim that made Padilla infamous, in order to keep out evidence of Padilla's treatment in detention.  The judge, however, took those factors into account in denying the government's request for a life sentence.

IRAN:  The political authority of the Pres. Ahmadinejad suffered a serious blow after supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei sided with parliament by ordering him to supply cheap gas to villages undergoing power cuts amid an unexpectedly harsh winter.  Meanwhile, the UN Security Council's permanent members and Germany agreed Tuesday on a new draft resolution on sanctions against the Islamic theocracy over its nuclear program.

IRAQ and the MEDIA:  A New York Times article, "Hopes for Vehicle Questioned After Blast," claims that "the first fatality inflicted by a roadside bomb on an MRAP" (the new Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected armored vehicle) is some seminal event in the conflict.  Milblogger Badger 6 points out numerous flaws in the story, starting with the fact that it is not the first such fatality. At Wired's Danger Room, Noah Schactman identifies more flaws in the story, which Schactman thinks misses the more important issue of whether the MRAPs are sufficiently maneuverable for Iraq.  This is a common flaw in the media coverage of Iraq, as I have noted with respect to stories about up-armoring Humvees and the proper type and level of body armor.  There is almost always a trade-off between armor and mobility, yet the media almost always assumes that more armor is safer, rather than deal with the complex and varied situations faced by the military in Iraq.  Even the Associated Press notes in this case that the crew compartment of the MRAP "was not compromised" and the three soldiers inside escaped with cuts and broken bones in their feet.  So the NYT is going quite out of its way to accentuate the negative in this instance.

PANDAS:  Fu Long, the first baby panda to be born in Europe in a quarter of a century has made his first public appearance at the Vienna Zoo.  Pic at the link.  But lest we think it's all about the cute, let's go to video of a jealous panda. (Thx, Amber.)

A BLIND SEAL named Alfred, found on the New Jersey shore early last year, made his debut at the L.A. Zoo on Friday.  Video at the link.

SNAKES on a PLANE!  Customs officials in Vietnam discovered a ton of live snakes on board a Thai Air flight from Bangkok, hidden inside 60 ice boxes marked "fresh fish."  BONUS:  Snake in a Van in Helena, MT.

BELCHING COWS will be studied by a Swedish university to measure the bovine greenhouse gases.

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Ryan Adams, New Releases, Levon Helm, YLT, Mango the Poodle   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


RYAN ADAMS continues to post all sorts of video like "Why Heartache Hurts" to his Tube account.  He's already deleted a couple more explicitly dealing with his breakup with Jessica Joffe, so if you're a fan or a voyeur, you should check his account regularly.

NEW RELEASES:  Cat Power's Jukebox is streaming in full via Rhapsody.  MGMT's Oracular Spectacular is streaming via MuchMusic.  Drive-By Truckers' Brighter Than Creation's Dark is streaming from Rhapsody.  Albums from Magnetic Fields and The Whigs are still streaming via Spinner.

33 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT LED ZEPPELIN, courtesy of Blender magazine.

LEVON HELM, best known as the drummer-vocalist of The Band, stopped by the World Cafe for a chat and mini-set you can stream on demand via NPR.

BE YOUR OWN PET is streaming advance tracks from their upcoming album at BYOPSpace.

YO LA TENGO are captured playing the bouncy "Mr. Tough" and "I Feel Like Going Home" at The Current.  And that. my friends, is Twofer Tuesday.

BEAT SURRENDER:  At the Evening Standard, Richard Godwin has a wonderful piece on the role of rhythm in indie music.

HALL & OATES:  The now-cleanshaven John Oates is busy working on a new cartoon in development about the superpowers of his formerly famous mustache.

THE MOLDY PEACHES continued their reunion with a chat and mini-set for The Bryant Park Project you can stream via NPR.

PETE DOHERTY were reimagined as two infamous British murderers by artist Russell Young.  The images have been sold by a gallery for a reported £28,000.  The work is meant as an observation on the self-destructive hedonism of some of Britain's biggest celebrities.

BRITNEY SPEARS has reportedly dumped her British photographer boyfriend Adnan Ghalib, furious that she has been "conned" into appearing in photos for his paparazzi agency.  When asked if she has a message for Ghalib, the pop wreck responded in a British accent, "I don't know who that is... I have never met him before."  Long before hooking up with Spears, Ghalib reportedly had targeted Angelina Jolie, according to the ever-reliable National Enquirer.  Yesterday, Spears spent two hours for an ongoing deposition in her ongoing child custody battle with Fed-Ex.  Blender magazine is prpping a March cover story on the pop tart, which will report that everyone around Spears seemed baffled by her bizarre behavior.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  MTV has published a guide to the Scientology-speak in the Cruisetastic videos now on the web.  Fellow Scientologist John Travolta is defending Cruise, claiming the intense media scrutiny has gone too far.  Investigative journalist Ian Halperin is about to publish an exposé of the controversial church, with allegations of racism and homophobia galore.

CLOVERFIELD, having the highest January opening weekend ever, has inspired talk of a sequel.. or more like an equel.

OLIVER STONE  has set his sights on his next directing project, "Bush," a film focusing on the life and presidency of George W. Bush, and attached Josh Brolin to play the title role: "I'm the referee, and I want a fair, true portrait of the man. How did Bush go from an alcoholic bum to the most powerful figure in the world?"

CHARLIZE THERON has a reputation as one of Hollywood's more intelligent actresses, but is a little weak on geography.

THE OSCARS:  Nominees are due to be announced today.  You can check 'em against the predictions at The Envelope.  Newsweek conducted its 11th Oscar roundtable with possible acting nominees George Clooney (Michael Clayton), Angelina Jolie (A Mighty Heart), Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood), Ellen Page (Juno), James McAvoy (Atonement), and Marion Cotillard (La Vie en Rose).  Text and video at the link.  The video is interesting from the standpoint of seeing the "veterans" getting the newbies involved in the discussion; it's stars acting like nice people.

THE RAZZIES:  Unaffected by the Hollywood writers' strike, the 28th annual Golden Raspberries Award nominees have been announced.  The Worst Picture nominees are Bratz, Daddy Day Camp, I Know Who Killed Me, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, and Norbit.  Lindsay Lohan gets a nod, but the real story is Eddie Murphy who garners a record five noms -- including "Worst Screen Couple" -- for Norbit.  Full lists at the link.

WOODY ALLEN answers ten questions from readers of Time magazine.

CHRISTINA RICCI is becoming obsessed with gambling.

DITA VON TEESE, who reintroduced the world to the joys of 'burlesque', is set to become the new face of Wonderbra, though I'm not sure that face is the right word.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON is boosting the... morale of US troops in the Persian Gulf: "A hush fell over the crowd as Johansson, wearing a pink sweater, knee-high boots and cherry-red lipstick, entered the USO."  Pics at the link.  A very nice gesture, especially from an Obama girl.  BONUS:  Unedited DoD video from one of the meet-and-greets that ends with a song and a kiss.  ALSO: NYDN gossip Ben Widdicombe claims we can soon expect an announcement that Scar-Jo is betrothed to actor Ryan Reynolds?  Cue Vader!

ISLAMISM in the UK:  Islamic courts meet every week in the UK to rule on divorces and financial disputes. London's Telegraph reports on demands by senior Muslims that sharia be given legal authority.

SAUDI ARABIA is to lift its ban on women drivers in an attempt to stem a rising suffragette-style movement in the Kingdom.

IRAQ:  The Pentagon is considering Gen. Petraeus for the top NATO command later this year.  Th UN's chief envoy in Iraq said we cannot ignore the recent improvements both in the security and political situation in Iraq, though a political consensus on the most fundamental elements of the Iraqi state is needed for lasting results.  US and Iraqi commandos killed a suspected Shiite militia leader Monday during a raid in western Baghdad, the military said.  US warplanes pounded suspected AQI havens on the southern edge of Baghdad for the third time this month, hitting more than 30 targets in a 35-bomb blitz.  The WaPo has a piece on one of the deepest reservoirs of information the US has ever obtained of the network of foreign jihadis going into Iraq.

THE MILITARY and the MEDIA::  The New York Times profiles embedded indie blogger Michael Yon, who says he has recently, grudgingly, accepted that he has become a journalist.  In response to last weekend's badly flawed NYT piece painting Iraq and Afghanistan vets as criminals, Iowahawk -- a very different kind of blogger -- responds with a heavily researched article of his own.

MANGO the POODLE is now fully-equipped, after two near-death experiences since Thanksgiving.

THE SQUIRREL THREAT:  A militant rodent took down the grid in Big Sandy and Winona, TX.  Left in the dark and without water, both schools canceled classes in the midst of mid-terms.  Video at the link.

A BEACHED DOLPHIN was rescued in Britain by a sailor who swam with the creature to guide it back out to sea.  What's that, Flipper?  You're Welcome!

MIRABELLE the POT-BELLIED PIG has gone missing from her cushy farm stable in Bucks County, PA, during a morning walk.  Why is there no wall-to-wall coverage of this on the cable news?

ELEPHANTS saunter down the streets of Bangkok almost every night, stopping off at red-light districts and tourist areas, despite the creation of a Stray Elephant Task Force and a team of undercover elephant enforcers.  Jumbo needs a happy ending.

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U2, Bon Iver, Moldy Peaches, John Stewart, Conan the Dog   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, January 21, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


U2:  Given that the US marks Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a holiday today, "Pride (In the Name of Love)" and "MLK" are your obvious choices.

ROBERT PLANT & ALISON KRAUSS plot a US tour that could seriously complicate any Led Zeppelin reunion tour.

BON IVER:  Justin Vernon stopped by The Current for a chat and mini-set you can stream on demand via MPR.

THURSTON MOORE is scoring an adult DVD directed by photographer/filmmaker Richard Kern, who has also directed several Sonic Youth videos.  He's like the indie Eddie Van Halen.

BUDDY MILLER hits the road with friends and fan Emmylou Harris, Patty Griffin and Shawn Colvin on the "Three Girls and Their Buddy Tour."

THE BRUNETTES did the four free songs to stream or download thing for a daytrotter session.

THE MOLDY PEACHES will be reuniting to perform "Anyone Else But You" on The View today, in support of the Juno soundtrack.  But now you can see 'em at the Juno premiere instead.

JOHN STEWART, a member of The Kingston Trio, with an acclaimed solo career that included recording more than 40 albums, died after a massive stroke on Saturday at age 68.  Unfortunately my favorite solo stuff, like "The Mother Road," is not avaliable online.  He is, however, best known for writing "Daydream Believer," which was a No. 1 hit for The Monkees in December 1967 (their last).  In 1979, Anne Muuray's version hit No.1 on on the Adult Contemporary chart, No. 3 on the country chart, and No. 12 on the pop chart.  But I think you would rather watch Paul Westerberg cover it in 1993 as the crowd goes berzerk.  Or watch The Edge leads Madison Square Garden in a kareoke version on U2's PopMart tourBONUSDavy Jones ambushes The Edge in Los Angeles.

MARK RONSON:  Music insiders claim the 32-year-old Svengali is the most extraordinary young figure to emerge on the scene in decades, potentially as influential as Phil Spector was in the Sixties.  The Daily Mail's profile includes cameos from Keith Moon, Michael Jackson, Tom-Kat, some of the most well-known names in British politics, and a famous fraudster.

GARY GLITTER is in the hospital after suffering a heart attack in the Vietnamese jail where he is serving three years for abusing girls aged 11 and 12.  British and Vietnamese officials have been in talks over his early release on health grounds.

AMY WINEHOUSE appeared wild-eyed and dishevelled in court when she came to support her jailed husband Blake Fielder-Civil.  As her husband was led back into custody she interrupted court proceedings to shout: "Love you handsome. Gorgeous one."  She then rounded on reporters sitting in court and yelled: "I wasn't talking to you."

PETE DOHERTY has reportedly knocked up the 20-year-old god-daughter of Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, according to the uber-reliable News of the World.  The tabloid claims she has still not told her parents she is pregnant, but I'm guessing there will be inquiries.

BRITNEY SPEARS:  The paparazzi at X17 Online are claiming that Britney's sometime manager and pal Sam Lutfi showed the agency's photogs a copy of the pop wreck's restraining order against supposed bf Adnan Ghalib.  For his part, Ghalib says he is not aware of any restraining order and has been out of town for a funeral since Friday.  The LAPD says no restraining order has been officially filed, but that doesn't mean Spears hasn't started the paperwork.  Meanwhile, Spears has reportedly been canned from a three-million-dollar movie role.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  Cruise brands federal officials "liars" and takes credit for saving the lives of hundreds of supposedly poisoned workers at Ground Zero in a wacky new Scientology video.  BONUS:  Radar magazine, one of the first to flag the Scientology videos, has some highlights from the list of questions asked in a Scientology "audit."

NICOLE KIDMAN was a cold, petulant and moody diva, according to the unauthorized biography of her ex-husband, Tom Cruise.  And yet still comes off better than he does.

KATE MOSS celebrated her 34th birthday with a sleazy orgy involving three other partygoers, according to the uber-reliable News of the World.  Her boyfriend was not among them.  The catwalk queen got hot and sweaty with two female models and a lucky male guest while a crowd of onlookers snorted cocaine and ogled the eye-popping performance.

PAMELA ANDERSON is no longer pregnant, though there is no elaboration on how that came about.

LINDSAY LOHAN will soon be working at a morgue as part of her punishment for misdemeanor drunken driving.  Eveyone is going with The Sixth Sense punchline, so Ill add that the punishment is very Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE:  The mystery monster of Cloverfield stomped the competition to the tune of 41 million; the flick had a budget of between 25-25 million.  Ketherine Heigl's 27 Dresses also wore well, making 22.4 million.  The Bucket List and the adorable Juno held well, dropping only 22 and 25 percent repectively.  The former is a sure bet to break even, while the latter seems a sure bet to break 100 million.  First Sunday tumbled 56 percent in its second weekend.  Mad Money debuted in a disappointing seventh spot, while Alvin and the Chipmunks near the 200 million mark.  Atonement stayed in the Ten spot, but increased its receipts 12 percent over last weekend.  There Will Be Blood made it to eleven after expanding to 389 screens.

GEORGE CLOONEY has been made a UN "messenger of peace" to promote the organization's peacekeeping activities around the world.

REESE & RYAN are reportedly squabbling over how much time their kids are spending with Witherspoon's new boyfriend, Jake Gyllenhaal.

HEATH LEDGER & GEMMA WARD are rumored to be dating.

SUZANNE PLESHETTE,  the smoky-voiced actress who played Bob Newhart's wife Emily for six years on the popular 1970s sitcom "The Bob Newhart Show," has died of respiratory failure. She was 70.  In real life, she was married to Newhart regular Tom Poston.

ALLAN MELVIN , a popular character actor who played butcher Sam Franklin on The Brady Bunch and Archie Bunker's neighbor and friend Barney on All in the Family, has died of cancer. He was 84.

JESSICA SIMPSON's problems with Dallas Cowboys fans inspire The Onion: "Speaking to reporters she had invited into her impenetrable subterranean Texas lair on Monday, Jessica Simpson gloated over the victory she recently achieved after nearly two years of using her personal charms, her unique brand of cunning, and every resource at her disposal to meticulously plot the downfall of the Cowboys' 2007 season..."

CARTOON JIHAD:  A Belarus court sentenced a newspaper editor to three years in prison for reprinting a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad.  Meanwhile, in Canada, Alberta's Human Rights Commission is going after former publisher Ezra Levant for publishing the cartoons.  His opening statement is wonderfully defiant.

IRAN:  David B. Crist, who served in the Marine Corps reserves in Iraq in 2003 and now works for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recounts prior incidents of US ships being targeted by the small boats of Iran's Revolutionary Guard.

IRAQ:  Bill Roggio has a series of maps showing AQI's shrinking area of operations in Iraq.  Street battles between members of a messianic cult and Iraqi troops erupted in Basra and Nasiriyah.  However, one of the holiest events for Shiite Muslims ended peacefully Saturday in the southern Iraqi city of Karbala, attended by millions.  US commanders hope they can turn Moqtada al-Sadr's Shiite supporters the same way they have former Sunni insurgents.  However, his Mahdi Army may not renew the ceasefire.  About 75 percent of Baghdad's neighborhoods are now secure, a dramatic increase from eight percent a year ago when President Bush ordered more troops to the capital, US military figures show.  Five brigade combat teams, equal to 2007's troop "surge," should be home by July, accorrding to SecDef Gates.

CONAN, an 18-month-old long haired chihuahua, folds his paws in prayer alongside a Buddhist priest at Shuri-kannondo temple in Naha city, Okinawa province, Japan.  I would guess there are not too many Buddhists named Conan.

THE SQUIRREL THREAT has spawned its own cartoon jihad in Romania, with embedded video goodness.

PET HOARDING:  Hundreds of neglected animals found on a ranch in Lancaster, Calif., were being rescued Saturday, including 30 cats, 40 chickens and turkeys, 100 goats and sheep, a llama, an emu, a pregnant horse, three potbellied pigs and a 600-pound farm pig. Many of the animals were pregnant.

POOP POWER soon will be fueling the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden.

A RABBIT has adopted six abandoned kittens in Aberdeen, Sctotland.  Awww...some photo and video at the link.

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Advance Drive-By Truckers, Morrissey, Cutout Bin, Cloverfield   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, January 18, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



...with RADIOHEAD's surprise show at the 93 Feet East club in London two nights ago!  It was the first show this intimate since some US dates around the time of OK Computer.  The Times of London writes that the gig "felt like a modern-day equivalent of The Beatles' al fresco show on the rooftop of their Apple HQ" and "So much for the myth that they no longer rock."  The band played the entirety of the new In Rainbows album: "15 Step," "Bodysnatchers," "Nude," "Weird," "Fishes/Arpeggi," "All I Need," "Faust Arp," "Reckoner," "House of Cards," "Jigsaw Falling into Place," and "Videotape."  I feel slightly guilty about featuring Rradiohead just two weeks after their New Year's webcast, but this is a special case.  If you're burned out on Radiohead, check out my Wednesday qurtet of videos from Duffy.

DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS:  Rolling Stone can hook you up to an advance stream of the upcoming Brighter Than Creation's Dark album, plus Robert Christgau's review of the record.  And maybe the lawyers will stay away.

TEDDY THOMPSON talks to London's Telegraph about American country music and working with parents Richard and Linda, Martha and Rufus Wainwright, and Emmylou Harris.

LILY ALLEN is reportedly heartbroken after suffering a miscarriage.

NICOLE ATKINS & THE SEA are playing the World Cafe at noon EST today.  You can stream the gig live -- or on demand a bit later -- via NPR.

MORRISSEY is accosted by a stream of stage divers in the live footage backing "That's How People Grow Up," the new track on his upcoming Greatest Hits LP.

THE ROLLING STONES are putting out the soundtrack to the Marty Scorsese concert film, Shine A Light, on Universal, not EMI.  Seems like Paul McCartney is not the only classic rocker not happy with EMI's new management -- esp. its policy against big advances.

WILCO:  At Cinema Blend, Jessica Grabert explains how she learned to loathe the band -- and why she thinks others love Tweedy & Co.  (Thx, LHB.)

THE DAP-KINGS are set to jet to L.A. to back Amy Winehouse at the Grammys -- provided she passes the drug test necessary for a visa and the show isn't derailed by the writers' strike.

PETE DOHERTY, who is in training for this year's Flora London Marathon, is wearing his girlfriend's bras to protect his "sore nipples."

CUTOUT BIN:  From Marshall Crenshaw to Candi Staton, from Gram Parsons to Xiu Xiu, from The Clash to Nelson Riddle, this Friday's fortuitous finds -- with covers a-plenty -- can be jukeboxed or streamed individually on the Pate page at the ol' HM

CLOVERFIELD is -- as the trailers and ads suggest -- "The Blair Godzilla Project" (I'm sure plenty will draw that analogy) -- a giant monster movie told as a video verite mockumentary from the point of view of a group of friends and acquaintances in NYC at the wrong time.  I suppose NYC natives may feel queasy about some of the 9/11-esque imagery, though similar images appeared in Spielber's non-NYC-based War of the Worlds.  I do not think there is any sort of 9/11 subtext to the movie.  I congratulate the filmmakers for managing to keep the monster -- and one of its unique facets -- largely secret in the Internet age (I was aware of this facet, but if you want the spoiler, click the "Read full article..." link at the bottom of today's entry.  What makes Cloverfield good, as opposed to great, however, is that the backstory for the main characters is not as fleshed out as it could have been, given the clever way it was presented.  This weakness, combined with the fact that the focal character Rob is not always sympathetic, almost ensures (though it was likely to happen any way) that the character the audence likes the most is Hud, who is the largely unseen cameraman.  It does give the movie a strange symmetry, as the monster itself is more glimpsed than seen.  Indeed, I suspect people will debate whether the monster should ever be fully revealed (my take would be they should have actually waited for the moment where it is fully revealed, and shown a bit less in a couple of distance shots).  It is a movie ultimately more about style than substance, but is stylish and gives the audience enough to keep it worried about whether some or all of the cast will survive.  BONUS:  The teaser trailer for J.J. Abrams' Star Trek reboot ran in front of Cloverfield, but about all you see is a peek at the USS Enterprise.

NOW SHOWING:  In addition to Cloverfield, which goes way wide on 3411 screens and a 70 percent rating on the ol' Tomatometer, this weekend's wide releases are the Katherine Heigl rom-com 27 Dresses, which is scoring 35 percent; and the Keaton-Latifah-Holmes comedy Mad Money, currently scoring 22 percent.  Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood expands to 389 screens and a 90 percent score.  And there is still the adorable Juno, which has been No. 2 at the box office during the week.

BRITNEY SPEARS: The pop wreck's agenda for Wednesday included getting stopped for speeding, and a 2 a.m. shopping spree without pants.  That is how the paparazzi at X17 got nsfw photographic evidence that the pop tart is not pregnant.  Four paparazzi were arrested for reckless driving while chasing Britney Spears' car around Mission Hills.  On Thursday morning, "manager" Sam Lutfi barged in on Britney in the shower, during a phone call into Ryan Seacrest's radio show.  UPDATE:  TMZ has sources sugestinng that Spears has multiple-personality disorder.

JAMIE LYNN SPEARS, Britney's 16-year-old knocked up sister, denies miscarriage rumors.

OWEN WILSON was busted on film and video buying a monkey pipe at the Green House Smoke Shop in Venice Beach, Calif.  Isn't he supposed to be rehabbed?

DREW BARRYMORE was... wait for it... caught canoodling on camera with co-star Jason Long at the New Orleans airport.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON is going to entertain the troops in the Persian Gulf, the USO has announced.  The precise dates are undisclosed.  For some reason, Scar-Jo gets a large supply of fan letters from the military and wanted to do more than just answer them on paper.

SEAN PENN:  Was Sienna Miller a factor in his split from Robin Wright Penn? 

KIEFER SUTHERLAND gets out of the slammer Monday morning.  A Glendale City Jail rep told People magazine: "He never wanted preferential treatment from the get go, and we respect him for that."

THE X-FILES sequel is a "stand-alone movie, not a mythology conspiracy one," says series creator Chris Carter.  Probably a smart decision -- how could they compete for conspiracies now that the Internet is ubiquitous?

HOLLYWOOD WRITERS' STRIKE:  The Directors Guild of America struck a deal with the major studios that may pressure the Writers Guild to settle the 11-week-old strike that has roiled Tinseltown.  Which was why -- imho --the studios were working on a deal with the directors even before the strike.

THE OSCAR NOMINEES for Best Picture, once reflected a kind of national cinema, but have become a smaller niche market than horror films or urban comedies.

RACHEL BILSON, who has been seen on episodes of Chuck after the demise of The O.C., and will soon be on the big screen in Jumper, has a photo spread the February 2008 issue of GQ magazine.  There's also a video of the photo-shoot soundtracked with Vampire Weekend's "A-Punk."  Yep, it's Gratuitous Friday.

IRAN is confident of a prompt solution to the dispute over its nuclear program, despite the possiblility of further UN Security Council sanctions, but deputy foreign minister warned that failure to find a solution would play into the hands of those who favor unilateral action and war.  A new GAO report claims the three-year international effort to pressure Iran is faltering, and questions the impact of 20 years of US economic sanctions on Tehran.  At the Counterterrorism Blog, Matthew Levitt argues that the new report misses the point.  Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki publicly claimed that Pres. Bush would be impeached by his own party over his statements about Iran, displaying the keen grasp of US politics and the US Constitution Iran needs in its top diplomat.

LT. COL. JOHN NAGL, blurbed here yesterday, was interviewed on WHYY's Fresh Air about what's next for Iraq.

IRAQ:  Gen. Petraeus said Iran was still training terrorists despite its pledge to cut support for the insurgency.  He and SecDef Gates are at odds over the speed of the drawdown for the "surge."  More than 75K US and Iraqi soldiers are preparing to launch the widest military operation since 2003 in three Sunni provinces in what is being described by military sources, as a crucial attempt to uproot AQI.  The US military conducted more than five times as many airstrikes in Iraq last year as it did in 2006, targeting AQI safe houses, insurgent bombmaking facilities and weapons stockpiles in an aggressive strategy aimed at supporting the "surge" by overwhelming enemies with air power.  Iraq faces a period of economic growth and political progress, according to assessments by the International Monetary Fund and the UN.

WOLFGANG LEANDER:  Swimming with sharks is his hobby.  He's 67 and has been doing it since he was 14, but not without incident.

THE SQUIRREL THREAT:  Grey squirrels are even more devious than anyone realized.

MOOKIE the BULL, won in a poker game, was kept in a garage in Ewing, NJ... until someone tipped off Animal Control.

THE ROBOT ZOO will offer children in Qatar the chance to explore the biomechanics of complex animal robots to discover how real animals work.  Freaky pic at the link.

Read full article: 'Advance Drive-By Truckers, Morrissey, Cutout Bin, Cloverfield'
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Advance Cat Power, Idolator Pop, Magnetic Fields, Flocke   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, January 17, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


THE ROSEBUDS left Jasmine instructions to work up a cover song for the band.  The resulting take on Salt-N-Pepa's "Push It" is a little too true to the original for my taste, but fairly impressive work for a dog.  Good cowbell, Jasmine!  (The original video is a click-trough at the link, too.)

CAT POWER:  You can listen to an advance stream of her upcoming Jukebox album via MuchMusic.  I had trouble streaming a couple of tracks; if you do, just click on the next track.  UPDATE:  Darn lawyers.

IDOLATOR POP:  The second annual Idolator Pop Critics Poll is online, with poll results, essays, individual ballots, music mixes and more.

DAYTROTTER is set to be acquired by Wolfgang's Vault -- the historic live music archive of Bill Graham Presents -- in an effort to reach a younger audience.  Daytrotter celebrated the announcement with a downloadable live Ramones cut from the Palladium in 1978,

BOB MOULD tells MSNBC that he is "a lover, not a fighter."  Not that anyone will confuse him with Jacko.

SIR PAUL McCARTNEY is to stage the first major UK exhibition of photographs by his late wife Linda, to mark the 10th anniversary of her death.  Having seen such an exhibition here in the US, I must say that photography was her true talent, as one might expect from a member of the Eastman family.  Of course, watching Linda's infamous 1990 "Hey Jude" track will convince you of that, too.

THE DECEMBERISTS frontman Colin Meloy is releasing a live solo album from his 2006 acoustic tour in April.

MAGNETIC FIELDS:  The Current blog has "A Brief History of the Magnetic Fields" to mark the release of the new Distortion LP, which you can stream in full this week via Spinner or MagSpace. And you can listen to Robert Christgau's review from All Things Considered via NPR.

THE NATIONAL:  Matt Berninger talks to The Age down under about the creative friction within the band.

IKE TURNER died of an accidental cocaine overdose, the San Diego County Coroner revealed today.

AMY WINEHOUSE may make a Christmas/Hanukkah album this year.  Meanwhile, the uber-reliable NOW tabloid claims Winehouse's jailed hubby Blake Fielder-Civil has asked her for a divorce.  According to her dad, his mom is putting the idea into Blake's noggin.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  As predicted, after hosting the Cruise-based Scientology PR video, Gawker has received a copyright infringement notice from the Scientologists' lawyers, to which Gawker has reponded not only through its lawyer, but also by hosting four more Cruisetastic Scientology clips.  The controversy made The Today Show yesterday morning, and was mentioned by the  AP, which tends to support Gawker's claim for the newsworthiness of the video.

JESSICA SIMPSON has reportedly angered Dallas Cowbows fans so much that the pneumatic blonde has had to beef up her security.  However, ex-beau John Mayer defends Simpson and her love of Texas: "I just thought it would mean something coming from the guy who has the absolute least to gain from this..."

O.J. SIMPSON grimaced as the judge doubled his bail to 250K, after learning he never paid any money to a bail bondsman when he initially was released. Video at the link.  AFAIK, John Mayer has had no comment.

DAVID SPADE, previously linked to Heather Locklear and Pam Anderson, may have knocked up a 22-year-old Playboy Playmate: "If it is true that I am the father of her child, then I will accept responsibility."

EDDIE MURPHY & TRACY EDMONDS have called it quits just two weeks after their intimate wedding.

BRITNEY SPEARS and her married boytoy, paparazzo Adnan Ghalib, were captured on photos and video checking out a pregnancy test at Rite-Aid on Monday afternoon.  The photos, however, were taken by Ghalib's photo agency, so grain of salt.  The Daily Mail covers Ghalib's nerdy Birmingham background, whith photos for proof.  The pop wreck's cousin and former assistant Alli Sims says the troubled pop star is "not crazy," but she's worried about Ghalib.  Spears camp follower Sam Lufti seems to be worried also; he's using pal Chad Hardcastle as as bait to lure her from Ghalib.  Meanwhile, a psychologist has filed a complaint against Dr. Phil with the California Board of Psychology, alleging the TV doc was illegally practicing without a license when he paid a visit to the pop tart.

GWYNETH PALTROW UPDATE:  The latest speculation is that her brief hospital stay on Monday was due to a a pregnancy complication.  Her rep non-denies it as "guesswork at best."

HOLLYWOOD WRITERS' STRIKE:  In the wake of the cancellation of the traditional Golden Globe Awards ceremony, Writers Guild of America West president Patric Verrone reiterated that he does not anticipate granting the Academy Awards a waiver unless the striking writers and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers reach a deal.  Verrone also said the WGA had received a similar waiver request Tuesday for the Grammy Awards.

SEAN PENN wrote a letter blasting the San Francisco Chronicle for publishing an article critical of celebs who suck up to Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, arguing that Chavez was democratically elected, and that dictators don't lose constitutional referendums.  Penn forgot to mention that Chavez tried to overturn the results of Venezuela's recent vote but was rebuffed by the military.  Maybe Penn would be okay with "aspiring dictator" or "dictator wannabe" to describe Chavez.

CLOVERFIELD "inadvertently disses New York for what happened on Sept. 11, 2001, by re-enacting scenes of buildings exploding and massive clouds of debris for fun and profit," according to Roger Friedman, who apparently missed the promos with the headless Statue of Liberty.  He also calls it "an 84-minute rollercoaster ride of a monster movie that should be a big hit."

WANNA SEE KATIE COURIC swearing and clueless about the New Hampshire primary she anchored last week?  Of course you do.  NSFW, Courtesy of Harry Shearer.

TERRORIST 007:  Back in October, I flagged the story of a 22-year-old student allegedly at the center of three different terror cases, spanning at least seven countries, buried in a speech by FBI Dir. Mueller.  Now you can read the bizarre story of how the son of a diplomat became the world's most wanted cyber-jihadist in the Times of London and the Daily Mail.  Or, if you prefer, watch TV coverage from the BBC.

ALLEGED US TERROR PLOTS:  A former congressman and UN delegate was indicted Wednesday as part of a terrorist fundraising ring that allegedly sent more than 130K to an al Qaeda and Taliban supporter who has threatened US and international troops in Afghanistan.  Meanwhile, the "Fort Dix Six" face additional charges, including attempted murder, after a grand jury concluded there was evidence the men tried to kill uniformed members of the military.  Coincidentally (or not), TIME magazine ran a piece this week throwing doubt on a key piece of documentary evidence in the case.

LT. COL. JOHN NAGL, author of the book "Learning to Eat Soup With a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons From Malaya and Vietnam" and  a co-author of the Army's new manual on counterinsurgency operations, has decided to leave the service to study strategic issues full time at a new Washington think tank.  In a piece by Slate's Fred Kaplan about the Army's difficulty in retaining talented mid level officers, Nagl emphasized that, contrary to some rumors floating around, he is not leaving out of anger or disgruntlement.  It's still a loss.  BONUS:  Watch Nagl's appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart fromAugust 2007.

KNUT REDUX: The Nuremberg Zoo's polar bear cub, unofficially named ''Flocke'' has opened her eyes for the first time.  Let's go to the video.

UNDERCOVER CATS obtain a murder confession from their owner.  I can haz evidence?

A SNAKE is not a fashion accessory.  Not in New York, anyway.

DOG BARKING may soon be translated for humans by computer.

MONKEYS can use their brainpower to control the walking patterns of robots.  Your future is Planet of the Apes meets The Terminator.

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