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Feist, Bon Iver, Dr. Dog, PJ Harvey, Gibson & Boo-Boo   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, November 08, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


FEIST, icymi, played the Peacock last weekend, with Leslie bringing a nasty guitar sound on energized versions of "I Feel It All" and -- of course -- "1 2 3 4."

KURT COBAIN:  Widow Courtney Love packaged the rights to Nirvana's music with the rights to the Cobain biography, Heavier Than Heaven, for the upcoming Cobain biopic from Universal.

MY BLOODY VALENTINE has reunited in the studio for the first time since 1995, recorded new material, with an album release forthcoming, possibly as soon as this year.

BON IVER:  Reveille magazine has video from Justin Vernon's first performance in Minneapolis on Friday, October 26.

DR. DOG is described by DC's Express as "a strange amalgam of '60s Beatles pop, '70s classic rock and Beach Boys-style vocal harmonies.... played through an off-kilter filter... in a blender... set to puree."  You can stream their current album, We All Belong, in its entirety.

ELVIS COSTELLO has broken up with Britain.  Apparently, he finds the US to be younger and hotter, even though he disagrees with its politics.

JENS LEKMAN talked to Exclaim about sampling and lifting melodies, to the Cleveland Scene about Lekman impersonators, and to Cleveland's Free Times about finding inspiration in hair salons and bingo halls.  (Thx, Chromewaves.)

THE ROYAL WE may have broken up shortly after making this video for "I Hate Rock and Roll," but it sounds like they didn't mean it about the hate.  Idolator focused on the "blend of girl-group harmonies and chaotic violin parts that recall the Raincoats," while the Guardian placed their sound "between the riotous twang of the B-52s and the ragged insouciance of Blondie's Rip Her to Shreds."

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

PJ HARVEY talked to Pitchfork about the upside of writer's block, among other things.  You can stream an entire concert from Polly Jean via Yahoo! Music.

HELLO, BLUE ROSES -- a duo comprised of Dan Bejar (Destroyer, New Pornographers) and Sydney Vermont -- have provided an advance track from their LP, called "Shadow Falls."

STEVE EARLE did an interview and mini-set for the World Cafe you can stream on demand via NPR.

TALKIN' BOUT THEIR GENERATION:  At Inside Higher Ed(!), an associate professor at Cornell University writes about what he learned when his students wrote about the personal meaning of any song of any genre.  I don't often recommend reading the comments to online pieces, but it works here.

PETE DOHERTY is headed back to rehab, but it is voluntary, which means he may continue to perform with Babyshambles on tour.

BRITNEY SPEARS has been ordered to pay 120 grand immediately for Fed-Ex's legal bills pertaining to their custody battle.  Fed-Ex's lawyer is going back to court today, arguing that Spears is violating the Commissioner's drug testing order.
 "Sources" tell US Weekly that the pop tart's problems are psychological, not pharmacological.  Spears' mother blames herself for the pop tart's woes in an exclusive interview with Life & Style magazine.

LIONS FOR LAMBS - the first movie to come out under Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner's resurrected United Artists label - opens Friday, but the initial negative reception to it could harm parent studio MGM's own attempts to raise money for film productions.  So far, the movie is tracking the worst among audiences for any Cruise movie to date,

NICOLE KIDMAN insists to Marie Claire magazine that she hasn't had plastic surgery.  M'kay.

THE McCARTNEYS:  Married American millionaireness Nancy Shevell, who was seen kissing Sir Paul, does not wear a wedding ring and has confirmed that she is legally separated from her husband of 23 years.  Heather Mills reportedly was in a "blind rage" over The Sun's photo of Sir Paul kissing Shevell.  Fortunately, Donald Trump has weighed in with his expert opinion on the bust-up.

GEORGE CLOONEY and FABIO got into a shoving match at L.A. eatery Madeo.  Shockingly, alcohol was involved.

MANDY MOORE and MATTHEW PERRY?  The pair were spotted on a date at Amici Trattoria in Beverly Hills.  This news is really going to crush The Rock.

JESSICA SIMPSON & OWEN WILSON are still flirting, but are not yet an item.  Owen is talking to lots of girls, while Jessica is interested in Boston men.

LINDSAY LOHAN is in "serious talks" to take a guest role on ABC's hit comedy Ugly Betty.

ROSIE O'DONNELL is no longer in serious talks to host a prime-time show on MSNBC.

JIM KRASINSKI & RASHIDA JONES:  The Dunder-Mifflin "Office"-mates were... wait for it... caught canoodling at Bon Appetit Supper Club for last week's "SNL" after-party.  The pair previously dated in 2005.

EVANGELINE LILLY may be done with her hobbit-like fiance, Dominic Monaghan, who was... wait for it... caught crying and canoodling with another woman at at El Coyote restaurant in L.A.

IRON MAN:  The new international teaser trailer has more Gwyneth Paltrow and no Black Sabbath.  On balance I prefer the original teaser trailer, but hope the final film has both Paltrow and Sabbath.

FRANCE:  Pres. Sarkozy told the US Congress that America is "the greatest nation in the world": "America did not tell the millions of men and women who came from every country in the world and who-with their hands, their intelligence and their heart-built the greatest nation in the world: 'Come, and everything will be given to you.' She said: 'Come, and the only limits to what you'll be able to achieve will be your own courage and your own talent.'"

PAKISTAN:  Pres. (and Gen.) Musharraf is likely to end the state of emergency in three weeks, according to Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, president of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League, and a close aide of Musharraf.  Hussain added that after the lifting of the state of emergency, political parties would start a full-fledged election campaign.  Meanwhile police swung batons and fired tear gas at 400 supporters of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party, who were headed to parliament, where lawmakers moments earlier had rubber-stamped the emergency declaration.  Bhutto penned an op-ed for the NYT, while Lee Smith makes a case for Musharraf at Slate.  The state of emergency has done little to halt the Taliban, who have taken control of two more major towns in the settled district of Swat, while attacks continue elsewhere in the Northwest Frontier Province.

IRAN:  An official with knowledge of Iran's nuclear activities said that Iran has nearly 3000 centrifuges operating at Natanz, but that it would take years for all the centrifuges to run smoothly without frequent breakdowns.  The number 3000 is the commonly accepted figure for a a full industrial-scale program that could churn out enough enriched material for dozens of nuclear weapons.  Experts have estimated Iran would need only 1,500 centrifuges to produce one such warhead.  It is worth asking (again): why is Iran in such a rush to enrich fuel, when it has no nuclear power plants?

IRAQ:  Death squad killings in Baghdad are down 80 percent from their peak while roadside bombings fell 70 percent, according to Major-General Joseph Fil, commander of US forces in the capital.  Fil thinks the drop in violence is sustainable as "surge" troops gradually leave, because: (1) Iraqi security forces had become "much, much more effective," (2) volunteers who patrolled their own neighborhoods in coordination with the Iraqi security forces had had a positive impact; and (3) most of the Mehdi Army in Baghdad was honoring al-Sadr's order to stand down.  Declining violence has prompted Iraqi refugees to pack up and return home, with the government claiming 46030 people crossed back over the borders in October alone.  The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction offered a generally optimistic picture of security developments in Iraq in his quarterly report to Congress, but noted that while violence was down, one of every seven Iraqis - 14 percent of Iraq's population - is now displaced by the war.  The report said that electricity production in Iraq reached its highest level since early 2003, in part because insurgent attacks on power-lines and repair crews have declined. Corruption, however, remains a major problem, the report said.  John Matel, a career Foreign Service Officer serving as the leader of a Provincial Reconstruction Team embedded in Anbar Province, blogs an open letter to his Foreign Service Officer colleagues about the controversial issue of directed assignments in Iraq.  BTW, the State Department's blog is named Dipnote.  Really.

GIBSON and BOO-BOO met up to celebrate Guinness World Records Day 2007.

DOGS may possess a functional theory of mind, and attribute states of knowledge to humans, according to experiments carried out by Canterbury University psychology student Michelle Maginnity.

A CAT gets mouth-to-mouth resuscitation from an EMT.  Let's go to the video.

DIXON the WHITE-CHEEKED GIBBON busted out of the Nashville Zoo Wednesday morning, placing the facility on code red.  Dixon was unsuccessful in a prior escape attempt in September.

"DO NOT OPEN: LIVE GATOR."  Mt. Kisco, NY's  Water Dept. received a homemade plywood crate so marked, but none of the workers believed it, because it was the morning after Halloween,

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Go! Team, Grizzly Bear, Wilco, Pig-Sitter Update   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, November 07, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


THE GO! TEAM finally did a video for one of my faves from their new album, "The Wrath of Marcie."  The horn lick kills.  Rapper Ninja talks to PopMatters about the song (among others) and how her career choice was received by her father:  "He said to me, `Wrap what? Presents?' He really had no idea what I was talking about..."

GLENN MERCER talked to PopMatters about The Feelies and his solo album, complete with embedded video.

ERIC CLAPTON is reuniting with Steve Winwood, his former bandmate in '60s supergroup Blind Faith, for three shows in NYC.

GRIZZLY BEAR got an audio feature on NPR's Morning Edition.  You can stream the band's current album this week via GrizzlySpace.

WILCO has posted the video for "Impossible Germany" from their appearance on Austin City Limits on WilcoWorld in glorious Quicktime.  The band is also re-releasing Sky Blue Sky for Europe with a 5-song bonus CD containing new and live recordings; the bonus material will be downloadable for those who already bought a copy of the album.

A LESS PALE SHADE OF WHITE:  The Phoenix reports on the blues and old-school R&B resurgence rumbling in the indie-music underground, going well beyond the White Stripes to include Bettye LaVette teaming with the Drive-By Truckers, North Mississippi All Stars, the Black Keys, Nashville's Black Diamond Heavies and the Dynamites, Kansas's Moreland & Arbuckle, Memphis's Richard Johnston, Oregon's Hillstomp, and Texas's Jawbone.  The article also surveys bluegrass-influenced indie bands.  Sasha Frere-Jones should read it; so should you.

ROSANNE CASH has announced she is to undergo brain surgery for a "rare but benign condition."  She expects to recover fully from the operation.  Best wishes to her.

THURSTON MOORE played "Fri/End" for Jimmy Kimmel, who gets the title wrong.

PRINCE has sicced his lawyers on several of his biggest fan sites, demanding they remove any image that bears his likeness, and prompting fans to form a group to fight the demands.

RADIOHEAD generated a firestorm of publicity when it announced last month that it was making its new album, In Rainbows, available for download at whatever price fans were willing to pay.  A study of traffic to Radiohead's In Rainbows Web site during the first 29 days of October showed that 38% of those who downloaded the album at the site paid something to get the album, while 62% paid nothing.  Parlophone will release all of Radiohead's EMI output, from Pablo Honey to Hail to the Thief (sans singles and EPs), in three different formats, including a "Limited Edition" 4-gig USB stick, which features all the albums in CD quality WAV files, plus digital artwork.

ANIMAL COLLECTIVE:  The experimental rockers did an interview and mini-set for KEXP you can stream on demand via NPR (or you can just stream the songs).

LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III talked to LAist about working with Joe Henry and director Judd Apatow.

MAN MAN has signed to Anti- Records to release their third album, due in early 2008.

PETE DOHERTY says he feels fantastic post-rehab and that he and ex-gf Kate Moss are becoming buds again.  But London's Sun has video of Doherty shooting heroin again.

BRITNEY SPEARS:  If you think she looked bad shopping the other day, consider how bad she may look after 25 more years of sun, smoking and empty calories.  And you can bet she's going to look bad when she finds out that The Eagles easily beat her to No. 1 on The Billboard 200 after Billboard revised a significant chart policy today.

DAVID COPPERFIELD:  TMZ has obtained portions of a secret document outlining in extreme detail how the magician's assistants were supposed to rope in the women that David found attractive -- and hold their boyfriends and husbands at bay.  The ever-reliable National Enquirer claims that the woman accusing Copperfield of raping her got a rape kit done and later wore a wire for the FBI.

KEANU REEVES hit a photographer with his Porsche in a not-so-excellent encounter in March, according to a lawsuit filed by the paparazzo.  Sounds like Reeves needs to work on his "Whoa!"  Allegedly.

CHRISTINA APPLEGATE, basking in the glow of success with Samantha Who?, was... wait for it... caught canoodling ex-hubby Johnathon Schaech at L.A. hot spot Les Deux on Friday night.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  A special screening of Lions for Lambs at the Museum of Modern Art was stocked with Scientologist honchos invited by Cruise.  According to one insider, Holmes also attended, but seemed "robotic."

THE McCARTNEYS:  Heather Mills has defied legal advice to deliver yet another stinging attack on Sir Paul, making a barely-veiled threat that she would make more embarrassing revelations about their marriage.  Stella McCartney denies claims that she is designing a one-legged pendant as a dig at Mills.

SHIA LeBEOUF:  The Smoking Gun has the mugshot from his trespassing arrest in Chicago, complete with red, glassy eyes.

AMERICAN GANGSTER:  It turns out that when Hollywood says "Based on a true story," they mean 80 percent made up.  The real Richie Roberts is miffed; the real Frank Lucas is making big money from it, because he was convicted before the passage of New York's "Son of Sam" law.

JOSH HARTNETT and... RHIANNA:  To quote Paul Carrick, how long has this been going on?

DANIEL RADCLIFFE (a/k/a Harry Potter) is said to have become "very close" to Laura O'Toole, a muggle four years his senior, since appearing opposite one another on the West End stage in the controversial play Equus earlier this year. 

WINONA RYDER is reportedly dating Rilo Kiley guitarist Blake Sennett... until she wears him out with her non-stop demands for sex.  Spinner has a slideshow of Ryder's many musical boyfriends at the first link.

VENEZUELA:  At Slate, Anne Applebaum looks at why actors and models love to hang out with Hugo Chávez.

TERROR in EUROPE:  A total of 20 suspected Islamic extremists were arrested across Italy, Britain, France and Portugal Tuesday on charges ranging from association with the aim of committing international terrorism, to falsifying documents to aid illegal immigrants.  Police believe the detainees had been setting up "Salafist jihadi" militant cells, which have recruited and assisted would-be suicide bombers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

IRAQ:  The milbloggers at Blackfive, along with embedded bloggers Bill Roggio and David Tate, have produced a video report on the "Concerned Citizens" groups who have banded together to fight al Qaeda and the Shia extremists in thier communities.  Prime Minister al-Maliki went on a rare walkabout in central Baghdad in the latest sign of the improving security situation in the war-ravaged capital.  US and Iraqi forces have uncovered 5000 weapon caches since the beginning of 2007.  Rear Adm. Greg Smith added that have IED attacks have dropped 50 percent since the start of the "surge."  Iraqi Security Forces conducted a large joint operation along the foothills of the Hamrin Mountains of Tikrit, detaining 39 suspected insurgents and uncovering a torture cell, a mobile hospital, vehicle-borne bombs, rocket-propelled grenades, machine guns and a Katyusha rocket.  The US military says it intends to release nine Iranians being held in Iraq, including two detained on suspicion of helping Shia militias.

FIFTEEN PUPPIES get help from an extra surrogate mother.  More awww...some pics at the link.

GALE, a border collie, survived an incredible nine days in the boot of a car - by going into hibernation.

SNAKE BATH:  A Guinness official certified a record for spending about 45 minutes in a see-through bathtub with 87 rattlesnakes.  The record setter?  Jackie Bibby, the "Texas Snake Man."  He was also the prior record holder.  He's now working on breaking another of his old records by by holding 11 rattlesnakes by their tails in his mouth at once.

PIG-SITTER UPDATE:  Mary Beesecker has been charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty for fattening a co-worker's part-feral, part-potbellied pig from 50 pounds to 150 pounds.  The owner said some have questioned whether 50 pounds was really a healthy weight for the pig.  Indeed, Pate's resident hog expert, Dale Stevermer, questions it.  But the owner and the pig's veterinarian, Dr. Randy Snell, say 50 pounds is more normal for the mixed breed.  Whether "less normal" amounts to abuse is another issue.

COW!  Life imitates Twister, this time one mile east of Manson, Michigan.

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Sharon Jones, New Releases, Superdrag, Ryan Adams, Houdini   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, November 06, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


SHARON JONES and the DAP-KINGS:  The video for "100 Days, 100 Nights" was directed by Adam Elias Buncher, who achieved the old skool look using two vintage TV cameras bought on eBay for 50 dollars each.

NEW RELEASES are hitting the pre-holiday season lull.  The new Sigur Ros and the reissue of Joy Division's "Unknown Pleasures" are streaming in full via Spinner.  Grizzly Bear is streaming its new Friend album -- presumably so named because it collects remakes, covers (by and of the band) and collaborations.  Avant-folkie Richard Youngs releases his Autumn Response.

CANADA'S HOTTEST BANDS, according to a bloggers' poll conducted by i (heart) music, with a slate of honorable mentions.

SUPERDRAG:  The crew from Daytrotter attended the band's recent reunion shows at Chicago's Metro, which led to the band sitting for an interview and recording free songs in the Quad Cities.  The band also did a Lounge Act set for WOXY.

BIG DIPPER is reuniting and releasing a 3-CD set in April 2008.  Rock Town Hall interviews guitarist Gary Waleik about the past and future of the band.

CARIBOU:  Dan Snaith talks about his influences (including The Zombies), the new album, working with the Junior Boys' Jeremy Greenspan and more with Loyola University's Phoenix.

RYAN ADAMS and the CARDINALS played "How Do You Keep Love Alive" and "Pearls on a String" (with a cameo from Nellie McKay) in an exclusive webcast for Dave Letterman.  And that is your Twofer Tuesday.

MONITOR MIX:  Carrie Brownstein (ex-Sleater-Kinney) is blogging for NPR about why people are drawn to certain songs, genres, voices, or instruments.

PROJECT SONG:  Magnetic Fields guru Stephin Merritt kicks off a new series from NPR in which writers are given 48 hours to complete a song from a group of six photos and six words.  BONUS:  Magnetic Fields announces tour dates in advance of a new album due in January.

INTERNET KILLED THE ROCK STAR?  In the Detroit Free Press, Brian McCollum argues that the Information Age is causing rock stars to lose their mystique.

IRON & WINE:  Sam Beam talked to London's Sun about his nom de band and musical influences.

PETE DOHERTY spoke exclusively to NME.com about his struggles to stay clean after completing his rehab.

BRITNEY SPEARS spent her court-approved visitation time chandelier shopping, leaving her two kids in her car with the court-required monitor.  Oh, that's going to look about as good in a court report as she looked shopping -- bloated, pasty-faced and with greasy hair, while her skin-tight jeans and transparent vest top exposing her black bra seemed to be straining at the seams.  The former manager suing Spears for back commissions thinks the pop tart ought to try farm life.  She's already lived like the Beverly Hillbillies, so Green Acres would be a natural next step.  BONUS:  The Eagles beat Spears on the UK album charts... and in US sales (by at least a factor of two), though Billboard will list Spears at the top because Wal-Mart is not reporting the numbers on its exclusive release.

BRADGELINA:  W magazine has managed to get Jolie and Jennifer Aniston to agree on one thing -- neither likes the fact that the mag put their faces on competing covers for November's issue of the mag.

OPRAH WINFREY called the abuse scandal at her 47-million-dollar South African school for girls "the most devastating experience of my life."  Video at the link.  A former dorm matron appeared in court Monday to face a series of charges that she mistreated girls at the school.

ROSIE O'DONNELL is in serious discussions to host a prime-time show on MSNBC, according to executives on both sides of the negotiations who have been briefed directly.

JESSICA SIMPSON was escorted by National Guardsmen through New York's JFK airport Friday night control -- at the request of American Airlines (I guess I missed when they got in the chain of command).  Video at the link.  Woody Harrelson reportedly flirted up a storm with Simpson at Willie Nelson's recent video shoot, even though Harrelson is married with three children.  She politely rebuffed him and moved onto the Butterscotch Stallion, Owen Wilson.

JOHN MAYER, Simpson's last boyfriend, has decided that Americans are so celebrity obsessed that he will blog his meals to slake their thirst for gossip.  I've never been a big fan of his music, but I'm liking his blogging.

THE McCARTNEYS:  Heather Mills is demanding that Sir Paul tell the world she is 'not a fantasist or a golddigger' as part of their divorce settlement.  Meanwhile, the Cute One was spotted getting cozy with the wife of a millionaire New York lawyer who has recently dropped her husband's name.

CELEBS DUMPING THE DOLLAR?  Supermodel (and Pats QB Tom Brady's squeeze) Gisele Bundchen reportedly has insisted that she is paid in Euros rather than US dollars as the dollar hit an all-time low against the Euro.  Her agent later denied the story and said she would be seeking 'clarification' on what the model's sister said -- but not before I got to look at the pics of Bundchen from the Victoria's Secret fashion show at the first link.  Meanwhile, Jay-Z flashes large stacks of €500 Euros in his new video based on by the Ridley Scott movie "American Gangster."  In this case, however, it may be that Jay-Z knows that the large-denomination Euro is the modern gangsta's currency of choice.

JULIA ROBERTS tells the next issue of Vanity Fair that she wants to make less garbage, but is referring to her homelife, not her movie career.  Indeed, her dream is to be "a highly fulfilled and productive stay-at-home mom and wife."

SCARLETT JOHANSSON & JOSH HARTNETT broke up in part because Scar-Jo was jealous of seeing Hartnett in the arms of other actresses.  At least, that's what Hartnett suggests in an ungentlemanly interview with InTouch Magazine.

THE HOLLYWOOD WRITERS' STRIKE over residual payments for DVDs and Internet content puts "hypenates" like the writer-actors of The Office in a tough position.  The L.A. Times has created a strike blog -- my favorite entry so far is this one.

STEPHEN COLBERT has dropped his bid for the White House after the South Carolina Democratic Executive Council voted last week to keep the host of "The Colbert Report" off the state's primary ballot.

WALK HARD:  Entertainment Weekly has the title track from the mock biopic of musician Dewey Cox (John C. Reilly) co-written by Judd Apatow, due in theatres Dec. 21.

NANOTECH:  Ultracapacitors may replace batteries someday, as MIT scientists work on a device that can hold up to 50 percent as much electrical energy as a comparably sized battery.  Commercially available ultracapacitors already can provide many times the power of batteries of the same weight or size.

AFGHANISTAN:  Close to 90000 children who would have died before age 5 under Taliban rule will stay alive this year because of advances in medical care in the country, according to a new study by Johns Hopkins University.

PAKISTAN:  Attorney General Malik Abdul Qayyum told Reuters that Pakistan would hold its national election by mid-January and Pres. Musharraf pledged to quit the military after criticism from the US for imposing emergency rule.  AFP quotes Musharraf as saying January's planned polls would be held "as close as possible to the schedule."  Meanwhile, the crackdown on protesters apparently continues, and deals are already being cut with the Taliban.

IRAN celebrated "Death to America" Day yesterday.  Let's go to the video.

IRAQ:  US and Iraqi forces launched a massive assault targeting al-Qaeda fighters in the northern provinces of  Diyala, Salaheddin, Kirkuk and Nineveh, where some AQI fighters fled from the "surge."  Iraqi and US forces detained 81 people and found a large weapons cache during an operation against AQI near Suwayra, 40 miles south of Baghdad.  At least 683 detainees held in US-run prisons across Iraq have been released since the middle of last month, according to VP al-Hashemi's office.  The Iraqi government has resumed discussions about an amnesty program to encourage insurgents and militiamen to lay down their weapons as daily violence lessens across the country.

HOUDINI the IGUANA lived up to his namesake by disappearing last week, but he has reunited with his owners in Portage Michigan.  Let's go to the video.

THE FANTASTIC MR. FLY rides a bike, and plays both piano and guitar for Belgian amateur photographer Nicholas Hendrickx.

THE SQUIRREL THREAT:  A militant squirrel took down the power grid in Auburn, CA.  Judging from the comments, squirrels have targeted the city several times since 2003.

WHEN ONE DOG CLOSES, a cat opens.

CAMEL BEAUTY CONTESTS have been banned by a fatwa from Saudi Arabia's Senior Clerics Association.

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R. Hitchcock, Spoon, Hold Steady, American Gangster, Supermice   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, November 05, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


Photo by Drake LeLane

ROBYN HITCHCOCK:  Don reviewed Friday's show at Shank Hall, so I'll just add a few notes of my own.  I must mention that Robyn's first stream-of-subconscious speech about when it is appropriate to cry over spilt milk -- e.g., when you are making off with the Holy Grail and milk spills out of it and over a causeway where a long-tailed series- three alien is lurking -- included a mention of Ames, IA (Pate's hometown and a later stop on this tour).  Hitchcock also seemed to be struggling slightly throughout for technical reasons, some of which are mentioned in Don's review, but it also turned out that he didn't have enough of his vocal in his monitor for most of the show.  Such are the pitfalls of opening night.  I can also give you some audio/video of the setlist.  Since Hitchcock dedicated "The Ghost Ship" to Colin Meloy, we can enjoy him joining Meloy's band The Decemberists for a live version of "Lost Madonna of the Wasps."  I think those tech problems may have partially caused RH to momentarily forget the end of "City of Shame," only to remember it during a really countrified "Olé! Tarantula."  I had not seen the video for "Raymond Chandler Evening" until it turned up on the Tube all these years later.  In over 20 years of seeing RH, I can't recall him playing "The Lizard" more than a couple of times. We have vintage video of "Queen Elvis," which (as RH notes) appears on the Eye album, not Queen Elvis.  I agree with Don that the b-side "Alright, Yeah" was a highlight (and one of my favorite latter-day RH tracks).  In the encore, I thought "New York Doll" translated well to a solo performance.  His cover of the Velvet Underground's "Candy Says" was a delightful surprise.  And I just discovered that the UK video for "Adventure Rocketship" is animated.

BEIRUT:  London's Telegraph is quite taken with Zach Condon's use of non-traditional instruments and old European influences, while the NYT spends an evening with Condon, which starts at the Brooklyn Instrument Museum.

NICKEL CREEK played one of its final shows (for now) at DC's 9:30 Club Friday.  You can stream the whole gig from NPR on demand.

SPOON:  Though drummer Jim Eno tells the Orlando Sentinel that the band is comfy with its steady rise in popularity, a writer for The Strand frets that Spoon is suddenly in danger of becoming a household name.  Frontman Brit Daniel has been pleased in the past that his new songs have been compared to Van Morrison, but seems less pleased when compared to BIlly Joel.  The Houston Chronicle actually consulted Pandora's Music Genome Project to scientifically compare Spoon's "The Underdog" with Joel's "Only the Good Die Young."

ROBERT CHRISTGAU:  Rumors of the death of the dean of US rock critics are geatly exaggereated.

THE HOLD STEADY:  MFR truned up a live video of "Lord, I'm Discouraged," one of the new songs the band is trying out on tour.  Craig Finn talked to the Stranger about his favorite lyricists, while HeraldNet talked to guitarist Tad Kubler about a few of his favorites and linked to a post the Leather Canary on the band covering various tunes, including Led Zeppelin's "Hey, Hey What Can I Do."

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

RAY DAVIES talked to London's Sun about how being shot in New Orleans turned his world on its axis.

DENNIS WILSON was the only Beach Boy who actually surfed.  PopMatters is miffed that his haunting solo album, Pacific Ocean Blue, remains out of print.  Tracks from the album do surface from time to time on the ol' HM.

AMY WINEHOUSE should know she's on the wrong track when Pete Doherty thinks he has to defend her.

AMERICAN GANGSTER:  More than one reviewer is calling this film Superfly-meets-Scarface, but it has a more realistic tone than that.  At least, it has as realistic a tone as screenwriter (and family friend) Steven Zaillian could muster for the truth-is-stranger-than-fiction tales of mobster Frank Lucas and policeman-agent Richie Roberts.  But that tone makes it no less entertaining.  With this year's proliferation of movies running over 2 1/2 hours, it is nice to finally have one that does not have you checking your watch.  Director Ridley Scott and stars Denzel Wasington and Russell Crowe all bring their "A" games.  Between this pic and 3:10 to Yuma, 2007 marks a comeback year for Crowe, whose recent efforts have faltered at the box office.  This pic may also reinforce the view created by Training Day that Washington plays a better villain than hero, though here he is more Corleone than he is Scarface.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE:  American Gangster was a killer at the cineplex, opening with 46.3 million with a 15,174 per-screen average on over 3000 screens.  The big theaters here in Chicago were selling out most showings.  That is the second biggest opening ever for an R-rated movie over 2 1/2 hours, the second biggest drama opening in November ever, and the biggest opening for both Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe.  Jerry Seinfeld's PG-rated Bee Movie opened a big No. 2 with 39.1 million (at 90 minutes, it could be screened many more times than American Gangster).  Whether it can recoup its 150 million budget will depend on whether the next round of family flicks give it competition.  Saw IV plunged a severe 65%, earning only 11 mil.  Dan in Real Life earned 8.1 mil, off an okay 31%.  Rounding out the Top Five is 30 Days of Night, which dropped 42 percent, but which has made 34 million to date on its 30 million budget.  The Game Plan earned 3.9 mil, off 37% - its biggest drop so far, but this has to have been a big moneymaker for the Mouse.  and Joan Cusack's Martian Child opened in seventh with 3.7 mil and is unlikely to recoup its 27 million budget.  Michael Clayton dropped 41% -- likely due to American Gangster -- to make 2.9 mil.  Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married? finished in the ninth spot, but has crossed the 50 million mark.  Gone Baby Gone rounds out the Top Ten with 2.4 million.

THE McCARTNEYS' divorce dispute gets ever nastier.  Sir Paul is applying for full custody of his four-year-old daughter Beatrice after estranged wife Heather's astonishing TV rants, according to the uber-reliable News of the World.  Of course, with Heather Mills blaming "jealous" Stella McCartney for her split from the former Beatle, and reportedly re-airing allegations that Paul hit his late wife Linda once or twice, the story sounds plausible.

CHRISTINA AGUILERA confirmed the already widely-reported observation that she is expecting a baby.

CATE BLANCHETT revealed during a glamorous red carpet appearance in Sydney last night that she is expecting her third child.

BRITNEY SPEARS:  The LAPD is conducting an investigation into a traffic mishap Friday, when Spears reportedly ran over an L.A. County Sheriff deputy's foot.  Financial papers unsealed in the ongoing custody battle between Spears and Fed-Ex show that the  pop tart spends about 102K monthly on entertainment, gifts and vacations, while giving 500 bucks to her own charity. Spears is also said to have a crush on ex-friend of the French Hotel, sextape starlet, reality TV starlet and now Playboy model Kim Kardashian

LINDSAY LOHAN looks like she visited the trout pout shop.  Pucker up, buttercup.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  Holmes ran the New York City Marathon on Sunday, because you really have to be in shape if you're planning to outrun Cruise.

VANESSA HUDGENS:  The High School Musical starlet's nude photo scandal must be officially over -- she is set to sign on to a HSM3 movie for a "substantial increase" in pay.

SHIA LeBOUF, who starred in Disturbia and Transformers and co-stars in the next Indiana Jones movie, was busted for misdemeanor criminal trespassing at a Walgreen's drugstore on Michigan Ave. in Chicago.

BRADGELINA:  Jolie said she felt a bit shy about her computer-animated nudity in the upcoming movie version of Beowulf.  Which is either unbelievable, or makes her acting in her sex scene with Antonio Banderas from Original Sin all the more impressive.  Yes, that second link is nsfw.

OUR FRIENDS, THE SAUDIS:  The Times of London names the kingdom as the hub of world terror, which supplies the cash and the killers.  Which makes it all the more appropriate that the Brits played the Imperial March when King Abdullah met the Queen.

PAKISTAN:  As you probably know, Gen. Pervez Musharraf seized emergency powers, rounded up leading opposition figures and said Sunday that parliamentary elections could be delayed for as long as a year. The suspension of the constitution comes just days before Pakistan's Supreme Court was to rule on the constitutionality of Musharraf's recent presidential reelection victory.  Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry has reportedly been sacked and is being confined to the Supreme Court with ten other judges.  Musharraf attempted to remove Chaudhry during the spring of 2007.  Security forces rounded up opposition leaders and rights activists, though the Western media does not note that some -- like Imran Khan and former intell chief Hamid Gul -- .have known Islamist ties.  Musharraf promulgated two Ordinances barring print and electronic media from publishing or broadcasting statements that abet terrorist activities or terrorism.  Discussions of current court cases and criticism of the Head of State and members of the armed forces are also prohibited.  Former Pakistani premier Benazir Bhutto said on Sunday that declaring emergency rule would only encourage extremists and give them "a new lease of life."  The Bush Admin. called the declaration of a state of emergency a "sharp setback" for democracy and urged a swift return to a civilian government.

IRAQ:  More than 3000 Iraqi families driven out of their Baghdad neighborhoods have returned to their homes in the past three months as sectarian violence has dropped.  A "significant" fall in US air raids has been recorded over the past few weeks.  The Islamic Army in Iraq -- one of the largest and most influential Sunni insurgent groups -- has issued yet another stinging condemnation of al-Qaeda's network.  On Friday, Sunni officials from Anbar province laid out what they want now from the US: money to rebuild its battle-damaged cities, help expanding its police force by a third and private U.S. investment in its oil reserves.  They also discussed the lingering problem that is hampering efforts to build on the gains there -- limited support for the predominantly Sunni region from the Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad.   Turkish soldiers who were held as hostages by separatist Kurds in northern Iraq have been set free.  Michael Yon was interviewed on CNN on the recent progress in Iraq.

SUPERMICE -- with incredible stamina, enviable metabolism, a longer life expectancy and the ability to breed for three times as long as a standard mouse -- have been created by scientists.  We can only imagine what Andy Kaufman would say.

POLLY, a five-year-old chocolate labrador, was saved, ironically, by a CAT scan.  3D pic at the link.

A 7ft 9in CROCODILE was jailed overnight in northern Australia after it menaced local fishermen.

TOO MUCH MONKEY BUSINESS:  Three macaque monkeys were abducted from Monkey Island, MO on Friday.

A RAMPAGING POSSUM caused thousands of dollars in damage and destroyed valuable historical artefacts at a museum in New South Wales.

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Tom Petty, The Sonics, Nicole Atkins, Cutout Bin, and... Khan!   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, November 02, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



...with TOM PETTY!  Earlier this week, the NYDN's Jim Farber wrote that "there's barely a wasted minute" in director Peter Bogdanovich's four-hour film on Petty, "Running Down a Dream."  I don't know that I would go quite that far, but the documentary is quite good -- and reminds me of how underrated Petty is.  The doc goes as far back as Petty's days in Mudcrutch, which led him -- and some future Heartbreakers -- to legendary A&R man Denny Cordell, who would produce the first TP records, including "American Girl," "I Need To Know" and "Listen To Her Heart."  He fought -- and beat -- his label twice.  The first fight -- over the sale of hsi contract to MCA -- preceded the seminal Damn The Torpedoes album (the master tapes were kept in hiding during litigation) that would launch the band to super-stardom with tracks like "Here Comes My Girl," "Even The Losers," "Don't Do Me Like That" and the signature "Refugee."  The second fight was over the pricing of his follow-up, Hard Promises, though in the movie Petty also shares the backstory for "The Waiting" from that LP.  The movie is not just PR, however; it is acknowledged that while the video for "You Got Lucky" was state of the art for that era, the Long After Dark album was treading water creatively.  

Bogdanovich also makes clear that Petty's success is due in no small part to a relentless drive that occasionally strays into the ruthless.  Petty was not above dumping band members, stealing band members and collaborators -- like Eurhythmics' Dave Stewart, whom he suggested write for Stevie Nicks, but ended up making off with him and "Don't Come Around Here No More" for himself, even though its psychedelic sound did not really fir with songs like "Rebels" on the Southern Accents album.  Indeed, the Wonderland-themed video for the former would supply Petty the Mad Hatter persona who would pop up in later videos for songs like "Into The Great Wide Open," which was expanded to almost seven minutes just because they had great footage from Johnny Depp and Faye Dunaway.  And in the movie, Nicks doesn't seem to mind, esp. in light of the success of their collabration on tracks like "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around."  While I'm less of a fan of Petty's later work, the film tells the engaging backstory of the Traveling Wilburys, which reminds you that not just anyone gets to be in a band with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne and the late Roy Orbison.  Indeed, TP & the Hartbreakers would later back Johnny Cash on one of those Ric Rubin productions.  And Petty is still capable of turning out great stuff, as the movie documents TP's solo LP, which spawned hits like "Won't Back Down," "Free Fallin'" and "Runnin' Down A Dream."  Somewhat surprisingly, it was Petty's biggest album to that point.  There's also some great footage of Petty standing up to some music-biz types who wanted former Byrd Roger McGuinn to record some piece of pop fluff;  Petty & McGuinn would turn out "King Of The Hill," a song about "Papa" John Phillips (though they don't say so in the movie).  McGuinn also tells the story of the first time someone played him "American Girl": "When did I record that?"  Catch it on Sundance or queue it.

ROBYN HITCHCOCK:  Like Don at Timedoor, Ken King are going to Hitchcock's show at Shank Hall tonight.  But Don is the one with a six-part interview of Hitchcock he did for Milk magazine in 1996.  At the moment, there's plenty of Hitchcock streaming via the ol' HM.  The Architectural Dance Society reviews Robyn's box set, adding rarities not included.

THE SONICS:  Seattle's seminal garage rockers of the 60's have semi-reunited and make their NYC debut tonight, playing for the first time in 35 years on a bill including the Stawberry Alarm Clock, the Fleshtones and the Lyres.  WFMU is still streaming their best known stuff and an interview with guitarist Larry Parypa.  Have love?  Will travel!

JOE JACKSON has reteamed with original Joe Jackson Band members Graham Maby (bass/vocals) and Dave Houghton (drums/vocals) for a new album due in January.  You can -- and should -- stream "King Pleasure Time" from the 'Gum Mix.

LINDA STEIN, who helped pioneer the punk music scene, influenced the careers of Madonna and the Ramones and went on to become known as a real estate agent to the stars was found bludgeoned to death Tuesday night in her apartment at 965 Fifth Avenue.  The ex-wife of Seymour Stein, the founder of Sire Records, Stein later parlayed her show business connections - including a decades-long friendship with Elton John - into a high-profile real estate career.

DEVENDRA BANHART did an interview and mini-set for the World Cafe you can stream on demand via NPR.

NICOLE ATKINS wowed Letterman with a particularly torchy take on "The Way It Is" -- they even snuggle a bit at show's end.  If she looks familiar, maybe you have seen her American Express ad.  Her new album, Neptune City is streaming in full this week via Spinner, which also has video clips of Atkins re-visiting the Saint Club in Asbury Park, NJ, which borders Neptune City.  She also talked about immortalizing her hometown with the New Jersey Star-Ledger.

THE SEX PISTOLS were on Leno opposite Atkins, playing "Anarchy in the UK."  Johnny Rotten talked to the Orange County Register about the band's latest reunion: "Well, it's an anniversary of punk in England, and there's been garbage rubbish bands performing all year trying to claim the credit for what existed 30 years ago. We just decided to put our foot down on that and tell a few home truths..."

JOSE GONZALEZ did an interview and mini-set for the World Cafe you can stream on demand via NPR, in which the Argentinian Swede talks about the music scene in Sweden - the third-largest exporter of pop music in the world.  He also names a few of his favorite things for Pitchfork's Guest list feature.

LED ZEPPELIN:  The November 26th reunion concert has been pushed back to December 10th because guitarist Jimmy Page fractured his finger.

THE TOP TEN COWBELL SONGS, according to Cracked magazine, with plenty of embedded video... though it could have used, you know...

CUTOUT BIN:  This Friday's fortuitous finds on the ol' HM are: Casey Kasem - Long Distance Dedication (nsfw); Charles Fox - Wonder Woman Theme; Jackson 5 - Want You Back (DJ Skeet Skeet Edit); Band of Bees - Chicken Payback; Boots Randolph - Yakety Sax; Curley Moore - Soul Train; Pastel Vespa - The Boys are Back in Town (yes, that one); Sam & Dave - Soul Man; The Soul Survivors - Respect (O. Redding); Marlena Shaw - California Soul; Marvin Gaye - Let's Get It On; Dusty Springfield - Just A Little Lovin'; Moody Blues - Go Now; Jan & Dean - Dead Man's Curve; Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich - Hold Tight; The Leaves - Hey Joe; The Staple Singers - The Weight; The Hold Steady - Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window? (B. Dylan); The Byrds - So You Want To Be A Rock N Roll Star; Bob Dylan - Positively 4th Street; The Sadies - Never Again; M. Ward - Chinese Translation; eels - I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man (Prince); The Suburbs - Love Is The Law; The Jam - Start!; Cake - Short Skirt, Long Jacket; and Arctic Monkeys - I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor.

BRITNEY SPEARS invited a man to snort cocaine off her chest during a wild party at her Hollywood mansion just two days after losing visitation rights to see her sons, it has been reported.  The pop tart says she's doing the best she can.  Meanwhile, she's being sued by a former manager, Johnny Wright.  Nevertheless, Blackout sold an estimated 124,000 albums the first day of its release Tuesday and is set to become Spears' fifth consecutive number one album... although the top slot may go to the Eagles, if Wal-Mart chooses to report sales of its exclusive album.

THE FRENCH HOTEL dressed as a prisoner for Halloween.  The one thing she does know is PR, though TMZ now has video of her tantrum in a Toronto adult video store.

THE McCARTNEYS:  Heather Mills, otoh, faces a PR backlash from her televised claim that the British press was engaging in a "hate campaign" against her, with the same British press referring to her as "out of control" and "wild-eyed," and scarier than Halloween on a "day of unhinged ranting."  Mills has been dropped by her publicist, who understands that you don't pick fights with those who by ink (and pixels) by the barrel.

LINDSAY LOHAN's aides are going out of their way to make sure the actress/singer stays sober after spending much of the summer in rehab, they've told staff at all her old hangouts not to let her drink alcohol.

LANCE ARMSTRONG & ASHLEY OLSEN were... wait for it... caught canoodling again, this time in the wee hours Wednesday at hip NYC restaurant the Waverly Inn, along with Armsrtong pal Owen Wilson.

OWEN WILSON, btw, has taken to relieving himself with the stall door open.  Despite having been spotted enjoying an occasional cocktail, Kate Hudson's ex is trying to prove he is not partaking of any other substances.  Or hanging out with Sen. Larry Craig.

NOW SHOWING:  This week's wide releases include Jerry Seinfeld's much-hyped Bee Movie, which is currently scoring 43 percent on the ol' Tomatometer (That's got to sting); The Ridley Scott-Russell Crowe-Denzel Washington crime drama American Gangster, currently scoring 82 percent; and John Cusack in the drama Martian Child, which is scoring 30 percent

GYLLENSPOON WITHERHALL took Reese's kids trick-or-treating, dressed as a witch and an ape.  Pics at the link.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  Cruise is shooting his Nazi movie, learning to run United Artists and promoting his marriage to Holmes, but what he'd really like to do is direct.

DOG the BOUNTY HUNTER was caught spewing an explosive, racist rant on tape of phone conversations with his son.  A&E has suspended production on his TV show.  "Pastor to the stars" Tim Storey says Dog is not a racist and has apologized for the tirade.

DAVID SPADE finally admitted that he dated Heather Locklear during an appearance on Letterman.  Video at the link.

JOSS WHEDON has created a new TV series, titled Dollhouse.  Starring Eliza Dushku, Whedon already has a seven-episode commitment from Fox.

SAVE THE CHEERLEADER, SAVE THE DOLPHINS:  Hayden Panettiere attempted to play real-life hero, teaming with the Save Japan Dolphins coalition in trying to disrupt the annual slaughter of dolphins by Japanese fisherman, who kill an estimated 23K of the sea creatures each year.  Let's go to the video.

NANO-RADIO:  Harnessing the electrical and mechanical properties of the carbon nanotube, a team of researchers has crafted a working radio from a single fiber of that material.  The source content for the first lab test of the radio was "Layla," by Derek and the Dominos, followed soon after by "Good Vibrations" by the Beach Boys.

IRAN:  The new central bank governor warned Pres. Ahmadinejad over money supply growth, urging measures to prevent a further rise in inflation.  Representatives of the six major powers involved in talks about Iran's nuclear program will meet in London today.  The US said that Russia and China had been blocking tough UN sanctions against Iran for months and pledged a drive to impose them if Iran did not halt nuclear activity within two weeks.  Pres. Ahmadinejad said he was "not worried at all" about broader economic sanctions, dismissing them as ineffective, but threatened unspecified economic retaliation against European countries that follow the US in imposing them.

IRAQ:  "Al Qaeda in Iraq is defeated," according to Sheik Omar Jabouri, spokesman for the Iraqi Islamic Party and a member of the widespread and influential Jabouri Tribe.  Another member of the party said that al Qaeda has shifted targets, now trying to generate friction between tribes, but the tribes are not playing that game.  Embedded blogger Michael J. Totten writes about whether he only saw what the Army wanted him to see.  Tribal leaders from Anbar province pressed US SecDef Gates for help in expanding the size of the local police forces.  Iraq will set up more checkpoints along its northern frontier to keep out supplies for Kurdish rebels, while the Pentagon maintains that the US has given Turkey's armed forces "actionable intelligence" on the PKK rebels.

KHAN the WONDER DOG!  A rescued doberman saved a toddler from a king brown snake - the world's third most venomous - by throwing her out of harm's way as it attacked, biting the dog's leg.  Let's have a big shout out for... Khaaan!  Heck, let's play two.  BONUS: Khan really should be sporting a doggie mullet.  DOUBLE BONUS:  A kelpie named Tess, hailed as a lifesaver, is in a coma after defending its owner from an attack by a deadly giant eastern brown snake on Australia's Gold Coast.

15000 DUCKS INCINERATED in a fois gras-related fire near Swan Lake in NY.  An apparent duck feces eruption ensued.

A PIG-SITTER in Winona MN may face abuse charges for letting the potbellied porker get too fat.

MAN WRESTLES and RESCUES SHARK on Miramar Beach in Florida.  Let's go to the video.

AN ESCAPED KANGAROO is on the lam in Copenhagen.

SILENCE of the SHEEP:  Swiss police are baffled after a flock of 90 sheep vanished from a remote Alpine pasture - for the second time.  Anyone seen Harold?

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