Wisconsin vs. California, God’s country gets it right without God. The Better Burger, Culver’s Beats In n’ Out

There’s another regional Burger Business to pay attention to. Culver’s of Wisconsin beats California’s In-n-Out, hands down. The specialty at Culver’s is the Butterburger Double Deluxe, similar to In ‘n Out’s Double Double Animal Style. The difference in the Butterburger is the Crispy Patty; how they do it is a trade secret I’m sure but the crispy crust that gives way to the tender beef patty blows away the rubbery chew of the In ‘n Out DBL-DBL. Culver’s cheese is Sconny’s finest and the bun is a buttery cloud of not too much bread. The fries are a hearty Crinkle Cut and the Custard is INSANE, like Vanilla Butter. Culver’s does this without the creepy Jesus references in sneaky places (ever look a the bottom of an In ‘n Out cup?). Culver’s doesn’t need the extra help.

Also check out the Culvers movie. Did Clay Tarver direct this?

Tony Victory Sued By Ingrates

Though I’m sure our terrific legal system will sort this one out, isn’t there a way that both the plantiff and the accused can be sent to Camp X-Ray, at least for a few weeks?

From Billboard.com

Hawthorne Heights has filed a lawsuit against its record label, Victory Records, and label head Tony Brummel today (Aug. 7). The band claims that Brummel’s “overly-aggressive, unethical and illegal schemes and tactics,” including physically threatening music industry figures and scheming against other artists, have severely damaged the band’s reputation and its relationship with fans.

In February, Hawthorne Heights and Ne-Yo were vying for the top of The Billboard 200. On Feb. 28, an email from someone at Victory appeared to urge its street promotions team to tamper with Ne-Yo’s sales potential. “If you were to pick up [a] handful of Ne-Yo CDs, as if you were about to buy them, but then changed your mind and didn’t bother to put them back in the same place,” the message read, “That would work … just relocating a handful creates issues.”

Within hours of the email’s appearance on an industry message board on March 1, a second email appeared calling the first message “a joke.”

Band members Eron Bucciarelli-Tieger, Casey Calvert, Micah Carli, Matt Ridenour and JT Woodruff claim that Brummel then signed the band’s name without their knowledge or approval to a so-called manifesto, which falsely stated that the band believed it was in some type of war with artists in the hip-hop and R&B music genres, leading many to brand the band as racist.

The members of H.H. say their most recent album reaching no.3 on the charts “is now tainted much like Barry Bonds’ statistics,” an interesting analogy from guys who don’t wanna be called racists, and perhaps a more fitting one had they reached no. 1.

Anyhow, I look forward to these two parties kissing and making up, as I suspect at the end of the day, they’re made for each other. To paraphrase the Del Fuegos from their excellent Miller Beer commercial, “good luck to all bands.”

Except Hawthorne Heights.

If You’ve Ever Wanted to Cry in a Dark Room, This Movie’s for You

Certainly not to take anything away from the very excellent Not a Photograph:The Mission of Burma Story that I was pleased to see this past Saturday evening at the Walter Reade Theater as part of the “Play It Loud: Rock Docs ’06” festival (btw the second – and last – screening is this Thursday at 9:15 PM – don’t miss it!), but You’re Gonna Miss Me, the documentary on former 13th Floor Elevators frontman Roky Erickson, is just about the most harrowing thing I’ve seen since, well, the Mavs’ NBA Finals meltdown. No, seriously, this movie is one of the most emotionally riveting things I’ve ever seen, and I was glued to my seat. The tale of Roky’s return from the near dead, thanks to his very weird but talented younger brother Sumner Erickson has to be seen to be believed.

New York viewers will be sad to note that tonight’s showing is the last one in the festival, but I’m sure it’ll be screening again sometime very soon. Additionally, those of you not living in the film capital of these United States should be sure to visit the news page on the You’re Gonna Miss Me web site for updated screening information.

Pretty Girls Makes Graves, New Dates

(live at London’s 100 Club last April, photo by Vern, used without permission)

Thursday, Nov. 9: Washington, D.C. – 9:30 Club
Friday, Nov. 10: Charlottesville, VA – Satellite Ballroom
Saturday, Nov. 11: North Myrtle Beach, S.C. – House of Blues
Monday, Nov. 13: Orlando, FL – The Club At Firestone
Tuesday, Nov. 14: Atlanta, GA – Earthlink Live
Wednesday, Nov. 15: Baton Rouge, LA – Varsity Theater
Thursday, Nov. 16: Houston, TX – Meridian
Friday, Nov. 17: Austin, TX – Stubb’s BBQ
Saturday, Nov. 18: Dallas, TX – Gypsy Ballroom
Monday, Nov. 20: Tucson, AZ – Rialto Theatre
Tuesday, Nov. 21: San Diego, CA – House of Blues

All dates supporting She Wants Revenge. They say revenge is a dish best served cold, but as cannibalism is against the law in most of the states on the above schedule, please be advised that eating utensils are likely to be confiscated at the door (sorry).

Dead Meadow In Southern California

Washington DC’s…rather, one of the Planet’s great live bands returns to the left coast :

August 19, Alex’s Bar, Long Beach

August 20, Fuck Yeah Fest, Echo Park, CA (also appearing, The Ponys, Icarus Line, Gris Gris and a ton more)

If you’re not the traveling sort, you can enjoy the Rhino podcast performance/interview with Dead Meadow’s Jason Simon and Stephen McCarthy here.

DM bassist Steve Kille has a new project, Rumpville, described as “children’s books for adults”.  That sounds way more appealing than a Dan Zanes CD, but if you’re a child and you’d like to disagree, please feel free to write in (with your parents’ permission, of course).

Injecting Ethical Debate Into Discussion Of Bands Who Aren’t Very Good

example a, from Greg Kot’s Lollapalooza coverage in the Chicago Tribune :

1:12 p.m.: Subways singer Billy Lunn leads his U.K. trio in a set that is high on energy, low on innovation with three-chord anthems that make Oasis sound like progressive-rock. Lunn complains about the state of U.S. commercial radio and blames it all on payola. He should know. His Warner Brothers record label just paid $10 million in fines as a result of a payola investigation by New York State Atty. Gen. Eliot Spitzer.

example b, Her Jazz’ Maria on Phoenix, French Kicks and the A-Sides performing at a Camel cigarettes sponsored event.

I’m not going to mention the health issues surrounding smoking at all. Nope, not one peep from me. However, I will politely point out that Camel’s parent company, Reynolds American Inc., has donated 87% of its political contributions to the Republican party. Conservativecocainesexjams all night long! Enlist with the party train soldiers! Get rad in Iraq! And with all the smoking going down tomorrow night, no one will notice how truly crappy Phoenix or the French Kicks are. As Philabuster pointed out, the French Kicks couldn’t even fill the North Star last time around. What sort of dumbass in Camel’s marketing thinks they can pack a 1,000-person venue? And how many years has it been since they’ve written anything remotely worthwhile?

When Press Junkets Go Horribly Wrong

(not Anne Heche)

The Boston Globe’s Suzanne Ryan
had the distinct pleasure of attendending a TV critics’ summer conference in Los Angeles recently, a occasion presumably designed so the various networks could showcase their offerings for the upcoming fall season. W.C. Fields’ admonishment, “never work with children and animals,” apparently never reached Anne Heche, but were Fields alive today, “never work with Anne Heche” could well be useful advice for the American Broadcasting Company.

ABC is launching a new drama starring Anne Heche, a New York relationship coach who finds herself stranded in Alaska. In the pilot episode, she is freaked out when she discovers a raccoon in her hotel’s closet.

During a press conference, reporters wanted to know all about the raccoon, whose name is Elvis.

Is that a real raccoon or an animatronic? (Real)

Did you fly him into Vancouver to shoot? (No, a local hire)

Is he a recurring character? (Yes)

In the pilot, Elvis had a STUNT DOUBLE that ran down the stairs for him? (Yes, a DOG NAMED BOOMER DONNED A RACCOON SUIT for a staircase scene since raccoons don’t run, they lope).

Since raccoons are noctural, did you wake Elvis up to shoot? (Yes and Anne pet him to make him feel better)

Later, a Touchstone Television publicist told me with all seriousness that he and his co-workers had tried to anticipate every question we reporters might have tossed out but no one even thought about Elvis.

“We should have brought him here,” he said sadly.

Cat Power September Dates

Cat Power is heading out again this September with the world’s most dangerous band – The Memphis Rhythm Band.

September
10 Irving Plaza New York, NY – 2 Evening Shows
12 Variety Playhouse Atlanta, GA
13 Vic Theatre Chicago, IL
15 Austin City Limits Festival Zilker Park Austin, TX Cingular Stage
16 Gypsy Ballroom Dallas, TX
17 Stubb’s BBQ (Outside) Austin, TX

Insufferable Sap Prepares Latest Assault On The Public

Despite formidable competion (subject a, subject b) at Chicago’s luxurious Hidden Cove Sunday evening, I really think my rendition of Mac Davis’ “Baby, Don’t Get Hooked On Me” was the sort of reimagining of a popular favorite that even Chan Marshall would’ve had a hard time matching.

That said, I’m quite ready to retire from the karaoke game, now faced with the unspeakable horror of Clay Aitken covering John Waite. (from Billboard.com)

Season two “American Idol” runner-up Clay Aiken tackles a host of enduring power ballads on his third album, “A Thousand Different Ways.” Due Sept. 19 via RCA, the set features 10 covers and four new songs penned by the likes of Jon Bon Jovi and Desmond Child, Andreas Carlsson, Jeremy Bose and Aldo Nova.


Seriously. Hasn’t this cretin brought enough pain to the planet…without reminding us of the existence of Aldo Nova? Was Art Alexakis busy?

A while back, in another, little read forum, I proposed that certain Americans be granted lifetime Get Out Of Jail cards, as thanks for their cultural contributions. James Brown goes on a PCP rampage? Big fucking deal, he’s the Godfather Of Soul. Chuck Berry put a hidden camera in your toilet? Who cares, he’s earned the right.

Conversely, even if Clay Aitken runs into a burning WTC II in ten years’ time to rescue children, cripples and kitties, even if Clay Aitken discovers a cure for the Big Disease With The Little Name, even if Clay Aitken personally finds all the missing votes from Florida and Ohio….there are some things you cannot live down.

Making us think of Aldo Nova is one of them.

Dipset!

Fetishizing US black pop culture is something of a given when it comes to blogging – especially for us Europeans, who pre-internet would probably never have come across Texas rap’s preoccupation with cough syrup and DJ Screw, hyphy, ghostriding etc.

The Diplomats are another one of those things I probably would have not had that much exposure to were it not for blogs. They never seemed to get any special attention on hip-hop radio in England before the Byrd Gang mixtapes, but on the internet, they were superstars. All of this is a precursor to the fact that I finally got around to seeing the film made by Diplomats head honcho Cam’Ron, ‘Killa Season‘. Now, theres a lot of valid discussion about the veiled racism involved in justifying some of the more objectionable aspects of The Diplomats’ lyrics (amounting to ‘The funny way that black people talk entertains me, therefore it is not real’), but Cam’Ron specifically is at his best when he’s too surreal to be taken seriously. When he drops the flights of fancy and just does standard trap-music, detailing street life, he’s eloquent, but kinda dull. Sadly, ‘Killa Season’ is a whole lot of the latter.

To be fair, the odds were stacked against this one from the start. For the film to be a true representation of Cam’Ron and Dipset, ‘Killa Season’ would have to have been directed by Michael Bay, and involve a 50ft tall Cam’Ron crushing anyone ‘rocking sandals with jeans’, repeatedly telling us of his new album’s release date, and boasting about his sexual prowess. Of course, Hollywood was never going to be ready for Cam’s vision, so he funded and directed it himself. And if you think his mixtape cuts are interminably long self-aggrandising mythology, you’ll marvel at how well he’s managed to bring that to the silver screen. I won’t lie, I fell asleep. I mean, it starts off well – Cam gets in a scuffle at a dice game, breaks a bottle over someone’s head and then urinates on him while repeating ‘No homo, no homo’ for what seems like forever….it’s bizarrely paced and pretty funny. Unfortunately, the film is two and a half hours long, and at least two hours of that is Cam scowling in a badly-lit shop. To be fair, there is a montage of him wearing different fur coats at one point, and a gloriously surreal moment where Cam murders somebody on his bicycle, which almost slips by your WTF-ometer cause it’s played so straight. His acting skills are twofold: looking like he’s trying to figure out a sudoku puzzle (anger, fear, upset) and immense arrogance (everything else). His next filmic work is a documentary in which he beats up paedophiles, which sounds better in practically every way to ‘Killa Season’, but I’m still glad I saw it – if nothing else, I’ve seen Cam’Ron do a drive-by on a bike. So that’s something.

Ain’t Nothin’ But a (soon-to-be-put-down) Guard Dog

More weirdness from the Animal Kingdom, this time courtesy of the Associated Press and Comet News:



Dog Destroys Elvis’ Teddy Bear at Museum

LONDON (AP) — A guard dog has ripped apart a collection of rare teddy bears, including one once owned by Elvis Presley, during a rampage at a children’s museum.

”He just went berserk,” said Daniel Medley, general manager of the Wookey Hole Caves near Wells, England, where hundreds of bears were chewed up Tuesday night by the 6-year-old Doberman pinscher named Barney.

Barney ripped the head off a brown stuffed bear once owned by the young Presley during the attack, leaving fluffy stuffing and bits of bears’ limbs and heads on the museum floor. The bear, named Mabel, was made in 1909 by the German manufacturer Steiff.

The collection, valued at more than $900,000, included a red bear made by Farnell in 1910 and a Bobby Bruin made by Merrythought in 1936.

The bear with Elvis connections was owned by English aristocrat Benjamin Slade, who bought it at an Elvis memorabilia auction in Memphis, Tenn., and had loaned it to the museum.

”I’ve spoken to the bear’s owner and he is not very pleased at all,” Medley said. [clearly Elvis is alive!]
A security guard at the museum, Greg West, said he spent several minutes chasing Barney before wrestling the dog to the ground.

If the King of Rock (ahem) shot out a television just because Robert Goulet appeared on it, I cringe to think what he’d do to poor Barney.

‘Fewer Moving Parts’, Yet No Mention Of Assassinating Erik Lindgren

“Am I Christian ?/ Are you a Jew?

Did you kill my Lord / Must I forgive you?”

Believe it or not, those lines aren’t from the Mel Gibson arrest report (sorry) but are instead culled from “Selling Advertising”, one of the more provocative songs from David Bazan’s ‘Fewer Moving Parts’ EP How much of “Selling Advertising” is a glimspe in the mirror and what portion is aimed at Pitchfork, I can only guess.

Though not terribly removed from the aching, unflinching subject matter that populated PTL’s best work, ‘Fewer Moving Parts’ takes the unusual tact of placing stripped down, demo-ish versions of the same songs alongside fully fleshed out, relatively pro-rock renditions of the same compositions. Good luck getting any of them out of your head.

“Fewer Broken Pieces” might be the best, most succinct explanation to date (in song form, at least) for a popular band’s breakup.

There’s a quiet intensity to the best of Bazan’s work, and I think this CD might be just that. I’ve sloppily alluded to pre-Ambien REM or American Music Club circa ‘California’ when describing Bazan’s stuff in the past, and aside from offering my personal apologies for the killing of Christ (I promise never to do it again), I’d also like to say I’m sorry for damning David with what I thought was considerable praise. Sans artifice, exposing more on one EP than Ugly George did during his entire Manhattan Cable career, Bazan is a staggering, not nearly so-easy-to-define talent.

Hell’s Getting Hotter: Manatee Sighted on the Hudson


(the members of Overkill, visibly excited that Joel remembers them)

Our good friends at the Poughkeepsie Journal hipped us to the following far out news from the world of nature:

A manatee has been seen in the Hudson River near Manhattan.

The gentle behemeth [sic., clearly Vassar needs to step up its literature program!], estimated at 10 feet long and close to 1,000 pounds, is far from home. Most manatees live in Florida and sightings even in Virginia are considered rare.

Watchers tracked this one last month as it swam north — first near Delaware, then Maryland, then New Jersey. Saturday, it was seen at 23rd Street in Manhattan, then later at 125th Street in Harlem.

A manatee was seen near Montauk, on the eastern tip of Long Island, in 1998, but this may be a first for the Hudson.

“As far as I know, the first for the river. We did have one migrate up along Long Island last summer but it never moved inshore,” said Tom Lake, the editor of the Hudson River Almanac. “Pretty exciting stuff.”

Durham called it a “bona fide” manatee sighting, but there isn’t photographic proof. Descriptions by a kayaker and others in the Hudson match grainy video showing a barnacled manatee passing Barnegat, N.J., she said.

Needless to say, even after this the Bush administration will continue to deny the effects of global warming.