The Last Broadcast has a dual nature, offering thematic coherence and soaring aural architecture on the one hand, and a nonstop rollout of seductive melodies and extra-base hooks on the other.


Our Stocks May Be Worthless, but We Still Have Saturday and Sunday
1. The Big Unstoppable:
From the looks of Game 1 of the NBA Finals Wednesday against the Nets, Shaq can pretty much do whatever he wants from here on out. Imagine how scary he’d be at 315 on 10 good toes. O’Neal is a rare character and an athlete of startling nimbleness; if only he had a Bill Russell to challenge him to further greatness. In any case, enjoy this future hall of famer while he’s in his prime: Game 2 Friday at 6 PDT, Game 3 Sunday at 5:30 (NBC).

2. Barry Bonds vs. the Bronx Bombers: Ever since ’62, when Bobby Richardson silenced the crowd at Candlestick, the Giants have been dying to even the score. Revenge? Maybe—but is that such a bad thing? The Jints face the Yanks for three games this weekend at Yankee Stadium, as interleague play gets under way.

3. Dennis McDougal, The Last Tycoon: From movie usher to kingmaker, the story of Lew Wasserman's rise and rise is without equal.

4. Olsen Twins’ countdown to legality: Updated every second for the obsessive perv (is there any other kind?). Go to http://olsentwins.syndk8.net/ and dream on.

5. Queen's Jubilee: Her Majesty's a pretty nice girl...but she has no idea who these bands are.

6. Vanilla Sky (Paramount DVD): The special features on the just-released DVD of this deeply unsatisfying film, Cameron Crowe’s first misstep, suggest that Cameron remains blithely unaware of the fact that his movie sucks and everybody knows it. Are we missing something? Are our eyes wide shut?

7. Dee Dee Ramone's passing: Smack claims another rock trailblazer. But at least he got some respect at the end.

8. Item for your checklist: Y'know, it's not too early to start weaseling your pals in concertland and at Virgin for tix to the Rolling Stones' Wiltern Theatre show.

9. India vs. Pakistan: Presenting Armageddon...from the land of spiritual enlightenment. Can't Sir Paul defuse this one?

10. Scheduling Tip: Don’t put off making your golf arrangements for R&R Convention week in L.A., gang, cuz the fairways and bunkers are gonna be crawling with weasels.

Doves, The Last Broadcast (Capitol):
It was apparent from its 2000 debut, Lost Souls (Astralwerks), that this Manchester-based trio prefers to paint on a broad canvas, and on this ambitious follow-up, the band manages to fuse epic and intimate elements into a stirring and seamless 55-minute opus.
The Last Broadcast has a dual nature, offering thematic coherence and soaring aural architecture on the one hand, and a nonstop rollout of seductive melodies and extra-base hooks on the other. In the former regard, the LP comes off as a concept album in the grand tradition, one that seems to trace the aftermath of devastation and anguish, offering solace (“There Goes the Fear”) and the struggle for continuity (“N.Y.”). From a purely musical standpoint, meanwhile, Jimi Goodwin and the Williams brothers exhibit a command of songcraft seemingly rooted in the McCartney side of The Beatles—specifically, the Paul of “Hey Jude” and “Let It Be”—in which deceptively simple but remarkably sturdy melodic patterns serve as the backbones of Big Statements.
There’s a breathtaking grandeur to the album’s linchpin songs, “Words,” “Satellites,” the climactic “Caught by the River” and the aforementioned “There Goes the Fear,” its centerpiece and first single, a thrilling amalgam of U2’s The Joshua Tree and Todd Rundgren’s Something/Anything. This quartet of anthems is offset by the burnished atmospherics of “Friday’s Dust” and the King Crimson-derived “M62 Song,” while the aptly titled “Pounding” (whose energy rivals that of the first album’s shoulda-been hit, “Catch the Sun”) provides a heart-pumping jolt of affirmation. The Last Broadcast has been in my rotation for a mere two months, but its elegant musicality and mastery of mood make the record seem like it’s been around forever. This fully realized masterwork joins Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot as a prime candidate for album of the year.
On a side note, I’ve gotta give three snaps up to the suddenly common move of putting bonus material on a second disc, particularly in the case of a thematically unified album like this one. It’s far better to have the option of either listening to the four non-LP tracks or not, rather than having them tagged onto the end of the album proper, as was the case with the three bonus tracks that were added to Lost Souls. Bud Scoppa

Elvis Costello @ Kodak Theater/The White Stripes @ El Rey Theater, L.A.:
The record industry may be going down, but there’s still plenty of life left in the old bag, judging by these two shows. Separated by more than two decades in age, Costello and the White Stripes are students of pop-music mythos who are injecting some life into the increasingly moribund state of rock. Elvis has taken a break from moonlighting with the likes of Burt Bacharach, Bill Frisell, opera singer Anne Sofie Van Otter and the Brodsky String Quartet to return to the adrenaline-fueled punk of his “angry young man” days on his most recent album, When I Was Cruel (Island). The LP features longtime collaborators Pete Thomas and Steve Nieve, as well as veteran bassist Davey Faragher, all of whom back EC on his current U.S. tour, which hit the brand-new Kodak Theatre, home of the Academy Awards, earlier this week. The high-ceilinged venue is not exactly an acoustic marvel, swallowing much of the four-piece’s intricate playing, even while the energy is nonstop. New songs like the fervent, but tongue-in-cheek “Tear Off Your Own Head (It’s a Doll Revolution),” the sarcastic “Spooky Girlfriend” and the sing-song yet slyly cynical “Alibi” flow smoothly into old chestnuts like “Watching the Detectives,” “Chelsea (I Don’t Want To Go To),” “Shabby Doll,” “I Hope You’re Happy Now” and “Pump It Up” And if Elvis’ patented bile has now evolved into the hard-earned experience of a craftsman, there’s more than enough ‘tude left to prove he’s far from merely punching the clock.
Meanwhile, the joy of seeing the White Stripes is in watching Jack White blossom into an honest-to-goodness Fender Strat guitar god, as he channels Hendrix, Page and, oh yeah, Robert Johnson by establishing an utterly unique update on the primal roots of garage-rock, elemental and over-the-top at the same time. Drummer Meg White provides the terra firma, earth-mother grounding, with the erotic give-and-take between the two belying the duo’s claims they are siblings rather than a divorced couple. Zeppelinesque forays like “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground” and the thrashing punk of “Fell in Love With a Girl” from their current White Blood Cells album on V2, are interspersed with the McCartney-like, melodic, nursery-rhyme sing-song of “We’re Going to Be Friends.” While their savvy version of Robert Johnson’s “Stop Breaking Down” (which the Stones covered on Exile on Main Street) and a drawlingly faithful take on Bob Dylan’s “Isis” have endeared them to rock-critic types, live, the White Stripes are obviously aiming for more than just indie-cult status. And that is more than enough to keep the doddering rock & roll dinosaur from extinction…for now. —Roy Trakin

Bryan Ferry, Frantic (Virgin):
Energized by last summer’s Roxy Music reunion, the stylish crooner revisits his past as a solo artist and lead vocalist for the art-rock pioneers. His two Dylan covers, “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” and the piano-and-vocal “Don’t Think Twice,” would sound at home on These Foolish Things and 1999’s As Time Goes By, respectively. Old cohort Eno joins in on the ode to Marilyn Monroe, “Goddess of Love,” evoking Avalon and Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like a Wolf,” Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood contributes to “Hiroshima,” a tribute to director Alain Resnais’ art film, while “San Simeon” is a sequel to Roxy’s Orson Welles homage, “In Every Dream Home a Heartache.” —RT

The Waxwings Shadows of… (Bobsled):
Like any ’60s-fixated indie-pop band, the Detroit-based Waxwings have the requisite moves—the jangle, the drone, the psychedelic phasing, the clattering Ringo drums—down cold. Happily, these guys don’t stop there, favoring snowballing momentum (most compellingly exemplified by the whisper-to-scream “Almost All Day”) while adorning their Nuggets lifts with genteel strings and emphatic horns. Their skill at mixing and matching results in some surprising hybrids, like the Simon & Garfunkel-on-mushrooms “Look Down Darkly” and the high-contrast “Fractured,” which sounds like a battle of the bands between Iron Butterfly and the Association. Kull. Props to Chicago-based indie Bobsled (Chamber Strings, Velvet Crush, etc.), whose logo has become an earmark of smart-pop quality. —BS

Something Corporate Leaving Through the Window (Drive-Thru/MCA): Those of you who blissed out to the towering crunch-pop of “If You C Jordan,” this Cali quintet’s first shot across of PoMo’s bow, will be pleased to learn that this disc is packed with similarly satisfying material. Frontman-pianist Andrew McMahon and crew marry ass-kicking rock energy to heartwarming hooks on tracks like the irresistible “Punk Rock Princess,” passionate travelogue “I Woke Up in a Car,” the appropriately heavy “Hurricane” and quite a few more. What’s more, McMahon is a gifted storyteller, and his lyrics and vocals match the band’s well-calibrated intensity. Turns out Corporate rock rules.
Simon Glickman

People Under the Stairs
, "Finding Bin Laden, Episode One." This flash animation starring hip-hop duo Thes One and Double K re-imagines Operation Enduring Freedom as an old-school MC battle, complete with a headphone-clad Bin Laden in his cave, rocking the dope beats with which to fuck up the West. As it happens, PUTS are firmly rooted in the old school. Check out this nugget from their bio: "Refusing to use any keyboards, the duo construct their music completely from the records they dig out of the surrounding urban sprawl. By manually excavating crusty drums from worn vinyl and adding mutilated, layered loops from conflicting genres of records, The P recycle the forgotten items of their surroundings in the same way freed slaves picked up marching instruments from civil war battlefields and created Jazz." Whoa. But back to the cartoon: Don’t miss Dubya horking back a frosty rail, or Colin shaking his groove thang. This whole terrorism thing’s nothing a couple of ill freestyle rhymes can’t fix. Jon O’Hara

It’s a good weekend for comedy in L.A. On Friday night, HITS’ sardonically irreverent Jill Kushner (whose one-woman show, Letters To Marissa Scarifoni, knocked us out) hits the The Improv's Second City Stage (8162 Melrose Ave., next door to the Improv) at 9:30. Cover is $10 with a two-item minimum, but she’s worth it. Call (323) 651-2583 for more info. Saturday night finds the Comedy Union (5040 W. Pico Blvd.) hosting the multimedia extravaganza icky tv, a compendium of short-form video and live performances by some of the city’s best underground comics. A “Dadaesque evening of live entertainment” is promised, and it’ll be just like watching TV at home, only with a bunch of strangers. The show kicks off at 7:15; cover is $7 with a two-drink minimum, though the organizers urge you to have several more drinks after that. And please take a cab home. —SG

If you were wondering where I've been the past few weeks and whether I was gone for good, no worries, I'm still kicking around. Took a very nice relaxing vacation to Chittenango, NY, for its annual Ozfest, where I spotted five Munchkins. Seriously—I've even got the pictures to prove it. Anyways, this weekend there's quite a few things worth checking out around town. Friday night, Norah Jones appears at Town Hall. I was reluctant to get into her at first, but now I'm totally hooked. If you're looking for something with a little more aaarrrgh for your Friday night, try heading to Warsaw for Kaiju Big Battel, Japanese monster wrestling at its best. As if that weren’t enough, the night also features NYC faves Enon as the musical guests. Saturday, plan on spending the majority of your time at North Six, as they've got the two best shows of the night. The early show is ex-Radish sweetheart Ben Kweller, whose merchandise table sells toothbrushes just like the one on the cover of his album (brilliant). The late show is The Fucking Champs and Rye Coalition, both of whom kick my ass every time I see them. Sunday night, don't laugh, but my pick is Alanis Morissette at Jones Beach. I'm a sucker for those pop-radio hits, especially in the summer. —Heidi Anne-Noel

Bad Company
(Touchstone Pictures):
This so-called spy thriller from Jerry Bruckheimer has been getting some bad advance word, with director Joel Schumacher forced to go back and re-shoot some scenes. The coming attractions, with Anthony Hopkins recruiting Chris Rock as a CIA agent to take the place of his murdered identical twin brother (??!!), doesn’t bode too well. Apparently, he has nine days to train him to negotiate a sensitive nuclear weapons deal. Despite some more personal projects recently (like Tigerland and Flawless), Schumacher hasn’t really had a critical success since The Lost Boys, and this one doesn’t look ready to change his streak. The Hollywood Records soundtrack targets the rap demographic with new music from Ali featuring St. Lunatics & Nelly, D-12 and the Gorillaz featuring one-time Special Terry Hall, OutKast, Pretty Willie, Jagged Edge, Blu Cantrell, Tricky and ex-Buggle Trevor Rabin. The website at www.badcompany.movies.com offers a chance to win a trip to Prague, along with all the requisite cast, crew, trailer, photo gallery and download info.

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (Warner Bros.): Thelma & Louise screenwriter Callie Khouri makes her directorial bow with this chick-flick version of Rebecca Wells’ best-selling novel of Southern mothers and daughters which sounds suspiciously like Steel Magnolias. Sandra Bullock is Sidda, a successful New York playwright who, tired of the eccentric behavior of her mother Vivi, played by Ellen Burstyn, decides not to invite her to her wedding. Meanwhile, Vivi’s lifelong friends, members of the titular Ya-Yas (Shirley Knight, Fionnula Flanagan and Maggie Smith) give Sidda their version of her mom’s childhood and troubled early married years (Ashley Judd plays her as a young woman). James Garner is Vivi’s long-suffering, but patient husband, while Angus MacFayden is Sidda’s fiance. The Dixie atmosphere is apparently authentic, and the T Bone Burnett-produced soundtrack, his follow-up to O Brother, Where Art Thou? for his new Columbia-distributed DMZ/Sony Music Soundtrax, is a Cajun-flavored compilation that includes a mix of old-timers like Jimmy Reed, Ann Savoy, Taj Mahal, Mahalia Jackson, Slim Harpo, Tony Bennett and Ray Charles, as well as current stars like Macy Gray, Lauryn Hill, Alison Krauss and Bob Schneider. There’s also a brand-new track from Bob Dylan. The website, www.yayasisterhood.com, includes information on the book, the soundtrack, downloads, the trailer, behind-the-scenes info, and tickets and showtimes.

Ivansxtc (Rhino Films): Indie film (title is pronounced Ivan’s Ecstasy) that has been hanging around for several years now unreleased about the horrors of Hollywood, directed by Englishman Bernard Rose, whose 1995 biopic Immortal Beloved, featured Gary Oldman as Beethoven. The movie, subtitled To Live and Die in Hollywood, is a loose adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilyich, after Rose’s previous 1997 film version of the Russian author’s Anna Karenina, a French production featuring Sophie Marceau in the title role. John Huston’s son Danny is Ivan Beckman, a cutthroat, backbiting agent, supposedly based on CAA exec Jay Moloney, who committed suicide in 1999 after being tabbed as the heir apparent to outgoing head Mike Ovitz. The movie, filmed in digital video documentary-style, follows Beckman’s descent into sex, drugs and backstabbing. The movie also features Peter Weller and Tiffany-Amber Thiessen. The advance word pegs it somewhere between Robert Altman’s The Player and George Huang’s Swimming With Sharks, which seems to suggest it’s a pretty dark, inside vision. The movie’s classical music score, utilizing Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde, is also said to create a suitably grave ambience. —RT

An Open Letter to the Ramones Family Worldwide:
Dee Dee was found dead in his home by his wife, unconfirmed early reports list the apparent cause of his death as drug relatedthey say he overdosed and choked on his own vomit. Today we suffer a pain in the heart that only God's love can repair. We are a community in cyberspace bound by this band, and we will mourn together and find peace.
Only last month we gathered at the Bowery ballroom and CBGB's, at clubs and in scenes everywhere to celebrate Joey's life and legacy on what would have been his 51 birthday. And now this. Every fan has their own personal Ramonethe one we admire and emulate as a role model. Joey was my dear friend, and I cherish Tommy, CJ, Mark and John, but Dee Dee was my Ramonehe belonged to me. I dressed like him, cut my hair like his, and sang his lyrics as if they came from my own heartbecause they did.
While ferocious intensity of each Ramone exploded into the glorious whole we have known and loved since 1976, Dee Dee was the nuclear core of the band, the true genius whose intensity and demonic wit formed the center of the Most American Band Ever. He was pop savvy, silly and brilliant. Sensitive, kind, fun and totally fucked-up. He was passionate about his rock & roll, his hair and deeply in love with his wife Barbara. He loved dachshunds and Germany. Like the rest of his bandmates, Dee Dee was a great American patriot and an artist. His songs gave misfits everywhere hope and communion.
Wherever he was, whenever we saw him, he opened our hearts with a childlike joy and wonder. With Daniel Rey, he wrote the best Ramones songs, the most insane and heartfelt. To have lost him this way is devastating. To celebrate his life and his legacy will be our only solace. Dee Dee once told me he didn't fit in anywhere, he was a misfit. But we are proof that he was wrong, he was one of us, as we are part of him.
The Ramones' family includes generations of fans, family and friends; we cross all boundaries of race, religion, sex, nation and age. We are straight, gay, Christian, Jew, Muslim and Hindu. Right wing, left wing and don't give a shit. But we are one in the RamonesSo God bless America, Dee Dee, Joey, All Ramones and their mighty legions.
Today your love, tomorrow the world,
Dr. Donna Gaines
[email protected]