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Tuesday, Nov 28, 2006
by PopMatters Staff

New Babyshambles video for “The Blinding” on the The Blinding EP, available in the U.S. on December 5 from Capitol Records.



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Tuesday, Nov 28, 2006
by PopMatters Staff

AOL is offering up a full stream of the new Gwen Stefani record, The Sweet EscapeCheck it out here.


 


Gwen Stefani - Webisodes


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Tuesday, Nov 28, 2006

Roboreptile Robotic Reptile [WoeWee International Ltd. - $99.99]


This is a kind of freaky beastie boy / grrr grrrl toy in that it doesn’t always do what you expect—or demand—of it. That must be the “fiery personality” mentioned in the press sheet.  I tell it to leap back on its hind legs, it snarls at me, takes a few menacing steps forward, and then leaps back on its hind legs; I tell it to “feed” and it sometimes roars, sometimes squeals, but always makes this funny little bone crunching sound while “eating”, and then, quite of its own accord, it may (or may not) waggle its tail and shake its head, clearly “happy” with the imaginary, bloody meal just imaginarily ingested.  Sometimes I tell it to eat, but it refuses—with a snarl.  Roboreptile is simultaneously sophisticated in its behaviors, and with its sensors that will help it back out from under a sofa, but also clumsy,  in that it’ll whack its head around a bit, before it figures out how to get out from under a narrow plant stand. 


Roboreptile is about two feet in length—that’s the size of my cat, stretched out—a cat that, to my perverse glee, Roboreptile will stalk with little prompting.  One drawback: it can’t leap up on the bed after the cat.  It can, however, throw what looks like a tantrum that it can’t leap up on the bed, flinging its long head and tail about and screeching.  So perhaps you can image that if Roboreptile doesn’t want to eat, you shouldn’t try to make it eat.  And if you haven’t “fed” it in a while, don’t expect it to cooperate with your remote controlled demands until its eaten.  And that unpredictable “sass”, if you will, is what really makes this a cool toy.  Set the controls down and walk away; you’ll hear it snapping and growling, raring and lunging, roaming about of its own accord.


The Roboreptile is expensive at $100; as demanding of your wallet as it is demanding of your attention when it’s turned on.  But it’s so freaky cool. [Amazon]



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Tuesday, Nov 28, 2006

Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys: Legends of Country Music [Columbia/Legacy - $39.98]


In his rowdy Texas way, Bob Wills was just as avant-garde as any other musician America has ever had.  No one did more for country music than Bob Wills, and no one is more in need of a revival. Here’s hoping that enough music pros get hold of this set and decide that the true strength of country music is its ability to absorb other styles without merely aping them. Or maybe it’ll just get someone to come up with a “New New San Antonio Rose”. Or maybe it’ll just help a lot of people dance while drunk. Either way, this is a much-needed document of some of the best music ever made in the U.S.A…. and it’s a hell of a lot of fun. The packaging here is amazing, with tons of rare photos and documents like a telegram from Irving Berlin congratulating Wills on the success of the first “San Antonio Rose”. There are also extensive notes for each track, giving anecdotes as well as facts about the tracks. The design is perfect and fun and respectful, and the CDs won’t even fall out. [Amazon]


Full PopMatters review


Merle Haggard with the Texas Playboys - Tribute to Bob Wills


Bob Wills - San Antonio Rose


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Tuesday, Nov 28, 2006

Olivier’s Shakespeare: The Criterion Collection [Criterion - $79.99]


Though his versions of the Bard’s classics may no longer be definitive (a certain Mr. Branagh could challenge his claim to such a statement) Laurence Olivier was definitely instrumental in bringing Shakespeare’s plays to a wider mainstream audience. Included here are his Oscar winning turns as Hamlet (1948), along with his nominated work in Henry V (1944) and Richard III (1955). Each film represents a different dynamic in aesthetic approach, as well as illustrating the motion picture’s malleability toward material. As with all titles bearing the Criterion tag, the prints are perfect (especially Richard’s sumptuous Technicolor gloss) and the supplemental material divine. [Amazon]


 


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