New CD releases for Dec. 6, 2005

New releases of note:

The Cowsills We Can Fly

Bob Marley & the Wailers
Man to Man

New Order Singles

Phil Seymour Phil Seymour

Sonic Youth SYR 6: Koncertas Stan Brakhage Prisiminimui

White Stripes Walking with a Ghost EP

VA Doo-Wop: Vocal Group Greats

VA Our New Orleans

OST Inside Deep Throat

New DVD releases for Dec. 6, 2005

24 - Season Four

Batman - The Animated Series, Volume Four

The Dukes of Hazzard (Unrated Widescreen Edition)

Everybody Loves Raymond - The Complete Fifth Season

Fantastic Four (Widescreen Edition)

Green Acres Season 3

He Man & She Ra:Christmas Special

Law & Order - The Fourth Year

M*A*S*H - Season Nine

MacGyver - The Complete Fourth Season

The Rockford Files - Season One

Roseanne - The Complete Second Season

Superman - The Animated Series, Volume Two

Walt Disney Treasures - Disney Rarities - Celebrated Shorts, 1920s - 1960s

Walt Disney Treasures - Elfego Baca and The Swamp Fox: Legendary Heroes

Walt Disney Treasures - The Adventures of Spin & Marty - The Mickey Mouse Club

Walt Disney Treasures - The Chronological Donald, Volume Two (1942-1946)

Jack Kirby feature bumped from "Fantastic Four" DVD

The new DVD of the "Fantastic Four" movie doesn't include a feature of FF co-creator Jack Kirby as expected, our friends at the Jack Kirby Collector tell us.

Instead, the Kirby feature will be included in a special edition DVD of the movie out next spring. Shop accordingly.

See the Best Fantastic Four Sites on the Web.

More Jack Kirby.

Pop Artifact! Captain Marvel memorabilia week

Christmas comics!

Quick hits

Santa blogging.

More Christmas music sharity. And more and more. (It truly is the season of giving).

Some more: The Beatles' 1960s fanclub-only Christmas records.

An early peek at "X-Men 3" characters The Beast, Angel and Storm.

NPR says Happy Birthday to Dave Brubeck.

Download a cool Beatles "beatleg" podcast.

Go on safari with a cool 1970s kids album, complete with jungle sound effects.

Yet more sharity, Les Baxter's Moog Rock!

The BBC marks the 25th anniversary of John Lennon's death this week with several different radio programs. They're starting to turn up on the Beeb's audio-on-demand site. Check out the first here. More info here.

Rubber Soul at 40

The Beatles' Rubber Soul turned 40 this week. And so did I.

The album has always seemed special to me, perhaps because we share roughly the same release date. The album came out on Dec. 3, 1965, in Britain and on Dec. 6 in the U.S.

I was born on Dec. 4.

Push comes to shove, it's my favorite Beatles record, although Revolver sometimes takes that slot and the "White Album" has its days.

But the Rubber Soul I fell in love with as a kid is a lot different from the Rubber Soul I love today.

Being a second-generation Beatles fan, a kid who starting buying their records in the mid 70s after a cool older cousin exposed me to their music, meant that I was getting the U.S. versions of the LPs.

Those of you too young to remember or too old to have bothered trading in your Beatles LPs for CDs probably don't know what I'm talking about.

But before the introduction of the Beatles CDs in the late 1980s, the U.S. and U.K. versions of many of their pre-"Sgt. Pepper" albums differ.

You see, back in the 1960s, The Beatles' U.S. record label, Capitol, figured it could get more mileage out of the Beatles craze by issuing more albums than there actually were.

By all manner of slicing and dicing, they made this so. While the British albums mostly contained 14 songs, the Capitol LPs generally contained 12. In England, the Beatles never put tunes released as singles or b-sides on their albums. Capitol did it all the time.

As a result, U.S. fans ended up buying all sorts of albums that never hit the racks in Britain, including Beatles '65, The Beatles' Second Album, Something New, Beatles VI and Yesterday and Today.

Sometimes Capitol even tinkered with the sound of the recordings, drenching songs such as "She's a Woman" in echo and retaining a false start on "I'm Looking Through You" that was edited off the British version.

It wasn't until Sgt. Pepper that the American and British LPs featured the same song lineups. And once CDs were introduced, the British track lineups became universal worldwide.

For nostaligic purposes, the first four American albums were released in a CD box set a year or so ago. But, to date, the only Rubber Soul officially available on CD is the British version. Which, honestly, is superior to Capitol's hatchet job.

But it means that, when I say I love Rubber Soul, I actually love two very different albums. The one I grew up listening to and the one I slip into my CD player today.

Here's a comparison of track listings:

"Rubber Soul" American version:

"Rubber Soul" British version:

Weird, huh? And it demonstrates how little thought Capitol put into slapping their versions together. I mean, "I've Just Seen a Face" is a great song, but a bizarre choice for an album opener. It's all acoustic and folky while "Drive My Car" is electric and rocking--a proper opening track.

Still, once I switched to CDs, it took me years to get used to "Drive My Car" being the first track on Rubber Soul.

But, even in its flawed American incarnation, Rubber Soul was a great, influential album. Head Beach Boy Brian Wilson often cites it as an inspiration for his masterpiece, Pet Sounds. And he's no doubt referring to the American version. The Beach Boys were on Capitol, too, so he likely received a comp, U.S. version of the record.

Which, I guess, means that the U.S. Rubber Soul is by no means a bad album and nothing to be embarassed about loving. It's just that the U.K. one is a bit more perfect.

I think I love this album so much because it captures the Beatles in the midst of growing up. The magical experimentalism and eclecticism that marks so much of the group's later work is just starting to surface. Earlier albums stuck mostly to the guitars, bass and drums sound but here more instruments and styles are added to the mix.

Tambourine and/or maracas are on nearly every track. Acoustic guitars are everywhere. "Norwegian Wood" introduces the sound of George Harrison's sitar. "In My Life" features producer George Martin's baroque-style piano solo. "Girl" sounds like something you'd hear in a Greek restaurant. "Michelle" has Paul McCartney singing in French!

There are advances on the lyrical front, too. No longer is every tune a love song. On "Think for Yourself" and "The Word," the band shows no qualms about offering its fans advice: "Think for yourself 'cause I won't be there with you," "Say the word and you'll be free, say the word and be like me."

Sure, they're not overtly political songs. But they're about as preachy as the Beatles were comfortable being. At the same time they were tempted to use their influence to lead, they were wary of setting themselves up as the same sort of authority figures they detested and distrusted.

At any rate, this clearly wasn't the work of guys following a formula to stay on top of the charts. That would've been easy enough to do, but not for the Beatles. This was a band that changed, grew and experimented. Which is why Rubber Soul--in its various forms--still gets listened to today.

Pop Artifact!

Christmas Comics!

Fresh Aeon Flux pics

This week's most-alarming comic book cover

What in God's name...

New comics previews

Mile High Comics has first looks at: All Star Batman and Robin Special Edition #1; Batman and the Monster Men #2; Hard Time Season Two #1; Jonah Hex #2; Superman Secret Files 2005; Swamp Thing #22; Team Zero #1; Y The Last Man #40; Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #3; Marvel Team-Up #15; Marvel Zombies #1; New Excalibur #2; New Warriors #6; Sentinel #2; Spider-Girl #93; What If: Captain America #1; X-Men Colossus Bloodline #4 and X-Men Unlimited #12.

Quick hits

"Goldfinger," silly!

"The Simpsons" gets literary with voice guest appearances by authors Jonathan Franzen, Michael Chabon, Tom Wolfe and Gore Vidal next season.

Kids DO love comics, says the Great Curve. And it's true. My boy loves Gemstone's Donald Duck comics, "Teen Titans Go!" and "The Batman Strikes!" Not to mention assorted DC Archives/Showcase and Marvel Essentials/Masterworks volumes. Give a kid a comic today.

New on iTunes: That's Why We're Marching: World War II and the American Folk Song Movement - Various Artists; Musics of Hawaii: Anthology of Hawaiian Music - Special Festival Edition - Various Artists; Pete Seeger - Singalong Sanders Theater, 1980 - Pete Seeger.

Mike Sterling recalls the fun, bizarre Andy Helfer/Kyle Baker "Shadow" series DC published in the 1980s. I loved that book...

Heritage Comics is offering up more than 300 original pieces of Mad Magazine-related art in an upcoming auction.

Chances are good the regenerated "Doctor Who" series will air on U.S. TV sometime soon, but after it turns up on DVD. The first season DVD set is due out in the states Feb. 14.

Comics creators post their Christmas wishes on the Sequential Tart. I'll take a Jack Kirby original, please.

Comics Continuum has details on the "X-Men 3" trailer, which debuts on the Web on Monday.

Newsarama has some George Perez preview art from JSA #82, out in February from DC.

Jack Black modeled his "King Kong" performance after Orson Welles.

Great Moments in Comic Book History

Wonder Woman Vol. 1, #162: The Amazon Princess notes women of "man's world" wear entirely too much clothing. How do they swing?

New DVD releases for December 2005

New DVD releases for Dec. 6, 2005

24 - Season Four

Batman - The Animated Series, Volume Four

The Dukes of Hazzard (Unrated Widescreen Edition)

Everybody Loves Raymond - The Complete Fifth Season

Fantastic Four (Widescreen Edition)

Green Acres Season 3

He Man & She Ra:Christmas Special

Law & Order - The Fourth Year

M*A*S*H - Season Nine

MacGyver - The Complete Fourth Season

The Rockford Files - Season One

Roseanne - The Complete Second Season

Superman - The Animated Series, Volume Two

Walt Disney Treasures - Disney Rarities - Celebrated Shorts, 1920s - 1960s

Walt Disney Treasures - Elfego Baca and The Swamp Fox: Legendary Heroes

Walt Disney Treasures - The Adventures of Spin & Marty - The Mickey Mouse Club

Walt Disney Treasures - The Chronological Donald, Volume Two (1942-1946)

New DVD releases for Dec. 13, 2005

The 40-Year-Old Virgin (Unrated Edition)

Airplane - The "Don't Call Me Shirley" Edition

Dukes of Hazzard - The Complete Fifth Season

Farscape - Season 3, Collection 1 (Starburst Edition)

Frank Miller's Sin City (Recut & Extended Edition)

Gilmore Girls - The Complete Fifth Season

King Kong - Peter Jackson's Production Diaries

Miami Vice - Season Two

Rock 'n Roll High School - Special Edition

Scooby Doo in Where's My Mummy

The Simpsons - The Complete Seventh Season

New DVD released for Dec. 20, 2005

Battlestar Galactica - Season 2.0

Brothers Grimm

ER - The Complete Fourth Season

Party of Five - The Complete Second Season

Serenity - Widescreen Edition

New DVD releases for Dec. 27, 2005

Dark Water (Unrated Widescreen Edition)

The Shield - The Complete Fourth Season

TV Golden Age Theater:Vol 1

TV Golden Age Theater:Vol 2

Twilight Zone:Season 5

Pop Artifact! Captain America cap gun

Christmas comics!

Quick hits

Comedian Ricky Gervais ("The Office," "Extras") will produce a series of 30-minute podcasts for the U.K. Guardian.

Some Christmas sharity in the form of a Three Suns album from Pinocchio's Easy Listening Corner today.

Meanwhile, Rato Records shares an EP of tunes from the "Hatari" soundtrack.

Actress Christina Cindrich has joined the "Spider-Man 3" cast.

Yahoo! Movies has a "Pirates of the Caribbean 2" teaser.

The DC Showcase Presents "Superman Family" volume mentioned yesterday will include Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane stories from Jimmy Olsen #1-22 and Showcase #9, says here. Future volumes will chronological reprintings forcusing on the two Superman supporting cast members. Great news!

"Lost" clues: season 2, episode 9 "What Kate Did"

Official ABC recap:

What Kate Did
Air Date: 11/30/2005
As dawn ushers in another day on the island we see Jin and Sun sharing an intimate moment that is long overdue. For them the sunrise represents a new beginning -- a second chance at love. And we get the feeling that they're not going to let this one slip through their fingers.

We find Kate high up in a tree picking fruit from the tall branches. As she slides back down the trunk, she slips, almost falling and spilling several mangoes to the jungle floor. As she crouches to collect them, she hears something behind her and turns to see a magnificent black horse standing in the morning mist. But that's not possible…is it?

In FLASHBACK we see a younger version of Kate as she waits on the stairs of her modest house. When a pickup truck swerves down the dirt road and stops in front we get our first look at her mother's choice for a father -- "Wayne." He's happy to let Kate help him to bed, as long as it affords him another chance to lay his drunken hands on her. So when Kate tells him goodnight, she really means it. We see her go outside and ride off on her motorcycle as the house behind her explodes into a giant fireball.

In the Hatch, Sawyer is still delirious with fever as a result of his blood infection. As Jack checks his wounds Sawyer calls out for Kate. When Jack leans in a little closer he hears Sawyer say something that makes him a little dizzy himself. "I love her." And before he has time to process what that means, there is Kate herself anxious to take over his care once more.

Jack attends the funeral services for Shannon and it's very difficult for everyone involved to keep a dry eye as Sayid says a final goodbye to the woman he loved. Meanwhile, back in the hatch, Kate has a very scary episode with Sawyer that shakes her to her core, so when Locke and Jack finally return to the hatch they find Sawyer unattended and the clock on the computer dangerously close to zero.

Back in FLASHBACK, we get to see the beginning of Kate's "relationship" with the Marshal when he arrests her at the bus station after trying to flee the area. While transporting her back to Iowa, in the thick of a brutal rainstorm, they swerve off the road and crash into a telephone pole, allowing Kate her first chance at escape. After pushing the unconscious Marshal out into the rain, Kate looks to see what it was that forced them off the road. And standing there, in the middle of the road, just as placid as can be, is a very familiar-looking black horse.

On the island, as Kate struggles with her feelings for Jack and Sawyer as well as with her sanity, Eko provides Locke with the missing piece of a puzzle that may ask more questions than it answers. Jack reaches out to Ana Lucia at a time when she needs a friend more than ever, and Michael discovers something new about the computer that just might hold the key to getting back his son.

Clues and speculation

* The black horse is yet another case of mysterious animal events/appearances on the show. We had the polar bear of course, the bird in Walt's flashback, Vincent the dog having something to do with the ghostly appearances of Walt...

* "Lost" island is plum-full of murderers: Sawyer, Kate, Ana-Lucia have all very deliberately killed people. Is this a reason they're on the island, or just part of the overall apparent theme of redemption?

* Are dead people able to manifest on the island, or are the crash survivors hallucinating things? Jack sees his dad several times, Kate's father seems to be manifesting himself through Sawyer.

* Lot's of father issues on this show: Jack, Locke, Kate, Sun... all of em have bad dads.

* Eko and Locke are peas in a pod, both being "men of faith." They believe fate plays a role on what happens on the island.

* It'll be interesting to see the "director's cut" of the training film those two spiced together. Why was the film cut? Seems like somebody was trying to hide or disguise something about the Hatch and/or button.

* Why are there "blast doors" in the Hatch? To keep something in, or out?

* How/why is Walt communicating with the computer? Or is he?

* Is that Sayid on the TV screen in the background of this scene?

* The preview for the next episode features Eko reciting Psalm 23. Of course, 23 is one of the mysterious numbers featuring often on the show.

Other stuff

* There's a new (to me) entry in ABC's official "Lost" diary.

* If you go to ABC's Hanso Foundation site and click on the pic of Hanso some interesting stuff happens.

* See screen captures from the episode.

* See screen captures from the preview for the next episode.

* See the preview for the next episode.

See the Best Lost Sites on the Web.

DC superheroes saluted in new stamp series

From the U.S. Postal Service:

Ten comic book heroes will be saluted on the "DC Comics Super Heroes" stamps next summer. Half of the pane of 20 will be portraits of the characters; the other half will show individual comic book covers devoted to their exploits. The characters include Aquaman, Batman, The Flash, Green Arrow, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Plastic Man, Supergirl, Superman and Wonder Woman.