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June 21, 2006

Shorties

Author Michael Chabon posted an update about the film adaptation of his Pulitzer-winning book, The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.

Miss Natalie Portman is a strong likelihood for the part of Rosa; other casting is ongoing, as are work on the script (a lot of cutting) and tests conducted by a number of top-drawer animation studios (for the comic book elements). Quick answers (as of this date): Golem: yes. Antarctica: yes. Gay love story: yes. Ruins of World's Fair: no. Long Island: no. Orson Welles: no. Salvador Dali: yes. Loving reference to Betty and Veronica: no. Stan Lee: no.


The Futureheads discuss major label vs. indie with Popmatters.

"Well, to be honest we felt that Warner Brothers had balls-ed up the last release," he says. "I'm not sure if I should be saying that to be honest, but we felt like they didn't particularly work hard for us. They very much had the mentality of 'We're a major record company so you impress us with what you do.' With the Vagrant guys they're very much, 'I love what you do, let's work together and we'll get this released and we'll do some great things.' We just like that kind of keenness of attitude."


Popmatters interviews the members of Psapp.

The album has some lovely lyrics -- and fine use of the word abacus. How do you write your songs? Do you have a theme in mind?

GD: Abacus is a lovely word; I was happy to get it in there. I'm glad someone noticed and approved. Usually there are several themes. One rarely has one single thought or atmosphere in their head at any one time. Our songs usually marry a couple of sometimes quite incongruous subjects. The record has songs about nursing homes, evangelism, eloping, the powerlessness you have over your genetic makeup and then more obvious themes mixed in -- death, love, being snubbed, snubbing.
CC: It's a bit like with the music. We like to capture the moment when we're songwriting and having selected a subject beforehand doesn't seem to work for us.


Aversion reports that Rachel Goswell will miss the next batch of Mojave 3 shows due to illness.


The Philadelphia Inquirer talks to Alison Bechdel about her graphic memoir, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic.

"I'm used to a small audience and used to being under the radar," she said from her home in Vermont before heading out on a book tour, which lands at the Free Library of Philadelphia tomorrow. "If I'd have known I'd be in the New York Times Book Review or having something in Entertainment Weekly, I don't know if I would have been able to reveal all this stuff."

The New York Observer also reviews the book.

Fun Home is Ms. Bechdel’s first full-length foray into autobiography, and she does an excellent job. The writing is smart and meditative; the drawings are sharp and gothic and add depth to the already layered memoir, reinforcing the darkness of the text.

Have I mentioned yet how much I loved this book?


Black Is the New Blood broke news that author Thomas Pynchon has a new novel coming this year, Edward Champion found out it is due in December from Penguin Press.


The Times Online reports the BBC's "Top of the Pops" program will air its last episode on July 30th.

The show is one of the BBC’s most successful international brands, seen in 112 countries, with local versions made in the Middle East and elsewhere. But a BBC strategy review found that, “in a rapidly changing musical landscape, Top of the Pops no longer occupies the central role it once did”.


In the Minneapolis City Pages, Michaelangelo Matos reviews the Fiery Furnaces album, Bitter Tea.

Some fans even hoped the new Bitter Tea might be a pop album, especially after Matt claimed in interviews that it would be straighter and less convoluted than Boat and Choir. He's sort of right, too. It helps that the parts all sound like they belong in the same place even when they're entirely dissimilar. The opening track, "In My Little Thatched Hut," alternates between a groove reminiscent of an interstitial segment from an early-'70s Children's Television Workshop program, a hushed acoustic-folkie strum, and a Tarzan-ready drum tattoo overlaid with space synths, as if the Friedbergers had come up with three separate arrangements and decided to throw them all together.


Joey Burns of Calexico talks to Philadelphia Weekly about describing the band's sound.

"People ask what kind of music we play," he says. "Since I live in Tucson, if I'm talking to a border patrol agent in Arizona, I start mentioning pedal steel or trumpets. If I'm talking to an indie rocker, I mention Smog, Latin Playboys or Manu Chao as influences."


The Onion A.V. Club interviews singer-songwriter Regina Spektor, whose Begin To Hope is one of my favorite releases of the year.

The A.V. Club: This new record has a lot more going on sonically than your first three. Why the change?

Regina Spektor: It was the first time I ever had money. [Laughs.] I'd always wanted to work in the studio and experiment with sounds. Things that I'm really influenced by and that I love are like The Beatles and Radiohead, and all those records by bands whose music is really involved.


IGN lists the top 10 Superman songs.


The Village Voice examines the renaissance of gay literature.

I think there is a real phenomenon here, the arrival of a whole new generation of gay writers who've come along to fill the shoes of their predecessors who died too young in the 1980s and '90s.


The Onion A.V. Club lists "classic films it's okay to hate."


Jambase profiles the literary and musical sides of Oxford, Mississippi.


Washington's WTOP offers summer reading suggestions.


The Onion A.V. Club lists "six unlikely covers albums by overqualified hard-rockers."


Status Ain't Hood declares singer-songwriter (and blogger favorite) Lily Allen "hater-proof."

It's a couple of months late to be writing this post, since Lily Allen's blog-hype has been in overdrive long enough that the backlash has already kicked in. She's managed to become an mp3-blog overnight celebrity despite the fact that she doesn't sing in the Modest Mouse scratch-whine voice, an achievement in itself. If you read music blogs, which clearly you do, you already know all the relevant biographical info, but here it is again: she's 21, she's from London, she's approachably pretty, she's the daughter of some famous British comedian I never heard of.


Information Week profiles MOG, the new social networking site "aimed at music fans."

For those that live and breathe music, can't resist sharing that information with the world, and don't yet have a blog, the site may well be a hit.

As a jaded tech journalist, I wish I found the site more useful, which might have something to do with not being part of the 18-to-24-year-old demographic. Though I created a MOG page to try the service out, I suspect I'll end up deleting it. I just don't feel the need to share what I'm listening to. Between work, family, sleep, and brief moments of leisure, the 24 hours I get each day are more or less spoken for. What I need is a way to save time.


Mike Skinner of the Streets discusses great albums with MP3.com.

Skinner also taks to the Montreal Gazette.

"I don't think I'll write anything as personal next time," he said. "I think I'm just going to lie."

Though topically, he may have cut too close to the bone, there is still room for musical exploration in the future. "I'd like to make a much more organic album," he said, "more earthly and simple, using real instruments."


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