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July 4, 2006


There are many ways to get my attention with a promo disc. Most bands add a one-sheet to their promo packages, some throw in buttons and stickers, a couple have put in t-shirts and one even sent me a book (all of which I am thankful for). Baton Rouge's We Landed on the Moon definitely caught my eye yesterday with the package of astronaut ice cream (get it?) that accompanied their self-titled debut. The treat didn't get the disc moved up in the "to listen" pile but it did go over well when I shared it with some friends' children yesterday. Thanks, guys.

The New York Daily News interviews Mitch Calvert of Austin's Voxtrot.

TWII: Do you worry about overexposure or people assuming you've just popped up this month?

MC: It crosses my mind and it worries me, but I've found that things with criticism and that sort of thing, these people are coming from a vague perception of who we are. I've noticed that with some bands, they come and they go within six months or so. But I try and step back from all of that and say that if I have faith in those songs, then I don't have anything to worry about.

Digital Spy interviews Green Gartside of Scritti Politti, who is a Sufjan Stevens fan.

Who should we be listening to at the moment?

Sufjan Stevens - and he's just astonishing. He's like some mad gay Christian American singer-songwriter who just writes the most amazing stuff.

The Orlando Sentinel's book blog, Shakespeare's Coffee, responds to Time magazine with its own suggestions for the literary voice of his generation.

I may get taken behind the wood shed for even mentioning this, but what about Lauren Weisberger? Yeah, The Devil Wears Prada isn't exactly War and Peace, but it has the hallmarks of our materialist, celebrity watching, label-obsessed, excessive post-college job expectations generation. Or Plum Sykes, who could prove to be a sort of Gen Y version of Jane Austen, with her witheringly accurate skewering of social mores. There are a number of graphic novel/memoir writers that I would also toss into the mix.

The Salt Lake Tribune lists books, films and albums that "embody the soul of America. Their music picks:

Modest Mouse, "The Lonesome Crowded West" (1997) - Three boys from a logging town-turned-Seattle suburb track the evolution/devolution of "economic progress" in the West to the sound of some inspired and experimental rock riffage.

Richard Fontaine, "Winnemucca" (2002) - Singer Willy Vlautin's songs are the ideal soundtrack to the seedy underbelly of life along the West's blue highways.

Camper Van Beethoven, "Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart" (1988) - Acid-dropping Wyoming cowboys, Patty Hearst and the devil converge on these 14 songs that ultimately end with the message "Life is Grand."

Drive-By Truckers, "Southern Rock Opera" (2001) - If you ever wanted to know what it was like to grow up as a teenage boy in '70s-era Alabama, this is epic double-album to pick up. And the guitar solos kick ass.

Two Gallants, "What the Toll Tells" (2006) - The Bay Area duo of twentysomethings sound a lot older on this dusty, bluesy acoustic-based set about time spent in a "Las Cruces Jail" and watching "Waves of Grain."

The Isthmus Daily Page reviews Alison Bechdel's graphic memoir, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic.

Fun Home has been getting rave reviews from media all the way up to the New York Times, and garnering Bechdel mainstream press in the likes of People magazine. The good news is that all of this attention is well deserved. Fun Home is graphically sophisticated, using the grown-up comic book form to weave multiple stories together. Though Fun Home is more complex than the strip, DTWOF fans will recognize the familiar rhythms of Bechdel’s work, the wise eye and the wry, bemused tone.

Daytrotter has Milwaukee's Maritime in the studio for an interview and to record four live tracks.


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