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July 14, 2006

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The Washington Post is less than impressed with the Leonard Cohen documentary, I'm Your Man.

Rather than a portrait of a surpassingly wise, complicated and gifted artist, " I'm Your Man" is a documentary of a tribute concert in which a whole new group of young singers pay flimsy homage to the master, intercut with intimate but ultimately unrevealing interviews with Cohen himself as well as pompous commentary by the likes of Bono and, God help us, the Edge.


Singer-songwriter Beth Orton discusses fan reaction to her latest album, Comfort of Strangers, with the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Minimally produced by experimental music god Jim O'Rourke, it has a more organic feel than past albums, which used a variety of electronics. Most love it; others not so much.

"It's funny. Why has it become this big comparison to what I've done before, like, almost putting down what I've done before? I suppose there's been a lot of changes in my life, and I think it's lit a fire under my ----. I don't know. To finally get together with Jim and make a record -- I mean, I love to listen to it, and that's a real first for me."


South Africa's Mail & Guardian examines the plight of independent booksellers in the country.


Stylus lists the top ten songs snubbed by the Guitar Hero videogame.


Caithlin De Marrais of Rainer Maria talks to the San Antonio Current.

All these years later, does the band ever regret the name? De Marrais says without hesitation, “No. The only time it’s tricky is when I say it. For instance, someone thought I said Rhino Maria.” She says it’s important for the band to be challenged and challenge other people. “Maybe, for example, someone hasn’t heard of the poet before, so the next time they see the name, they might be interested in reading the poems. I’m glad we have that opportunity.”


The Independent examines "the Mercury curse."

Because for all attention lavished upon it in the media, the Mercury Prize has acquired a well-established reputation for destroying its winners' futures. Of the previously triumphant, only 1992's inaugural winners, Primal Scream, have managed to make anything like a go of their subsequent career. Since then, the Mercury has become the Cenotaph at which is mourned the loss of a musical generation. Indeed, so deadly has the prize become, that it even managed to kill off its original sponsors.


TV on the Radio drummer Jaleel Bunton talks to the Japan Times.

"One reason I joined this band instead of sticking with my own was that I think Tunde is an amazing singer and songwriter," said Bunton. "I wanted to write songs, but actually, I like his better." He also adds, "but we're a bit of a hive. We have lively political conversations."


The Los Angeles Times reviews Wednesday's Warped Tour stop in the city.

The festival, which attracted more than 14,000 punk patrons Wednesday to the Dodger Stadium parking lot, offered the usual crowded and chaotic assemblage of heavy, heady or just plain noisy rock bands.


The Guardian wonders why "there sis so much bad writing about good writing."


The Christian Science Monitor profiles indie teen sensations Smoosh.

Drummer Chloe, talking on the phone from London, says she's "pretty happy" but "not going crazy over it." Those intent on writing the duo off as sheer gimmick, however, are sure to draw her ire. She insists that listeners take them seriously. "I don't really like it when people say, 'Oh, look at those guys, they're so adorable!' I want them to focus on our music."


Pet Shop Boy Neil Tennant talks to the Guardian, and is no fan of blogs.

"So much technology becomes about technology," he complains. Although they sometimes post messages on their website, they do not believe in blogs. "Blog is such an ugly word," says Tennant, witheringly.


Colossians Three Sixteen opines about Sufjan Stevens.

I can’t help but compare Sufjan’s music to the writing of Donald Miller and Andrée Seu (discussed here) because it’s precisely their “real” quality that immediately draws the reader in whereas Stevens often comes across as contrived (I realize that many will disagree here) and surface-level. While the music is beautiful, quirky yet accessible and memorable, the lyrics often come across as mere frosting rather than delivering anything of substance.


Dorsia Films is making a documentary, titled Through With Love, on the Long Winters. (via)


Hammer of the Gods offers live Led Zeppelin shows.


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