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July 16, 2006


The San Jose Mercury News lists the summer's best literary sequels aimed at children.

The Houston Chronicle interviews a local children's librarian.

Q: What's the difference between today's YA books and those of previous generations?

A: Back in the '50s and the '60s and even the early '70s, a lot of the teen series were like Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. But they were very sterile. The teens were very clean-cut, and the trouble they got into was kind of superficial. It didn't deal with any real emotional or social problems that face teens, and that's been the big shift. Now it's OK to talk about teen pregnancy and social diseases, and all of these other things that are affecting teens — gangs and drugs — are really being dealt with in these books.

The Orlando Sun-Sentinel laments the lack of touring indie bands playing in the city.

For indie bands -- smaller bands on smaller labels -- it's just not lucrative for them to make the trip below Orlando because it's a long drive, obviously, and in their minds ... there's no market and no appropriate clubs to play in South Florida. And so they just don't feel it's worth it to drive down there and play to 50 people," says Karen Ruttner, a New York music publicist and booking agent who has worked with indie rock bands such as the Futureheads.

In the Independent, poet Nick Drake publishes a poem about being the "other" Nick Drake.

He died far too young. And now he began to haunt me, everywhere. I thought of him as my shadow, the dead name-twin I would never meet; who never made his fourth, or tenth album, whose hair never went grey, who possibly never lived through the far side of a big relationship catastrophe; but who still exerted his presence on me from his place in shadowland.

In the Times Online, Syd Barrett's sister talks to his biographer.

“When Roger was working he liked to listen to jazz tapes. Thelonious Monk, Django Reinhardt, Charlie Parker and Miles Davis were his favourites — he always found something new in them — but apart from the early Rolling Stones, he’d lost interest in pop music a long time ago."

The Observer lists 50 albums that changed music.

1 The Velvet Underground and Nico
The Velvet Underground and Nico (1967)

Though it sold poorly on its initial release, this has since become arguably the most influential rock album of all time. The first art-rock album, it merges dreamy, druggy balladry ('Sunday Morning') with raw and uncompromising sonic experimentation ('Venus in Furs'), and is famously clothed in that Andy Warhol-designed 'banana' sleeve. Lou Reed's lyrics depicted a Warholian New York demi-monde where hard drugs and sexual experimentation held sway. Shocking then, and still utterly transfixing.

Without this, there'd be no ... Bowie, Roxy Music, Siouxsie and the Banshees and the Jesus and Mary Chain, among many others.

The Observer's war correspondent shares the music he's heard in world war zones.

Outside the Palestine hotel in central Baghdad, their white counterparts, most of whom came from steel towns in the Midwest, listened to thrash metal in their tanks. In the huge 'soldiers' store' at one base, I browsed shelves of recent CDs and bought a new Roy Ayers compilation, the consequence of which was several patrols accompanied by 'Love Will Bring Us Back Together'. A few weeks later, a leader of the Iraqi Sunni resistance would tell me that he had originally been enthusiastic about the US invasion of his country because America was the country that had produced Aerosmith and therefore couldn't be all bad.

Singer-songwriter Jose Gonzales talks to New Zealand's Stuff.

Does he fear that expensive and creative marketing ploys might see him typecast as the man from the bouncing balls ad? "A little, but the thing is people who saw the ad went on to buy the entire album. In England when the commercial came out the sales for the single went up, and two to three weeks later the sales for the album went up."

It's the same in New Zealand. A spokesperson for the company distributing Veneer says it is their biggest selling album at present. "Other than the Dandy Warhols' `Bohemian like You' I cannot think of any other musician who has benefited so much from a television ad."

Gang of Losers, the new studio album from the Dears, will be released by Arts & Crafts in the USA on October 3, 2006.

The Arizona Republic talks to Brian O'Halloran and Jeff Anderson, better known as Dante and Randal from Clerks and its sequel.

Q: Are you worried that a sequel could harm the Clerks legacy?

Anderson: There is a danger that - even though (Clerks II) is over and it's done with, I'm very happy with the way it turned out and I am the ultimate fan of Clerks - there will be the people that you won't get, the people that like Clerks and it's all about Clerks and the sequel shouldn't have been done. There is going to be that. But I think the better chance is that a whole new audience is going to come to this who don't know about the original Clerks and is going to really like this and get turned on to the original.

O'Halloran: I think it's a nice bookend to all the View Askew films, to be honest with you. (Smith) started with this little foul-mouthed gem and then carried (it) throughout all his other films . . . (Clerks II) is almost like the 'best of' album of everything he's done.

The New York Times profiles that famous songwriter, Senator Orrin Hatch.

The New York Times wonders what has happened to alt-country, and offers four mp3 downloads from Golden Smog. Former Jayhawk Gary Olson chimes in:

So what has happened to alt-country?

“I don’t think anything’s happened to it,” Mr. Olson said, cheerfully. “It’s probably just the same as it was then. There’s a certain amount of people who when they put on those old records go, ‘I gotta play something like this.’ And they start doing it.”

No Flying, No Tights and review graphic novels.

With Boots is a mashup collection of songs from Nine Inch Nails' With Teeth album.

Jason Hammel of Mates of State shares "music you should hear" with


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