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July 20, 2006

Shorties

Singer-songwriter David Bazan talks to the Stockton Record.

"It's hard for anybody else to have ownership over Pedro the Lion when they know I'm going to just keep doing it, whether they're going to do it or not," he said. "That was a dynamic that undermined any long-term relationship with anyone involved in Pedro the Lion."


Tapes 'N Tapes frontman Josh Grier talks to the Toronto Sun.

"It's not a concept record by any means, but I've always been a fan of whole albums. I hate hearing the same song over and over again 11 times. I like diversity in my music, and we really wanted to make a record about what we sounded like," says Grier.

"I wouldn't compare us to Pavement or the Pixies, but that's what I love about them. And bands like Radiohead. When they put something out, it's a complete piece, and that's what we were trying to do."


The Salem Statesman Journal examines the legacy of Sleater-Kinney.


Music critic Simon Reynolds discusses the state of popular music criticism at Frieze.

Blogs promised to be a bastion of ambitious music writing of the sort that ran wild with connection-making and speculation. They still sporadically come up with the goods, but inevitably they’ve slipped into a homeostatic half-life. One of the marvels of this globally distributed meshwork was that it created new kinds of post-geographical communities, a parochialism of sensibility rather than place. Unfortunately, blogs are often parochial in the negative sense, bunkers of genre-patriots talking in enthused but insular tongues. MP3 blogs have exacerbated that collector/show-off tendency, turning bloggers into DJs rather than critics. At best, they’re curators, framing their sonic shareware with information, rarely aspiring to revelation.


Singer-songwriter Jaymay talks to Popmatters about being an unsigned artist.

"Right now, I can record whatever I want and put it out. I don't have to make a certain number of songs. People are listening to it and I'm just doing what I'm doing, so how could I possibly complain?"


USA Today recommends the best of this year's baseball books.


The San Diego Union-Tribune previews this week's Comic-Con International.


Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven frontman David Lowery talks to the New York Press.


Salt Lake City Weekly lists 14 "don't miss bands" on the Warped tour.


The St. Paul Pioneer Press interviews members of Plastic Constellations and Tapes 'N Tapes.

On Tapes 'N Tapes' upcoming U.K. tour, the band's second this year:

Josh: "It's going to be crazy. When I found out we got Reading and Leeds (two of England's largest festivals), I couldn't believe it. We're on at, like, 11 in the morning, but I don't care."

Jeff: "Then you can get drunk."

Josh: "It's the same with the Pitchfork Festival (July 30 in Chicago). We're first. We're going to play, we're going to get drunk, and we're going to watch all these bands we've waited years to see."

Jeff: "Opening shows is the way to go. Set the bar, man, set the bar. When we did those two weeks with the Hold Steady, we were the opening act every night. And on a Hold Steady tour, it's a minimum of five drink tickets a night." (Laughter.)


Seattlest interviews Brian Aubert of the Silversun Pickups.

The band's last EP was called Pikul, and the new album is Carnevas. We're not familiar with either of those words. Where did they come from?

Well, they're pretentious. Pikul was a nickname of a friend of ours who passed away, and so that was in homage to him. And then Carnevas is in homage to a side of my family that will soon be extinct---it's their maiden name, it's Greek. So it's another kinda sad homage, but in the same respect, it's another totally pretentious word, so people can make up their own ideas.


The Telegraph argues that the wrong artists were nominated for the Mercury Prize.

Yet the list conspicuously ignores the musicians the country has actually been listening to. Sunny chanteuse Corrine Bailey Rae, urban poet The Streets, swaggering pop rock outfit the Feeling, and epic anthemicists Snow Patrol all made mainstream records with heart, soul, invention and credibility.


Matt Sharp talks to the Portland Mercury about the return of his band, the Rentals.

Sharp described their first show in over six years like a breathless teenager who's just discovered rock 'n' roll. "It was great," he said. "I can't even explain the feelings. It was a new level of anticipation for everybody in the group. There was just this overwhelming joy and release and just massive adrenaline... I was so overwhelmed with all this joy and this love for everybody in the group."


At the Huffington Post, Cynthia Kling talks to Cathi Hanauer about her novel, Sweet Ruin.

5. Can we can call your book a chick book?

A. I'd be the first to admit it has more appeal for women than for men. As Boston Magazine said, it's a "slow burn that bursts into a page-turner." Let's be frank, that's a girl thing. (Just watch porn and you will realize that's not how men's brains work.) Some men will read it but I'm not deluding myself that I'm gonna get Philip Roth's audience. It's a chick book, okay. But please don't call it chick lit.


Seattle's Stranger reviews Alison Bechdel's graphic memoir, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic.

Although she compares her antique home (and its gloomy residents) to the Addams family, her illustrations have a light tone, closer to the Edwardian-era gags of the Amelia Bedelia kids books than the gothic shades of Charles Addams. But the simple lines carry weight. She is an absolute wizard with eyes, for instance; with a single lowered eyelid she can burden a whole panel with a character's annoyance. And her figures, even at their tiniest, are wonderfully expressive; most of all her father, a wiry, bantam combination of Woody Allen and Robert Redford, with his gaze narrowly intent on some object or the vague middle distance, and rarely on his daughter.


Philadelphia's Citypaper examines WXPN's purchase of Y100.

With The Geator and now Y100, WXPN seems to be cobbling together a powerhouse lineup by picking up the castoffs of mainstream radio. But is there a concern about casting the net too wide? Can a station be too eclectic?

"We think about that every single day, with every new music decision," admits Warren, who feels that his listeners crave ever more diversity. "But we have a very good sense of what the boundaries are. WXPN is definitely about discovery."


At Indie Interviews, the Long Winters' John Roderick explains the lyrics to the band's latest album, Putting the Days to Bed.


Slate wonders if Thomas Pynchon really did post on his new book's untitled Amazon page.


Girls Read Comics (And They Are Pissed) offers tips on "How To Write An Original Female Lead Character In A Fashion That Doesn't Drive Karen Crazy."

3) What is she wearing?

Is it appropriate to the climate/society/personality/powers/financial circumstances/occupation of the wearer, or at least as appropriate as what the men around her are wearing? Is she wearing it for herself, or for her readers?

Supergirl wearing a frilly almost-skirt which magically never shows her underwear sewn for her by Ma Kent is character-assassinating fanservice. Power Girl's famous boob window can be either "strong woman proud of her body" or "LOOK BOYS BOOBIES", depending on the artist, the writer, and the reader.

If you find yourself saying things like "But she just won't be as sexy in cargo pants," stop and ask yourself a) why you think your female lead character must be sexy and b) whether this is a character design imperative for your male characters (and why not?).


No Love For Ned features an in-studio set from the Aum Rifle this week on the streaming radio program.


Bethanne at Clever Titles Are So Last Summer has signed up for Blogathon, and with the help of several guest bloggers (myself included) will blog to benefit a great cause, the Global Fund for Women. Feel free to donate to the good cause, and drop me a line if your blog is participating in Blogathon 2006.


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