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July 26, 2006


Newcity Chicago does a band-by band comparison of the Pitchfork, Warped, and Lollapalooza music festivals.

At Stylus, Mallory O'Donnell attempts to "really listen" to the Smiths for the first time.

On the whole, however, the music of the early Smiths must have been a rather delightful tonic for those in the early 80's unwilling to barter with po-faced gloom, silly New Romanticism, or, you know, music made by black people. Unfortunately, you can't hear a f*cking note of it. I know I'll be taken to task for focusing so heavily on Stephen Patrick Morrissey at the expense of the rest of the band, but for the first half of their career you're given little other choice.

A Rate Your Music user lists the 100 worst guitar riffs, licks, and solos.

In Philadelphia Weekly, Sarah Hepola profiles singer-songwriter Fiona Apple.

Norah Jones would never pen a lyric like, “You let your love abound/ And you bring me to my knees.” That's part of the reason Norah Jones albums will forever be played at a polite level at Starbucks and cocktail parties. I like Norah Jones, but she isn't much more than a really great coffeehouse singer. Fiona Apple couldn't play a coffeehouse. Well, maybe she could, but she'd end up torching the place, or at the very least throwing a grande no-foam latte in someone's face.

The Daily Show's Rob Corrdry puts his iPod on shuffle for the Onion A.V. Club.

The Gerbils, "Penny Waits"

RC: Such a great band. I got into them when I got into the whole Elephant 6 thing. I'm this weird sort of completist, in that once I hear one band, I buy their entire family tree, then never end up listening to anything but the band that made me do the research. And that one band was Neutral Milk Hotel. But then I found The Gerbils, and now that I think about it, maybe The Gerbils don't have anything to do with Neutral Milk Hotel. But it comes from the same era. The jangly, Beatles-esque indie pop. I imagine these guys being like three feet tall. They're aptly named. They might be gerbils.

Coudal Associates' Museum of Online Museums was profiled yesterday on NPR's All Things Considered.

Associated Content lists "5 great music blogs to get your fix."

At Three Imaginary Girls, John Roderick of the Long Winters and Sean Nelson of Harvey Danger interview each other.

Sean: We'll like, we'll be a day ahead of you in some places and you'll be ahead of us by a day in some places.

John: Hilarious. What are the pudgy, myopic kids of the Niagara Falls area going to do with their one $15 that they have to spend all year? (squeaky kid voice) "I can see Harvey Danger or I can see the Long Winters."

Sean:But there's always the threat with us that we'll never do it again.

John: That's right.

Sean: That's our best marketing tactic.

John: You're like Cher, you're on your third farewell tour. That's exciting.

Sean: I'm definitely excited.

In the Village Voice, Robert Christgau reviews 32 shows in 30 days.

In the 65th year of my life on this planet, I went out to see live music every night (or day) of June. The main reason I conceived this project, which many considered nuts, was that I wasn't liking enough new guitar bands. So my professional purpose was to encounter young musicians in their natural habitat. But since the idea of going out is to have fun, I wasn't rigid about this. In 30 days I caught all or most of 52 acts and bits of nine others. To start, here are a few things that happened in New York in June—not always the best, but worth remembering.

Joan Jett talks to the Cincinnati Post about her participation in the Warped Tour.

Still, she can't escape the "classic rock" tag. For this tour, many rock writers have often dubbed Jett "the godmother of punk."

"I guess you need a frame of reference. So, I don't mind," said Jett, 47. "It is cool, because some of the bands come to me and want to talk about their experiences."

MF Grimm's graphic novel, Sentences: the Life and Times of MF Grimm, was announced at Comic-Con last week.

"The script to Sentences reads exactly like the lyrics to one of MF Grimm's raps, raw and brutally honest. He debunks the stereotypes associated with hip-hop and shows that beneath the glamorous veneer of money and fame lies real consequences and heartbreak," Casey Seijas, Acquiring Editor for Vertigo said via statement.

Billboard has the tracklist for the next Robert Pollard album, Normal Happiness, due October 10th from Merge.

The New York Times' Jon Pareles reviews Peaches' Saturday night performance.

Compared with Ms. Jett, Madonna or Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Peaches is less an object of desire than a pep-rally yell leader; her raps often have the rhythms of football cheers. Her material is closer to a checklist than to a fantasy, and her audience finds it amusing, not shocking. It’s one big, happy conceptual in-joke, and it’s more than entertaining enough for a one-night stand.

The f-word wonders if self-declared empowered female pop stars like Beyonce and the Pussycat Dolls can ever be embraced by feminists.

It is without a doubt that the two artists I focused upon here are only a small representation of the contradictory messages regarding the female that flood the music industry. Ten years on from the Spice Girls, women still inhabit an uneasy social zone in which they are more empowered, but still not empowered enough to overcome pre-existing stereotypes. The female body remains to be an object to be looked at. These mixed messages, then, are perhaps unavoidable.

In the New York Daily News, Jim Farber wonders if digital downloads hurt Daniel Powter's album sales.

Of course, the artist Powter most resembles - James Blunt - had no trouble selling more than 2 million CDs, even though his first single, "You're Beautiful," generated nearly 1 million downloaded sales.

Here's the difference. Or rather, the differences:

# Blunt arrived on the scene first, making Powter seem like a knockoff.

# Blunt has more sex appeal than this Daniel-come-lately singer (made fetchingly evident in Blunt's video).

# Blunt's album managed to score a second huge single, "High," convincing fans that they weren't in danger of being snowed by a one-hit wonder.

The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports that local libraries are stocking up on comics and graphic novels.

Deltona librarian Jonathan Dolce is among the readers. "I like Batman," said the 32-year-old Dolce. "We have quite a few Batman graphic novels as a result."

The Sunday Mail lists 50 films to see before you die.


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