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July 29, 2006


"Original riot grrl" Joan Jett talks to the Globe and Mail.

Now, after more than a decade's absence, she's back with Sinner, which has generated critical praise. Jett, however, will argue that she never really went away.

"We never stopped," Jett explained last week, as she relaxed in the band's trailer before the Vancouver show, sporting her trademark shag haircut and dark raccoon eyeliner.

"We were on the road all the time, we just couldn't get this record out. And if you don't have a record and you're not on the charts, they think you're retired or something. You wouldn't believe the number of times people asked me: 'Do you still play? Are you still working?' "

Singer-songwriter Kathleen Edwards talks to the Calgary Sun.

“I’ve gotten to a place in my career where I’ve had some time off and I know I’m so lucky to be playing music, I’m so honoured that I get to come to places like Calgary and sing my own songs.”

The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette examines how local independent music stores are adapting to the digital age.

Roets plans to keep adapting his retail business. Even if music sales fall further than they already have, Roets sees a need for at least one or two independent music stores selling new and used CDs in Fort Wayne.

And then there are all of the things he stocks in addition to CDs, including DVDs of movies and live music performances, T-shirts, posters, tapestry, magnets, incense and CD carrying cases.

“The day you can download a carrying case,” he said, “I may as well give up.”

The Guardian asks musicians for their favorite summer tunes.

Singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens talks to the Telegraph.

It's (his waywardness) also there in Stevens's stated aim to make an album about each and every one of the states - Illinoise was the follow-up to Greetings from Michigan, a tribute to his home state.

"I think the remark was flippant initially," Stevens says ruefully of his "sound of a nation" plan. "I never meant this to be my life's work. I have so many other things I love to do. I'd love to teach writing in a university setting later in life."

The New York Times covers Metallica offering albums on iTunes. lists its top ten anime.

This Week's episode of NPR's All Songs Considered features the Mountain Goats' "Wild Sage" from Get Lonely.

The Mountain Goats is the performance name for the prolific singer-songwriter John Darnielle from Claremont, Calif. His beautifully-crafted, lo-fi songs are literary, bittersweet and reflective.

All Songs Considered also lists its top songs of the year so far.

At the Huffington Post, James Heffernan suggests we all read The Plague as an antidote to despair.

At Slate, Jody Rosen wonders if top 40 compilations can save the record industry.

In Europe, compilations account for fully 25 percent of the record market. American major labels have invested barely any energy in compilations, but with a little imagination they might easily catch up. (For some pointers, a record executive need only hop a cab to Manhattan's Canal Street, epicenter of the thriving gray-market trade in hip-hop mixtape CDs.) As someone who listens to CDs for a living, I can attest that, by and large, comps are good value, and albums usually disappoint: When you do the hard math, precious few albums offer more than one or two decent tracks. We all might benefit—you, me, the president of Columbia Records, and the half-million fine American youths who bought Now 22 in the last fortnight—if the industry threw a little more weight behind that up-and-coming talent, Various Artists.

British member of Parliament Greg Pope tells This Is Lancashire about his punk past.

"I think I am the only member of Parliament to have invaded the stage at a Clash gig. I danced to Police and Thieves with the band.

"But I grew my hair back by the time I graduated so my mum didn't know!"

Mr Pope said he thought it was "great" that teenagers rebelled and found themselves before settling down.

He added: "What's the point if you want to be part of the Establishment when you are young?

"I have an iPod and it has lots of punk and I still enjoy listening to it."

Mr Pope was not very impressed with Mr Evans's choice. He joked: "I can't believe that from 50 years of number one albums he chose Rumours.

"I think he should hang his head in shame."

Mr Evans was unavailable for comment.

Author Haruki Murakami talks to the Jerusalem Post.

The heroes of his surrealistic, genre-bending narratives are under-employed drifters, without children or long-term partners, who refuse to genuflect to the Japanese group ethos of the family and the corporation. They are more likely to eat spaghetti, listen to Radiohead and read Len Deighton than drink saki or quote Oe.

"It seems natural to refer to Radiohead songs because I love music. It's just like a movie soundtrack. But I don't listen to music when I write. I have to concentrate on writing."

Penguin Books launches the first blog, The Penguin Blog (of course), by a major publisher Monday.

Penguin Books launches the first blog from a mainstream publisher on Monday 31st July. Having led the way in bringing publishing into the digital age with its award-winning podcasts, Penguin's blog will be a destination where an editor will post the latest news from the company: new acquisitions, sneak previews from works in progress of some of Penguin's best-loved authors, industry gossip and advice on how to get published.

The Underrated Blog has a video podcast featuring live Birdmonster.

Kangaroo Press has a wide selection of indie show posters for sale.

Zune Insider is a blog written by a Microsoft employee working on the Zune portable music player.


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