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August 24, 2006

Shorties

Ken Jennings, Jeopardy record-holder, blogged about the Mountain Goats' Seattle in-store event.

For some reason, when Darnielle’s not singing falsetto, his warm, nasal tenor reminds me a lot of Kermit the Frog. So he’ll be singing about addiction, divorce, abuse, and heartbreak, and you keep thinking he’s going to break into “The Rainbow Connection” at any time.


Singer-songwriter Jose Gonzales talks to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

“In a way, it's really common for Swedish bands to (sing in English),” said Gonzalez, in his not-quite-Swedish, not-quite-Latino accent. “Most of the bands we hear on the radio are English. I think if I had to choose another language to sing in, I would choose Spanish over Swedish just because of the sound of it.”


The Philadelphia Inquirer examines the increasing allure of YA books for adults.

"I feel entirely free to recommend YA books to our adult customers," Orts said. And those recommendations are important, she said, since many adults who shop at Joseph Fox wouldn't feel comfortable walking back to the children's section to browse for themselves.


The Detroit News profiles Michigan bloggers, including Ryan Sult and Matt Caruana of Motor City Rocks.

"When we started, there was no real source for Detroit music information," Sult said. "We could have started it as an e-zine and it still would have worked. It's the same kind of thing with a blog."


Harmonium interviews Jason Trachtenburg of the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players.

Trachtenburg: If any band should have a DVD, it should be our band.

Harmonium: Because of the unique niche that you’ve created for yourselves?

Trachtenburg: Yeah. I mean there’s not really anyone else doing what we do. But I predict that in the future, family slideshow bands will be the big thing. They’ll be everywhere…like boy bands were a few years ago. It’s a different medium, but we learned a lot by doing it. It’s good to have some of our performances captured for posterity.


In the Telegraph, author Nick Hornby discusses choosing books to read.

The regrettable thing about the culture war we still seem to be fighting is that it divides books into two camps, the trashy and the worthwhile. No one who is paid to talk about books for a living seems to be able to convey the message that this isn't how it works, that 'good' books can provide every bit as much pleasure as 'trashy' ones.

Why worry about that if there's no difference anyway? Because it gives you more choice. You may not have to read about conspiracies, or the romantic tribulations of thirty-something women, in order to be entertained.

You may find that you're enthralled by Antony Beevor's Stalingrad, or Donna Tartt's The Secret History, or Great Expectations. Read anything, as long as you can't wait to pick it up again.


The Guardian reports that UK guitar sales are up, thanks to bands like Franz Ferdinand.

The rise of skinny-tied guitar bands such as Franz Ferdinand and the Kaiser Chiefs has fuelled the popularity of the instrument, with UK sales at an all-time high.


Clem Snide's Eef Barzelay talks to the Nashville Scene.

Scene: You have a new album coming out.

Barzelay: It’s kind of crazy. I actually just made an entirely new record, like in the last few weeks. No one is gonna believe me when I tell them this, but it’s true. I was working on this Clem Snide record for a long time called Hungry Bird and it was going be this big, kind of epic, conceptual...I’m not even sure exactly what it was. But, in the process of making the record, I kind of broke up with the rest of the band, the other two guys who still live in Brooklyn. I’ve finally mixed it and I really love it. But, once it was finished, I felt really liberated and that inspired me to write five or six songs. Then I took a few songs that I already had, got together with a couple friends and made a whole new record.


The Seattle Post-Intelligencer treks to the North Cascades to visit Desolation Peak and its fire-watcher cabin, the 1956 home of author Jack Kerouac.

Between watching for smoke columns and facing his demons, the famed Beat Generation writer spent 63 days as a fire-watcher on remote Desolation Peak. His time on the mountain inspired some of his best writing in "Desolation Angels" and "Dharma Bums."


LA Weekly interviews the "world's second-greatest air guitarist."

What are the main criteria for great air guitar?

You’ve got your “airness,” which is the extent to which it becomes an art form and moves beyond imitation. You’ve got technical ability, which just means you know how a guitar functions. And then there’s performance: You have 60 seconds in which to achieve greatness and instantly transform yourself into this rock deity that people are gonna be worshipping and throwing themselves at. It’s what separates the air chaff from the air wheat.


Wolf Parade keyboardist Hadji Bakara talks to the Los Angeles Times.

"We came out unscathed by the backlash," Bakara said. "We were really dubious as it was happening. We thought, are we marked for disaster?

"But it's vindicating that we can play to a lot of people despite not being a buzz band anymore. We've yet to feel any hipster relapse."


Stylus offers a J-Rock YouTube sampler.


Download the high-resolution version of the Mountain Goats' "Woke Up New" video.


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