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August 22, 2006

Shorties

John Darnielle discuss twelve albums for eMusic's "Mountain Goats dozen."

Albums have lost favor as the consumer’s freedom to pick and choose has increased, and this is generally a good development. But for me, there can be no substitute for an album that keeps its focus on the flow: escapism, long a dirty word for thinking people, is due for some serious reevaluation. There is much in our world from which we’d do well to escape every so often, as long as nobody makes us check our brains at the door.

Speaking of the Mountain Goats, Harmonium reviews the new album, Get Lonely.

Now, anyone familiar with their Mountain Goats folklore will tell you that Tallahassee consisted of mainly two people and their home in the title-city as well, but here Darnielle doesn’t revolve around arguments and alcohol, but the introspective resounding of a man alone in a house that feels too large for just himself. There is an almost startling closeness.

Punknews also reviews the album.

With my initial disappointment faded, I can say thank God the Goats doesn’t fall back on the same devices every album. With Darnielle’s abilities to tell captivating stories and sing instantly familiar melodies, he could have cranked out furiously strummed lo-fi solo material of a fictional nature for another decade and his rabid fans (myself included) probably would have devoured them anyways. Thankfully though, here we are in the fourth consecutive album recorded completely hi-fi with two of those four delving into factual, more personal stories and all of them experimenting with instrumentation and dynamics. And despite the low-key nature, great songs are to be found on Get Lonely with a little patience.


The Denver Post interviews Jordan Jeffares of Snowden.

The best thing about Gosling is that however much sound the musicians bite off, they always chew it into flavorful pop. A song like "Come Into My Room," with its swaying guitars, sounds like the best pop hit George Harrison never wrote. "Stealing Stars" has the psychedelic billow and ease of the most bucolic track from Traffic.


Dan Bitney and Jeff Parker of Tortoise talk to Popmatters.

"Being an instrumental band has kept it off late night TV -- they all have rules about instrumental bands. But in the other sense, because it's instrumental, you don't have a specific context like you will with vocals. You can date yourself by singing about Ronald Reagan, for example."


The Associated Press lists ways to self-promote in the internet age.

3. Start small

"There are a lot of mp3 blogs out there, and some of them are not being inundated with tracks and e-mails. The old model was you beg and plead your way onto the radio. New model: you go to Internet radio, of which there are an infinite number of stations, and they'd be delighted to have a new track to play and have contact from the band themselves," says Anderson. He points to the success of a former Wired staffer's band: "(They) got attention by sending tracks to very small mp3 blog, Music for Robots, and eventually got noticed by Pitchfork, which is the biggest one in the states."


SF Signal lists the top 26 science fiction books you've never read.


ABC News covers the recent crop of protest songs.


Tower Records has declared bankruptcy, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.

Phil Leigh, a senior analyst for Inside Digital Media Inc., said the Tower brand has value and will find a buyer, but its stores aren't likely to survive this latest bankruptcy.

"I think they'll sell off the name and liquidate the inventory," Leigh said.

Los Angeles rock historian Harvey Kubernik was saddened, but not surprised, by that possibility.

"My life is a series of record shops closing," said Kubernik, author of "This is Rebel Music." "I'm unfortunately used to this. I don't sit shiva for Tower Records."


SFist interviews Caila Thompson of Shapes and Sizes.

What's your favorite song to perform?

That changes pretty frequently, but right now, and for me personally, it might be this song we've only played once. It's a highlife-esque world beat-y little number that has no name at the moment. It might be called something like "fleshy, mouthy corners" or "I had been duped". The new ones are often the most fun.


The Times Online lists the top 50 controversial films.


Kathryn Yu weighed in on Page France's "Antarctica (My Beloved Home)" yesterday on NPR's Song of the Day.

Page France's nuanced, clever folk-pop is carefully constructed using modest but warm components -- acoustic guitar, organs, glockenspiel, tambourine, the pretty backing vocals of keyboardist Whitney McGraw -- while Michael Nau's striking voice lends the band's music an air of sincerity and innocence.


T-shirt of the day: "Vito & Michael & Sonny & Fredo" (via Preshrunk, whom I blame for this impulse purchase)


Harp lists "superwrong supergroups."


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