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August 25, 2006


Beirut's Zach Condon talks to the Boston Herald.

‘‘There was a time when my friends were really starting to get into indie rock,” he recalled. ‘‘I remember being like, ‘I can’t just listen to this stuff.’ ”

Ironically, Condon now finds himself leading the pack he once spurned - with, of course, a Balkan-brass twist. But Condon not only admits his lack of world-music expertise, he seems proud of it.

‘‘I don’t want to know the full story,” he said. ‘‘I want it to be the kind of fantasy I have in my head about it.”

BBC Radio 4 has a feature interviewing bloggers.

Popmatters profiles bubblegum pop from the '60s and early '70s.

Stylus lists the top ten "Canadian rock not-quite-smashes."

Singer-songwriter Ben Folds talks to the Sydney Morning Herald.

"I feel like I break my own laws and I'm not in anybody's club. I was never in the indie-rock club, or the sell-out club, or any club. But now it's like there's all these people who aren't in clubs and it's kind of nice."

Pulse of the Twin Cities lists five ways to ruin a mixtape.

Calexico's Joey Burns and John Convertino talk to the Independent.

Like their label-mates Lambchop, their fan-base lies in Europe, where they are seen as pioneers. "I think in the past Europeans have been more open-minded about our music," reflects Burns. "They get the aspect of the music that's related to our surroundings. In the States there has always been some resistance to that. I think for Americans it's a little too close to home. Also, because of the issues along the US-Mexican border, there's a lot of hostility and racial tension at present. There's a lot of xenophobia, so it's not a good time to be trying to celebrate and encourage this confluence of cultures."

AP reports that the two people who leaked Ryan Adams tracks on a forum pled guilty in federal court.

The Guardian profiles Broken Social Scene.

Two BSS members currently pursuing another project in earnest are Emily Haines and James Shaw, singer and guitarist in the more straightforward, punky Metric. "James and I write with BSS pretty regularly," she explains, "but it's a very different kind of role, especially for me. I really enjoy playing the supporting part. Social Scene is about donating yourself. And the thing is, we don't see each other that often. It's a way to romanticise your friendships, because you don't have to put up with the day-to-day."

The Independent examines musicians making more income from touring and merchandise than album sales (or as the Drive-By Truckers' Mike Cooley puts it, "I tell people I'm a t-shirt salesman").

"The tour will happen because there is an album to promote," Williams says. "There will be merchandise on sale during the tour, but again that opportunity for generating income is only available because of the album. Radio and TV play will be for singles that will be released because the record company is trying to push an album. So the album is still the centre of the universe in terms of the activity of the artist, but it isn't where the artist will be making their money."

Author Mark Haddon (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) talks to the Independent.

"Talking about Curious Incident - it's like if you pick your favourite food in the world, and if somebody makes you eat it 500 times, it finally starts to make you feel slightly queasy. And even when good friends of mine now ask me questions about Curious Incident, I can feel this fog coming down."

Happy 39th birthday, Jeff Tweedy (who shares a birthday with jazzman Wayne Shorter, Rachael Ray, and Elvis Costello).

A Pittsburgh Tribune-Review columnist recounts her experience at the open casting call for The Mysteries of Pittsburgh film adaptation.

Around midnight, I did a full dress rehearsal and decided that the knee-length jean skirt I was wearing was too long to be totally '80s. I hemmed it into a mini with safety pins and barged into Kara's room to show her. She, in good humor, groggily gave it the thumbs up.

Raleigh's Independent Weekly reviews the Mountain Goats' Get Lonely.

Sure, this pensive mood is less immediately entertaining than squabbling drunks or familial powderkegs, but this is an album to be sipped and savored. Details like Eric Friedlander's cello knifing in and out of the parched "In the Hidden Places" emerge with each listen.

Rolling Stone reviews the first night of the "Revenge of the Bookeaters" tour.

Sufjan Stevens, toast of the indie world (and quite a pedant himself), walked onstage with a six-piece band, including a trumpet player, violinist and a trombone player. Stevens' music -- with his sweet, breathy voice and stylized tunes -- can sometimes border on precious, but Wednesday night, he demonstrated a more reserved and mature sound. Tracks from his latest album, Illinois, including "Jackson," built around a trickle of piano and fritters of brass, translated as cool and restrained but utterly expert.

The New York Sun previews tomorrow's New York stop.

Singer-songwriter Ani DiFranco talks to JamBase about the title track on her album, Reprieve.

When I ask Ani about the title track and its placement secretly tucked in the middle of the album, she laughs, "You know, lull people in with a false sense of security and then hit them with the heavy stuff!" "Reprieve" is a spoken-word poem set to subtle instrumentals illuminating some of the heaviest political concepts on the album. The profound last line enlightens the listener to the realities of DiFranco's impression of living in a patriarchal society: "Feminism isn't about equality. It's about reprieve."

Once More With Hobbits is a Lord of the Rings/Buffy the Vampire musical adventure, complete with songs available to download via Bittorrent.

Wired's Listening Post ponders what's on Osama Bin Laden's iPod.

A recent reading (warning: adult text content) by Bin Laden's former live-in girlfriend Kola Boof, from her new book Diary of a Lost Girl, sheds some light on the sort of music Bin Laden likely has on his iPod.

Boof writes that Bin Laden "would become this devout party boy who wanted to hear Van Halen or some B-52's." The songs still haunt her. "To this day I hear the song 'Rock Lobster' in my sleep," she writes. (This part is not a joke.)

In the Washington Post, critic David Segal wonders where all the female guitar gods are.

Here's the thing. Reasonable people can argue about whether there are any guitar heroines, and you might insist that Jett, Mitchell and a dozen other women have earned the title. But what's beyond dispute is a stunning gender-related imbalance when it comes to this particular craft and, come to think of it, every other job in a rock band -- drummer, keyboardist, bass player -- except singer. The only interesting question is why.


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