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August 31, 2006

Shorties

In Harp, John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats describes "How Souled American's Flubber Changed My Life."

A few years later, in 1995, I was talking on the phone to this girl who lived in Iowa; we hadn't met personally, but we had a correspondence going, and I really liked her. I was trying to figure out a way of saying so without sounding lecherous; what I wound up saying was: “You know, you...” and then just letting that vowel fade. “Hey,” she said, “that sounded like a Souled American song.” “What did you say?” I said. We are still married.


Thanks to everyone for entering the Pet Sounds 40th Anniversary contest. The entries were numerous and inspired.

The winner (receives the beautiful color double vinyl album): Cindy Hotpoint ("Neil Young -- as fantastic as he is -- never succeded in elevating the lowly, seemingly-disposable pop song to the lofty heights of musical immortality")

The runner-up (receives the CD/DVD): Marvin ("You can't surf to 'Southern man'")

Look for more contests in the future...


The San Luis Obispo Tribune lists the greatest songs inspired by food.


Murray Lightburn of the Dears talks to the Montreal Gazette about the band's new album, Gang of Losers.

"It's not super-polished," Lightburn said of the new album. "It's very dark. A lot of records now, it's ridiculous how bright they are. People equate bright-sounding records with good. You just get a bunch of conflicting high frequencies repeating themselves."


Centro-matic's Will Johnson talks to the San Jose Mercury News.

At the 10-year mark, Johnson is proud of what his band has accomplished.

``I am grateful that we've done everything on our own terms, exactly when we wanted to, and recorded everything exactly how we wanted to,'' he says. ``It's been a very grass-roots way to make a band go, and there's never been any windfall of success overnight, but it's been a real gradual growth, and each tour gets a little better, and each record does a little better. So I think that's all we could ask for.''


Cracked lists the five most absurd moments in MTV VMA history, complete with video evidence.


Minnesota Public Radio features an in-studio performance from singer-songwriter Amos Lee.


The Mobtown Shank went on the record for hating metal (and drew several interesting comments).


The Portland Mercury interviews singer-songwriter Vashti Bunyan.

Among others, you've collaborated with Devendra Banhart and Animal Collective. Are there many other musicians you'd like to work with?

Many others, yes. I hope to work soon with Valgeir Sigurdsson on some of his music and I am looking forward to working live with [bands] Adem and Vetiver next year if all goes to plan. I have been so happy to find other musicians to work with since I "came back"—it is quite different from the way I experienced things in the '60s. People now seem so open and generous and happy to watch and be part of each other's progress. Maybe the music world feels more full of opportunity now. So many different ways to be heard.

She also talks to the San Jose Mercury News.

So why wasn't ``Diamond Day'' recognized as a gem 35 years ago?

``I think things moved very fast in the '60s,'' Bunyan says. ``Remember, the songs were written in 1968, recorded in 1969 and released late in 1970. By that time, people had moved away from the pastoral dream. It made no sense anymore. My life had changed, too. But people seem to have much wider, more perceptive ears now. I'm very lucky. I've been rediscovered when I'm able to make some more music.''


The Portland Mercury writes a love letter to singer-songwriter Leslie Feist.


Tucson Weekly interviews local folk-popsters Redlands.

What band or artist changed your life, and how?

Ryan: Ani DiFranco. She went against the grain; instead of signing with a major label that wanted to change her style, she created her own record label and sold just as many records and gave other artists a label to call home.


The Philadelphia City Paper pulls the Bob Dylan trifecta, reviewing the new Modern Times album, the Bob Dylan 1966-1978: After the Crash documentary DVD, and the Bob Dylan Encyclopedia.


Deerhoof guitarist John Dieterich talks to Billboard about the band's next album.

"One thing we're trying to achieve with this album is to avoid something we may have done a lot in the past," guitarist John Dieterich tells Billboard.com. "We've always had this big sound, like it was made in large spaces. We're trying to see if its possible to avoid that crutch; if we can sound powerful but keep the sound like it's close up. As far as noise goes, using distortion can be another one of those crutches. We want to make noise, but without necessarily distorting everything we touch."


The Los Angeles Times profiles the "Rockabye Baby!" series of albums featuring arrangements of lullaby renditions of Metallica, Radiohead, Coldplay and other artists.

So far, nine albums have been recorded, each culling an artist's greatest hits and giving them a serene, crib-appropriate makeover. Tool, Pink Floyd, the Beach Boys, the Cure, Led Zeppelin and Nirvana are also scheduled for release before the end of the year. Smashing Pumpkins, No Doubt, the Pixies and Björk are scheduled for 2007.


Yosada Records owner Justin Carey talks to Boise Weekly about the economics of owning a small label.

It doesn't sound like you make a lot on these deals. Do you at least break even?

No, not even.

You do it just for the love of it then?

Yeah ... I know a lot of people who have bigger labels than mine. A lot of them just got really lucky. They knew a lot of bands and had a lot of really good releases for a long time. But everyone I've talked to who owns a label says, "Be prepared to lose a lot of money."


Steve Albini talks to Raleigh's Independent Weekly.

Uzeda and Shellac stop in Chicago together on Sept. 9 to play Touch & Go's 25th anniversary festival alongside seminal T&G acts like Man or Astro-Man?, Negative Approach, Pegboy, Killdozer, and Albini's own mangled drum-machine rock group, Big Black. Albini suggested that Big Black, which broke up in 1987, play the festival, but he's quick to point out that this isn't a reunion tour.

"We've already been offered reunion money, but no, we're just doing it to show our appreciation for everything Corey [Rusk, the label's owner] has done for us over the years. It's sort of to show our solidarity with Touch & Go as a community," says Albini.

While it's often speculated that other recent reunions from important indie rock bands like Pixies, Dinosaur Jr. and Gorilla Biscuits were only ploys to help their strapped-for-funds members, Albini wants no part of that. In fact, he even shot for a reunion of Rapeman, his equally amazing band between Big Black and Shellac. The band's other members refused.


The Portland Mercury reviews recently published books for foodies.


LA Weekly interviews Neil Hamburger.

L.A. WEEKLY:Do you have any explanation for the popularity of a band like the Red Hot Chili Peppers?

NEIL HAMBURGER: Well, you know, that is not a group that I’m very fond of. Have you seen the guy who has the tattoo of Jimi Hendrix and it looks more like Diahann Carroll?

Yeah, that’s Flea. He’s a funny guy.

He may be a swell guy, but his music is horrific. They don’t allow people to bring tape recorders into their shows, because when you get home and sober up from all the PCP, you hear that these people really can’t perform properly. Anthony Keidis, when he sings on the records, they have to splice those things together by the half-syllable to make it sound like a vocal.


East Lansing's City Pulse lists ten essential Michigan books.


For NPR's Song of the Day, Kathryn Yu sings the praises of 'In the Clouds' by Under the Influence of Giants.

Students of pop culture and funky dance music, the band's members have created a quintessential summer soundtrack. Their colorful, crowd-pleasing sound seems made to serve as a backdrop for flirting across crowded rooms, wading through dance floors and rubbing up against an army of sweaty party people.


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