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September 7, 2006


The Dears' Murray Lightburn talks to the Toronto Star.

"I'm sure some people are ready to say we're gonna lose our edge now that there's a baby around. But I think, if anything, it's made me tougher and harder and more focused. When I get out there onstage to play these songs, I close my eyes, the show starts, and next thing I know I'm saying `Thank you, goodnight' and sweating from head to toe, and I don't even know what the hell happened."

The founders of Impetus Press talk to Popmatters.

How does Impetus Press compare with larger publishing companies?

[Jennifer Banash] Publishing is becoming more and more limited. The big houses, like Random and Harper's, are only looking for blockbusters. They all want the next Da Vinci Code. That's terrifying, because it's become a business where huge companies are eating up little ones and everything is sold to the highest bidder and art has been -- if thought about at all -- thrown by the wayside. Instead of being a space that welcomes new writers and rewards risk, it's mostly just either the same voices over and over again or it's total nepotism -- the moral equivalent of incest -- where the only people who are getting heard are people with some kind of inside connection. Of course everyone is aware of the problems with mainstream presses, so we don't have to talk about that. Basically they're just the devil.

Okkervil River's Will Sheff talks to Australia's X-Press Online.

“We haven’t really had a horror story with the major label thing because they don’t own the rights to our stuff,” Sheff explains, “they’re just licensing it. So they don’t have any of the standard horrifying power that people who sign with major labels in American give themselves over to. They don’t have any hold over what we do artistically… but I guess they could refuse to put something out.”

The Little Ones talk to Popmatters.

They've been playing together for more than two years and several members share roots in an earlier emo-centric outfit called Sunday's Best. Singer Ed Reyes and Ian Moreno both recorded with this predecessor band, releasing an album on Polyvinyl before burning out creatively. "When Sunday's Best dissolved, we just kind of started writing together, just trying to figure things out," Reyes explains. "I just felt like I wanted to write music that was kind of fun, you know?"

Singer-songwriter Haley Bonar's Minnesota State fair performance can be streamed at Minnesota Public Radio. reviews the recently released DVD, The Wizard, which features a young Jenny Lewis (of Rilo Kiley).

Stylus lists the "Most Totally Awesomest Lego Music Video (Re)Enactments, Ever."

Indie Interviews sits down with the Futureheads this week, and offers a PDF transcript of the interview along with the podcast.

Minnesota Public Radio has M. Ward in the studio for a performance and interview.

Mobtown Shank has mp3s from 3 bands playing Baltimore's HampdenFest on September 16th.

The Guardian profiles "resurrection publishers," who bring out-of-print books back to life.

For some companies, resurrection is a sideline alongside new titles; for others, it's their whole raison d'etre. It's a labour of love, not money, for most. Few of these books get reviewed, and partly for that reason they won't catch your eye, or even be there at all, when you're in Waterstone's. Mostly there's little hope of achieving the level of sales - perhaps 2,000 copies - where you start to tot up your profits.

The Onion A.V. Club lists "8 Musical Artifacts That Capture What Nuclear Paranoia Felt Like At The End Of The Cold War" (complete with YouTube videos).

Flagpole reviews the new early REM retrospective, And I Feel Fine... The Best of the I.R.S. Years 1982–1987 (out September 12th).

If it accomplishes nothing else, the new early-R.E.M. retrospective And I Feel Fine... The Best of the I.R.S. Years 1982–1987 at least makes a strong case that yeah, maybe R.E.M. really was better when it started. The 21-track compilation (the “collector’s edition” adds a second disc of rarities) hits all the high points from Chronic Town to Murmur to Document, covering the same ground as the previous I.R.S.-era greatest-hits package Eponymous, but in greater detail (the only Eponymous track not repeated is “Romance,” and the alternate mixes of “Radio Free Europe” and “Finest Worksong” show up on the rarities disc).

The Washington Post has an mp3 blog, Sound Check, that highlights local artists.

Bookslut's September issue is filled with interviews (Celia Farber, Marisha Pessl,, Bruce Bauman) and features.

The Catbirdseat offers a cheat sheet for music bloggers' year-end album lists. I see at least two releases that will probably make my year-end listed: Joanna Newsom's Ys and Destroyer's Destroyer's Rubies.

Drowned in Sound reviews August's "month in records."

Surprisingly, considering the warm weather’s affect on the population at large – its ability to coax the most bedroom-bound of individuals out into the sunshine – a number of really great albums were able to keep certain folk indoors while their friends played in paddling pools and public parks all over the place.

John Roderick of the Long Winters talks to Harp about songwriting.

“Writing—it’s a tremendous struggle,” says Roderick, explaining he has a standard—no “cheesy shit” in the lyrics. “[I’ll believe] every single thing I write for six months is completely cheesy. I sit and just poke my eyes out trying to find [the right] words.”

Jason Trachtenberg of the Trachtenberg Family Slideshow Players talks to the San Francisco Chronicle.

"Our band name and everything we do is without irony. We wear the same clothes onstage as we do in real life and are dedicated to breaking down the fourth wall and communicating with audiences," he says. "I don't want to confuse the public, but most bands don't live up to their names. I don't think Death Cab for Cutie writes their songs in cabs, and the Killers don't kill people, at least I hope not. Think of any band name and you're being misled. But we are a family, we do use slide shows and we do play music."

The Times Online profiles the "first indie label," Stiff Records.

The revolution began on August 14, 1976, when Stiff released its first single: Nick Lowe’s So It Goes b/w Heart of the City (catalogue number BUY1). It was recorded for £45, lasted a minute and a half and did not dent the charts. But the label’s sixth release, two months later, made history. A cultural and social explosion was brewing in Britain, and New Rose, by the Damned, became its first recorded soundtrack. What punk was to music, Stiff Records was to a complacent, corporate music industry — a short, sharp shock.

Steel Brewing has three unreleased Ramones songs available for download. The tracks were recorded for a series of commercials, but never used.


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