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September 8, 2006


Harp previews Touch & Go's 25th anniversary party.

On September 8, 9 and 10, Touch And Go Records’ 25th birthday bash will have all three in spades, but with the most ridiculously cool soundtrack imaginable; Calexico, Girls Against Boys, !!!, Ted Leo & Pharmacists, Pegboy, Scratch Acid and Shellac are just some of the names lined up to show the legendary Chicago label some love.

The Bat Segundo Show literary podcast has three new episodes available, including interviews with the authors of my favorite 2006 memoirs, Hilary Carlip (Queen of the Oddballs) and Alison Bechdel (Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic).

Chicago's Metromix profiles singer-songwriter John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats.

"As a songwriter he's able to say something specific that people can relate to in a universal way," says Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn, another up-and-coming rock lyricist (his band's latest, "Boys and Girls in America," is due Oct. 3 on Vagrant Records). "He's really created this world, with his fans especially, where you can overlook structure and tune and really get the lyrics as the main focus, which is something quite unique."

Jason Isbell of the Drive-By Truckers talks to the Macon Telegraph.

While the Truckers often play with jam bands, they're not Isbell's first choice of genres.

"I'm more of a song guy," he said. "When they start with the 10-minute solos and bringing out the didgeridoos, I'm gone."

Centro-matic's Will Johnson talks to the Denver Post.

Lauded by NME and Rolling Stone magazines but relegated to playing small venues and sleeping on couches, Centro-matic has developed a practical approach to its craft.

"I kind of take (the press) with a bucket of salt," Johnson said. "I would never be opposed to our record selling pretty well, but I'm always thankful that each one seems to do a little better than the last. Things get a little better each go around, and not every band can say that."

Stylus lists the top ten surprise endings in song.

Rose from the Pipettes talks to the Cambridge Evening News.

Over-earnest stadium rock is one of the things they don't believe in - instead they've turned their ears towards the timeless pop melodies of people like Phil Spector, The Ronnettes and The Shangri-Las.

"We are inspired by it, but it would be absolutely ridiculous to try and recreate it because it was done so perfectly," Rose tells scene. "We wanted to find our own starting point in musical history and avoid the standardised canon which seems to exist for a lot musicians these days and goes from The Beatles and the Stones and leads up to Radiohead or whoever.

Singer-songwriter Richard Buckner talks to Vancouver's Straight about working with guitarist Doug Gillard.

“I wanted to find a guitar player who would take over for me,” says the Brooklyn-based Buckner, reached before a show in Oxford, Mississippi. “Doug uses different chord voicings, and that changes the songs.”

Serena Maneesh's Emil Nikolaisen talks to Toronto's Eye Weekly.

Before the nine-piece band's self-titled debut -- which uses late-'80s shoegazer rock as a launching pad for a sprawling noise-pop maelstrom -- was even released in their homeland just over a year ago, it had found its way to "so-called important people all over the place." This included Pitchfork (who would place Serena's then-import-only album at No. 29 in their best-of-2005 list), The Dandy Warhols (who would take Serena on an early Euro-tour) and Brit music site PlayLouder (who would start a Beggars Banquet­backed record label with Serena as their first signing).

"Suddenly... boom!" Nikolaisen recounts. "It was quite exciting but at the same time quite strange because we hadn't even been playing much in Norway yet."

Rolling Stone lists 10 artists to watch in 2006. interviews the Silversun Pickups.

David Berman of the Silver Jews talks to the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles.

"In the rehab unit, you couldn't leave the facility except for this one loophole, which allowed you to go to church or temple if you wanted to," he says. "So what started out as a ploy on my part to see the countryside by letting them transport me to a conservative synagogue once a week, turned out to mean more to me than I expected."

This shift in Berman's priorities was engaging, especially when you learn that the Silver Jews were not named as a tribute to the Jewish people.

"That's part of the irony of the whole experience of turning to Judaism for me was that the name had always helped us ensure our obscurity in the music industry, and sometimes I'd thought the name was a burden, because it seemed so serious," Berman adds. "But now it's become an incredible blessing that I accidentally gave myself, something that became fruitful to me."

IGN lists the top ten songs "that remind you of work."

Comic Book Resources reports that the first comic book store in Nigerian history has opened.

Like most firsts, the duo behind PLANET COMICS intend to slowly expand to Lagos, Abuja and “wherever there's a demand for the funnybooks,” joked Abdulkareem Baba Aminu, the shop's other co-owner, knowing fully well the teeming fans of comics around Nigeria would be pleased to have an outlet within reach.

Columbus, Ohio's The Other Paper profiles author Chuck Klosterman.

But Klosterman believes the generational comments about him and attacks on him are red herrings. “The ‘voice of a generation’ thing—see, no one really believes that. You don’t say that sincerely. It’s the kind of thing people bring up so they can disagree with it. You say something crazy and bombastic in a positive way so you can then come back and say that the comparison is ridiculous.”

The Guardian reviews Yo La Tengo's new album, I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass, giving it 4 of 5 stars.

For all their playfulness, the group's melancholy weighs down their music with an emotional gravitas that is rare among anorak bands.

Speaking of YLT, the Guardian plays "name that tune" with the band.

The Monks: Complication

Why we chose it: Because Yo La Tengo are known for covering 1960s obscurities.

Hubley: [Immediately] Oh yeah, I love this song.

Kaplan: The Monks were an indie band before it had a name.

McNew: This had such an impact on me when I first heard it. I didn't even think of it as garage rock, I just thought it was obscenely good.

Hubley: I first heard this in the 1980s, but the whole irony is that people are still trying to sound like this today. It still sounds so good.

The Washington Post lists a comprehensive fall reading preview.

No Love For Ned has the Spinto Band as in-studio guests on the streaming radio program.

The Onion A.V. Club interviews members of the Raconteurs.

AVC: You're all living in Nashville now—was moving there a band decision?

JW: No—we all trickled down there one by one somehow.

BB: It's definitely convenient, but for me, there were bigger things at play. I really didn't like where I was living. I got robbed a couple times. I was visiting Jack down in Nashville quite a bit, and I really started to like it. Sort of fell in love with it—

JW: Neither of us could function in the Detroit music scene any more. It was just not healthy.

BB: The music or any other scene. It's really negative in so many ways.


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