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September 13, 2006

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Seattle Weekly profiles Microsoft's development team for their portable music player, Zune.

Zunesters, like all evangelical Microsofties, tend to get a little carried away when discussing their vision. Allard likes to say that he thinks of iPod as "the Pong of digital music," referring to the elemental video game from the '70s. He spins tales about the way an intelligent Zune service will someday be able to record everything about every concert, album, and music video. Want to remember the playlist at a Kanye West concert after you get home? Want to know what he had for lunch that day? Want to hear him expand upon what was going through his head as he recorded a song? Then tap into Zune.


Members of Golden Smog talk to the Arizona Daily Star.

When one of the songwriters plays a composition for the others and it's not up to snuff, the silence in response will tell him pretty quickly.

"It's not like a lovefest all the time," Louris said. "We get on each other. We don't all have the same vision, but we find spaces for compromises in the music."


Pitchfork interviews Hutch Harris of the Thermals.


The Mountain Goats' John Darnielle talks to Newcity Chicago.

"I think I write better mainly," he says. "I mean, when you play your instrument a lot, you get better at it, so I can do things I couldn't do before. I know more chords, can shade things a little more smartly, and so on. And I understand song structure a little better. I also am a lot more interested in subtler moods, which I know isn't the most crowd-friendly way to be going, but that's where my head is these days."


The Confederacy of Dunces Tour is a photographic journey through the world of Ignatius J. Reilly.


Newsicus Maximus lists ten "bizarro world children's books."


Aquarium Drunkard has posted outtakes from Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde album.


Cracked lists five great comedians who have lost their comic touch.


Jbooks is having readers vote for the best work of fiction by a Jewish writer in the past ten years.

The nominees are:

Ravelstein by Saul Bellow
Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
In the Image by Dara Horn
Puttermesser Papers by Cynthia Ozick
The Plot Against America by Philip Roth
The Wedding Jester by Steve Stern



IGN lists the top 11 songs about cars.


Drowned in Sound discusses the current trend in "bedroom music."

Look around Drowned in Sound today: this month's most interesting and, in many cases, unique artists are moving beyond the acoustic boundaries of a sole guitar and orchestrating lush full-band-style compositions from the comfort of their bedrooms.


The Onion A.V. Club lists "12 Cinematic Reasons to Skip School."


Patrick Carney of the Black Keys puts his iPod on shuffle for the Onion A.V. Club.

Witch, "Seer"

Patrick Carney: This is J Mascis' new band, Witch. I like it a lot. I like his drumming. The vocals are a little bit strange; it's very mystical. The first concert I ever saw was Dinosaur Jr. in '94, and it was the absolute loudest thing I've ever seen. But I've never seen Witch; I just got a couple songs from my friend to check 'em out. I approve.


Psychiatry Online reviews Joan Didion's memoir, The Year of Magical Thinking.

Her magical thinking is the same phenomenon that we mental health professionals are familiar with from our studies of the human mind: the denial of death, the tenuous grasp of utterly unacceptable realities, the fantasies of how events might have been altered and reversed, the repetitive and dissociated process of reminding ourselves that the facts are the facts, the blur of events and people, and the painful and maddening process of accepting that a person who has died can never answer us. Ms. Didion vividly captures every one of these facets of mourning in excruciating detail.


Metric's Emily Haines talks to Canada's National Post.

But as Metric has gone from playing small clubs to filling concert halls, playing the MuchMusic Video Awards and opening for the Rolling Stones at Madison Square Garden, she's so grown into the role of glamorous front woman that it's easy to forget her other talents.

"I started to feel like Elvis for a second there -- I felt like I was moments away from coming on stage in a cape or something," Haines says. "In Canada and the U.S., the shows are becoming a really big production."


Military.com uses Graham Greene's The Quiet American as an example why Master's courses in the arts should be retained for Naval Academy students.

Cutting out MAs in English and History for the Navy and Marine Corps is a small step, to be sure, but it's a step in the wrong direction, and it shows a dangerous mind-set. Instead of less knowledge of how people have processed history and current events, we need more. And then we need the brass to listen when the Marine Captain with the MA in English talks about books like this.


In the Minneapolis City Pages, Low's Zak Sally reveals his adoration of Tool.

I am serious. They do not suck; they are awesome. Maybe I can't convince you to like Tool. The music is generally spooky, pummeling, angry, and intense. If that's not the kind of stuff you have a tolerance for, it probably won't interest you. So let's set aside questions of taste. I assert that culturally, Tool are interesting as hell: They have done everything that a band should not do if they want to become huge, but they've become huge anyway.


Good Housekeeping's "Book Babes" take a literary tour through their favorite cities.

Don't confuse the Book Babes with the Bookclub Bitches literary podcast (which often makes a certain music blogger giggle way too much).


Torontoist reviews the Mountain Goats' Get Lonely album, giving it 3.5 of 5 stars.


Jbooks offers a history of Jews and the graphic novel in comic form.


Pearl Jam Bootlegs offers downloadable live shows by the band.


Billboard offers a timeline for OK Go's success in turning online buzz into album sales.


Nothing But Green Lights lists an A to Z guide to finding new British music online.


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