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September 14, 2006


The Hollywood Reporter examines the marketing ploys of "heritage acts," older musical artists who cannot depend on radio to sell albums.

Minnesota Public Radio has the 88 in the studio for a performance and interview.

Jason Martin of Starflyer 59 talks to the Los Angeles Times.

"There are two mes," says Martin, 33. "I'm a pretty shy guy; I probably shouldn't be singing for a rock band and putting out music. If I seem sometimes to be detached, it's just that I don't like trying to be the deep lyricist, because it embarrasses me."

Philadelphia's City Paper profiles Park the Van Records.

But McMicken doesn't think Park the Van's appeal comes from a conceptual "let's be a label to represent Philadelphia" level.

"In a lot of ways it's so tangible," he says. "'Here's a great band, they happen to be from Philly. There's another great band, they happen to be from Philly.' And if you're a label, that's what you want, and if you're a label coming from Philly at this point in time, you don't have to look any further."

Author James Ellroy talks to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer about the film adaptation of his book, The Black Dahlia.

But his praise for the movie is halfhearted; he admits that "parts are good, and parts are less good." When I ask which parts are less good, he snaps, "Look, you're not going to get me to say anything negative about the movie -- so you might as well give up."

Gizmodo lists five reasons Microsoft's Zune may succeed.

Decibel magazine has a roundtable discussion on "hipster metal," and includes the Mountain Goats' John Darnielle.

The Portland Mercury reviews Haruki Murakami's collection of short stories, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman.

Encompassing works from 1981 to the present, the 24-story-long Blind Willow hits most of Murakami's distinctive themes and topics: loneliness pervades; artificiality and nature vie for tonal dominance; ghosts, both literal and metaphoric, linger in characters' minds; jazz soundtracks his characters' confusions and regrets. If Murakami were a jazz musician, these themes would be his standards—and, just like a classic Mingus or Ellington track, they're rich and complex enough to hold up over countless repetitions.

My Brightest Diamond's "Something of an End" was NPR's "Song of the Day," Monday.

Recalling the work of Jeff Buckley, Edith Piaf and Nina Simone -- Worden often covers Piaf and Simone live -- the gripping "Something of an End" sets the stage for her debut as My Brightest Diamond, Bring Me The Workhorse.

One of Robert Pollard's collages is gracing a billboard in Liverpool this week as part of a citywide art project.

Singer-songwriter Vashti Bunyan speaks to the New York Press about one of her songs being used in a British wireless advertisement.

The financial benefits also beat selling handicrafts in the British countryside. “Hopefully, it will get my son through college,” she says with trademark optimism. “That would be wonderful.”

The Onion A.V. Club interviews comedian/talk show host/author Bill Maher.

AVC: When we last spoke to you—it's been almost 10 years now—the last question asked was "Are the American people stupid?" How would you answer that today?

BM: They are. Even more so than 10 years ago. People come up to me all the time and say, "This is such a stupid country." And it is. Unfortunately, it is. It has millions of bright people in it. I like to think that they comprise a good part of my audience. But there's no doubt about it, it's a stupid country. It was in The New York Times last week that when they asked the question "Do you think human beings evolved from an earlier species of animal?" the only Western nation that responded "no" more often than America was Turkey. Thirty different countries, including Bulgaria. Ooh, that one hurt. I got to say, that hurt. That was like a knife in the gut. Even Bulgaria gets it about evolution more than we do. That's a stupid country.

Singer-songwriter M. Ward talks to Newsday about his new album, Post-War.

"So many of the songs are inspired by the headlines," Ward said. "But I am more interested in human interest stories, stories of individuals, as opposed to my reactions to the White House.... I'm more interested in these human interest stories because I feel there's more of a place for them in my music."

Author David Levithan talks to Nextbook about his young adult novel, Wide Awake.

What made you write Wide Awake?

I think the very, very specific origin comes from listening to Green Day's American Idiot album on the bus ride home to Hoboken shortly after the election of 2004. I was obviously thinking very much about the American political system, and about all the protest music that had come out around the election, and was wondering what the teen novel equivalent of that would be. Why a gay Jewish president's election came into my head, I have no idea. But that seemed to be an interesting event to start with, and then to show the teens' reactions to it.

Singer-songwriter Adam Green talks to Upstage.

"A lot of the elements of my music...a lot of it is just dictated by what I'm comfortable with and what makes me feel pretty good," Green continues. "It's the slow process of feeling it out. By the time the song is done, there's not really any kind of opposition between me and the song. It's kind of custom made for me."

Billboard reviews Tuesday night's R.E.M. tribute benefit in Athens, which included this performance of "So. Central Rain" by Drive-By Trucker Patterson Hood:

T-shirt of the day: Robot Dance Contest.

Atlanta's Creative Loafing reviews Alison Bechdel's graphic memoir, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic.

The simplicity of Bechdel's writing style contrasts with her ornate word choice and elaborate literary references to Proust, Wilde and Joyce. When she recounts a youthful visit to New York City shortly after the Stonewall riots, she wonders, "Might not a lingering vibration, a quantum particle of rebellion, still have hung in the humectant air?"

Author Toni Morrison talks about race, writing, and global citizenship at Minnesota Public Radio.


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