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September 24, 2006


Polaris Prize winner Owen Pallett talks to the Toronto Star.

"So, Owen, how are you feeling?" an interviewer asks a few days later.

"Confused and disgusted," Pallett replies, with a self-conscious laugh. "My first thought was `did (the judges) even listen to the record?' Because it's kind of crap," he says, noting he had bet on The New Pornographers' Twin Cinema to win. (Metric and Broken Social Scene were also among the nominees.)

Voice actor Tom Kenny talks to the Los Angeles Times about the SpongeBob Squarepants concept album, The Best Day Ever, released last week.

"With this, I really got inside the characters and what drives and what makes them who they are," Kenny said. There was a long pause, then he added: "Oh, God, I sound like Billy Corgan. Look, I hate when people take cartoons seriously, but with this…."

HFX Daily reports on the resurgence of interesting album cover art.

Louise Upperton, designer for Arts and Crafts Records in Toronto, says tactics like using special paper or inks, or releasing limited editions, are good ways to keep people’s interest in album covers.

Last year folk rocker Jason Collett pre-released his Idols in Exile album in a custom-made wooden box and then again, out of recycled cardboard. Upperton says this interesting approach blended the artist’s vision with the music.

Author E.L. Doctorow talks to the Los Angeles Times about being pigeonholed.

A novelist, he says, "partakes of many identities. People say to me, 'A lot of your novels take place in the past. Are you a historical novelist?' I don't think of myself that way, but if you want to call me that, go ahead. Then someone will say, 'There's a certain political quality to a lot of your work. Would you call yourself a political novelist?' And I'll say, 'I've never thought of myself as a political novelist, but if that suits you, why not?' And then someone will say, 'You're a Jewish novelist' — and yes, I guess that's true, too. So I accept any kind of identity. I'm willing to participate in all of them, as long as none claims to be an exhaustive interpretation."

The Toronto Star explores what is hot at area bookstores.

The Times Online examines the long-term effects of Nirvana's Nevermind album, 15 years after its release.

Is it just the passage of time that has transformed the supposed Nirvana lites into rock gods, or were earnest grunge fans missing something? Probably a bit of both. The odd thing about the grunge era (1989-94, roughly) was that it was probably the only time in musical history when the prevailing aesthetic was one of wilful, slack amateurism.

The New York Times examines the many covers of "Everybody's Talkin," and profiles the song's writer, Fred Neil.

It’s not uncommon to encounter someone who knows “Everybody’s Talkin’ ” but doesn’t know much about Fred Neil, since he went out of his way to avoid anything approaching the spotlight. With a deep, resonant voice and hangdog face, he made his name in the mid-60’s in Greenwich Village, where he wrote coffeehouse standards like “The Dolphins,” “The Other Side of This Life” and “Little Bit of Rain.” He was so revered that Bob Dylan once opened a show for him.

The Observer profiles Gone With the Wind author Margaret Mitchell.

Lambchop's Kurt Wagner talks to the San Francisco Chronicle.

From the outset, Wagner instigated a policy that, in order to stay as independent as possible from the corrupting effects of the music business, while continuing to make the best possible music, each member must have some other form of income, so that any money Lambchop made could be plowed back into the next record or tour. Though things are a little less rigid these days, the band includes a magazine editor, a college lecturer, a chandelier wirer, a clerk, an engineer, a record producer and several musicians with solo careers or other bands. Wagner spent years laying wood floors in expensive Nashville mansions before back problems forced him to give up that job.

The Observer interviews author Richard Ford.

After coffee, we talk more. He says if a 'numb nuts' like him can write a novel, anyone can; he thinks he wouldn't have won the Pulitzer if John Updike or Philip Roth had published a book that year (in fact, I discover later, Roth's Sabbath's Theater was shortlisted); he loves the Hallmark greetings cards company (which Frank is sniffy about) for its services to the millions of people who can't express their sentiments very well. 'I think it's wonderful,' he says.

The Guardian reports that an eleven year-old girl's novel about tribes of warring birds will be published worldwide by HarperCollins.

The hero of Swordbird is an escaped 'slavebird', Miltin, who leads the woodbirds once they learn of Turnatt's strategy. The title refers to a legendarily heroic bird of peace. The Swordbird is the only one who can save the forest, so young birds Aska and Miltin fly off on a dangerous mission to find the Leasone gem. This stone, paired with an ancient song from the 'Old Scripture', will conjure Swordbird's help. The story has been chosen to launch the publishing house's new push into China.

Sculptor-turned-author Tobsha Learner talks to Australia's The Age about her writing process.

"It really only gets extremely exciting towards (the end). I tend to write many drafts and initially over-write to pare back. This is probably because I started as a sculptor working in marble so the process of pulling the form out of the stone comes more naturally to me. I try and work from about 10am through to five with an hour break for lunch."

Todd O'Keefe of the 88 talks to about his admiration for composer John Williams.

Playing on so many TV and film soundtracks has made O'Keefe appreciate the musical score of the Star Wars saga even more. "John Williams is the master -- THE MASTER!" O'Keefe says. "His themes are incredibly strong and moving. The music is as important as the story. I've tried to lift a few of his melodies for some of my own songs, but I can't quite pull it off."

rbally is auctioning a used iPod nano to benefit Rogue Wave drummer Pat Spurgeon's medical bills.

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this week's CD & DVD releases


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