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September 29, 2006


Singer-songwriter Regina Spektor talks to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

"Let's say that I get accepted into being a pop singer," says the 26-year-old pianist who plays the Electric Factory on Saturday, talking on the phone at her Manhattan apartment. "There are too many country, and gospel, and hip-hop, and funk, and classical tendencies that I tend to. There are too many limitations. So I can't just be a pop singer."

The New York Times has some nice things to say about the Mountain Goats in previewing this weekend's NYC shows.

Would John Darnielle, a guitar-strumming solo songwriter, have found the same dedicated following for his songs if he hadn’t billed himself as the Mountain Goats? It’s impossible to say, but his songs swirl together the mythic and the confessional in metaphorical splendor.

The Canton Repository offers bookstore event etiquette for both authors and fans.


Don’t bring weird gifts. A few years back, a fan gave David Sedaris a hideous sculpture of a naked person. How he was going to take this on an airplane was probably not considered. After the reading, Mr. Sedaris kindly asked me to dispose of the statue and some of the other “gifts” he had received, including homebaked foods (suspicious), vanity press books (sad), and a T-shirt (I’ve noticed that people who give authors T-shirts are usually affiliated with some kooky political group).

Rilo Kiley's Jenny Lewis talks to the Cleveland Plain Dealer about her solo album, Rabbit Fur Coat.

"There's so much overload and technology that bands can spend forever overdubbing," says Lewis. "I recorded this basically in six days, and many of the songs were first take --because I wanted it to sound spontaneous."

The Onion A.V. Club lists "19 Terrific Midnight Movies from the Past Ten Years."

Stylus lists the top ten songs that "should be featured in Guitar hero II."

03. Radiohead – “Paranoid Android”

One of the only unabashedly…well, progressive rock songs to make any sort of inroads in the US in the last ten years or so, you probably know all the dozen riffs and solos by heart already—why not try ‘em out on the big screen? And just to offset potential complaints that I’m violating my no-indie policy, “Paranoid Android” made the top half of a Guitar World list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Solos from about five years ago. Good enough for Guitar World, good enough for Guitar Hero.

Authors Elizabeth Merrick, Jennifer Egan, and Cristina Henriquez talk to NPR's Talk of the Nation and disown "chick lit."

The Cleveland Plain Dealer interviews Alison Bechdel, author of the graphic memoir, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic.

A generation ago, aspiring writers wrote a novel. Now it seems to be memoir. What do you make of that shift?

Therapy. I think that's it. That's what my generation does, and you might as well make some use of it. I have this argument with my mother. She doesn't think you have to tell the honest truth about everything -- that's how she copes with her pain. I understand that. I've done it in the opposite fashion, yammering to anyone who will listen. You can argue it's narcissistic. And often it is, but I don't think that's necessarily the case.

Author Tom Drury talks to Minnesota Public Radio about his novel, The Driftless Area.

Singer-songwriter (and Bangle) Susanna Hoffs talks to

Hoffs explained that she feels good that The Bangles decided to work together again, and she is happy because it seems to mean something to people. At the same time, Hoffs sees playing with Matthew Sweet as "a chance to enjoy making music in a different way." There are already plans for a Vol. 2 of covers, this time from the 1970s. Hoffs feels that "when you do a cover song," it brings it into the culture again, "giving a new generation of kids a chance to access the song."

Steve Albini talks to the Chicago Reader about analog recording.

The studio hosts digital sessions for outside engineers, but Albini has never used Pro Tools himself. "I wouldn't even know how to turn it on," he admits. "It would be like asking me to translate a Chinese poem." He claims he's never encountered a situation where the use of analog tape was the problem, and he's not about to fix what isn't broken. "Many of our peer studios that have slavishly followed the fashions in recording have either gone broke or run themselves into the ground," he says. "So I don't see any indication that we're doing things wrong."

The Independent covers the current crop of "bizarre band names."

The vogue for bizarre band names has grown on the pop world like a Russian vine. Even a moniker as silly as Arctic Monkeys now seems quite sensible when compared to such names as Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Pretty Girls Make Graves, Bullet for My Valentine, Snowfight in the City Centre, Living with Eating Disorders or Dogs Die in Hot Cars, to name but a few.

TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek talks to Seattle Weekly.

"If you're lucky enough to harness the resources to create something stupendous in your life, and if you're to get anything out of that, rather than give it back to the person who gave it to you, you give it to the next person who could really use that, and with the intention of them not returning it to you," Sitek explains.

Sitek also speaks to Jambase.

In the era of inexpensive digital home studio gear, it surprises us both that there's not more original music coming out today. Sitek comments, "You'd think a million records would be blowing our minds right now. Could you imagine if Jimi Hendrix or Syd Barrett had Pro-Tools? I think a lot of people just want to succeed. They just pick other bands that have succeeded – right now it happens to be bands from the mid-80s – and follow the trajectory that's worked before. Mainly they just don't want to have a [normal] job."

Lambchop's Kurt Wagner talks to Seattle Weekly.

"I remember when I was painting, I used to spend maybe a year on the same painting," says Wagner, who holds a graduate degree in fine arts. "It was that sort of time and close attention to the object that you're creating that I enjoyed as much as anything. So I guess now I'm just trying to spend a lot longer on albums and trying to get closer to the songs."

Chef, author, and television celebriy Nigella Lawson shares her reading, listening, and television watching lists with the Christian Science Monitor.

This is a terrible thing to confess, but I think I'm beginning to turn into someone who regards music as noise. I'm married to someone who plays videos on all the music channels a lot and have three children in the house between ages 10 and 13, and there is a strange cacophony of heavy metal, indie rock, and bubblegum pop swirling around the house all the time.

The Guardian talks to 80's goth pioneers about the resurgence in the musical genre.

Steven Severin of Siouxsie and the Banshees - who always maintained they weren't a "goth band", but were nevertheless a pivotal influence on the black-clad bands of the 80s - insists it's important to distinguish between "goth" and "gothic". "Gothic", Severin says, describes the bleak, dark music being made by Joy Division and also the Banshees around 1978-79. Severin admits his band pored over gothic literature - Edgar Allen Poe and Baudelaire. But "goth", he says, has connotations of "people in purple lipstick running off to Whitby".

Lucero guitarist Brian Venable talks to the Vancouver's

“Listening to it again, you kind of realize bands like Lynryd Skynyrd are mostly singing about their families and going home. From there you discover that the country music you used to make fun of was kind of cool—that Sam Phillips had a way of recording that was really kind of punk rock. He was all about capturing emotion and intensity.”

Suicide Girls interviews author Tom Reynolds, author of I Hate Myself and Want to Die: The 52 Most Depressing Songs You've Ever Heard.

DRE: Could there be a VH1 special based on the book?

Tom: I know it’s being pitched around for that. The only thing with VH1 is that they had done a 40 Worst Songs of All Time special and the only songs they pick are the ones they actually have the videos of. Something like this would involve an awful lot of licensing. I think it would make a great VH1 special.

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this week's CD & DVD releases


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