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October 2, 2006

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The Montreal Gazette interviews David Byrne.

Gazette: The music business is affected from top to bottom by changes. The description of the talk says another record store is closing as we speak. They all seem to be down to a few big chains now. What do people who sell music have to do to survive?

DB: It’s the same old story with the Internet stuff. They have to provide a kind of filtering service for their demographic. Whether they’re all conglomerated or whatever, the audience has to know that they can get good recommendations, find stuff that they might like and that they might not have heard of through these merchants, whether it be an online merchant or a shop. The shops I go to, the staff writes little recommendations and sticks them on the shelf – and that’s why you go there. Because they know. You can hold up a record and go “Is this as good as the one before?” And they’ll go “No, it’s not, but da da da da.” And they’ll tell you about the record. Try doing that at a big chain! Somehow, that’s even better than whatever the stuff on Amazon tells: “If you like this, you might like this ...”


Eastern Michigan University's Echo Online distuinguishes between "emo" and "indie."


The New York Times reviews Chuck Klosterman IV.

All the various factions of Klosterman-followers — thoughtful admirers, rabid idolators, thoughtful detractors, rabid player-haters — will find something in his fourth book to satisfy their wants. Its title is an homage to the street name of the untitled 1971 Led Zeppelin album also known as “Zoso,” and there are a pair of pieces on that band therein. One is a Q. and A. based on a brief telephone interview with the band’s lead singer, Robert Plant. The 20-minute phoner is, at press time, the most degraded form of reporting invented, but Klosterman has the pugnacity and wit to turn it into a playful dance. (“On ‘Whole Lotta Love’ you say you’re going to give some girl ‘every inch’ of your love. But you’re British. Why don’t you use the metric system?”)

See also:

Klosterman's LHB "Book Notes" essay for the book


Popmatters reviews Cursed From Birth: The Short, Unhappy Life of William S. Burroughs, Jr., edited by David Ohle.

The book sheds revealing light on various people other than Burroughs Jr., too, from his long-suffering wife and girlfriend to Allen Ginsberg, who tried unsuccessfully to have sex with him. And who would have guessed that Burroughs Sr. was pro-life, saying abortion is “murder” and refusing to consider it when Vollmer made the suggestion!

see also:

Ohle's LHB "Book Notes" essay for the book


Stylus offers the "non-definitive guide to musicians as actors."

Since the most elementary acting consists of striking the most riveting poses, the opportunity for preening available to musicians in the form of videos and touring gives them a decided advantage over amateurs. Acting and singing also require precise intonations; hence the ease with which hip-hop artists make the transition to the screen.


Harmonium interviews Jake Shears and Babydaddy of Scissor Sisters.

Harmonium: Speaking of, how do you feel about the rise of digital distribution as a way of getting music?

Babydaddy: (Long pause) Well…it’s a tricky question. People deserve a good product and they will buy it if it’s there. Obviously I want people to hear our music but I also work as an artist and want to be paid for what I create as an artist. iTunes is easier than some of the more illegal filesharing networks, and until the sales venues were available, I don’t blame people for using things like Limewire to get music. I mean, if there was a TV on the street and one in a store, I’d take the TV on the street of course, but now that the model is in place and it works, people should use it.


Ani DiFranco is holding a contest for tickets to an intimate NYC secret show.


The Burlington Free Press talks to local high school faculty about graphic novels.

"We have students who will struggle to read one adult novel a year, but will read 200 to 300 graphic novels," Crawford said. "It's pretty rewarding to see these kids reading a book and getting excited about it."


Time lists "five gripping graphic novels for grown-ups."


Cracked lists the "80's movie montage hall of fame."

When a filmmaker has three minutes to transform a hopeless moron/pussy/werewolf into a triumphant hero celebrating a happy ending, there are a couple of options. They could go back and add believable plot points, subtle foreshadowing and nuanced characterization to make the character's success believable. Or, they could just kick out some motherf*cking jams, temporarily turn their movie into a music video and hope that the audience is too distracted to notice that they’ve completely abandoned all reason and logic.


Abir's Concert Blog has photos and video from the San Francisco benefit for Rogue Wave's Pat Spurgeon, including a video of Rogue Wave, Nada Surf, Ryan Miller, The Wine Chuggers, The Moore Brothers, Ben Gibbard, John Vanderslice, and Daniel Handler performing Nick Lowe's "What's So Funny 'Bout Peace, Love, and Understanding."


The Los Angeles Times examines the new avenues of book marketing that publishers are exploring.

"This isn't something I was doing a year ago, but I think it's a huge opportunity for us now," said marketing director Leah Wasielewski. "I got a fantastic response from some bloggers, and it makes sense because this approach allows us to target consumers directly and gauge their interest. You go right to the source."

Among the sites that Wasielewski contacted were Bread and Circuses (http://adrianmurdoch. typepad.com/bread_and_ circuses), which deals with the later Roman empire; Prettier than Napoleon (http://bamber.blogspot.com ), a blog on literary and legal issues; and Mental Multivitamin (http://mentalmultivitamin.blogspot.com ) a literary site. All three generated reviews of "Imperium," she said.


This is National Children's Book Week in the UK (the US equivalent is November 13-19), and the Scotsman celebrates by listing their top ten books for teenagers and children.


Starting tomorrow, Love of Reading is holding an online book fair.


Shop early for the person who has everything: over 4,000 issues of the New Yorker on a USB drive.


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