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October 8, 2006


The Houston Chronicle interviews Pixies frontman Frank Black.

Q: Fast Man Raider Man is your second album in two years, and it's a double. You seem to be churning out songs pretty fast.

A: I guess so. But didn't Elvis Costello write an album a day or something like that? I don't feel that prolific. I guess I sort of spit out one a year.

The Los Angeles Times reviews James Greer's rock and roll novel that took a Bob Pollard song as its title, Artificial Light.

The blurring of truth and fiction is a central concern for Greer, and although such mystification eventually pays dividends, it comes with initial difficulties, the most obvious being the curious decision to call upon Cobain in the first place, to transplant him from his native Pacific Northwest to the Midwest. At first the novel never seems fully invested in utilizing Cobain, either as a method of revealing Fiat herself or, as the novel would suggest, as a subject for her to investigate. Early on, Fiat claims: "I'm slinging secrets like hot rocks into the sky-blue sea, now that nothing matters," yet her depiction of Kurt C never ventures beyond territory made familiar by the media frenzy around Cobain's life.

The Toronto Sun reviews Chuck Klosterman's latest book, Chuck Klosterman IV.

Then there are interviews with celebrities who have it together. Like Britney Spears.

Klosterman compares his chat with the "southern fried sex kitten" three years ago to conducting a deposition hearing with Bill Clinton. Insisting heatedly during an interview that she does not dress provocatively, Klosterman's inventory of what her attire didn't cover -- "three inches of inner thigh, her entire abdomen and enough cleavage to choke a musk ox" -- suggested otherwise.

The Boston Globe profiles the slipstream fiction genre, interviewing author (and publisher) Kelly Link in the process.

``There is pleasure in resolution, like putting together a jigsaw; I can come to the end of a story and say, 'Yes, that solution makes sense to me.' But those stories aren't the ones that you go back to," Link says. ``I like stories that leave enough space that the reader can navigate it and contribute."

Singer-songwriter Jenny Lewis talks to the Boston Herald.

“The truth is that, musically, I have a very back-to-basics attitude. I don’t agree with what Dylan recently said about all commercialized music being unlistenable. But my brain is too precise to process all the unnecessary production crap used nowadays. I’ve had to fight with people to try and keep my music pure.”

NPR's Weekend Edition interviews Phillip Hoose, author of the Don Larsen biography, Perfect, Once Removed, and includes an excerpt from the biography of the only man to pitch a perfect game in the world series.

Author Doris Lessing talks to the Associated Press.

Sabina Sciubba, singer-songwriter of Brazilian Girls, discusses her current music playlist with the New York Times.

The New York Times Magazine's Ethicist answers a piracy question, specifically if ripping library CD's and DVD's to your laptop is ethical.

Siva Vaidhyanathan, an expert on intellectual-property issues who teaches at New York University, explains that copying an excerpt for educational, research, artistic or journalistic purposes is generally legal, “but copying an entire book or film would usually lie beyond any fair use of copyrighted material.” That is, downloading a few moments of “Tear the Roof off the Sucker (Give Up the Funk)” for nonprofit scholarly purposes is fine; duplicating all of “Mothership Connection,” the Parliament album on which that splendid song is found, to save yourself the cost of buying it, is not. In judging such conduct, both motive and size count.

Dolf de Datsun of the Datsuns talks to the New Zealand Herald.

"I think my voice is indicative of the changes in the band. In the past it was a very instinctual thing, quite manic and visceral. It was much more from the gut, the result of playing live. I'm not so scared now. I've realised people are listening to what I'm singing about and how I'm singing. In the past I've always viewed us as this live band and our records are a souvenir, and I still think 75 per cent of the band is a live experience, but we very much want the records to start living up to that."

The Chicago Tribune interviews comedian and comic book fan Jeff Garlin.

10. If we looked under your bed, what would we find? My wife keeps sweaters and things in those, you know, zippered things? And also a flashlight -- it's what I read comic books with before I go to bed. Every night, I'm in the dark with my flashlight reading my comic books with a pillow over my head.

The Sunday Herald declares that "old rockstars never die... they just take the mic."

The past, truly, is not the past any more, it’s with us every day, in the bottomless bottle of nostalgia wherein one small rub and, as if by marketing magic, the genie of your youth is standing once again on a stage near you wondering if you look even worse for your age than they do. It’s understandable, perhaps, with The Greats – who by definition are greater than everyone else and within their rights to go on about it – but the phenomenon, now, has exploded into piffling effrontery.

Th San Francisco Chronicle interviews guitarist David Keuning of the Killers.

Q: Most of the backlash is actually directed toward the new facial hair, not so much the music.

A: Well, I don't have facial hair. You really can't win. You've just got to be yourself and hope that people like you. We played these songs in England recently and they went over well. Hopefully, once people get to know the album they will open up a little bit, and if they don't want to, then they don't have to go to the show. I don't care.

The Sunday Times talks to Martin C. Strong, author of The Essential Rock Discography.

Pop is as much a value judgment as a musical description in Strong’s book — a way to categorise all that is unchallenging in the music business. Rock, he claims, is about much more. “It’s about people who take music to new levels, through new barriers,” he says. So Kate Bush and Air make it in, while Take That definitively don’t — though Robbie Williams scrapes under the wire with such solo works as Angels.

The Times Online examines rarities compilations, including the forthcoming Bright Eyes' Noise Floor and Tom Waits' Orphans.

Even in the digital age, artists have a real fear that some of their music can get lost. If you saw the haphazardly arranged piles of tapes and discs that line their studios and homes, you would understand why. As Waits puts it: “Gathering all this material together was like rounding up chickens at the beach. It’s not like you go into a vault and check out what you need. Most of it was lost or buried under the house. Some of the tapes I had to pay ransom for to a plumber in Russia.”

The New York Times examines the "private-press" album phenomenon.

“Many of these records have been around for a while, at record fairs and so on,” said Byron Coley, a music writer who has been collecting private-press records since the early 80’s. “Lots of collectors initially bought the private-press records strictly for their covers. They were fetish objects in a way. Then people started to listen to them, and realized, hey, there’s some great songs on these records. What’s happened is that younger listeners have picked up on it, and that has created renewed interest in the CD reissues.”

The Observer profiles My Chemical Romance while examining the emo scene at the same time.

When grown-up commentators have noticed emo, they've got it badly wrong. The Daily Mail recently ran a piece even more hysterical than its usual gypsies-give-you-cancer scare stories. Blinded by all the black clothes, the piece characterised emo as an offshoot of goth (it is sooooo not). It quivered at the (erroneous) links between the morose, confessional, arty bent of emo and self-harm at girls' boarding schools. As humourless and po-faced as the worst emo caricature, it cited websites (such as The Instant Emo Kit) and song lyrics that were self-evidently spoofs as serious source material.

Optical Atlas has posted two handwritten pages of recording tips by Robert Schneider of Apples in Stereo.

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this week's CD & DVD releases


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