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October 11, 2006


Greensboro's Yes! Weekly lists their ten "best dead MySpace friends."

Popmatters interviews actor, author, and former literary agent John Hodgman, about his book, The Areas of My Expertise.

Q: Your book highlights the little-discussed practice of hook-wearing among nine American presidents, if you count George W. Bush, who swapped his hook for a chain saw during his first presidential campaign. In your view, was this a sincere effort to represent the values of working-class Americans—or a calculated ploy to score political points among chain-saw moms?

A: Well, since the hook represents elite membership among the world’s illuminati, it was important that he replace that to seem like just folk. But as we all know, he comes from a very wealthy Northeastern family, genetically engineered by Yale scientists and the cloning vats of New Haven to be rulers of the world. reports that David Bowie will guest-voice on an upcoming episode of SpongeBob Squarepants.

Popmatters interviews Brooklyn's Akron/Family.

“We’re working on all these new songs now, and I’m realizing that our ability to attack a composition and pick it apart and deftly navigate the entire scope of a composition is really amazing, because we’ve been playing together so much,” he says. “We took a few months off from playing shows, so that we’d have some space to see how we’ve progressed musically and as a group. Getting back together again, the songs are so much better. This is coming out at a time when I feel like our next album is going to be even more surprising when it’s set next to the other stuff.”

NPR's World Cafe has a streaming in-studio performance by Grizzly Bear.

Stream last night's Built to Spill/Camper Van Beethoven Washington performance, courtesy of NPR.

Columbia University Libraries' African Studies lists the Africa's 100 best books of the 20th century.

Drowned in Sound interviews Comets on Fire.

But The Killers like Bruce Springsteen. Does that mean people who are into The Killers should be buying your records?

von Harmonson: If they want to!
Flashman: Just because you’re a Killers fan, doesn’t mean you can’t do what you want.
Kushner: I was also going to say that on this last record we spent a lot more time in the studio, and had a much bigger budget…
von Harmonson: …relatively speaking…
Kushner: …and the album is maybe a little mellow for Comets, but our live show is still as retarded as ever. What might be on record and what you see live, it’s very different.

Cracked lists the top ten "horror movie franchises... that wouldn't die!!!"

Minnesota Public Radio searches for the new generation of "jock jams."

I have short reviews of Nova's "Monster of the Milky Way" and the Austin City Limits performance of the New Orleans Social Club on the PBS blog, Remotely Connected.

Beck talks to Jam!

"After 'Midnite Vultures,' I felt like I was ignoring a big part of my music making and my songwriting," he says, the sounds of sirens heard distantly in the background. "That was predicated on the kinds of shows we were doing, and the kinds of songs that were getting the most attention. The popularity of things like 'Loser' or 'Where It's At' led me to believe that people maybe weren't interested in hearing anything serious from me. But I had been writing those kinds of songs forever. It's kind of what I started out doing."

Singer-songwriter Tara Jane O'Neil talks to Greensboro's Yes! Weekly.

She makes her report from a rest stop. "The tour's pretty good, mostly gallery shows, which is awesome," she says. "I could have played in any grimy rock club, but it wouldn't be a special affair. If I'm at a bar trying to battle the people in the back of the room getting drunk I can't focus on what I'm doing. At a gallery you present what you're doing and everybody's in it together."

Billboard notes the success of northern Canadian indie labels.

Slate offers a slide show on the "charms" of Bryan Lee O'Malley's Scott Pilgrim series of graphic novels.

The Age reports that the shortlisted Australian authors are relieved not to have won the Man Booker Prize.

But when 35-year-old Desai won, there were no phoney smiles masking their disappointment, only sighs of relief that they were not called up to the victory dais at the ceremony at London's Guildhall.

"It was quite terrifying, it's an alarming experience, and I'm really relieved not to have won," said MJ (Maria) Hyland, 38, from Melbourne.

"I felt like the rabbit at the greyhound races.

"Now I'm happier than I've been in a month.

"The tension of even thinking about winning was overwhelming.

"It would have been too early in my career, it would have been very bad - the shortlist is enough."

Billboard reports that a Cincinnati independent record store is partnering with an independent coffeehouse to sell used CD's.

Indeed, the two are splitting profits, and Zen & Now does not have to purchase any music. All the inventory is up to Shake It. Who knows? If it works, indie retailers could have an excuse to start stocking checkout counters at independently owned businesses around the country.

SFist interviews Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond.

Best show you've ever played and what made it great?

After a show last fall in Paris, a jazz pianist named Charlie O. came to the stage and started playing while we were clearing up. The room was dark, and only the club workers and the band were there. We began dancing and scatting along to Charlie's playing, calling him to do more encores for us. He insisted that someone sing with him, so I sang "La vie en rose" and it was definitely one of the most special and spontaneous musical moments for me.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman Karen O discusses her obsession with Project Runway with AOL's music news blog.

Though it will be several months before season 4 begins, O says her passion for the show may extend to a possible guest appearance, accompanied by her own designer, Christian Joy.

"Actually, they've approached me a couple of times, but nothing really happened. Maybe if we get all the AOL readers to push behind it, [it will happen]," she laughs.

CNNMoney has the text of Business 2.0's recent profile of the Hype Machine's Anthony Volodkin.

Blinq interviews Mykel Board, author of Even A Daughter Is Better Than Nothing, an account of his year teaching in Outer Mongolia.

Q: If you were to make the Mongolian playlist, what songs would be part of it, and why?

A: I couldn't pick the song titles, but I could tell you the genres, and a couple of the bands.

1. Hurd (pronounced HORT), the only Mongolian metal band. Their fast stuff is terrific and they have a great style of projecting an almost stadium presence in a very small space.

2. Traditional Mongolian / Tuvan throat singing. Maybe this is the most familiar Mongolian music to Americans. For those who've never heard it, it is almost electronic sounding. Made by singing two different notes simultaneously, one through the mouth and one through the nose.

3. Mongolian Long Songs, so called NOT because each song is long, but because each NOTE is long. Really strange and haunting music that will make you instantly sad.

4. Mongolian horsehead fiddle music. It reminds me a little of bluegrass. Very fast and very stringed. It is the music that made the camel nurse its kid in the movie.

BBC News reports that Kiran Desai has won the Man Booker Prize with her novel, The Inheritance of Loss.

Next Generation lists 50 books that every game developer should read.

Wikipedia lists book burning incidents.

This week's edition of the No Love For Ned streaming radio show features an in-studio performance by the Smittens.

see also:

this week's CD & DVD releases


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