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October 12, 2006


New Pornographer Carl Newman talks to the StarPhoenix about touring with Kathryn Calder when Neko Case is unavailable.

"It's like, we want Neko to be there all the time, but she can't. Neko's still really into playing with us whenever she can," said Newman. "Maybe people want us to break up and stop, or whatever, when Neko can't do it. But we kind of realized that we had to continue on as a band." Calder, who is Newman's niece and who also sings in Victoria band Immaculate Machine, is no lightweight. Recently, a New York City reviewer praised Neko Case's concert performance, unaware that it was Calder belting out vocals, not Case.

The Portland Mercury explains how Wilco guitarist Nels Cline "saved the guitar."

You see, that's the funny thing about Cline. He's performed with the likes of Bozulich, Moore, Bill Frisell, Charlie Haden, Scott Amendola, Mike Watt, Lydia Lunch, and Wayne Kramer. He's appeared on over 140 different recordings. His name is like a 40-point Scrabble word if ever dropped in the middle of an "interesting musical conversation."

The Kansas City Star interviews author David Sedaris about the amount of truth in his books.

Q. How much of a role does exaggeration or embellishment play in your stories?

A. I’ve always been up front about the level to which I exaggerate. I’ve never written about anything terribly important. That said, I think my statements are self-serving. I want the truth when I read about Iraq, but if I’m writing an article about a cab ride I took in New York, I feel like I can take several different cab rides and make a composite. My only defense is, I think I’ve been pretty straightforward about the extent to which I exaggerate.

According to Reuters, Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk has been awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize in literature.

His works available in English:

The White Castle
The Black Book
The New Life
My Name Is Red
Istanbul: Memories and the City
Without Boundary

NPR's All Things Considered talks to author John Grisham about his first work of non-fiction, The Innocent Man.

Minnesota Public Radio has posted three interesting in-studio performances from Bettie Serveert, Grizzly Bear, and TV on the Radio.

Singer-songwriter Andrew Bird talks to Pulse of the Twin Cities about recording.

I had to embrace the fact that making records is nothing like playing live,” Bird says. “Live, you embrace the chaos; I like to set things up so they can fall apart on stage. But that’s probably why it took me so long to make this record. I’m always playing live and thinking, ‘This feels so right,’ and then I get into the studio and it just feels so wrong. With Eggs, it took me a long time to be happy with what I was hearing, but I got there eventually.”

Singer-songwriter Haley Bonar talks to Pulse of the Twin Cities about being an indie artist again, after being signed to a major label.

So for now Bonar’s operating on a significantly smaller scale, pressing up and self-releasing 1,000 copies of Lure the Fox while still seeking out larger distribution opportunities and embracing the opportunities she feels are a good fit (such as a recent national tour of packed clubs in February opening up for Andrew Bird). A makeshift band of highly talented collaborators (Morrissey, guitarist Bill Mike, drummer Ryan Lovan, vocalist Wendy Lewis) will help Bonar celebrate the ‘official’ Twin Cities release of Lure the Fox but the future beyond that is hazy for now … just like that of most other early-20s city dweller artists. “I feel like I’m back at square one,” says Bonar. “I’m working two jobs and doing a DIY release again, but I can’t say I have any regrets.”

Singer-songwriter Jolie Holland talks to the New York Press about songwriting.

The 31-year-old singer describes her songwriting as mythical. “The use of symbols and kind of like broad strokes to mean a lot of different things—like that’s how I mean mythical,” she explains.

Reuters lists the finalists for the National Book Award.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti was proud to host the announcement of the finalists at his venerable City Lights Bookstore.

"Sir Francis Drake sailed right past the Golden Gate because the bay was socked in fog that day," he said facetiously. "It's a clear day today, and we've been discovered at last."

Since today is John Peel Day, the Telegraph examines the Radio One DJ's legacy.

Peel's championing of the underdog, driven by an instinctive preference for passion over ambition, functioned as a useful corrective against the pervasive egotism of pop culture. His was a kind of gentle voice of opposition, an endorsement of cult rock-and-roller James Luther Dickinson's view that "If you're not on the edge, you're taking up too much room."

Chin Up Chin Up's Jeremy Bolen talks to Newcity Chicago about the band's new album, This Harness Can't Ride Anything.

"We definitely really wanted it to be more of a rock record," says singer/guitarist Bolen. "We really wanted to simplify our songs, strip things down a bit. I'm not sure that we fully accomplished that."

Shelfari is a social networking site built around books.

The International Herald Times lists British bookies' odds on the Nobel Prize for literature.

British-based bookmaker Ladbrokes gives its shortest odds this year to Syrian poet Ali Ahmad Said, known as Adonis, at 4-1. He's followed by Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk (5-1) and American Joyce Carol Oates (6-1).

Japanese writer Haruki Murakami and perennial Swedish writer Thomas Transtromer both have 8-1 odds of winning.

Wikipedia lists media preloaded on Microsoft's Zune.

Telepolis examines the role of science fiction in Arabic literature.

While European literary scholars and critics have been studying contemporary Utopian literature for several decades now, the first symposium on "Arabic Literature and Science Fiction" did not take place until April 2006. The faculty of literature and humanistics in the Moroccan city of Casablanca hosted a discussion about whether there is even an awareness of SF in the Arab world, why Arabic-language writers don't seem to enjoy SF at all and what was behind the lack of popularity of this genre of literature, even among academics.

DV Guru lists ten reasons aspiring filmmakers shouldn't go to film school.

Buzzgrinder interviews Apples in Stereo bassist Eric Allen about the band's new album, New Magnetic Wonder.

It has been announced that several guests appear on the album from the Elephant Six collective. Give us an idea of the guest list and what each person contributes.

Eric: Bill Doss sings makes a delicious pecan pie. John Fernandez and Jeff Mangum both play various instruments, sing and created case oles with sharp cheddar cheese and macaroni.

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