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October 15, 2006


New Pornographer Carl Newman talks to the Edmonton Journal.

"I know people like us, but I think, being in a band with fickle indie-rockers, I know how it can be. When reviews came in for Twin Cinema, we were like, 'Holy shit! No backlash yet? Oh man, we're doomed.' That's what makes the next record really scary. You try to make a backlash-proof record, but I don't know if it can be done."

The Dresden Dolls' Amanda Palmer talks to the Boston Globe about music marketing via the web.

The Dresden Dolls, a duo who describe their music as ``Brechtian punk cabaret," invite their fans to send in artwork and videos inspired by their songs.

``A fan can send me a beautiful painting, and seven seconds later, it's up on our website , on the fan art page, and it's visible to thousands of other people," says singer Amanda Palmer. ``I love that we can connect with people that way."

The New York Times reviews Bill Bryson's new memoir, The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid.

As a humorist, Bryson falls somewhere between the one-liner genius of Dave Barry and the narrative brilliance of David Sedaris. He’s not above sublime lowbrow fat and feces jokes, but at his best he spools out operatically funny vignettes of sustained absurdity that nevertheless remain grounded in universal experience.

Singer-songwriter Billy Bragg talks to NPR's Weekend Edition about hits two box sets (Volume 1 and Volume 2) and his recently published memoir, The Progressive Patriot: A Search for Belonging.

Author Marisa Acocella Marchetto talks to the Observer about her graphic novel, Cancer Vixen, which will soon be adapted or film with Cate Blanchett in the title role.

'Cate playing me is a dream come true,' Marchetto told The Observer. 'She was the only person we had in mind, she was always my first choice.' Working Title, the British producer behind Four Weddings and a Funeral, is developing the project with Blanchett.

The Observer explains the dismal sales figures of recently published soccer autobiographies.

So why are the expensive and hyped tomes clogging up the shelves? Complacency and habit might be factors. Newspapers have been churning out sensational stories about footballers for years and, even though circulation has dipped, they believe they're what the public wants. So do book publishers, who look to recoup much of their outlay in serialisation. For 50p a day, the stories have some cachet. We are dealing with disposable stuff, after all, some of it believable.

Author Anna Quindlen talks to Minnesota Public Radio about her new novel, Rise and Shine.

The New York Times pays tribute to the city's defunct independent bookstores.

Secret Machines perform in the Minnesota Public Radio studios.

Dan Sharber has videos of last night's Houston Two Gallants show, where the band had a run-in with an overzealous policeman.

The New York Times calls "the greatest website of all time."

Mr. Scaruffi’s music site is colorful but stark, consisting mainly of simple text with basic color backdrops, with limited advertising. The ads help cover the $1,000 to $2,000 a month he spends on CD’s (adding to a collection of an estimated 20,000). The site’s simplicity harkens back to Mr. Scaruffi’s text-only electronic fanzine, first published for a group of 20 in 1985, back when e-mail was closer to Arpanet than to AOL.

Death Cab for Cutie's Nick Harmer talks to the North Andover Eagle-Tribune.

"I think with every record and every tour we've done as a band, we've always tried to just make slight improvements over where we were at, and it's been a nice, logical sort of step-by-step process," Harmer said.

Singer-songwriter Joanna Newsom talks to the Observer about my favorite album of the year, Ys.

'It's one big story, really,' she says, when I ask her where these songs came from. 'You can sense that, I hope, from the pacing and the structure. It's a whole lot of small stories that add up to a bigger one. I don't really want to say anything further because I think the listener should be free to make of it what they will, but it's a story that concerns mortality and loss, and a loose set of emotional responses to that loss.'

John Hodgman has a blog for his book, Areas of My Expertise.

Singer-songwriter Lloyd Cole talks to the Times Online.

"I’ve got a house in a small town in western Massachusetts. I do gardening. It’s not what I had in mind when I was 27.” He pauses, frowning. “But I’m a lot better at gardening. I wasn’t very good at being a rock’n’roll singer, let’s face it.”

Bookslut's October issue is stellar, featuring interviews with authors Neil Gaiman, Irvine Welsh, and Mark Z. Danielewski.

Singer-songwriter Jose Gonzales talks to the Times Online.

Kylie Minogue’s Hand on Your Heart, Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart and Bruce Springsteen’s The Ghost of Tom Joad have all been taken to sublime new levels after being given Gonzalez’s trademark and mellifluous lullaby treatment.

“Usually it’s the lyric that attracts me to a song. The musical style might be wrong, but it’s the feeling and quality behind it that’s important. If it feels honest and gets to you it’s a good song.”

Pasadena Weekly interviews author Irvine Welsh about his new novel, The Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs.

Romeo Stodart of the Magic Numbers talks to the Times Online.

“The thing that confuses me,” adds Romeo, “is people’s perception of the Magic Numbers as this happy, smiley summer band. But to me, our songs marry two emotions. Melodically, we have fun with the arrangements, and it’s harmony-led, but some of the lyrics are quite painful.”

In the Observer, Jarvis Cocker sits down with Nick Cave, Antony Hegarty and others to discuss "what music is for."

IPods: Good or bad?

Jarvis: Who's got an iPod around this table?

Everyone puts up their hands apart from Mary Margaret O'Hara and Antony Hegarty - although, reluctantly, he admits to owning one

Jarvis [shouts at him]: So why aren't you admitting to it then?

Paul Morley: People are starting to collect music in the same way that they collect stamps. People who weren't really interested in music as such are now worried about whether they've got 15,000 songs, and I think that's had an interesting effect ...

Nick Cave: That's rather cynical. Surely there are kids that are listening to stuff that they might not have otherwise. My kid is listening to all sorts of music, a far greater range of music than I listened to, actually, because I'm still pretty blinkered.

PC World offers a "brief history of computers, as seen in old television ads."

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