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October 26, 2006


The Wall Street Journal examines the democratizing effect digital technology has on bands.

The Seattle Times profiles the trip and inhabitants of the Poetry Bus touring the country.

Over the course of the tour, 350 poets "got on" the bus for some amount of time, changing and molding not only nightly audiences' ideas of what poetry is but each other's as well. Aside from the bus driver, Bill Wesley of Oakland, and a quirky documentarian, Linas Phillips of Seattle, only Nichols, Zapruder, and the Allen Ginsberg-looking Beckman remained for the entire duration of the adventure.

Springfield's State Journal-Register lists songs for a Halloween soundtrack.

The Bradenton Herald lists ten reasons to "dig" singer-songwriter Randy Newman.

Singer-songwriter Damien Jurado talks to the Stranger.

"I want to be set apart," Jurado continues. "I don't want to be lumped in with Bright Eyes and Will Oldham, because the music I do is not that at all. It is very story oriented and cinematic." He would prefer to be branded a maverick, à la Antony and the Johnsons or Sufjan Stevens. "Artists that [industry] people have no idea what to do with. But at the same time audiences, the public, love them because what they do is so different."

Harmonium interviews Chris Funk of the Decemberists.

Harmonium: Like online music trading, right? I take it you’re not a fan of filesharing?

Funk: How I really feel about it doesn’t matter because it happens. It’s not my job to figure out how to keep people from taking our music, but online sharing definitely has its plusses. I’m sure some record companies are leaking albums intentionally now because they know it will build word of mouth, and if you get a few large blogs talking about your record, people are more likely to spread the word. But it’s sort of like debating abortion; you have two sides and no real middle option, and there’s no way one point of view is going to really understand the other. I used to download music myself in the past and I don’t anymore, not even iTunes, because it seems like record stores are going away and I miss the social interaction of discussing and picking out music, and I don’t want that to go away.

Funk is also interviewed by the Penn State Daily Collegian.

The band's Jenny Conlee talks to the Fredericksburg FreeLance-Star.

The band is signed on to do two more albums with Capitol. "It's a great situation," said Conlee. "It's a secure situation."

The move has certainly made things easier for Conlee, who used to give piano lessons to make ends meet.

"When you tour, it's really hard to keep a piano studio going, because you're unable to give the proper recitals and stuff that you need, and the kids need to have some kind of routine. To practice for three weeks and then me being gone for six, some may stop practicing."

Q: What's this I hear about you starting some kind of a side project?

A: It's me and DJ Rev Shines [from Lifesavas]. It's definitely a side project. It should be out 2008, maybe. Maybe 2007. It'll be on Barsuk Records. It sounds a little like Massive Attack.

It's like trip hop, but it's not really electronic; it's very organic instrumentation.

Twilight Singer Greg Dulli talks to the Tucson Weekly about the breakup of the Afghan Whigs..

"I think it had reached its logical conclusion," Dulli says of the breakup. "I think you know it, just like you know it in a personal relationship. I think it's probably the same reason people get divorced, break up, move out of houses--it has gone as far as it can go. And sooner or later, the pony wants to break free and try other pastures." It didn't make matters any easier that, by that point, the band's four members were each living in different cities, spread across three time zones.

The Sydney Morning Herald ponders the relevance of music charts in the digital age.

Feel free to edit the Wikipedia entry for "indie rock."

The Portland Mercury reviews Cormac McCarthy's new novel, The Road.

In this ravaged inferno of terror that McCarthy has so coldly depicted, only love, servitude, and a requisite amount of hope can be said to truly survive. Everything else is walking dead, and in presenting it as such, McCarthy has written one of the most haunting and hopeful books of our time.

The Nashville Scene interviews Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers.

LS: It’s a strange climate right now. It’s like you have to have a hook. A lot of bands like yours, that are playing great straight-up rock and roll, can’t seem to get the attention they deserve.

PH: Well, the industry as a whole is going through such serious growing pains. Before, whenever a new format came out, it was the industry itself kind of leading the way. They came out with CDs and everybody made a lot of money. They came out with DVDs and everyone made a lot of money. But this whole computer thing kind of happened around them, and they spent the first several years trying to fight it instead of trying to find ways to make money off of it. Instead of embracing this new technology, they tried to stop a hurricane, and you can’t do that. Now they’re all trying to find ways to embrace the technology, but it’s been years and they lost a lot of ground. It serves a lot of 'em right. But it is a frustrating time to be in this business.

In The Morning News, Rosencranz Baldwin has mother review tracks fround on music blogs.

“Keep On Smiling” by 120 Days

This I didn’t like at all. To me it sounded like techno music, like it didn’t take any talent to produce. It was “interesting” sounding. I liked the singer, but I wish his voice had shown up somewhere else, because in this song it wasn’t important at all. The singing had some depth to it, but otherwise the song was all surface.

Nextbook interviews author Jennifer Weiner.

Do you think that "outsiderness" is why there are so many Jewish chick lit heroines?

You know, when you think about it, most American chick lit heroines, and authors, are Jewish. I'm thinking of Melissa Banks, Laura Zigman, Lauren Weisberger. I mean, there's the autobiographical component, but I do think Jewish heroines resonate with the chick lit buying crowd because they are wrestling with the kinds of identity issues and figuring out of how to be in the world that being Jewish lends itself to.

The Hollywood Reporter examines the effect of Tower Records' demise on indie record labels.

Rob Miller, partner in the Chicago-based alternative-country label Bloodshot Records, said that online sales account for just 10%-15% of the company's business. He estimates that Tower accounted for about 5% of Bloodshot's sales.

"If it was a one-to-one trade (for lost physical sales), it'd be great, but it's not," Miller said of online sales. "It's a good bandage on a much larger hemorrhage."

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this week's CD & DVD releases


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