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November 4, 2006


The Boston Globe interviews Colin Meloy of the Decemberists about his literary plans.

Q You and your girlfriend, Carson Ellis, who creates the Decemberists' album art, have a new baby. Are you composing American Revolution-themed lullabies?

A No. I sing him old folk songs. But Carson and I are collaborating on a kids' book. It's about a talking cat in 1920s Butte, Mont.

The Los Angeles Times eulogizes author William Styron.

Billboard examines the indie music marketing strategies of AOL and Microsoft.

Bill Wilson, senior vice president of programing for AOL, says the indie-rock community is a natural fit given its strong involvement with digital music.

The Globe and Mail reviews Haruki Murakami's latest short story collection, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman.

But it is when the freaky things happen that Murakami is at his best. In Crabs, a man vomits up three nights worth of crab dinner and sees little worms wriggling on the surface. In Birthday Girl, a woman in her thirties tells the story of her 20th birthday, and the strange little man who granted her one wish that changed her life. Using concrete, vivid detail, Murakami takes the reader into those corridors to reveal what hides inside all of us.

The Ottawa Citizen selects the five essential albums by Bob Dylan.

The Washington Post reviews Richard Ford's new novel, The Lay of the Land.

The Lay of the Land 's first 200 pages describe the ordinary events of a single day, in which Frank's "quest" amounts to nothing more than accompanying his colleague to a potential development site, attending the funeral-home viewing of a deceased friend, performing his duty as a volunteer mentor, visiting his ex-wife at her workplace and getting his dental night guard adjusted. And yet in these same 200 pages Ford once again shows why he deserves to be hailed as one of the great American novelists of his generation and why Frank Bascombe deserves a spot on the modern American fictional-character roster, alongside John Updike's Harry Angstrom, Walker Percy's Binx Bolling and Saul Bellow's Augie March.

Salon offers a literary guide to Vancouver.

The best living short story writer, Alice Munro, was a 1950s Vancouverite, and describes the time as her most creatively fallow. A New York Times travelogue of Munro's Vancouver years recently pondered the contradiction: "[T]he urban geography is so exact you can practically map the city off her fictions. But though the addresses match, the vibe is unrecognizable." Munro-era Vancouver was a much smaller, undeveloped place than it is today, but its landscape also perhaps overwhelmed the austere Southern Ontario Gothic that would become her hallmark. "For her, this was always the wrong place, the views too grand, the weather too gray, the trees too tall."

Ned Raggett lists his "top 136 or so albums of the 90's."

Stuff lists its favorite 15 "fake rich guys."

Metric's Emily Haines talks to Harp about her father's influence on her music.

“I feel as though his biggest influence on me was inspiring me to do what I could do, but he instilled in me the idea that I was my own writer. I think, in a lot of ways, if you put the two of us together we complete a picture, but generally, my style is definitely more direct, as a result of growing up and asking him just basic questions and always getting the most beautiful and obscure answers.”

Minnesota Public Radio has live performances posted from Frank Black, Citizen Cope, and Now It's Overhead.

The literary podcast Pinky's Paperhaus interviews author Stephen Elliott this week, and he discusses his memoir, My Girlfriend Comes to the City and Beats Me Up as well as the fiction collection he edited, Stumbling and Raging: Politically Inspired Fiction.

The LHB Fuzzy Warbles contest is ongoing... Nickname the current US president and possibly win the Andy Partridge box set.

PETA now has a blog.

Mogwai's Stuart Brathwaite talks to the Daily Yomiuri.

So how would he define the sound of Scotland?

"Scottish music is a lot closer to American," he says. "All these [Britpop] people were basically saying that Nirvana were terrible. And everyone [in Britpop] seemed to be just coked up. It just didn't really appeal to me at all."

Spoon's Britt Daniel talks to Harmonium about his soundtrack to the film, Stranger Than Fiction.

Harmonium: Do you think that exposing the movie-going masses to your music will spread the word about Spoon?

Daniel: I don’t know…that’s what people say. You do what you do, and you take advantage of opportunities as you see them and if it works, it works. For a long time we did this just by going out there and playing just for ourselves, so I’m amazed when something works, but I don’t want to count on it.

Nextbook critiques the Golem's guest appearance on the Simpsons Sunday night. (full disclosure: I am a fan of anything Golem-related, feel free to suggest any literature, music, films, etc.)

The writers obviously did their research—Krusty (born Herschel Krustofski, in case you haven't heard), doesn't hesitate to tell the now fixed story of how, in the 1600s, Rabbi Loew molded the Golem to fight his community's enemies. The tale was once much muddier: in the earliest published account, written by Leopold Weisel in 1847, Rabbi Loew essentially creates the Golem to do the dishes. Only with I.L. Peretz and Yudl Rosenberg's versions, published around the turn of the century amidst a resurgence of anti-Semitism, was the Golem promoted to savior status. Or as Krusty put it: "the legendary defender of the Jews, like Alan Dershowitz, but with a conscience."

Joanna Newsom talks to Paste about her new album, Ys.

“These forms are closer to what I was exploring in school, back when I thought I was going to be, like, a ‘composer,’” she explains, referencing her days as a traditional musician in the classical mold. “In those times, I certainly thought there were particular music-making conventions and parameters which differed between ‘compositions’ and ‘songs.’ And when I was studying composition, formally, I really expanded my songs to Wt what I thought was a permissible shape and size. And when I decided to work more on ‘songs,’ I cut and cut and cut. People who have the earliest versions of some of the songs that later made it onto my first Drag City release can attest: they started out longer than they ended up,” she says of the more condensed tracks comprising The Milk-Eyed Mender.

Comic Tools is a new blog that interviews comic artists.

Crotz News compares the iPod and Zune.

Back Stage reports that Catherine Deneuve and Gena Rowlands will supply the voices for the film adaptation of Marjane Satrapi's graphic memoir, Persepolis.

Deneuve will voice the lead character's mother (as she does in the French version), and Rowlands will voice the her grandmother in the true tale of a precocious girl growing up in Iran during the Islamic revolution.

see also:

this week's CD & DVD releases


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