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November 5, 2006


The Boston Herald offers a "Brit rock primer," with short profiles of five bands "to watch out for and avoid."

Colin Meloy of the Decemberists talks prog with the Chicago Sun-Times.

"Prog became something that nobody wanted to name-check -- and even to this day, it's still that way with ELP," Meloy says. "We don't do it as a way to set ourselves apart from our audience and say, 'Hey, look what we can do,' showing our musical muscle. It's really because it should be interesting to listen to, and it's kind of a captivating way to tell a series of stories."

The Independent examines "literary partnerships."

It is those 20th-century heterosexual relationships, charged by sexual passion and either flittering out when that passion dies, or, in some cases, imploding with horrific consequences, that are the most complex, the most teasing, and ultimately the ones that intrigue us most.

Lou Reed talks to the San Jose Mercury News.

Reed claims not to be ``conversant'' enough to identify the great lyric writers of today, but then he mentions a few names: Bright Eyes, Beck, Radiohead.

``Which one of them is the Tennessee Williams? I'm not a critic,'' he says. ``But those are people where you can listen to it and not be offended, you know what I mean? They're trying to go a little deeper.''

The Toronto Star lists the city's "literary hot spots."

The Hold Steady's Craig Finn talks to Harp.

“The concept for the Hold Steady,” Finn says, “was to create a smart rock band. A lot of rock ’n’ roll celebrates the stupidity of rock ’n’ roll, like with stoner rock. And it’s like—I think there’s a lot of intelligent people that like great rock. Why can’t there be great lyrics matched with Jimmy Page guitars?”

Zak Smith has illustrated every page of Thomas Pynchon's novel, Gravity's Rainbow.

Actor/author John Hodgman talks to the New York Post about NPR's This American Life.

"It's like a documentary radio show that doesn't suck," he says. "As polished and as disciplined as they are, there's an intimacy there. Whether it's Ira or someone else, they are telling a story directly to you, like they're in the room with you, and you get a little scared."

In the Observer, author Paul Auster discusses creating and enjoying fiction.

Fiction, however, exists in a somewhat different realm from the other arts. Its medium is language, and language is something we share with others, that is common to us all. From the moment we learn to talk, we begin to develop a hunger for stories. Those of us who can remember our childhoods will recall how ardently we relished the moment of the bedtime story, when our mother or father would sit down beside us in the semi-dark and read from a book of fairy tales.

blogTO covers the local controversy of Canadian bookstores not carrying Alan Moore's controversial graphic novel, Lost Girls.

The Beguiling, which has never shied away from carrying works that will appeal to grown-ups as well as to kids, brought Lost Girls into the city anyway under mysterious circumstances, and quickly sold out of their first printing.

When I called The Beguiling a couple of weeks ago to ask after additional copies, though, I was told that the publisher had explicitly asked them to stop selling Lost Girls in Toronto, until their appeal against Canada Customs can go through. In the meantime, Chapters has put a hold on all orders for the book in Canada, and most of the other comic book stores in the city won't stock it, or weren't ever planning to.

The Montreal Gazette lists the ten most and least essential Bob Dylan albums.

The Baltimore Sun examine sthe growing appeal of western Maryland for artists of all types.

At the Queen City Creamery, bluegrass musicians join a weekly jam session. In summer, downtown Cumberland swells as more than 1,000 spectators gather for the Friday After Five concert series. Cumberland and Frostburg are also home turf for Page France and Jon Felton and his Soulmobile, indie bands with growing renown outside the region.

The New York Times examines the coming gentrification of Brooklyn's Northsix music club.

Williamsburg is not losing a rock club, then, but gaining one that may be more suited to its current state of gentrification, to the 40-story condos being planned along the East River nearby. Where Northsix has distressed, paint-caked wood floors and rudimentary high-school-style risers, the Music Hall will have balconies and a big-city gloss.

The Observer examines rumors of a bribery scandal at this year's French literary prize, the Goncourt.

The most stinging attacks on the literary prize system focus on the way that the judges, all working writers, are appointed for life. Though unremunerated, a position on a major jury assures an author conference invitations, luxury overseas trips funded by the government, well-paid press commissions, publicity and, crucially, the knowledge that no major publishing house will refuse his or her latest book.

An LAist contributor is chronicling his National Novel Writing Month efforts.

The New York Times reviews the Annuals album, Be He Me.

Bloggers love bands like Annuals, who use hand-played instruments in big, informal assemblages; whose songs swirl through family chronicles, memories, fantasies and hopes; who happily echo the psychedelic 1960s; and whose arrangements are so packed with voices and instruments and ideas that they sound like benignly polymorphous communities. Perhaps that’s because music from Annuals (or the Arcade Fire, Sufjan Stevens or Broken Social Scene) encompasses everything a solitary digitized blogger doesn’t have. But bloggers shouldn’t be the only ones to enjoy Annuals’ debut album, “Be He Me” (Ace Fu). The band, led by the 20-year-old Adam Baker from North Carolina, has a joyful eccentricity that could make anyone believe the album’s closing assurance: “We’ll have it all. We, ooh. We can.”

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

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this week's CD & DVD releases


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