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November 14, 2006


The nominees for the 2007 Plug Awards have been announced.

Nominees for "Music Blog of the Year":

Gerard vs. Bear
Gorilla vs. Bear
Largehearted Boy
Music For Robots
My Old Kentucky Home
You Ain't No Picasso

The Onion A,V. Club interviews Erik Larson, author of Thunderstruck.

AVC: Back when you first started as a reporter, did you have an eye toward writing non-fiction books?

EL: Never. No, I'm a failed novelist. When I first started in journalism, it was because I wanted to have a day job that paid, so I could make a living writing. I always had a novel I was working on. In fact, I've written four complete mystery novels. Five if you include the one I wrote when I was 13. Seventy-five pages long, one sex scene. I didn't know what sex was, but it was great. Four complete novels, two of which were under contract. But what happened was, my non-fiction career sort of sped past my fiction career. The determination was made by me and through guidance from my editor, who said, "You know, the non-fiction is so much better. Why do you want to put out a mediocre novel?" And after I got into writing about history as an interesting way of telling true stories, I found it infinitely satisfying. I have absolutely no interest in writing novels any more.

The A.V. Club also interviews Erik Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation about his next project.

AVC: Where are you on the prison book?

ES: I've been working on it for years, going into prisons for years. After the film comes out on November 17, I'll feel like I will have done everything I could on this subject and I will quietly, respectfully withdraw from it and do everything I can to finish my prison book in the next four or five months and then really get involved on those issues.

The Boston Globe examines the trend of older men not acting their age.

"Adults of all ages, especially in their 20s and 30s, aren't willing to give up the kind of freewheeling fun that they had when they were teenagers," says Noxon, who lives in Los Angeles. "That refusal to give it up is much less stigmatized now. You're not thought of as being insane if you're a 30- something snowboarder or extreme-sports guy or you're into indie rock and anime. In fact, those things now mark you as kind of iconoclastic and hip."

It's official, I am not insane (an especially timely affirmation with my birthday tomorrow).

Threadless is running a 30 day sale, with all t-shirts only $10 and two new designs added every day.

Marisha Pessl, author of Special Topics In Calamity Physics, puts her iPod on shuffle for the Onion A.V. Club.

Kings Of Convenience, "Toxic Girl"

MP: This is a band I just discovered that I absolutely love. Occasionally when I'm procrastinating writing, I'll while away the hours on iTunes. You can just keep going forever and find these bands you'd never normally hear of. I really like the sound of this. It's nice and relaxing. And I feel like I know people like that—toxic people. People who cross your path who are absolutely maddening, and then they just move on and you never see them again, which is exactly what the girl in the song is doing. She's very self-centered and sort of nightmarish. It's sort of a more poetic version of Billy Joel's "She's Always A Woman," describing the same sort of character who moves through a life and disrupts it and leaves a lot of waste.

Singer-songwriter Lloyd Cole talks to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

"That idea of Lauren Bacall walking across the bar to Humphrey Bogart, it's an incredibly dated mid-20th century concept that really does place me in the sense of where my aesthetic is rooted. And it's rooted in the past, in a place that no longer exists. I still regard Brian Ferry doing 'These Foolish Things' as one of the more romantic things. If you speak to a 25-year-old person these days, they wouldn't have a clue what that even might be."

The Toronto Star examines headphones as a fasion accessory.

The new US children's poet laureate (or as he says, "poet laminate"), Jack Prelutsky, talks to USA Today.

Prelutsky, who lives in Seattle, says he writes the "kind of poems I would have liked as a kid: about food fights, dinosaurs, imaginary animals and outer space."

Microsoft's Robbie bach talks to the Seattle Times about the Zune.

Q: Do you have to overcome the anti-Microsoft bias of the crowd that has iPods?

A: We certainly want to win those folks and others, but I don't think it's so much an anti-Microsoft thing. I think it is, "Hey, there's a new device." I've got to make sure it's something I'm going to be excited about. People are going to look at it and say, "Hmm, that's cool. I like this, I wonder about that," and then we continue to progress from there. Part of the idea of Zune is that it's a Zune device, it's not the Microsoft device.

Stylus recounts their CMJ experience, and talks to promoters and college radio personnel about the music marathon.

“Meeting people and making contacts has been great because we are able to reach many more people and get our music out to them,” said Ryan Rafferty of Flameshovel, a Chicago-based label currently working on the new Bound Stems record. “It’s like that Monty Python sketch where the guy's like ‘wink wink, nudge nudge.’ I want people to like me and the label…that’s the first step in getting people to listen to your music. Nobody’s going to give your music a chance if you’re some asshole shoving it down the station’s throat and making them play it.”

NPR is streaming singer-songwriter Jennifer O'Connor's World Cafe performance.

Minnesota Public Radio talks to author and photographer Lori Grinker about her book, Afterwar: Veterans from a World in Conflict.

The Village Voice profiles two of my favorite hip hop artists, MF Grimm and MF Doom.

Engadget installs the Zune software, eventually (with screenshots).

Spin's band of the day yesterday was Fake Problems.

Straddling the line between alt-country and unpolished pop rock, the quartet comes across as the lo-fi love brats of Ryan Adams and Rilo Kiley -- from up-tempo indie anthems to forlorn campfire ballads, the EP is little bit More Adventurous, a little bit Pneumonia.

The New York Times asks 22 "funny people" for a desert island collection of five comedic films.

Entertainment Weekly lists the ten worst Bond girls.

Owen Ashworth of Casiotone for the Painfully Alone talks to Drowned in Sound.

“I think when I started doing this project I never had a very strict set of parameters of what the project would be. I had thought it would be cool to do a trilogy of albums and then move on to something else. If anything the progression came about because I decided that I wanted to prove to myself that I could make a song that would stand on its own as a good song, and not be reliant on a self imposed set of limitations.

“I have a lot of friends in bands and sometimes they’d cover some of my songs and they made me recognise that they were just really good songs that could stand as rock songs in their own right.”

see also:

this week's CD & DVD releases


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