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November 17, 2006


The Cursive's Tim Kasher talks to the Tallahassee Democrat about the band's latest album, Happy Hollow.

"We really didn't focus that much on the current (presidential) administration, although it's obvious what kind of period we were in when we made this record," Kasher says. "I grew up Catholic, so that's why I'm passionate about religion. I'm an atheist now, but, with this record, that's not a negative word. It's just a choice. Our theme is choice."

NYU's Washington Square News interviews singer-songwriter Robert Pollard.

What do you think of pop music today?

I think it’s kind of exasperating. There is always music that’s written and recorded in an experimental sense to try and come up with something new. At lots of times, that kind of music loses focus and there is no more focus on songs. I’m into songs, I’m into good songs. Whether it’s old music or new music, I’m seeking at least one really great song on a record.

Todays reviews of Joanna Newsom's new album, Ys:

Yale Daily News:

Yes, yes: a fairy tale? Sixteen-minute-long songs, painstaking orchestration, an unpronounceable album title: This should be a mine field. But it isn't, and you're only aware of that peril upon later reflection - there's never a moment when, in listening, you have to decide to play along. Newsom compels your trust through sheer talent and her peculiar charisma.

Washington Post:

Unfortunately, that sense of worry overshadows the album, as Newsom's constant barrage of lyrics and instrumentation doesn't often give her compositions much breathing room.

A Stylus writer lists his top ten songs when he was 13 years old.

Wired News explores options for getting the music off your iPod.

The Nashville City Paper reviews recently published comics, manga, and graphic novels.

Harp magazine received a promotional jar of "Iggy" peanut butter from A&M Records. (For the record, I'd rather have chocolate instead)

Drowned in Sound interviews singer-songwriter Brendon Massei, aka Viking Moses.

Pretty Panicks is a small press with a great project.

the press' first large scale project will be a series of postcards, published monthly, that will feature rock compositions on the front sides and brief artists' statements (or bios) on the backs. the first postcard will be distributed on september 1, 2006, featuring a composition by sharon cheslow. the postcards will study how rock music is made, how that process varies from artist to artist, and how rock composition is similar and/or different from the way that other forms of music are composed.

The second card in the series features John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats, with an early draft of the song "Moon Over Goldsboro" on the frot of the postcard.

T-shirt of the day: "Musical Meditation"

The Long Island Press interviews Jim Heath, better known as the Reverend Horton Heat.

IP: 150 shows a year, that’s what you average, right?

JH: Well, yeah…we used to average way more than that and we kind of cut it back. I think right now we’re between 115, 120 something like that a year. Oh, yeah, we used to do like 275 shows a year. Unbelievable.

LIP: Is that a record, does that make you the biggest tourist in rock ‘n roll?

JH: Oh man, I think that there’s some kind of record involved there but I’m not really sure. We had one fan that he mailed us to say that, “The Grateful Dead has the record for 3,500 shows and you guys have done way more than that and blah, blah, blah…” But, you know, I mean, rock ‘n’ roll is way more than that. If you stop to think about the country guys, how many gigs has Willie Nelson done? I mean he has to have done 10,000, so it’s not really that great a record if you ask me.

Salon picks its own list of "wold's sexiest men," and includes singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens in the mix.

Chicagoist interviews Amy Schroeder, editor of Venus Magazine.

C: What advice/encouragement would you give to people starting their own magazines?

AS: Realize that success doesn’t happen overnight. Magazine publishing — especially independent publishing — is a challenging business to get into. It’s up there with starting a restaurant. Three key ingredients: research all aspects of your niche market, know (and respect) your reader, and balance innovation with traditional business sense. Also, be prepared for things to not go according to plan.

The Long Blondes talk to the Independent.

"We don't stick to one particular style, we have a lot of stuff we like independently. When we started we had more of a Fifties influence than we do now, girl groups like The Shangri-Las. Then we moved on to more of a Seventies disco thing. I am not a big fan of the Arctic Monkeys' derivatives and there's all them bands and us, so we really stand out."

The Chicago Reader profiles Swedish singer-songwriter Frida Hyvonen in an article subtitled, "If Liz Phair had grown up where it was OK to like sex, she'd be Frida Hyvonen."

Until Death Comes, Hyvonen's first record, came out last year in Sweden and a couple weeks ago here in the States. It could be the Swedish equivalent of Liz Phair's Exile in Guyville, full of clear-eyed tales of a hard-thinking girl who hops in and out of bed, drinks some, enjoys herself or doesn't, believes in romance -- and clearly knows the price of all her choices.

Discover magazine lists the 25 greatest science books of all time.

As Apple readies to open an iTunes store in the country, the New Zealand Herald talks to a digital music consumer.

"I'll get an iTunes account," says Phil, who is willing to pay for tracks from the world's biggest legal music download store. But, admits the 30-something Aucklander, it won't change his music-gathering habits dramatically. He gets most of his free music from MP3 and music blog sites like Hypemachine, a haven for rabid music fans which he likens to an old-fashioned fanzine. However, rather than the thousands of MP3s on his computer, it's his extensive vinyl collection that he rates as his pride and joy.

New York magazine profiles author Nicole Krauss.

The New York Sun is less than impressed by Thomas Pynchon's new novel, Against the Day.

The list — there is the glory, and the downfall, of Mr. Pynchon's fiction. The author himself, in the gnomic blurb he wrote for "Against the Day," advertised it with a giant list: "The sizable cast of characters," he promised like a sideshow barker, "includes anarchists, balloonists, gamblers, corporate tycoons, drug enthusiasts, innocents and decadents," and on and on. And the novel keeps that promise, to a fault. It reads like a list, at times like a list of lists — for Mr. Pynchon is never unwilling to interrupt the plot, such as it is, with a bravura catalog.

The Hold Steady's Craig Finn talks to the Guardian.

He moved to Brooklyn, where "it was all dance-punk", and decided to go in the opposite direction, forming a band in thrall to classic rock. "People still had a hunger for that that sort of thing," Finn says. "People say there's nothing like this around at the moment, but traditionally there had been, and something like this never goes out of style."

The Guardian books blog admits the obvious, "we cannot all be Irvine Welsh."

Usually when people say "like Irvine Welsh" they mean either "contains phonetic dialect" or "contains working-class folk". In truth, equating one novelist with another simply because of the language they employ, or the class stratum they write about, reveals more about who's doing the comparing than it does about what's being compared.

If you are anywhere near Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, on November 30th, you may want to catch "New Frontiers in Cartooning and Graphic Novels: Jessica Abel, Alison Bechdel, Gabrielle Bell and Lauren Weinstein."

see also:

this week's CD & DVD releases


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