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November 22, 2006


The New York Sun reviews Tom Waits' new box set, Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards.

There's a lot to digest on this set, and chinks in Mr. Waits's armor are readily apparent. He can sometimes seem like a victim of his own distinctive style, as if he has become trapped in the musical universe it has taken him two decades to build. But then his firm grounding in the fundamentals — storytelling, humor, theater — bubble up, and you're ready for one more creaky favorite, sung rough-voiced and slightly out of tune by that goofy guy in the funny hat.

Marketplace profiles the unique membership program of Menlo Park, California independent bookseller Kepler's.

It's not a frequent buyer club with a nominal fee that customers expect. It's one where members give anywhere from $20 to $2,500 to keep the store alive. The perks — discounts and members-only events — are more of a thank you than an incentive.

Singer-songwriter Bob Mould talks to Billboard about recording his next album.

"I would best describe it as the logical extension of 'Body of Song,' -- lots of guitars, shorter pop songs," Mould told "There's a couple of down things that are a little more loop-based. It's Brendan's opinion that it's a little more somber than the last record. He was like, 'This is some serious stuff!"'

STV lists a "soundtrack to 2006."

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reviews recently released music box sets.

The New York Times examines the music industry's courting of older customers, including a push by AARP to promote music sales.

Older consumers (along with children) represent one of the few reliable markets in the music business these days, and AARP, the organization for older Americans, is keen to capitalize on that. On Tuesday the group announced that for the first time it will sponsor a national concert tour, by Tony Bennett. And that’s just a start. Other sponsorships will follow, and from those, AARP hopes, many new members. With plans in the works for an alliance with a major retail chain, a Web-based music recommendation service with Pandora and even a music blog, AARP is looking to graduate from advocate of the shuffleboard set to the ranks of cultural concierge.

Popmatters examines "the fuss" about author Thoma Pynchon.

Pynchon doesn’t have a serious rival for the title of ultimate cult writer. His material, methods, style, and unique narrative voice, combined with his poetic prose, dark sense of humor and unbridled sense of fun, have given him an undentable aura. Grappling with Pynchon’s work can be daunting, its convoluted complexity making any attempt to impose a coherent meaning on it seem like wrestling a huge Russian Doll which wandered into one of those telepods from The Fly only to be merged with a Rubik’s Cube someone had left lying in the corner.

A Chicago Maroon writer hates the music of Sufjan Stevens.

In the Guardian, poet Adrienne Rich discusses why we need poetry in the world.

Poetry has the capacity to remind us of something we are forbidden to see. A forgotten future: a still uncreated site whose moral architecture is founded not on ownership and dispossession, the subjection of women, outcast and tribe, but on the continuous redefining of freedom - that word now held under house arrest by the rhetoric of the "free" market. This on-going future, written-off over and over, is still within view. All over the world its paths are being rediscovered and reinvented.

Publishers Weekly lists the best graphic novels of 2006.

Drowned in Sound interviews Tool drummer, Danny Carey.

The album's artwork features a series of vintage-styled photos. For a band who normally prefer anonymity, why have you now chosen to be more apparent?

We thought it would be neat to be a bit more revealing this time as we felt as though we'd got to the point where the music was understood as itself. We had never wanted to be in a position where we were selling ourselves through our artwork, more than the music.

see also:

this week's CD & DVD releases


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