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December 15, 2006


The New York Sun bids farewell to Rainer Maria.

But don't dismiss the trio as mere emo. On the surface, Rainer Maria's knotty, pretty songs do traffic in the sort of naked, interpersonal lyrics that remain emo's core values. But the band has also managed to set itself apart from the homogeneous norm, refusing to settle for emo's pure spleen and ideal, finding its melodrama in economical storytelling rather than confessional angst.

Salon readers and staffers list their favorite books of the year.

Evan Dando talks to the Boston Globe about the Lemonheads reunion.

"I always wanted to do another Lemonheads record, and mainly there's this festival in Brazil with all kinds of young bands doing Lemonheads songs, and I thought since that was happening I might as well put a Lemonheads record out. And also I found the perfect people to do one with in Bill and Karl," says Dando on the phone from a California tour stop.

Stylus lists the "top ten reasons Britain's music critics needed the Strokes."

Rivers Cuomo (among others) submit year-end "celebrity lists" to the Harvard Crimson.

Singer-songwriter Alena Diane talks to the Oregonian.

Snowden performs in the Minnesota Public Radio studio.

Prospect lists its most overrate and underrated books of the year.

Minnesota Public Radio has the Dears in the studio for a performance and interview.

One of my favorite new blogs: Tcritic, a t-shirt site.

NPR's Karen Grigsby gates lists "books for everyone on your gift list."

Senses Working Overtime has been sharing eclectic holiday mixes over the past several days.

WXPN has Cheap Trick perform on the World Cafe.

Murray Lightburn of the Dears puts his iPod on shuffle for the A.V. Club.

Carpenters, "Superstar (1991 Remix)"

ML: The Carpenters blow my mind, just everything about them, their whole story, Karen Carpenter and her geeky brother. The songs are also really weird, and the recordings and the production are really weird, and they fascinate me. "Superstar" is one of my favorite songs, and it's funny to see it covered by everyone from Sonic Youth to Ruben Studdard from American Idol.

Slate examines why food writers are fascinated with pigs.

In the piggy confessional, a dead pig—usually killed, butchered, or eaten by the author—provokes a meditation on the ethics and aesthetics of eating.

Guster's Adam Gardner talks to the Harvard Crimson about the band's new album, Ganging Up on the Sun.

“This record is the closest we got to what our music is versus what we listen to,” says Gardner. “Our influences are a little more apparent on this album and a lot of that is opening up our instrumentation to more than just acoustic guitars.”

On Good Morning America, Diane Sawyer interviews author Salman Rushdie.

"Happy love stories are really short, you know. They are boy meets girl, they live happily ever after, the end. So good love stories do tend to have trouble, you know, so it's a love story that turns into a revenge story. And I have a little feeling, that right at the end of the story, it might be turning back into a new love story."

The A.V. Club interviews singer-songwriter Jeremy Enigk.

AVC: What prompted you to start your own label to release World Waits?

JE: Basically Rykodisc, the label I was on with The Fire Theft, didn't exercise their option to keep us. I've been on three or four different labels in my career and I just felt like, you know, labels don't seem to be working out for me. [Laughs] Maybe I should start my own. It seems a lot more possible now with the Internet. A lot of bands are doing it, and given the position I'm in and the fan base I have, it seemed better for me to do it myself. So I just bit the bullet and did it.

National Book Award winning novelist Richard Powers talks to the Independent.

"I have been luckier than any novelist," Powers says sheepishly in his suite at the Algonquin Hotel, an hour before the awards. The room is quite small, and Powers is very tall. In black-tie, with his attentive eyes and large, full, head of hair, he appears like a well-dressed Gulliver who would rather be out of doors. "All the way back to my first books, the critical recognition has always been there," he says. "As the writers of my generation have come into our forties, I think there is an increasing comfort of readers to recognise that technology is not 'out there' - it's inside us."

The Hook profiles the Snocap digital music distribution system.

"Once [a musician] comes to our website, they go through a registration process," explains Aydar, the Snocap COO, "and then they're invited to upload their music for free. Once we determine nobody else owns it, we put it into a little store called a MyStore. The whole process takes an hour or two."

MyStore appears on computer screens as a box artists can put on their websites, listing each of their tracks and the price for each song. Snocap takes a 45-cent cut, so any price above that is the per-track revenue to the band. As with the iTunes Music Store, fans can preview any song and buy it via Paypal or a major credit card. Voila! The song downloads to the buyer's computer.

Here's a great poster for holiday gifting: "We could have saved the earth but we were too damned cheap" (a Kurt Vonnegut quote).

see also:

Largehearted Boy's favorite albums of 2006
2006 Year-end Music List Compilation

Largehearted 2006 Holiday Gift Guide
this week's CD & DVD releases



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