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January 17, 2007


The Indiana Daily Student makes a point about today's musical climate.

My real worry is this: What does it say about our culture when commercials have better music than our major mass-media sources? When it's nearly the only way for great new, original rock and pop to reach your normal, non-Web dwelling person? When advertising executives clearly have keener ears than top-flight record executives?

Singer-songwriter Emily Haines talks to the Edmonton Sun.

"Being an indie celebrity is not the goal. The Michael Jackson model ... I think we've all seen that to be kind of a sad existence. I love the opportunity to sing backup on one song or play keyboards and synths on another. I think a lot of people have that same approach. Their egos are based in the sounds they make, not their faces."

The Los Angeles Times examines the problems facing independent bookseller Dutton's.

Inside Bay Area talks to local independent music stores about the positive effect of their Norcal Music Coalition has had on their business.

The independents in the group — located in various cities around the Bay and beyond — still operate their own stores, but as a coalition they can make volume purchases from vendors, thus ensuring lower prices for customers, and produce a slick catalog that reaches all their customers.

The Toronto Star examines the three finalists for Canada's Charles Taylor Prize for literary non-fiction.

The New York Times profiles Lincoln Center's American Songbook series, which has featured artists ranging from Sufjan Stevens to Diana Krall.

A pivotal moment came in the spring of 2002, when the band Magnetic Fields, led by the wry and urbane Stephin Merritt, had a rare two-night concert of its “69 Love Songs” cycle. Mr. Nakagawa said that it was not easy to persuade the performance-averse Mr. Merritt to do the show, but that his involvement was crucial to the new direction of the series.

“We were trying to extrapolate what is the popular music of our time,” Mr. Nakagawa said. “We came to think of American song as being everything from Stephen Foster to Stephin Merritt.”

The Regina Leader-Post reports that "a Metis organization plans to present the controversial history of Louis Riel in a colour comic that is every bit as colourful as Riel's personality."

If you read and enjoyed chester Brown's graphic novel, Louis Riel, you will appreciate this news.

Mobtown Shank ponders "football revisionism" with regards to last weekend's Colts-ravens playoff game, and the city of Baltimore's reaction to the event.

The Cold War Kids talk to San Diego CityBEAT about the media backlash they've encountered.

Although Robbers & Cowards is filled with religious imagery—often sung from the perspective of a fictional character—Willett says context has been completely ignored in such reviews.

“It’s just lazy journalism, where if you don’t like a band, you pick up one thing about them and say, ‘I’m gonna write about this.’”

Guitarist Russell, whose father is in fact an Evangelical preacher, agrees: “That seems to be the agenda; not to have a thoughtful reflection on music but to have a sharp angle and a funny way of saying it.”

The Village Voice weighs in on the band:

We rock critic—blogger types—a cabal that knows plenty about using our own sperm as a medium—now regard the Cold War Kids as they enter their backlash-backlash phase. Welcome, gentlemen. We've hated you for so long it's time to like you again.

PlanetOut lists "five queer bands for '07," while Newcity Chicago lists "ten Chicago musical artists on the verge."

Singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith talks to the Minneapolis City Pages about finding an American record label to release his latest album (at his advanced age).

"There was a lot of fear, I guess. People we talked to would say, 'We love Ron, but, you know, we can't sign him.'" Sexsmith says via phone from his Toronto home about the label shopping that lasted much of early 2006. "When you're over 24 or 25, people in Los Angeles see you in a different way. That's a sign of the times, I guess." In other words, the 42-year-old songwriter was all but dead to them. We love Ron, but, you know...

Buzzle and NPR's News & Notes eulogize jazz pianist Alice Coltrane.

Forbes lists the ten most expensive books of 2006.

Author Neal Pollack tells Newcity Chicago why he wrote Alternadad.

"Well, I wish my answer was more poignant or glamorous," he says, "but basically my good ideas for satirical fiction dried up. I needed a new book contract in order to feed my family, and my agent thought my stories about being a dad were funny, and there were other people telling me to turn it into a book. I was reluctant--I spent years mocking first-person journalism and memoirs and that self-absorbed voice that has completely overwhelmed writing in this country. I was really reluctant, but in the end reality forced my hand, so I sort of went for it."

Pollack also is interviewed by the New York Post.

You also seem to be very concerned that your son might become a Britney Spears fan. How much do you monitor his musical intake?

I think that as long as long as I'm not dogmatic about it, I think exposing your kid to as many different kinds of music as possible is good. It can only be good for them.

Slate and Boston's Phoenix review the book.

WCCO reports that the Minnesota Orchestra will perform a "a special, 'one night only' program of the songs of Led Zeppelin."

T-shirt of the day: your Wii Mii.

Calvin College's Festival of Faith and Fellowship will feature performances by Sufjan Stevens, Neko Case, and Emmylou Harris this year.

see also:

Largehearted Boy's favorite albums of 2006
2006 Year-end Music List Compilation
this week's CD & DVD releases


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