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January 18, 2007


The Associated Press interviews author Kurt Vonnegut about Indianapolis naming 2007, "The Year of Vonnegut."

Q: How does your hometown's declaration of "The Year of Vonnegut" compare with some of the other honors you've received?

A: "It's probably the biggest. I've never received a Pulitzer, a National Book Award or anything like that, and the greatest honor up to now was my election to the American Academy of Arts and Literature by my peers. Those are nice. But what this is, this Indianapolis thing, it's a charming thing because it's about books and it's about reading."

Stylus give Pete Townshend's solo album, All the Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes, a second listen.

Members of Swan Lake talk to Popmatters about the band.

“They were worried and, I think rightly so, that it would be seen as some sort of obscurest side project,” said Mercer. “I understand when people say that, but it bugs me too. It’s not like these were songs that got skipped over for 15 years and finally, you know, it’s like heh heh...The songs were written consecutively for this project, so they don’t really seem much different between working that way and working on your primary project.”

The Memphis Commercial Appeal reviews the first night of Jeff Tweedy's 2007 solo tour.

With Wilco best known in recent years for its sonic experimentation, it was refreshing to hear songs such as "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart" stripped to the core, where you re-discover what a good (and dark) songwriter Tweedy is.

The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star profiles the upcoming PLUG Independent Music Awards.

In the end, the PLUG Awards are just a superfluous and saccharine, self-aggrandizing charade. Instead of voting for your favorite band, why not just buy their CD, or just tell a friend or two about them? That will go a lot further than a pat on the back from the PLUG Awards.

Singer-songwriter Emily Haines plays an in-studio performance at Minnesota Public Radio.

Beguiling selects the best graphic novels and comics of 2006.

Spoon's Britt Daniel and Brian Reitzell talk to Harp about writing the soundtrack to the film, Stranger Than Fiction.

“The best thing about working on a movie is that you have a captive audience and they have to listen to the music,” Reitzell continues. “You don’t have that when you make a record.”

Drowned in Sound interviews Colin Meloy of the Decemberists.

If you could make one already-written book as important and integral to Western society as the Bible, what would it be?

Dylan Thomas' Under Milk Wood.

Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Dolls talks to NPR's All Things Considered about the economics of being in a band.

Palmer and Viglione reached out to anybody they knew, of any age or walk of life, to come hear them play. And as the crowds grew, they managed to get signed a good-sized record label — which sounds good, but Palmer says it doesn't pay much.

"We make almost no money off our recordings themselves," she says.

Douglas Martin expounds upon his favorite hip hop album, Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, at So Much Silence.

Seattle Weekly's "Ask an Uptight Seattleite" tackles soft rock-listening coworkers and MySpace quandaries.

Murray Lightburn of the Dears talks to the Miami New Times and the GW Hatchet Online.

The Dears are changing. "Our first record, "End of a Hollywood Bedtime Story," was about a downward spiral, and then [sophomore effort] "No Cities Left" was more about a journey back, and so this album is about what you kind of find after your journey back�It's a journey, the whole Dears experience is a journey."

Shins frontman James Mercer talks to the Herald Sun about the band's new album, Wincing the Night Away.

"For a long time I've been wanting to get away from the guitar-heavy thing," he says.

"I've wanted to have more of an R&B sort of mix. When that stuff is effective it's really effective."

Willamette Week also interviews Mercer.

How much weight do you give to the Garden State push?

As far as our visibility to your average pop-culture consumer, it would be a very big deal. Obviously, mostly everybody who shops at indie record stores knew who we were in 2001, but yeah, it really branched us out into that much bigger market.

LA Weekly attends a Journey cover band show.

Journey sing-alongs are normally reserved for moments alone in your car or an a cappella rock block in the shower. But at Spaceland Friday night, we screeched through the Streeet-light, Peep-pu-uu-ul! of “Don’t Stop Believin’,” the staccatoed, Ooh, all night. All night. Oh, every night, of “Anyway You Want It,” the banshee cry I really LOVE you girrrll of “Separate Ways.” Oh boy, did we sing along. Some of us hadn’t perspired this much since high noon at Coachella.

LA Weekly interviews author Robert Stone.

Seattle's Stranger interviews singer-songwriter StephenMalkmuss.

Are you a Smiths fan?

Yeah, I always liked them. They were kind of unique in a good way, a weird band with a weird sound. I never paid attention—I thought it was just all jangly, but it's more than just jangly, what Marr] does. I was anti-jangle back then. I liked R.E.M., but the jangle had to go when the '90s came, I'm sorry.

York University's Excalibur lists the ten most anticipated books of 2007.

Singer-songwriter Laura Veirs talks to Australia's X-Press Online about the current political climate in the United States creeping into her songwriting.

“It feels very corrupt and powerful so it is hard to write about and I am not going to force myself to do it, but it does come out in subtle ways and I am glad it is about that. It’s just that it is a difficult thing as it is hard to be artful when it doesn’t feel like there is a very strong underground movement to deal with this government."

Philadelphia City Paper interviews author Neal Pollack about his parenting memoir, Alternadad.

CP: That's one of the most sobering things about your book: how hard it is to raise even one kid in this country.

NP: We were having trouble even before the kid was born. I may have been reviewed in The New York Times and done some press before, but that doesn't mean I was making a lot of money. Look, there is no social support network in this country for young families — no nationalized health care or anything. The system is so screwed up and dysfunctional.

The New York Times examines widgets for your blog.

Pocket Gamer lists the "ten worst Nintendo DS games so far."

T-shirt of the day: "Say blogosphere' again."

Atlanta's Creative Loafing interviews the founders of the city's Ladyfest South (which takes place January 25th-28th).

Donewaiting lists "Columbus bands to watch in 2007," complete with video interviews, mp3s and more.

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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