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February 1, 2007


goTriad lists its top five love songs.

James Mercer of the Shins talks to the Age about "the Garden State effect."

"I felt really conspicuous when I first watched it," he says. "I sank into my chair. This thing started in my bedroom, and all of a sudden a dent in pop culture had been made."

The Philadelphia Daily News interviews Vanesse Lloyd-Sgambati, founder of the city's African-American Children's Book Fair.

Q. How is this different from other Black History Month events for kids?

A. There is no singing, no dancing. They line up around the corner for books. There is no face-painting, no secondary events. They come for one purpose, it is a literary event. Kids as young as toddlers have autographed books, and having ownership means the child is more apt to read the book.

The Guardian reports that Penguin is planning a "wiki-novel," where anyone can help write or edit the text.

Stylus pits the movies Animal House and Revenge of the Nerds against each other.

Elliott McPherson of the Dexateens talks to the Red and Black about the band's new album, Hardware Healing (out February 6th).

"There's a lot of different textures on the record," McPherson said. "I feel like it's kind of a big collage in a lot of ways; the songs are executed well and all the songs sound different from each other."

Singer-songwriter Vashti Bunyan talks to the Independent Weekly.

The New York Times remembers columnist Molly Ivins, who passed away this week.

Robert Schneider of Apples in Stereo talks to Harp about the band's new album.

“With New Magnetic Wonder, I wanted to make a record where every song sounded like a hit, whether it’s a psych-rock hit or a pop hit,” explains Schneider. “But I wanted to tie it together with songs that were non-rock, so it would sound like you’re listening to a bunch of singles with music in between as you’re changing the record.”

Author Deborah Gregory talks to NPR about her bestselling young adult series, The Cheetah Girls.

WXPN's World Cafe features an interview and performance from singer-songwriter Emily Haines.

The Los Angeles Times examines venues and websites that sell live music performances.

Midlake's Tim Smith talks to Atlanta's Creative Loafing.

"We're trying to be ourselves in a certain way," he says. "We're not trying to rip off the '70s." But he acknowledges that he wants to make pleasing music that has an emotional effect. "There's a large part of me that wants to sing for people and bring some joy into their life," he says. "I think bands are lying when they say they don't care what people think. I really do."

Mastodon's Bill Kelliher talks to the Riverfront Times.

"I've had kids come up to me and say, 'Wow, thank you so much; I had lost all hope in metal until I heard you,'" Kelliher says. "Meanwhile, I'm like, 'Come on,' but I can appreciate what they're saying. It's hard to pinpoint — we're doing some pretty diverse stuff, and there's a small group of kids out there who are getting into it. And it's growing; you can turn on the radio and listen to that crap, or you can dig a little deeper and find bands like Mastodon, Isis, Converge, High on Fire, the Mars Volta, Tool — whatever you're into."

Menomena's Justin Harris talks to the Seatte Weekly about the band's Pitchfork review.

"They can seriously ruin careers," says Harris. "I am thankful for the people at Pitchfork. Our album sold well locally, and then all of a sudden, we had a thousand orders coming in virtually overnight."

Metroactive makes some 2007 music predictions.

Surprising no one, the Smiths will become the only beloved band of the 1980s that does not reunite. Morrissey, however, will shock legions of fans by re-declaring his celibacy.

Deerhoof's Greg Saunier talks to the Portland Mercury.

Since the band's inception as a duo (Saunier and multi-instrumentalist Rob Fisk) 13 years ago, Deerhoof's songs have steadily gained popularity, earning the band a spot opening for Radiohead, with whom they played during the recording of their new and ninth album Friend Opportunity. "It was totally mind blowing," Saunier says. "You see the best concert you've ever seen in your life and then you go back to the room and fire up the computer like, 'Okay, now let's work on our little music.'"

Peter Bjorn and John talk to the Los Angeles Times.

"Maybe in 10 years we'll be one-hit wonders," Morén said. "But that's OK. It comes down to what sticks out. We aren't so cool, no one knows who we are."

LA Weekly interviews Morrissey.

Why do you think it is, you have theories on why that kind of effeminate, whatever you want to call it, glam rock is somehow not embraced here?

People are afraid of it because they see that there’s a truth in it, there’s a truth in it for all of us. We all have the feminine side to our personalities, and most people in American society want to deny it, and the locker-room jock is celebrated always, even though their attitude is absolutely thick and useless, but it’s always celebrated, it’s never criticized. The feminine side is associated with art, and it’s threatening because it’s associated with intellect, and superiority.

Camera Obscura bassist Gavin Dunbar talks to Kansas City's Pitch.

"We needed to stretch ourselves a bit more because we hadn't really had anyone pushing us before. Getting a producer really helped us get into gear and push ourselves as a band. You can really see the difference. It's more full-on sounding, louder — a bit more energy to it, maybe."

The band's frontwoman, Tracyanne Campbell talks to the Age.

"We wanted to sound just like the Velvet Underground," Campbell says. During the subsequent decade, though, Camera Obscura started to sound "like the people within the band", Campbell admitting that it took almost 10 years for her to "really find (her) voice as a songwriter."

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer interviews Alternadad author, Neal Pollack.

Do you offer any advice and tips for Dad?

This is not a guidebook or an advice book. Maybe (it offers a) ... sense of experience and through that people may feel some encouragement.

You can be immature, and a little selfish, and a little silly and a little pretentious, and still pull it off.

Pollack also talks to the National Post and the Oregonian about the book.

Robyn Hitchcock talks to JamBase about his songwriting.

"I think if you're not a fan of words it's harder to get my stuff," offers Hitchcock. "Though, I don't personally think the words are that important. The melody is the most important thing because that's what carries the emotion. Songs are basically feelings. You have a feeling and you try to find the words to go with it. I've always hated clichés. I think it's the death of thought. I suppose that can put one in rarified air in places. It's a good filtering process, though there were loads of dumb Beatles fans and the Beatles were the greatest group on Earth."

Science fiction author Robert J. Sawyer discusses separating science fiction and fantasy books in bookstores.

And, really, SF has always had a lot more in common with mystery than with fantasy. Both SF and mystery prize rational thinking and deduction, and require the reader to pick up clues about what's really going on as they read the story. Fantasy and SF, on the other hand, are diametrically opposed: one is reasoned, careful extrapolation of things that really could happen; the other, by definition, deals with things that never could happen.

For Suicide Girls, Wil Wheaton lists "some great graphic novels you may have missed."

Singer-songwriter Maria Taylor answers questions from the readers of Drowned in Sound.

SmugMug is offering 50% off its online photosharing service to Flickr refugees.

The Washington Post's "Going Out Gurus" posts their February mixtape.

Reader to Reader is a charitable organization that is dedicated to "bringing books, free of charge, to needy school libraries across the United States." The nonprofit organization accepts both monetary and both new and used book donations.

Author Myla Goldberg lends her musical talents on the side to the Walking Hellos. See the band's MySpace page for streaming samples.

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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