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February 3, 2007


The Los Angeles Times uses Fall Out Boy, Bloc Party and the Arcade Fire as examples that the album format is alive and well.

The Montreal Gazette profiles the Arcade Fire.

Arcade Fire are officially Montreal's biggest export. Their slow-building 2004 debut, Funeral, combining the quirkiness of the Talking Heads with the heavenly gospel of the Polyphonic Spree, sung by the Flintstones, has sold more than half a million copies and their ecstatic live performances have become the thing of rock legend.

The second chapter of author Michael Chabon's serial novel, Gentlemen of the Road, is available at the New York Times.

SXSW Music Creative Director Brent Grulke talks to the Austin Chronicle about the festival's decision to withhold a complete list of artists until mid-February.

TCB: It's always interesting, but especially this year because it all seems like a tempest in a teapot.

BG: My reaction exactly. It's like, "Huh? What's the big deal?" The shows are going to be as strong as they've ever been. The names we've already released [Pete Townshend, the Stooges, Ghostland Observatory] have obviously been substantial, and the artists and the people for whom South by Southwest is really created are either coming or not at this point anyway.

Also from the article:

Blogs are no laughing matter, nor mere entertainment. Just ask Clap Your Hands Say Yeah: A rave review on Gorilla vs. Bear, Largehearted Boy, Stereogum, My Old Kentucky Blog, or a jillion others is tons better than a similar notice in Spin and/or Rolling Stone.

CBR News interviews Alison Bechdel, author of Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic.

CBR: With all the attention “Fun Home” has received, the biggest has to be “Time” magazine's Book of the Year award. Of course, there have been other great works in comics, in illustrated books, but it's — I think this is the first time a graphic novel has won an overall book prize from such a large publication. There's been a bit of controversy over that. With the variety of graphic books coming out now, do you think it's still useful to distinguish between illustrated books and books without pictures?

AB: Very good question. Yes, in the same way it's useful to have gay and lesbian awards apart. But I think it's good to transcend those boundaries. That “Fun Home” won for best book, not just best graphic book — it's astonishing.

The Daily Scotsman discusses the graphic novel adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's Kidnapped.

CL: I've never thought of it before, but is this the first Scottish graphic novel?

JR: I don't know - but our version is certainly the first graphic novel in Scots! Kidnapped itself has certainly been done before. The Classics Illustrated comics series was how I first came to know a number of classic stories and they did it. I never saw it myself, but both Grant and Kennedy knew about it. It was an American series which I remember occasionally coming across at Stirling railway station in the 1960s.

NPR is streaming composer Steve Reich's recent Los Angeles performance.

Singe-songwriter Annie Stela shares her life with Harp.

Doing the MySpace thing and doing the blog and putting poems out there—I write a lot of poems that eventually become songs—gives people a sense of where it all comes from. I think when you’re a new artist that’s a really good way to bring them in and let them get to know you.

WXPN's World Cafe is streaming an in-studio Paolo Nutini performance.

NPR profiles singer-songwriter Patty Griffin.

Both the Herald and Daily Scotsman profile author JK Rowling.

The Los Angeles Times reviews Morrissey's recent Pasadena show.

The mood in Pasadena was one of rapturous surrender as lucky fans in front of the stage clutched at Morrissey's extended hand and everyone else shouted his complicated lyrics without pause. For these devotees, many part of the singer's oft-noted Latino fan base, Morrissey has become like family, cherished so deeply that every foible is not only tolerated, but also celebrated.

The Guardian traces author Irène Némirovsky's last days.

Author Martin Amis talks to the Los Angeles Times.

"Ideology, and I include religion in this, is inherently violent," Amis said the morning after his book reading, in the lounge of a Midtown hotel. "When an ideology is challenged, fists are tightened. There is no dialogue. So for me the answer is no ideology. You have to get away from mass emotions. That's the challenge — to get away from the herd stuff, from the crowd."

The Telegraph visits te Beatles' Liverpool and the place where Marc Bolan lost his life.

Rolling Stone interviews Shins frontman James Mercer about the band's new album, Wincing the Night Away.

A lot of people will buy this record that haven’t heard the others. Do you think this is a good record to introduce yourselves to people?

Yes. I think it’s full of good ideas. I’m thinking specifically of “A Comet Appears,” questioning the whole concept of faith and stuff. People in the States need to f*cking listen to that thing, to that sort of statement. I think it would be good for people to have thoughts like that in their heads.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune also interviews Mercer.

Q Did you feel extra pressure because you knew this record would get a lot of attention?

A Yeah, it was pressure I put mostly on myself. It's the kind of pressure you get simply because there's a great opportunity, and you don't want to drop the ball. You want to nail it. It's a great privilege to have so many people out there waiting to hear what you're going to do next.

The Daily Scotsman reviews Robert Greenfield's Rolling Stones book, Exile on Main St.: A Season in Hell With the Rolling Stones.

The sense of chaos and evil that surrounded the recording of Exile on Main Street - originally titled "Tropical Disease" - is palpable in Greenfield's thrillingly immediate, if sometimes over-ripe, prose. He displays his strengths as a reporter in stories about some of the more lunatic hangers-on. Greenfield also performs a fine service by dispelling the myth that Exile was greeted tepidly by critics - and by noting that nearly a third of the album is made up of leftovers from Let It Bleed and Sticky Fingers.

The New York Times political blog, The Caucus, lists the entrance and exit music for presidential aspirants at the Democratic National Committee's winter meeting yesterday.

Hillary Clinton
Song: “Right Here, Right Now” (Senator Clinton chose a different exit tune: “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” by Bachman Turner Overdrive)
Artist: Jesus Jones

Sample Lyric:
“Right here, right now
There is no other place I want to be
Right here, right now
Watching the world wake up from history”

From the speech:
“The Democrats are going to do all we can to hold the president accountable.”

Drowned in Sound interviews Alec Ounsworth of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.

And what are your feelings on consumers buying only a handful of tracks from an album, digitally, rather than getting a whole long-player? Listening habits do seem to be changing…

“That’s a little bit what I was getting at. Nevertheless, people have their own way of going about things, and I’ve never been one to tell people what the best way is. I just like to do otherwise. I’m pretty selective about what I listen to, and there’s a certain embrace of an album… particularly, I embrace a musician’s work. I have all of Jonathan Richman’s albums, and those by Bob Dylan and Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen… I just don’t understand those that want to download individual songs. I suppose I feel sadly amused, but y’know…”

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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