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February 9, 2007


The A.V. Club lists "15 pop songs owned by movie scenes."

The A.V. Club interviews Shins frontman James Mercer.

AVC: It seems inevitable that some people have attempted to woo partners by playing "New Slang" and telling them that it will change their lives. How often do you think that actually works?

JM: I don't know. I hope it's worked quite a bit. One of the members of My Morning Jacket pulled Dave Hernandez, our guitarist, aside and said—and I think he was kind of drunk—"Man, my wife and I, we put on Oh, Inverted World, and we just get down, man." He was saying that they have sex—that's one of the records that they like to listen to when they're getting it on. That was pretty cool.

Singer-songwriter Anais Mitchell talks to the Vermont Guardian about her new album, The Brightness.

“For me, the recurring theme of the record is a kind of sweet, frustrated nostalgia. On the one hand, it’s the feeling of arriving on a scene or in a town where there was a real moment of cultural brightness, a moment which is long gone: Greenwich Village in the sixties, say, or Paris in the thirties, or Alexandria between the wars. It’s the feeling of having been born too late, trying to make one’s way among the ghosts."

The A.V. Club interviews former XTC frontman Andy Partridge.

AVC: Does songwriting get easier or tougher with experience?

AP: It's tougher, because you end up dry-retching. You don't have a lot left. I actually think the creative process is finite, and I'm wondering whether I've retched everything up. Because it's like vomiting or shitting. People ask, "Do you listen to your own stuff?" Rarely. What do you want to return to your own vomit for? You got it out to get it out. If I get really, really drunk, on the edge of passing out, I might lie on the floor and put some music on. And just before I pass out, I say, "This is f*cking great, they were brilliant, that band. I love this band." Then I'm gone. I can get over the vomity barrier if I get ludicrously drunk.

Science fiction author Terry Pratchett talks to the Age about his Discworld series.

The author says the ability to deal with important issues "via sock-puppet" killed off the need for dreary, po-faced commentary in his books. "The nice thing about Discworld is that in some respects it mirrors this world and enables you to make oblique references about this world."

The Raleigh News & Observer recommends songs for a Valentine's Day mix CD.

Get Reading has Paul Gambaccini review the five discs nominated for "best album" by the Brit Awards.

The New York Sun offers a history of the PLUG awards.

Stylus collects the best videos from MTV's "Amp."

The Times Online profiles the legendary British folk band, Pentangle.

A convert of some ten years, the Smiths’ Johnny Marr articulates the reason why so many disparate music fans wanted a piece of Pentangle. “You only had to see pictures of them back in the day to know why people like Led Zeppelin thought they were so cool,” he says. “I remember asking Bert, ‘When you were doing it, did you know that you were, like, heavy? Heavier than all those bands that were heavy?’ He nodded this thoroughly appropriate nod and passed me a biscuit — as if to say, ‘Yes, and I’m too heavy to even talk about it!’ ”

Comics Should Be Good examines early examples of comics aimed at an adult audience.

Director John Waters talks to Harp about his compilation album, A Date with John Waters.

If John Waters was after your honeybuns, wouldn’t you like to know the plan of attack? Evidently he’s a sportin’ guy because he’s laying it all out on A Date with John Waters (New Line). The compilation’s 14 songs, says Waters, are sequenced “in the order if I was trying to seduce you, and had you over to my house.”

Singer-songwriter Sondre Lerche talks to NPR's Day to Day.

"I have this idealistic and maybe naïve thought that almost any song can be anything," Lerche says. "If you record one song today, it would maybe be exciting and cool. But I could record the same song next week and it would be something completely different."

NPR recommends five songs for Valentine's Day.

Singer-songwriter Vashti Bunyan talks to the Washington Post about her two albums, released 35 years apart.

"The first album was all optimism, dreams and imagination," Bunyan says. "The second one was looking back over what had actually happened. The 'Diamond Day' songs were very much descriptive of the outside of my life and the landscape I was experiencing. The second album was more about the internal landscape. One looking forward, one looking back -- they're like bookends."

The Independent reviews the new Fall album, Reformation Post TLC (giving it 4 out of 5 stars).

The end result is probably the best Fall album since the halcyon days of This Nation's Saving Grace and Hex Enduction Hour, another worthy addition to the guy's track record.

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

Mercer is a smart guy, though. Rather than popping champagne corks, he's weighed up the numbers carefully. "What it is, I think, is that we have a large fanbase who have been waiting anxiously," he says, "and they all bought the record as soon as it came out. I expect it to decline pretty quickly - I don't think we'll be number two next week. But it's good, it's fine. Nobody expected the sales to be like this, but we aren't affected by it. Thus far, we're doing the same as we ever did." So, no concerns about waving goodbye to cult acclaim and saying hello to the big time? "I might have more perspective on that in six months' time," he laughs. "We have to get back home and see if there's people waiting on our doorsteps. I doubt it, though."

Singer-songwriter Jesse Sykes talks to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

"I sense that people now, more than ever, seem to feel apologetic about being vulnerable or having strong opinions," she said. "I notice that people don't even want to talk about war or about politics. We're pretty jaded as a culture. It's just a really strange time."

Inside Bay Area lists new "hip, sassy" books about love and dating.

Time profiles the young, hip parenting movement.

The Howl of this movement is Neal Pollack's new memoir Alternadad (Pantheon). Pollack, a novelist and erstwhile punk-rock frontman, sets out to make sure that in a world of Disney and Barney, his baby Elijah, now 5, will be cool (and thus that Dad will remain so). He home schools the boy in hipster culture, taking him to blues shows and playing him a curated collection of punk. Goodbye, Baby Mozart; hello, Baby Ramone.

JamBase profiles Spank Rock.

Erik Kang, violinist for Margot & the Nuclear So and So's, talks to the Daily Northwestern.

"We've been blessed with really loyal fans and really vocal fans," says Kang. "There are quite a few blogs that have said very favorable things about us. Everyone likes hearing good things about themselves."

Podbop lists 8 reasons "why bands/labels should offer an mp3."

Singer-songwriter Jennifer O'Connor talks to the Riverfront Times.

"Inevitably a lot of my life comes out in my writing," O'Connor explains. "The songs are the surface of how I am thinking and feeling. I do like to be detail-specific; it's more interesting that way. The trick is to not be so specific that you can't apply something of your own. The great thing about music is that it can mean anything."

Author John Banville reviews the new Martin Amis novel, House of Mirrors, in the New York Review of Books.

House of Meetings is a rich mixture, all the richer for being so determinedly compressed. In fewer than 250 taut but wonderfully allusive, powerful pages Amis has painted an impressively broad canvas, and achieved a telling depth of perspective.

Neatorama lists authors who wrote in the nude.

In my favorite blog post of the year so far, chef/author Anthony Bourdain examines the state of Food Network and its celebrity chefs.

PAULA DEEN: I’m reluctant to bash what seems to be a nice old lady. Even if her supporting cast is beginning to look like the Hills Have Eyes--and her food a True Buffet of Horrors. A recent Hawaii show was indistinguishable from an early John Waters film. And the food on a par with the last scene of Pink Flamingos. But I’d like to see her mad. Like her look-alike, Divine in the classic, “Female Trouble.“ Paula Deen on a Baltimore Killing Spree would be something to see. Let her get Rachael in a headlock--and it’s all over.

see also:

this week's CD & DVD releases


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