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February 13, 2007


Josh Grier of Tapes 'N Tapes puts his iPod on shuffle for the A.V. Club.

The Strokes, "The Way It Is"

Josh Grier: I really like The Strokes—their first record, then their second one, too. I wasn't sold on their last one initially, but a couple of songs had really good guitar riffs, and the first song was really great. The more I listen to it, the more I like it. With the first two records, it seemed like they always had an objective in mind, and then on the last record, they wanted to just mess around and see what came out. They're a pretty amazing band. I guess we're both guitar-rock. You know, they have a lot of guitar, we have guitar. [Laughs.] It's an integral instrument.

Singer-songwriter Josh Ritter talks to the University of Alberta's Gateway.

“For me, there has to be an optimism—a sense that no matter what, you’re not going to leave people with a full-on tragedy. There’s so many fragile men with guitars out there who start the record off and it’s just bleak; it sounds like they’re stabbing a raccoon with a screwdriver. Then the record ends and you think, ‘How can all that pain be real?’ I never put much stress on the torture thing.”

The A.V. Club interviews Robert Schneider of Apples in Stereo.

AVC: There's also a lot of ELO in New Magnetic Wonder.

RS: Besides Smile, ELO's Greatest Hits was probably the number-one inspiration for this record. I listened to it constantly, and at points I actively emulated it. [Laughs.] I wanted this record to be much more slick-sounding and pop than our other records, and less indie-rock. I wanted to get more of that glassy feeling, like you were listening to Queen or The Cars or something.

Schneider also talks to Popmatters about his own brand of math rock.

The tones from Schneider’s logarithm are not all beautiful, or elegant, or ugly. He found one “particularly beautiful” chord to open the album, he says, and added two short tracks based on the scale, called “Non-Pythagorean Compositions.” A third track, a cheery piece of alien-sounding tones, was “too poppy,” Schneider says, perhaps marking the first time anything was too poppy for The Apples’ brand of sunshiny pop. It was relegated to the enhanced portion of the CD, along with videos about the scale and sample tones so listeners can create their own compositions.

The Ottawa Citizen takes a page from Seen Reading's book and lists books noticed on the city's public transportation system.

Among the books, though, there are some patterns and themes. It's clear that the novel is a thriving form, at least on Ottawa buses. Riders seem to be seeking other times, other countries, other worlds. They're looking for intrigue and romance (OK, maybe not the guy reading about fungi).

Popmatters discusses people with Music-Obsessed People’s Enterprise or MOPEs.

This group doesn’t have an official name, but due to my love for convenient acronyms (at least one part of the policy community rubbed off on me), I’ll call it the Music-Obsessed People’s Enterprise, or MOPE, for short. MOPEs are those people whose lives are controlled, for better or worse, by the music they consume. Everyone knows at least one MOPE, that person who makes mixes for every possible occasion, who sits on message boards debating the merits of ______’s latest album, who sends emails about going to shows every week, and for whom Napster and Audiogalaxy were better than (or, more accurately, ample replacements for) sex. To be clear, I’m not just describing music “snobs”, though this loud portion inevitably gives us a bad name. In my broad definition, there are jam band MOPEs, hip-hop MOPEs, jazz MOPEs, even pop MOPEs. I think there’s even a chapter of ceilidh MOPEs over in Glasgow. Not every performer is a MOPE, but many are (for DJs, it’s a prerequisite).

WXPN's World Cafe profiles Swedish popsters Peter Bjorn and John.

Songwriter Dan Wilson talks to Minnesota Public Radio about winning a Grammy for the Dixie Chicks' "Not Ready to Make Nice."

NPR's Morning Edition recommends recently published travel books.

Cracked offers a RomCom (romantic comedy) encyclopedia.

Playwright and screenwriter David Mamet talks to NPR's Talk of the Nation about his new book, Bambi Meets Godzilla, On the Nature, Purpose and Practice of the Movie Business, and shares an excerpt from the book.

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

AB: I noticed, yes, they are love songs in a way, but there’s a lot of violence in there –

JW: Don’t you think love can be violent? Basically, anytime you’re in love, it’s the scariest risk in the world, I think. One always loves the other one more. There is anger and hurt and everything. So, a date with John Waters, you know, if it goes well, all those things are possible. Especially being “Bewildered”, the last song, I think it’s the perfect way to end it – sung by Shirley & Lee, even though she sings it in the most nasal way, it’s still incredibly – I get a chill when I hear that song, even though it’s a song most people know – if you know it all – from James Brown singing it. It was one of his early hits.

The Boston Herald compares the Waters disc with Casey Kasem's The Long Distance Dedications.

Waters’ mix is everything Kasem’s isn’t. Actually it’s just as cornball, but in a gay, ironic way. Like an "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" for people with pink shag, "A Date With John Waters" blends Elton Motello and John Prine (whose duet with Iris DeMent, "In Spite of Ourselves," uses a great slant rhyme to pair the words "Sundays" and "undies") with Dean Martin, Ray Charles and Ike and Tina Turner.

CNET Asia lists its favorite mp3 blogs.

Wired's Listening Post blog theorizes that the end result of DRM-free online music may be a cheaper cost to the consumer.

Harp previews Soul Sides, Volume 2.

“That success,” Zealous tells us, “was due entirely to the impeccable taste of's host: writer, DJ and educator, Oliver Wang. With Volume One in stores, Wang and Zealous began the arduous process of pairing down over 50 tracks into the 14 that made the cut [for Volume Two]. The tedious procedure of tracking down content owners and acquiring rights took nearly a year. The end result represents not only a must have collection of rare soul, funk, and R&B, but also a milestone in new media. Volume Two is hard proof of the cultural and economic impact of the new audioblog medium.”

Daytrotter features an interview and in-studio performance from Paleo.

In the New Yorker, Sasha Frere-Jones examines the "outsized appeal" of the Arcade Fire (via).

No Love For Ned features an in-studio performance from the Curtains this week on the streaming internet radio program.

see also:

this week's CD & DVD releases


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