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February 14, 2007


The Wall Street Journal debuts its Face the Music online column with an article that compares the Shins and Nirvana.

Nirvana faced some of the same kinds of questions when they released their third studio album, "In Utero," in 1993. Nirvana's 1989 debut album, "Bleach," was an underground hit for Sub Pop, and the cries of "sell out!" from fans and critics began around its release, and only got louder as the band's popularity grew. Nirvana's second CD, "Nevermind," was a No. 1 smash that elbowed aside Michael Jackson on its rush to the top of the charts. By the time Nirvana came out with its third album, singer-guitarist Kurt Cobain, bassist Krist Novoselic and drummer Dave Grohl faced a deluge of criticism for courting mainstream stardom -- attacks that only subsided after Mr. Cobain's 1994 suicide.

The Toledo Blade offers a quick guide to noise rock.

Newcity Chicago profiles local record label, Flameshovel Records.

CNN examines the lasting appeal of music on vinyl.

Singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams talks to Boston's Phoenix about recording her new album, West.

“I definitely have a little of obsessive compulsive disorder,” she says with a warm laugh. “I think a lot of people who do what I do have neurotic tendencies. But I think you learn to accept that at a certain point that’s okay. And I think there are positive aspects to being a perfectionist. But I’m not really a perfectionist. I mean, if I really were, I’d have to have my nails done perfectly all the time. What I have is that obsessive compulsive thing when it comes to my music. I worry a lot. I’d get insecure and labor over things in the studio and get neurotic about all kinds of little things.”

Popmatters reviews Marc Woodworth's 33 1/3 book on the seminal Guided By Voices album, Bee Thousand.

One of the charming conceits of the 33 1/3 series is that the books are frequently intensely personal responses to an album, and so they are nostalgic, not just for an album but also for the critic’s own youth. Bee Thousand opens with a poetic excursus that seems to evoke all of these feelings: you’re left “with a pang of longing but also oddly pleased,” “you’ve got to build the playground in your head because you’ve got to build the playground in your head because you can’t play on the real playground anymore—rust has eaten through the elephant slide and the monkey bars’ thinning aluminum is too cold to grip, not to mention that you’re not allowed to go in there anymore, old man”.

Singer-songwriter Jesse Sykes talks to Newcity Chicago.

"I never consciously write hopeful or dark [songs]," Sykes says. "It's a state of being. I think the pure essence of what I am as a human is a hopeful, loving person. I have a lot of faith--not religious, just faith. Even though I do suffer from a dark side--like the best of us--I think it's a very tenderhearted record. I want people to feel embraced by it, that it's wrapping arms around them in some way."

Greg Anderson of Sunn O))) talks to the New York Sun about his musical influences.

"I'm really inspired by the aesthetic and spirit of jazz, like Miles Davis in the late '60s and early '70s," said the guitarist Greg Anderson, who forms Sunn O))), the leading exponent of underground metal, along with fellow guitarist Stephen O'Malley. "I love the freedom of that music, the concept of pushing boundaries."

Vetiver founder Andy Cabic talks to JamBase.

The band hails from a geographic region that is known for pushing the boundaries of cultural experimentation while remaining socially conscious. Cabic observes, "California, as a whole, is one of my favorite places in the whole world. I am not sure I could pinpoint what it is you feel when you are out here but there definitely is a feel and vibe to Northern California."

NPR's Fresh Air interviews comic artists Aline Kominsky Crumb and Robert Crumb.

Popmatters interviews director John Waters about his compilation album, A Date with John Waters.

You mentioned this isn’t a Valentine’s Day album per se, but it’s a tie-in to Valentine’s Day, which is such a dreadful day for so many people.

I like Valentine’s Day. You don’t really have to do anything. Do you think there are people who are depressed because they didn’t get a Valentine’s? I mean, I don’t get many. I get some from fans, my mother sends me one, usually family. My friend Pat Moran sends me one, and every once in a while, a couple of my “friends with benefits” have sent me one.

Author Eric Klinenberg talks to NPR's News & Notes about his book, Fighting for Air: The Battle to Control America's Media.

Artist Simone Lia talks to the Guardian about her bew graphic novel, Fluffy.

"What I want to do with my work is to be really, really honest and tell the truth in pictures," she says, tapping her kitchen table with the palm of her hand. "So sometimes characters will say things that are a bit ugly, not what you want them to say, they'll take on their own life. I've discovered lately that if you just go to Sainsbury's or you're vacuuming and you're thinking about a character, it's like having another world in your head. I love going on the bus as well and just listening to people's conversations. And it ends up in a drawing. Some of the things that Fluffy comes out with, it surprises me. He'll do something and it'll make me laugh because I wasn't expecting it."

WXPN's World Cafe profiles Paul Weller.

NPR's Day to Day lists a selection of breakup songs.

The Independent examines the state of the music industry by answering several key questions.

SwapSimple is a site that allows users to trade books, CDs, DVDs, and video games (with no fees).

The Publishing Triangle lists the 100 best lesbian and gay novels.

Fanpop is a social networking service built around fandom.

Nerve lists 20 comics that can change your life.

T-shirt of the day: "Books Are Good for You"

The trailer for Silver Jew, a documentary chronicling David Berman & company's tour of the Middle East in 2006, is online.

Pop Candy has set up a streaming radio station of love songs for Valentine's Day. Check out Pop Candy and its readers' favorite post-1985 love songs.

see also:

this week's CD & DVD releases


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