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February 23, 2007

Shorties

The Philadelphia Daily News explores the local tribute band scene.

"It's gone legitimate," said Frank Kielb, a Broomall-based talent agent who represents about a dozen tribute acts. His biggest include the locally based "Beatlemania Now" and red-hot Led Zeppelin tribute band Get The Led Out, plus a Journey cover band, Separate Ways, "that's almost more popular than the group officially traveling under that name, because our lead singer sounds a lot more like [original singer] Steve Perry than the guy currently filling that role."


Robert Schneider of the Apples in Stereo talks to the Chicago Sun-Times about the band's new album, New Magnetic Wonder.

"I've written a lot of songs these last five years -- I've probably written more songs than in my entire life combined! -- so I was able to be much more selective," Schneider says in his boyishly enthusiastic way. "Because I had such a large pool of songs, I was really able to look over them and say, 'These are really strong; these are really hooky, but not strong enough to be on my record.'


The Cincinnati Enquirer interviews singer-songwriter Richard Thompson.

Q: How does it make you feel when Elvis Costello calls you "the greatest songwriter Britain has ever produced"?

A: It makes me feel confused. I'm not that. Elvis could be, or maybe Ewan MacColl. It just goes right over my head.


Singer-songwriter Annie Clark talks to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The influential Dallas-based music blog Gorilla vs. Bear rhapsodized last year, "I've been telling anyone that will listen about the inimitable Annie Clark."

"It's beyond flattering to have industry interest, but I hate this word buzz. It's so horrible. But I'm happy for it," says Clark, 24, who plays the Granada Theater in Dallas on Saturday night with another feted area indie band, Denton's Midlake.


The New Hampshire lists "albums you (probably) missed in 2006."


The Morning News lists the top ten albums of 1980.


Minnesota Public Radio interviews singer-songwriter Rickie Lee Jones.


Cracked makes its Oscar predictions.


Singer and songwriting legend Lee Hazlewood talks to Harp.

I loved producing and writing. Releasing records? I only did that for the publishing. And then because of a silly thing that happened with Nancy (Sinatra) I had to start singing. I didn’t want to. But I taught singers what I wanted – with my bad guitar playing and my bad singing. What happened with Nancy came from absolute greed. We put out a new record with her every three months. There were enough hits to go around. But I really wanted to do boy/girl records with her. Now Reprise had plenty of guys. She said “I don’t like them.” She liked me, my old scratched-up whiskey voice. So I told her (adopting a fatherly tone), “OK, we’ll do one with me each album.” That was the start of my gigantic singing career. She knew what she wanted. She’s smart.


WXPN's World Cafe explores the birth of hip hop with rapper Kurtis Blow, DJ Grand Wizard Theodore, and museum curator Jim Fricke.


A Guardian reporter visits indie darlings Midlake in its Denton, Texas hometown.

As Gomez whips up a mean guacamole, Paul Alexander, Midlake's flinty-eyed bassist, drinks a beer and talks about the band's jazz backgrounds. "To play jazz properly, you've got to immerse yourself in it. I used to listen to jazz two or three times a day, and for hours. Now I listen to it two or three times a year." So what happened? "Studying jazz just becomes pointless after a while. Nothing really extraordinary, to me anyway, has been made in jazz since the 70s, and realising that became a huge point of frustration."


The A.V. Club's Crosstalk topic this week is "Is Hip-hop Relevant To Middle-Aged White Guys?"


The Other Paper of Columbus examines the effects of digital downloads on local independent record stores.


BBC News reports that Morrissey will not have an entry in the 2007 Eurovision song contest.


Author Tracy Chevalier discusses her new novel, Burning Bright, with the Independent.

With Chevalier's latest venture Burning Bright (HarperCollins, £15), whose characters include the poet and artist William Blake, the available information proved almost overwhelming. "I spent a whole year just researching," explains Chevalier, sitting in a London hotel bar eating a sandwich. "Everybody writes about Blake. It took me a long time to wade through enough to realize that none of this was helping me at all."


Singer-songwriter Rachael Yamagata talks to Billboard about her new album, Wild Hope.

Whereas "Happenstance" was much more piano-based, the forthcoming release finds Yamagata exploring new ground. "It's definitely an evolution from where I was before," she explains. "Half of it is some sort of 'Pulp Fiction'/Led Zeppelin rock creation. It's more in-your-face."


The Guardian wonders who is Britain's greatest living author, and gets nominations from poets and critics.

JG Ballard
Novelist

This is one of those questions that makes one suspect we are in the trough of the literary wave. It is not a great time for writing in the English language. The last literary classic was Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, and that was published in the early 60s. That is the only novel in English that I can imagine surviving until the middle of this century.


Rolling Stone celebrates the final episode of "The O.C." with a "best of" music compilation.


The Independent reviews Steven Hall's novel, The Raw Shark Texts.

The Raw Shark Texts is, for once, a novel that genuinely isn't like anything you have ever read before, and could be as big an inspiration to the next generation of writers as Auster and Murakami have been to Hall.

Look for Hall's contribution to the Largehearted Boy Book Notes series soon.


Drowned in Sound has started a label focus series, beginning with its own Drowned in Sound Recordings and Fierce Panda.


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this week's CD & DVD releases

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