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March 11, 2007

Shorties

The Boston Globe interviews Shins frontman James Mercer.

Q Afterwards did you feel the pressure of expectation? Was that attention a burden when you were making "Wincing the Night Away"?

A I didn't look at it that way. We ballooned into a presence in parts of society that really shouldn't even know about us, so in a way I felt like we could do some weird stuff on the new album and not have to worry about it. We don't want too many cheerleaders. And we didn't worry about taking our time. We were bloated and we were lazy.


Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock talks to the Oregonian about the addition of Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr to the band.

"All I know is that when we first started playing together, the songs came really easily. He really launched us into becoming the big, happy family we are now," he laughs. "But we didn't know how it was going to go. A lot of us hadn't played or written together in quite a while. So we had to find our sea legs; first it was just me and Johnny, then a few more people. Then things kind of got going. Quickly."


REM bassist Mike Mills talks to the San Diego Union-Tribune about the band's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

“I think it's a double-edged sword,” he said, speaking from Los Angeles. “It's always nice to be recognized, I guess. And, certainly, given the class we're going in with, it feels very nice. But there's also the danger that people perceive it as a cap on our career. And our career is nowhere ready to be capped.”

The Gainesville Times gets local Athens musicians responses.

Pylon formed in 1978, two years before the debut of R.E.M., whose members have cited Pylon as an inspiration. But, Lachowski said, R.E.M. had an advantage over Pylon.

"They were able to take advantage of more performing opportunities because they could play cover songs," said Lachowski. "Clubs back then expected you to entertain all night long and play two full sets. R.E.M. had an appealing sound and they did covers, so they made people really happy."


Author Stephen King talks to the Associated Press about his involvement in Marvel's Dark Tower comics series.

"I'm a big fan of the medium," King said of comic books. "A different way to tell stories is always exciting. It's like being a kid with a chemistry set."


The New York Times profiles the guitar heroines of indie rock, and offers downloads of tracks by Kaki King and Marnie Stern.


Recording engineer Harris Newman talks to Maisonneuve.

“For a lot of pop music lately, the goal seems to be to make it as loud as possible,” he complains. “It’s exciting, in the sense that it grabs your ear for forty-five or sixty seconds. Which is perfect if you’re making music for an MTV video. The problem is when you try to extend that approach over a 40-minute record. It’s exhausting and horrible to listen to.” Newman tells bands: “Trust me. Right now maybe you want to look like the Maxell man in the chair, with your hair blowing in the wind, but you’ll be happier in the end if you’ve left just a little bit more range and life in your record. It will stand the test of time that way.”


The San Francisco Chronicle interviews Colin Blunstone of the Zombies.

Q: Well, it sounds like you have a lot of catching up to do.

A: Being on the road now, one thing you have to do is pace yourself. There's not much partying going on.

Q: That's funny because every time they show drugged-out hippies from the '60s on TV, guess what song they play?

A: For a lot of people "Time of the Season" kind of represents that period. But it was recorded before all that happened. I don't think we were really part of the movement that it became synonymous with. It's a shame.


The Scotsman examines the state of protest music.

Dean Owens, whose new album, Whisky Hearts, is out next month, is in no doubt that we are on the brink of a new era. How could it be otherwise, says the Scottish singer-songwriter, given the perilous state of the world?

"Protest songs are having a comeback simply because there's so much to protest against nowadays," he says. "Artists who in the past might have avoided this area with their writing are now finding it hard to ignore all the injustices in the world."


In Newsweek, film director Mira Nair (who directed the film adaptation of Jhumpa Lahiri's novel, The Namesake) lists her five most important books.


BugPowder tracks the history of speech balloons in comics (from 1150 to the present).


Funky Remixes is a "free and legal music source" for original music and mashups.


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this week's CD & DVD releases

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