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March 22, 2007


The Daily Californian recounts its SXSW experience.

Going to the annual South By Southwest music festival did two things to me: one, it proved that I could subsist on nothing but Tecate and Tex-Mex food, and two, it gave me the opportunity to overdose on live music. Bouncing from bar to bar to bar, I managed to catch 55 bands in four days, running the gamut from spiky post-punk to retro, Southern-style soul revival. Within a two-block radius, hundreds of the nation’s best independent artists played as music spilled out into the Austin streets.

Tony Dekker of the Great Lake Swimmers talks to the StarPhoenix about recording the band's latest album, Ongiara.

Dekker says he remains concerned with subtlety, not with hitting people over the head. "I just found it a lot more interesting to give importance to silence, and the silent parts of the songs, just as much as it was important to make sure that each instrument had its own voice and it's own part, and could be heard." The lyrics, too, are never an afterthought.

The Reverend Horton Heat (aka Jim Heath) talks to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

"I didn't want to just try to re-create the past," said Heath. "Actually, at the beginning of RHH, we were somewhat like that, just trying to be an authentic rockabilly trio. And then, as we went, we felt that we'd kind of expand on that, [get] a little louder, try some different stuff."

The Bay Area Reporter interviews Kill Rock Stars artist Bitch about her new album, Make This, Break This.

The disc was mixed by Roma Baran, known for her work with Laurie Anderson. You play violin, as does Anderson; and the epic closing track "The Most Powerful Thing That Ever Happened In the Entire World" has an Anderson quality to it.

Laurie Anderson was always a huge figure in my life, as far as knowing that she plays violin, that she was "out there" and still having commercial success. She was clearly following a different muse than most people in the musical landscape. In some of our old Bitch and Animal press releases, we said we were "like Laurie Anderson making out with They Might Be Giants." Apparently, she's been lodged in my subconscious!

Ted Leo talks to the Georgetown Voice about writing protest music.

I’m not naive enough to think that any significant percentage of my audience is not already thinking along the same lines that I am Nor do I think that I can actually affect the “players” in the government by singing songs of protest … I just do it because I have a compulsion to, and I hope it has some positive effect in people’s lives, but I wouldn’t deign to prescribe exactly what form that should take.

The Guardian reviews the recent Bright Eyes London performance.

The Independent reviews Chuck Klosterman's latest book, Chuck Klosterman IV.

I can only think that, by presenting him as edgy, Klosterman's publishers are attempting to sell to the same crowd who worship the ground Hunter S Thompson prowled on. Klosterman's previous book Killing Yourself to Live involved a druggie road trip that had more than a bit of fear - and self-loathing - about it. But Klosterman is a far more evolved, funnier writer than Thompson. A lot of people are. Most of them, though, do not get the privilege of publishing such a messy, unfocused collection of work.

see also: Klosterman's Largehearted Boy Book Notes for the book.

In Atlanta's Creative Loafing, music blogger Leah Baker lists her top five guilty pleasure albums.

Author Ha Jin talks to Forbes about the American dream.

Penn State's Daily Collegian interviews Hold Steady keyboardist Franz Nicolay.

Q: How is playing in The Hold Steady different from your other projects?

A: I think there's a process of acclimating to a band's culture. It has its own inside jokes and rituals. I played on the first record, but I wasn't gelling with the band until the second record. I had never played piano in a straight-ahead rock band. You learn the language and then you start bringing to the language all the experience you've had in other situations.

The San Mateo Daily Journal reports on the current "golden age" of teen lit.

It’s been called the “Harry Potter effect” because so many teens were hungry for the next big book after having years of quality reading from the series. But it is also appears to be a push from markets to cater the nation’s largest pool of disposable income. Not only was Harry Potter a top book seller, it was a blockbuster movie. It’s spurring a market of books that are good enough to be tomorrow’s movies. And some of them are juicy enough to be the tales of today’s movie stars.

Drowned in Sound features MySpace artists.

see also:

this week's CD & DVD releases


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