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March 23, 2007

Shorties

The Boston Globe profiles the Black Lips.

"Other people talk [trash] like, 'Ooh, you guys are rock stars now!' " says Swilley of the band's switch to Vice. "It's like if that person gets a promotion at their stupid office job, you think I'm going to be e-mailing them and saying, 'Ooh, you're a sellout now'? I make less money than them."


Parker Gispert of the Whigs talks to the Idaho Statesman about the Athens music scene.

"B-52's or R.E.M., or any of the bands, they were all fun bands," Gispert says. "The biggest thing I've learned from Athens is that whole mindset of getting up there and rocking out and having a good time."


Shannon Ravenel talks to the Durham Herald-Sun about editing Larry Brown's final novel, A Miracle of Catfish.

Hilarious and tough, painful and precise, "Miracle" explores fatherhood and the stubborn will of people and animals to survive. "This is his most heartfelt book, I think," said Brown's editor, Algonquin co-founder Shannon Ravenel. "He indulged his great love of Mississippi in this book more than any other."


Stylus lists the "top 10 solar bodies" (songs and albums with astronomical titles).


The Chicago Reader reviews SXSW performances by local artists.


Guardian readers recommend "morning songs."


The A.V. Club interviews Ted Leo.

AVC: You wrote a response last year to a statement Neil Young made about no contemporary musicians standing up and writing a great protest song. Do you think that's a relevant assertion? The world and music industry aren't the same as they were during Vietnam.

TL: I think that he's probably right, to a certain degree. But also, I can't stomach this leftover, Baby-Boomer lecturing. Honestly, they're the f*cking assholes who created the music industry. They're the shitheads who have figured out how to actually turn rebellion into money. I can't allow them to then turn around and call out the monsters that they created for being monsters. It's driving me crazy. They're still in control of everything. George Bush is one of them.


The Guardian discusses "music crushes."

The last time I truly fell for a band it was for the Mountain Goats. Two summers ago, I played The Sunset Tree, and found songs that seemed both familiar and surprising, as if I had turned over a stone in my own garden and discovered all kinds of wiggly creatures living under there.


The Guardian asks "tastemakers" which SXSW artists caught their eye this year.


Time examines webcomics.

Webcomics have been around since the late 1990s, and today there are thousands of them. The diversity of artistic styles is astonishing: anime, clip art, crude scribbles, beautiful finished drawings and everything in between. The Web also frees comics from the iron cage of the traditional strip format. "Being online, there's no reason our strip has to be three panels right next to each other," says Mike Krahulik, half of the team that produces the webcomic Penny Arcade. "It often is. But there's nothing keeping us from making full-page comic-book-style layouts. There's nothing stopping us from doing whatever we want." Webcomics aren't shackled to the grinding schedule of the daily paper either; Penny Arcade publishes three times a week. And Penny Arcade is always in color. On the Web, every day can be Sunday.


OC Weekly profiles the Tragically Hip.

The band makes complete sense as a musical institution in a country like Canada. The Hip are adored the most by the “Mr. Canada’s,” a subculture hallmarked by plaid flannel, maple leaf tattoos, and tons of “WOO-HOO”ing. My trashcan brother is a Mr. Canada. Much like the Hip, these men and their derivatives are the natural cultural product of a rebellious frontier nation that grew into a thoughtful pillar of civility. The band has always played roadhouse rock and roll, their albums melodic bangers tempered by the occasional stoic ballad about the land and about freedom.


The Scotsman examines cutting edge book design.


Decemberists frontman Colin Meloy talks to the Boston Herald.

“I think there are a lot of preconceptions about what DIY-indie rock is and what it should do that were really created out of ignorance. I think that you can create perfectly great music on a major label. It allows you an amount of comfort knowing that there’s a big machine working behind you.”

The A.V. Club also interviews Meloy.

AVC: Songwriters often start out writing a ton before slowing down later in life. Andy Partridge of XTC, for one, has said the creative process is finite.

CM: Andy Partridge said that? He of the Fuzzy Warbles? I think the reason is practical—you just don't have as much time as you used to. The first two records we did were populated entirely by songs that were written when I was working a day job and wasn't on the road five or six months out of the year. Music was a relief from day-to-day ennui. Now I have a different relationship with it—it's what I live and breathe. I'm finding I'm changing my work patterns a little bit. The Crane Wife was kind of an experiment in that sense because 80 percent of the record was written just a couple of months prior to the recording, which was a totally new thing for me. I have a feeling that that might be more how I work coming up. I'm at a very nascent point right now in the decision process for what direction this music will be taking. But I assume some time in the next eight to 10 months I'll want to carve out a chunk of time to really sit down and focus on writing songs.


The Guardian profiles Karen Dalton, "the best singer you've never heard of."

Dalton is the great lost voice of the New York's Greenwich Village folk scene in the 1960s. Hers was a voice to make the listener feel sad and lost. At times it was warm and supple, rippling over Something on Your Mind, for example; at others it was twisted and other-worldly, as when wrapped around Katie Cruel. It was a voice that earned her the tag "folk music's answer to Billie Holiday" - a comparison she loathed, but which was inevitable, Dalton's voice possessing that same welling, bluesy sadness.


Dr. Dog's Scott McMicken talks about the Beatles with JamBase.

"With the Beatles, I honestly think they are underrated" says co-founder, guitarist and singer Scott McMicken. "They've been established as great so firmly that people don't think about them enough. I'm nowhere near done being mystified by how incredible their songwriting was. I think any songwriter interested in the craft ought to be just flipping their lid about the Beatles every minute of every day."


In the Guardian, Mike Scott of the Waterboys checks out his Wikipedia entry.

I was pleasantly surprised. The entries were well-written and thorough, clearly the work of many dedicated authors and editors. There were excellent pictures I'd never seen before and broad histories of the band and myself, with intelligent reference to our musical, spiritual and literary influences.


Serena Maneesh bassist Hilma Nikolaisen talks to JamBase about the band's sound.

Hilma observes, "It's kind of hard to compare us to other bands in Norway right now because we're doing kind of a different thing." Serena Maneesh's leggy bassist has piercing, sky blue eyes, blonde hair and a face like a princess from some centuries old Norse tribe. "To make it easy, I would say that we play psychedelic rock because there is a lot of psychedelia in our music. But, I would definitely not say 'shoegazer,' which is how a lot of people describe us."


Arjan Writes guest blogs an interview with Mika at Towleroad.


Author Mark Kriegel talks to NPR's Weekend Edition about his book, Pistol: The Pete Maravich Story, and shares an excerpt from the basketball star's biography.


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