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April 5, 2007

Shorties

Hutch Harris of the Thermals talks to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

"We were raised on SubPop bands, from the grunge bands to the lo-fi bands,” recalled Harris. “The Shins had just put out their first album when we were signed, so SubPop had already started its rebirth. In our press kit, we described ourselves as 'Nirvana and Mudhoney meets Sebadoh and Eric's Trip.' We were really stoked to be on SubPop. All the inspiration for our band came from SubPop bands from the past."


The Austin Chronicle examines this year's interactions between SXSW venues and fire marshals.


Robyn Hitchcock talks to the San Jose Mercury News about the documentary commissioned by the Sundance Channel, "Robyn Hitchcock: Sex, Food, Death ... and Insects."

"Maybe the documentary will help show that it's not simply about my lyrics," says the man who sang "I want to be an Anglepoise lamp" on a 1978 Soft Boys single. "I'm glad people notice I have them, but if lyrics were that important, I'd just write poems."


The Portland Mercury interviews Kara Zuaro, author of the rock and roll cookbook, I Like Food, Food Tastes Good.

Have you cooked every recipe in the book? Do you have any favorites? Least favorites?

I've prepared all of them—and there are over 100! I probably won't revisit the ramen recipes, but I'm sure there are some college kids out there who will be excited to enhance their Top Ramen as per suggested by Strung Out and NOFX. I really love the dessert chapter, it's hard to pick between Okkervil River's buttermilk pie and the Drive-By Truckers' banana pudding. Both are really delicious.


Stylus interviews Dean & Britta.

There seems to be a trajectory over the course of your career with regards to musicianship, songwriting, and even the production of your albums, can you tell me about that evolution?

Dean Wareham: My own musicianship hasn’t progressed that much since 1988, though I have become familiar with a wider palette, with different guitar sounds. I may be a different songwriter, but not a better one. The lyrics you write when you’re 25 years old may be naïve, but they are still valid. In terms of production, I’ve been lucky to get to work with Tony Visconti on the last two Dean & Britta records—certainly the best producer I’ve ever worked with.


The A.V. Club interviews Justin Broadrick Of Jesu.

AVC: Jesu started out as a solo studio project. Do you think it's matured since then?

JB: It's become a lot more realized in terms of the vision I originally had. While I was doing the first Jesu album, I knew that I wanted to shake off Godflesh. I still wanted elements of it, I guess, but I wanted to focus more on the texture and the melody.


Nick Hodgson of Kaiser Chiefs puts his iPod on shuffle for the A.V. Club.


The A.V. Club interviews author Jonathan Lethem.

AVC: You Don't Love Me Yet is set in Los Angeles, which is a change from Fortress Of Solitude and Motherless Brooklyn, both very much books about New York.

JL: Of course, I had a bunch of novels set more-or-less in California and the west before the two big Brooklyn books. There's a kind of expectation—an understandable one—that I would want to climb inside this kind of authority that I've gained with the two Brooklyn books as a kind of "Faulkner of Dean Street," and just set up shop there. You know, why would I want to throw off that special power that I seem to have derived from all of my local provenance, my street cred? But it's very inhibiting, for me anyway, to settle into any stance of bogus authority. I think it really was crucial for me to remain kind of a marginal operator in some ways. Being the laureate of Brooklyn wasn't a fate I wanted to completely settle into any more than being whatever else I've been offered: "the postmodern science-fiction writer" or "the quirky detective writer."


John Roderick of the Long Winters talks to the Riverfront Times.

"You're not gonna really get any of our songs until you listen to 'em five times, and that's maybe more of a commitment than most people are willing to put into it." Roderick says that while he may not be the poster child for the "MP3 generation," many listeners have told him that his songs appear on their iPod's shuffle mode and gradually seep into their unconscious — growing, as it were, on the brain. It would seem that what the Long Winters lack in immediacy, they make up for in longevity and connectivity.


Amiina's Hildur Ársælsdóttir talks to Seattle Weekly about the band's moving music.

"A lot of people do say they've shed some tears during our show, and sometimes they come up to us afterward crying a little bit," says Ársælsdóttir. Admitting to a general shyness, she adds that those moments still aren't all that awkward or embarrassing. "It's really great that we can touch their emotions like that. That's what music's supposed to do."


Peter of Peter Bjorn and John talks to Harp about the band's current buzz.

“Since there’s been such a lot of buzz,” says Peter, “and you’ve got the bloggers going crazy, I can kind of understand if people [hate us]. I can react like that. If a song is everywhere, you get a bit annoyed, even though you might like it.”


Members of the Postmarks talk to the Miami New Times.


Lou Barlow talks to the Nashville Scene about the Sebadoh reunion.

Scene: We happen to be talking on the day that Modest Mouse’s new CD debuted atop Billboard’s album chart. That’s a pretty handy symbol of how things in indie rock have changed since Sebadoh’s heyday.

Barlow: I know, and this is following Arcade Fire and The Shins debuting up there. Around 2000, I really felt that there was a sea change. I remember Sebadoh played a show with Modest Mouse at South by Southwest that year. When Sebadoh played, I looked out into the audience and saw all these kids just f*cking staring at us, not giving a shit who we were. And I was like, “Our scene’s gone.” There was that upheaval of music in the Pacific Northwest in the late ’90s with kids who pretty much grew up on indie rock—as opposed to us, who grew up on something like indie rock. There was something with the kids just a bit younger than us perfecting it and making it into something that was commercially viable. When Modest Mouse finally played that show, the f*cking roof blew off—the audience was so passionate about this band. So to see something like that now, it’s like, I knew—that was the change that happened seven years ago. Arcade Fire, Modest Mouse, The Shins—that’s when they started really finding their voice. And it makes sense that after years of this—of having an audience and having the means to continue to develop—that they would become the R.E.M.s of their time.


Status Ain't Hood lists the year's best albums so far.


Tracy Denean Sharpley-Whiting, author of Pimps Up, Ho’s Down: Hip Hop’s Hold on Young Black Women, talks to the Nashville Scene.

Speaking in her office at Vanderbilt, where she is a professor of French and director of the Department of African American and Diaspora Studies, Sharpley-Whiting is quick to say that she grew up listening to Public Enemy and still has a certain fondness for Snoop Dog and Tupac. “I love The Chronic,” she says. “I think Dr. Dre is a genius.” These are surprising words from a feminist scholar. Dr. Dre’s The Chronic (1992) is a classic gangsta rap recording, including tracks with titles like “Bitches Ain’t Shit.” But Sharpley-Whiting wants to make it clear that her book is not an anti-rap screed. “I don’t beat up on hip-hop culture,” she says. “There are some aspects of hip-hop that make me absolutely proud.”


The Seattle Post-Intelligencer explores the lineup fornthis year's Bumbershoot Festival.


Seattle Weekly takes music suggestion software iLike for a spin.


The Vagrant Cafe community lists "must have" graphic novels.


TV Squad lists the "18 best tv drinkeries."


The AskMetafilter community suggests "pure, perfect pop music for the early 90's popkid in all of us."


Pop Songs 07 is Matthew Perpetua of Fluxblog's music blog devoted to REM songs.


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this week's CD releases

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