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April 6, 2007


Long Winters frontman John Roderick talks songwriting with the Salt Lake Tribune.

"I try to encode a lot of the darkness underneath the 'happy' song. Hopefully with further digging you can find the hope underneath the dark," Roderick said. "I try very hard not to write any song that doesn't have any redemptive quality. A lot of the bitterness, or the wry 'knowingness' of the songs, somewhere in there is also the twinkle in the eye that is meant to be uplifting."

JamBase profiles the Mother Hips.

Their early press repeatedly likened them to Buffalo Springfield. Bluhm snorts, "I wish we'd sounded like Buffalo Springfield! I wish we did but the fact remains that we just didn't [laughs]. It's so fun to try and sound like something you really like. Maybe we've indulged in that a little too much for some people's liking but look at fiction. That kind of thing is happening constantly, quoting someone or using their style, like Frank Norris used Emile Zola. In the end, it's only rock 'n' roll. Big deal. How far can you go away from it and still have it be rock 'n' roll? If you go somewhere like Brian Eno it's cool but it's no longer rock. We're a rock 'n' roll band. We never pretended like we weren't and always will be."

Inara George and Greg Kurstin of the Bird and the Bee talk to the Boston Globe.

"We were sort of thinking that we were writing pop songs," George tentatively suggests. "It started out as a really fun experiment, and then we kept with the tone of that, and then it continued on into the full record." Kurstin sees the collision of light and dark as essential to the Bird and the Bee. "I like when lyrically something goes one way to maybe offset it musically. I don't know -- if something starts to get really happy, I instinctually want to hear something darker in there."

The Christian Science Monitor examines venerable private libraries.

At the Redwood Library and Athenaeum in Newport, R.I., ($70 per year), the country's oldest lending library, founded in 1747, it's not unusual for a librarian to call a member and offer to hold a new book that might be of interest. "We make a point to smile and greet people when they come in, to know what their preferences are," says executive director Cheryl Helms.

Status Ain't Hood lists the year's best singles (so far).

Stylus lists the top ten singles downloaded from Scour in the early days of online filesharing.

Author Kate DiCamillo talks to Minnesota Public Radio about being inspired to write by Anne Tyler's novel, The Accidental Tourist.

Chuck Pahlaniuk has updated the dates for his upcoming book tour. (via)

Gorilla vs. Bear has an insightful interview with singer-songwriter John Vanderslice.

Q: Are "consumer journalists" in this modern era of media and communications as knowledgeable as traditional critics? How does one's knowledge play into the big picture? Do we live in a wiki-world where an author's resume, or expertise, no longer matters?

A: YES! The reason people go to blogs is that they get to know the individual voice of the writer, and they respect that person's aesthetic leanings.

I'm not sure if an author's resume matters, they earn credibility by being good. I don't know anything about Dodge at My Old Kentucky Blog, other than that he lives in Indiana. That's it! But I love his site, and I listen to what he writes about. Same with David Gutowski. Same with Ryan at Catbirdseat.

We all know that some of the traditional print critics have been pushed around by their employers. Who's gonna push around a blogger? Without freedom, art is DOA!

Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes talks to the Omaha Reader.

“I have a higher opinion of musicians who are ‘entertainers.’ I used to hate that word. People think it’s degrading in some way, but who doesn’t want to be entertained? People want to see the band finish their set. We used to go around the country being wasted or in a bad mood or with equipment that didn’t work or variables that made for a bad show. Now I want to sound really f**king good. You can have so much more of an impact by putting on a good show.”

Athens, Georgia's AthFest has announced headliners for the June music event: Perpetual Groove (Friday), The Whigs (Saturday), and The Drive-By Truckers (Sunday).

Colin Meloy of the Decemberists talks to the Tampa Tribune.

"A lot of the stuff that I was listening to when we were doing our first couple of records led me to a lot more folk music, and I've been exploring a lot of British folk revival artists of the '50s, '60s and '70s," Meloy says. "I think that has pushed me more in borrowing from the folk tradition and by its nature I end up writing more narrative things."

In the Guardian, Fiona Campbell lists the top ten books set in Japan.

Drowned in Sound profiles the indie music label, Bella Union.

NPR is streaming Iggy & the Stooges' Washington performance from last night.

Something I thought I'd never see: a ukelele cover of the Mountain Goats' "No Children."

see also:

this week's CD releases


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