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April 18, 2007


The Houston Chronicle interviews Bill Callahan.

Q: Does your writing process vary much? Night versus day? Cocktail napkin versus at a desk? In the car versus in a sunny park?

A: I used to write in my parked car when I lived in a noisy apartment. My most recent memories of songwriting are in my living room. I long since gave up that jotting-on-a-cocktail-napkin thing when I graduated into the school of thought that if something is good then it will stick in your memory. And if it's lost, it's no big thing, because there are endless songs to write. If you use your guitar or piano while you write, you kind of have to do it at home. You don't want to be one of those melvins that takes a guitar to the park.

Tom McCarthy, author of The Remainder, puts his iPod on shuffle for the A.V. Club.

The Fall, "W.B."

Tom McCarthy: I assume the title is a reference to W.B. Yeats, because The Fall are super-literary. Mark E. Smith was basically this working-class boy from Manchester who never had much formal education, but sort of came across Modernist literature in a drug-addled haze and really loved it. I've seen The Fall quite a few times. I mean, I don't go see that many bands, but one band I always go and see when they're in town is The Fall. Mark E. Smith is like the original classical figure of the poet—he's like Orpheus, you know, who's just halfway dead. He's got one foot in the underworld. He's just picking up some transmission on the threshold between sense and complete nonsense that might contain all these incredible words of wisdom, or might just be complete garbled rubbish. But you know, in Greek plays they have seers and oracles who always talk in riddles. I always get the impression that Mark Smith is like an oracle.

Cracked lists the 15 most outrageous claims in pop music history.

Illustrator Marisa Acocella Marchetto talks to the Edmonton Journal about her graphic novel, Cancer Vixen: A True Story.

"I was practising the law of distraction," she said. "I really wanted to work through it and focus on being positive and not let the cancer thing destroy me. I wanted to be a creator."

Cocorosie's Siera Casady talks to Harp.

What to make of CocoRosie’s musical dreams depends on your own vision as much as the sisters’. “We really try to give listeners enough space to have very individual experiences with the record,” Sierra says. “I don’t think there are any wrong answers.”

Alan Goldsher talks to Newcity Chicago about his book, Modest Mouse: A Pretty Good Read.

Goldsher had already signed the contract to do the book before he realized the band wasn't going to cooperate, so he went ahead and did it anyway. An admitted Mouse fan, Goldsher says he has no regrets on writing the book and is proud of it, but "since Isaac has threatened to kill me, I'm a little less psyched about the band and the project."

Reuters Life! interviews singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams.

Q: I hear you've been working with Bob Dylan on a Hank Williams project.

A: "Apparently these Hank Williams lyrics were discovered, and (Dylan) came up with the idea of having different songwriters finish the songs. I already did mine and recorded it, an acoustic solo. It's a real honor."

Toronto's Eye Weekly profiles the Postmarks.

A Guardian op-ed piece defends literary awards.

What gets read should not be determined solely by the size of publishers' promotion budgets or the muscle of bookshop chains. Literary awards are a vital, and equalising, means of alerting readers to rewarding books.

Hype Radio, a new feature of music blog aggregator The Hype Machine, is live.

Wilco guitarist Nels Cline talks to the Age about author Kurt Vonnegut.

"I loved his recent book A Man without a Country — it said so many things that I feel," says Wilco guitarist Nels Cline, in Australia on the eve of the band's hugely anticipated tour this week.

"It had a rather defeatist feel about it, which expresses the tragic feeling that one couldn't help but feel in our country at the moment. He is one of the geniuses of our culture and he will be dearly missed."

Author Jonathan Lethem tells Wired that he yearns to be portrayed in slash fiction.

I met up with Jonathan Lethem last week to talk about the joys of living outside copyright laws, and the award-winning nerd novelist revealed that he'd love to be in a slash fiction story. Whom would he want to be paired with? "I want to be surprised! I want to see ones I wouldn't think of!" he enthused, eyes wide with anticipation -- or possibly fear. Lethem believes he's been "slashed" only once, paired with fellow geek novelist Michael Chabon in a "sublimated homoerotic comic by Patricia Storms that was just an inch away from being Kirk and Spock."

Seattlest interviews Lethem.

As an artist, how do you reconcile that with a culture that’s so dogged about ownership?

It’s irritating. It’s a problem. But another mistake is to be a purist, to try to offer some other legal philosophy that would be more ideal, that would exactly describe the reality of the life of artists and their audiences, and their relationship to cultural production. And it’s probably not the case; laws are a really evil and imperfect attempt to describe and account for what goes on, and how we would prefer it to go on. Art is impossibly rich and contradictory, and you can only understand it on a case-by-case basis.

B.O.O.T.L.E.G.S. offers a variety of live shows as mp3 downloads.

Singer-songwriter Noah Georgeson talks to Harp.

Ask Noah Georgeson what inspires him, and the musical savant says that his life is inextricably linked to music: “I’ve integrated it into part of my daily life. It can be a reaction to anything, like a meal I’ve had or a conversation; it’s a reaction to the stimulus of the world.”

The AskMetafilter community recommends women comic book authors.

In Harp, singer-songwriter Richard Swift shares his best and worst experiences about working at Kentucky Fried Chicken.

In Boston's Phoenix, Douglas Wolk reviews Rick Veitch's new comic book, Army@Love.

Veitch’s new comic book is the blackest satire the American war in the Middle East has yet produced. Army@Love is set in the near future, when the US military, desperate for troops to fight in its endless war in “Afbaghistan,” has called on middle managers from globalization-friendly companies to rebrand the war as a thrilling, sexy experience for young adrenaline junkies: “spring break on steroids.”

Brooklynvegan features an interview with Bjork.

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