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April 20, 2007

Shorties

Singer-songwriter Ted Leo talks to the Denver Post.

Leo challenges audiences on a level most rock stars do not. He's down to earth, yes, but he's rarely passive - and that's why his overactive mind is so troubled.

"For me, it's a big question: What's the point of what I'm doing with my life?" Leo said from Los Angeles last week. "I'm making music, essentially, and ultimately anyone who's a true fan of music knows why that's important in the world."


Spoon's Britt Daniel talks to the Asbury Park Press.

"Indie rock has never meant anything that was easy to define," says the singer/songwriter/guitarist. "I guess I object a little bit to that term being used as a ghetto term. You know, "This is a rock band that really isn't doing it like a real major-label band. They're indie rock.' And I pick that sentiment up from mainstream press sometimes."


The Independent lists the ten novels shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal, which honors the best children's novel of the past 70 years.


The Seattle Post-Intelligencer profiles local singer-songwriter, Jeppa Hall, aka Goatgirl.


Wired profiles author Jonathan Lethem.

Lethem is a fan of art that comes from other art -- "collage art, cover versions, sampling" -- and in a recent essay for Harper's, he reclaimed the word "plagiarism," calling the act of appropriation central to all art. The essay concludes with three pages of sources whose ideas Lethem pilfered to write it. Plus, "Fortress of Solitude is loaded with uncleared lyrics," he says, referring to his hit 2003 novel. That's why Lethem wants to give back to the cultural commons from which he's poached so gleefully.

The Rocky Mountain News interviews Lethem.

Q: Many of your interests and hobbies have found their way into your fiction. One that has not yet is baseball. Would you ever consider writing a baseball novel?

A: I think not. For some reason it resists exactly the kind of imaginative colonization that I can bring. If I were to write a baseball novel, I'd probably get stuck writing the baseball nerd novel, I'd have to write about, you know, the Fabermatricians, which would be really boring.

I tend to write about subcultures, and probably the reason that baseball per se hasn't engaged my imagination is that it's sort of too popular and universal. It's not a subculture, everyone can respond to it.


Harp plays some songs for Fountains of Wayne frontman Adam Schlesinger and gets his reactions.

“Amsterdam,” Peter, Bjorn and John, Writer’s Block (Almost Gold, 2007).

I keep hearing about this. This is the first time I’ve heard it. I went to Saturday Night Live when Drew Barrymore hosted and she was wearing a Peter Bjorn and John t-shirt, so it seems like it’s in the air these days. It’s cool, really cool. I didn’t realize it was so lo-fi. I like that a lot.

Schlesinger also talks to the Philadelphia Inquirer about the band's hit, "Stacey's Mom."

"Chris definitely thought it was a novelty song, and there's some baggage attached with a novelty song," Schlesinger says over the phone from his Manhattan home. "And he's right. . . . [But] I have a record-company friend who says that all hits are basically novelty songs. So, I kind of agree with that. I don't think 'Stacy's Mom' is 'Bridge Over Troubled Water,' but I'm proud of the fact we had a hit."


Tim Booth of James talks to the Daily Scotsman about the band's reunion tour.

"We've just been amazed by the whole thing," says Tim Booth, the band's lead singer and chief lyricist, who is also famed for his dervish-like dancing on stage. "We were shocked at the size of the venues booked for the tour, and even more shocked when they all sold out so fast. It was a real litmus test of whether we'd just faded into history or whether the music had been doing the work while we were away - we just didn't know. And some of the best gigs we ever did were in Glasgow, so it feels great to be starting out there."


Singer-songwriter Laura Veirs talks to MSNBC about the theme of her latest album, Saltbreakers.

“Like most of my records I don’t really know what’s going on until I’ve written about 10 or 15 songs,” says Veirs. “I realized that there was a lot of salt and a lot of water, so I noticed, ‘Oh, ocean again. Salt. Sweat. Tears. I went through a breakup, I got together with someone new, and it was really hard in a lot of ways, so salt and waves were good metaphors to explore.”


The Guardian covers music remixes online.

New York electro duo Ratatat are currently swimming in online kudos thanks to their Remixes Volume 2 mixtape. Featuring unauthorised reworkings of a clutch of big-name rap tracks, the CD has been available at recent Ratatat shows, and many of its 14 tracks are now appearing on MP3 blogs. The GorillavsBear blog is offering the duo's pulsating take on Allure, actually one of the dreariest tracks from Jay-Z's Black Album. Using only the original's a cappella, they've transformed it into a sunshine strut, now featuring a verse from Biggie Smalls.


The Janesville Gazette profiles a hometown boy, Hold Steady guitarist Tad Kubler.


Steven Hall talks to the Georgia Straight about his novel, The Raw Shark Texts.

"I love books that give you space to climb inside there. And you have to run to keep up in places, and you have to fill in a lot of blanks yourself. So it almost becomes your story." This would be why the title is a play on the Rorschach test, the psychological puzzle that generates feedback from indeterminate blotches. Hall says one of his novel's purposes is to recontextualize the everyday; this is in keeping with the authors he says he loves, especially Haruki Murakami, Paul Auster, and Mark Danielewski. "I think there's a danger of becoming too familiar with things, isn't there? That you kind of, when you're used to seeing the same things every day, you see those things come what may, and you don't see maybe the interesting things just slightly out of view behind them."

see also: Hall's Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay for the novel


LAist interviews Asya of Smoosh.

You've opened for Sleater-Kinney, Death Cab for Cutie and Cat Power and all before graduating from high school. Where do you go from here?

Well, we haven't really planned anything out but we would still like to do music. We might not be in Smoosh when we are older but I want to be in a band still, probably not a huge band because I would want to have a normal life too.


Producer Joe Boyd talks to WXPN's World Cafe about his book, White Bicycles: Making Music in the 1960s.


Drowned in Sound plays "Either/Or" with the members of Wolf Eyes.


The Eisner Awards finalists were announced yesterday, and include two books featured in Largehearted Boy's Book Notes series:

Stagger Lee, by Derek McCulloch and Shepherd Hendrix (Best Reality-Based Work)
Dash Shaw, The Mother’s Mouth (Special Recognition)


IGN lists the "top ten epic songs."


Sign Iggy Pop's online birthday card.


see also:

this week's CD releases

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