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April 27, 2007

Shorties

Shins frontman James Mercer talks to the Parasmus Post.

"It seems like there's always going to be people working hard to make a living off music," he said. "But I like that the right people are making money. Sub Pop is having a banner year, while Capitol Records is struggling. I think it's kind of cool. Not that I have anything against Capitol, but I always like an underdog story."


Ted Leo talks to the Chicago Sun-Times about being stereotyped as a political songwriter.

Leo grants that he sometimes feels typecast as a political songwriter. "But the whole thing is 'damned if you do, damned if you don't.' People want to talk about the more political songs because there's more to talk about, and that's an interesting entree for them into the album. Some people will complain that there's too much political stuff, and others will chide me for not being political enough -- for putting a song like 'Colleen' on there. At the end of the day, I guess there are worse things than having people time and time again refer to me as 'the political guy' or 'a political singer-songwriter.' People are going to box you in no matter what, and there are worse ways I could be boxed."


Bishop Allen's Justin Rice and Christian Rudder talk to the Harvard Crimson.

“The kind of music that we make isn’t about virtuosity. It’s about connection and part of being connected to the music is that it has to be ours it has to be something that we make because we want to and we make it the way that we want to make it.”


The Guardian's books blog examines the branding of author Ian McEwan.


Harp interviews Deerhoof guitarist John Dieterich.

Pop band or noise rock?

It’s not like there is some reference chart that everybody can go to and say “This is what noise is” and “This is what pop is.” A lot of times people will say: “Wow, I can’t believe Deerhoof has finally sold out, this is the end of Deerhoof doing experimental music.” And then somebody else will be like: “Wow, I can’t believe Deerhoof have finally gotten rid of all their pop and now they’re just noise.” And they are talking about the same song.


Yako of Melt Banana explains the band's DIY work ethic to the Japan Times.

"We have a friend called Mike Watt of a band called Minutemen who plays bass for Iggy Pop and he also has his own bands," says Agata. "He's in his 60s (actually, on Wikipedia he's just 49). When he's touring with Iggy, I don't think he's driving or carrying T-shirts, but when he tours by himself he's doing the same things that we do in the U.S."

"For us that is really normal. We are not as old as him but when we are then we can do the same thing. If he does it and other people do it, then we can do it until the day we die," says Yako.


Bjork talks to the Guardian about the differences between her and Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons.

"Music for me is like fact. Totally like algebra. And he's the total opposite, Antony. He's kind of more esoteric and feeling his ancestors singing through him - it's more about humans. For me, it's not about humans. In a weird way it's about maths and physics."


The Guardian lists ways musical artists can "change the dynamic of the rock gig."


The Independent profiles Denmark's Kissaway Trail.

The Kissaway Trail may have been touched by tragedy, but they make a joyful sound that has drawn comparisons in their freewheeling musical approach (and high-pitched vocals) to The Flaming Lips, in their euphoric harmonies to The Polyphonic Spree, and in their melodic sensibility to Snow Patrol.


Singer-songwriter Lisa Germano talks to the St. Petersburg Times.

“My songs are kind of quiet. They’re quiet but they’re a little twisted, so you have to listen to them, or else they’re going to sound kind of boring,” says Lisa Germano, the acclaimed U.S. vocalist and musician who performs in the city this week.


Placebo's Brian Molko talks to the Santa Barbara Independent about playing the Coachella music festival.

“It seems like an American Glastonbury,” came the sleepy British-accented voice over the phone, referring to the largest annual music festival in the world, held in Pilton, England. Recently awakened from a nap, the singer’s voice stretched and yawned, as if in defiance of the excitement surrounding Coachella. “Of course we’re excited to be playing. The only thing missing from the lineup is David Hasselhoff, right?”


Chicagoist reviews the indie rock cookbook, I Like Food, Food Tastes Good.

While some of the recipes seem typically cheap, fast and potentially gut-wrenching (see Devendra Banhart's Africanas Ricas, consisting of bananas, graham crackers, eggs and sour cream, or Death Cab for Cutie's veggie sausage and peanut butter sandwich), others offer up semi-gourmet dishes, such as Camera Obscura and their Vegetarian Paella.


Byron Williams eulogizes author David Halberstam in the Huffington Post.


The Marquette Tribune lists the "top 10 books to read in a hammock this summer."


Guardian readers recommend songs written about other musicians.


DCist reviews last night's John Vanderslice performance.

The man with the coolest name in contemporary rock music drew the largest crowd we’ve ever seen at the Rock and Roll Hotel last night. Keep in mind that it was a Wednesday. John Vanderslice also completely demolished the "fourth wall" between the audience and the stage, handing out Mrs. Field’s cookies, inviting a gaggle of fans to the stage for a sing-along of "me and my 424," and descending from the stage to play his final song surrounded by the audience, almost a cappella and with the lights turned low, spooky-seance-style.

Vanderslice also talks to South Carolina's the State.

Sultry lyrics aren’t what you’d expect from “the nicest guy in indie rock,” a label Vanderslice doesn’t wear like a badge.

“I think it’s sad because I’m a completely normal person,” he said. “I’m very straightforward. I don’t believe in a hierarchy in music.”


Peter Bjorn and John's Bjorn Yttling talks to the Washington Post about the Swedish band's success (and subsequent backlash).

But what the blog giveth, the blog liketh to take away. Hence Stop Peter Bjorn and John ( http://www.stoppeterbjornandjohn.blogspot.com), a site for folks (young and otherwise) sick to death of that "whistling song" and eager "to stop the band . . . from getting any more popular than they already are." According to founding blogger the Wrong Folks, "if blogs can start an indie rock band, there is no reason why we cannot use the same methods to stop one."

The blog began March 7 . . . and closed shop March 16.

"That was one of the best blogs I ever read," Yttling says, "but it stopped too early."

Gothamist interviews Peter.

Who would be in your ultimate music supergroup, your all-star Olympic team of rock?

David Byrne maybe... Brian Eno, John Cale, the bassist and drummer from Costello's Attractions, Elvis Presley, Smokey Robinson, John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Richard Thompson, Jari Happalainen, Yo La Tengo....ah no wait. This is stupid. Too white, male and old. Makes me look boring. Which I might be. Bjorn and John and me. That'll do!


Barsuk Records has repressed (on blue vinyl) the Death Cab for Cutie album, Something About Airplanes.


The L Magazine lists its 2007 class of 8 NYC bands "you need to hear."


Straight Bangin' lists its top 25 hip hop albums of all time, and is soliciting lists from readers as well..


Drowned in Sound previews weekend one of All Tomorrow's Parties, curated by the Dirty Three.


NPR is streaming last night's Washington performance by Ireland's Frames.


Drowned in Sound interviews Conor Oberst.

Talking of side projects... we hear the new Desaparecidos (as whom Conor has released an incredible Pinkerton-esque album, Read Music, Speak Spanish, with Denver Dalley aka Statistics) record is just waiting for your vocals?

“It's not quite like that. We did start working on the record… erm… and then we sorta stopped. I dunno, it's strange… That was a special time and everything sorta aligned and we were all really into it. I think we made a record that was perfect for that time, for all of us, and was this spontaneous thing. I guess now it's a little bit like if it doesn't happen like that again, I'd rather it didn't happen. There's no immediate plans, let's leave it at that.”



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this week's CD releases

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