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April 29, 2007


The Chicago Sun-Times profiles Lester Bangs, and lists its favorite quotes from the legendary music critic.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram profiles the indie music hotbed of Denton, Texas.

"[Denton] reminded me, in a funny way, of Brighton here in England, which is a small, seaside town and they have ... their own thing going on," says Simon Raymonde, former Cocteau Twin and founder of London-based Bella Union Records, home to several Denton-based acts. "Everyone is playing in a load of different bands, and I liked the vibe of what everyone was doing."

All Things Feist is sharing mp3s of Feist's April 15th performance.

The Santa Cruz Sentinel reviews John Kruths biography of Townes Van Zandt, To Live's to Fly: The Ballad of the Late, Great Townes Van Zandt.

While writers like Thomas Hardy are still getting impeccably researched treatments by professional historians, mere troubadours like Townes Van Zandt get fan letters published by niche presses.

My Brightest Diamond's Shara Worden talks to the Portsmouth Herald News.

"My lyrics are stories from life but they're pictures and metaphors, which speak universally. The images sort of transport you into another place," said Worden.

Craig Bonnell of the music blog, Songs: Illinois talks to the Chicago Tribune.

"People in the know know about MP3 blogs, but still 9 out of 10 people don't know," says Bonnell, 39, a stay-at-home dad who used to work at record labels. "I'm biased, but unless they all get shut down, it's the best thing ever if you love music and you want to sample it."

Jefrey Siler (of the band Clemente), talks to Harp about his book, Left of Center: Insights on Songwriting.

His research included reading Paul Zollo’s Songwriters on Songwriting, but though Siler appreciated its inclusion of “eccentrics” like David Byrne and Lou Reed, he felt it gave too much time to writers of hits. “[It] made me think what a shame it was that folks like Robyn Hitchcock don’t have a chapter dedicated to them.”

Kathryn Yu has indie concert prints available at Imagekind.

Newsweek reviews Michael Chabon's new novel, The Yiddish Policemen's Union.

As usual, Chabon's language is incandescent, distilling sad Jewish mysticism into pulpy prose: "Night is an orange smear over Sitka, a compound of fog and the light of sodium-vapor street lamps. It has the translucence of onions cooked in chicken fat." Equal parts Chaim Potok, Dashiell Hammett and Woody Allen, "Policemen's Union" creates a new genre: hard-boiled egg noir.

Berkeley Place has named its top 25 indie albums of all time, and is also soliciting lists from its readers.

The Los Angeles Times profiles the Penguin Classics Deluxe Editions">Penguin Classics Deluxe Editions, which feature artwork by leading contemporary artists.

"I truly want the artists to go for it," Buckley says, although sometimes this manifests itself in unexpected ways. Take Daniel Clowes, creator of "Ghost World," who accepted the commission to do Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" just a few months before undergoing open-heart surgery. "I thought the work would resonate," says Clowes. "I began by reading the book very carefully and then waiting around to see which scenes stuck with me most. There were so many I could hardly choose. The descriptions of the creature are so specific — black hair and lips, yellow skin stretched taut over muscles etc. — that I was surprised at how unlike this any of the famous pop-culture versions are."

The Scotsman interviews Louise Welsh, author of The Bullet Trick.

My prediction for the star of the future is... Regi Claire. She is a fiction writer whose short stories I've just been reading. Her short stories are like novels; they have the same depth and intensity of concerns as novels. It's a hugely difficult thing to do and I really admire that ability. She has a lovely style. I think she is known among writers' circles and among people who read literary magazines but I think it is only a matter of time before she is much more widely known.

The Washington Post rounds up local celebrities' ringtones.

The Observer celebrates the "imminent demise of the CD."

Finally we can all stop fretting about the fate of the industry. Even better, we can start celebrating the imminent demise of the CD. Right now, that might sound silly. However many downloads Arctic Monkeys end up selling, 85,000 CDs flew out of the shops on Monday. Globally, downloads still account for only 10 per cent of the market. But for aesthetic reasons if nothing else, the day that the last CD gets melted into an ashtray will be a day to savour.

The Scotsman profiles fellow countrymen the Twilight Sad.

Not least of the band's attractions for the Americans has been singer James Graham's strong Scottish accent. "He sounds just like groundsman Willie from The Simpsons," noted one American fan site approvingly, if not altogether accurately. Not so long ago, received Brit music biz wisdom had it that forceful regional accents were the kiss of death on sales (the Reid twins had some sort of special dispensation) but the success of bands such as the Kaiser Chiefs and Arctic Monkeys suggests otherwise.

The Observer interviews Jarvis Cocker about the acts he chose for the Meltdown Festival this summer.

How did you make your choices?

JC Some of it is my favourite things, or things that have had a formative effect on me. At the moment I'm interested in quite loud things. Meltdown starts off with Motorhead, something people probably wouldn't associate with me. The first concert I ever played with Pulp was in Rotherham in July 1980. We didn't have many songs of our own so we covered a Motorhead cover version of a Motown song called Leaving Here.

Angry Citizen and Passion of the Weiss list their op 25 hip hop albums.

NPR excerpts from the late Roberto Bolano's novel, The Savage Detectives.

see also:

this week's CD releases


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