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May 8, 2007


Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys talks to the Toronto Star about the band's evolving sound.

"Naturally, I think, we just got a bit heavier," he says. "Like, when we'd be playing during sound checks, we got where we wanted to make a bit more racket, more noise and the riffs were a lot more fun to play. We gravitated towards being a bit more `full-on' in the songs. There was no game plan. We just sort of went in with what we had and tried to figure it out along the way."

Charlotte Mendelson, author of When We Were Bad, talks to the Guardian.

I wonder if she writes what she wants to read, and I have in mind love stories in which a girl gets her girl, or realises that girls may be a freeing possibility, but she answers, "the whole English Jewish writing thing is quite a big issue for me. English Jews read - if they want a sort of reflection of themselves - they read [Jonathan Safran Foer's] Everything is Illuminated. Or they read the latest Philip Roth. We tend to think of Jews - particularly kind of glamorous Jews, as American Jews. There aren't really, but I didn't want to write a book just for Jews, and I wouldn't read books ..." She trails off.

The Los Angeles Times reviews the Stagecoach Festival.

The Drive-By Truckers, from Athens, Ga., gave a fist-shaking performance ending with "Angels and Fuselage," a song that narrates the plane crash that decimated the Truckers' forebears, Lynyrd Skynyrd. It was epic. With fabled Muscle Shoals keyboard player Spooner Oldham sitting in, the Truckers earned the right to a title several artists vied for this weekend: rightful heirs to the legacy of 1960s pioneers the Band.

The Wall Street Journal examines contests where bands invite fans to film videos.

The labels see the contests as a significant marketing opportunity -- and an opportunity to cut costs. Epic's Mr. Stimmel said the contests are a relative bargain compared with the cost of producing a full-blown music video. He estimates the label spent about a quarter as much on the Incubus contest as it might have spent producing a video, which can cost $150,000 to $250,000. And with a traditional video, there's a risk the fans won't like it, he said. In the contests, "your fans, or your potential fans, are part of the process."

The Denver Post music critic lists a dozen of his favorite discs released since 2000.

Silversun Pickups frontman Brian Aubert tells Harp 10 things you didn't know about the band.

10) The moment when we knew things had changed for us was when we opened up with Elliott Smith in Los Angeles. We were really nervous and we cut a short set, and were about to walk off the stage when someone in the audience began yelling out some of our own song titles we hadn’t played. That’s when we knew that this was us, that this was our band. It’s like when you gain weight, you don’t really know it until someone tells you.

Grist lists nine things you should know about singer-songwriter Andrew Bird.

6. He argues with global-warming skeptics. After one fan posted a comment to his MySpace page accusing him of "buying into this whole Al Gore propaganda," Bird says he wondered how anyone could be arguing against sustainability. "It's just very shortsighted, that argument."

This Week, New York magazine's Vulture blog excerpts from Nick Bertozzi's graphic novel, The Salon.

Paste's band of the week is the Avett Brothers.

Bookslut and Nextbook review Michael Chabon's new novel, The Yiddish Policemen's Union, and the author talks to Entertainment Weekly about writing the book.

To prepare, he read and reread his favorite literary mystery writers: Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, and Ross Macdonald. ''With them, it's not about the mystery per se,'' says Chabon, his trademark longish hair still wet from his morning shower. ''I mean, I like solving puzzles as much as the next guy, but it's never the detectiveness of the book, or the mystery, that I respond to. It's the voice, the prose. Now, I do enjoy the obligation to provide a crime, clues, and red herrings, but what got me going was the sense of atmosphere, and the certain amount of pleasure that I get from putting together things that haven't typically been put together.''

Singer-songwriter Keren Ann talks to Time magazine.

Bookslut interviews Marguerite Abouet, author of the graphic novel, Aya.

Your bio mentions that you write novels that you have yet to show to your publishers. How does writing prose differ from writing comics, and what are these novels like?

It’s easier to do a graphic novel. Even if I don’t know how to draw -- I’m not an illustrator -- I have more liberty in the graphic novel. Also, the audience is broader.

Minnesota Public Radio features an in-studio performance by the Ponys.

Bookslut interviews Jackie Estrada, administrator of comics' Eisner Awards, as well as the individual judges.

Why did you agree to become an Eisner judge?

Whitney Matheson (USAToday Pop Candy blogger):
For me, becoming a judge was a no-brainer -- who wouldn't want to spend a weekend in San Diego reading and talking about comics? I knew it would be an experience I'd never forget, and, better yet, I knew it would be one that could teach me a lot about comics. I turned out to be right on both counts.

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this week's CD releases


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