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May 14, 2007


The New York Daily News lists this summer's interesting books.

Popmatters examines the "rise of the informal mixtape economy."

The Lipstick of Noise is an mp3 blog featuring poetry.

BBC 6 lists the worst music lyrics ever.

Comic Geek Speak is a comics podcast.

Wired profiles First Word Records, which offers free downloadable non-DRM mp3 files with every vinyl album.

Publishing MP3s without the technology for digital-rights management was a deliberate choice. First Word cofounder Aly Gillani explains the DRM-free approach in terms that echo those of consumer advocate. "Once a customer has paid for the track they should be free to play it in any player," he says. "Making a legal, paid-for version of the file less useful than a copied or pirated one doesn't make sense."

KEXP is streaming a live performance by El-P at 3 central this afternoon.

With the Joy Division biopic opening at Cannes this week, the Independent profiles both the film and the band's career.

In the Chicago Tribune, Greg Kot laments the lack of diversity in the rosters of summer music festivals.

New Zealand's Stuff has two locals list their five favorite Kiwi albums of all time.

The Age's Screen Play blog interviews Dan Teasdale, developer of the Rock Band video game.

What are your goals for Rock Band?

Our goals with Rock Band are simple - Rock Band will allow people to experience the true joy of forming a band, playing in it, and touring as a band, no matter where they live or how talented a musician they are.

Nouvelle Vague's Marc Collin talks to the Sydney Morning Herald.

"First I got this idea to do covers of punk bands done to bossa nova 'cause I wanted to prove that those bands have written beautiful songs," Collin says, smiling. "I wanted to keep the melody and the lyrics and do something totally different, very, very minimal; only the guitar and the voice."

The Independent examines the phenomenon of Harry Potter spin-off books.

The spin-off phenomenon is by no means unique to Harry Potter - and can be educational as well as entertaining. Ms Jones said: "Success breeds imitation in literature. And if there are books abut the mythology of Harry Potter that look at, for example, the heritage behind some of the creatures in the series, such as basilisks or centaurs, then it takes the interest further for children and encourages them to look closely at what they are reading," she said.

The 2007 Coachella music downloads page was updated this weekend with mp3 downloads of the Air, Arcade Fire, and Jarvis Cocker performances, plus several lossless bittorrent downloads.

In the Chicago Sun-Times, Jim DeRogatis reviews the new Wilco album, Sky Blue Sky.

"Sky Blue Sky" takes longer to click in than any of Wilco's earlier albums, including the allegedly difficult "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" and "A Ghost Is Born." I only began to appreciate the gorgeous subtlety of the best tunes after a dozen listens, which may seem like a lot of work. But if any artist of his generation has earned the right to ask his fans' indulgence, it's Jeff Tweedy.

The San Francisco Chronicle reviews Haruki Murakami's latest novel, After Dark.

"After Dark" is a bittersweet novel that will satisfy the most demanding literary taste. It is a sort of neo-noir flick set in half-empty diners, dark streets and hotel rooms straight out of the paintings of Edward Hopper. It reminds us that while great pleasures make this life worth living, great danger threatens the fictitious stability of our lives.

BBC News profiles music photographer Mick Rock.

Rock claims one particular photograph, which featured Bowie replicating a sex act while biting Mick Ronson's guitar on stage, helped launch both their careers.

"That was helpful to both him and me because at the time it was regarded as being an outrageous image. In many ways that was the beginning of all the lunacy."

Salon reviews Don DeLillo's latest novel, Falling Man.

I wish I could say that DeLillo's new novel, "Falling Man" -- his Sept. 11 novel at last -- offers some unique insight into what happened that day. What I can say is that it's one of his best books in years, a revelation after the debacle that was "Cosmopolis" and free of the bloat that afflicted even "Underworld."

This week, Five Chapters is serializing "Birdy Joe," a new story by Adam Braver.

3:AM Magazine interviews John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats.

3:AM: Which authors or books do you think have the biggest influence on your lyrics? Are there any other writers or lyricists out there who you feel are similar to you in style?

JD: John Berryman is the big one, that merging of high and low diction, and of personal and broader themes: for twenty years I’ve been trying to hit the vein he hits. Lyrically, I think Christine Fellows and John K. Samson are both working along the same kinda be-very-emotional-but-retain-formal-constraints guidelines that I always have in the back of my head.

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