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May 25, 2007

Shorties

Mice Parade's Adam Pierce talks to the Washington Post.

Pierce, whose music could be described as post-rock/electronica with trance and ambient elements, says his band includes three newcomers (Caroline, along with guitarist Rob Laakso and multi-instrumentalist Josh McKay) who are "learning everything for the first time. I'm so thankful that they're there -- it makes it so much better. If I record tunes alone, it tends to be kind of stale, and I don't know what's going on; a band makes it come alive."


Gregg Gillis of Girl Talk talks to the Denver Post.

"I sample very sincerely, even though some people may interpret that I'm doing it as ironic or being corny," Gillis said. "That concerns me, the 'I' word. This is not about irony. A lot of it has nostalgic connections, which is a lot different than being ironic."


Author Evelyn McDonnell talks to Popmatters about her memoir, Mamarama.

McDonnell proposes a hopefully effective and possible solution in writing, “I’d like to reclaim momism as a growing branch of activism”, citing Cindy Sheehan as a prime example of a person motivated to political action in part through her motherhood. It could be that angry mothers will be motivated into a coherent politicized group fighting for change and the realization of suppressed rights. Such movements are beginning to coalesce, such as MomsRising, a group that’s working to move “important motherhood and family issues to the forefront of the country’s awareness, and...break the logjam that’s been holding back family-friendly legislation for decades.”

see also: McDonnell's Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay for the book.


The 2007 Morning News Editors' Awards for Online Excellence honor Said the Gramophone (Favorite Mp3 Blog, Lifetime Achievement Award) and Gorilla vs. Bear (Favorite Listening Station: Mp3 Blog of the Year).


The Mental Floss blog lists "the best lists of the best books."


Playback:stl interviews cartoonist Scott McCloud about his latest book, Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga and Graphic Novels.

PB: Even though you've been in the comics industry for over 20 years, your body of work is heavily weighted toward the educational books. Why is it that you write about making comics instead of just making comics in general?

SM: It wasn't really intentional, it's just it takes me so long to do anything.[laughs] For instance, I have a 400-page graphic novel that I'm going to work on as soon as we're done with the tour, and that's a story that I've had clearly in my mind for about 22 years. It's just it takes forever to get these things done. So I definitely feel like the pendulum has swung too far in the non-fiction direction, and it's definitely time for me to do some fiction. That's my next step.


Slate celebrated Bob Dylan's birthday yesterday with a photo gallery.


Jose Maldonado, frontman of the "world's best Hispanic tribute band," Sweet & Tender Hooligans, is interviewed by the Dallas Observer.

What is it about Morrissey that appeals so much to the Mexican-American experience?

I like the theory that because we're a passionate people and Morrissey is a passionate guy, that's why we gravitate toward him. His lyrics are so melodramatic and over the top about the feeling you're experiencing at that very moment. A lot of Spanish-speaking music is the same way. You could cry a million tears and I would swim through them to get to you, that kind of thing. Then there's the loneliness and isolation feeling that we, as Latinos growing up...Morrissey's experience growing up Irish in Northern England was probably not unlike what Latinos experience.


Sam Prekop of the Sea and Cake talks to the Chicago Reader.

"Every year," he says, "every record it seems to me to take more work to get past a certain point where it's going to stay interesting, and to feel like you've achieved something better than you did before." As he explains it, the key to enjoying making records, even after 20 years, is simple: "You have to think that you made the best record you did," he says, "or else you'll never finish." Keep going that way for long enough, it seems, and from time to time you actually will make your best record.


Lou Reed talks to the Times Online about performing his classic album Berlin live.

As Reed describes it, Berlin is “rock with the eye of a novelist”. It’s a bruising song cycle about Caroline, a promiscuous, expatriate American woman caught up in an abusive relationship with a speed freak, Jim. The album was conceived more as a theatrical production than a conventional album. “We were very serious about trying to do a movie for the mind with music,” Reed says. “It was very hard to do. We weren’t doing things in a formulaic pop format. We were being very ambitious and I suppose that’s why the work can hold an interest for people today.”


Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst talks to the New York Times about his band's all-white stagewear.

“We have a strict ‘no red wine in your clothes’ policy,” said Mr. Oberst, who wears a Prada suit. “I was going for this just-stepped-off-the-yacht sort of vibe. If Puff Daddy ever invites me to any of his parties, I’ll be totally prepared.”


Dan Boeckner of the Handsome Furs talks to the Montreal Mirror.

“We wanted to make these songs as full as possible with the least amount of equipment so it would just be the two of us, a drum machine, a keyboard and a guitar,” says Boeckner, “something we could throw in a backpack and go on tour with.”


In the Los Angeles Times, film critic Richard Schickel weighs in on what constitutes criticism.

Let me put this bluntly, in language even a busy blogger can understand: Criticism — and its humble cousin, reviewing — is not a democratic activity. It is, or should be, an elite enterprise, ideally undertaken by individuals who bring something to the party beyond their hasty, instinctive opinions of a book (or any other cultural object). It is work that requires disciplined taste, historical and theoretical knowledge and a fairly deep sense of the author's (or filmmaker's or painter's) entire body of work, among other qualities.


Minnesota Public Radio features in-studio performances by A Fine Frenzy and Electrelane.



see also:

this week's CD releases

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