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June 27, 2007


The 2007 Bonnaroo downloads page has been updated with lossless bittorrent downloads of the Galactic, Lewis Black, and Black Keys performances.

The A.V. Club interviews Paul McCartney.

AVC: It seems like you just keep getting sunnier as you get older. When you were 23, you were writing about longing for yesterday, and Eleanor Rigby being buried alone in a church graveyard. Aren't you supposed to be darker now?

PM: Well, y'know, it's not unusual for writers to address those kind of subjects. It's also not unusual for writers to look backward. Because that's your pool of resources. If you were to write something now, I bet there's a pretty good chance you'd call on your teenage years, your experiences then, stuff you learned then. You're gonna write about girls, for instance, I bet you'd call up memories of then. Because that's a very rich period. So I think that's all it is, really. "Eleanor Rigby," I was looking at lonely old women, of which I'd seen a lot of in my childhood in Liverpool. And I was kind of friendly with a few. I don't know what it was. Maybe my parents had kind of encouraged me.

The A.V. Club interviews singer-songwriter Nick Lowe.

AVC: You were one of the first people to go into the studio with The Damned and Elvis Costello and The Pretenders and a lot of other now-legendary musicians. Back then, who would you say was the most exciting act that you saw?

NL: Well The Damned were really good, and Elvis was Elvis. Ian Dury and The Blockheads were really, really great. You know, the actual punk music, I didn't care for at all. I thought it was all rubbish, really. It was the attitude, the way that things were being shaken up, that excited me more. I still liked people who were good, you know? Who could actually play. Even though The Damned were a punk group, they played great. As did Elvis, and as did Ian. They were the ones who interested me. Not some of those daft punkers, especially the ones who had people who were actually pretty good musicians sort of pretending to play badly. That was just so stupid, and missed the point completely, I thought. So it was the people who were true to themselves, I think, that were the exciting ones.

Kele Okereke of Bloc Party puts his iPod on shuffle for the A.V. Club.

Ian Williams of Battles talks to the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

There's plenty of firepower here, though Mirrored doesn't sound like the work of a typical, ego-fueled supergroup. Reflecting on the ensemble's beginnings in 2003, Williams relates, "It was about starting from scratch rather than having it be the guy from Helmet doing what he's supposed to do and the guy from Don Cab doing what he's supposed to do and so on." Battles' music is certainly cohesive, to the point of being migraine inducing. Williams is on the road between shows in Charlotte, NC, and Atlanta when we talk, and he sounds a bit mystified that some people still view Battles as a side project. "The reality is this band has taken up all of our time these past few years."

SF Weekly examines the threat of "dark payola" (direct licensing of music to online radio).

The increased royalties set by the Copyright Royalty Board on March 2 came with a distinct catch. Webcasters are free to ink direct licensing deals with labels for a lower rate than the one set by the board. Direct licensing allows major labels to apply economic pressure to Webcasters who were formerly concerned with playing the best music.

The Slashdot community discusses the future of music on CDs.

The Millions lists its most anticipated books for the rest of 2007.

Willy Vlautin, frontman for Richmond Fontaine, talks to SF Weekly about his debut novel, The Motel Life.

California — and San Francisco specifically — have always been destinations for people hell-bent on reinventing their lives. But the myth of the West Coast adventure comes to a heavy halt under Vlautin's pen. Whether in song or in print, the furthest Vlautin's men can move is in circles, shackled to their dysfunctions and their meager paychecks. "I've always been interested in how people can fight themselves to the point of making themselves immobile," says Vlautin. "I've been like that, obviously, and that's why I write about that so much. It helps me figure that out as well."

The Minneapolis City Pages profiles Ike Reilly, frontman for the Ike Reilly Assassination.

A lot of critics have called Reilly a political songwriter, citing anti-establishment themes in his music and a tendency to root for the little guy. But though he admits the political angle must be there "because people keep pointing it out," he says he doesn't think about his music that way. "I just think about people who have too much money—who should, who shouldn't. Maybe I'm too much of a pussy." But it's just that unwillingness to take a political side, to focus instead on the people affected by politics, that makes his songs resonate above a cacophony of limp-wristed peace-rock and flag-waving country music.

The Boston Herald examines Wilco's musical evolution through its discography.

In the Huffington Post, author Nick Antosca examines the media reaction to Miranda July's short story collection, No One Belongs Here More Than You.

A story collection getting that much press? Getting a Radar piece? July seems "camera-ready" in a translucently emaciated, huge-eyed way, adopting a posture and gaze of utter helplessness in nearly every image one sees of her, but this didn't seem like mere cute-writer-hype -- or, worse a case of sheep-like hipsters just anointing, then worshiping, whoever's most Björk-like (see also: Audrey Tautou) -- so much as actual excitement about a new writer.

Author Helen Oyeyemi talks to NPR's Tell Me More about her novel, The Opposite House.

Cinematical lists seven great mixtape movies.

Lifehacker lists "13 book hacks for the literary crowd."

Paste interviews Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers.

I’ve been reading about this album you’ve been working on with Betty Lavette...

Every worse case scenario you can imagine, career-wise, happened to her. So she goes into Muscle Shoals in ‘72, and she signs with Atlantic and made what everyone perceived to be a really great record. Then something went wrong and no one really knows what happened. Atlantic shelved it and it didn’t come out for like 30-something years. It finally got reissued in Europe a few years ago and became this kind of cult thing, then got reissued in America. And that lead to her getting her current record deal with Anti-. So we’re kind of doing the follow-up to her finally having a breakthrough, which was kind of scary, because it’s a big responsibility to think about as long as she’s been doing this and for her to finally have a little bit of momentum going, and all the sudden they put her in the studio with a bunch of crazy people. (Laughs)

PC World lists 100 blogs it loves.

Drowned in Sound interviews comedian David Cross.

You’ve been very outspoken in the past in your criticism of manufactured rock bands, including Staind and Creed. Do you think the music industry’s in a healthier state now?

I think that, literally every month, there’s another really good album out from a band which may not be reinventing music but is still putting out strong, interesting stuff. The last Modest Mouse album is great, Arcade Fire… I was just at Bonnaroo, and every band I saw just got better and better. I didn’t get to see that many because of my schedule, but I did see The Little Ones, Black Angel, The Roots and Tool. That was a really good festival.

NPR's Morning Edition examines the current crop of Bob Dylan cover songs.

nyctaper is sharing Wilco's Monday Night Hammerstein Ballroom performance.

The Wall Street Journal reviews the iPhone.

The Apple phone combines intelligent voice calling, and a full-blown iPod, with a beautiful new interface for music and video playback. It offers the best Web browser we have seen on a smart phone, and robust email software. And it synchronizes easily and well with both Windows and Macintosh computers using Apple's iTunes software.

see also:

this week's CD releases


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