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July 2, 2007

Shorties

NME reports that PJ Harvey's new album, White Chalk, will be released September 24th.


Pitchfork interviews singer-songwriter Bill Callahan (formerly known as Smog).


In the Guardian, John Squire (formerly of the Stone Roses) discusses his life's blend of art and music.

Much has been written on the relationship between art and pop. I have heard it said that if you want to form a band, you should go to art school - but I never felt compelled to go down this route. Soulless formal instruction seems at odds with what I see as a very personal and intense activity. For me, art is as much a part of my music as the lyrics and the tunes; it is all about the creative drive. To will something into being, to be the first to see or hear it. As with other artists who work in this way, the KLF's Bill Drummond or Brian Eno for example, the flow between the art studio and the music studio has been an easy one.


The Seattle Times profiles the music remix social networking website, Jamglue.

Jamglue has three parts: a social-networking component, a library of music and Flash-based software to manipulate the sounds. The music is generated by the users, who are honor bound not to post anything they don't own. It accepts MP3 and .WAV files, or users can just plug in a microphone and record directly into the site.


Popmatters interviews Henry Rollins.

How important is music today when it comes to activism?

There are a lot of benefits happening. A lot more musicians are weighing in on the war in Iraq. And a lot times they’re quickly dismissed by the right-wing media who say, “Oh, he’s just a guy with a guitar, what can he think?” The same thing happens to people in Hollywood. If Barbara Streisand has an opinion, all of a sudden she’s an idiot and you need not listen. These are people who get in front of microphones anyway and this is America and this is a democracy. Barbara Streisand is very happy to get in front of 30,000 people to talk about her beautiful voice, but when you throw something like the Iraq war on the table, priorities change no matter who you are.


This week Five Chapters is serializing a short story by Rebecca Curtis.


Drowned in Sound recaps June's album releases.


In the Chicago Tribune, Julia Keller debates which book is the "Great American Novel."

But I've changed my mind regarding the Best American Novel, as I do about as often as I change the oil in my car -- about every three books or 3,000 miles, whichever comes first. At first, it was a tossup between John Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath" (1939) and Bret Easton Ellis' "American Psycho" (1991). And because you probably couldn't find two novels more diametrically opposed in subject matter, style and critical reputation, I should perhaps warn you that this Great American Book-picking pastime is not for the faint of heart or logical of outlook. It's a messy, complicated business. It can evoke puzzled glances and churning stomachs. (All of which makes it sound a great deal like a certain bowl of potato salad I brought to a memorable July 4th picnic, but never mind.)


The Chicago Tribune's Greg Kot reviews the new Smashing Pumpkins album, Zeitgeist.

On "Zeitgeist," Corgan returns to that densely layered sound. The opening track, "Doomsday Clock," instantly re-establishes the essence of the Pumpkins sound: Corgan's overdriven wall of guitars pitted against Chamberlin's thundering elephant-herd drumming. With veteran producers Roy Thomas Baker and Terry Date, Corgan once again strikes some of his favorite '70s poses. Chamberlin subdivides beats with demon dexterity; he pushes and prods the guitarist with precision and power.


In an older post, National Geographic lists the top 100 adventure books of all time.


Singer-songwriter Nick Lowe talks to NPR's Weekend Edition.

"I am very aware that there is a sort of handmade quality about my records that will ensure that I will never be a household name," Lowe says. "But also it's because I really make my living with other people doing my songs. And there's nothing that an artist or an producer likes better than hearing an underdone song."



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this week's CD releases

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