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July 15, 2007

Shorties

The Telegraph talks to Stephen Godfroy, store director of the London independent record shop, Rough Trade.

So is Rough Trade out of its mind to think that now is a good time to open the nation's biggest record shop?

Absolutely not, says Stephen Godfroy, Rough Trade's store director. Godfroy believes that the public appetite for music is as strong as ever and that the decline in sales of physical albums is not a failure of the format but of mass-market retailers.

He argues that shoppers crave expert advice, broad choice and excitement when they buy music. Instead they are offered indifferent service, limited ranges and boring stores. "There are misconceptions about music retailing - that people don't want physical product - but the issue is that the high street has become the place for homogenous retail. Great music shouldn't be sold like this - it deserves more respect," he says.


In the Chicago Sun-Times, Jim DeRogatis is keeping a Pitchfork Music Fest diary.


The Columbus Dispatch lists 20 songs that laid the foundation for what rock and pop music have become.


The New York Times examines why books about animals usualy sell well, often despite their literary shortcomings.

Plenty of books about animals are embarrassing. There’s Richard Bach’s “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” (1970), for example, and Richard Adams’s “Watership Down” (1972), a book that, a critic in The National Review observed, “has about the same intellectual firepower as ‘Dumbo.’ ” In other cases, great writers have written not-so-great books about their pets. C’mon, John Steinbeck. In “Travels with Charlie,” did you really have to hit the road with a poodle?


The Denver Post interviews author Khaled Hosseini.


The Philadelphia Inquirer examines "wizard rock," the genre of music inspired by the Harry Potter series.

Theirs is music based on J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books, literature theoretically aimed at children but with an appeal that has hooked readers of all ages. In the last two years, hundreds of Wizard Rock bands have popped up around the country and the world, sharing their music via the Internet and performing in concert.


Former Drive-By Trucker Jason Isbell talks to the Boston Globe about his solo career.

Isbell has noticed how the pop world has been, by and large, quiet about the current conflict. "You catch a lot of flak in the public eye for saying how you feel these days," he says. "A lot of people have forgotten that writers and artists are paid to express their opinions, that's their job." As a still relatively little-known indie artist, he says he feels more freedom to write about what's on his mind.


In the Observer, Rachel Cooke explains the genesis of her love for graphic novels.


MInnesota Public Radio's the Current features an in-studio performance by the Robbers on High Street.


The Cleveland Plain Dealer reviews Harvey Pekar's new graphic novel, Macedonia.

In "Macedonia," however, he doesn't seem able to connect to Roberson or see through her eyes. Pekar spends too much time pedantically explaining her subject, which is, admittedly, complex. He spends half the book explaining policy, telling the history of the region and its antagonisms and relating conflict resolution theory. It becomes dry and overwhelming and wonky.


Rachel Nagy and Mary Ramirez of the Detroit Cobras talk to NPR's Weekend Edition.


Chris Salewicz, author of Redemption Song: The Ballad of Joe Strummer, talks to NPR's All Things Considered.



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