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July 24, 2007


Prefix reviews the new Bishop Allen album, The Broken String (out today), giving it a 7.5 out of 10.

While managing to side-step both preciousness and predictability, The Broken String pulls together the long-anticipated and full-fledged follow-up that fans deserve, at the same time aptly defining where Bishop Allen is now: all over the map.

Popmatters reviews Steven Hall's debut novel, The Raw Shark Texts.

By making the intangible idea operate by Newton’s Laws, by extending the narrative to brush the edges of super-string theory, and by turning language and ideas into weapons (like Scout’s word bomb, tossed by Sanderson at the tailing Ludovician)—a concept that itself has nearly been forgotten in an age that focuses on spectacle and remains thoroughly saturated by image—Hall creates something wholly new, lying somewhere on the threshold between science fiction and literary adventure.

see also: Hall's Largehearted Boy Book Notes for the book

Gothamist interviews Natasha Khan of Bat for Lashes.

As a visual artist and a musician, do you find the two mediums inspire each other?

Definitely - to me they are synonymous, like brother and sister. When writing songs gets a little bit tough, I can go away and make something visual, like illustrations, or photographs or embroider something. It takes the pressure off, and means I can continue to build my universe without going crazy!

Premiere lists 10 television shows that should be films.

Author Augusten Burroughs shares a favorite summer book, Carson McCullers' novel, A Member of the Wedding, with NPR's All Things Considered.

Carson McCullers was, unfortunately, not a man, or else she might now have a line of furniture named after her, too, like Hemingway. Because she's every bit his equal, if not his superior. Way back when, one reviewer said, "Every page is filled with a sense of something having happened, happening, and about to happen. This in itself is a considerable technical feat; and, beyond that, there is magic in it."

The Athens Music Family Tree Wiki maps out the Athens, Georgia music scene via its bands and musicians. (via)

Stereogum has posted an exclusive John Vanderslice in-studio video, "Kookaburra," from his new album (released today) Emerald City.

The Kansas City Star reviews Emerald City.

“Emerald City” (due in stores today) includes no production collaboration with friend John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats (at least according to the promo’s liner notes).

It does, however, shake, rattle and ring with some of his buddy’s keener traits and better instincts: driving rhythms, scuffed-up guitars, wide-mouth choruses. “White Dove” is one of those — an epic, ornate hard-rocking folk tune that tells a horrific story of kidnap, murder and grief.

The Vegoose Music Festival has announced its initial lineup for the 2007 event, held in Las Vegas on October 27th and 28th.

LAist interviews Anticon recording artist (and co-founder) Sole.

LAist: What's the best and worst thing about being part of Anticon?

Sole: best thing is that i know what a special and unique thing anticon is and i'm honored to be one of its founders. the worst thing... its hard to determine what the WORST is, i would say that the "media" is so hard on anticon, the so called "alternative music world" will sing the praise of 50 cent and white stripes all day long about how they're geniuses, but wouldn't grant a hundredth of the amount of press to an anticon act, and if they did, then the next record anticon puts out is equally great they'll turn around and say, "we did a 13 word feature on why last month, unless you guys start shelling out some advertising dough we have no incentive whatsoever to give you any free press." on the other side of the coin, it seems like the smarter the journalist is, the more they want to tear us down. its amazing how personal the insults get and the lack of support out there from so called "liberals" and "knowitalls" but i guess that's the terrain we fight for, not high enough brow for the really pretentious music critics, but not low brow enough for rock music and rap critics to say the music is good enough for 16 year old trendsters. in the end the limitations and desperation makes great art, so i cant really complain, it just makes me sick how the image is always more important then the content...

WXPN's World Cafe profiles singer-songwriter Scott Matthews.

Frequently (and justifiably) compared to a cross between Jeff Buckley and Nick Drake, English singer-songwriter Scott Matthews crafts an endlessly listenable blend of folk, rock and blues.

Marina Lewycka, author of A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, talks to Ireland's Independent.

"I had years and years of not getting published and then all of a sudden when it all comes at once, it's overwhelming. I hadn't expected the tractors book to get published at all. I thought if anything we might get a small publishing house to take it up and maybe sell it on the internet and then it became, well, you know, a bestseller -- it's really quite embarrassing to say it, but that's what it was." This stuttering modesty seems very English but as her name and her literary output suggests, Marina has an Eastern European heritage. Her parents fled Ukraine with their infant daughter at the end of the Second World War and after a spell in a refugee camp in Germany settled in England.

The Guardian asks "some of Britain's great literary talents" for post-Harry Potter reading suggestions.

The Boston Globe compares Sgt. Pepper tribute albums.

Tiny Mix Tapes gives the new John Vanderslice album, Emerald City, four out of five stars.

Throughout Emerald City, Vanderslice uses his celebrated producing talent to control feedback and mold it into an instrument as vital as the guitar and piano that are so central to his music. The songs range in sound from desolate, sleepless lullaby (“Tablespoon of Codeine”) to intense, hard rock panic (“White Dove”), but despite the distortion, each sounds clean and controlled. Lyrics are paramount to this release, and the relatively stripped-down sound foregrounds them.

Singer-songwriter Jenny Owen Youngs covers Nelly's "Hot in Herre" at a recent Chicago show (YouTube link)

The Los Angeles Times examines the recent rise in comic book sales, as well as the genre as a whole.

The Observer Music Monthly lists the top 50 cover songs.

Minnesota Public Radio interviews Harry Potter book illustrator Mary GrandPre.

see also:

this week's CD releases


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