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September 2, 2007


The 2007 SXSW downloads page has been updated with an mp3 recording of a set by Nashville's De Novo Dahl.

The San Francisco Chronicle interviews singer-songwriter Devendra Banhart.

The Boston Globe profiles singer-songwriter Manu Chao.

"His popularity often results from the music itself rather than his social or political views," says Hinojosa, "however, many are drawn to the image of him as an outsider who is free from conventional rhetoric and commercial bottom lines."

The Los Angeles Times examines the motives behind reclusive authors.

But what if the creator won't come down from the mountain, won't comment on the reasons for his creation? What if he won't publish his new work (like J.D. Salinger), won't allow himself to be photographed (like Thomas Pynchon), won't make public appearances (like Cormac McCarthy) or won't write at all despite early success (like Harper Lee)?

That's the case with the reclusive writers, a small but mythically resonant category made up mostly of successful, staggeringly prestigious figures whose refusal to play the publicity game, or to appear to swim in the same water as their readers, can signify everything -- or nothing at all.

In the Chicago Sun-Times, Jim DeRogatis gives the new Rilo Kiley album, Under the Blacklight, one out of four stars.

Now, on its fourth album and major-label debut, the band throws all of that away with a disappointing set of pandering pop tunes that play like a cross between Sheryl Crowe and Hannah Montana, cloyingly over-produced by the group with Jason Lader (Vietnam, Jay-Z) and Mike Elizondo (Dr. Dre, Fiona Apple) in an apparent attempt to outdo Fleetwood Mac at its slickest and most self-indulgent.

Two graphic novel reviews:

The Toronto Star reviews The Annotated Northwest Passage by Scott Chantler

This is only to say that while some of the content does disqualify this efficient action tale as a book for young kids, the simplistic moral universe makes it, at best, an escapist adult read. Chantler certainly injects Canadian history with a double-shot of violence and excitement, but in doing so, he manages to drain it of the kind of moral complexity that made Louis Riel so remarkable.

The Los Angeles Times reviews Shortcomings by Adrian Tomine.

Tomine's realism has earned him comparisons to such respected prose writers as Alice Munro and Raymond Carver. That may be something of a slight to the comics medium, the implication being that his work rises to the level of a higher art form. But it's not untrue -- Tomine has a degree in English literature from UC Berkeley, and like much contemporary short fiction, his "Optic Nerve" stories have dealt with romantic and familial relationships. He emphasizes conversational dialogue and favors open endings.

KEXP is streaming live performances today from the Bumbershoot festival, including Art Brut, Menomena, and the Watson Twins.

The Observer profiles eight of the "new breed of fierce and feisty" British solo musicians.

Singer-songwriter Emma Pollock talks to the Times about life after the Delgados.

“It’s a weird thing being a solo artist, compared to being in a band,” she says. “In a band, you share the whole experience – the stresses, the strains, but also the good times. These days, I don’t have anyone to talk to about that stuff. I like that I can make all the decisions and be more versatile musically, but as for being in the spotlight, that feels a little uncomfortable.” She sighs wistfully. “I guess that’s just part and parcel of going down this route.”

Austin 360 offers a primer to the works of Bob Dylan.

The Observer ponders what George Orwell's response would be to blogging.

Read/WriteWeb has posted an online "struggling musicians' tool kit."

NPR's All Things Considered examines the ongoing influence of Jack Kerouac's novel, On the Road.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has a video from its August writer-in-residence, Ellen Forney.

also at Largehearted Boy:

2007 Lollapalooza downloads
this week's CD releases


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