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September 14, 2007

Shorties

The Tallahassee Democrat reviews John Vanderslice's latest album, Emerald City.

Vanderslice captures the profound dichotomy of the vengeance/compassion dilemma perfectly in the song "White Dove," the first single from his new CD, "Emerald City." The song is a roiling mass of grief, shame, alienation and - ultimately - understanding. On the disc, it's followed by the dreamy but jittery "Tablespoon of Codeine," in which random, jangling piano notes and the chilly, heart-monitor blip of an electronic beat contrast with warm harmonies. It's a masterpiece of unease from this most eloquent poet of paranoia.


The Arcade Fire's Win Butler talks to the Denver Post.

"I don't listen to our records that much, but I feel I can hear the times we went through in that recording," Butler said. "Music is about trying to put across where you're at and expressing something. My favorite Neil Young record is 'After the Gold Rush' ... 'Harvest' has these amazing songs and this amazing production, but there's something really direct about 'After the Gold Rush' - and you could tell that he was in a different place."


Ultimate Guitar lists 8 guitar solos that transform a song into a classic.


The Guardian interviews author Dave Eggers.

Some of the writers McSweeney's has published in the US - Chris Adrian, Lydia Davis - have bounced back to mainstream publishers after they've done a book with you. Are you OK with that?

That's what we hope for - we never feel any sort of ownership. You know, with Lydia, what happened was exactly what we'd hoped for: that maybe if we published a book she might be able to go back to [US publishing giant] FSG with our combined audiences and get a better deal. Same with Chris Adrian - and my suspicion is he can get paid better everywhere. I would love it if Millard Kaufman [a 90-year-old debut novelist] got some sort of big book deal after we publish Bowl of Cherries.


Stylus lists the "top ten contemporary songs that artfully recall classics."


AT&T's Blue Room will stream select acts from the Austin City Limits Music Festival, starting this morning.


The Times lists the 20 greatest big-screen comic-book heroes.


NPR's Open Mic profiles popsters Tacks, the Boy Disaster.


T-shirt of the day: "Amateur Musicologist"


The National's Matt Berninger talks to Austin360.

"We've been lumped in with lots of indie trends," Berninger says. "We've been accused of doing Americana, the Joy Division thing, this 'sad core' thing. People have put many different hats on us for a long time."

Berninger pauses. "I've also been told our albums are growers," he laughs. "I've heard that hundreds and hundreds of times. Maybe they are rewarding over many listenings, but I think it just means we're not catchy."


The San Antonio Express-News previews this year's Austin City Limits Music Festival, and Austin360 previews the side parties in Austin this weekend during the festival.


In the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, author Fred Leebron fonds Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird a "racist morality tale."

Let's face it, in some facets, "Mockingbird" is a transparently bigoted work. "It occurred to me," Scout tells us as she witnesses Tom Robinson's testimony at the trial, "that in their own way, Tom Robinson's manners were as good as Atticus's." In their own way? Is it only me, or isn't it disturbing how readily accepting we all are of an 8- year-old's assessment of a full-grown black man's behavior? That Scout's voice is somehow supposed to be the voice of wisdom?


The Guardian's Click to Download sends some love to the music blog Swedesplease.

Only in this weird and wonderful digital age could a village in Illinois provide one of the most influential players in the Swedish music scene. But that's exactly what US blogger Craig Bonell is becoming, thanks to his Swede-centric MP3 blog (swedesplease.blogspot.com). Bonell's ear is so close to the far-flung Scandinavian ground that he's usually among the first to write about hot Swedish acts.


Madison's Capital Times reviews Joshua Furst's novel, The Sabotage Cafe.

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


NicheGeek lists ten documentaries on Google Video that you have to watch.


New York Times writer David Pogue is baffled by Apple's customized ringtone sales strategy.


The Daily Yomiuri reviews M.F. Grimm's autobiographical graphic novel, Sentences: The Life of M.F. Grimm.

Hip-hop lyrics, which Carey has been penning for years for both himself and other stars as a ghostwriter, have clearly influenced his prose. Name-dropping--giving people their props--runs rampant, getting a bit silly at times, and appears to be there mainly to impress the reader. That aside, he has a story to tell and it is worth reading.


Douglas Wolk talks to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer about his new book, Reading Comics.

"I am much more interested in showing people how they might develop their own opinions about comics. I think one way critical discourse can improve the quality of art is not just laying down judgments, but starting conversations that both audiences and artists are interested in participating in."

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


Wayne Coyne and Steven Drodz of the Flaming Lips join Chicago Public Radio's Sound Opinions today for an interview and performance.



also at Largehearted Boy:

2007 Lollapalooza downloads
this week's CD releases

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