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September 15, 2007

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The Wall Street Journal interviews author Charlie Huston.

The Wall Street Journal Online: You describe yourself as a pulp writer on your Web site, pulpnoir.com. Have you set your sights too low?

Charlie Huston: I had assumed the clichés about snobbery in the publishing and reading worlds were clichés, and that by this point everybody understands you find good writing where you find it. I was shocked to discover that those attitudes are alive and kicking. With the exception of very dead writers like Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett who have come to be appreciated for their prose and their ability to write a yarn, there isn't a lot of respect. I think of pulps less in terms of something that means guns, trench coats or westerns but rather in terms of a style of writing that evolves out of a certain economic necessity.


The Los Angeles Times profiles professional hockey player Boyd Deveraux and his indie record label.

Indeed, Devereaux is probably the only pro athlete with both a Stanley Cup and an avant-garde record label to his name. Elevation Recordings, a project with longtime friend and Warner/Reprise promotions manager (and former Dirtbombs member) Joe Greenwald, is a new label specializing in small-run EPs from established (if definitely fringe) bands plying crushing drone-rock (Nadja), haunted folk (Blood Meridian) and ear-shredding proto-punk (Residual Echoes). So please, no Ron Artest rap album jokes.


Harp now features free mp3 downloads.


The Washington Post reviews Denis Johnson's new Vietnam novel, Tree of Smoke.

It is a presumptuous book, in other words, and you may resist for the first several hundred pages. But it will grab you eventually, and gets inside your head like the war it is describing -- mystifying, horrifying, mesmerizing. Johnson, a poet, ex-junkie and adventure journalist, has written a book that by the end wraps around you as tightly as a jungle snake.


Singer-songwriter Carla Bruni talks to Harp about the differences between her former career (modeling) and music..

“I really started putting my lyrics and my music together when I stopped the modeling,” she says. “I always wrote little poems and I always wrote little melodies. [Songwriting] was always my greatest passion and I always brought my guitar with me everywhere—but still I had no time. No space. When you write songs, you need silence and a little loneliness. Modeling doesn’t bring you to that.”


The Guardian examines indie-rock inspired fashion for women.

'The way the wider world has embraced someone like Beth Ditto, it just proves they were crying out for that. Lily Allen, Beth Ditto, Amy Winehouse, they've got opinions falling out everywhere, they don't do what they're supposed to, don't act the way they're supposed to. It's what the world needed."


Noise, the San Francisco Bay Guardian's music blog, lists 5 CDs it wishes were released in the US.


Singer-songwriter Emma Pollock, formerly of the Delgados, talks to the Scotsman.

"There are bands that will exist no matter what - they might only make albums every five years, they might not even be bothered if the album is released properly, they just want to keep making music. And then at the other end of the spectrum you've got bands who are doing it as a career choice and, if it's not successful financially, they will go and do something else. And both attitudes are valid." Sage words from Emma Pollock who, until their split in February 2005, was the frontwoman of acclaimed Glasgow band The Delgados. "We were somewhere in between," she adds, for clarity.


The Times examines the process that brought The Illustrated Edition of the Life of Pi to fruition.

If one flicks through the 40 images in the resplendent new hard-back edition, the decision to paint in the first person seems a stroke of genius. Viewed through Pi’s eyes, and without his own appearance to distract us, the events unfold with unnerving immediacy. All we see of Pi are his feet and his long-fingered hands (oddly similar to Martel’s own, according to his girlfriend, the author Alice Kuipers); hurling a lifebuoy, hauling aboard a turtle, holding a ball of tiger dung.


Iron and Wine's Sam Beam talks to the Telegraph about licensing his music for commercials.

"People ask about the commercials a lot," says Beam. "I don't really get it. It's not like my songs are being used in army recruitment commercials. If I had the luxury of not having to license my music, I probably wouldn't, but I have four daughters and four sets of education to pay for."


PaulWesterberg.net is a fansite dedicated to the former Replacements frontman. The site includes guitar tabs, a solo PW discography (with links to lyrics), and a collaborative blog. Many thanks to I Will Dare's Jodi Chromey (and others) for putting this valuable resource together.


The Guardian makes a road trip mix of a song for every US state.


Robert Christgau reviews the new Go! Team album, Proof of Youth, for NPR's All Things Considered.

The Go! Team's first album made the silly myth about lo-fi sound conveying truth and beauty come true, only now he's made a very similar album in the studio. It's hardly clean-sounding — Parton loves to jam things together. But it's got volume and presence; it's twice as strong sonically with no loss of ebullience or directness. This is the fun electro-poppers Basement Jaxx advertise for their jingles, the youthful vigor Malcolm McLaren perverted in Bow Wow Wow when Parton was attending infants' school. It's positive without corn, which is pop music's main reason for being.


Minnesota Public Radio's The Current features Rilo Kiley with an interview and in-studio live performance.


The Futurist shares WOXY's live broadcast schedule from the Monolith Festival.



also at Largehearted Boy:

2007 Lollapalooza downloads
this week's CD releases

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