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September 24, 2007


AfterEllen interviews singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune recaps Paul Westerberg's Sunday taping of an episode of "The Craft."

Among the random tidbits was one about drummer Chris Mars' bass drum being overdubbed for much of the "Please to Meet Me" album ("He was good at snare drum and high hat," Westerberg offered). He named "Don't Tell a Soul's" Matt Wallace as the band's best producer. He also pointed to the song "Within Your Reach" as "one of the first chinks in the armor of the band," since it was a quiet and emotional solo number.

The Globe and Mail examines Canadian bands' critical responses abroad.

Pitchfork interviews Angus Andrew of Liars.

Pitchfork: Has being away from the New York scene been liberating?

Angus Andrew: Well, being outside of any scene has been kind of cool. In New York, I think we felt a little claustrophobic. It's weird how small their music community can actually be. It's been great to be out in what I see as a kind of country town, Berlin, where there's no real proper scene for me to be in. I am excited about what's going on in L.A. right now. I hate the word "scene," but it's a good community of artists making interesting music. Bands like No Age and Mika Miko, and of course the Smell [a performance space] being the genesis of all that. I've been in L.A. a lot recently, and I've noticed a lot here, and I hope it gets more attention.

The Victoria Times Colonist updates the status of "some of Seattle's most enduring performers from the alt-rock explosion."

The New Yorker profiles the Beats.

It’s true that the Beat writers were caricatured and abused. In the literary world, academic critics, whose aesthetic was all about form and restraint, ignored them, and the New York intellectuals, whose ethic was all about complexity and responsibility, attacked them. Irony was the highbrow virtue of the day, and the Beats had none. This response probably did matter a little to Ginsberg and Kerouac. They were Columbia boys. They had genuine literary aspirations, and they wanted to be taken seriously. On the other hand, they could hardly have lived in hope of the approval of people like Diana Trilling and Norman Podhoretz.

The Age's music blog examines musicians who turn their talents to literary works.

Singer-songwriter Steve Earle talks to Popmatters about his new album, Washington Square Serenade (out tomorrow).

Unlike its two predecessors, Washington Square Serenade is not what you would call a political album. This may come as a letdown to those who have come to regard Earle as a left-wing revolutionary, one of the few artists who actually speaks his mind before a cause becomes popular, but Earle is more focused on his marriage now than carrying any political torch. For him, there’s no artistic difference between singing about the debacle in Iraq or being in love. “I made The Revolution Starts… Now because I needed to make a statement that was more overtly political, and I really needed to do that as an artist, and this is the same thing. But my life has changed a lot. I got married.”

Magic Numbers singer Romeo Stodart lists five of his favorite love songs for Harp.

Comics Should Be Good reviews recently published graphic novels.

Actress Milla Jovovich has posted several song demos on her website.

BBC News examines the dilemmas facing retailers and record labels in pricing digital music downloads.

The Contra Costa Times profiles streaming music portal

At Pandora, almost everyone is a musician, and they're analyzing the music, taking apart the bones of songs: melody, bass lines and nearly 400 other elements. They then plug each analysis into a massive database. Listeners log on to and create their own personal radio station, listing favorite artists or songs, to be played on the "station."

Artvoice interviews author Brock Clarke.

Your main character seems like a familiar type in your writing. What’s your fascination with the “noble failure”?

There’s that great line by Donald Barthelme. He said something like “I’d rather have a wreck than a ship that sails. Things attach themselves to wrecks.” I think that people who are bumblers, who make messes of their lives, interesting fiction comes out of them because of the conflict. It’s not just their own lives they mess up; it’s other people’s lives. I think most of the characters I write—most guys, in particular—aren’t bad people, they just do some questionable things and then scramble to try to make up for them, and in doing so make the problem worse. I’m not really interested in heroic characters, I have to admit. That implies a certain kind of valor, a nobility. And I’m not interested in characters who have a lot of nobility, I’m interested in characters who’re trying to find it. But those who have it, I don’t know. I like characters who struggle, not characters who find their way through life easily.

Popmatters reviews Clarke's novel, An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England.

Five Chapters is serializing a new short story by Clarke this week.

see also: Clarke's Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay for his novel, An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England.

also at Largehearted Boy:

2007 Lollapalooza downloads
this week's CD releases


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