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October 3, 2007


San Diego City Beat profiles comedian Patton Oswalt.

Like David Cross and Zach Galifianakis before him, Oswalt has been adopted by the underground music scene. Possibly it's because he's a music fan, can read insidery websites like Pitchfork and recognize the names of bands. Or because of his bit about how everyone who listened to '80s metal is now gay. Regardless, online music media--Pitchfork, Popmatters, Almostcool, etc.--treat him like the newest dance-punk phenom from whichever Canadian city is the new citadel of hip.

see also: Oswalt's Largehearted Boy Note Books essay about his favorite book

Swedish singer-songwriter Jose Gonzales talks to Newcity Chicago about his new album, In Our Nature.

"It’s kind of been a more conscious process in writing the songs," Gonzalez says. "I made an effort to kind of make the songs more compact. [I wanted] the whole album more compact and more solid in the songwriting and the sound."

The Columbia Spectator interviews singer-songwriter Patrick Wolf.

Spec: You’ve been an advocate for the all-ages show... Is it just because of when you were under the age of sixteen or eighteen in England trying to get into shows?

PW: Music saved my life throughout my teenage years, since I was twelve years old and I went to my first Frank Black show at the Astoria, and then saw Garbage and Blondie. And I got into shows—I was so tall, and things were very lax back then, and I wore a bit of make-up.

And then suddenly when I was, like, 19 years old, I started getting carded... and things became very strict in the last four or five years. I don’t know what happened—terrorism? The world fearing itself? Something’s changed, and I feel like there’s a restriction on people being able to experience music from a young age. When you’re, like, 12 to 20, that’s when your brain’s forming and you should be forming your ideas about who you want to be and what you want to do in the world. That’s when music and ideologies can really change you and help you be a better person and want to achieve great things and change the world. If you can’t have any access to music, and you’re just sitting on MySpace the whole time and watching stupid videos on YouTube, you’re not going to get that much inspiration.

Ars Technica examines the effect of filesharing on the music business.

The rapid turnover on the Top 100 has had an unexpected side effect: more albums from the independent labels appear on the charts, and those that appear survive longer than they had before. Releases from indie labels are still at a disadvantage compared to those from the majors, but the gap between them appears to have narrowed. Those who predicted that file-sharing would help popularize more obscure titles appear to have been on to something. The report suggests that this may provide an additional, cynical motive for the majors to combat file sharing: song swapping reduces the majors' influence in the music market in a way that has nothing to do with lost sales.

Harp interviews noted music producer and Shellac member Steve Albini.

The Oxford American's annual music issue hits the streets soon, and much of its content is already online.

No Love For Ned features an in-studio set from Drakkar Sauna this week on the streaming radio show.

In her blog at the Atlantic, Megan McArdle recaps economic bloggers' response to Radiohead's charge whatever the market will bear for downloads of its new album.

The Minneapolis City Pages profiles Limerick Records.

So Dahlstrom came up with a different plan—one that dispensed with the idea that it was still reasonable to expect curious fans to actually pay for the privilege of owning a band's music. He set up the Limerick Records website to allow gratis downloads of all albums by Limerick artists. The records are there, free for the taking, like fruit from some sort of community garden.

The California Literary Review interviews author William Gibson.

Where does a novel generally start for you and how did Spook Country begin?

With an absolutely blank page and no clue, no ideas and no themes that I want to express. Really, just nothing. But somehow with a need to write a novel. Which by and large at that point, has become contractual. And I sit there in varying stages and degrees of discomfort and if I stay there long enough, something starts to happen.

New York magazine's The Take blog lists "a brief history of blatantly nostalgic concert cash-ins."

The Believer interviews cartoonist Adrian Tomine.

BLVR: When you drew yourself in earlier issues, you seemed to disguise your ethnicity. And here you’re dealing head on with issues of race and racial stereotypes.

AT: I certainly wasn’t consciously hiding my identity in the earlier work, though a lot of people have brought up the fact that I drew myself without eyeballs. I think there was a point in the past when I felt that my options as an artist were either to make race a nonissue and deny its impact on life and just say, “Don’t think of me as an Asian cartoonist. Just think of me as a cartoonist.” Or the only alternative in my mind was to be like some politically active guy carrying big placards, making giant pronouncements about political issues and injustice. In my ignorance, I chose the former because I didn’t want to do the latter. At a certain point, I realized that it’s not some binary set of options. There’s a lot of area in between to be mined. And so that was what led me into this book.

The Guardian's books blog reviews Tomine's latest graphic novel, Shortcomings.

Stereogum follows its tribute to Radiohead's OK Computer with a tribute to REM's Automatic for the People (officially my two favorite music blog posts of the year).

WXPN's World Cafe profiles singer-songwriter Joe Henry.

NPR is streaming last night's Washington performance by Swedish singer-songwriter Jose Gonzales.

Minnesota Public Radio's the Current features an in-studio performance by Ulrich Schnauss.

also at Largehearted Boy:

Daily Downloads
Try It Before You Buy It (mp3s and full album streams from this week's CD releases)
this week's CD releases


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