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October 9, 2007


Comics Should Be Good defines "fun" comics.

Pitchfork interviews singer-songwriter Steve Earle.

Pitchfork: In what way has writing prose reflected back on your songwriting?

SE: Songwriters are expanding time rather than compressing time. My short stories tend to be old fashioned, with a beginning, middle and end. But there's this thing with Raymond Carver, this idea of an entire arc of a short story being maybe 30 seconds, and every single thing in it is described. Everyone tries to write that way now, but the problem is that not everyone is Raymond Carver. And not everyone should try to do that. But that type of prose writing influences my songs.

Popmatters reviews the new album by Jens Lekman, Night Falls Over Kortedala.

These days, it seems most love songs are either too high-gloss to convey true sincerity or come with ironic winks, and attempts at being clever end up sounding precious instead of perceptive, but the precociously talented Lekman is a master of lyrical simplicity and gently self-effacing comedy. There are times when he seems on the verge of sounding as pretentious as the next indie rock darling ("I picked up a seashell to illustrate my homelessness"), but he always ends up knocking himself back down to earth, coaxing a smile out of his audience ("But a crab crawled out of it, making it useless"). A first-rate songwriter and the best lyricist this side of Jarvis Cocker and Craig Finn, Kortedala’s loss is the world’s gain.

Pitchfork reviews the new Beirut album, The Flying Club Cup (giving it 8.0/10).

The Calgary Herald profiles Marisa Acocella Marchetto about her autobiographical graphic novel, Cancer Vixen.

Marchetto, a cartoonist for The New Yorker and Glamour magazine, is the epitome of a modern, cynical, urban woman and she plays on this image throughout her new book.

Wikipedia offers a chart comparing online music stores.

Author Jay McInerney is guest-blogging about wine this month at the Sub-Zero Wine blog. (via)

Matthew Friedberger of the Fiery Furnaces talks to Cincinnati's City Beat.

"We do like traditional Rock tunes, but we also like surprises," he says. "For instance, on the Beatles' White Album, on one side you have 'Sexy Sadie' and on the other side you have 'Happiness Is A Warm Gun.' One song is conventional and satisfying and the other is surprising in the way it elaborates. We like traditional songs but we also have songs that don't go anywhere, too. And when we play live, we like to re-arrange."

SFist interviews Beirut's ukulele player, Jason Poranski.

What’s surprising about being in this band?

It goes back to when getting live show off the band, those first shows in NY, with so many people showing up. That was the big surprise going back 2 years. The response from people has been amazing . When I first listened to Gulag and realized how young this person [Zach Condon]was, that was as surprise. He’s a really focused kid and makes great records.

Singer-songwriter Nellie McKay talks to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The College Crier interviews Tommy Gobena of Gogol Bordello.

Drowned in Sound interviews singer-songwriter PJ Harvey.

Do you have a tried and tested songwriting process? It seems like it’d be slightly different for a record like this than for one of your more guitar-focused albums? Do you treat yourself as a songwriter and apply to yourself to an instrument?

I think I’ve finally come to realise, quite recently actually, over the last year or so, that yes I am a songwriter. I’m not particularly a musician because I think a large amount of the work actually goes on in my head more than anything else, and I almost use instruments just as tools in order to bring the song to fruition. The song is much more to do with the thought that’s gone behind it, the words I’ve slowly collected, the atmosphere and visuals that I have. Songs are very visual for me, almost like little films that I see, and characters that I see in them. I want to make this atmosphere happen; I’m very filmic in that way. And so yeah, I think I am a songwriter in that sense. And I have to come to an instrument, but I have found that’s also very useful. I tend not to be a great player, either on the guitar or piano or anything. I’m a very rudimentary player because I wouldn’t touch an instrument for months at a time, I have no desire to play them, so I may not play for six months or a year if I don’t have to. I just play them when I need to because I’ve got to make a bed for this song to lie on.

The New Yorker features a downloadable mp3 of Paul Theroux reading Jorge Luis Borges' short story, "The Gospel According to Mark."

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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