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November 14, 2007


The Boston Herald reports the Berklee School of Music has launched the Berkleemusic Blog Network, a group of music blogs written by faculty members.

“This network of blogs will grow over time as more and more faculty members start writing,” said Kusek. “Each faculty member has (his or her) own following so people are going to start hearing about this through them. That sort of organic approach really works well for us. It’s open. Anyone can read (the blogs), anyone can post and you can link out of them.”

The Independent wonders where the great American novel (and novelist) is today.

Where is the Great American Novel to be found today? Does anyone still care enough about writing an unprecedented masterpiece, to amaze and dismay his or her rival scribes, and offer the world a metaphor of America that will stick? There are talented middle-aged novelists around, such as Jonathan (The Corrections) Franzen, Jeffrey (The Virgin Suicides) Eugenides, David (Snow Falling on Cedars) Guterson, Jonathan (Motherless Brooklyn) Lethem and Donna (The Secret History) Tartt, all in their forties, but none has published any new fiction for four or five years. In the trendy purlieus of McSweeney's magazine, the popular and best-selling David Eggers's career has taken an interesting turn. Last year he published What is the What: the Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng, the true story of one of the "lost boys of Sudan" whose family and village were destroyed in the Sudanese civil war, and who, after living in refugee camps, landed in the US. Its creative blend of fact and fiction derives from Mailer's experiments in The Executioner's Song and In the Belly of the Beast; Eggers, though he might not welcome the comparison, perhaps comes closest to Mailer's most typical idiom – and, in doing do, offers a unique insight into America as seen through the eyes of a traumatised outsider, in the great tradition of immigrant fiction.

Harp examines the use of original indie songs in commercials.

Not long ago, advertisers realized that hiring indie rock bands to compose original tracks for commercials was not only trendy but much more affordable than buying the rights to use a previously recorded single. Likewise, indie artists recognized that there were financial benefits to collaborating with advertisers on projects outside of their record label commitments. Now it seems that some of these 30-second, made-for-TV tunes are taking on a life of their own as viewers are craving full-length versions of the commercial track.

Marvel's digital comics archive is online.

Cracked lists 5 upcoming comic book movies that must be stopped.

The Okkervil River Daytrotter session features three cover songs.

KEXP features a streaming in-studio performance by the Purrs at 1 pacific today.

Paste's band of the week is Montreal's Sunset Rubdown.

SFist interviews Of Montreal's Kevin Barnes.

What questions do you hate being asked?

I hate being asked about the band name and about the elephant 6. I don’t really know what it [elephant 6] is, and it would be impossible to explain even if I did.

Mountain Goats cover of the day: a YouTube video of Sarah performing "Woke Up New"

Gizmodo reviews Microsoft's new social network for its Zune mp3 player owners, Zune Social.

The Wall Street Journal compares the new Zunes to iPods.

ET Canada lists the top ten "diss songs."

Bostonist interviews Jonah Lehrer about his book, Proust Was a Neuroscientist.

At the end of the book, you mention Ian McEwan's Saturday as a work of literature that helps to create a fourth culture between the humanities and the sciences. Are there any other works that you've read that make that connection?

Absolutely. Richard Powers, The Echo Maker, is about a real neurological syndrome. He turns this obscure neurological syndrome into a much larger meditation on the self and the limits of neuroscience and the importance of emotion and love--all these grand themes. It's another perfect example of a book which could be assigned as a springboard to explore an aspect of the mind which is best explored by art.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah frontman Alec Ounsworth talks to Philadelphia Weekly.

And even if the believers start to thin out, the taciturn 29-year-old doubts it’ll have much effect on his craft. “Everyone who takes the time to listen to anything we’ve recorded is greatly appreciated,” he says. “But I never asked for it in the first place, and I don’t write music to please everyone. I write music because I have to. I always will and it doesn’t matter if everybody stops coming to the shows.”

RIP, Ira Levin, author of Rosemary's Baby.

Neil Young talks to USA Today about his latest album, Chrome Dreams II.

"I set out to make a real album, a conventional record, the kind I made when I started," he says. "I decided I'm not going to be scared to have involved melodies. I'm not going to shy away from things that take a lot of time or sound really pretty."

New York magazine's Countdown explains how to win a National Book Award in five easy steps.

Minneapolis City Pages reviews Jim Walsh's book, The Replacements: All Over but the Shouting.

Paste reviews Ha Jin's new novel, A Free Life.

The author tells stories simply and straight, without the ostentatious tricks of much modern lit—say, corpses bursting into magically realistic butterfiies, or weird waking dreams a la Murakami. Ha Jin gives us geese in slatted crates. A meal of mushrooms. A teeming streetscape. His subjects don’t need embellishment; Waiting and other works set abroad benefit hugely from the outlandishness of China’s culture to our Western eyes.

The San Francisco Chronicle also reviews the book.

The AskMetafilter community recommends new comics.

Peace on Earth: A Holiday Album is available for $7, and includes tracks by Rosie Thomas, the Long Winters, and many more indie rockers. All proceeds go to Toys for Tots.

Cartoonist Joe Sacco talks to Minnesota Public Radio about writing war comics.

The Futurist shares a couple of mp3s from Coyote Bones'C recent WOXY Lounge Act in-studio performance.

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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