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December 11, 2007


Status Ain't Hood examines the Brit Box and the nature of Britpop.

As both a collection of music and a fetishistic conversation-piece, Rhino's new Brit Box, a mammoth collection of Britpop and its offshoots, is pretty much crap. I can't quite figure out why the packaging dwells so hard on red phone-booths and dirty ashtrays and Buckingham Palace guards, all traditional, cartoonish symbols of square mass-market Anglophilia, when a collection of subcultural music should really instead focus on the fetishistic totems of that particular subculture: in this case, Vespa scooters and green anoraks and those plastic sunglasses with the yellow lenses like Spud wore in Trainspotting. There's certainly a built-in audience of American Britpop dorks whose existence should justify a compilation like this; witness the early-00s popularity of Britpop dance nights, like the one where I met my wife in 2003. But it's hard to imagine the Americans who packed indie-rock clubs to dance to the same New Order songs month in and month out a couple of years back to get much out of 78 tracks of Inspiral Carpets and Curve and These Animal Men and Ocean Colour Scene.

The Philadelphia Daily News reviews recently released music box sets.

No Love for Ned features an in-studio set this week by singer-songwriter Geoff Reacher on the streaming music show.

Five Chapters is serializing new fiction by Ryan Boudinot this week.

In the CBC Radio blog, Words at Large, Joel Yanofsky discusses the keys to interviewing authors.

Incidentally, I feel compelled, having interviewed my share of authors, to put in a good word for the stupid question. I once asked Martin Amis if he wanted to play poker; Saul Bellow if he watched TV; and Mordecai Richler if he wanted to be liked. The answers were succinct – no thanks, no way, and, in Richler’s case, are you out of your mind? – but the respectively pitying, bewildered, and angry looks I got were quite edifying.

Thanks, Santa (who apparently has a Chicago return address) for sending me the documentary on poet Thax Douglas.

The Los Angeles Times lists its favorite books of the year.

MIT's The Tech interviews Percy Carey (aka MF Grimm) about his autobiographical graphic novel, Sentences.

TT: How did your lyrical background contribute to writing Sentences, and how did the experience of writing a graphic novel compare to writing an album?

PC: The biggest difference to me is that for an album, you’re working on music you really, really love, writing lyrics to it, and if you have to tell about yourself, so be it, but you’re doing it in a real lyrical way, using different rhymes and putting different styles in it. Sitting down and writing a graphic novel seemed like it was the most boring thing in the world. I was like, “Oh God, I gotta sit here and write about myself?” I really wanna work on a story for Superman, use my imagination. But I had to bring a lot of things from my past and start writing it out.

Hipsters United is a music blog focusing on the Smashing Pumpkins.

Drowned in Sound interviews Malcolm Middleton (formerly of Arab Strap).

And back to Christmas: do you have a personal favourite Christmas record? Heard the one Eddie Argos/The Black Arts is doing this year? (Video here.) It's utter balls.

Yeah, that seems like a lot of effort for nothing. But good on them, at least they're trying, and to me that's what Christmas songs of the past were all about. Having a laugh and celebrating all the shite that happens during the festive period. My favourite Christmas song is ‘A Spaceman Came Travelling’ by Chris be Burgh. Pure pomp!

Barbed Cat Penis is a new music blog by authors Tao Lin and Brandon Gorrell Scott.

The Guardian's sport blog recommends Morrissey for the England soccer coaching job.

Kim Deal of the Breeders talks to Rolling Stone about the possibility of a new Pixies album.

When Rock Daily spoke with Breeders leader and Pixies bassist Kim Deal recently about the Breeders’ April 8th album Mountain Battles, Deal didn’t shy away from talk of a new Pixies record: She says there won’t be one (with her on bass, at least). “Helll no,” she says. “Because I don’t want to.”

From Fay to Z lists the 10 worst Christmas songs.

The Los Angeles Times lists its favorite children's books of the year.

The Threadless $10 holiday sale is in its last week, and eighteen new shirts have been added, including "Breaking the Sound of Music" and "In a Comic."

also at Largehearted Boy:

2007 online music lists
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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