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December 12, 2007


The Saskatoon StarPhoenix examines author Yann Martell's project of sending books (and letters) to Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper.

If nothing else, the PM could be enjoying Martel's letters. They're short enough to absorb in a few minutes. They're brilliant and literary, occasionally laced with sarcasm or making beautiful points about politics and society.

The Boston Globe interviews Guster guitarist Adam Gardner about his side project, the LeeVees (and the band's Hanukkah music).

Q. You know, Neil Diamond's Jewish. So why did he record Christmas music?

A. I'd imagine for the same reason why so many major artists record Christmas records - it's a moneymaker. Irving Berlin, a member of the tribe, penned one of my favorite Christmas songs - "White Christmas." I can testify firsthand, however, that making a Hanukkah album isn't exactly a cash cow.

The Telegraph offers tips to write a Christmas bestselling sticking stuffer book.

If you lack both knowledge and originality when it comes to writing your own Christmas bestseller, don't despair. There is a Third Way: the Excremental - a case of where there's muck, there's brass. Put a naughty word on the cover and watch it fly out of the shops. Crap Towns - a skewed appreciation of the 50 worst places to live in the UK - was followed by Crap Cars, Crap Towns II (which should presumably be called Slightly Less Crap Towns) and Crap Cycle Lanes. On my desk at the moment sits The Book of Poo: A Spotter's Guide, which is exactly that.

Vampire Weekend bassist Chris Baio talks to Metro Times Detroit about comparisons of the band's sound to Paul Simon's Graceland album.

"We definitely feel like the Graceland thing is overplayed," he complains. "For us we've listened to a lot of stuff. It's weird how Africa's this whole continent, and it can be reduced to Paul Simon's Graceland when talking about us."

amNewYork offers a beginner's list of science fiction books.

The social networking service MOG has added full integration with the Rhapsody music service, so you can stream any of Rhapsody's songs through its site.

The Wall Street Journal's Walter Mossberg favorably reviews the site.

The Baltimore City Paper lists the Charm City's top ten local albums.

The Baltimore City Paper lists its top ten books of 2007.

Copyblogger lists the top ten blogs for writers.

Salon offers its 2007 book awards.

Harp lists ten things you didn't know about former Guided By Voices frontman Robert Pollard.

7) I do not know how to read or write musical notation. I have written more songs than all of the members of the Beatles, the Who, or Rolling Stones combined.

The Minneapolis City Pages profiles Gospel Gossip.

On record, the band makes up in breathing room what they lose in fury. The songs draw inspiration from the '80s (the Smiths, Echo and the Bunnymen, Wire) and '90s (Catherine Wheel, Ride, Belly) in equal measure, while avoiding both the '90s disdain for the '80s and the '80s disdain for grit. Plank's bass rumbles along with the kind of thick, nasal tone that takes aggressive picking to generate, and Moltaji keeps steady and insistent time on the drums.

The Independent reports that singer-songwriter Lily Allen will be a judge for the Orange Broadband Prize For Fiction.

Library Journal, Christianity Today, and January Magazine list the year's best books.

The Minneapolis City Pages examines the "most egregious holiday money grabs in music history."

Pop Candy lists the year's best comics.

Aaron Dessner of the National talks to Drowned in Sound about recording the band's Boxer album.

But they got there in the end and what we were left with is one of 2007’s best albums (review). “It was a very difficult record, for sure. But that was mainly our fault for jumping into it before we had songs. We could have been patient and just let them evolve. Alligator was more like that - it had more songs already written before we really tried to record them. I don’t think we’d do it again, the way we did Boxer, because it was nearly a disaster. We came very close to giving up.”

Will Sheff of Okkervil River is sharing a collection of cover songs via the band's message board. Many thanks to Pitchfork for adding a download mirror for the zip file.

These are all covers I worked up on the last tour whenever I had the occasion, with the eventual intention of putting them out somewhere for free. They all kind of have something to do with themselves and kind of to the "Stage Names" material. Anyway, you can get the album in a normal-resolution as well as a somewhat higher-resolution form for free on the website right now, as well as PDFs of the artwork and liner notes (in two color formats) that you can print. I just kind of wanted to do a release fast and for fun and give it to you guys for free.

NPR's All Things Considered profiles singer-songwriter Jandek.

Minnesota Public Radio's The Current features singer-songwriter Nellie McKay with an interview and in-studio performance.

The Futurist recaps Ravens & Chimes' recent WOXY Lounge Act in-studio performance and offers a couple of mp3s.

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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