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December 19, 2007


The Online Journalism Review examines the ethics issues facing music bloggers.

It’s music criticism 2.0, and as Shane from The Torture Garden writes, it's incumbent on the bloggers themselves to define it:

"I think we need to decide what MP3 blogs should be, and try to model our own accordingly. At its best it can almost be art; a connection to the endless enjoyment of music, inspiring writing [review] and a focus for the intensity of shared feeling. At its worst it's nothing more than mere content. We should be careful of that, because content is easily fitted into the designs of those who would exploit the good intentions of writers and their readers to make money. Art rarely is."

Harp lists its top 50 CDs of the year, and interviews Will Sheff of Okkervil River about their #1 pick, The Stage Names.

HARP: The Stage Names was originally planned as a double album; will we hear the rest? And what comes after?

I'd like to take some of the miscellaneous songs that came out by themselves and the songs that we never released and put them out, maybe similar to the Black Sheep Boy Appendix. Now, I'm just thinking, what record would be nice to do next? What's a fun project to do? Can I get away with this? Or do that? I've always felt that sitting back and enjoying yourself is really poisonous to your creativity over the long run. interviews the filmmakers behind the film Persepolis.

CS: At what point did the two of you start thinking of turning Marjane's graphic novels into a movie? Was it after the books were published that there was interest in it?

Satrapi: Oh, no, the books were published and there was no idea of making a movie about it, plus I thought always that was the worst idea in the world to make a movie out of that. I was extremely skeptical. The fact was that suddenly if we had a big toy in our hands, they told me, "Oh, you can make the movie you want." I said I wanted to make it with my best friend, "Okay, okay." I want it to be in black and white, "Okay," I want it to be hand-made, "Yeah," I want to have it in Paris, "Okay." So you know, all of that was there, and how many times do they propose you things like that in your life? So we said, "Yes," without knowing what we were saying "yes" to, and we realized afterwards the amount of work that (it would require). We were really unconscious actually when we started, and probably that was the thing that helped us a lot, because when you're completely naive and you don't know where you're going, you know all the codes that are solid in the eyes of the other, you don't know any of these things, so you go and you say, "I want to do like that," and people look at you with big eyes like, "This is impossible." And you say, "Oh, no, we can do it," and then they make it happen, but that was a good thing because we were not professional.

The Edmonton Journal lists the best graphic novels of the past year.

Baby Got Books lists its best non-fiction reading of the year.

KEXP is streaming Andrew Bird's Bumbershoot performance from earlier this year.

Thirsty interviews singer-songwriter Emily Haines of Metric.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that author Alice Walker is leaving her papers to Emory University.

Share your book lists at 22 Books.

In GQ, author George Saunders interviews former US president Bill Clinton.

I've done a lot of interviews with novelists and so on, and one thing I always like to ask them is if there was a moment when they first kind of went, Ah, I'm processing experience differently than most people. Was there a moment where you realized you had these abilities—not only of energy but of empathy?

On a personal level, it happened when I was… I don't know. I'm trying to remember how old I was. I think I was in the seventh grade. I was walking home from school, and this guy that was a year older than me, but not as big as I was, had been taunting me. He must have followed me home—I was walking home with two or three of my friends, about a three-mile walk—and for, I don't know, more than half the walk he taunted me and pushed me and finally he hit me. And I turned around and I drew back and hit him, and he turned to run away so fast I hit him in the back—not because I intentionally hit him in the back, but he was smaller and faster…and then I got to worrying about whether I'd hurt him or not, and when I got home I made my mother call his house and make sure he wasn't hurt. And she thought that was strange that I didn't… She was glad. But a couple years before that, I realized I was fascinated by politics, by the ability to use your powers to help other people.… Nobody in my family is particularly involved in politics. I'd had an uncle who served one term in the legislature in his life and then quit. And that was about it. I also was deeply committed to the integration of the schools in the '50s. Most people I knew weren't—in the South, you know. And I began to be aware that I had been raised by my grandparents and my mother in a way that was different, to see the world in a different way.

DJ Riko once again offers several Christmas mix CDs online, along with a couple of individual holiday tracks.

Drowned in Sound interviews M.I.A.

How’ve you felt about the way Kala has been received critically?

It’s really hard for me to tell because I’ve been on tour in America and I think you get into a little bit of a goldfish bowl situation, where you don’t really know what’s going on outside. The fans in America have been really good... in the beginning I used to get criticised for my faults but at the moment it’s the only thing I’ve got going, you know it’s what people seem to like me for... and when I meet my fans they’re always going, ‘we like it ‘cos it’s so confusing and f*cked-up and weird and you don’t have a hit ‘cos we know that it’s real.

The Village Voice recaps the year in comics and graphic novels.

The New York Observer recaps the "best of 2007" music lists.

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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