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January 16, 2008


The Evening Standard's music blog profiles Vampire Weekend.

They explained how they arrived at their single, Mansard Roof: they enjoyed tuning in to the reggaeton stations of the Hispanic ghettos of New York, and were intrigued that this form of music, currently the sound of the Carribbean, all employs the same dancehall beat - dom-der-dum: chik! - a sound you don't often hear elsewhere. So they nicked it, sped it up beyond recognition and grafted it onto a swing-style tune they had. The DJ played the results - and my goodness did it sound refreshing, new yet comforting, an Alka Seltzer of a song.

CNET's tech news blog interviews a spokesman for the RIAA about music pirating.

The Guardian examines the literary culture of China.

The Chinese literary world is like a parallel universe, almost invisible to many in the west, complete with big hitters (Su Tong and Jia Pingwa), innovators (Xi Chuan and Che Qianzi), and bestselling superstars (Han Han and Annie Baobei), some of whom are earning more than £1m a year. Though as the Beijing-based translator and journalist Eric Abrahamsen points out, these figures should be taken with a pinch of salt. "The number of books sold is a mystery to everyone," he says.

The Guardian's theatre & performing arts blog questions the need for a new Spanish musical based on The Diary of Anne Frank.

Popmatters lists the most anticipated songs of 2008.

Ask MetaFilter readers recommend music blogs spanning the 1920s-1960s.

Lifehacker readers recommend their favorite workout music.

At NPR's All Things Considered, Robert Christgau reviews the new Magnetic Fields album, Distortion.

In 1999, The Magnetic Fields arrayed 69 songs about love over three CDs, a once-in-a-lifetime opus Merritt will never match. But to me, this new album he's tossed off has a consistency and weight that's more impressive than any of the other numerous products of his fecundity and facility. Distortion has it both ways: It rocks out, and its momentum counterbalances Merritt's typically dour mood.

Southern Shelter is sharing mp3s of a recent Athens performance by the Dexateens.

The Current music blog at Minnesota Public Radio offers a brief history of the Magnetic Fields.

MSNBC interviews Bob Mould.

Miller: You’re a blogger, though. I clicked a couple links from your site and actually ended up seeing photos of the beef tenderloin at your Christmas dinner. So you’re opening up your life. Is that comforting to you in some way? Is it strange?

Mould: That’s just the age we live in. I am surprised at myself for being as open as I am about my life. I don’t think there’s any harm done, though. People who are interested like it. Not many people go to that length, but it’s cool that it’s there. I have a pretty great life, and I don’t mind sharing selected moments with people. They cast a flattering light on my wonderful life, especially considering how miserable I seem to have been for most of my life. You know, the work getting to where I am was pretty intense. I was a pretty down guy for a long time. People wondered, and I guess the tenderloin is there to let them know that everything’s OK.

Paste's band of the week is Yeasayer.

Yeasayer's ambitious debut, All Hour Cymbals, layers sounds and styles densely, filtering world-music influences through '70s rock, '80s post-punk, and '90s indie. On first single “2080,” about making the best of a bleak future, distinctly Afropop guitars descend through the chanted chorus. Sitars and polyrhythmic percussion percolate throughout “Wait for the Summer,” while that song’s counterpart, “Wait for the Wintertime,” stomps like heavy metal.

The National's Matt Berninger talks to the Age about songwriting.

"When I started writing for the songs, I didn't really know how to do it other than just knowing the types of songwriters that I really liked and learning some things from them. You know, Leonard Cohen and Nick Cave and Tom Waits and Morrissey; they were just kind of fearless in ways that made me realise that you can just break any kind of conventions or rules when it comes to song lyrics, and it's usually much more exciting."

Gothamist interviews singer-songwriter Kimya Dawson.

This Village Voice blog said you'll be on Conan O'Brien with Adam, but your Livejournal says otherwise. What's the status on that?

Well, we said yes initially because I didn't realize what the situation still was with the strike. Then John Darnielle emailed me and told me what the deal was with Conan being forced back on and when I realized that no agreement had been reached with the writers, I cancelled.

Idolator has posted the results of its 2007 music critics poll.

Jimmy Shelter lists ten great Dutch underground bands.

John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats talks to Drowned in Sound about the band's new album, Heretic Pride.

"Writing’s a craft. It’s like acting because you’re striking a bargain with people to say, ‘Okay, I’m gonna present you with this thing and try and be so believable that you think it’s true, and we’ll just agree it’s true but for the time being it’s just a dance’."

KEXP features Vampire Weekend with a performance and interview.

The Futurist recaps the WOXY Lounge Act performance by Jukebox the Ghost and offers a couple of in-studio 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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