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January 19, 2008

Shorties

Stephin Merritt of Magnetic Fields talks to the Ottawa Citizen about his new album, Distortion.

"The dirty little secret of recording loud guitars is that you don't record them loud. If you want sound like a Marshall stack on record you use a small amplifier that will overload easily. If you actually use a Marshall stack it will sound kind of small. It's ironic. Counter-intuitive."


The Washington Post lists pigs in literary fiction.


The San Diego Union-Tribune examines the growing friction between road races and runners using portable music devices.

Technically, the headphone ban applies to the 4,000 road races sanctioned by USA Track & Field, which include all major marathons, spokeswoman Jill Geer said. But she added that race directors have discretion over whether they enforce the rule, which can be difficult at large events.


The Globe and Mail reviews Carl Wilson's 33 1/3 book on Celine Dion, Let's Talk About Love.

When Carl Wilson hears Celine Dion, he hears nothing he likes - or rather, nothing he's supposed to like. Within the heartstring-tugging, globe-conquering songs that helped transform the gawky kid wonder from Charlemagne, Que., into the marginally less gawky Las Vegas diva of today, he searches in vain for "sonic innovation, verbal inventiveness, social criticism, rough exuberance, erotic charge or any of the other qualities I and a lot of critics listen for," as he writes in Let's Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Taste.


The Houston Chronicle lists the nominated books and stories for the Mystery Writers of America's Edgar Awards.


The Centre Daily Times interviews Matt Friedberger of the Fiery Furnaces.

W: Most bands and musicians are staunchly anti-music critic. How do you take criticism of your projects? For instance, what is your unspoken reaction to my pushing your buttons?

M.F.:Negative reactions sound more interesting than positive descriptions, they’re more extravagant. A review is a tough time because it’s unclear what these bands should be doing now. I think people try to judge things by what they think the record’s own standards are, and it’s unclear as to what the bands are supposed to be doing. For example, with Interpol, are they trying to be Rancid for Joy Division fans or just a rock band?


Houstonist interviews Yeasayer bassist Wolf Tuton.

Another trait that is distinct to Yeasayer's aesthetic is bold experimentation with instruments and with manipulating sounds in the studio. How do you typically combine different sounds and textures into a song?

There's definitely the attitude that a pastiche of different styles can all work together in a song. Why steal from one thing when you can steal from ten? It distracts people from the fact that you're stealing at all. There's also the notion that practically any sound can be used to write a pop song, which is all we're trying to do.


Wired profiles Anthology Recordings, the first all-digital reissue label.

With Anthology's minimal production costs, long-forgotten acts can finally make some dough. "I've been making music for 30 years," says John Garner of the pioneering heavy metal band Sir Lord Baltimore. "And I recently got my first royalty check ever — it was from Anthology."


The Village Voice interviews filmmaker and author John Sayles.

“I never thought about being a writer. A writer wasn't something I wanted to be,” Sayles says over fried oysters and countless soft drinks at a recent dinner near at a restaurant near City Hall. “ An outfielder was something to be. Most of what I know about style I learned from Roberto Clemente.”


The latest video at the Black Cab Sessions features Okkervil River's Will Sheff performing a solo rendition of Big Star's "Big Black Car."


In the current issue of Wired, Clive Thompson makes an argument for science fiction as the "last bastion for philosophical writing."

If you want to read books that tackle profound philosophical questions, then the best — and perhaps only — place to turn these days is sci-fi. Science fiction is the last great literature of ideas.


Vox Populi interviews singer-songwriter Rhett Miller.

I like that. I know that when you released your first solo album, there were certain rumors going around that you were going to maybe pull a Ryan Adams and leave Old 97’s. You’ve clearly proven them wrong. How would you compare your solo acoustic live show to the full-band set up with the 97’s? Obviously there’s an entirely different dynamic there.

When I play solo acoustic, it’s not like folk music necessarily, it’s not like a quiet, coffee-sipping situation, it tends to be as raucous, if not as loud, as an Old 97’s show. The thing I love about playing the solo acoustic gigs is that I get to veer off into whatever tangent strikes my fancy. I get to pull songs out of my hat and just play them without having to answer to anybody. And I do that some with the band, I call audibles a lot, I have to run around to each band member and beseech them and try and make a case for it, “Come on! You can remember it!”


Stereogum prematurely evaluates the new Mountain Goats album, Heretic Pride.

As with any Mountain Goats release, Heretic Pride makes you want to listen as closely as possible, unraveling the threads, seeing how things tie into an overall narrative. There's nothing as obviously autobiographical or time-lined as The Sunset Tree material, but fragments of the scenery pop up across the 13 tracks, creating echoes or resonances if you're using your official Mountain Goats magnifying glass.


Shots Ring Out lists its favorite videos of 2007.


The Telegraph lists 100 books every child should read.


Tip Me Over, Pour Me Out is my new favorite webcomic.


Vimeo describes how to make a theremin from a cup of tea and a couple of wires.


Drowned in Sound profiles FatCat Records.



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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