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January 25, 2008

Shorties

The Line of Best Fit interviews singer-songwriter Richard Swift.

We’ve read that during your recent US tour with Wilco, Jeff Tweedy invited you to do some recording at their Loft studios in Chicago. How did those sessions go?

Amazing. I don’t think there’s a musician living that i respect more than Jeff… he’s been incredibly encouraging to me… the entire Wilco camp has been. I recorded about 7 songs there, most of which should end up on my next “proper” record. And some of the Wilco boys made guest appearances. I may be going back this month to record a bit more.


Poet CAConrad has named the sexiest poem of 2008.


Aquarium Drunkard continues its excellent Off the Record series with My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James exploring his hometown of Louisville.


People In A Position To Know offers some of the coolest vinyl you will find anywhere. Their square Casiotone For the Painfully Alone/Concern 8 3/8" single (of Springsteen covers) is my favorite piece of vinyl from 2007.


Band of Horses frontman Ben Bridwell talks to Tusk.

Finally, the Horses stopped worrying about the snark-infested waters of the blogosphere, which seized on the corporate licensing of 'Funeral.' Well, mostly Bridwell has stopped worrying. When asked about plans for a possible DVD, he offers elaborate reasons to release it by the end of this year. With 'Everything' coming in 2006, 'Cease'in 2007, and a third album due in 2009, Bridwell says, 'It burns me up to think that we won't get to release something [in 2008] and [tick] off more people.'


The Weekly Dig interviews Rob Sheffield, author of Love Is a Mixtape.

You write about how you felt after first hearing Pavement. Is there something special about loving bands that are making music now?

Definitely. That's part of the reason to love rock and roll, as opposed to waltzes or tangos or lots of equally excellent music. To hear these bands, it was amazing that this was happening right now. That their best album was the one they were about to make, that their best song was the one they were about to write. That's part of the thrill of being a fan, that's why you're a fan of bands that are still doing it, still in the middle of the adventure.


The Raleigh News & Observer lists its "great 8" local musicians to watch in 2008 (complete with new videos for each). Kudos to Largehearted Boy favorites Alina Simone and Bowerbirds for making the list.


theBookseller.com lists British authors who generated the most revenue in 2007.


Birmingham Weekly interviews singer-songwriter Matt Nathanson.

Weekly: With the emergence of technology’s role in music - namely the Internet, iTunes and satellite radio - how do you view the climate as an artist?

Nathanson: I feel like the internet is incredibly potent and effective for spreading the word about touring. The discovery aspect of the Internet is great in that respect. The part that’s a bummer is how quickly music can be discovered and discarded - it cheapens music. The way a connection happens is when people take the time to go out and discover you physically. Whether it’s buying a record or interacting at a show, that human contact is crucial to building a rapport with people. There’s something to be said for physicality and making a commitment to the music.


Popmatters picks the best DVDs of 2007.

The online magazine also lists the year's best music DVDs.


Slate profiles Chan Marshall of Cat Power and Stephin Merritt of Magnetic Fields.

Aging, though, tends to trump coyness, even in indie rock; these days, Bill Callahan records under his own name, and Darnielle raids his real-life childhood for inspiration. Yet Marshall and Merritt -- who together have indulged every kind of make-believe there is -- remain more evasive than ever. "Distortion," in the great abstruse Magnetic Fields tradition, is an uncharacteristically loud record conceived as a sonic homage to the Jesus and Mary Chain's landmark noise-pop record "Psychocandy." On it, Merritt variously channels a necrophiliac, a drunk, a nun, an ax murderer and a prostitute. Making things even more confusing, half the record is sung by Shirley Simms, a collaborator on "69 Love Songs." On Cat Power's "Jukebox," which includes covers of songs by Nina Simone, Joni Mitchell and Hank Williams, Marshall pours herself into people as wildly distinct as James Brown and Bob Dylan. Still, now that both are grown up and all -- Merritt's 42, Marshall 36 -- one might well ask: Why the masquerade?


The Idaho Statesman profiles former Drive-By Trucker Jason Isbell.

Isbell's solo album, "Sirens of the Ditch," is rooted in pop of the 1970s more than his amp-cranking work in the Truckers. Piano and pedal steel float through arrangements. Some of the songs are based on events, such as "Brand New Actress," inspired by the death of Lana Clarkson in Phil Spector's mansion. Others - such as "Chicago Promenade," for his late grandfather, or "Dress Blues," about a former classmate killed in Iraq - are closer to his heart. Isbell, who grew up surrounded by musicians in the Muscle Shoals region, tends to write from a personal space.


The finalists for the 2008 edition of the Bloggies were announced.


The Independent profiles Foals.

Early demos led to the hipster indie label Transgressive signing them in the UK and later they signed to Sub Pop in the US. What followed was a trail of destructive house parties, visceral live performances at Reading and Leeds, two hit singles that penetrated radio playlists and a group of relatively geeky twentysomethings being thrown into the rabid decadence of the music industry. Foals took abstract lyrics, vocal barks, funky bass lines and disco drumbreaks and layered them into math-rock guitar lines. The concoction ticked all the right boxes in the industry, an achievement that leaves Philippakis unenthused. "It's weird being part of the music industry now," he says.


Stephin Merritt of the Magnetic Fields talks to the Los Angeles Times.

Though he recently made an unlikely connection with Volvo for a TV commercial, he remains a cult artist with decidedly wary sights on bigger game.

"I feel like I'm approaching the mainstream in significant ways that I haven't done before, and I don't especially care whether they lead me more toward the mainstream or away from it, because I think the mainstream is always changing." Merritt says.

"Who cares anyway? I don't want to follow what I happen to think from moment to moment is the mainstream, and I'd probably be totally deluded about it anyway. I'm happy being halfway between being an art project and a commercial proposition."


A Times Online reporter recounts his single day as a roadie for Morrissey.


The Minneapolis Star Tribune has readers list their favorite First Avenue shows.


Decemberists frontman Colin Meloy talks to the Seattle Post Intelligencer.

"When I first started writing the songs that later became Decemberists songs, there was no audience to speak of," Meloy said. "I was playing happy hours in little clubs to a few people and I discovered that while I wasn't making a whole lot of money or making very many inroads into a music career, I was afforded the time to write whatever I felt like writing. I didn't feel like I had to prove anything to anybody. And so I discovered that what I really wanted to write were these kind-of offbeat narratives."


The Guardian examines the growing number of heroines ion comics, mostly due to the increase in female cartoonists.


Planning to buy a Threadless t-shirt? Check out the official Threadless coupon code blog first and save a couple of bucks.


Drowned in Sound makes its predictions for the Brit Awards.

British Male Solo Artist

Who we’d like to win: Richard Hawley, without a doubt – the man’s some sort of northern legend, and his past two LPs, Cole’s Corner and the superlative Lady’s Bridge of last year, are must-haves, full of ache and pain but somehow bolder and more confident than such nakedness is associated with. Jamie T? Maybe, but we’ve sung the boy’s praises enough.

Who will win: Newton Faulkner looks a great bet at 20/1 in some places, and the continuing commercial success of his Hand Built By Robots would seem to suggest he’s in with a shout, too. But the bookies are well behind Mika. He’s odds on to take the category, 4/9 at Ladbrokes, for example. We’ll allow him his moment in the sun, so long as he keeps a low profile for the rest of 2008.


KUT features Sam Beam of Iron and Wine with an interview and in-studio performance.


Chef/author/television personality Anthony Bourdain is interviewed at Sound Opinions today about the connection between music and food.


Harp profiles singer-songwriters Allison Moorer and Tift Merritt.


The CBC has developed a television series, Jpod, based on Douglas Coupland's novel of the same name. An added bonus: if you are in Canada, you can stream the first three episodes.



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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