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February 12, 2008


The Chicago Maroon interviews K Records founder Calvin Johnson.

The Washington Post's Express interviews music critic Carl Wilson about his 33 1/3 book on Celine Dion, Let's Talk About Love.

» EXPRESS: Celine is a prime example of an artist who sells millions of albums that nobody claims to own. By simply labeling them "guilty pleasures," American audiences are able to ingest performers like Celine without feeling the pressures of external condescension. How did listening to and liking a song on the radio become so complicated?

» WILSON: Music serves as a badge of identity, first of all, from adolescence forward. And taste in general is more constantly fraught than we consciously credit. Everything we do serves as social code that signals your status economically and culturally, your allegiances, what claims you make about your inner life. So if you claim to like how "stupid" something is, to be slumming it indulgently but not being so gauche as to like mass culture sincerely, you protect yourself from being misperceived as lower status than you "really" are.

see also: Wilson's Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay for the book

Gigwise reviews the new Mountain Goats album, Heretic Pride, and gives it 4 out of 5 stars.

'Heretic Pride' lacks the immediacy of the Mountain Goats' previous work, perhaps as the punch-to-the-guts impact Darnielle can deliver in a couplet is blunted by being buried under more instruments than fans will be used to. But this is an album that really stands up to repeated listens: subtle variations in Darnielle's delivery suddenly illuminating a new meaning to the song; percussive flourishes making themselves known. 'Heretic Pride' reinforces the Mountain Goats' way with a memorable tune and a powerfully evocative lyric. It won't resonate with everyone, but those who do 'get it' will likely listen to nothing else for months.

The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer lists a dozen songs for Valentine's Day.

Variety reports that the Coen brothers will adapt Michael Chabon's novel. The Yiddish Policemen's Union, for the big screen.

The Guardian examines the the geographical musical preferences of Great Britain.

The results of a study of British regional musical tastes, published in Uncut magazine, analysed sales at branches of HMV around the country, compared regional charts and investigated the music played at gigs and clubs in each region. The results were quite startling. Not only did it find a striking difference in the speed of music favoured in different parts of the British Isles - an average of 190 beats per minute in John O'Groats, compared with 150 bpm in Manchester and Liverpool, 120 bpm in Birmingham, 90 bpm in London, 80 bpm in the West Country - but also a predilection for different genres of music centred in certain areas: heavy metal in Nottingham, for example, world music in Bristol, handbag house in Northern Ireland, Eurodisco on the south coast.

Eric Green, director of the shoegaze documentary Beautiful Noise talks to Harp about the film.

“The bands from the late ’80s and early ’90s are some of my favorite musicians,” says director Eric Green. “The film focuses on the use of noise in pop music and the different bands’ approach to their image. They basically didn’t do anything pretentious or contrived. The groups for the most part didn’t do anything attention grabbing other than playing great music.”

In the Chicago Tribune's Turn It Up blog, music critic Greg Kot recounts his appearance on Conan O'Brien's late night talk show.

O’Brien leaned in and regaled us with stories about his Chicago experiences, raving about a few restaurants. He claims we have more receptive audiences for live comedy than New York does. He also informed us that the first guest booked on his show, by longtime talent buyer Jim Pitt, was Radiohead, back on the band’s first album. “You see bands on the way up, and you see them on the way down, but those guys have just done it better than anyone else for 15 years,” he said. Too bad we couldn’t have saved that conversation for the air.

The Sydney Morning Herald ponders the future of the music industry.

Minnesota Public Radio's The Current features in-studio performances and interviews with Keren Ann and Dean and Britta.

Drowned in Sound staff members assemble their own Radiohead "best-of" tracklists.

Spinner is streaming the new Mountain Goats album, Heretic Pride (out next week), in its entirety.

NPR's Song of the Day yesterday was the album's first single, "Sax Rohmer #1."

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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