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February 15, 2008

Shorties

Today's' review of the Mountain Goats new album, Heretic Pride (out Tuesday):

Washington Square News (3 stars out of 5):

Despite the strength of such personal tracks, this record is not nearly as autobiographical as previous releases "The Sunset Tree" and "Get Lonely." This is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, standout tracks "Lovecraft in Brooklyn" and "Sept 15th 1983" work so well because they exploit literary allusions and foreign occurrences instead of Darnielle's personal angst and tragedy.


The Idaho Statesman interviews Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers.

By the terms you describe "Southern Rock Opera" - which in a lot of ways put the Truckers on the map - it also ghetto-ized the band.

It did, I guess. I'm not going to bite the hand that feeds as far as that record. I'm extremely proud of that record. We made that record under huge adversity, and just the fact that we were able to complete the record was pretty monumental considering where we were and what we were doing. We made that record on basically about $6,000 and recorded it in a uniform shop in downtown Birmingham during a heat wave. I mean, at a time when everyone was getting divorced in the band, and we were fighting and not getting along, it was a horrendous experience that we somehow came out the other end on. And then we spent two years on the road touring behind it. And so I'm fiercely proud of the record. I can't really listen to it now, but I am very proud that we survived it and made it, and I'm proud that it has brought us a bigger audience and all of that. But I've never wanted to be limited by it any more than I'd want to be limited by what this record might do.


Popmatters reviews The Replacements: All Over But the Shouting: An Oral History.

Sure, Walsh has received his fair share of criticism for having to utilize transcripts of old magazine interviews with Westerberg, Chris Mars and Tommy Stinson, both of whom apparently refused to participate in this book (though he did manage to score quotes from second-tier members Slim Dunlap and Steve Foley). But what All Over but the Shouting may lack in its failure to acquire of any kind of new input by the story’s two most primary players, it more than makes up for in gaining the collective perspectives of those who witnessed the ‘Mats in both the best and the worst of times.


Catb.org offers a political history of science fiction.

The history of modern SF is one of five attempted revolutions — one success and four enriching failures. I'm going to offer you a look at them from an unusual angle, a political one. This turns out to be useful perspective because more of the history of SF than one might expect is intertwined with political questions, and SF had an important role in giving birth to at least one distinct political ideology that is alive and important today.


Download Amplive's Rainydayz Remixes free (and now legal) remixes of Radiohead's In Rainbows album.


John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats talks to the Guardian about the band's new album, Heretic Pride (out next Tuesday).

Today, he is drinking warm ale and discussing his new record, Heretic Pride. It is, he explains, "a much more fun record than I've made in a long time", full of songs about Prince Far I, cheap motels, religious cults and swamp creatures. "Now, there's real kinship between your monsters and your pulp-fiction figures and your cult leaders and all these two-and-a-half dimensional creatures that you can then invest with all these things that you yourself bring to the table," he says with an exuberant thwack, then launches into a tale of Michael Myers and Sax Rohmer and HP Lovecraft and Michel Houellebecq, and of his days as a "scrawny little fella" when an ingrained iggishness prevented him from watching any slasher movies. "It is," he concludes, "a sort of cataloguing of my old obsessions."

The Guardian's Laura Barton (and Darnielle) explain the allure of the sad songs of Diana Ross.

A few weeks ago, interviewing John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats - an interview that appears on page 5 of this section - we spent a good while discussing Diana Ross, the Supremes, and our shared love of her first solo record. "When I'm touring, I listen to music a lot on the road, and I get pretty upset, I get very engaged with the stuff that I'm listening to, and I'll get very depressed, weepy," Darnielle told me. "I don't know what it's about. But I'll settle on one song - over and over again, over and over again, until it's piercing me."

Once, he said, this song was The Boss. "A couple of tours ago, that was all I could listen to. I would stand and listen to it backstage with my headphones on, tears streaming down my face. How do you explain to someone that if you really go down into this song there's this incredible, real deep sadness at the bottom of it?"


In the Guardian, Isobel Campbell considers the music of Scotland.

But does the existence of so many like-minded musicians in a small part of Scotland mean there's something uniquely Scottish about our music? To be honest, I really don't care about Scottish music - only good music. That is my passion. That is what moves and inspires and heals. And I never feel especially Scottish. I feel more like a citizen of the world. Nor have I ever felt part of any music scene - ever. It has almost always been the opposite. Ask many bands and musicians; if they were frank, I suspect a few of them may say somewhat similar. It may be journalists or authors who create tidy little "scenes". Nothing real is so pristine.


Stephen Malkmus talks to the Times Online.

Finally, he remembers exactly why he wouldn't reform Pavement. It has taken him all of two minutes. If he succumbed, he says, “it would be all about giving.” Though he stops short of saying it, the point is that, for those demanding it, it would be about taking. “And I give a lot,” he adds.


Current Gutter Twin and former Afghan Whig Greg Dulli made a Valentine's day playlist for Rolling Stone.


The Guardian profiles Bob Mould, and Mould puts to rest any chances of a Husker Du reunion.

"I can't recreate what people think they saw. I'm not 23, drunk and cranked up and angry. I'm not that person any more. The intensity of those records, I just can't do it. Heat with Grant and Greg [Norton, Hüsker bassist], yeah, that's all there, but it would be like a joke. It would not be becoming. It would do more damage than good to what the band stands for. And ..." He laughs. "I don't wanna be in the same room as those guys."


Apple Matters lists 7 reasons why Mac OS X is teh best OS for writers.


In the Christian Science Monitor, author Junot Diaz lists his current listening choices.

I can be convinced to listen to a wide range of music. Caribbean. Merengue. Sigur Rós I can't get enough of. Of course you gotta listen to Kanye [West]. I have a tremendous weakness for Birdman. I don't have an iPod – I'm one of those people, if I walked around with an iPod, I would get hit by a car.


Former Drive-By Trucker Jason Isbell talks to the Hartford Courant about songwriting.

"I try to be as empathetic as possible," the Alabama native says. "I don't know if I have more of a proclivity toward it than anybody else, but I definitely try. I read an interview recently with Miss Laurie Anderson, and she said, if there's one quality she could possess, it would be empathy, really knowing what it's like to be another person. That's an extremely important part of being a songwriter or a novelist or a writer of any kind. Or a person, for that matter."


The San Francisco Bay Guardian's Noise blog profiles keyboardist Spooner Oldham, currently touring with the Drive-By Truckers.


The Santa Barbara Independent interviews St. Vincent's Annie Clark.

As a “multi-instrumentalist” who has toured with some pretty large bands, have you picked up any new instruments by virtue of hanging out with so many musicians? Is there an instrument that you’d like to learn?

Well, in junior high school I played in an Iron Maiden cover band. We didn’t just play Maiden; we played Megadeath and we played a little bit of AC/DC and definitely some Pantera — I’m from Texas, so Dimebag Daryl [Abbott] from Pantera was a pretty big deal. What happened was, there were like three guitar players, so we flipped a coin as to who would play bass. It’s kind of a running joke that nobody sets out to be a bass player … [the guitar] is the show-y, kind of rooster instrument. So I lost the coin toss and, as a result, ended up playing speed metal bass for a while. I’d love to get a lot better at the piano. Even though I get kind of bored with guitar — I feel like we’re an old married couple or something — I feel like I have to honor it.


Former Jayhawk Gary Louris talks to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune about his Chris Robinson-produced solo album, Vagabonds (out next Tuesday).

Robinson rounded up a few friends to sing backup on the album, including Rilo Kiley singer Jenny Lewis and her boyfriend, Johnathan Rice. Louris also brought in longtime friend Susanna Hoffs of the Bangles. The guests added high-reaching choirlike harmonies on a few tracks, including the bittersweet, Byrdsy gem "We'll Get By" and the gospel-tinged "To Die a Happy Man."


Did you miss some of Daniel Clowes' serialized graphic novel, Mr. Wonderful, in the New York Times? Download a PDF or view individual pages.


The CBC examines what your favorite love song says about you.


Cracked lists the 10 least romantic love song lyrics.


OEDb lists 100 ways to use your iPod and learn to study better.


Paste magazine's Control-V blog breaks down some emerging trends about the bands that play SXSW.


Radiohead's Thom Yorke plays DJ on NPR's All Songs Considered.


Nextbook interviews translator-turned -novelist Evan Fallenberg about his new novel, Light Fell.

You’re a dual citizen. Your novel is set in Israel but published in the United States, coming out in Israel later this year. Do you consider yourself an American or an Israeli novelist?

I’m an Israeli novelist who writes in English. Frankly, I don't think I’d be qualified to write an American novel at this point in my life. I’ve lived away from America for too long. I don't know what the Israelis are going to make of me, because I’m kind of an odd fish here, really, an Israeli novelist writing not in Hebrew. But Israel is an immigrant society, and I think it can handle these very different kinds of writers. It’s interesting, because the Sapir Prize, one of Israel’s biggest literary prizes, just last year announced that for 2008, it will be open to books by Israeli authors not only in Hebrew but in all the other official languages in the country, which are Arabic, English, and Russian. And I think that’s a real sign of maturity for Israel. It wasn’t so long ago that you were advised never to speak the language of your birth country, because kids had to integrate, and you’d be separating them from Israeli society if you didn’t integrate. And it’s just not like that anymore.


Snakes Got a Blog is sharing a live mp3 compilation of the new songs Wolf Parade has been playing live over the past couple of years.



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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