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February 17, 2008


The Toronto Star profiles Montreal's Plants and Animals.

Parc Avenue (out March 25th in the US) isn't simple at all, of course. Deliciously overwrought and glazed with towering hippies-gone-prog-rock ambition, it's a dense and frequently wondrous display of the players' talents for arrangement, production and performance. Spicer admits it took them years to shake off their worst indulgences and find a way to confine its gifts in songs that had "a beginning, a middle and an end."

The Independent coins the term "hic lit" for memoirs written by alcoholics about their drink-fueled adventures.

Meet the growing clique of "hic lit" authors who have forsaken the demon drink and are saving themselves fortunes in therapists' fees by writing about their travails. Publishers are falling over themselves in the hunt for the next big title in the "painful lives" genre that has so captivated readers since bursting on to the book scene a couple of years ago, clocking up annual sales of more than £24m.

The Independent examines the decreasing prestige of the UK's Brits (the British equivalent of the Grammys).

Time was when the Brits vied with the Grammys for kudos in the music calendar. Not any more. With pop-lite nominees including Leona Lewis, Mika and Kate Nash far outweighing industry heavyweights such as Arctic Monkeys, quality music acts are more likely to queue up to knock this Wednesday's event than to collect an award. The industry's big night out is descending into the battle of the "blands".

The Idaho Statesman profiles Amanda Patchin, who is chronicling her goal to read 200 boks this year at

PerthNow offers glimpses of the city's statue of AC/DC singer Bon Scott.

Booktagger is another online social network built around books.

The Nigerian Village Square lists Africa's best 100 books of the 20th century.

SXSW Baby! offers a FAQ about the March music festival.

Neill MacColl and Kathryn Williams talk to Scotland on Sunday.

'I haven't told you this before," says Neill MacColl to Kathryn Williams, "but when you sing on 'Innocent When You Dream' you sound like my mum did when she was in her twenties. It's very odd." Considering MacColl's mother is Peggy Seeger, the American folk singer for whom his father, Ewan MacColl, wrote the classic 'First Time Ever I Saw Your Face', I'm not surprised Williams is tickled pink at the comparison.

The Times Online defines the new "teen tribes": hippies, urbanites, neo indies, nu graves, and faux punks.

Harp goes record shopping with Kate Nash.

“Oh my God, I’m going to need a massive bag!” Nash shouts upon seeing a vinyl pressing of the band’s 1980 masterpiece, Closer. “I love Joy Division. I remember I got into them when we were doing Hamlet at school. I listened to a lot of Joy Division and Nirvana while we were doing the play because of all the suicide and stuff. I love Joy Division’s music because it’s so sad and tragic in a way. It’s heartbreaking and really moving to me.”

Portishead guitarist Adrian Utley talk to the Guardian about the band's new album.

'If you look back at the ATP line-up,' Geoff enthuses, 'it's basically a list of the music that makes our album.' Given that this three-day event traditionally offers a bill of fare so ascetic that even hardened readers of the Wire magazine are inclined to want to listen to Diana Ross and the Supremes in the car on the way home, readers could be forgiven for feeling somewhat unnerved by the prospect of Portishead's new doom-metal direction. But listening to Third, the sheer savagery of the album's numerous sonic switchbacks seems to have also shaken free the band's melodic sense as well.

Author Peter Carey talks to the Sunday Herald.

The Independent profiles Dizzee Rascal.

The Guardian profiles the "great forgotten 20th century American novelist," Richard Yates.

Yates's problem wasn't just blackness of vision, but persistently bad timing. His books appeared either passé when they dealt with the time in which he was growing up or dangerously at odds with prevailing wisdom. Criticising the shallowness of American corporate life was one thing, so long as it was done with appropriate sententiousness. To imply that, far from pursuing the approved dream, executives in corporations didn't really do much work, was something not even Jack Lemmon could have conveyed to the American public in Yates's heyday.

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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