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February 19, 2008


Billboard examines the rising trend of bands releasing albums on USB flash drives alongside CDs and digital downloads.

MSNBC's SmartSpending blog lists 10 ways to save money on books.

Popmatters interviews Bon Iver's Justin Vernon.

Killer Tech Tips lists the top ten programs to make the most out of your mp3 collection.

Peggy Orenstein, author of the memoir Waiting for Daisy: A Tale of Two Continents, Three Religions, Five Infertility Doctors, An Oscar, An Atomic Bomb and One Woman's Quest to Become a Mother, talks to NPR's All Things Considered about her life long love for A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn tells the story of Francie Nolan, an odd, bookish little girl determined to become a writer — just as I was — except she was growing up in tenement squalor in the early part of the last century. But it's about so much more than that. It's about thriving despite injustice that's never rectified, meanness that's never punished, and love that goes sour. It's about Francie's parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles. It's about wanting better for your children even as your every action ensures they won't get it. And it's about place, the warp and woof of pre-World War I Brooklyn depicted so vividly I could feel it from Chebomnicon Bay.

Harp profiles Yeasayer.

Musically Yeasayer adheres to no firm tenets—no genre, no reference is truly accurate, which is ironic, given the group’s name. Wilder says it was once the “ultimate dis” among his friends. “We always valued rebellion and irreverence.” It’s the positivity, the symmetry and the allusion to musical potential that they enjoy. Wilder insists they’re not political or social yesmen, but “we do say yes to many different styles and genres of music, like musical theater, choral music or soft rock.”

The Los Angeles Times' Extended Play blog examines Wilco's current 7-night Chicago residency.

At the New Republic's Plank blog, music blogger Adam Leon (of Badminton Stamps) compares the Democratic presidential contenders to hip hop artists (Obama is Jay-Z and Hillary Is Cam'ron).

Tiny Mix Tapes, Popmatters, Aversion, the Michigan Daily, and MusicOMH review the new Mountain Goats new album, Heretic Pride (out today).

The Line of Best Fit interviews John Darnielle about the album.

Has the fact that you’ve found increased success and awareness, and with it more money/power when recording, allowed you to make “better” music? Especially now The Mountain Goats are a fully realised “band”.

Well, it’d be hard for me to say - I think most every writer feels like he gets better as his time in the field gets longer, and certainly I like my newer songs heaps better than my older ones. But I think that’s probably mainly a function of writing more than anything else. Hard to say without an alternate-universe JD who didn’t have as much increased awareness etc: if we could hear that alternate-universe version of me, and see if he were still writing the same songs, then we’d be able to answer this question. So, therefore, the Mountain Goats support increased funding for scientific research.

Paste also interviews Darnielle.

Paste: Describe your book about Black Sabbath's Master of Reality.

Darnielle: It's a narrative. It doesn't stop and talk about the album critically. And when it does talk about the band's history, it sorta weasels that information in. Not to call any other albums out, but those first few Black Sabbath albums, especially Master of Reality and Paranoid, are seminal records. There aren't a whole lot of records out there that made bigger ripples in the pond than those two. When I thought about that, I thought, "Why is it that those haven't been covered?" And it's because they still carry the stigma of being dumb-guy music. The name "Black Sabbath" carried all of these spooky connotations for me. I was all ready to be frightened by it. I was kind of confused by it. That's what I grew to like about them. I wasn't sure how I was supposed to relate to it. Same can be said for metal in general. You don't, even though their stuff is blues-based, you don't process it the same way. The blues hits you in the pelvis, right? You just feel it or you don't. Black Sabbath sort of hits you in the places where you feel alienated. It sort of teaches you to ride them like waves and get into them.

Former Drive-By Trucker Jason Isbell talks to the Boston Herald about his solo career.

“A lot of the things the Truckers were doing were never my ideas,” he said. “I just came in and filled a role, so when it was time for me to do my own album, I did things differently. I write a lot and I feel like I do a pretty good job with it, and I have a pretty good band. So hopefully this will work out just fine.”

In the Guardian, James Hopkin lists his top ten Polish books.

The world's greatest record collection is being auctioned on eBay, and contains 3 million vinyl records and 300,000 CDs.

Drowned in Sound interviews folk singer-songwriter Vashti Bunyan.

How have you found the various collaborations you've been a part of (I'm thinking here of Animal Collective, Joanna Newsom, Devendra Banhart)? Is there anyone else you'd like to work with?

I found I was wishing they had been around when I was starting out – then I mightn’t have felt so much out in the wilderness. The beautiful sound of Piano Magic, the humanity of Adem, the inventiveness of Animal Collective, the genius of Joanna Newsom, the clarity of Max Richter and the imagination and sheer life and nomadic spirit of Devendra just make me fill up with admiration. It is good to see the generosity that exists between them – and that they have extended to me. Andy Cabic (and Vetiver) – hopefully something in the future with Andy.

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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