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February 21, 2008


Gothamist interviews Matt Berninger, frontman for the National.

What band’s lyrics do you like?

I’ve been a fan of Nick Cave and Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen for a long time. But I think Win Butler writes amazing lyrics and I think Julian Casablancas’s lyrics are incredibly good. It’s great when it sounds effortless. Pavement wrote great lyrics mostly because it didn’t feel like they were belaboring them. Which is funny because it usually takes me forever to write lyrics because most of what comes out when I write sounds like I’m trying to write rock lyrics. It takes a long time to filter out the garbage. Most of the stuff you think will be awesome usually sounds silly.

Kristin Hersh is creating mix CDs of her music for you, and is personalizing each one with your name and her signature.

At Apartment Therapy, this staircase made out of a bookcase looks great (but I may need an entire house).

A reminder: Catbird Records also offers digital downloads of some of its releases, including the latest Manishevitz album.

The Phoenix interviews cartoonist Adrian Tomine, whose graphic novel Shortcomings has been drawing (no pun intended) rave reviews.

What would you say about yourself and your work for those readers who have never heard of you or Shortcomings?

When working on this book, I wanted the story to reach readers not intimately familiar with the conventions and intricacies of reading comic books. I grew up reading comic books. I wanted to be a minimalist in terms of style, and want the focus to rest on content, the way someone would see a movie and not remark about the camera angles. I had in mind this was the reader’s first time reading a graphic novel.

Southern Shelter is sharing mp3s of a recent Atlanta performance by Atlas Sound (the side project of Deerhunter's Bradford Cox).

Eye Weekly reviews Drew Daniel's 33 1/3 book on Throbbing Gristle's 20 Jazz Funk Greats.

As a professor of English literature by day, Daniel brings erudition and clarity to the 33 1/3 series with writing that’s both meticulous and giddy. Great phrases like “As camp as a row of tents” are judiciously sprinkled. Unafraid of confronting professional confrontationalists, Daniel achieves a fantastic hat trick — a love letter to an unacceptable band about their least-loved album in a book series that, until recently, was reserved only for acceptable albums. Let the wrecking of civilization commence.

LAist examines why everyone hates hipsters.

CHUD reports that David Fincher will direct the film adaption of Charles Burns' excellent graphic novel, Black Hole.

NPR's All Things Considered talks to Jennifer 8. Lee about her new book, The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food, and also offers an excerpt.

Pop Candy continues its "comics crash course" with a list of must-see series.

John Darnielle lists his favorite Mountain Goats characters for eMusic.

"Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton"
Obviously — or I'd think obviously — the work I used to do in psych hospitals and residential treatment homes is what informs this song. People ask me sometimes if Jeff or Cyrus are based on anybody, and of course the answer's "no," but only because of course they're dozens of guys. I knew a dude in high school whose girlfriend didn't know he'd been locked up until he'd already been gone for half a day: by the time she found out, he was in Utah, not to emerge for, I think, a year or two.

To take somebody's adolescence away is to deny that person some of the closest looks at God's face that we ever get on this planet; I try not to hate the parents who, as misguided as confused, take young men and women away from their friends and their lives to send them away. But it's hard. I try not to excuse the destructive things adolescents sometimes do to express their pain, but in my gut, when I write a song in which a couple of teenagers vow to take revenge on the grownups who're f*cking up their lives, well, I cast my lot with the teenagers. They may do wrong sometimes, but their hearts aren't rotten yet, and the light is strong within them.

Author Sloane Crosley explains to NPR's All Things Considered why you must read The Secret Garden.

In many obvious ways, there is no finer novel — young adult or otherwise — to reread while those first fingers of green are poking up through the ground. There is no single book that can more readily transport you into spring as you sit underneath a tree and listen to some bird whose name you don't remember whistle a tune that you do. And because The Secret Garden is the first real novel I remember reading period, it has become a fundamental part of my worldview year-round. No matter how unique the country house described by T.S. Eliot, Tom Stoppard, Virginia Woolf or even Jane Austen — for me, they are all the house from The Secret Garden.

Today's Mountain Goats links:

NPR's The Bryant Park Project profiles the world's biggest Mountain Goats fan.

One night, Andrew was reading with their daughter Cora, then 5 years old, and they heard a noise in the back of the house. Cora asked, "What if it's a robber?"

"What if it is a robber?" Andrew asked back. "What would you do?"

Cora said, confidently, "I know what I'd do. I'd launch a glass across the room directly at his head and dash upstairs to take cover."

John Darnielle talks about the album to the Village Voice.

Darnielle used to sound detached from his characters—it's what enabled him to crack the occasional joke about domestic abuse, or to make alcoholics look as simultaneously entertaining and untrustworthy as they usually are. Robert Christgau, writing on 2004's We Shall All Be Healed in this paper, asserted that Darnielle's characters weren't redeemed by his love, but by his interest. Which, until now, has been absolutely true. "I have loads of affection for them all, for sure," Darnielle admits. "But my relationship to most of them is the relationship you have with a close friend who you know is also a chronic liar."

The Stranger interviews Darnielle.

You write music, and you write about music. Does being engaged with music criticism inform your music making (beyond the odd Marduk reference)?

I can't really imagine how writing music criticism would inform one's writing of music. I guess if you were the sort of person who spent a lot of time analyzing Lennon/McCartney stuff, you might end up saying, "There's a right way, and there's a wrong way," and trying to follow that template. I've always avoided listening to canonical stuff when I'm writing for that very reason. I hate it when you can tell what a songwriter was listening to while he was writing.

Paste, the Ithican, the Olympian, the Daily Tar Heel, and the Independent Weekly review Heretic Pride.

The Portland Mercury interviews Darnielle.

MERCURY: Do you still get pegged as "lo-fi" even though it's been years and albums since you recorded to cassette? If so, does that bother you?

Let me answer this question with a question: Have you ever dreamt of getting your dishes done and lawn mowed by a singer/songwriter dude? Because I will do it [rather than be pegged with that label ever again]. Because yes, people persist in calling our records "lo-fi." I spent all my home recording years pointing out that "lo-fi" was a really stupid term, and then we went into a studio and recorded Tallahassee and we thought, "Wow, this sounds quite different." But still, I could show you reviews that called that album "lower than lo-fi." It happens every album, and it's been eight years since I released anything recorded on a boombox.

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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