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February 24, 2008


Tift Merritt talks to the New York Daily News about her new album, Another Country out next Tuesday).

The Boston Globe interviews Scott Heim, whose new novel is titled We Disappear.

IDEAS: What is it about writing that makes it so cathartic? Is it that creating something new - often something beautiful - out of tragedy gives that tragedy some meaning, saves it from uselessness?

HEIM: It's that transmutation, yes. Honestly, how do people live without it? I can't imagine what I'd do if I didn't have writing as an outlet to make sense of what's happened to me. I hate the act itself, of trudging over the same ground with words, but I've spent the last 15 years doing it, and I never would have survived without it.

The Los Angeles Times reviews We Disappear.

"We Disappear" treads a gossamer-thin line between profundity and disbelief. It's kept afloat by Heim's knack for offering unreliable narration and conveying raw emotion.

The Raleigh News and Observer reviews the new Mountain Goats album, Heretic Pride.

Groveshark's JT Bringardner lists the top ten albums you didn't hear in 2007.

Cover Lay Down is an mp3 blog featuring folk covers of popular songs.

The Times Online examines why Manic Street Preachers are cool again.

So, why are Manic Street Preachers suddenly loved by the NME again? Not so much as a result of anything they’ve done recently, as for where they came from and what they represent. Similarly, Neil Young was rediscovered in the early 1990s not because of the music he was making then, but because the American musicians who created grunge (Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain being but one) had grown up with and been influenced by him; having been considered a relic since the time of punk, he was suddenly lauded as “the godfather of grunge”, a maverick who had ploughed his own furrow for years and amassed a timeless back catalogue in the process. In the current climate, it’s also easy to see why Morrissey, with his bracing hostility to the mainstream and yearning for the certainties of a simpler England, is suddenly regarded as a national treasure, despite never having made a decent solo record.

The Mental Floss blog lists the best rap songs by NBA players.

Newsweek profiles Pablo Fenjves, noted celebrity memoir ghostwriter.

Despite the unsung nature of his job, Fenjves does have his pride. He points to a framed copy of the March 20, 2005, New York Times best-seller list in his office showing the Bird book at No. 1 and Frey's at No. 14. "How many writers can say that?" Fenjves asks. And he takes exception to critics who complain that his books aren't literary enough. "My job isn't to make Amber Frey sound like Jane Austen or make O. J. Simpson sound like Marcel Proust," he says. "My job is to make them sound as much like themselves as I can."

The Observer gauges the effects a US presidential candidate's theme song can have on a campaign.

Can the choice of a campaign song tell us anything at all about a candidate's state of mind? On one level, it's an index of credibility as well as political savvy. Hillary Clinton, as her choices illustrate, struggles with both. When she tries to get down with the voters - and young voters in particular - she ends up lumbered with one of the worst songs in the history of popular music; a big, old-fashioned tear-jerker. Could it be that the public perceives Hillary Clinton on some subconscious level as the Celine Dion of politics: shrill, over-emotive, fake?

movmnt profiles Sub Pop Records.

Part of the secret to Sub Pop’s endurance through the years has been their willingness to try on new outfits, even when it wasn’t so chic to step out of the flannel. And in the past five years or so, it has again claimed it’s title as a forerunner of cutting-edge music by featuring bands like The Postal Service, Iron and Wine, Wolf Parade, Dntel, Band of Horses, and of course The Shins, who recently gave Sub Pop a gold record with their 2006 album Wincing The Night Away. So lets raise a glass in honor of Sub Pop, and in the following pages take a closer look at some of the best and brightest to don the Sub Pop label right now: Loney, Dear, Flight of the Conchords, and The Postal Service.

PC World lists 5 web comics that will make you ditch your newspaper.

Mahalo collects a list of sites about SXSW.

NPR's Weekend Edition excerpts from John Burnham Schwartz's new novel, The Commoner.

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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