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February 27, 2008


The New York Sun examines literary magazines devoted to mystery fiction.

Author Jack Engelhard lists his top ten rules of behavior at book signings.

4. Do not mention some other book that you've just read that simply can't be beat. This can be so deflating. Also, do not say that you "only read bestsellers." Bestsellers happen when people buy books. This may sound strange, but that is usually how it works.

The Word interviews comics creator Alan moore (one illustration possibly NSFW).

You've now dedicated yourself to the practise and exploration of magic. Does it work? Do you use it to a purpose: "I curse you, DC Comics, for nicking V For Vendetta off me" and so on?

Well if I had I wouldn't tell you, would I, ha ha! I do have a few personal rituals which I pursue from time to time and all I can say is, my personal wellbeing and belief system are in pretty good shape. I do have quite an old and rare book called The Grimoire Of The Spirit Of The Place which purports to be written by "an old sea captain" and details how you can summon up and capture the local spirit using a pig – although apparently if you have the book you don't need to kill the pig, which is good. I might give that a try soon; it fits with my interest in psychogeography and the locality of Northampton. I like my magic to be public. That way, if it's ridiculous, people know.

Danwei offers several best Chinese books of 2007 lists.

T-shirt of the day: "Plant More Trees"

Yan Scott and Martin Noble of British Sea Power share their road diary with Drowned in Sound.

Emily Haines talks to Exclaim!.

“I fought the war, but the war won!” Haines declares on first single “Monster Hospital,” and you know that she’s talking about battles both personal and political. “I do feel like we’re fighting perpetual war for perpetual peace; you could try to focus on the particulars of one fight, but you realise that on every scale, there are battles that you’re losing, and I guess that was just an acknowledgement of that,” she explains.

Stephin Merritt of Magnetic Fields shares his birthday reading with SF Weekly.

Terrible, terrible book. You might've read it in school, though certainly not after, because no one would read Ethan Frome if he or she didn't have to. Except for Stephin Merritt, principal figure of Magnetic Fields and at least three other indie-pop bands in various stages of undeadness.

"I used to read it every year on my birthday," he says. "It's 99 pages long. Perfect for birthday reading."

Ethan Frome. On his birthday. Every year.

"As setting, it can't be beat," he continues. "It expresses everything about how horrible New England is."

Cinema Blend reviews the new Mountain Goats album, Heretic Pride.

Whether the images he paints are really cause for pain, however, isn’t really for him to decide; the album is an open invitation for interpretation and enjoyment. Rather than escape emotions, Darnielle embraces them, running headfirst into the reality of all kinds of day-to-day lives, be it two lovers holding one another in a car or an anonymous girl in a bathroom. After all, the names aren’t too important; it’s the images that matter.

The Badger Herald and CCSU's Recorder also review the album.

Wired's Underwired blog examines the prospect of gossip blogger Perez Hilton getting his own record label.

Inward groans and eye-rolls aside, Hilton having his own imprint isn't as absurdly ridiculous as it sounds. The corporate nod could inject a much-needed dose of legitimacy into the blogosphere, and acknowledges what most of us already know: The bloggings of online tastemakers can go a long way toward making or breaking an upcoming band. (Just look at Vampire Weekend.)

Rolling Stone weighs the pros and cons of the venture.

Slate profiles the "Salinger of indie rock," Neutral Milk Hotel frontman Jeff Mangum.

Even before his public vanishing act, Mangum was something of an elusive character. Raised in the arts vortex of Ruston, La., he bristled at his hometown's jocks-and-booze ethic and hoped from an early age to unchain his creative spirit. In the early '90s, Mangum and a few friends formed a now-legendary collective called Elephant Six, which grew to encompass dozens of strangely named bands creating eclectic music mostly for their own enjoyment. Yet Mangum himself seldom stayed in one place for long; he constantly hopped from city to city, acoustic guitar in hand. At home in the collective's base of Athens, Ga., or out on his peregrinations, Mangum cut a strange figure: a long-locked, intense-looking man with a gale-strength singing voice who liked to wear garish thrift-store sweaters and embellish the cuffs of his pants with cartoon sketchings.

Minnesota Public Radio's The Current features Nicole Atkins with an in-studio performance and interview.

Drowned in Sound interviews the Long Blondes about the band's new album, "Couples" (out April 8th).

So no difficult second album then?

Dorian: That's been the weird thing. A lot of bands I think get rushed into the second record, and I think we've had more time to do this one. Although there's that saying that you're got your whole life to write your first album, and then six months to write the second one, we felt more rushed then, just because of circumstances that we couldn't help. We had to get it out quick because there was all that 'best unsigned band in the country' sort of thing. We thought, let's go in and do it. This time it seems more natural. We concentrated more on the music. It's important to combat how you're perceived, you know, “very wordy, less about musicianship” thing that people always go on about. Well they can't say that now.

Matador Records' Matablog features an mp3 from the new Shearwater album, Rook (out June 3rd).

The Limewire Music Blog has created a map listing the hometowns of US bands participating in this year's SXSW music conference.

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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