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February 29, 2008

Shorties

Neil Young talks to the Telegraph about his current tour.

Young's present tour features "personal songs". There will be no campaigning. Nothing about the elections (though he says he "puts his faith" in Barack Obama).

"I don't want to be like CNN. I already ran that story. Besides, I'm not an American citizen, I'm a Canadian, although, as a member of the planet Earth, I feel I have as much of a voice and a valid opinion as everybody else."


The New York Times examines the city's roots music scene.

“Bluegrass audiences in New York don’t have the same rigid expectations for the music that you find in the South,” Mr. Daves said. “People here don’t have those deeply ingrained perceptions of the music. I can say, ‘I think bluegrass is this iconoclastic, messy, raucous thing.’ And people are like: ‘O.K. Sure, sounds good.’ ”


The New York Daily News profiles singer-songwriter Keren Ann.

Elliptical lyrics with music that seems familiar but never cliched - that describes "Keren Ann," the fifth album from rising singer-songwriter Keren Ann Zeidel. As she combines classic rock with postmodern twists, the 33-year-old cult singer stakes out musical turf that falls somewhere between Norah Jones and Laurie Anderson.


The Guardian's books blog reviews the BBC's series the Worlds of Fantasy.

While it may not be pretty, it is always beautiful to see people enjoying themselves. Unless, apparently, you are a BBC producer. When the producers of the new BBC4 documentary series The Worlds of Fantasy began the programme by showing the moment of fangasm at a Harry Potter launch not just once, or even twice, but three times in repeat, it instantly justified every fan's worst fears about mainstream media coverage of their beloved obsessions.


St. Vincent's Annie Clark talks to the Boston Globe about making her album, Marry Me.

"A lot of this album was just me, late at night with four-hour-old coffee and headphones on, being really, really detail-oriented," says Clark, who calls from a van heading from Fargo, N.D., to Minneapolis. She's something of a Dr. Frankenstein in the studio. "The songs usually start with a guitar part, but then I've got to go about adding skin and cheekbones and mascara."


For designers, Smashing Magazine's month-end wrap-ups are invaluable.


Howstuffworks explains the concepts behind steampunk.


The Sydney Morning Herald reviews Classic Comic's unabridged graphic novel adaptation of Macbeth.

Haward has every sympathy with reluctant Shakespeare students and remembers his own unproductive encounters at school. He has aimed to bring "a lot of whiz-bang" to the great tragedy. There is certainly sensationalism in his version, but there is also something more interesting than just another attempt to make the Bard look flashy and relevant. The graphic novel helps the unschooled reader see that Macbeth - extraordinary as its language might be - is not just words. Every frame has people acting and reacting, pressed by events. Pupils reading the play often have difficulties simply understanding what is happening. Here, the illustrations will let them see, and leave them (hopefully) free to absorb the words.


Drowned in Sound recaps February's music releases.


In the Guardian, Martin Noble of British Sea Power shares his love for the music of Jonathan Richman.

Most people seem to get into Richman via the first Modern Lovers record, but I'm not a huge fan of that album. It's the more laid-back solo stuff that I love. He has an incredible ability for making these really childlike songs, which somehow manage to be amusing, biting and extremely touching. For instance, one of the songs we did at our gig, Abominable Snowman in the Market, sounds like a cheery, catchy song, but when you listen to the lyrics you realise it's kind of an immigration song, about someone who has just arrived on a plane, and all these American housewives think he's disgusting. The song's sympathies definitely lie with the snowman. Richman's the kind of man who loathes snobs, cynics and people who refuse to have fun and be affectionate. He's definitely a sweet-hearted man. You can see why they had him on Sesame Street.


io9 lists the twenty science fiction novels that will change your life.


The San Francisco Bay Guardian's Noise blog reviews the Mountain Goats' latest album, Heretic Pride.

With Heretic Pride, he has taken a small step back into silliness. One tune tells the story of a lake monster in China, and there's another about an imaginary cult, plus one song that directly lifts a line - and briefly, the melody - from the Cheers theme. But these numbers do not come off as over-the-top or stupid in the slightest, at least not in the same way his similarly-themed older songs did. While Darnielle's high fidelity efforts in the last four years have been consistently solemn, his lo-fi days were noticeably less. Heretic Pride joins the best that Darnielle has to offer by toning down the misery-rhetoric while also continuing the upward curve of production quality found in The Sunset Tree and Get Lonely. The disc will, without a doubt, excite long-time and newer fans alike.


Bookworms with Ink is a Livejournal community dedicated to literary tattoos.


BBC News reports that Radiohead will not play the Glastonbury Festival this year because of the event's massive ecological impact.


Bostonist interviews Adrian Tomine, author of the graphic novel Shortcomings.

Geography plays a major role in Shortcomings, with two characters giving up San Francisco for New York and one returning to SF alone. Was this intentional and/or reflective of your personal situation?

I'm sorry if I sound like a broken record here, but my own personality and my own personal circumstances aren't really that important to one's reading of the book. I think it would be great if people could just approach this book as a straight work of fiction, without any real consideration of the person who created it. Maybe that's asking the impossible, I don't know.


Drowned in Sound asks the question. "When did post-rock jump the shark?"



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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