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March 1, 2008


The Des Moines Register interviews Wilco's John Stirratt.

Q: For years, Wilco was a small, critically acclaimed band. But you’ve evolved into one of the big indie rock bands. What’s it like to be sort of statesmen of the scene?

Stirrat: “It’s great. The road aspect of it is almost more profound. We always played venues that were bigger than what our album sales reflected. It seemed to grow and grow and … we got a toehold in the industry when it wasn’t a sin to sell 50,000 records your first time. Now, you don’t get second chances. We came at a time when people nurtured creative.

“It’s surreal we’ve been around as long as we have and have a big road crew. It feels wonderful. An embarrassment of riches.”

The Washington Post reviews Matt Haig's novel, The Labrador Pact.

There's reason to wonder if the traditional realist novel has worn itself out. Certainly, several respected novelists (Michael Chabon, Cormac McCarthy, Margaret Atwood) have recently abandoned the form in favor of speculative fictions of various kinds. But The Labrador Pact is not in this class. As Haig pushes beyond the usually somber boundaries of Urban Dysfunctional Fiction, maybe we should just enjoy his novel for what it is: a wry, serio-comic family tail, er, tale, for our serio-comic times.

Comedian Patton Oswalt talks to the Georgia Straight about playing music venues.

“There’s a lot of people who can’t go to comedy clubs,” he says. “They’re not old enough or don’t have the money for a two-drink minimum and the higher admission. So if I’m at a rock club, I can keep the prices lower and bring in a different crowd. It just helps to spread your fan base and build different muscles as a comedian.”

Josh Ritter talks to the Grand Rapids Press.

But Ritter also doesn't want his songs to come across as anthems or sermons.

"I'm as concerned as anybody about what's happening, but I also feel a full frontal approach in terms of songs comes off as sounding ridiculous," he said. "I don't believe musicians are political scientists and I don't believe musicians should be politicians or preachers. ... Music is about describing a situation, not about finding all the answers. It's more about talking about the questions."

Julian Barnes talks to the Telegraph about his new book, Nothing To Be Frightened Of.

He also likes to surprise. 'I think boring the reader is a great sin,' he said. There is a sudden expletive in a passage about the yearning for God ('the hopeful, hopeless dream that there's some celestial f***ing point to it all'), a dark joke in a passage about the unreliability of memory ('if you do have Alzheimer's, forget it'), a swift change of register in his account of his mother's last illness.

The Telegraph lists 50 crime writers to read before you die.

The Harvard Crimson interviews cartoonist Adrian Tomine.

The Harvard Crimson: Considering your upcoming visit to Harvard, what role did your college experience play in your work?

Adrian Tomine: Distracted me and slowed me down probably. I wasn’t going to art school. I was going to Berkeley as an English major and I basically had to keep the two aspects of my life separate at that time. I would go to class and do what I had to [do] to get through my classes and then I would go home and stay up late working on my comics.

Drowned in Sound lists five of Nick Cave's best albums.

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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