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March 4, 2008


The Line of Best Fit interviews Stephen Malkmus about his new album, Emotional Trash (out today).

To me, it sounds like a lot of the tracks have got a very late 60s early 70s vibe? Was that a deliberate thing?
That might be just the length, or [the fact that] there are some solos and… certainly that kind of music is… it’s definitely not 80s, and it’s definitely not grunge sounding. In that kind of song structure the level of the guitar and the kind of sounds of the guitars are definitely from that era. Yeah, definitely… We’re still playing slightly improvisational guitar music that was more in favour back then, for sure. You could hear it on the radio, and now it’s not so often. There were pop songs like that, back then.

The Baltimore Sun ranks ten songs with the word "Baltimore" in their title.

The A.V. Club lists 26 tempting but inappropriate funeral songs.

USA Today examines Random House's decision to let readers download a free electronic version of Charles Bock's debut novel, Beautiful Children.

Avideh Bashirrad, a Random House marketing executive, says the free download, which follows a similar experiment by HarperCollins, is a way of "introducing new readers to the book who may decide to buy a copy after sampling it. After all, in a bookstore you can browse as much of a book as you want to before deciding to buy it, and we want to give people a chance to do the same online."

James Felice of the Felice Brothers talks to the Wilmington Star-News about the band's sound.

On their Web site, however, The Felice Brothers describe what they do in just two words: "American music."

"It works for us," said James Felice, the big, bearish brother who plays accordion and keyboards, and whose full beard and porkpie hat give him a vaguely Amish appearance. "People call it alt-country or Americana, and maybe we are, but we're American musicians, we grew up in America, we love our country, we're American boys and we play American music."

Popmatters interviews singer-songwriter Jim White.

“My heroes aren’t the ones who describe sorrow well,” he says at one point. “My heroes take sorrow and turn it into beauty.” He names Tom Waits and Vic Chesnutt in that group, among others. But the sorrow we are talking about begins to change as the conversation goes on, from something personal to something bigger, more national. He admits to thinking more politically now, since he has a family to think about, and he wonders openly about the world they’ll be left with. But he is still wary of taking world troubles on directly in his songs. “If you try to change things directly, people turn their minds off.”

Pitchfork interviews St. Vincent's Annie Clark.

Pitchfork: Playing your songs so often, does that wear out your investment in them or how you communicate them each night?

AC: I try to do things differently every night so I can keep myself on my toes. That's why I think it's kind of nice to write music that's [sonically] challenging. I don't mean this [air guitars], but be[ing] on your toes because you've really got to concentrate to do it right. Music that kind of forces you to be invested in it every night.

Brandeis University's Justice reviews the new Mountain Goats album, Heretic Pride.

Also, an SF Weekly reporter attends the band's recent Daytrotter taping.

Susan Jacoby talks to NPR's Book Tour about her book, The Age of American Unreason.

The book is about the anti-intellectual, anti-rational strains that Jacoby believes have overtaken our culture. She sees The Age of American Unreason as something of a sequel to historian Richard Hofstadter's 1963 analysis of the American mindset, Anti-Intellectualism in American Life. That book won the Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction. But where Hofstadter, who died in 1970, ends on what Jacoby describes as a "guardedly optimistic" note, she writes that "the scales of American history have shifted heavily against the ... intellectual life so essential to functional democracy." Unafraid of laying blame, she offers a harsh indictment of a failing educational system, religious fundamentalism and the American addiction to mass media — from TV to the Web.

The Riverfront Times profiles St. Louis bands headed to SXSW.

The Phoenix New Times previews the hot acts at SXSW this year,

The Wall Street Journal's business & technology blog profiles two people businesses could take internet lessons from, Trent Reznor & Barack Obama.

The March issue of Bookslut is online, and features interviews with authors Scott Heim, Alexander Theroux, and Peter LaSalle.

John Roderick of the Long Winters is blogging for Seattle Weekly.

Rolling Stone lists an essential album-by-album guide to the Kinks.

Wired's Listening Post blog profiles, where individuals can invest in unsigned bands.

The idea is to tap a band's online fan base to generate cash for recording and production costs, and in the process help musicians that are hot on MySpace move to the next level. The model is so intriguing that wants in on the action, although regulatory hurdles could keep music-investment sites from taking off in the United States.

In an op-ed piece, the Denver Post wonders where the superheroes have gone in popular culture.

Pitchfork selected half the soundtrack to the Major League Baseball 2K8 video game.

At the BBC's website you can make your own Dr. Who comic.

Casey Dienel talks to Venus Zine about her new band, White Hinterland.

Whereas Canary was a more straightforward recollection of resolvable stories sung by a 19-year-old, Factory represents a move to something more nebulous. “I thought it was time to embrace that side of myself rather than try to be the singer-songwriter that I never really was,” she says.

IGN creates an ultimate Morrissey mixtape.

The Futurist offers a couple of in-studio mp3s from the Whigs' recent WOXY Lounge Act session.

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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