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March 6, 2008


Pitchfork's Guest List features Tom and Gareth Campesinos!, of Los Campesinos!.

>> Favorite Song Ever

TC: Inevitably, mine's a Pavement song, probably "Gold Soundz". I think it's my idea of the perfect pop song. It has this combination of euphoria and melancholy that Pavement seemed to do so well, and the line, "So drunk, in the August sun/ And you're the kind of girl I like/ Because you're empty, and I'm empty," always gives me goosebumps.

GC: Either "In Accordance to Natural Law" by Bikini Kill-- in 28 seconds it says more than most bands do in an entire discography-- or "Come Out 2Nite" by Kenickie.

The Cincinnati Enquirer profiles local bands headed to SXSW.

The New Statesman interviews singer-songwriter and cartoonist Jeffrey Lewis.

Should politics and art mix?

Politics and art can’t help but mix. If art is simply a balm of escapism, then the political repercussions of that art serve to mollify and blind people. This is not to say that in its highest forms art should be proselytising or annoying. Don’t like homophobic lyrics? Go write something more intelligent and enlightened – but at the end of the day it comes down to whichever is the more awesome song.

The Age profiles Zach Condon of Beirut.

It's a story as old as time itself: teenager from New Mexico drops out of high school, relocates to Paris, goes travelling through Eastern Europe in search of Balkan gypsy music, makes an album marrying Balkan horns to Magnetic Fields-ish pop songs, becomes rousing indie success story and tours the world before he hits 21. Welcome to the life of Zach Condon, leader of the one-man band turned 10-piece touring behemoth, Beirut.

An SFist blogger offers his Noise Pop 2008 experiences from the perspective of the merch booth.

Friday: We took a break from volunteering and attended the Mountain Goats show at Bimbo's, accompanied by Jeffrey Lewis & the Jitters, Okay, and Aim Low Kid (disclosure: they're fronted by our spouse). It was another stellar night with a really happy crowd and happy and talented bands. We were thrilled to see the Mountain Goats live, and we are now even more enamored with John Darnielle. Behind his awkward storyteller persona, he is a charismatic and top-notch entertainer, and his drummer and bass player amazed us as well.

Wilco's Jeff Tweedy writes about his migraine suffering in the New York Times.

In the worst periods of migraine suffering — in particular during the making of the record “A Ghost Is Born” —the cycle of pain and pain relief and pain killer abuse got really difficult to dig out of. I was rarely able to function for more than a few hours a day. For a lot of that record I was just trying not to be too drugged out and as a result I was suffering from enormous migraine type throbbing pain. Quite a bit of that came out on “A Ghost Is Born.” There is a lot of material that mirrored my condition. In particular there’s a piece of music — “Less Than You Think” — that ends with a 12-minute drone that was an attempt to express the slow painful rise and dissipation of migraine in music. I don’t know why anyone would need to have that expressed to them musically. But it was all I had.

Glide interviews Stephen Malkmus about his new album, Real Emotional Trash.

The last three albums have been a bit dark, especially compared to your first solo album Stephen Malkmus, and Real Emotional Trash only really has one pop song – “Gardenia.” Is there a reason for that?

I like tougher or darker sounds – that feeling is more what I get from music. I like beautiful things too, but it’s basically against the system, or something. It’s about the underside of feelings, sort of a release, a chance to just go and rip. You’re allowed to do that there. You’re not really allowed to do that so often. But you can control it, obviously, into a form. It’s not all release; it shows man’s urge to make something that has craft, but just on the darker end of the street.

Smashing lists 25 brilliant animated short movies.

Drowned in Sound interviews Nina Persson of the Cardigans about the band's new greatest hits album.

You don’t sound like you’re likely to be playing these songs into your forties or fifties, then…

We’re not The Rolling Stones! So nope, I don’t think that’ll happen. I am glad we’re putting the Best Of out now – I’m really proud of it and it’s really fun. And I wouldn’t have this house without its songs!

Seth Godin has transcribed a speech he made about the music industry and placed it on his blog.

Music is not in trouble. I believe more people are listening to more music now than any time in the history of the world. Probably five times more than twenty years ago...that much! But, the music business is in trouble. And the reason the music business is in trouble is because remember all those pieces of good news?...every single one of them is not true anymore. Every. One. Now, if you want to, you can curse the fact the Solomon’s couldn’t figure out how to keep the tower going. You can curse the fact that it’s really easy to copy a CD. You can curse the fact that we don’t care about the American top 40. You can curse the fact that there isn’t top 40 radio that matters. What good is that going to do? Or, we could think about the fact that you have more momentum and more assets and more talented people than any body else.

The Wall Street Journal profile mp3 blogs that feature out-of -print vinyl albums.

Mr. Franken, a 38-year old dispatcher for a sprinkler company from Los Angeles, says the idea behind the site was to write about the most obscure artists he and his friends could find, like country singer Joan Harris and '60s pop-singer Trini Lopez. They tend to stick with hard-to-find music, Mr. Franken says. But occasionally they write about famous artists if they can dig up embarrassing old recordings, like the little-known band called Attila that features a young Billy Joel. A 1970 album cover features Mr. Joel and a band mate dressed like Attila the Hun surrounded by sides of beef.

Cracked lists 8 upcoming movie adaptations that must be stopped.

The Minnesota Daily profiles cartoonist Alison Bechdel.

Steve Earle talks to Vue Weekly.

“Now, I ‘m having to rethink things,” he continues. “My manager and I talked about it recently—you know, should I be thinking in terms of singles for downloads. And the answer is, probably for me, ‘No.’ I mean, if I come up with something that I just really need to get out there that’s not part of an album, I can do that now and I think that’s really cool, but it sort of brings the single back. But at the same time my fans still buy CDs and I don’t sell less records than I did 10 years ago. I’m lucky in that the people that buy my records, they still want a CD.”

Exclaim examines the oddness that is Rachael Ray's SXSW music showcase.

"I'm not aware about what blogs were saying about me," Ray told MTV News on Tuesday (March 4). "But I don't see why we'd be out of place down there, when we're just fans of music who decided to put on a show. I guess if they don't like good music, and they don't like good food, they don't have to go."

Bob Mould talks to the Cleveland Scene.

Mould says his musical extremes have much in common: Whether it's unstrained hardcore slamming or big-beat house, both demand physical reactions from audiences. "In early hardcore punk, the dancing and the ritual were different, but [the punks are] a bunch of guys dancing, either way you look at it," he says. "There are [dance] pieces that have [hardcore's] kind of density. I don't know that they have the speed or aggression, but a lot of it has big, dense layers of sounds, which are things that I've always enjoyed."

A Stranger reporter interviews himself about a failed interview with Stephin Merritt of Magnetic Fields.

That sounds perfectly lovely.

Yeah, but what these recollections can't capture is the deep, inherent contempt for the whole interview endeavor that seems to radiate from the core of Merritt's being. Maybe it's deep thoughtfulness or light Asperger's, but it affects me like the smell of burning hair. And here's where my deep love and admiration for Merritt's work bites me in the ass as an interviewer: The way I see it, the world is packed with people with decent social skills and zero songwriting ability, and those rare folks with world-historically brilliant songwriting abilities and compromised social skills are worth coddling. Maybe if I weren't so admiring and protective of Stephin Merritt's artistry I'd be able to interrogate the shit out of him, go for the jugular with questions sure to piss him off and clam him up, like, "Why do you still agree to do interviews when it's clear you'd rather eat glass?" or ridiculously offensive stuff like, "Why do you hate black people so much?" Maybe if I weren't such a fan, I could at least force him to be the one who hangs up..

Kelley Deal of the Breeders talks to Eye Weekly about the band's new album, Mountain Battles.

“I’ve never felt excited about bands on tour. I never want to hear more than three new songs, just the old stuff. But this time, I’ve told Kim we should just start off with [1993 hit] ‘Cannonball’ and only play the new album from there.”

The Telegraph remembers Gary Gygax (who developed the game Dungeons and Dragons).

Indeed, in one poll Gygax tied with JRR Tolkein (in 13th place) for his influence on gaming in general; perhaps less flatteringly, Sync magazine placed him at No 1 on its list of 50 Greatest Nerds of All Time.

USA Today profiles mother-son authors Anne and Christopher Rice.

Variety points out the "can't miss" shows at SXSW this year.

The Grand Rapids Press reviews the Mountain Goats new album, Heretic Pride.

After who knows how many low-budget, largely solo records under the Mountain Goats name, Darnielle went hi-fi four years and as many albums ago, and the change is suiting him nicely. Understated full-band arrangements and occasional adventurous interludes -- such as the heavily orchestrated "San Bernardino" and the show-tune stomp of closer "Michael Myers Resplendent" -- manage to complement, rather than overwhelm, Darnielle's light touch as a songwriter.

Whigs frontman Parker Gispert talks band names with Harp.

Another band he didn’t know was the Afghan Whigs, some of whose fans aren’t pleased with Gispert’s choice of band name. “With all due respect,” he says, “I don’t feel like it’s like naming the band ‘The Stones.’”

Nick Cave talks to Drowned in Sound about the new Bad Seeds album, Dig, Lazarus, Dig!

He might not be voicing anyone’s concerns but his own, but Dig, Lazarus Dig!!! remains, in its oblique way, as pertinent a record as the Bad Seeds have ever made, full of images of apathy and thwarted desire and voices from the dead.

"What I fell into through the writing of this record," says Cave, "was that the characters seemed to be in a state of inactivity or intense apathy, they were kind of comatose, repeating endlessly the same kind of movement without any effect. They’re completely absent from the event in some way, and that seems to me to echo a genuine malaise in the western world."

NPR's Fresh Air interviews author Richard Price, and excerpts from his latest novel, Lush Life.

Wikibin lists baseball players' entrance music selections.

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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