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April 4, 2008


Yesterday's addition to the list of 2008 SXSW streaming and downloadable music performances:

A bittorrent download of the Breeders' KEXP performance.

The Independent profiles the rise of concert promoter Live Nation.

With traditional record labels such as EMI and Universal Music watching their CD sales collapse by 25 per cent over the past two years, the music industry is indeed in a state of profound change, and that has given Michael Rapino, chief executive at Live Nation, his chance to pounce. "I am the worst enemy of the labels," he said recently.

The power shift reflects a money shift. Following the advent of internet file-sharing, a whole generation of music fans don't pay to download songs. They do pay to go see their favourite artists perform live, or for a T-shirt. Major artists might now get three-quarters of their income from touring.

Slate profiles Frederic Wertham, the spearhead of the anti-comics movement in the late 1940's and 1950's.

As David Hajdu reminds us in his new book, The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America, Wertham's ideas had remarkably wide currency in postwar America. Countless religious and patriotic organizations organized book burnings to set comics aflame, and leading politicians held congressional hearings where William Gaines, the owner of EC Comics, publisher of the gory Tales From the Crypt and the satiric Mad comic book (later retooled as a magazine), was grilled as if he were a mobster.

Oregonian profiles the novel Sometimes a Great Notion, recently voted by booksellers and writers the most "essential Northwest book."

"I think 'Sometimes a Great Notion' is the best thing I'll ever write," he said in 1997. "Writing it was much different from 'Cuckoo's Nest,' which often seemed like filling in the blanks. 'Notion,' to my mind, is a great piece of work. People sometimes ask me why I don't write something like that again and I reply that I simply can't."

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

Guardian readers recommend songs about Asia.

The Reading Experience writes a post-mortem for the Litblog Co-op.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune tries to interview Nellie McKay, then asks others for their opinions of the singer-songwriter.

"Nellie is very well put together, very cool, big hair, dressed up like a 1948 babe, a real actress, which you can tell from the perfect diction," Keillor said via e-mail. "Her stuff is hip and funny, but what got the ['Prairie Home'] audience was her rendition of an old love song, 'If I Had You,' and the lines about climbing a snow-capped mountain and crossing the burning desert, which she did with sweet dedication. She's a torch singer posing as a downtown songwriter."

Author Maya Angelou talks to the Scotsman.

Tomorrow she will celebrate her birthday with a party in Florida, thrown by her close friend the talk-show host Oprah Winfrey. "It's going to be a surprise, but I love surprises," she says. "We all have that child in us, the one who wants to be a little afraid, but delighted. That's what a surprise is. You look forward to it with just a little trepidation." The day will have particularly poignancy for her, however, it also being the 40th anniversary of the death of her great friend Dr Martin Luther King Jr. For years after his assassination, she refused to celebrate her birthday, preferring instead to take the time to remember Dr King with his wife, Coretta. Until Coretta's death in 2006, each year on Angelou's birthday the two friends would talk on the telephone and send each other flowers.

CNET's MP3 Insider blog examines the effects of ten years of mp3 players.

The Washington Square News examines the history of the Vocoder in hip hop.

The Rocky Mount Telegram wonders what digital downloads mean for B-sides.

Boldtype has a new issue online dedicated to sound. Included are a three-step guide to music-niche books.

Drowned in Sound interviews Kim Deal of the Breeders.

You collaborated with Steve Albini again on Mountain Battles. What's he like to work with?

KD: Y'know, if you've got a couple of hundred bucks you can fly over here and find out for yourself. He'll book with anybody! I like him. First of all he records analogue which I prefer. I don't hate digital but most people hate analogue. Not Albini, he's one of the few people that actually records with it. I still think it's weird to record digital; it's unnatural because the dimension of time is taken out of the equation. It's like plugging a guitar into a calculator. Oh... did I answer you question about Albini?

The Independent gives the album one star out of five, and the Times Online gives it four of five.

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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