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April 10, 2008

Shorties

The Charleston Post and Courier interviews Explosions in the Sky drummer Chris Hrasky.

Preview: What's the band's musical taste like?

Hrasky: We listen to some of the more weird, actually weird isn't correct, but we listen to all kinds of music. We listen to a little composer music from people like Arvo Part, a composer Markoff, he's amazing. Then we listen to more common stuff like Phillip Glass and even Kanye West, but we really do listen to all kinds of music.


The Villanovan lists the top ten classic rock albums of all time.


The Santa Rosa Press Democrat interviews Ani DiFranco.

It was from the ground up from the very beginning. Has your relationship with your fans changed over the years? I imagine it's been a challenge. We could talk about lesbians feeling betrayed when you got married.

Now, I love my relationship with my audience. It's really mutually respectful and kind of deep. I've always been willing to go there and those who have hung around are willing to meet me there. It's really cool now. I think in year's past it was really frenetic and sort of rock star fan dynamic. People screaming in your face and wanting locks of your hair and vials of your blood, which is not really human and doesn't really do anywhere. But now that dynamic has long since leveled out. And the audience that still comes out to my shows, I think we've both matured and chilled out and it's a really sincere connection at this point that's fortifying on both sides.


The Portland Mercury reviews Jeff Gordinier's book, X Saves the World.

X Saves the World is motivational literature for an audience that scorns motivational literature. Gordinier picks apart Baby Boomer bullshit and makes us feel good about ourselves when that isn't a feeling that comes easily. Our generation, he reminds us, brought forth Apple, Google, and Yahoo. Our musicians changed the face of rock, and our writers and filmmakers changed narrative storytelling. Our activists don't hold hands and sing songs, they're actually in the trenches working for change. Just as Tom Brokaw's books remind us how everyone born right after 1945 is a worthless piece of shit, so Gordinier focuses on how super-great Xers are.

see also: Gordinier's Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay for the book


Okkervil River frontman Will Scheff talks to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about the band's "lit-rock" tag.

"My only objection to it is very simple, and that is ultimately it just doesn't seem very descriptive," he says. "Music is music; it's not literature. A pop song is a pop song; it's not a novel. And it always smacked a little of literature somehow being better or more noble than pop songs. I kind of resent that idea. I kind of resent the idea that anyone's going to want to say they're just slumming in pop music or they need to dress it up in a fancy coat and tails for it to go to the ball.
Okkervil River

"It just seems pretentious to me, and I don't think it's the kind of thing I'd want to listen to. 'Oh, yeah, there's this band and they're totally like literature.' I'd be like, 'What the [expletive] would I want to listen to that for? You know, I'll read a book instead.' "


The Detroit Free Press interviews Hayden.

Q: You're touring with Feist, whose music was opened up to a whole new audience when her song "1234" was featured in an iPod Nano commercial. Do you ever wish you had prime song placement like that?

A: I don't know. I don't wish for it. I mean luckily or unluckily, I kind of had a bit of a feel for a certain type of success very early on in my career. The idea of respect means quite a bit more to me than people loving one of my songs. I don't know if that comes across the right way, but the great thing about someone like Feist is that it will never be about one song for her.

It's a tough one because everyone who gets exposed to her from one song will find out the rest of the whole of her from that, and that's their entry point. They won't be disappointed when they find out what she's all about. I guess if an artist has a lot of substance and not just one song, I guess it doesn't matter. It's a starting point.


Singer-songwriter Thao Nguyen talks songwriting with the Portland Mercury.

She's mastered the time-tested songwriting trope of pairing a melancholy lyric with an upbeat tune, but it's rarely a deliberate trick.

"It's conscious as far as both those elements are what I really enjoy in music as a listener," she explains. "It's more fun as a writer and a performer to do upbeat music. But when I write, there's probably something bad going on, something not as cheerful."


ReadWriteWeb reports that since Last.fm started streaming full songs, their music sales have increased 119%.

Not only has this on-demand service been good for Last.fm - minutes spent on site are up 118% month-on-month - the service is good for partners, too, like Amazon, whose overall CD and download sales through Last.fm increased by 119%. And since the service launched, Last.fm users are purchasing 66% more albums than before.


Baby Got Books lists the upcoming US reading dates for Steven Hall, author of The Raw Shark Texts.

see also: Hall's Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay for the novel


Pop Candy raves about Hillary Carlip's latest book.

In XXXXXXXX/ref=nosim/largeheartedb-20">A la Cart: The Secret Lives of Grocery Shoppers (Virgin Books, $17.95), author Hillary Carlip transforms found grocery lists -- something she has been collecting since her teens -- into a series of imaginative stories and photographs. The pics and essays are funny, bizarre, puzzling and quite entertaining.

see also: Carlip's largehearted Boy Book Notes essay for her memoir, Queen of the Oddballs


T-shirt of the day: "Apple Timeline"


PaulWesterberg.net is holding a "Mats Madness" pitting Replacements albums and the band members' solo efforts against each other. [via]


JamBase interviews Nat Baldwin of the Dirty Projectors.


Paste examines this year's Bumbershoot lineup.


The Guardian's books blog asks readers for their favorite last lines of books.


Ra Ra Riot violinist Rebecca Zeller talks to the Dallas Observer about the band's Arcade Fire comparisons.

"I'm not bothered by it," Ra Ra Riot violinist Rebecca Zeller says over her cell phone as her band's van travels from San Francisco to Los Angeles. "I just think it's a lazy comparison. If you read enough music journalism, though, you start to understand that journalists need something to compare different bands to."


The Tuscaloosa News calls for a Nobel prize for Bob Dylan.

Dylan, who has also written books of poetry and an autobiography of questionable veracity, joins jazz musicians Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane in getting a "Special Citation Award" from the Pulitzer Board, so he is in pretty good company.

But if you ask me, I think he should also get the Nobel Prize for literature before his travelling days are done. And I am dead serious about this -- if the Nobel can be given to obscure Egyptian poets and the like, why not a musician who has written some of the most extraordinary verse of our age?


For the New York Times' Paper Cuts blog, Michael Walker, author of Laurel Canyon: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll’s Legendary Neighborhood, creates a music playlist where every song "was either written in or about Laurel Canyon, or the performer lived there."


With National Record Store Day Saturday, the Washington City Paper interviews two local independent record store owners.


John Congleton of the Paper Chase talks to the Dallas Observer about Bruce Springsteen's influence on his music.

"One thing that has definitely influenced me is [his songwriting]," he says. "Especially around the time of Born to Run, from that point on, he really seemed to make sure that every song had this great apex or climax where the character and the narrative of the story hit its peak, and the realization was made. He made sure everything built up to that one moment. That's one thing a lot of artists forget, especially in pop music. They concentrate on writing a hook or a catchy chorus, and they forget that a song needs to have moments...That's what I try to take from him and put in my music."


The New York Press examines how indie rock has morphed into adult contemporary.

For the greatest number of casual listeners to this new, hybrid genre—and granted these folks are generally the latecomers—notions of what’s indie and what’s adult contemporary are seldom, if ever, points of discussion. They simply don’t know, nor do they care to.


John Vanderslice lists his favorite spring jams for the Riverfront Times.

6. Bowerbirds, "Dark Horse" (2007's Hymns for a Dark Horse)

A beautiful, beautiful song. We toured with them last year, and I really, really want to tour with those guys again. I love the bands that we tour with, I always pick stuff that I listen to on my own and that I want to hear every night. That was a band we all went out and watched every night before we played. They were just a really, really amazing band to watch.

Vanderslice also talks to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

"The real problem for me is that the lyrics come first," Vanderslice said. "It's very difficult for me to start with the music first … it feels backwards. So, literally, when I'm writing, I go back to the LPs I listened to. I use the two sides of an album as a framework, as a way to provide myself structure and context.


The Nashville Scene eulogizes the music magazine No Depression.

Plenty of new music strikes people’s ears in an urgent way at first, but rarely does it inspire a whole new magazine. No Depression arose to commend the fresh, rough-edged way Farrar, Tweedy and others were ramming grungy rock and country together. (Disclosure: This writer’s been contributing to ND for the past three years.) The magazine was chock full of Uncle Tupelo references. The name itself came from the title track of the band’s 1990 debut—a song also performed by the Carter Family a half-century earlier—and various departments were named after other Uncle Tupelo songs. “I never quite had a handle on it myself as to why they named their magazine that,” Farrar says.


a href="http://nymag.com/anniversary/40th/culture/45763/index1.html">New Yorke magazine lists "26 works of lapidary New Yorkitude" from the past 40 years.


NPR's Fresh Air features an interview with the members of REM about the band's new album Accelerate.


WNYC's Soundcheck features an in-studio performance by My Brightest Diamond's Shara Worden backed by a string quartet.


Nextbook features a lengthy excerpt from Keith Gessen's novel, All the Sad Literary Men.



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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