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April 11, 2008

Shorties

USA Today profiles Kaki King.

Finding her voice: After recording two albums of instrumentals, King first sang on her 2006 disc, …Until We Felt Red. "I had been singing in other people's bands and writing pop songs," she says. "It's just that the solo guitar thing was such a powerful idiom to discipline yourself to play within." The melody-rich Dreaming of Revenge combines oblique songs and swirling instrumentals, giving King her most well-rounded effort to date. "At some point you stop being a 'guitar player,' you stop being a 'songwriter,' and you start becoming a musician all over," she says.


Gothamist interviews former Feelies frontman Glenn Mercer.

What have you noticed has changed the most about the NY music scene over the past few decades?

At the time when the Feelies started, struggling musicians flocked from all across the country to New York City to follow their dreams and they were able to survive on a very basic level. Loft space was still affordable and there were places to play even when starting out. Now, that is not a reality and musicians and artists don’t have that kind of support system anymore.


Londonist interviews former Arab Strap member Malcolm Middleton.

You're always being labelled as being miserable. Do you think people miss the humour in your music?

Not really, the humour's not the first thing on display, it's the in-joke if you get where I'm coming from. I don't have a problem with it because I am miserable sometimes, and the fact is, if I'm only going to put one part of myself on display, I can't really complain. It's an easy thing to say as a lot of my music is melancholic and downbeat, but if you listen to other people's albums, I don't recall everyone suddenly being happy and I'm like the miserable one on the other side of the coin. Most pop songs are about someone leaving you and wanting them back.


Salman Rushdie talks to the Independent about his new novel, The Enchantress of Florence.

The author stresses that he deals in historical fiction, not topical allegory or coded polemic. "When I'm writing a book, sentence by sentence, I'm not thinking theoretically. I'm just trying to work out the story from inside the characters I've got." His novel may feature a prince who hopes that "in Paradise, the words 'worship' and 'argument' mean the same thing", but he has no particular message for believers, or unbelievers, today. "My impulse was not didactic. It was the novelist's impulse: to bring things to life in an interesting way. I don't like books that seem to want to teach me things. Which is not to say that one doesn't learn from books – but you do your own learning in your own way."


Minnesota Public Radio profiles Tapes 'n Tapes.

Tapes 'n Tapes benefited enormously from the almost universal praise music blogs heaped on "The Loon."

So far, "Walk it off" is getting mixed reviews in the blogosphere, although it seems there are more positives than negatives. Ross Raihala says in the case of Tapes 'n Tapes, some kind of backlash was to be expected.

"The blogs kind of have this attitude like 'Well, we created you and we can destroy you too,' which sounds kind of melodramatic but that's kind of how it is," he said. "So there's a lot of people gunning for them to fail because it makes for good blog reading."


Mat Brooke of Grand Archives talks to JamBase about his musical past (and present).

Bottom line is, Brooke just wasn't feeling the music. While it was Band of Horses that introduced most of the world to Mat Brooke, after graduating high school he had toiled for almost a decade in Carissa's Wierd (yes that's how it is spelled) and he was ready to move past the melancholy rock these bands were building. "Carissa's Wierd was super, just depressing music," sighs Brooke. "Band of Horses wasn't necessarily depressing, but [Grand Archives is] kind of aiming for this record to shoot for a little more of a life-doesn't-suck-that-bad kind of feel."


io9 profiles the new project of Heroes creator Tim Kring and author Dale Peck, a fiction trilogy.

In Kring and Peck's trilogy, a man named Chandler Forrest takes part in LSD experiments administered by the CIA in the 1960s, and gains strange abilities. Given the fact that the book spans four or five decades, you can expect it to be sort of sprawling and involve tons of intricate conspiracies. Besides trashing Rick Moody (and David Foster Wallace, and Jonathan Franzen) Peck is best known for the 1993 AIDS novel Martin and John. His most recent novel, The Garden Of Lost and Found, was about a Midwesterner who moves to New York, but you can't read it because it got withdrawn in the wake of the closure of Carroll & Graf when parent company Avalon changed hands.


Solar Flare lists the top ten science fiction books that should be movies.


Comics Should Be Good is counting down the top 100 comic book series as voted by its readers.


Billboard interviews Liz Phair about the Exile on Guyville reissue.

Why did you decide to sign with ATO for the re-release of "Guyville" and your new record?

Liz Phair: I missed being on an indie. I never wanted to go to a major in the first place, but Matador basically sold me to Capitol, and when they divested, I was left there. It has been a long time since I could do what I wanted. When I was on Capitol, I tried to adapt and make the best of it, but I can honestly say, for the first time in 15 years, I feel creative. I don't have to start with a mindset that thinks about how to sell the record and works backward.


Jay Weinstein, author of The Ethical Gourmet, is blogging at the Weather Channel's Forecast Earth blog.


The Telegraph profiles Bryan Ferry.

This particular rock star is known for his exacting taste in, well, everything - suits, paintings, cars, women, houses, wine, even interior design (Nicky Haslam once said that Ferry was more likely to redecorate a hotel room than to trash it). And he is capable of making grown producers cry with his, shall we say, attention to detail in the studio (his album 'Mamouna', released in 1994, featured 112 musicians and took five years to complete). Also, he is quite a strict and controlling father to his four grown-up sons (his words not mine). He is traditional, believes manners maketh man and likes to have the dinner table set properly.


WXPN is streaming a live performance by Kaki King at noon eastern today.


The Muhlenberg Weekly interviews Alison Sudol of A Fine Frenzy.

AN: On your official website, you are described as growing up having "developed a strong love for the fantastic literary worlds of CS Lewis, EB White, Lewis Carroll and Charles Dickens, while becoming a passionate author in her own right." Do you consider yourself solely a songwriter, or do you dabble in other fields of writing as well?

AS: Well songwriting is my passion, it's the thing that wakes me up in the morning and really drives me. On the other hand, I'm writing a book, a young adult book, and that's really just for my own peace of mind, it's relaxing to me. So maybe if I'm not inspired to write a song, I can work on that, it's kind of holding itself really well, but I'm primarily a songwriter. I just love to tell stories and I find them and sometimes I feel like I discover them and have to write them.


SUNY Geneseo's Lamron interviews Colin Meloy.

The Lamron: Do you have any plans for a solo studio album?

CM: You know, it's crossed my mine, but I think if I were to do it, it would just be a Decemberists record, I mean, without the input of the four other people who are in the Decemberists. For now I think that everything that I write is sort of Decemberists material, so I don't see any reason to put the songs anywhere else.


A.C. Newman of the New Pornographers talks to Columbus Alive!.

"Things change when it becomes your job," Newman said. "There's a lot more to lose now."

As for his music's future direction, Newman claims ignorance. Now that the somber sounds of his solo release have bled into his main band, the distinction between an A.C. Newman album and a New Pornographers album has blurred. So he's just writing what comes to him and waiting like the rest of us to see how it turns out.

"Maybe my solo album will be more rock," he said, almost as if asking a question.


John Vanderslice talks songwriting with the PSU Daily Collegian.

"Mostly, songwriting for me is not a sustained argument or a warning or a moral argument at all," Vanderslice said. "It's just an impressionistic, surrealistic approach to what I'm feeling. ... It's not like I'm standing outside of this and shedding a tear. I'm completely confused and amazed and depressed just as much as anyone else is."


The Silicon Valley Insider examines Buzznet's apparent music blog acquisition strategy.

The Stereogum thing was one-off, he says. And "we're not interested in representing 5,10, 15 sites and selling their ads. That's not our business." Instead, he says, Buzznet wants to build -- you guessed it -- "communities".

The other version of the story: We're told that music bloggers kibitzing at sites like Elbows say that no one they know has taken Buzznet up on the offer described above, whatever that amounts to. We can't verify those discussions ourselves, because while the main part of the forum site is open, there are special music bloggers-only threads, and we don't know the secret handshake.


NPR's All Songs Considered previews spring's most anticipated album releases.


Entertainment Weekly asks cartoonists which comic book first caught their interest.


Drowned in Sound profiles the Scottish record label Chemikal Underground.


Shearwater will preview their new album Rook live at two special concerts: May 5th in New York and May 29th in Austin.



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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