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April 20, 2008


WXPN features a stream from Kate Nash's recent World Cafe performance.

Billy Bragg talks to the Philadelphia Inquirer about the future of music.

He says, "I don't know what the industry is going to look like in years to come. But people are still going to make music, and people are still going to want to hear music." He warns about "criminalizing our audience - that's not the way to go," and adds, "I don't think people are interested in giving money to corporations any more, but they're willing to fund people who make music they love."

The Vancouver Province lists five "other super supergroups" (besides the Raconteurs).

The Newark Star-Ledger reports from New York's Comic-Con.

Some came for autographs, or to catch a glimpse of a legendary comic book artist. Others were there to browse the seemingly endless rows of tables piled with graphic novels and shelves filled with Japanese anime figurines. Plenty of fans flocked to the New York Comic Con in midtown Manhattan yesterday for a chance to dress up like Luke Skywalker or Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Whitney Matheson at USA Today's Pop Candy is offering daily reports from the comic convention.

The Washington Post reviews Keith Gessen's debut novel, All the Sad Young Literary Men.

As the passages quoted above make plain, he has a deft satiric touch and a nice feel for irony. He gets a little soft in the closing chapter, which mixes Keith's evolving personal life with Washington's evolving political life in 2006 and 2007, but ending novels is almost never easy, and it's a perennial problem for first novelists. It will be interesting to see whether, the second time around, Gessen pulls himself out of self and into the larger world, or whether he succumbs to the navel-gazing that too many literary American novelists find so tempting. There can be no doubt, though, that he has plenty of talent to work with.

Comic Book Resources offers an introduction to Speed Racer.

In the Los Angeles Times, Rupert Smith (whose pen name as an erotic fiction author is James Lear) explains the appeal of the genre.

The commercial success of erotic literature was the first of many surprises in this journey into a publishing parallel universe. As my Agatha Christie spoof and last year's follow-up -- a same-sex, mixed-race take on the Civil War -- reached ever more readers, I went on to MySpace to do some audience research. Many of them, as I expected, were gay men. But far more were women, most of them straight. This was a shock. "Why?" I asked. "Because I like men," replied one female fan, "and as far as I'm concerned, one man good, two men better." Another related how James Lear was now her favorite bedtime reading -- and after lights out, she jumped onto her (presumably) grateful husband to put theory into practice.

Crain's New York Business examines music magazine's struggle for survival in the internet age.

“We're putting money in Pandora and other music [sites] that in the olden days would probably all have gone to Rolling Stone,” says Scott Daly, executive media director at advertising agency Dentsu America, who still places ads in the Wenner Media title. “We're trying to reach young, early adopters—which Rolling Stone reaches, but it doesn't have a lock on them.”

The San Bernardino County Sun profiles the major bands playing the Coachella music festival next weekend.

The Times Online profiles the Ting Tings.

It’s a Thursday night, and most of Exeter’s 16,000 students are away for the Easter holidays. But at only their second-ever headline show, this Manchester boy-girl duo are causing a good-natured riot. You could call the Ting Tings the upside-down White Stripes. Or you could just call them the best new band in Britain, a best new band who have done everything themselves.

Author Sebastian Faulks shares a week of his life with the Observer.

On Wednesday, I finally committed to the digital age with a website, The idea is that I will never again have to answer the question: 'What first drew you to France?' because I have done so there, at length, under FAQs.

It has a beautiful design, but the Webmaster - a digital Aragorn in the bowels of Random House - tells me that the first email to arrive asks: 'Is Mike Engleby based on a real person?' Oh God.

A Fine Frenzy's Alison Sudol talks to the Times Online.

Alison Sudol confesses: “I’m not very rock’n’roll.” The 23-year-old, California-based singer-songwriter, who performs under the Shakespearian pseudonym A Fine Frenzy, continues: “I don’t drink, I don’t smoke and I don’t party after a gig. I prefer to read.” Not that she’s a typical LA girl: pale of skin, russet of hair and bee-stung of lip, she’s about as far removed from the blonde, tanned surfer-girl stereotype as you could get. “I swear a lot!” she adds.

see also: Sudol's recent Largehearted Boy Note Books essay, where she shares her favorite books

The Guardian examines the state of the music blog.

The trend built slowly at first - Fluxblog, Stereogum and Said the Gramophone were pioneers - and then, over the last couple of years, it avalanched. Today, the blog index site Hype Machine lists more than 1,700 regularly updated MP3 blogs in regular use and there are certainly many more in operation. All musical tastes are catered to, and the music, much of it brand new or pending release, can be taken for free, no strings attached.

Paste's band of the week is Colour Revolt.

With the release of Plunder on Fat Possum, Colour Revolt has made a musical statement that manages to combine the atmospheric dynamics they've honed from those grueling road exercises with the prismatic reality of life in Oxford, a Deep South college town that's as proud of its literature as it is of its grits. Light years away from the more straightforward angular indie rock of the members' previous band (Fletcher), Colour Revolt's sound is bathed in a peculiar kind of swampy, sonic gravy that evokes the explorations of other underground bands—from The Grifters to Band of Horses—with roots below the Mason-Dixon Line. offers downloadable audiobook mp3s of public domain books, as well as streaming audio complete with text.

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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