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April 24, 2008


The 2008 SXSW live music streams and download page has been updated with:

MP3s of performances by Sons and Daughters and Film School.

Seven interviews David Monks of Tokyo Police Club.

The Stranger interviews Peter Moren of Peter Bjorn and John.

We recently had a cleaning day here in the office, we were throwing away old furniture and stuff, and we needed something to listen to, and I put on Writer's Block and it made everyone so energized. The Last Tycoon is much sadder. Are you trying to bring us down?

[Laughs] I'm not. I mean, to me, it's not especially sad. It's probably just that there aren't a lot of drums, basically. I could easily have done this as pop, but then there would have been no point to do it as a solo album, since the band is still around and we're obviously still making music—we're recording a new album right now. There's no point in doing another PBJ record by myself. That would be stupid.

Dan Bejar of Destroyer talks to the Washington Post's Express.

"I'm a huge fan of pop music, but at the same time, I hate popular culture," he explains. "Maybe for that reason I'm never going to get it right, and maybe I'm never going to want to get it right." interviews Joan Jett.

Q. Have you ever considered writing a book about your life and career?

A. To me, it’s more like you wait until you’re like old — 80 or something — to write a book.

Sarah Anderson lists her top ten books about wilderness in the Guardian.

Popmatters reviews Mark Blake's Comfortably Numb: The Inside Story of Pink Floyd.

One of the things that will make Blake’s biography the definitive read on Pink Floyd is its dedication to the circuitous routes of its origin. For reasons of money, obligation or chemistry— the lack of that creative gel that makes a band a band—a number of groups formed the basis for Pink Floyd. The birth of the Floyd engaged many mothers; Blake is an able tour guide, with a map to all the midwives.

The Los Angeles Times profiles the current crop of acts merging electronica with rock music.

The particular strain of acts using electronica structures and rock gestures is still largely an underground phenomenon -- except in the world of hip-hop, where it is already a mainstream trend. Coming off a year when Kanye West sampled Daft Punk and T-Pain made the vocoder a must-have hip-hop accessory, the synthesized sass of Kid Sister, the crackling dub of Santogold and the French Jazzercise rap of Yelle is less striking than it might have been in past years. But each has a gum-snapping charisma and an arresting sense of fashion that's deeply refreshing when mainstream hip-hop has so few rising female stars.

With the mayor naming April "Portland Comics Month," the Portland Mercury examines the city's ties to the comics industry.

The root of Portland's comic book ascendance arguably rests with Dark Horse Comics' Mike Richardson. As Richardson himself says, "I helped bring a huge part of the comics industry here." Dark Horse is both the oldest and the largest of the three local publishers, and many folks in the industry who moved to town to work there have gone on to other projects in the area. The company, which Richardson started in 1986 with a $2,500 credit card, has grown to become the third-largest comics publisher in the United States (behind DC Comics and Marvel). From their Milwaukie headquarters, Dark Horse publishes series like Star Wars and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the television show was cancelled after seven seasons; season eight is currently running in comic book form), as well as well-known titles like Frank Miller's Sin City and Mike Mignola's Hellboy. They're also the longest-running publisher of manga in the US; Richardson's early embrace of Japanese comics proved prescient, as young women have flocked to manga in droves (pounding a few more nails in the Comic Book Guy's coffin). lists thirty ways to celebrate National Poetry Month.

Popmatters interviews author Benjamin Percy.

Could you give an example or two of how one goes about “reinventing a genre” through a literary lens?

I said a moment ago how literary fiction has lost touch with plot. Well, genre fiction too often loses touch with artful language, vivid characterization, the careful carpentry that should go into crafting a story. No matter how much imagination the author puts into the magic or the technology or the action of their story, if I don’t believe fully in the characters and if I’m not moved to scissor out the occasional sentence and frame it on the wall, I end the book with a shrug. The work I enjoy most fuses the best qualities in each. Look at Cormac McCarthy, Michael Chabon, and Margaret Atwood as prime examples.

Book Glutton is an innovative online book club offering e-books as part of its interactive experience.

Robert Rich explains how a musical artist can survive with only "1,000 true fans."

A few days ago, I got a question from Kevin Kelly (founding editor of Wired Magazine) asking me to give some real-world insight upon his theory that an internet-age artist can survive with around 1,000 “True Fans.” Stephen Hill from Hearts of Space had suggested that Kevin should contact Steve Roach and me because we each have been surviving in a likewise manor for a rather long time. I decided to write a long and carefully worded answer, speaking as close to the truth as I could. I recommend you read the original article that I’m responding to, if this interests you. It’s at

The New Statesman reviews the animated film adaptation of Persepolis.

The drawings capture Marji's bewilderment at her rapidly changing surroundings so precisely that it is hard to imagine a live-action version carrying the same resonance. When she visits her dissident uncle in a Gothic prison cell rendered in charcoal smudges, the soft, clear lines of her own body make it seem as if she's strayed into the wrong comic book - something more sinister, to which children of her age should not be exposed.

Ryan McPhun of the Ruby Suns lists some of his favorite things for Pitchfork.

>> Last Great Book I Read

I've been really into Haruki Murakami. I've read a couple of his things: the one book and a couple short stories. I'm about to read Kafka on the Shore, which I've heard is really good. I don't read as much as I should or as much as I want to, but at the moment I'm reading a biography on Phil Spector, which is pretty interesting. I think it's called He's a Rebel. [He's a Rebel: Phil Spector, Rock and Roll's Legendary Producer by Mark Ribowsky --Ed.]

The Bowery Boys examines the history of New York City i video games [via].

WXPN's World Cafe interviews singer-songwriter Tift Merritt.

At the Huffington Post, authors Liza Palmer and Megan Crane discuss the literary label "Chick-lit."

Omnivoracious asks authors to pair beers with a specific book.

Fanciful pairings or not, Groff’s, Nash’s, and Lebbon’s suggestions are rooted in reality--whereas Michael Chabon and Daniel Grandbois seemed to have been drinking from the same strange, other-worldly brew when they responded. Chabon rightly pointed out that “The proper pairing with The Yiddish Policemen's Union would of course be a nice cold bottle of Bruner Adler lager, brewed right in the Federal District of Sitka by Shoymer Brewing, Inc.”

The paperback version of The Yiddish Policeman's Union will be available next week.

Entertainment Weekly offers a reading list to peruse before you see this summer;s comic book films.

Wired examines how Leinad Zeraus created a hit with his self-published novel, Daemon.

Silicon Valley isn't usually where aspiring authors go to kick-start a literary reputation. But for first-time novelist Leinad Zeraus, it proved the ideal launching pad: Sans publicist, promotional budget, or even publisher, Zeraus scored encomiums for his debut work, Daemon. How'd he do it? By courting bloggers and influential techies like Joi Ito, Stewart Brand, and Craig Newmark — demonstrating that if you can get the geek grapevine on your side, you don't need Random House.

The BBC Sound Index rates music artists by a combination of music sales and social network activity.

Cracked lists 8 (pointless) laws all comic book movies follow.

Minnesota Public Radio's The Current features Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion with an in-studio performance and interview.

T.U.B.E. (The Ultimate Bootleg Experience) offers a 12-disc mp3 download of "the complete bootleg Woodstock."

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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