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May 8, 2008

Shorties

The University of Wisconsin's Daily Cardinal lists an assortment of study break songs.


The Georgia Strait profiles El Perro del Mar's Sarah Assbring.

Assbring acknowledges that El Perro del Mar seems tailor-made for May days when the world seems colour-saturated with tulips and daffodils. With From the Valley to the Stars, though, she had something bigger in mind.

“I understand how you could place the albums in totally different seasons,” she says. “With this one [Valley], though, I think I’d rather have it placed in a space where there are no seasons. The triggering idea for the album was that time when you’re flying and you get just above the clouds and realize that the sun is always shining.”


MP3.com interviews singer-songwriter Sera Cahoone.


The Chicago Reader profiles Sybris.

The album Sybris recorded at Pachyderm, Into the Trees (Absolutely Kosher), is more modest than the legendary albums from the studio, but the tunes wouldn’t sound out of place on a mix tape next to Nirvana or early PJ Harvey. Sybris’s jumbo guitar tones and uncomplicated songwriting style have a lot in common with the unflashy 90s indie rock that most of the band came of age listening to. “We weren’t trying to be more grunge or anything,” says Naumann, and Mullenhour cuts in to explain: “The grunge is in us,” she says.


The Georgia Straight profiles Lykke Li.

“It’s pleasant to have all this hype on blogs, but it’s going to be gone tomorrow,” she suggests. “What happens if the Internet crashes—is my career over? I’d much rather be like Edith Piaf, just singing on the streets for years and then reaching out to people.”

Eye Weekly also interviews Li.


Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend talks to the Telegraph.

When he was a child, his parents would play him British music by the Beatles, the Specials and Ian Dury, as well as Talking Heads records. "It made me realise that music is a fusion of elements. Even Ian Dury has an African influence here and there." But the influence is there to complement the group's sound, not to define it. As Talking Heads' David Byrne wrote in his web journal last year: "They're not a 'world music' act by any stretch; these styles of playing are all just out there now, to be used when appropriate."


TIME readers interview author Toni Morrison.


In the Washington Post, Jonathan yardley reconsiders John Steinbeck's Cannery Row.

Why is it that the work of this earnest but artless writer continues to enjoy such astonishing popularity? It's not hard to understand why his books are widely assigned in middle and high school English classes; they are easy to read, they are honest in their portrayal of working-class Americans, they passionately support basic American values and principles even when they criticize particulars of American life. Whatever their literary shortcomings, they have an integrity to which young readers respond.


Cartoonist Art Spiegelman talks to the Georgia Strait about the state of popular culture.

“Class distinction is not entirely gone. For instance, Barack Obama is being painted as too highbrow—‘Hey, this guy reads and thinks. Yuck!’ In the art world, yeah, there has been a kind of strange interweaving of what used to be called high art and low. In a way, Harold & Kumar Go to Abu Ghraib, or whatever it’s called, may now be as pungent a political statement as Errol Morris’s new documentary.”


The New York Daily News examines the benefits of soundtrack albums to television shows.

Still, since soundtracks mostly license existing music and thus are cheap to produce, selling even 10,000 or 20,000 copies can make the release a success.

For shows such as "Six Feet Under," "Felicity" and "General Hospital," a CD is almost like part of the promotion budget - an "added-value" item tailored for core fans.


Popmatters interviews Mark Kozelek.


In an op-ed piece, the Guardian examines the controversy surrounding Justice's new music video.

It is easy to look at Justice's video and think of the character's actions as repugnant. However, aside from the actions of few angry casseurs, acts of political rebellion are vital and deeply formative. They are, like May 1968, emblematic of the French left's deep-seated conviction that it is OK to say "no" and demand more from a government that is failing its youth.


The Guardian profiles Spice Girl cum author Geri Halliwell.

"I feel like I've hung up my hotpants now," she said. "I'll always try and be honest about myself. I've finished as a solo artist. Right now I just feel really comfortable writing books."


Shakespeare + Zombies = Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Undead (watch the trailer).


SketchTheatre has created a video for the Aesop Rock remix of the Mountain Goats song, "Lovecraft in Brooklyn."


Kelley Deal of the Breeders talks to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about recording with Steve Albini.

"He's such a character," Deal says of the acerbic and opinionated Albini.

"He records in analog. You bring equipment in, he sets up the mikes and you go and you play. The audio that he gets is incredible, and the studio that he has — he's a great person to work with."


Los Angeles CityBeat reviews Michael Chabon's collection of essays, Maps and Legends.

Maps and Legends is a treasure trove of intriguing and revealing looks at where Chabon goes to make up his worlds and how he tells his fables of the reconstruction.


The Telegraph profiles former Jam frontman Paul Weller, who turns 50 this month.

Weller's career can be divided into three distinct chapters. There were his years with the Jam, Mod-revivalists who emerged from the convulsions of punk to become one of the most successful British bands of the late 1970s and early 1980s, with 18 consecutive top-40 singles. Then there was the Style Council - a different musical direction, soul-jazz (and a different haircut), who again enjoyed a run of success until petering out in the late 1980s. Weller's career seemed to be all but over; then came his remarkable renaissance as a solo artist in the 1990s, when he was acclaimed as the 'Modfather' of Britpop, lauded as one of Britain's finest songwriters and garlanded with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Brits in 2006.


Galleycat chats with Michael Chabon and Richard Ford about genre in fiction.

"I don't know why it's such a big deal," Ford said of the genre-straddling, to which Chabon replied, "The people it matters the least to are the ones who are doing it. In so many other artistic mediums, it's not weird at all." He cites the career of filmmaker Robert Altman, who went from war comedy to private eye story to western (to take just one short segment) with ease. "The fact that he was working in all those genres—that's standard operating procedure in Hollywood."


The Futurist features in-studio mp3s from Matt Pond PA's recent WOXY Lounge Act performance.


Cracked lists the creepiest comic book characters of all time.


Minnesota Public Radio's The Current features the Black Kids with an in-studio performance and an interview.


The 2008 Coachella music downloads page has been updated with bittorrent downloads of the shows by the Black Kids and Death Cab for Cutie.


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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