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May 15, 2008


The Georgia Strait profiles Zach Condon of Beirut.

What makes this struggle surprising is that the 22-year-old seems like he’s never had to work at taking the music of other countries and shaping it into something new. In 2006, the soft-spoken Condon went from Williamsburg–via–Sante Fe nobody to blogger-blessed breakout artist, thanks to Beirut’s Balkan-flavoured debut, Gulag Orkestar. As Gorilla vs Bear devotees know, at the age of 17 Condon visited Paris, where he discovered throwback-Gypsy artists like Goran Bregovi? via roving street bands. He then set about the process of assembling a band and trying to do justice to the music he’d heard.

The National Post's Soundcheck blog offers a video interview with Bry Webb of the Constantines.

Popmatters profiles Tickley Feather's Annie Sachs.

Sachs builds her songs with drum machines, samples, and dense layers of keyboards, making them at once murky and iridescent. The songs are strange and beautiful off-kilter bits of thick, distorted synth composition. But what gives the music its body is Sach’s vocals—she has a breathy, urgent delivery that shimmers over the swampy, industrial backdrop and creates an ethereality that mesmerizes the listener.

Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers talks to the Charleston Post and Courier about the vinyl version (out June 24th) of the band's latest album, Brighter than Creation's Dark.

'The sides break down really well,' Hood explains, 'and even the sequencing is to where there was a definite side one, two, three and four, and there was a lot of thought that went into that order and how it broke up.

'Each side is like a story, and with that long of a record, it might make sense that you just want to play one side. ... All of our records have been an attempt at making that record.'

io9 lists 7 reasons why Scifi book series outstay their welcomes.

Rhett Miller of the Old 97's talks to the Dallas Observer about the band's career.

"During the course of our band, we've had to weather a lot of weird stuff," the lead vocalist says over the phone, as he's vacationing at his parents' Dallas-area home. "Being a part of the alt-country movement and then trying to distance ourselves from it and being on a major label... and then being ousted from that label and then sort of being along for the ride at the end of the major-label reign...

"It's made for a lot of storm-weathering."

Eye Weekly interviews British Sea Power frontman Yan Wilkinson.

Your songs pay careful attention to historical events and details — is that a reaction to cultural cycles moving so fast, and that so many bands are ripping off what came out last week?

You get so many generalized songs about very general things like, “I love you baby” or “I’m getting over you,” and I like detailed songs that relate to the world outside of music. I like listening to BBC Radio 4 a lot, I find it relaxing — in a history program or a science program, I just think the words and stories are more interesting. I’ll take a lot of notes, steal them all, and mix them in. If you can understand something from the years gone by, you can get a better picture of where you’re at nowadays. Everything is very “instant” nowadays — it’s good to get a bit of distance, time-wise.

Newsweek examines the biggest growing segment of publishing, young adult fiction.

Levithan and others cite several reasons for this perfect storm for teen lit, the most obvious two being the increasing sophistication and emotional maturity of teenagers and the accompanying new freedom for writers in the genre to explore virtually any subject. Another is that bookstores and libraries are finally recognizing this niche and separating teen books from children's books. "Teenagers don't want to walk past the Curious George books to get to their books. They want and deserve their own section," says Levithan, who points out that "because of MySpace, Facebook, blogs and authors' and publishers' Web sites, young readers are communicating interactively now with each other and with authors." Another reason for the YA boom cited by Levithan and others is that teen books have become an integral part of today's overall pop-culture entertainment menu. They segue into television series, movies, videogames, cartoons and the Internet. If teens see that, say, "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" is coming out in theaters, they'll read the book in advance of the movie.

Bostonist interviews author Augusten Burroughs.

So this is the beginning of your tour, do you like the touring the aspect of being an author?

Yeah, I do. I like people, I like meeting people. The actual touring; the flights and the hotels and all that sort of thing is complicated. Thank God they handle it or I’d end up in the middle of nowhere somewhere. But yeah, it's great, because its when I get to actually meet the people who read my stuff. It's such an intense experience…even though the exchanges are pretty quick, at a signing, it's just quick. It's so intense, it's indescribable, you know you can’t make someone who’s not an author understand how much information you can get across emotionally that quickly.

The Augusta Metro Spirit profiles Dead Confederate.

That’s because they take the best of related genres, like psychedelic and noise rock, and blend it till the batter is smooth. They create an amalgamation of Southern rock storytelling and chord-heavy grunge, with a rainbow tossed in for good measure. In short, Dead Confederate creates a soundscape of its own that conjures both beauty and intensity.

Newsweek profiles Sloane Crosley, author of the essay collection I Was Told There'd Be Cake.

She's no Sedaris yet, but she strikes a chord, particularly among twentysomethings living in New York. And for those of us who'd love to hate her, maybe we should follow her lead. PR sure is a good way to sell a book.

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

Creative Loafing compares the recently published memoirs by Rick Bragg and Augusten Burroughs.

In one of those flukes of the publishing world, both authors have released memoirs about their fathers at roughly the same time, and they'll be speaking in Atlanta within days of each other this month. In their new books, both writers dearly hope that the sins of their fathers will not be visited on them. Burroughs' The Wolf at the Table (St. Martin's Press) feels like an attempt to exorcise his father's memory, while Bragg's The Prince of Frogtown (Knopf) seems more like a bid to make peace with his father's spirit.

Hypeful lists the top super hero songs.

The Chattanooga Pulse interviews Claire Campbell of Hope for Agoldensummer.

P: Give me your take on your music and what it means to you. And what do you want it to mean for your fans?

CC: Writing songs feels like the most natural thing in the world to me; it comes when it comes, but it’s in my nature. I’ve tried to walk away from (music) before and I keep getting drawn back into it. Somehow the opportunities to do a show or record almost always take precedence over everything else. But I hardly ever write for the fans. I think of songwriting as storytelling; songs are glimpses of life. People can relate to that and feel a sense of community; that’s probably the most important thing to me.

The Art of Manliness lists the 100 books in the essential man's library.

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

KCRW launched its Guest DJ Project yesterday, featuring celebrities including Conan O'Brien and John Cusack spinning tunes and talking about music.

NPR's All Things Considered profiles Beatles' Apple Records on its 40th birthday.

"As far as I can tell, the idea behind Apple was a tax dodge," music journalist Douglas Wolk says. "The top tax rate in England at that time was enormous. And John Lennon said something to the effect of, 'We talked to our accountants. We realized we could either give the money to the government or we could put it into a business.'"

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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