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May 17, 2008


The New York Times magazine profiles Owen Pallett of Final Fantasy.

“Unprecedented” isn’t a term you hear much in pop music these days, not even in indie circles, and the obvious comfort with which Pallett uses it is closely tied to Final Fantasy’s appeal. An unabashedly articulate 28-year-old with a degree in classical composition from the University of Toronto, Pallett makes no secret of his commitment to reinvigorating pop. “There’s this utopian idea — a cult, really — that an artist should have infinite means at his disposal,” Pallett told me over lunch at a vegan cafe. “But to me that’s not interesting. The boundaries of what I’m doing as Final Fantasy define the whole project: I choose to perform solo, and to write songs in the pop idiom, so neither of those two things are limitations. They’re choices I made.” When I asked whether both those decisions had the same objective — liberation through a kind of radical economy of means — Pallett bobbed his head enthusiastically. “Absolutely. I feel liberated by them every day.”

The Globe and Mail examines the hurdles facing Toronto's alternative weekly papers.

Since Now and Eye made their debuts (in 1981 and 1991 respectively), the media universe has grown more competitive. Where alt-weeklies used to be the near-exclusive province of far-left voices, the blogosphere now offers a ceaseless stream of pink-tinged commentary. Daily news sites such as fill the niche of intensely local reporting, and music sites such as Pitchfork and PopMatters have supplanted Now and Eye as cultural tastemakers.

Topless Robot lists the best comic book moms.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reviews three recently published books on Bob Dylan: Positively Main Street: The Minnesota of Bob Dylan, A Freewheelin' Time: A Memoir of Greenwich Village in the Sixties, and Bob Dylan: The Drawn Blank Series.

The Arizona Republic interviews Dan Bejar of Destroyer.

The Utne Reader examines collectors of "hypermodern literature" (books published in the past 20 years.

So what makes a good investment? Literary fiction of lasting value—classics to be. Today, first editions of Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Faulkner can go for six figures. Hypermodern collectors are wagering on what will be deemed classic 50 years or so down the line. At last spring’s fair, hot authors included Raymond Carver (Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?: $2,500), Tim O’Brien (If I Die in a Combat Zone: $4,500) and D.B.C. Pierre (Vernon God Little: $400). But the clear darling of the hypermodern posse is Cormac McCarthy. McCarthy is perfect for collectors: He is male, writes in difficult prose, attends few book signings (making signed copies scarcer), and once published in small print runs.

Gothamist interviews John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats about his 33 1/3 book, Black Sabbath's Master of Reality.

Why ultimately did you choose writing songs over books?

I don't know how most people come to do what they do but for me anyway it's not like I sat down with a list of my options and went "I shall now choose to do this! Because this is what I desire to do!" You know? I am not really a rational plan-it-out dude like that. I'm a nurse by nature and vocation, I just sort of started writing songs one day because I was sitting around my room thinking about Frankie Valli, and things kinda snowballed from there. If writing books was a quicker process I might have ended up being an author earlier.

WXPN's Live Fridays features streaming performances by the Black Kids and Does It Offend You, Yeah?.

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

WXPN's World Cafe features Kathleen Edwards with an in-studio performance and an interview.

NPR is streaming last night's Basia Bulat and DeVotchKa concert.

The Futurist recaps The Little Ones' recent WOXY Lounge Act performance with a couple of in-studio mp3s.

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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