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May 21, 2008

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The Guardian's music blog profiles Cat Power.


Islands' Nick Thorburn talks to the Victoria Times Colonist.

Critics have noticed a distinct theatrical influence in the band's baroque pop. Thorburn, who performed for years under the stage name Nicholas "Neil" Diamonds, received his degree in film studies and production from Concordia University.

"I never had any aspirations for acting, but I do want to put on a show for people. I want it to be visually rewarding for people. When they come to a show, there has got to be something that is a little different than putting a record on the stereo."


Popmatters interviews singer-songwriter Laura Cantrell.

Covers records are often dismissed by critics as “contractual obligation” LPs, but this isn’t the case here. So, what was the motivation? Was it brand-new-baby-related (congratulations, by the way!)?

It was definitely part of the process. Or, was it the not knowing what the process was going to be like? I got pregnant at the end of the cycle on Humming. I knew it would be a crazy and distracting time. I’ve always been a slow writer and it would be so hard to get a whole record written with a toddler around. Last year when I was resurfacing, moment to moment you are just on call. I thought, let’s just hang out with the band and make some noise. Not worry much about new material, just make some noise and have some fun. And, we’d been playing [John Hartford’s existential classic] “Howard Hughes Blues” and “Trains...” in my live shows by the end of the Humming cycle. So, let’s try some of those.


The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette lists the current crop of memoirs.


Reuters Life! interviews author Michael Chabon.

Q: Several of your books are on and heading to the big screen. Do you stay involved or leave them alone once in film?

A: "I stayed involved with "Kavalier & Clay" as I was hired to write screenplay. Every time one of my books has been optioned by producers I have been asked if I would be interested in adapting it myself but mostly I have said no. I said yes to "Kavalier & Clay" as I needed the health insurance. When I say no I just take the money and I am done. It is not hard. No one is forcing me to sell the movie rights to a book."

http://www.reuters.com/article/lifestyleMolt/idUSSP4806520080521?sp=true


A San Diego CityBeat writer explains why he likes Foals.

Unlike The Hives, Foals are humble. Unlike Band of Horses, they won’t yell and flip the bird to San Diego concertgoers. Unlike Beirut, they aren’t rich kids posing as gypsies. Unlike Devendra Banhart, they’re not nonsensical hippies who secretly hang out with Lindsay Lohan. Unlike Iron & Wine, not all their songs sound the same. Unlike The Strokes, they’re not blatantly ripping off The Velvet Underground. Unlike Interpol, they’re not blatantly ripping off Joy Division. Unlike She Wants Revenge, they’re not blatantly ripping off Interpol ripping off Joy Division. Unlike Rilo Kiley, Foals’ singer hasn’t kissed Fred Savage. Unlike Spoon, Foals use horns as part of their overall sound, not because the singer ran out of ideas.


Tom Waits interviews Tom Waits.

Q: What's the most curious record in your collection?
A: In the seventies a record company in LA issued a record called "The best of Marcel Marceau." It had forty minutes of silence followed by applause and it sold really well. I like to put it on for company. It really bothers me, though, when people talk through it.


LAist interviews Ade Blackburn of Clinic.

LAist: In finding vintage instruments and using those as an aesthetic in your recordings, were you influenced at all by the Dukes of Stratosphear?

Ade Blackburn: Oh yes, they were, that was a fantastic project. It's great to go beyond the standard instrumentation of drums and guitar - to bring in these other elements and sounds. We wanted a human sound, a human element in our recording, to get away from all the electronics that you're hearing.


The Constantines talk to JamBase about the band's latest album, Kensington Heights.

While Kensington Heights isn't necessarily the band's loudest, hardest or most intense album, it contains an upfront urgency and accessibility. Songs like "Hard Feelings," "Credit River" and "Trans Canada" show the band at their most incendiary, standing up to the most explosive songs from previous albums. "We wanted to write a bunch of fast punk rock tunes," Lambke says. "We didn't exactly follow through with that, but it got us going. It almost happened."


Alanis Morissette talks to the Guardian.

We meet in a hotel in London, and, at 33, Morissette looks rounder and more beautiful than the tomboy I first interviewed back in 1996. On her fifth major album, she feels that she has come full circle. "What's that line from TS Eliot? To arrive at the place where you started, but to know it for the first time. I'm able to write about a breakup from a different place. Same brokenness. Same rock-bottom. But a little more informed, now I'm older. Thank God for growing up," she adds.


WXPN's World Cafe features singer-songwriter Dawn Landes with an interview and in-studio performance.


SF Weekly profiles Flight of the Conchords.

On TV the band has a fan club of one — Kristen Schaal's lusty, hangdog Mel — whereas in real life the Conchords are signed to Sub Pop, won a Grammy last year, and have spawned an album and sold-out tours. Instead of simply writing clever songs like so many other musician-comedians, McKenzie and Clement have constructed a world where they're hilarious nobodies, in contrast to their ever-increasing popularity in the outside world.


IGN lists the top 10 movie MacGuffins, "the object that drives the story forward and is of vital important to both the heroes and villains even if the specifics of the object itself remain obscure or are unimportant."


Philadelphia Weekly writer Liz Spikol describes the after-effects of being profiled in the Sunday New York Times.

By the time I got featured on the Huffington Post—as “the mad pride movement’s most hilarious, if unofficial, spokesperson”—my email inbox had started to fill up with queries from literary agents and acquisitions editors at publishing houses. I was even contacted by a couple documentary filmmakers.

Why? Because now I was Liz Spikol. Not the Liz Spikol of Sat., May 10. But the Liz Spikol of Sun., May 11. Hurrah.


TIME profiles They Might Be Giants.

If you want to sell your music, that aesthetic has to appeal to listeners too. In the case of They Might Be Giants, it surely did, at least among rock fans, and Flansburgh and Linnell decided kids might also get it. In 2002 they released their first collection of children's songs--an album simply titled No! They soon became a fixture on the Disney Channel, writing the theme song for Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, as well as for Higglytown Heroes, an animated show in which the characters are modeled on Russian nesting dolls--a vaguely surreal concept that is perfectly suited to the band. "We're not that interested in prosaic ideas," says Flansburgh.


nyctaper offers an mp3 download of John Darnielle's recent solo Mountain Goats Aids Walk Benefit show at Brooklyn Masonic Temple.


NPR's Day to Day profiles author James Frey.


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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