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May 23, 2008

Shorties

The Norwich Evening News interviews Josh Ritter.

A lot of your material is quite political?

“Yes, to a point, but I definitely don't consider myself a political songwriter, mainly because I think that is equated with preaching and usually it's preaching to the choir. I'm not a politician, but I do think there's some things I want to figure out in my own mind about the war. I've been trying to work out how to question the sacrifices that have been made without diminishing them. People are dying and I feel if I'm going to comment I've got a duty to reflect the complexity. I feel a lot of music recently has done a disservice to the issues.”


North by Northwestern offers "A Fanboy's Guide to the Ted Leo Newbie" and "A Crash Course in Broken Social Scene."


Popmatters reviews the three recently remastered Mission of Burma albums: Signals, Calls, & Marches; Vs.; and The Horrible Truth About Burma.

These studio recordings are essential listening for fans of independent music, and the live documents display Burma’s ability to erupt into a searing punk act while maintaining the integrity and subtlety of the songwriting.


The Guardian's books blog wonders why fiction authors add images to their books.


Popmatters profiles the career of Swervedriver.

McGee was much enamored of the effects-laden guitar music being produced in Britain at the time, having already snapped up both My Bloody Valentine and Ride. While he saw certain sonic similarities between those bands and Swervedriver, he was arguably more intrigued by what made the young group dissimilar from its peers. “There were American influences,” says McGee, reminiscing about the first time he heard the demo, while driving the streets of Los Angeles. “There was a Dinosaur Jr. and Hüsker Dü thing going on. I thought they were a really special band.”


USA Today examines Denny's transformation from restaurant to rocking nightspot.

From 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., alternative rock will replace the middle-of-the-road music now piped in. Instead of black pants and collared shirts, wait staff will wear jeans and T-shirts during these hours.


The PSU Vanguard profiles Continuum's 33 1/3 series of books on seminal albums, and is less than impressed by John Darnielle's entry, Black Sabbath's Master of Reality.

Still, the Sabbath book is only a slight blotch on the 33 1/3 resume. The series that started quietly five years ago with a short book examining Dusty in Memphis by Dusty Springfield has since become the book series for relevant music criticism, giving short bursts of analysis, interviews and track-by-track looks at some of the greatest albums of all time.


The Wall Street Journal offers its summer reading list.


bkkeeper is a site that combines Twitter with your reading list.


Edutopia illustrates how comics can e used as learning tools in schools.


The Washington Post Express interviews Thee Silver Mt. Zion's Efrim Menuck,

» EXPRESS: What does your lyric and song title "1,000,000 Died to Make this Sound" mean?

» MENUCK: The simple explanation would be that part of what the song is about is: It's a love song for any musician who ever performed a song in front of people. It's about the idea that music belongs to everybody, but first and foremost, it belongs to musicians.


The Sun interviews Colin Meloy, who explains his admiration for Morrissey.

I think he’s a brilliant lyricist. His evolution as a songwriter is amazing – he’s charted all the various stages of his life and career in an honest and thought-provoking way.

He could’ve made a career out of eulogising British working class youth but he was the first to realise that his life was not static – his songs are an amazing map of his own bizarre life-arc.


IGN interviews Spiritualized's Jason Pierce.

IGN: Does the way that people buy or consume music affect the way you create it? People seem more eager to download a single song than buy a whole album these days.

Pierce: I don't think it matters, because I'm not producing music for the way records are made or bought. There used to be a thing that you make records for radio so they sound good on the radio, but I think the idea of making a record for the medium in which it's sold is the weirdest f*cking thing in the world to do. You know, you make a record because you want to make this music and this music's in you that's got to go somewhere, and the idea of making it for the medium - to make little, download, bite-sized pieces because that's how people buy and require their music - is kind of dumb. If that's an end result, if that's what people want to do with it afterwards, then so be it, but I'm not going to get involved with that. I had this thing way back where a lot of the music as an industry is about selling people junk, you know - it's about producing stuff that they can't see beyond the production, or it's produced in a way that people think, "oh, this has got some substance, it's got something to say," when really it's just junk. It's sold as a consumable; they talk about units and unit price and all of this kind of [stuff], and I always thought if you produce something with as much love and honesty as you could, and you present it really beautifully, then it would always have a value. That it would always retain its value. I don't mean monetary value - I don't mean it's worth more, monetarily; I mean it's nice to hold, and the whole industry is kind of the opposite of that. It's "how cheaply can we throw these out?"


Nextbook features new short fiction by Danit Brown, "The Dangers of Salmonella."


The Wall Street Journal interviews David Sedaris, whose latest collection of essays, When You Are Engulfed in Flames (read an excerpt), comes out June 3rd.

WSJ: Do you consider your essays as memoirs?

Mr. Sedaris: I wouldn't call it memoir. If I had to call them anything I'd call them comic essays. For some reason, and I don't know why I think this, I've always thought of memoir as more of a whole -- I think of "Angela's Ashes," which is a whole book that begins at one point and ends at another point. My books are choppier than that. Often there are stories about things, not about people about all.


Planet Weekly previews the Bonnaroo music festival by talking to Lars Ulrich of Metallica and Mike McCready of Pearl Jam.

Lars is definitely a “festie” at heart, and he sees the festival environment as the ultimate show experience. he said that the thing, “I’m so psyched about with Bonnaroo is that, you know, we’ve been playing obviously the European festival circuit for years and years and years and years. I mean, even the last three years we’ve been planning our summer vacations around all the European festivals. I mean, it’s, you know, apart from like, you know, last night and stuff, I mean there’s not much that compares to that in the level of fun, you know. I listen, I love chaos, I love no rules. That kind of anarchy, I mean, that’s trying to do for as many years as, you know, so it’s – I look forward to it. We’re coming in either Wednesday, Thursday, going to hang around, hopefully do a sound check and just kind of roll with it, you know, and trying – it’s not our gig, you know. So when it’s not our gig we have a tendency to just kind of show up and roll with it and hang out and just kind of, you know, roll with the vibes, you know.”


The San Francisco Chronicle lists eight comic books to read before you die.


The Guardian's books blog examines what makes a good book cover blurb.


NPR excerpts a short story from Tobias Wolff's new collection, Our Story Begins.


Drowned in Sound lists Bruce Springsteen's 5 best albums.


At her Monitor Mix blog Carrie Brownstein lists her top 5 driving songs.


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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