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June 4, 2008


Louisville's Velocity Weekly profiles local boys My Morning Jacket.

These days, the budget is a little higher, enabling the band to bask in -- or more accurately, hide behind -- one of the more ornate light shows extant, a feature that makes the concert experience a little less attractive to the seizure prone, but one that confirms the desire to elevate every gig to event status. James's flair for the dramatic might well be the single most important factor in My Morning Jacket's ascent from the realm of beer-stained passenger vans. Sure, the ability to extend guitar duels past the 10-minute mark won 'em respect in the jam-band world -- not to mention a goodly number of knowing nods from aging hipsters who search for the new Television as doggedly as record-biz bean-counters once tried to ferret out the next Dylan. But while mere virtuosity isn't in short supply in the underground rock scene these days -- oversized orchestral-pop ensembles seem to lope out of the shadows on a weekly basis, after all -- the ability to reduce an audience to rapt silence, well, that's another story altogether.

The Globe and Mail profiles Billy Bragg.

A new album, Mr. Love & Justice, can be purchased as a two-disc limited edition - one disc with the Blokes, the other acoustic. For all the sophisticated production on the full band version, it's the unplugged disc that really lets Bragg speak. His passion - whether he's singing one of his heartbreaking love songs or a spit-in-your-eye protest ballad - has nowhere to hide when it's just him and his guitar.

The Guardian's music blog is celebrating 50 years of independent music by asking for its readers favorite indie releases.

Cartoonist Lynda Barry talks to the Philadelphia Inquirer about graphic novels.

"I think the resistance to comics as literature has to do with the possible unremembered sense of advancement from books with pictures to books with no pictures," Barry says. "To unite [word and image] again makes some people very uncomfortable."

The streaming music service Pandora has added a desktop client.

Popmatters lists 10 reasons why Bo Diddley is the "forgotten heavyweight champion of rock."

Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers talks to Crawdaddy! about the band's career.

Mountain Xpress profiles Dead Confederate.

The resulting sounds are killer layered guitar-rock tracks, heavy and lumbering thanks to Dead Confederate’s foundational rhythm section. Yet Morris’ drawl—slowed down, stretched out and turned way up—keeps them scorchingly Southern. The tunes call to mind the noisier moments in Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr., with a heavy Nirvana influence on many of the breakdowns.

USA Today's Pop Candy points out R.E.M. - Hello, a coffee table book of photography of the band by David Belisle.

Urban Outfitters is offering a downloadable (and streamable) summer music mixtape.

Pitchfork reviews Shearwater's Rook album, giving it an 8.0.

The influence of Talk Talk's later records is even more apparent here than on their earlier work, notably in Meiburg's voice as he leans more on his falsetto and exercises restraint. It's also in the instrumentation, which tends towards the drifting and heavily atmospheric. Meiburg's more than capable of hanging with Mark Hollis vocally, and this approach drives the band to considerably expand its sound. Shearwater have not only broken new ground for themselves, but added a welcome sense of variety from track to track on Rook, all in a concise 35 minutes that feels more like a double album in scope.

Stream (and sometimes have the option to buy) a huge selections of live concerts at Wolfgang's Vault.

Newcity Chicago lists the city's "lit 50."

Metro Boston examines the effect of rising gas prices on touring bands.

Newcity Chicago reviews Nam Le's excellent short fiction collection The Boat.

Not yet 30, Le effortlessly gives all seven tales in “The Boat” a different register, structure, vocabulary and tone. “Halflead Bay,” which unfolds in Australia, where Le partially grew up, is a wind-swept, craggy love story, a modern-day “Wuthering Heights” set on the Continental Shelf. Le writes beautifully of the weather, a violent, sensual power which signals some things cannot be changed, or resisted: “The baked smells of the earth steamed open,” Le writes of one storm. “Potted music of running through pipes, slapping against the earth; puddles strafed by raindrops.”

This singer-songwriter asks Haruki Murakami to write more books (through the power of a song):

Topless Robot lists the 10 worst superheroes ever to appear on television.

Chicago's Metromix shares portraits of indie rock couples.

At All Things Considered, Alan Cheuse lists his summer reading suggestions, while the Roanoke Times calls on high school students to recommend summer books.

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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