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June 5, 2008

Shorties

The St. Petersburg Times offers a playlist of songs for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.


Salon offers a guide to summer music festivals.


The Hook interviews Wilco guitarist Nels Cline.

The Hook: Kenny G is staring at you from the page next door. What would you like to say to him?

Nels Cline: It's obvious that to many people, Kenny G has ruined soprano saxophone for the musical lexicon-- the whole thing he did with the Louis Armstrong duet that Pat Metheny ended up raging against. I'd like to think of him as the Herb Alpert of our day-- those were huge instrumental hits. And I'm into instrumental hits, but I'm a little disappointed that it has gone the Kenny G route, because it doesn't do anything for me. It goes back to the fusion-- there's a certain kind of fusion that goes back to instrumental R&B-- there's a certain kind of music that people listen to as the background to their fancy lifestyle, or to aspire to their fancy lifestyle, of that you put on to impress: "Oh, this sounds really good on my fancy stereo."


Drowned in Sound readers interview Elbow guitarist Mark Potter.

From DiS user Damian: Is Guy serious about ditching the album format and releasing no more Elbow albums (apart from the forthcoming B-side collection) and just putting out tracks? We still need albums. Especially Elbow ones.

Mark: DO NOT FEAR! Guy was merely saying that there aren't that many bands out there making albums that are written as complete bodies of work; a book with chapters rather that a collection of short stories. It seems that the modern world's accessibility to music through download (which is a wonderful thing) might inadvertently be changing the way artists make music.


Decibel lists the top 20 stoner rock albums of all time.


Drowned in Sound interviews Kele Okereke of Bloc Party.

We hear you've been recording. What sort of thing can we expect, and when?

Kele: We're looking at putting a record out at the end of this year, or the start of next year. Right now it feels almost like we're standing in the middle of a forest fire or an earthquake… it’s hard to know where the music is going. We aim to make something organic and inorganic, made of very real components but that sounds not real and frightening. Almost hyper real in a certain aspect. I'm really excited.


Exclaim! interviews the National's Matt Berninger.


The Miami New Times lists bands with scary names whose music is "anything but."


Rolling Stone examines the increasing sales of music on vinyl.


Cinematical examines the hurdles facing the film adaptations of Cormac McCarthy's The Road.


Men's Vogue profiles actress/singer Zooey Deschanel.


The Telegraph, Bloomberg, Times Online, and the Independent report that Rose Tremain has won the Orange prize for her novel, The Road Home.


NPR's Tell Me More interviews teenage author Isamu Fukui.


Seattle Weekly's Reverb blog interviews Death Cab for Cutie guitarist Chris Walla.

You guys have gotten pretty huge — on the cover of all the magazines, doing all the TV stuff… do you feel at all like you’re being pushed into that position by the media that needs the “big, important rock band” of the moment?

I mean, it’s always felt to me like in pop culture, different people get elected whether or not they’re even running for office. And I’ve felt a little bit of that with us. Like, getting elected to the covers of magazines and … there’s just more and more and more, people need more and more content than they ever have for any number of press outlets, but there still needs to be someone that all that content can be defined by for every genre and sub-genre and sub-sub-genre. And those bands, I guess it’s like us and the Shins, and Modest Mouse to a degree, get sorta paraded around and trumpeted as some sort of yardstick, which is really weird.


The Independent interviews comic book artist Jim McCarthy.

What do you actually do?

I draw comic art pages and write scripts for graphic novels. My work involves liaising with other cartoonists and publishing houses, coming up with rough concepts and the conception of new ideas. New ideas flow through me everyday, but I need to select ones to pitch commercially. Some of my ideas are too weird or obscure, so may not be the publishers' first choice. There's a lot of art direction involved, almost like shooting a film script with a storyboard.


The Wall Street Journal interviews David Foster Wallace about his new book, McCain's Promise: Aboard the Straight Talk Express with John McCain and a Whole Bunch of Actual Reporters, Thinking About Hope, and smiley faces.

WSJ: I have an advance copy of "Infinite Jest" that your publishing house sent me in 1996. It's signed—apparently—by you and there's a little smiley face under your name. I've always wondered—did you actually draw that smiley face?

Mr. Wallace: One prong of the Buzz plan [for "Infinite Jest"] involved sending out a great many signed first editions—or maybe reader copies—to people who might generate Buzz. What they did was mail me a huge box of trade-paperback-size sheets of paper, which I was to sign; they would then somehow stitch them in to these "special" books. I basically spent an entire weekend signing these pages. You've probably had the weird epileptoid experience of saying a word over and over until it ceases to denote and becomes very strange and arbitrary and odd-feeling—imagine that happening with your own name. That's what happened. Plus it was boring. So boring, that I started doing all kinds of weird little graphic things to try to stay alert and engaged. What you call the "smiley face" is a vestige of an amateur cartoon character I used to amuse myself with in grade school. It's physically fun to draw—very sharp and swooping, and the eyebrows are just crackling with affect. I've seen a few of these "special books" at signings before, and it always makes me smile to see that face.


Aimee Mann talks to CNN about a future collaboration with cartoonist Joe Matt on a graphic novel.

Mann was approached about a year ago about doing a graphic novel, an idea she at first dismissed out of hand. "And then I ran into this guy named Joe Matt, who's one of my favorite graphic novelists," she recalls.

Matt, the "Peepshow" cartoonist, lives nearby and encouraged Mann to maintain a sketchbook and practice, practice, practice. So Mann has diligently worked toward that end.

"I take a sketchbook and I bring it out at dinner ... and I've got this one friend who always says something ridiculous, so I'll try to write it down and put it in [graphic] form, and it kind of amuses everyone at the dinner table," she says, while saying it's "kind of a long-term project."


Drowned in Sound interviews singer-songwriter-poet Dave Berman of the Silver Jews.

You consider your lyrical ability to be your primary strength as a musician?

It can be a strength, but it’s a weakness to degree that people aren’t looking for such things. There isn’t a premium placed on it – people don’t find themselves criticised for not being more ambitious about their writing. It’s something that nobody is calling for, but that I need to do or else I won’t be interested in it. It’s the way… I can only succeed in these certain areas. My whole life I’ve tried to find the thing I can do that other people can’t do, and invest in that, and the one thing I can do is write narratives and build characters. I can do that. That’s my way in.


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


Drowned in Sound editors select Nirvana's ten best songs.


At NPR's All Things Considered, Emily Wylie recommends three books about cowboys and Indians.


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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