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June 8, 2008


The Hartford Business Journal examines the changing music industry, and the new choices musical artists face.

Thousands of fans. A jam-packed tour schedule. A CD for sale. And no record label behemoth behind it all?

That’s today’s music business, according to Chris Bowes, the drummer for the Connecticut band Columbia Fields. And such independent success is fast becoming music industry standard for up-and-coming musical acts trying to build a brand, a following and a sound.

Peter Buck of R.E.M. talks to the Toronto Star about almost quitting the band.

"We've always been a great live band, and on the last tour people who'd been seeing us since the '80s were saying, `That's actually the most exciting tour I've seen you guys do, ever.' And yet it was on a record that no one really liked and was almost impossible to play," says Buck, via the R.E.M. office in Athens, Ga.

"I just said to the guys, `We're good at this. This is what we do well, not spending eight months in the studio worrying about every little note ... I have no interest in spending eight months fiddling with it. If that's the way you wanna work, you're gonna do it without me.'

The Philadelphia Inquirer glowingly reviews the new My Morning Jacket album, Evil Urges.

Evil Urges is well-grounded in old-fashioned songwriting. James' vibratoless vocal style bears traces of Coyne and Neil Young, but has its own angelic, almost ghostly sound. It's immediately distinct, even if it has become one of the most imitated instruments in indie rock. (That guy in Band of Horses should be sending James royalty checks.)

The New York Daily News album also reviews the album, which comes out Tuesday.

The Tennessean and Murfreesboro Post preview next week's Bonnaroo music festival.

The Boston Globe compares portable mp3 player options.

The New York Daily News profiles Miranda Cosgrove, star of Nickelodeon's iCarly, as she begins her singing career.

She describes her musical style as "fun pop-rock" that's easy to listen to. She has been taking singing lessons since she was 4, and swears her role in the 2003 Jack Black comedy "School of Rock," in which she played a tough-talking, whip-smart fifth-grader who is a decidedly terrible singer, was just acting.

"iCarly - Music From and Inspired By the Hit TV Show" also features songs from such artists as Avril Lavigne, Natasha Bedingfield, Good Charlotte and Sean Kingston, as well as dialogue from the series.

"It's supposed to be the songs that would be on my character's iPod, but I personally like all the songs, too," says Cosgrove. "I listen to music all the time so I automatically got excited about this project."

David Sedaris lists some recommended reading.

Feedbooks offers thousands of free and legal e-book downloads for your e-book reader or PDA.

Isobel Campbell talks to the Observer about working with Mark Lanegan.

Campbell put out four solo albums after leaving Belle & Sebastian, but her first real critical success was with the romantic melancholy of Ballad of the Broken Seas. Mark Lanegan initially appears to be an odd choice; the recovering drug addict has a forbidding presence that makes him seem scarier than Nick Cave and darker than Leonard Cohen. Yet Campbell knew what she was doing and her delicate voice blows in and out of Lanegan's seductive growl. She wanted a male vocalist with a low voice; she often thinks in cinematic terms and Robert Mitchum in The Night of the Hunter was an inspiration. Her boyfriend at the time suggested she listen to Lanegan; impressed, she sent him a Man Ray postcard, a melody and a single sentence of a song. 'I didn't expect to hear anything back but he phoned me up and said he'd written some more lyrics, [adopting ridiculously deep, gravelly voice]: "Do you mind the word 'baby'? I wish you could be in LA to sing with me now."'

The Independent profiles Martha Wainwright.

One of her early memories is the Newport Folk Festival. "My father invited Rufus and me up to sing 'Dead Skunk'. There's a photo of us – I was about eight, looking very composed with a straight back, and I remember standing there thinking, 'I like this.'" Summer holidays they spent performing with one parent or the other. Discipline levels were high. "When you sang with Kate and Anna [Martha's aunt] you had to have your part dead right... It wasn't the Von Trapp family."

The Brooklyn Rail interviews Rivka Galchen, author of the amazing debut novel, Atmospheric Disturbances.

Rail: Do you expect to continue to draw from psychiatry in your fiction?

Galchen: I hope so; it’s a really interesting vocabulary. I like the way it has so much explanatory value and then it just sort of hits a wall. Like, why is this person mad, angry, violent—you have all this language of neuro-imaging, neuro-chemistry, and then you hit a wall and it’s useless. But it’s a nice language to muck around in.

The Edmonton Journal also profiles Galchen.

The Times Online examines why Canada produces so many exceptional female musicians.

“Factor is the bedrock of Canada’s music industry,” LeBlanc says. “It has had a pivotal role in the country’s emergence as a player in global music. On a subliminal level, the tremendous success of Alanis, Shania and Céline definitely encouraged the new generation. Now Canada pops up a couple of international singers every year.” Grants and CanCon notwithstanding, Canada is a tough proving ground. Radio prefers to play established artists, rather than newcomers – Kathleen Edwards’s first album contains the gem One More Song the Radio Won’t Like. Musicians have to travel long distances between gigs, though this fosters a community spirit as they keep running across each other on the road, write together and are mutually supportive."

The Brooklyn Rail ponders where all the film critics have gone.

Turn to any major publication’s arts section lately and you’ll probably find an article about a full-time film critic losing his or her job. Within the last two months, Newsday movie editor Pat Wiedenkeller, along with critics Jan Stuart and Gene Seymour, accepted buyouts. David Ansen, a film critic at Newsweek for 31 years, also took a buyout, and the Village Voice laid off one of their film critics, Nathan Lee. According to a list composed by The Salt Lake Tribune’s Sean P. Means, 28 film critics have left or been fired from their jobs in the last two years. features reviews, news, and interviews from the world of young adult literature.

Browse (and download) the entire collection of esoteric mp3s that have been featured on WFMU's On teh Download.

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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