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June 13, 2008


The Times Standard profiles Singer.

Singer is as if John Frusciante, instead of recording “Only Water for 10 Days,” went into rehab at an Indian ashram and discovered the tabla. No? How about... Singer sounds like The Polyphonic Spree coming down from a rough night of hippie-flipping while being pumped through an ice-covered speaker laced with The Red Krayola circa the “Coconut Hotel” era? Not so much? Well then, Singer is an updated '70s prog-rock machine for the 21st Century. It's as if Casiotone for the Painfully Alone met Freddie Mercury met Steve Reich met Tyrannosaurus Rex met Amon Duul II met The Magik Markers in an ancient ring of oaks, under a full moon, for a lost-to-the-ages Druidic ritual. What-?!

In the Boston Globe, Will Johnson explains the differences between the South San Gabriel and Centro-matic discs on his latest release, Dual Hawks.

The major differences, he says, were in tempo and execution. Whereas South San Gabriel's scrupulously layered arrangements were, he says, "a more calculated affair with many more bodies and instrumentation," much of Centro-matic's material was spontaneous, with songs written off-the-cuff and recorded the same day. With Centro-matic, Johnson says, the band wanted "to just pull the ripcord and go for it." Consequently, most of that album was written and recorded inside of one week.

Coudal Partners' 2008 edition of Field Tested Books is online, with contributions by Steve Almond, Ben Greenman, Lauren Groff, Jonathan Messinger, and even me.

IGN creates a fantasy soundtrack to The Incredible Hulk film.

Paper lists ten films to stop you from falling in love this summer.

This Flickr set offers some older Mountain Goats reviews and zine profiles.

KPLU lists five jazz songs for Father's Day.

Sound Opinions features Cursive today with an interview and live performance of new material.

Rolling Stone interviews Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo.

The Georgia Strait interviews Salman Rushdie about his new novel, The Enchantress of Florence.

GS: The two main settings of the novel, Sikri and Florence, are shown as deeply cosmopolitan cities, a quality you’ve always valued highly.

SR: They’re very cosmopolitan.…If people ask me to describe what kind of writer I am, the most truthful description I can give is that I feel that I’m essentially an urban writer, that I’m a writer of the big city. And so I’ve spent most of my life thinking about big cities and what they are and what they do and how they work. And it was quite pleasurable to project that process of thought 400 years back.

Gothamist interviews music blogger Pat Duffy (Pop Tarts Suck Toasted) about the Rock the Harbor Staten Island music festival he helped organize.

Has the Staten Island music scene been growing; does it differ from the scene in Manhattan or Brooklyn?

The Staten Island music scene is booming like hasn't ever before. We've got successful musicians like Ingrid Michaelson and The Budos Band, we've got some more mainstream rock acts like Kevin Devine and Seymour Glass, and we have some really great up-and-coming acts that have started hitting the city like The Rabbits, The Delay, Canopy, and The Heavenly Tenants. The one visible difference I can see between us and the more famous boroughs is that we're really insulated out here. Everyone in all the bands knows each other, most practice and play in the same places week after week, and almost all of them support each to no end. It's a fun scene to be involved in and to watch because for the most part we're all friends that love music.

My Morning Jacket's Jim James plays YouTube DJ at Velocity Weekly.

T-shirt of the day: "Book Club Gone Bad"

The Guardian profiles Rawi Hage, winner of this year's Impac prize with his novel, De Niro's Game.

De Niro's Game is set during the Lebanese civil war in the 1980s, its title alluding to the Russian roulette which features in the celebrated Vietnam film drama. In Hage's novel, the private lives and morals of two young friends are pushed badly out of shape by the relentless stresses and brutality of the conflict raging around them. The judges' citation, delivered at a ceremony in Dublin's City Hall earlier, praised De Niro's Game for its "originality, its power, its lyricism, as well as its humane appeal ... the work of a major literary talent."

Drowned in Sound interviews My Brightest Diamond's Shara Worden about her new album, A Thousand Shark's Teeth.

The new record seems a bit better integrated somehow, maybe in the recording or arrangements… it’s even a bit ambient, comparatively speaking, wouldn’t you say?

For me it’s been more about learning how to obscure sounds, creating more watercolours… The relationship with the strings on Bring Me The Workhorse, stylistically I was going for a Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole kind of thing, a fifties crooner vibe, and then for this record I didn’t want that at all so there’s none of the flourishes that came with the first one.

Minnesota Public Radio's The Current features singer-songwriter Haley Bonar with an in-studio performance and interview.

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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