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June 20, 2008


The 2008 Bonnaroo music download page has been updated with mp3 sets by My Morning Jacket, Mastodon, Iron and Wine, Pearl Jam, Ben Folds, Death Cab for Cutie, the Derek Trucks Band, Against Me!, and Umphrey's McGee; and bittorrent lossless downloads of performances by Willie Nelson, the Wood Brothers, the Bluegrass Allstars, Jack Johnson, Phil Lesh, the Super Jam, and Mason Jennings.

The Guardian's books blog examines surfing's literary history.

Den of Geek lists the top ten unseen television characters. profiles former Drive-By Trucker Jason Isbell.

You could call "Sirens" a Southern Rock album, if that's the tag that guitars-and-a-Southern-accent prompts, but that only means that Isbell is in good company with folks like Ryan Adams and Steve Earle.

The Edmonton Sun profiles the Constantines.

So what makes The Constantines a band people are willing to dedicate their lives to? It could be the let-it-all-out delivery onstage - the kind of musical discharge you typically see from pre-adult kids stuck working in crap factory jobs with their only outlets being a microphone, a stage, and a tiny amp cranked to 11. Forever being tagged as a 'working man's band', Lambke always chuckles at the label.

The Northwest Herald interviews Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers.

When you’re writing, are you ever concerned that there’s too much detail or not enough detail?

I’m sure I have put too much detail in songs. I’m sure I do. It’s a weak link. To me, Cooley gets it pretty pitch-right every time. I have a great love of minimalism, but you know ... The most detailed song on the record is “The Opening Act.” It’s a very specific way of feeling and then another very specific way of feeling. It’s a two-act movie ... without the movie. But “You and Your Crystal Meth” I didn’t want to be that way. It had to be skeletal, not specific to a situation. Some people took that song as a novelty song, particularly those in parts of the country where it’s not a problem. A lot of people I know have been affected by that drug.

The Times Online reviews four recently published literary romance novels.

It is not entirely clear why efforts to take romance out of its ghetto haven’t worked (unless it is because the publishers don’t really want that; they want the appearance of seriousness but their interest is still primarily commercial). The genres that have made the leap – John le Carré’s spy thrillers, J. G. Ballard’s science fiction, Raymond Chandler’s detective stories – have the same sweaty, mass-market paperback past as romantic novels: churned out swiftly and regularly, repeating their familiar structures with the details changed for novelty’s sake, they have all been sneered at by the literary establishment, and devoured in great quantities by loyal addicts and bored train travellers. One thing holding popular romance back may be that it is aimed so explicitly at women. Women are used to reading things not written especially for them. Getting men to take an interest in female-focused fiction, no matter how well disguised, will always be trickier.

For the A.V. Club, singer-songwriter Jonathan Coulton puts his iPod on shuffle.

In the New Yorker, James Wood reviews Rivka Galchen's novel, Atmospheric Disturbances.

Most first-person unreliability in fiction is reliably unreliable; rather mechanically, it teaches us how to read it, how to plug its holes. Double unreliability—or unreliable unreliability—is rarer, and more interesting, because it asks much more of the reader. Galchen, a playful writer, delights in having Leo tell us, for instance, that, while Harvey is clearly delusional, the Royal Academy of Meteorology is “an institute whose existence a consensus view of reality actually would (and this surprised me at the time) affirm.” In reality—that is, in our world—there is no academy by that name. But the novel wants to disturb any sense of what might constitute “a consensus view of reality,” the better to depict the instabilities of a perforated mind.

No Love for Ned's streaming radio show features an in-studio performance by Golden Ghost.

NPR's Morning Edition excerpts from Hodding Carter's memoir The Deep End

The Futurist recaps Panda Riot's recent WOXY Lounge Act performance by sharing a couple of in-studio mp3s.

Tom Hamling, author of the book Celebrity Vinyl, talks to the Independent about why non-musical celebrities record albums.

But what convinces these celebrities, at a particular point in their lives, that they can begin a successful career in music? "There's no question that the music on these albums is comical," says Hamling. "The cover art is ridiculous. But the true humour in this collection lies in the unseen. I mean, what kind of backroom discussion did it take to convince Emmanuel Lewis and the cast of the sitcom Webster to make an album warning kids about the dangers of molestation?"

The Independent profiles Dengue Fever.

Picked up here by Peter Gabriel's Real World label, Dengue Fever's latest album, Venus on Earth, is their first UK release, much of it recorded on analogue tape using the same generation of decks that The Beach Boys used in the Sixties at Oceanways Studios. These are songs that cross multiple time zones, with sonic textures ranging freely from psychedelia to surf, mariachi to garage rock, and even Berber rhythms and Ethiopique sax. And as well as the record deal with Real World, they'll be performing at this year's Womad, whose organisers describe them as nothing less than "the grooviest band you don't yet know".

The Los Angeles Times weighs in on the reissue of Liz Phair's Exile in Guyville.

Double-consciousness is what Phair expresses on "Guyville" -- the impossible position of a woman trying to be true to herself in a man's world. These songs don't vacillate between desire and contempt for the men they address; they tangle these feelings together until they can't be undone. In a song like "Flower," with its unprintable lyrics, Phair showed how girliness is obscene and profanity is sweet. "Mesmerizing" presents seduction as an act of violence and a longed-for goal. In "Glory," Phair's crush comes on like a lizard and a king.

The Chicago Tribune and the Guardian's music blog also weigh in on the reissue.

Maissoneuve examines the second wave of Montreal music, or "life after the Arcade Fire."

In SF Gate, Violet Blue talks to Chuck Palahniuk about his new novel, Snuff.

When I asked Palahniuk if he had a favorite character in the book, he responded, "My favorite? Sheila, the talent wrangler and mastermind behind the whole doomed production. Half of my generation is plotting to kill their Baby Boomer parents for a big cash inheritance."

Okayplayer points out Cody ChesnuTT's Barack Obama song, "AfrObama: The Unified Party Anthem."

TIME calls graphic novels "Hollywood's newest gold mine."

Stories and characters first written for an audience of a few hundred thousand geeks at most are reaching, at the box office and on DVD and cable, popcorn-chomping crowds that number in the tens of millions. "The dalliance between Hollywood and comics is becoming a marriage," says Frank Miller, creator of the graphic novels Sin City and 300. "The downside is in the heads of people who make comic books. Everybody wants money and fame."

The Independent profiles Aimee Mann.

Mann, like many lyricists, finds the darker side of life more beguiling. "It's obvious, conflicts and problems make for more interesting topics." She denies that she has an antipathy towards people which means she goes round with a constant frown. "I think I'm actually pretty cheerful and optimistic. Almost every single one of my friends is a comedian, so there's a lot of joking around."

Drowned in Sound interviews the members of Rogue Wave.

Cracked lists geek conventions god never intended.

Drowned in Sound asks its readers to list their favorite albums of 2008 so far.

Slate is offering political ring tones.

WXPN's World Cafe features Islands with an interview and in-studio performance.

The Phoenix examines the effects of stricter US visa laws on musicians traveling to the US.

In the past two years, news has come out of the music world with disarming frequency about artists being forced to postpone or cancel shows because of visa troubles. M.I.A, Rodrigo y Gabriella, Amy Winehouse, Klaxons, the Mystery Jets, New Model Army, You Say Party! We Say Die!, and the Young Knives are just a few highly publicized examples of musicians — successful and struggling, popular and unknown — who have tried to brave the system, and failed.

Bloggertronix profiles one of my favorite new bands, Cymbals Eat Guitars.

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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