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July 1, 2008


Five Chapters is serializing new short fiction by Ron Rash this week.

Paste interviews Doug Martsch of Built to Spill.

Paste: What’s your take on modern alternative rock, especially because you’ve said before on numerous occasions that you’re not too hot on a lot of it? Is there anything you’ve heard or seen recently that you’re impressed by, or do you just tend to ignore newer music?

Martsch: I mostly just tend to ignore it. Not at all because there’s not good things going on, I don’t know why, I’m just not interested. You know, I’ve answered this question several times, and sometimes I’ll say the same thing, sometimes I’ll make shit up. Not on purpose, but just trying to understand it myself. I think what makes the most sense to me is that part of music is learning about the world, and learning about things, the same way that movies and books and TV and things like that help people learn about the world. When you’re young, you’re a sponge, and you can listen to things and learn a lot about the world. And I feel, myself, that there’s not a whole lot I can learn from some 25-year-old from America. Or the things that I could learn would be pop-cultural. But at the same time, you know, like the Arcade Fire– I thought that first record of theirs was really great. I didn’t learn anything, but it was great music. I never consciously, when I was young, thought I was learning things from music. As I got older, I guess I thought that might be the reason.

The Toronto Star examines the effect of rising gas prices on Canadian bands.

"For small bands, I think the days of touring extensively are probably going to be coming to an end soon," says Chris Eaton, lead singer of Rock Plaza Central, which is also on tour in Western Canada.

"The cities in Canada are so far apart, basically, you're already talking about a few hundred bucks just to be able to get to the next town." interviews Grandmaster Flash about his newly published autobiography, The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash: My Life, My Beats.

The Hold Steady's Craig Finn talks to about the band's new album, Stay Positive.

'At my age, you don't bounce back quite as quick the next day!' laughs Finn, who has taken to jogging on tour. 'I think one of the challenges for me on this record was that I'd written a lot about young adults before. I wanted to write about the life that was being presented to me; that is being in my 30s and finally making a living out of making music. It's really the only job available where you're encouraged to behave in certain ways.'

Minnesota Public Radio reports that he world premiere of the Little House on the Prairie stage production (starring Melissa Gilbert as Ma Ingalls) is setting box office records in Minneapolis.

On Friday, the first day of sales for the new musical, theatergoers bought 5,461 tickets. That more than triples the Guthrie's previous record, set in 2006 for the annual holiday show, "A Christmas Carol."

The Los Angeles Times gives the backstory to the live David Bowie CD out later this month, David Bowie: Live Santa Monica '72.

When Bowie-as-Ziggy stepped on the Civic stage in the fall of 1972, he was greeted by flashing strobe lights and the strains of the Walter Carlos' kinetic version of Beethoven's "Ode to Joy," which was used in Stanley Kubrick's futuristic film "A Clockwork Orange." With his shiny metallic costume, carrot-orange tinged hair and modest layer of white makeup, Ziggy too represented a bold step into the uncertain future.

The National Post interviews William Shatner about his autobiography, Up Till Now.

On music:

“I loved doing Has Been. Going to Nashville, having that whole experience with a genius like [Ben Folds]. It was overwhelming in that I was in good hands. I got great guidance. So I would love to repeat it, and although I’ve asked him if if he would do another, he’s gone on to other things. We’re great buddies. But I don’t think he’d do it again and I’d be afraid of somebody else....[On the album] I did a rock and roll number. and I understood for the first time what rock and roll is. I wrote some songs from my heart and they turned out well because of [Ben] and I just don’t know if I could do anything else. But that rock and roll thing really gave me tremendous insight.”

The White Sox website features the Fiery Furnaces' Matthew Friedberger talking about a surprising musical influence.

"I often play the keyboards, and my biggest influence as a keyboard player is Nancy Faust, the White Sox's longtime organist," Matthew said. "I can't play as well as Nancy Faust, but I play the organ often."

Portishead's Geoff Barrow talks to USA Today.

"We never once called ourselves trip-hop," says beat wizard Geoff Barrow, 36, poolside at the Roosevelt Hotel. "We've got nothing to do with the music that was spawned by these three acts and listened to by England's middle-class housewives, the fondue set."

The St. Petersburg Times reviews my favorite novel of the year so far, Joseph O'Neill's Netherland.

In O'Neill's deft hands, cricket becomes a well-wrought metaphor for an unknown history (Benjamin Franklin played cricket) and an invisible population. As one character points out, there are 150 cricket clubs in New York. Most of them are made up of Sri Lankans, Pakistanis, Guyanans, West Indians and other people of color playing in scruffy parks a long way from the satiny green grass of Lord's.

Publisher's Weekly notes NPR's expanded book coverage.

The Phoenix attempts to find corporate partners for the unlicensed songs on Feist's The Reminder.

The New York Times examines clothing store Hott Topic's entry into digital music sales.

“For us, music merchandise is where the profit is,” said Hot Topic’s president, Jerry Cook. “The reason we carry CDs in the stores is that to be in a music-centered business and not have music would be a contradiction. And you can’t be an online music store and not have MP3s.”

Good Morning America offers its summer reading suggestions.

The Guardian's books blog credits Haruki Murakami's novels with helping the English-speaking world overcome its aversion to books in translation.

The Village Voice's Status Ain't Hood blog (one of the finest music blogs around) has shut its doors and said goodbye.

The Phoenix New Times shares a music soundtrack for hyperdrivers.

This video trailer for Janice Erlbaum's memoir Have You Found Her is awesome.

see also: Erlbaum's Largehearted Boy Book Notes music playlist for the book

Comics in the Classroom is a "comics site for teachers, parents and librarians."

95total lists the 8 best albums of 2008 so far.

IGN lists Beatles songs it wants to see in Guitar Hero and Rock Band.

also at Largehearted Boy:

daily mp3 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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