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July 17, 2008

Shorties

Lumino Magazine interviews Apples in Stereo bass player Eric Allen.

This will be your first year playing the Pitchfork Music Festival. What are your thoughts on the line-up? What has your relationship with Pitchfork been like?

Pitchfork has been as good to us as they are to anybody and probably a lot nicer than they are to some bands. The line-up for Pitchfork is as good as any festival in the world. Any festival (where) you can see Boris, Hawk and a Hacksaw and Public Enemy is not to be missed.

Allen also talks to the Charleston Gazette about the band's appearances on the Colbert Report.

"I think Robert appearing on the show was a big popularity boost for us," says Eric Allen, bassist for The Apples in Stereo, calling from Denver. "It opened the band up to a lot of people who wouldn't have heard of us otherwise. Robert gets recognized all the time for being on 'The Colbert Report,' which just goes to show the loyalty of The Colbert Nation."


Writer's Digest lists its 101 best websites for writers.


Popmatters profiles Girl Talk.

One DJ from Pennsylvania has turned the notion that it’s un-cool for hipsters to like pop music on its head. Girl Talk’s third album, 2006’s Night Ripper, re-defined what pop music is - and what it can be—by destroying, warping, twisting, chopping, smashing, and generally mutilating it beyond recognition. Labeled a “mash-up” DJ, Girl Talk takes a number of short samples, rearranges, loops, and scrambles them together to create a pop music Frankenstein’s monster.


In the Guardian, Jane Brocket (author of Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer) lists the top 10 food scenes in children's literature.


The Detroit Free Press interviews singer-songwriter Amos Lee.

QUESTION: During your final show on the Dylan tour last year, you and Elvis Costello got to sing "I Shall Be Released" with Bob and his band during the encore at the Chicago Theatre. What was that experience like?

ANSWER: That was the first time I sang with them on the tour and it was nerve-racking for sure. It was intimidating, but it was cool! What a great song to sing and with that band you get into a deep pocket onstage. Both of those guys are well into their 50s and 60s and are still writing amazing and inspiring music.


The Times Online lists the 50 outstanding literary translations from the last 50 years.


Authors@Google features videos of lectures from authors of assorted genres. Recent lectures include Sloane Crosley, Salman Rushdie, and Ed Park.


AMiRIGHT lists album cover parodies.


Scientific American interviews E. Paul Zehr, author of Becoming Batman: The Possibility of a Superhero.

What have comic books and movies told us about Batman's physical abilities?

There's a quote from Neal Adams, the great Batman illustrator, who said Batman would win place or show in every event in the Olympics. Probably if I were Batman's handler, I'd put him in the decathlon. Although Batman is shown in the comics as being the fastest and the strongest and all these other things, in reality you can't actually be all of that at once. To be Batman properly, what you really need to do is be exceptionally good at many different things. It's when you take all the pieces and put them together that you get the Batman.


Valerie Madill offers a photo essay called "Looking at Libraries."


The Telegraph profiles Nick Cave.

Cave operates in a rarefied stratosphere, at the very highest level of lyrical invention and sonic adventure. Lazarus spins surreal tales of the strangeness of life on earth to edgily abstract grooves; songs shot through with poetic flourishes and deadpan humour but grounded in real emotional substance. Yet Cave confesses lyric-writing is "the most difficult thing I have to do, and the one from which I get the least enjoyment".


The Riff Blog lists five great, obscure Cure songs.


Menomena drummer Danny Seim talks to the Portland Mercury about his side project, Lackthereof.

In a lot of ways Your Anchor was the record Seim never should have released. It's an intensely personal look into a co-dependent downward spiral that pulls on your heartstrings with great regularity. But the core of Your Anchor almost never came to be under the Lackthereof moniker: "I submitted five or six songs early on as Menomena songs, but the subject matter is a big part of why I took them back," says Seim. "The second I submit a song to those guys it is going to completely change, night and day, they are just going to just rearrange everything, almost like a remix of itself, and because of the personal nature of them, I could kind of sense I would have a harder time letting go of those." He continues, "In that way, Lackthereof is my easy way to be the control freak."


Aimee Mann talks songwriting with JamBase.

"It's three-minutes but you make it work. You can still tell a pretty complicated story, and I really love that," observes Mann. "Sometimes it reminds me of graphic art. You have to choose a couple of simple, arresting images and what words you have need to contain the essence of what you want to say. It's not a novel; it's only three-minutes that people are spending with you."


The Atlantic interviews poet Mary Jo Salter.


Matrix lists musical artists who could be considered steampunk musicians.


The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette lists the best books for fall.


Hadji Bakara of Wolf Parade discusses his future with Tucson Weekly.

Conveniences aside, the world of academia is not a musical side-project that can be dabbled in from time to time. Bakara knows this, and while he turned down an acceptance to Duke University's Ph.D. program in literature this fall ("I just couldn't really see myself moving to Chapel Hill for the next five years," he said), next year is likely a different story.

"That will probably be the end of me being in Wolf Parade, when I start my Ph.D., but that's fine," Bakara said. "To me, 'musician' was never my primary ambition in life."


The Portland Mercury profiles Ray Davies.

Let's face it: The man is a living legend—the chief songwriter behind the Kinks, simultaneously one of the biggest bands of all time and one of the most underrated. After Ray's brother Dave shoved a knitting needle into his amplifier to get the snarling, distorted guitar sound heard round the world in "You Really Got Me," the Kinks quickly became the also-rans of the British Invasion. Their record sales dropped off, their managers embezzled the money, they were banned from touring the States, and all the while the Davies brothers bickered and squabbled, often coming to blows onstage. Throughout this, Ray Davies penned some of the finest songs ever written—"Dedicated Follower of Fashion," "Days," "Victoria"—while the rest of the world had their ears tuned elsewhere.


The List lists 25 things you might not know about Tom Waits.


The Charleston City Paper reviews Kevin Brockmeier's short fiction collection, The View from the Seventh Layer.

But what’s rewarding about spending time with Seventh Layer is not so much the psychological depths he plumbs — remember the clear lack of moments-of-truth a la John Cheever, Updike, et al. — but the skill and ease with which he weaves these stories about stories with cleverness, wit, and a sense of fun. Perhaps these aren’t fully formed works, but they are good and familiar company.

see also: Brockmeier's Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay for the book


The National Post interviews Hold Steady guitarist Tad Kubler about the band's new album, Stay Positive.

Q: You've spoken of a desire to make this record more "musical." Can you elaborate on that?

A: We've got three records out now, and you know, we've conquered the big rock riff. When I was coming up with ideas for songs, I pictured the record being a little more dynamic - and in doing 'less is more,' maybe creating a little space. Slapped Actress is a really good example. That was one of my favourite tracks, and because all of us showed a little restraint, the song came out much better. And [lead singer] Craig [Finn] has made a lot of great efforts prior to going into the studio to really get his voice ready and to use it as an instrument as opposed to kind of somebody telling a story on top of a rock band.


This week, Pitchfork.tv is streaming the documentary, Athens, Ga. Inside/Out.


Drowned in Sound interviews Jay Reatard.

Do you think you’ve been influenced much by UK punk with your music?

More so lately, yeah… since I was a teenager one of my favourite bands was Wire. When I was younger and before I had access to a vast amount of knowledge on the internet Wire were one of the only bands I got turned onto that weren’t like a cartoon version of domestic punk rock.


NPR's Bryant Park Sessions features an in-studio performance by the Headlights.


Prefix lists their 20 greatest Sub Pop albums.


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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