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July 25, 2008


ARTISTdirect interviews singer-songwriter Aimee Mann.

You’ve been a defender of artist copyrights and protecting an artist’s right to make money on album sales. There’s a popular perception out there – perhaps as a justification for illegal downloading – that artists make all their money on touring and merchandise, and that’s there isn’t much money to be made in album sales anyway.

I make no money touring–and how many T-shirts do I sell? Ten? You know what I mean? I don’t make money selling T-shirts. I probably make enough money to pay the guy selling T-shirts. If people are thinking that burning a CD or downloading on a non-pay website is not affecting the artist… it’s the only way I make money. If I don’t make enough money to pay for the next record, I will not make another record. It’s a simple thing, but it’s very difficult–you can’t turn an interview into a lecture. Whatever choices people make, that’s their choice. But I do feel obligated to point out that only really big acts who play in probably 7,000 or 10,000 seat places make money. I make enough to pay my musicians, pay my crew, fly people around, have a bus or hotel rooms or whatever–and that is it.

Actress/singer-songwriter Zooey Deschanel talks to the Raleigh News & Observer.

"I'm not complaining because it's been amazing to have both these very satisfying and fun things at the same time doing so great," she says. "I'm not gonna argue with it. I keep getting fun acting jobs, and here's this album that's completely an expression of myself. That's the first time I've ever had the ability to put out something that's actually me. It's such a blessing, I feel so lucky. I'm tired, but it's OK."

TIME examines the role of the US Poet Laureate.

And then there's the correspondence: dozens of emails a day from verse-challenged citizens who aren't afraid to go straight to the top. "Requests from schoolteachers asking you to give advice to students on how to read literature," Simic says. "Or from a business association in Topeka asking you to read a poem at the opening of a convention. My cell phone would ring and a high government official would ask me to fix a poem written by her late father to read at his memorial service. Sometimes I wanted to go just to see who these people were, but you can't do everything."

The Times Online examines the literary component of last week's Latitude Festival.

The Boston Globe profiles the Bowerbirds and their frontman, Phil Moore.

Moore takes inspiration from poets like Billy Collins, Mary Oliver, Gary Snyder, and nonfiction works by authors such as Derrick Jensen. These poets and writers are unified in their simple voices and mutual love of nature, qualities Moore shares in his songwriting. He expresses love for the natural world in a remarkably genuine voice that's never preachy.

see also: Moore's Largehearted Boy Note Books essay

T-shirt of the day: "Sad Songs Make Me Happy"

The Guardian has authors Jonathan Lethem, Adam Thirlwell, Nuruddin Farah, and James Meek name the key word for their novels.

GoMediaZine lists the 15 mistakes made by designers in the music and apparel industry.

FictionDB is a website that bills itself as the "essential fiction reference."

The Independent lists ten of the hottest books for the summer.

The Guardian asks writers how they deal with "reader's block."

Birmingham Weekly profiles local band Wild Sweet Orange.

Just a brief listen to their debut full-length album, We Have Cause to Be Uneasy, and you’ll know why his former band members decided to give rock ‘n’ roll another go. Lovinggood’s lyrics are both melancholic and picturesque. Titles like “Ten Dead Dogs” and “Land of No Return” may seem bleak, but the songs always aim at a beauty just beneath a disparaging surface.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune, Pioneer Press, and Variety weigh in on Paul Westerberg's "49:00" music download at Amazon (the 43:55 piece is still available as a 49 cent download).

LiveDaily has fall tourdates for the Mountain Goats/Kaki King tour.

TIME is soliciting questions for author Haruki Murakami.

Tiny Mix Tapes reviews the 33 1/3 book written by John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats, Black Sabbath: Master of Reality.

Just like Black Sabbath throws big rocks at subtlety and Roger’s manifesto-journal channels anger towards the mental health establishment, Darnielle’s book obliterates the sterility of music criticism. I imagine him reading reviews of his work and building up all of this disdain, deciding finally that he’s going to do it better. Ultimately, Master of Reality critiques criticism itself, an institution that encourages us to thrash apart the art of others — without offering any blood of our own.

The Christian Science Monitor profiles Reader to Reader, a group that sends needy libraries donated books.

Growing up in a family that loved to read, Mazor couldn't tolerate so many children lacking books. "In affluent communities, people were often just sort of tossing the books away because they didn't know what to do with them," he says. "We could match up that need with that resource."

Minnesota Public Radio features singer-songwriter Joshua James with an interview and in-studio performance.

CNN profiles author Salman Rushdie.

Rushdie has his own tensions to deal with. "The Satanic Verses" made him a household name; with fame has come regular coverage in the British tabloids, particularly after Rushdie married and then divorced "Top Chef" host Padma Lakshmi. Among the tabloids' terms for the 61-year-old author was "literary playboy." Rushdie doesn't mind attention, but bristles at that kind of attention.

Audiotuts lists 31 "insanely useful" websites for guitarists.

At NPR's All Things Considered, the Washington Post's environmental reporter Juliet Eilperin recommends three eco-friendly books.

IGN reviews the Batman film soundtracks.

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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