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July 31, 2008


The Akron Beacon Journal profiles the Melvins.

For nearly 25 years, the band's core members — guitarist/singer Buzz Osborne and drummer Crover — have been making left-of-center metal, mixing their teenage love of punk and hard-core with the slower tempos of bands such as '80s punk pioneers Flipper. The band also has a skewed sense of humor that manifests itself in records such as the still divisive (among the fan base) and experimental Prick, which featured few actual songs.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review profiles Tilly and the Wall.

But the most unusual thing about Tilly and the Wall, the Omaha band performing Sunday at Hartwood Acres as part of the Allegheny County Summer Music Series, is the music works. It's brightly effervescent, cheery and invigorating, as heard on the new album "O." And watching video clips of live performances, it seems the quintet is the epitome of the R.E.M. song "Shiny Happy People."

The New Statesman interviews Joanna Newsom.

Does art make a difference?

Aw, sure. Of course there are degrees of extremity to the potential change that art can effect, depending on how many people are able to engage with it. The Beatles made a huge difference in the world. But Henry Darger, Jeff McKissack, Karen Dalton, Pauline Oliveros, Kenneth Patchen – there are so many folks who have made great art and not gotten massively famous for it, yet I think there are all sorts of ways their work informs and shapes other people’s work, and brains, and decisions.

In the Guardian, author Cory Doctorow examines the new law that allows collaboration between ISPs and record companies to stop illegal filesharing in Great Britain.

I'm a science fiction writer by trade, but even I am impressed by the incredible inventiveness on display in the figures used by the record industry to justify this measure: they add up all the kids who've downloaded a song this week, multiply by the highest retail price, add 30% to account for the wear and tear on their faces from tugging at their beards in dismay, and announce a billion quid "piracy loss" that government and ISPs have to step up and do something about right now, please and thanks, and forget about all that tedious law business.

Drowned in Sound recaps July's music releases.

NPR is streaming a live performance by singer-songwriter Hayes Carll.

Lullabyes has mp3s of a recent Phantom Planet show, including the band's live cover of Radiohead's "Just."

Author Tao Lin is selling shares of his second novel's royalties.

People who buy shares will also have more meaning in life if they already like and promote my writing, because they can promote my writing and also be making money for themselves, which can be exchanged for "goods" in concrete reality; therefore existential despair due to "having to do what you normally wouldn't be doing if you had a lot of money" can be relieved to some extent. Also it will be "funny" and "interesting" "for everyone" probably if people buy shares. You can call yourself a "producer" of my second novel if you want to do that. This is like a grant or something except it's like the stock market or something. You will be a stockholder in "Tao Lin's Second Novel's U.S. Royalties Corporation." "As people resell their shares the price of each share will go up or down, you will see this conveyed on MSNBC as a number going by on the bottom of the TV screen."

Independent Weekly interviews singer-songwriter Alina Simone about her Yanka Dyagileva covers album, Everyone Is Crying Out To Me, Beware.

Since she was such an inspiration to you, how did you approach covering her music? Did you feel a lot of pressure?

I did feel a lot of pressure. I think Americans can’t really relate to it because she’s not an American figure they’re familiar with, but if you imagine covering Nick Drake or Elliott Smith, maybe even Phil Ochs … someone who died tragically and was really passionate and revered in their small circle, it’s like that. She’s like a cult figure in Russia, sort of a sacred figure. A lot of people feel like her music shouldn’t be touched at all.

Independent Weekly also reviews the album.

These arrangements are spare without being stripped, smart enough to paint Yanka's songs and underline Simone's singing without getting in the way: A piercing guitar and sighing trumpet dart over the muted acoustic guitar of opener "Half My Kingdom," and light percussion and a repetitive electric melody reaffirm the near jangle of "Sold." On "Up to the Knees," something as simple as a shaker gradually rising above Simone in the mix illustrates the social suffocation she's condemning.

The Pitch's Wayward Blog reviews a recent Kansas City performance by Simone.

Vue Weekly reviews John Darnielle's 33 1/3 book, Black Sabbath: Master of Reality.

Despite the rather dark setting that the book’s narrator is writing from, there’s something especially enjoyable about the loose approach that Darnielle takes with his discussion. There’s a real enthusiasm for the record, and while there are few answers to be found here, Darnielle has a way of starting the wheels turning and getting the reader to turn over some stones and figure out just what the music means to them.

The Stranger attends a "Words & Wine" reading with author Ethan Canin.

The drinks seemed to make Canin more forthcoming. There's always something wonderful about getting drunk with smart people, especially authors. The conversation tends to be startlingly intimate, far ranging, and strangely raw. When asked a question, Canin would ramble pleasurably for 10 minutes before moving on, sometimes never actually answering the original question, although no one minded.

The I Love Music community is listing its favorite remixes of 2008.

The Frisky lists the top songs about masturbation.

Minnesota Public Radio's The Current features the Go! Team with an in-studio performance and an interview.

The Dartmouth College Library offers an online simple book repair manual.

Drowned in Sound interviews singer-songwriter Micah P. Hinson.

Ecstatic Peace! has announced the August tourdates of its 2008 No More Bush! series of shows,

Onesie of the day: "Drive-By Truckers" (outfit your baby in a Wes Freed design)

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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