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August 28, 2008


Liz Phair talks to the Washington Post's Express about her seminal album, Exile in Guyville.

It used to be that "when I listened to 'Guyville,' I got angry — it reminded me of things I'd done I wished I hadn't or the person I was I wish I hadn't been. Much the same way a drunk in recovery faces up to the person that they've been." And now? "Part of what the re-release does is allow me to celebrate it along with everyone else. And to reclaim it, to some extent."

The Los Angeles Times' Jacket Copy blog collects stories (and photos) of favorite autographed books.

Carl Newman of the New Pornographers talks to the Georgia Straight.

On recent rock fantasies come true: “When we played New York last October, Gord Gano came up and we did a Violent Femmes song with him, which was just as good [as playing with Ray Davies of the Kinks], because they’re both very iconic musicians in my head. In fact, as much as I love the Kinks, I don’t think anything they did ever hit me as hard as the first Violent Femmes album. It’s one of the best rock ’n’ roll albums ever made.”

The Washington Post's Express profiles Chapel Hill's Bellafea.

Much of the intensity radiates from guitarist, singer and tiny whirlwind Heather McEntire. Her coiled ferocity evokes old-school Polly Harvey — minus the theater, heavy on American indie directness. She's well matched by drummer Nathan Buchanan and bassist Eddie Sanchez.

Locus Magazine interviews author Michael Chabon.

“A standard view of literary critics is that plot is an inherent weakness. That's a vestigial holdover from the Modernist movement in the early part of the 20th century, where painting abandoned figuration, music abandoned harmony, poetry abandoned meter, and to a certain degree fiction abandoned plot. Plot in fiction had become fairly conventionalized, and it probably did feel like something that needed to be loosened up, reexamined, questioned, challenged. I think plot, unchecked, does weaken the power of a work of fiction. If a novel is overly in service to its plot, there's always a diminishment of character and psychology. Plot and character are in an inverse proportional relationship to each other, for the most part. In my own work, I try to find a balance point. Some of Henry James' work is finely plotted. I think Turn of the Screw is his most perfect book, and it does find that balance: character is illuminated by the plot in an ideal way that we could all aspire to.”

The Wall Street Journal profiles Inara George and Van Dyke Parks and their exquisite musical collaboration, The Invitation.

As pleasurable as "An Invitation" is on a first listen, it's an album that gets better in time as the interplay between Ms. George's voice and Mr. Parks's work continues to reveal itself. The orchestra neither distracts nor intrudes, but it is undeniably present -- not so much as pillowy clouds under her voice, but as soap bubbles that dart and dance around her.

Music Think Tank examines the "futility of flogging music."

SEE Magazine reviews Blake Bell's biography and career retrospective of cartoonist Steve Ditko, Strange and Stranger (one of the most fascinating books I have read all year).

In Strange and Stranger, Bell takes an objective long view of an influential comic artist who was determined to define right and wrong for us whether we liked it or not. Lavishly illustrated with images created by Ditko (as well as several illustrators who were influenced by him), Strange and Stranger deserves a place alongside such other must-have history books as Arlen Schumer’s The Silver Age of Comics and Marvel’s typically self-hyping Five Fabulous Decades of the World’s Greatest Comics — and, of course, the comics themselves. Throw in Michael Chabon’s Pulitzer-winning novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay for good measure and you’re set.

Radiohead Not For Profit is sharing mp3s of Radiohead's August 4th Cuyahoga Falls performance.

New York Magazine's Vulture blog features an exclusive excerpt from Stephen Davis's new book, Watch You Bleed: The Saga of Guns N'Roses.

IGN lists the top 10 hair metal guitar gods.

RIP Steve Foley, drummer on the Replacements' last tours.

The Frisky lists 15 female empowerment breakup songs.

The Scotsman lists unlikely musical collaborations.

Michael Bolton and Bob Dylan

Truly a collaboration of the sublime and the ridiculous, as Bob Dylan teamed up with Michael Bolton to write the song Steel Bars which appeared on Bolton's 1991 album Time, Love, and Tenderness. Bolton said he was "awed" by Dylan's decision to work with him. The rest of us were simply stunned.

Verve frontman Richard Ashcroft talks to USA Today about the band's new album, Forth.

"I called the band back together simply for the joy of making music," says lead singer Richard Ashcroft, speaking over the sound of a rooster crowing from his home in Gloucestershire, England. "I don't think The Verve should be something we just kill off. Let's breathe some life into it."

The Seattle Times previews the literary lineup at this weekend's Bumbershoot music and arts festival.

Videohound's Golden Movie Retriever lists ten truly underrated sci-fi movies.

The Miami New Times profiles My Moring Jacket.

So maybe Jim James is a new kind of rock star, one blessed with a postmodern self-awareness and the sense of humor you'd expect from a guy who lists Rushmore as his favorite film, Dave Eggers and Haruki Murakami as his favorite contemporary writers, and The Muppet Show as one of his earliest musical inspirations. It's this amiable goofiness that shines live, in the form of nonsensical asides about "Careless Whisper" really being about bananas. It's the band's weird wardrobe. It's the nearly childlike thrill James seems to get from performing.

At Conversational Reading, Josh Henkin lists "ten terrific novels about writers, writing, and the writing life."

see also: Henkin's Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay for his novel, Matrimony lists 25 places to read free books online.

SongBlitz is an online game that etsts your music memory.

NPR's Karen Grigsby Bates lists books to read as summer winds down.

The Electric Politics podcast offers an audio interview with cartoonist R. Crumb.

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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