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October 14, 2008

Shorties (Alabama City Limits, John Darnielle, and more)

Alabama Public Television has started a new series, We Have Signal, that videotapes indie rock shows at one of my favorite music venues, Birmingham's Bottletree Cafe. Stream the shows online.


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

Darnielle writes with necessary directness - Roger's first journal entry reads simply "F*ck you all. Go to hell" - and in doing so manages to articulate more about Ozzy Osbourne et al than a more traditional recording history or biography as well as providing a vivid description of what it might be like to be incarcerated on an adolescent psychiatric ward.


Pitchfork interviews Marnie Stern.


Drowned in Sound interviews Dears frontman Murray Lightburn.

On Natalia's blog she specifically mentioned that Missiles isn't indie rock. What would you say the new album is if it's not that?

Since we started The Dears years and years and years ago, we never set out to fall into any sort of category and I think that's something we've always struggled with. We live somewhere between slightly mainstream and indie rock, which is difficult - we never subscribed to anything. It's just something that we try to transcend. I don't like being put in a category because I don't think that's the goal of human life. And so we try to transcend everything that would be obvious; things like myself being black and from Canada. It's easier for bands to make music that caters to an audience. That's what's sucking about music right now. The Dears have never tried to sound like anything, we've just happened to sound like the things that people say we sound like. You know The Smiths, doves crying... hahaha!


The Harvard Crimson interviews Jonathan Carroll, whose latest novel is The Ghost in Love.

The Harvard Crimson: When you wrote “Voice of Our Shadow,” people “mistook” it for a horror novel. Later you were taken for a fantasy or science fiction writer. In past interviews you have said that you are trying to resist classification. What do you think about that?

Jonathan Carroll: Critics and people who run bookstores like to classify things because it makes their jobs easier: Put this in the mainstream section. This is a fantasy novel, etc. Whenever people ask what “kind” of books I write I usually smile and say “mixed salads.” In that I mean a good mixed salad has tomatoes, sliced onion, capers, lettuce...lots of different things, covered with a tasty dressing. In my work there are usually a variety of different tropes—a little fantasy, a little romance, some comedy, a few drops of scary—all whizzed together. A lettuce salad is boring. Better to have one with lots of different tastes and consistencies for the mouth and mind to play with. So too a book.

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


The Utne Reader's Great Writing blog discovers my Book Notes series.


Stream The Sound of the Smiths, a collection of classic and rare tracks by the band (out November 11th).


The A.V. Club interviews Jenny Lewis about her new solo album, Acid Tongue.

AVC: What's your writing process like? Do you sit down and say, "Okay, I'm going to write a song now," or do they come to you fully formed, or are you always writing down lyrics?

JL: All of those things. I'm always jotting things down on little scraps of paper that I sometimes lose, but if I've written something down that's noteworthy I'll remember it. Some of the ones that I don't need to remember I'll end up losing. Like last night we played at the Ryman in Nashville and I reached in my pocket and I had a movie stub from Pineapple Express, which I had seen weeks earlier, and I borrowed a pen from the night security guard at the backdoor of the Ryman and wrote down some bullshit and lost it, luckily. [Laughs.]


BookPALS Storyline Online features actors reading children's books.


Reuters examines the financial effects of books winning Britain's Booker prize.


Reader's Digest interviews venerable author John Updike.

Q: Ever suffer from writer's block?

A: Every day there's a struggle. I think, Is this worth doing? Am I doing it well? Then there's the gratuitousness of writing fiction--of writing about people who don't exist. But there are many privileges in a freelance, self-employed life. Writing every day is a small price.


This week, PopMatters is listing indispensable DVDs.


T-shirt of the day: "Thriller Was a Documentary"


My favorite independent bookstore owner Benn Ray (who is also a sponsor of this blog) has published Straight Talk Express: Some Quick Talk, a 64-page zine that profiles the Republican US presidential candidate "in his own words, using his own voting record, looking at his own history." Read excerpts at Flickr.


Minnesota Public Radio's The Current has Cory Chisel in the studio for a performance and interview.


At Minnesota Reads, Jodi Chromey reviews Jonathan Kimball'snovel Letters to Everybody in a series of letters.


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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