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November 4, 2008

Shorties (Of Montreal, Neil Gaiman, and more)

Venus Zine interviews singer-songwriter Thea Gilmore.

What do you see as the differences between popular music in the UK and popular music in USA?

Well, music from the US is always more polished. But more than anything I think it’s the audiences that differ. There is a willingness to listen in the US that you don't find in the UK — a drive to discover and support. The UK is very quick to cut down the heroes it’s created, and it lends a sour edge to music over here.


The Line of Best Fit interviews Of Montreal frontman Kevin Barnes.


My wife is holding a contest on her blog, get CDs and books in return for helping her choose birthday presents for me.


The Underwire lists sci-fi's top 5 educational takes on politics.

4) Arthur C. Clarke: “Politicians should read science fiction, not westerns and detective stories.”


UGO lists the film adaptations of Neil Gaiman books in progress.


PopMatters wonders (and explains) where the rockstars went.

This unholy blend of empty machismo, high-spectacle hedonism, and acid washed jeans is hilarious in hindsight, but it would be a whole lot funnier if it wasn’t so damn successful. At the end of the day, glam rock sold more albums, and Reagan grabbed more votes, than anything that has come since, and the reason why is a principle of human communication that we might as well call the Tao of Motley Crue. It goes like this: Sing about champagne and supermodels, when all you can afford is Taco Bell and the girl who sold you your Taco Bell, and peroxide blondes holding Dom Perignon will soon be yours; wax eloquent about Trickle Down Economics, when you’re chin-deep in stagflation, and a reinvigorated superpower you shall soon be. All you need is a slogan, something catchy and seductive and ambiguous and self-actualizing like “Girls, Girls, Girls” or “Pour Some Sugar on Me” or “We are the Change We’ve been Waiting For.” And the only trick is to avoid the inevitable tipping point, the moment when an anthem’s intoxicating hollowness becomes unbearably freakin’ banal.


The National Post reviews Art Spiegelman's new book, Breakdowns: Portrait of the Artist as a Young @&*!.

At age 60, he calls himself a "megalomaniac with an inferiority complex." That's a witty phrase, but in Breakdowns we can never forget his intimate connection with great tragedy. His new book is no Maus, but it takes his readers close to the reality of his life.


Tubefilter reports that a new series of Peanuts animated shorts is available on iTunes.


Drowned in Sound interviews Snowden's Jordan Jeffares.


Hypebot lists 5 selfish reasons every musician should vote for Barack Obama.


The Guardian has posted a new short story by Lorrie Moore, "Foes."


Filter interviews Okkervil River frontman Will Sheff.

I know you get asked about your critical writing work a lot but I was curious what your thoughts were on the themes of this album and how they play out in the critic vs. musician world.

I think both are on a continuum. Music critics and musicians have more alike than they are different. It’s just different reaction to the same thing—having your life changed by rock and roll. One way to respond to that is to make your own music and the other way is to explicate for readers what is meaningful about this song and what is worthless about other songs. You’re sort of the architect of the cultural opinion of this stuff. A fan is also doing the same thing. They respond to the music by buying the record, buying a ticket to a show, by going out and standing in front of a stage and cheering. They make the career of the artist possible. I think we’re all fighting the same fight. We just take different paths.


The November issue of Bookslut is online, and includes interviews with Neil Gaiman, Joy Williams, Charles Baxter, and much more.


The Los Angeles Times' Jacket Copy blog lists 5 "un-put-downable" books to distract you from the election.


Paste interviews Ray Raposa of Castanets.

Paste: How do you feel about where freak-folk is heading these days, now that it’s making inroads into pop?

Castanets: I don’t mind a bit. Freak-folk wasn’t as cohesive as a scene as it was made out to be, a lot of people are friends, but there wasn’t any grand unifying focus or anything. It makes total sense to me that Devendra Banhardt would be making pop records, and it makes total sense to me that Gogol Bordello would be working with Madonna. Those seem like natural arcs. I always got mad when people were calling my friends freaks anyway. I don’t have any grievances, I think the more magazines I open with my friends in them, the better. In an airport bookstore, not a police blotter.


Drowned in Sound offers a musical timeline to this year's US presidential election.


IGN lists the top Autumn songs.


The Futurist has mp3s from Birdmonster's recent WOXY Lounge Act performance.


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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