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February 19, 2009

Shorties (Blitzen Trapper, Eugene Mirman, and more)

The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle profiles Blitzen Trapper.

Indeed, I hear Bigfoot in the music of Blitzen Trapper, which plays Tuesday at the Bug Jar. I hear darkness, and menace, and the solitude of vast stretches of nature. It is a rock band, but a rough-hewn, low-fi one that finds darker trails than most, with an indie-band's GPS for following the songs to where they lead. Blitzen Trapper put out an album in 2007, Wild Mountain Nation, that earned some critical attention, drawing an audience of "music-nerd type people, people actively seeking out unusual music," Early says. Last fall the band released Furr, drawing further applause. National Public Radio featured the band, and its audience expanded to, as Early puts it, "normal people."

The Telegraph profiles author Anita Brookner.

Clickmusic interviews Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison.

Does brutal honesty in songwriting ever get you into trouble in real life?

Not too much. My mother wasn't too enamoured with the suicide song from the last record though. Writing honestly (and maybe brutally) is really the only way I know how to do it, though this time around my personal life is far too content for me to be focusing on it. People would find it boring, so I'm shifting that focus away somewhat.

In the Charleston Post-Courier, Patterson Hood mentions a possible Drive-By Truckers cartoon.

As far as the future is concerned, Hood and the band are as busy and ambitious as ever. "There could be as many as seven Truckers-related projects on the horizon for the next 15 months," says Hood. "Lot's of shows, Booker T.'s album and some shows with him. Maybe a cartoon and a documentary, which is kinda a cartoon also. I love cartoons."

Ars Technica examines the state of negotiations for internet radio royalties.

Left out in the cold are the pure webcasters, like Pandora. According to The New York Times' tech blog, negotiations had been close to a resolution over the weekend but fell apart because of disagreements over a potential two-tiered pricing structure. Depending on size and income, webcasters might pay either per-song fees or a flat percentage of revenue or expenses. The Times suggests that the smaller Internet broadcasters viewed the fee structure as punishing success—if they managed to grow their business, they'd quickly break through a ceiling and wind up paying much higher royalties for their content.

Pitchfork reports that the Hold Steady will open for the Dave Matthews Band for six shows this June.

The Hartford Courant examines the effect of the bad economy on live music ticket sales.

In the, Amanda Palmer discusses the UK censorship of the video for her song, "Oasis."

I sat down one day in or around 2002 and wrote a tongue-in-cheek, ironic, up-tempo pop song about a girl who got drunk, date raped, and had an abortion. She sings about these things lightly and happily and says that she doesn't care that these things have happened to her because Oasis, her favorite band, have just sent her an autographed photo in the mail. If you cannot sense the irony in this song, you're about two intelligence points above a kumquat.

Amazon MP3 is selling the classic 8-track MC5 album, Kick Out the Jams, for $1.99.

The Guardian profiles Dischord Records as the music label celebrates its 30th anniversary.

nyctaper has mp3s from a Lucero performance earlier this month.

Daytrotter's Thursday session features in-studio mp3s from Greg Laswell.

io9 lists science fiction books that deserve to be films.

Tucson Weekly profiles singer-songwriter A.A. Bondy.

Although he's arriving late to the indie-folk party--Iron & Wine, Cat Power and Will Oldham have already clobbered that pinata--Bondy's influences are more varied and less insular. American Hearts owes as much to Bob Dylan as it does to novelist Cormac McCarthy, filmmaker Guy Maddin and any number of contemporary painters. I say that, because it's these and many other non-musical artists Bondy would prefer to discuss, and because the minimalism he displays in his songwriting has little to do with today's "nu-folk" (or whatever you want to call it). Even Bondy's analogies extend into other media, especially on the issue of why he engineered his own album.

The Frisky notes that mix CDs have become a trendy gift for those in love.

Seattle Weekly interviews Eugene Mirman about his new book, The Will to Whatevs: A Guide to Modern Life.

Speaking of huge corporations, how did working with a publisher like Harper Collins differ from working with an "indie" label like Sub Pop?

With standup, you hone an act over time and your feedback is your audience. By the time you record an album, you know that most of what you're doing will work. With a book, you're mostly sitting alone and then submitting drafts to an editor or showing what you've written to a small number of friends. They're different, but both great. However, I think working with Sub Pop and Harper isn't really that different necessarily, though I've known the people at Sub Pop much longer, and stay at their houses when I'm in Seattle. That's probably the main difference...I wrote some of my book in the little cabin in back of Megan Jasper's house, but I didn't work on my record in back of Rupert Murdoch's. Still, I've only just begun editing my next Sub Pop album, so Rupert could still invite me to his villa.

NPR's All Songs Considered previews its SXSW coverage.

Amazon MP3 is selling the Grateful Dead's 7-track Wake of the Flood album for $1.99.

Independent Weekly interviews John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats about Jandek.

What did you think about Jandek coming into public to play after 26 years of avoiding it all, especially since your obsession with him had just grown so intense?

I feel weird talking about it because there was a lot of discussion when Jandek played live. People said, "Well, I don't know if he should have done this." And then others, I think rightly, said, "Look, he can do whatever he wants to do. It's his music. It's his f**king business." But at the same time, let's imagine it's 150 years in the future, so we're not talking about a guy who's alive and what he does or doesn't want to do. We're talking about a historical figure now.

The Brooklyn Eagle profiles Grizzly Bear and the band's frontman, Ed Droste.

As something of an elder statesman of the Brooklyn scene (at the very wizened age of 30, no less), where does Droste see things headed? Although “excited about where things are,” Droste—who is an active blogger, provoking a minor imbroglio late last year when he unwittingly posted a leaked track from Animal Collective’s much—anticipated Merriweather Post Pavilion-is equivocal in his praise of the blogosphere, citing its mystifying” elements and going so far as to compare it to high school.

T-shirt of the day: "Rocksteady"

Touch and Go Records will cease new signings and distribution according to Billboard. In a 2006 feature, Pitchfork named the 24 seminal releases by the indie label.

LaundroMatinee features in-studio mp3s and video from Backyard Tire Fire.

also at Largehearted Boy:

Online "best of 2008" music lists
Online "best of 2008" book lists
daily mp3 downloads
Try It Before You Buy It (mp3s and full album streams from this week's CD releases)
weekly music & DVD release lists


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