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August 9, 2007


Ireland 's Event Guide interviews singer-songwriter Bill Callahan.

Comedian Patton Oswalt lists some of his favorite things for Pitchfork.

see also: Patton Oswalt's Largehearted Boy Note Books essay

Guitarist Nels Cline talks to the Winnipeg Sun about playing with Wilco.

USA Today profiles Kevin Patterson, author of the novel Consumption.

Literary influences: "Mark Helprin and Lawrence Durrell, both of whom write fat and florid novels that appall me now but opened my eyes to the power of fiction when I was in my 20s."

The Winnipeg Sun lists the 10 coolest indie albums of the summer.

The new issue of the online magazine MungBeing is online, and features an article by the Mountain Goats' John Darnielle on songs he has covered (complete with several Furniture Huschle downloads).

The Riverfront Times profiles singer-songwriter Gillian Welch.

Kevin Robinson of Viva Voce talks to the Portland Mercury.

And much of Viva Voce's music sounds like the Velvet Underground; it's in the breezy coos and jagged edges that permeate their rock 'n' roll songs. Still, the pair has managed to uncover a blistering, shimmying sound of their own. "When we started writing and recording together, it started to make sense," Kevin said. "What I brought and what she brought made for something unique—she's classic rock and I'm college radio."

Amanda Barrett of the Ditty Bops talks to the Portland Mercury about the reasons the band toured the country by bicycle last summer.

"For one, the adventure of riding your bike," explains Barrett. "And, secondly, I think we showed that bikes are not only a valid, but a great form of transportation. It was the trip of a lifetime and, after the tour, I realized I didn't need my car anymore, because I was used to riding 75 miles every day. Living in LA without a car was something I didn't think I'd be able to do, but it's been almost a year now."

Alison Sudol of A Fine Frenzy talks to Atlanta's Creative Loafing.

Sudol's story songs resonate in a gravity-defying orbit where Tori Amos or Sarah McLachlan wouldn't be uncomfortable. But the refreshingly regular Sudol bests those established flakes by eschewing the forced pretense of Amos and the calculated chill of McLachlan. "A lot of people are much better at being super weird and out there than me," she says. "I like bringing it down a little to really look at it, and then I can become a part of the music as I observe it."

Boston's Phoenix examines the modern pop culture debts owed to ten "dead white females."

But I say leave the pasty old white dudes to their reign over the hallowed halls of the academe. Because, for every dozen Dead White Male authors being reanimated in a dingy basement by a bearded schnook in a sweater vest, there’s one quietly powerful Dead White Female author taking a meeting — and running Hollywood with a dainty iron fist.

The Telegraph credits Facebook (and the Scrabulous widget) for the increase in Scrabble's popularity.

Creative Loafing's Crib Notes blog lists the most underrated albums.

Independent Weekly interviews Mike Cooley of the Drive-By Truckers about his song, "Gravity's Gone."

It has a quality about the lovable loser, like some of the songs by the Replacements or Townes Van Zandt.

A lot of times it takes me a few years after I write something… [Cooley tells a squealing kid to hold on, he's on the phone.] It takes me a few years before I really know what I'm talking about. In that particular case, a lot of it came together while I was on this tour that I wasn't having much fun with. [laughs] I was on the road a lot harder and longer than I wanted to be, and I didn't feel like we were really reaping the benefits. [Editor's note: Could this be the Dirty South tour?] But the whole thing in the chorus is kind of like, if I derail my career, at least I'll have my feet on the ground. I'd rather be at the bottom with my feet on the ground than the bottom with no where to land. So it took me a while to figure out what I was talking about, but I think that was it.

NewMusicBox interviews Matthew and Eleanor Friedberger of the Fiery Furnaces.

Singer-songwriter Daniel Johnston talks to the Nashville Scene.

The New York Times book blog, Papercuts, features a music playlist by author and sometimes Magnetic Fieds accordion player Daniel Handler.

13) This Year, The Mountain Goats. You could throw a dart at the Mountain Goats’ discography and hit a good song every time, as long as you don’t unpack the metaphor about throwing a dart at a discography, and also, let’s face it, as long as the dart didn’t hit certain songs. Never you mind. Next time the world is all over you like a soaked sweater throw this tune on and sing along with John Darnielle: “I am going to make it through this year if it kills me.”

Writer/artist James Kochalka puts his iPod on shuffle for the A.V. Club.

The Flaming Lips, "My Cosmic Autumn Rebellion"

JK: You know, I don't think I paid for this album, but I've bought a bunch of other Flaming Lips albums. I have mixed feelings about copying—I guess basically stealing music, right? But then I look at my own royalties from the record label, and I figure no one is making any money. [Laughs.] You're not really stealing from the artists, just the label. Maybe a band this big, they probably get royalties from their record label, but any small band—they're not.

The Literary Review interviews author Philip Pullman.

The A.V. Club interviews Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon.

The A.V. Club: Do you intend for Buffy Season Eight to be completely open-ended, or do you have a specific arc in mind?

Joss Whedon: It has a specific arc and an ending. It will be open-ended in the sense that there could be a Buffy: Season Nine.

AVC: In comics, or on television?

JW: In comics. There's not going to be a Buffy season nine on television. I don't think Sarah [Michelle Gellar] has the slightest interest in doing that, and quite frankly, I don't think it's a good idea for me, either. I do have to prove at some point that I can do other things.

GermaniX is a free Windows program that will transcode music formats (including mp3,flac, and shn).

At NPR's All Things Considered, author Jennifer Egan recommends Wilkie Collins' 1860 thriller, The Woman in White.

Time Out New York interviews author Neil Gaiman.

Why are fantasy films so popular these days?

It’s similar to the reason for the mainstream acceptance of graphic novels. If you go back 20 years, a generation of young people in high schools and colleges were saying this is cool—and their professors told them that it wasn’t. Young journalists—of whom I was one in 1985—trying to sell it to their editors were told, “f*ck off, we just wrote about Dennis the Menace; why would we write about Art Spiegelman and Frank Miller?” Those journalists are now 40 and editing newspapers and magazines.

WXPN's World Cafe features singer-songwriter (and former Drive-By Trucker) Jason Isbell with an in-studio performance and interview.

also at Largehearted Boy:

this week's CD releases