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June 27, 2008


Grace Potter talks to the Bangor Daily News about her band being labeled a "jam band."

"I don’t know as there even is really a jam scene. I think it’s just a brotherhood of bands that are road warriors. That are willing to stay out on the road all year long," said Potter, 24. "You make appearances at festivals, and the tie-dyes are gonna show up. But unlike other scenes, the jam scene has embraced all kinds of people. Older fans that are in their 60s now, with record collections that kick the ass of any intern at Rolling Stone, are totally digging on it."

Fratellis' frontman Jon Lawler discusses the band's success with the Guardian.

"You can't pick your fans, can you?" he asks, having settled himself at an outdoor table overlooking the canal that runs behind the Paradiso. "But we're grateful to have fans. And I think when people describe us as a band to get drunk to, or a party band, it shows you how out of fashion rock'n'roll is. We get described as a pub band, but that's what rock'n'roll is. Twist and Shout was three chords and 'C'mon, c'mon, c'mon' - it was nonsensical. But that was why it was effective."

The New York Times reviews Uwem Akpan's excellent short story collection, Say You're One of Them.

“My chest swelled with pride,” says Kotchikpa, “and my eyes welled up with tears, which the wind swept onto my earlobes.”

Imagery like that is far more vibrant than the mechanical ways in which these stories move toward doom. With his trajectory always a fait accompli, Mr. Akpan fares better with small, evocative details than with broad strokes. The phony new caretakers who ask Kotchikpa and Yewa to call them Mama and Papa, and who ply the kids with foods that will make them more valuable as slaves, can be little more than caricatures. Far more memorable is one of the feasts these people provide.

Truthdig interviews author Naomi Klein.

The Guardian profiles Dave Eggers new series of Voice of Witness book series at McSweeney's.

"The point of the series is to illuminate human rights abuses through oral history," said Eggers, still best known for his first book, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, about his struggle as a young man to bring up his little brother after their parents had died of cancer.

At Entertainment Weekly, film director Michael Gondry selects 25 music videos . Synthtopia has direct links to the YouTube videos.

Drowned in Sound profiles online mixtape tool Muxtape, then creates Muxtapes for its favorite indie labels.

T-shirt of the day: "Read Books Not Shirts"

At Wall of China, Emma Lee-Moss profiles John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats.

It’s this touring business that makes me so nervous. If I’ve learned anything from traveling in a van with the Mountain Goats, it’s that I will do anything to make him like me, and also that he doesn’t like being probed. I have an email in my inbox in which he refers to himself as a cave dwelling hermit, and then ‘a troll’. As much as he joins in with the after-show dork talk (Peter from the Goats knows a lot about New Order), shows you the giant Mini-Cheddar he’s just found in his packet and shares his magazines (Metal Hammer, of course), there are times when you can tell he just wants to be alone. I bet the end of the press day after the last tour of the year is one of those times. I bet if I annoy him, I won’t get a hug at the end of the meal. I am literally speechless. I can’t think of a single thing to say.

Bradley's Almanac is sharing mp3s of REM's June 13th Mansfield show.

Southern Shelter features mp3s of Centro-matic's recent Athens performance.

The Independent declares the live music album dead.

It is time to say farewell to some of the greatest albums ever made, albums that made careers, defined genres, and celebrated the raw power of music. Because the live album, once a rite of passage for every act of substance, is dead.

The Guardian notes some of the worst rock and roll marketing strategies ever.

The Los Angeles Times interviews author Salman Rushdie.

Would he have been happier as a well-regarded, obscure literary writer rather than an international celebrity?

"I think you make the best of what you get," he said in his plummy accent, wearing a dark blue suit and gesturing donnishly. "And it's really easy for me to shut it out. Like most novelists, I developed early on quite strong habits of concentration, and even a requirement of solitude. Every day I just go to a room, shut the door and work. And the fame thing feels very trivial."

The Independent profiles the Black Kids.

Although Jacksonville has a history of heavier bands, Youngblood and co found themselves facing a coterie of groups that aped the tasteful, emotionally literate indie rock that has found favour with TV dramas like The OC and Dawson's Creek, which have promoted the likes of Modest Mouse, The Shins and Death Cab For Cutie. "There was a prevalent hardcore scene and a lot of friends were into that Nineties indie-rock sound. We love those groups, but the idea of playing that music – Oh God, I just know our next record is going to be all guitars – but we just wanted to be different, so chose to be bling indie pop."

TIME wonders if the Glastonbury music festival still rocks.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune lists its best local albums of the year so far.

Billboard interviews Neil Young about the Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young documentary film, CSNY: Deja Vu.

There's a scene in the movie where Graham Nash talks about going to hear "Living With War" for the first time and deciding whether he wanted to suit up for this tour. I wonder if there were times when you felt like you were bringing David, Stephen and Graham into something that was ultimately harmful to their bottom line as Crosby, Stills and Nash? Obviously, you play to two different audiences, and touring with them is a lot less of a preaching-to-the-choir scenario.

I guess so, 'cause they've been pretty mellow for a long time, and they haven't done anything. But if you look at the roots, if you look at the original music -- "For What It's Worth," "Ohio," "Military Madness," "Long Time Gone," "Deja Vu" and all these songs that were written back then -- "Immigration Man," "Teach Your Children" -- all that stuff is all rooted in the same message. This is just a different time. So they had a history of doing that, and I thought that was a good thing, because it reached way back for the roots.

The Christian Science Monitor profiles three graphic novelists: Dash Shaw, Jason Lutes, and Guy Deslisle.

see also: Dash Shaw's Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay for Bottomless Belly Button

Minnesota Public Radio's The Current features Shearwater with an in-studio performance and interview.

Drowned in Sound offers an excerpt from singer-songwriter Adam Gnade's debut novel, Hymn California.

Cracked lists 6 famous songs that don't mean what you think.

Drowned in Sound gets favorite album of 2008 choices from six of the musicians who are responsible for half of the website's favorite albums of the year so far.

NPR's Books We Like excerpts from the new David Sedaris essay collection, When You Are Engulfed in Flames.

also at Largehearted Boy:

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Try It Before You Buy It (mp3s and full album streams from this week's CD releases)
this week's CD releases