Friday, July 14th, 2006

Good As I Been To You

So Paste has finally posted online the whole of their “100 Best Living Songwriters” feature, complete with supporting essays for each listee. Topping the list, to on one’s surprise, is Bob Dylan – only the most devoted contrarian would try to take issue with his selection. Neil Young’s #2 placing might ruffle a few more feathers, but only amongst crazy people so we’ll disregard their complaints. Things potentially get a little more contentious in the middle of the pack (Sufjan Stevens over Richard Thompson? Hrmmm) but I’m not the sort to get all riled up over lists. That’s what Stereogum comments are for.

Anyway, if you’ve got an hour or two to kill, cruise the essays – they’re generally written by people with book-learnin’ or other smarts and it’s always good to entertain the rationale behind picks you may not agree with (Drive-By Trucker Patterson Hood defends #10 pick Prince). The list is broken up into 10 sections (1-10, 11-20, 21-30, 31-40, 41-50, 51-60, 61-70, 71-80, 81-90, 91-100) as well as a readers poll.

And to backtrack to Bobby Dylan a bit, Billboard has some more info and the tracklisting for his new album Modern Times, out August 29 and E! reports on the forthcoming Broadway musical based on his songs. Even with his endorsement, I can’t help but think it’s going to be a travesty and a half.

Golden Smog will release their latest Another Fine Day next Tuesday and in addition to being able to grab a full MP3 below, you can hear clips from the whole record here. The Pioneer Press talks to Dan Murphy about the logistics of the Smog and why you won’t see Jeff Tweedy (24) out with them as they try to support the new record.

MP3: Golden Smog – “5-22-02”

Being There conducts an intensive interview with Sufjan Stevens (47) about The Avalanche, which came out this past Tuesday while Salon makes do with three questions. Nextbook also has a brief interview. Allmusic, meanwhile, takes the wheel on the Sufjan backlash wagon and goes to town.

Billboard talks to Spoon-man Britt Daniel (-) about the follow-up to Gimme Fiction, which they’re in the midst of recording. The reissue package combining their first album Telephono with their early EP Soft Effects will be out July 25. It sounds almost nothing like current Spoon, but is still worthy in its own right. Check some out, the first track is from Telephono, the second from Soft Effects.

MP3: Spoon – “Idiot Driver”
MP3: Spoon – “Mountain To Sound”

eye talks to Land Of Talk’s Elizabeth Powell about Pootie Tang, a film I think I’ve actually seen at least some of. LoT open up the Dog Day Afternoon at Fort York tomorrow.

Some concert news – Finnish electro-pop outfit Husky Rescue will be at the El Mocambo on August 5 with Chicago’s Elanors, tickets $10. Husky Rescue were on my SxSW shortlist back in March so I’m pleased to get the chance to see them without, you know, having to go to Texas.

Also noteworthy – the Indie Unlimited festival happening at Harbourfront over the last weekend in August just got a lot more interesting. Great Lake Swimmers are still playing at 2PM, but the original headliner for the evening – Amy Millan – has now been moved to the 3:30PM slot, opening up the headlining slot (for around 9PM, I would estimate) for… The Hidden Cameras. Terrific news for those wanting to see them celebrate their new album Awoo, out August 15, but didn’t want to have to do the Virgin Festival to do so. After all – this show is also on the water and is decidedly FREE.

Also happening at Harbourfront but not till October 3 – newly-rediscovered British folk icon Vashti Bunyan will be at the Harbourfront Centre Theatre with Great Lake Swimmers supporting, tickets $24 to $27.

While Eugene Mirman isn’t a musician per se (though the Marvelous Crooning Child on his website is awesomeness), he IS signed to SubPop and I’m pretty sure he KNOWS a lot of musicians… and he’s one funny mofo. He turns the Horseshoe into a comedy club on August 17. Maybe they’ll put up one of those brick walls along the back.

np – The Cardigans / Long Gone Before Daylight

By : Frank Yang at 8:16 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. suckingalemon says:

    the hidden cameras are playing indie unlimited? that is fantastic news.
    that whole day is followed by torngat/thinkaboutlife/theyshoothorses in the smaller rooms. best day.


  2. juepucta says:

    No Paul Weller in that songwriter list? WTF?!


  3. Thierry says:

    I really don’t want to start a debate here, but I found it pretty shocking that the guys from Abba, Pete Shelley, Gordon Lightfoot or Neil Diamond (at least for his Brill Building and late 60s work) were not included.

  4. Karl says:

    I think you can still stream the whole Golden Smog album from VH1:

  5. Graham says:

    That is one terrible list for too many reasons to go through here.

  6. Sound/Fury says:

    Where’s Richard Buckner? Why did they even bother with such a predictable Top 10?

  7. elizabeth says:

    Not to add onto the complaints, but I would be interested to hear what you think of Jay Farrar’s low placing. Behind Joseph Arthur and Josh Ritter? These kinds of lists always seem to run into trouble when they try to be relevant by including newer artists. I think both Arthur and Ritter are strong songwriters who show promise, but this seems like a pretty obvious oversight of the longevity and quality of Farrar’s long songwriting career.

  8. Frank says:

    re: predictability – well that’s a tough one. Unless you get really contrarian it’s hard to really posit a strong argument AGAINST Bob Dylan, at least from the POV of Paste’s adult-indie audience.

    re: Farrar – I didn’t necessarily think he should be higher. After all this time, it’s pretty clear that Jay writes two or three types of songs and writes them well, but isn’t the most ambitious or restless songwriter. I don’t know Joseph Arthur’s stuff but based on the one Ritter album I’ve got, I might go so far as to say he’s got more upside to his talent. Who knows. Lists are dumb.

  9. graig says:

    The real tragedy is that Stephin Merritt didn’t even make the list. I don’t really have a great historical perspective nor much of an appreciation for a lot of the artists on that list, but when it comes to flexability and ingenious lyrics, Merritt tops the bulk of them. Of course, looking at his contemporaries he’s never been as big a seller as Ryan Adams or as hyped as Sufjan Stevens but he can consistantly write a smarter, more enjoyable tune. My opinion anyway.