Harp Magazine has a nice profile of gorgeous-voiced country singer and sometime-New Pornographer Neko Case, whose new album, "Fox Confessor Brings the Flood," will be released next week. The singer has some confessions of her own: She has what she calls a "hostess complex," admits that she has a pathological fear" of having her picture taken and that frat boys provoke a "fight or flight" reaction. Case also reveals that it's still hard to be female in the music industry: "It's fucked up, being a woman in this business. You learn that for a lot of people it's about the lipstick and heels. I'm not someone who wears dresses all the time. There I am, I produced the record and wrote the songs, and people want to talk about how I look." Finally, the alt-country chanteuse says that she considers the phrase "alt-country chanteuse" a "massive disservice": "It's like we're saying, 'Don't worry, it's not country.' Well, I love country music."
The Guardian, meanwhile, talks to hard-rockin' garage-blues types the Soledad Brothers (who are not, in fact, brothers nor have they spent any time incarcerated in Soledad prison). The three-piece offer eight tips for how to play the blues in 2006, including "Cultivate intra-band strife": "We've never actually physically fought each other, but we really think this tour might be the one"; and "tell lies": "A lot of people also believe that [guitarist Johnny Walker] teaches philosophy down at Cincinnati University. It's not true; he just dresses that way." The boys offer some crucial fashion advice for any budding latter-day bluesmen or women: "You don't have to be poor to play the blues, but even if you are poor, you have to have really good shoes. Johnny bought his in Italy and they're lambskin."
Jack White posted an angry missive on his Web site this week, elaborating on a feud with former good bud Billy Childish ("Meg and I really feel sorry for you. It must be lonely sitting in all of that garage rock bitterness Billy"), ranting against people who write mean things about him on the Internet ("They all play a cowards game. The faceless opinion of print and the internet. What is it teaching all of us?") and tackling VH-1's "I Love the '80s" ("Why does a failed stand up comedian have the final word on the rubik's cube?"). (via the Modern Age)
Considering his disdain for online music critics, Jack White might raise a smile at the fate of poor Nick Sylvester: "Suspended" from the Village Voice this week for fabricating his cover story about male "pick-up artists," Sylvester has been unceremoniously dumped from his other job at Pitchfork Media - as though journalistic integrity is a crucial factor in one's ability to write a pretentious meta-review of the latest Casiotone for the Painfully Alone EP. Unsurprisingly, the blogosphere is in a right old state about the whole affair.
Finally, a link to stand-up comic Aziz Ansari's great record-store sketch poking fun at the pretentiousness of music snobs - first shown at last month's Plug Awards. Quote: "Did I ever tell you about the time I went trick or treating with Carlos D from Interpol?"
-- Matt Glazebrook