March Madness: Nikolai Fraiture Interview from 2001

Today’s offering for Strokes March Madness: Here’s a 2001 interview that Nikolai Fraiture did with a college publication cleverly called Univercity.

My favorite part is when Niko is asked whether the band would change its sound over time or whether they would stick to what they were doing (in 2001), he responded, “For the moment, we’re happy with what we’re doing. But we’ll have to progress and change. We don’t know how it will take place, but we definitely hope to move on.”

Can Krissi Murison Save NME?

To be honest, I can’t remember the last time I looked for a print publication of NME in a magazine store (or the last time I stopped in a magazine shop), but after reading this Guardian interview with new editor Krissi Murison, I have to say I’m a bit intrigued.

Murison, a long-time NME staffer who worked her way up the ranks before leaving for a brief 7-month stint at music director at NYLON magazine in NYC, took the reigns of New Musical Express last June. Last week a new design and direction was revealed for the magazine — with a streamlined logo, a redesign and reorganization of the interior sections, and a more sophisticated, in-depth point-of-view.

Many detractors of the brand have complained that the magazine has increasingly become gossipy, laddish, and guilty of flip-flopping between lauding bands one week and then slamming them the next. Murison intends to bring NME back as a “heavyweight” in terms of reporting and information to its 18- to 24-year-old core readers.

The 28-year-old editor-in-chief has a long road ahead of her, with NME circulation down 24.3% year on year to 48,549 from the June – December time period from last year, and more more more eyeballs shifting from print to online.

What do you think of the revamp of NME? Can it stave off declines in its print numbers or is it a lost cause?

More on NME and Krissi Murison: Guardian style interview, Mediaweek, The Independent, Liverpool Echo

More on Ryan Adams and Mary-Louise Parker Talk Poetry @ NYPL Live

To pick up where I left off, the Ryan Adams + Mary-Louise Parker talk at the NYPL on Friday was pretty great. Structured as a casual conversation between the two poetry lovers, NYPL’s Paul Holdengraber gave a very brief intro before handing the stage over to the old friends (for three years they were neighbors).

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Much of the first half of the discussion was peppered with references to Mary-Louise’s friend, poet and Columbia University professor Mark Strand, who both credited with widening their horizons and understanding of poetry.

Ryan spoke at length about how he imagines a big gang of people with “unhappy face shirts on” just waiting to tear him down. On putting his work and himself out in the world for public consumption, Ryan commented that when something is seeing as being “too artistic” people tend to paint it as coming form a place of “self-entitlement,” for Ryan it’s more of an opportunity for pure expression, that in general he feels his work doesn’t always stimulate the intellect, but does stimulate emotion.

Mary-Louise elaborated on the discussion of the mob mentality of critics by saying that for people who are the the public eye, there is very real hurt that comes with hearing criticism. Talking about anonymous internet commentators, Mary-Louise commented that “the voice that’s going to be heard is the meanest voice in the room.”
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ANNOUNCED: Ryan Adams and Mary-Louise Parker @ NYPL Live

After reading that headline, did your mind explode? Well it should have, because it’s enough when musical genius Ryan Adams and actress extraordinaire Mary-Louise Parker (aka the insatiable Nancy Botwin from Weeds) are on their own — putting them together in the same room is nearly fatal to the hearts of cool hunters worldwide.

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LIVE1smFor an hour and a half the two Carolina natives (Adams- North, Parker- South) will be discussing poetry and fiction, and Adams’s upcoming book HelloSunshine, at the Celeste Bartos Forum of The New York Public Library at 6PM on September 25th as part of the NYPL Live series. Tickets to this 500 person event will go on sale to the general public on Tuesday, Sept 9th.

I can already see myself sitting there, eyes darting back and forth, my chest beating fast, and the little neurons in my brain completely frizzling out because I’ll be unable to determine who I should be focusing on at any given moment.
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More Music Magazines Fall Upon Hard Times

The folding of music mag Blender Magazine earlier this year seems to be just the beginning for even harder times upon the already struggling print music magazine industry.

Two weeks ago indie-rock based Paste Magazine put a plea out to their readers to donate money in order help save the magazine from closing. (In exchange donors receive access to 70+ “rare and exclusive tracks” from artists like Of
Montreal, The Decemberists, Indigo Girls and She & Him.)

Now hot on the heels of that news comes word that renegade UK rag Plan B has decided to pull the plug on their operation. This saddens me deeply, as Plan B, and it’s predecessor Careless Talk Costs Lives were among some of the very few smart, original, and far from cliched music mags out there.

How do you feel about all the recent closings of the world’s music publications? Are there some you are glad to see go (and some you are hoping will fade away)?

Are You Interested in Chicks with Sticks?

…and guitars, and basses, and microphones? Then you might find yourself clamoring for the new Nylon book called PLAY, which heavily focuses on some of the hottest, most stylish, and sometimes controversial, female figures to ever rock the music world. Interviews with people like Jenny Lewis and Peaches and homages to the style of Amy Winehouse and Beth Ditto.

Ok ok, it’s not just about chicks–dudes like Thurston Moore and Wayne Coyne from the Flaming Lips are in it too, throwing their two cents in about some of their favorite music and biggest influences.

Miss Meg White of the White Stripes is of course covered in the book as well. Check it out:

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More photos from the book over at Nylon.com

Ultragrrrl’s Got a New Blog…and Book!

A little shout-out to my friend Sarah. You may know her as the top banana over at indie music label Stolen Transmission or as international arbiter of mirth and merriment, Ultragrrrl, but she’s got a new job as the blogger for a new blog called Almack’s Dance Hall (which is run by Universal records). She will be going out every night to a different show and reporting on it, which makes me simultaneously jealous and exhausted thinking about this ambitious feat.

Ah yes, there was once a time when I would go out every night, go see a band (or two… or three!), crash into my little extra long twin bed at my college dorm and then stumble in, bleary-eyed, into class only a few hours later.

Anyhoo, best of luck to Sarah in that new endeavor. Also of note, Ultra has a new book out, Pocket Karaoke, which was released last week.
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