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Wednesday, May 6, 2009
by PopMatters Staff
Ken Stringfellow is a well-known figure in the world of smart pop music, having worked with the likes of the Posies, R.E.M., the Minus 5, and Big Star. These days he's playing with the Disciplines and their new album Smoking Kills released just last week.

1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?
ALL Movies make me cry. I am that kind of guy. From The Terminator to soft porn to, of course, It’s a Wonderful Life, I start crying during the damn previews, for fuck sake.


2. The fictional character most like you?
Pretty much was feeling like Randy the Ram in The Wrestler when I saw that film… old, fucked up never-has-been, “he’s a loser but he still keeps on trying” as the Little River Band would say.


3. The greatest album, ever?
Hard to call. The Shaggs album? It’s really a tough call. The Shaggs is perhaps the most extraordinary. Greatest, maybe Farewell to Kings by Rush.


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Friday, May 1, 2009
by PopMatters Staff
Donny Blum, drummer for the Von Bondies, tells us why Star Wars rules, you ought to try yoga and how inspirational Hieronymus Bosch is.

1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?
That would be Math Without Tears, by Roy Hartkopf. I was boning up on math, because I think it’s so important to be able to add and subtract when I’m on tour. Math is so painful to me; it’s like pulling teeth. But math is also so important to all of our lives. I also saw a commercial on TV several years ago for the Humane Society. It was about what a dog dreams of at night. It dreams of its owner, a very old man. Then you find out that the old man is dead and the dog is now in a cage at a dog shelter. It is very sad.


2. The fictional character most like you?
I would have to say Taras Bulba from that famous story by Gogol. I feel like the members of my band are like Taras Bulba’s sons. And he would do anything for them, just as I would do anything for my sons. If I had any.


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Thursday, Apr 16, 2009
by PopMatters Staff
Georgia indie pop group Venice Is Sinking has released a few records that PopMatters rated pretty highly, Sorry About the Flowers in 2006 and AZAR earlier this year. Lucas Jensen, the band's drummer, sits down with 20 Questions to explain his theories about Star Wars and more.

1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?
There were parts in Kate Atkinson’s Case Histories that really got to me, particularly dealing with plight of the overweight, asthmatic lawyer Theo, who could have easily become a caricature. The empathy and humanity that Atkinson shows Theo (imagine that, an ugly major character!) is well beyond the norm for most fiction, particularly mystery fiction. WALL-E also made me tear up at various points. The beginning is so cute and yet so sad. WALL-E‘s loneliness is palpable. Sure, it’s billed as a kid’s movie, but have you ever seen anything so desolate and bleak in your life?!


2. The fictional character most like you?
Hmmm…probably some buffoonish but lovable motormouth idiot out there. Falstaff? That Scottish guy from Four Weddings and a Funeral who died? Did I just give something away? Spoiler alert!


3. The greatest album, ever?
Oh man, this question is a tough one. I vacillate between any number of albums, including some usual suspects like Pet Sounds and Revolver and stuff, so I’m going to go oddball today and say that it’s Tindersticks’ second self-titled album, which, in its long running time, manages to incorporate spoken word, Serge Gainsbourg-style duets, distorted surf guitars, full orchestras, piano ballads, and a one-mic-recorded dirges without every getting boring once. It’s so overstuffed with dramatic gestures and ambition and well-executed bad ideas that it’s almost gaudy in its grandeur.


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Friday, Apr 10, 2009
by PopMatters Staff
L.A. pop band Eulogies released their latest album Here Anonymous this week on Dangerbird and stopped by 20 Questions to talk about their inspiration and tennis.

1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?
Last Chance Harvey. It’s easy to feel sorry for Dustin Hoffman. Gimme a break, I’m sleep deprived.


2. The fictional character most like you?
Max from Where the Wild Things Are. I love going places in my mind when given the chance… I have very vivid dreams on a consistent basis. I think this might be because I’m a light sleeper, so when i do get there I’m not too far from conscience.  Or maybe it’s because I eat a lot of dark chocolate.


3. The greatest album, ever?
Sgt. Peppers. My first experience with this album was my older brother’s copy on vinyl. I drew on it with a piece of chalk. In retrospect I knew for me it was going to be either visual arts or music or a combination of the two.


4. Star Trek or Star Wars?
Star Wars. What more can I say?


5. Your ideal brain food?
Sushi. Raw protein on some sugary starch, mmm. Nozawa in Los Angeles is the best sushi in the western hemisphere.


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Wednesday, Apr 8, 2009
by PopMatters Staff
Jennifer Kelly raved about L.A. indie pop group the Little Ones back in a 2006 Now Hear This piece for PopMatters. "Not since the Spinto Band has a young musical outfit burst onto the scene with the level of infectious joy that the Little Ones exhibit on their Sing Song EP. Spinning out exuberant harmonies and indelible hooks, yet under-girded with strong, eccentrically plotted beats, the EP had the irrepressible optimism of early summer -- the smell of new mown grass and suntan lotion was practically built right in." Frontman Ed Reyes answers our 20 Questions in the midst of working on a new record.

1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?
The last movie that made me cry was The Wrestler. In my head I was crying, but I didn’t exhibit it publicly for fear that I wasn’t wouldn’t be perceived as tough enough. Just kidding. I did get emotional when Mickey Rourke’s character explains to his daughter that he is washed up. I couldn’t help feel that maybe we are all washed up in some way. Maybe sometimes you can’t really follow your dreams?


2. The fictional character most like you?
I would probably say Hiro Nakamura from Heroes. I think his penchant for being a super hero is really appealing to me. He has great imagination and tries to accomplish the impossible. I can really relate to his good heart as well. Maybe we look alike too? More people should be like Hiro!


3. The greatest album, ever?
Very tough question to answer. I could probably elaborate on some albums that shaped my musical way of thinking. One album is The Beatles’ White Album (1968) and the other is The Kinks’ Village Green Preservation Society (1968). Both records really taught the power of melody and storytelling. Even if the melody is simple it can still have a great impact against a well-crafted musical bed.


4. Star Trek or Star Wars?
Star Wars all the way. I was raised on Star Wars and I have such great memories of going to the toy store and purchasing the various action figures. If I had saved them all they would probably be worth a fortune right now. At some point as a kid, I believed that Star Wars was real. I know there are some adults out there that think that way too…


5. Your ideal brain food?
My ideal brain food is Wasabi Peas. I can’t get enough of them. I like to pop a handful in my mouth and see how long I can stand it. It usually starts making my eyes water and after that I can really concentrate on anything. Everyone should try it.


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