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May 26, 2007

Shorties

Author Jonathan Lethem talks to the Scotsman.

"My books all have this giant, howling missing centre - language has disappeared, or someone has vanished, or memory has gone," sighs Lethem. "I'm for ever writing around a void - I guess I don't have to explain to you why that is."


Tilly and the Wall's Jamie Pressnall talks to the Age.

In the '90s, Pressnall played guitar in a band called Park Ave with the now famous Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes. But she was also a trained dancer, a member of the only professional ballet company in Omaha, and a tap aficionado from way back. "So in Tilly we started writing songs for fun and I was just like, 'oh I could tap to keep a beat, 'til we work out what we're going to do'," she says breezily. "And then we never looked for a drummer."


Steven Hall, author of the novel The Raw Shark Texts, talks to the Brisbane Times.

"The thing I love most about it," says Hall, grinning like a naughty schoolboy, "is that, still, no one can agree what the book is. If you look at all the different reviews that have come out, it's as if everyone's reviewing a different book.

"It seems that 50 to 60 per cent of people get the book and really like it. Some people are just exasperated because they think 'what the hell is this all about?' and some people, for whatever reason, furiously hate it."

see also: Hall's Largehearted Boy Book Notes for the novel


Jack and Meg White of the White Stripes talk to the Age about the band's new album, Icky Thump.

"We've never been to a major studio before," Jack mentions. "I think it's the largest record we've made, sonically. It scared us a little. Was it going to be hard to get the raw sound we like? We've always been afraid the studio would iron out the rawness. But we thought if we can make a White Stripes record in this environment, we can make one anywhere."


The Washington Post reviews a book I am currently reading, Grotesque by Natsuo Kirino.

Kirino's subjects are women and murder. Two women in their late 30s have been killed in similar fashion within a year of each other: Yuriko, a prostitute, and Kazue, a successful professional who was turning tricks on the side. They are linked by a nameless woman, older sister of the former and classmate of the latter, who lays out their histories and her own in a chillingly dispassionate, curiously defensive narrative.


The Hold Steady's Tad Kubler talks to the Arizona Rebublic.

Influential online music magazine Pitchfork Media awarded Boys and Girls in America a rare 9.4 out of 10, proclaiming Finn the poet laureate of America's have-nots, which he may well be. But while his words are what most critics seem to focus on, in truth, it's the juxtaposition of those words against the ragged glory of a full-tilt rock band that makes the Hold Steady the living embodiment of everything Nick Hornby thinks Marah is - life-affirming rock and roll.

"It seems like it's always so polarized," Kubler said, "where you've either got this dumb, loud riff rock band or you've got this kind of meager but literate front man and that's that. I think one thing we've been hopefully good at doing is finding the middle to that."


NPR's All Things Considered offers an excerpt from Al Gore's new book, The Assault on Reason, and also interviews the former US senator and vice-president.

Now I am in Washington, D.C., and you are in New York, so I can't see you, Mr. Gore. But I have the impression of someone standing and wagging their finger at all this.

(Laughter) Well, I'm actually sitting back in a chair and I'm quite relaxed. And I ... think that the problem is, I'm not pointing a finger at Bush and Cheney. I am pointing to the cracks in the foundation of American democracy.


The New Yorker features a new short story, "Puppies," by George Saunders.


NPR's Day to Day interviews DeVotchKa frontman Nick Urata.


The Salt Lake Tribune and Charlotte Observer offer lists of summer books.


WXPN's World Cafe features an interview with and performance by Sweden's Peter Bjorn and John.


This weekend, USA Today's Pop Candy blog is covering the Los Angeles Star Wars convention.

Business Week examines the collectibles available at the convention.



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this week's CD releases

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