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March 5, 2008

Shorties

Cartoonist Adrian Tomine talks to the Washington Post's Express.

"Shortcomings" is collected from issues of Tomine's comic book series "Optic Nerve." In an industry that is moving toward publishing works directly in graphic novel format published by mainstream book companies, Tomine is still plugging along with the serialized comic.

"It's so funny that the thing that used to be the essence of the industry is now this weird antiquity" he said. "My reasons for sticking with it are purely personal. For me, it's my anachronistic, nostalgic personality that is trying to do my little bit to keep this old thing alive. I guess this is like some of these bands insisting on putting out a limited-edition vinyl of their album for themselves or a few of their fans."


The Los Angeles Times lists memorable literary hoaxes.


The Village Voice offers a tipsheet for this year's edition of SXSW.


Electronic House offers tips on converting your CD collection to mp3s.


The Athens Exchange breaks down "The Last Day of Jimi Hendrix's Life" from the Mountain Goats' Ghana album.

Jimi Hendrix was found dead in the early morning of September 18, 1970 after a night of drinking red wine with his girlfriend and taking a handful of sleeping pills. The cause of death was asphyxiation; in other words, he drowned in his own vomit sometime during the night. So, it's fitting that the Mountain Goats song "The Last Day of Jimi Hendrix's Life" (an early song later compiled on Ghana, 2002) fixates on water. Jimi Hendrix wakes up on September 17, takes a shower and has a drink of water, and that's pretty much it. Through this short narrative, John Darnielle creates one of his most compelling and emotionally powerful songs. For most songwriters, a song called "The Last Day of Jimi Hendrix's Life" would be epic, but John Darnielle does just the opposite and creates a quiet, understated song that focuses, like many Mountain Goats' songs, on the mundane details of everyday life.


A Guardian reporter plays Scrabble against Stephen Malkmus.

As befits a Scrabble boffin, Malkmus's wit and wordplay was one of Pavement's strongest suits - 1994's Stop Breathin' used a US Open tennis match as a civil war metaphor and it's rare a Malkmus album passes without the use of a good homophone ("p-olice me, p-lease me"; "Korea! Career!"). His deferential description of the English language as "extreme" has already given me a sense of Scrabble foreboding.


Pitchfork announced the launch of its online music channel.


Drowned in Sound interviews Ryan McPhun of the Ruby Suns.

Your new record Sea Lion is one of the most ambitious collections of music heard so far in 2008. What were your main influences and inspirations behind the record?

I guess it was influenced by a lot of different stuff. I was really into the Elephant 6 thing a few years ago. Kala was huge to me, too. I dig all the Animal Collective records as well. I got really into Arthur Russell - Calling Out Of Context is probably my favourite. I really enjoyed the Congotronics album by Konono No.1. I'll always have a place for the Beach Boys, too. There are so many I guess...


Southern Shelter features mp3s from a recent Dead Confederate Athens performance.


Barstool Sports lists the five greatest fictional TV bowlers.


Scott Rosenberg creates a music playlist for his blog, Wordyard.

(2) “Bill Gates Must Die,” John Vanderslice — Certainly, most open source developers aren’t obsessive sociopaths like this song’s narrator. But they have always harbored a certain animosity toward the founder of Microsoft, and sometimes it gets a little personal. (Bonus rationale: This song once fried my motherboard.)


SF Weekly profiles local bands playing at SXSW.


LiveDaily interviews Parker Gispert of the Whigs.

To you, what stands out as the biggest difference between "Mission Control" and your debut, "Give 'Em All a Big Fat Lip"?

I'd say sonically it's definitely a departure. We were fortunate enough to record at Sunset Sound in the Sound Factory. The first go-around, we were recording in a house with a friend. This time, we were able to work with a producer that we were all big fans of. We definitely got a sonically superior product. The band and the songwriting are definitely the same. But I would say the biggest difference is the sonic quality.


In the Stranger, a former independent bookstore employee lists the books most often stolen (the list taken directly from the hands of a shoplifter).

1. Charles Bukowski

2. Jim Thompson

3. Philip K. Dick

4. William S. Burroughs

5. Any Graphic Novel

This is pretty much the authoritative top five, the New York Times best-seller list of stolen books. Its origins still mystify me. It might have belonged to an unscrupulous used bookseller who sent the homeless out, Fagin-like, to do his bidding, or it might have been another book thief helping a semi-illiterate friend identify the valuable merchandise. I asked the man whether he preferred Bukowski's Pulp to his Women, as I did, and whether his favorite Thompson book was The Getaway or The Killer Inside Me. First the book chatter made him nervous, but then it made him angry: He bellowed, "You're just a little bitch, ain't'cha?" and stormed out.


Boldtype interviews my favorite novelist, Michael Chabon, who talks about his new collection of nonfiction, Maps and Legends.

BT: Your latest book, Maps and Legends, is your first collection of nonfiction, but these pieces were written at different times — do you see them as a whole?

MC: Yes, but it came about almost by accident. I was trying to pull together nonfiction pieces I'd written around the theme of manhood — being a father, being a son, being a husband, being a man, generally. I'd given this big pile of nonfiction to my wife to help me sort through. And, in the course of pulling out all the pieces that would go in this prospective other collection, she found more pieces that also went together. She said, "You know, I think you have two books here. There's another one about writing, reading, and the things that you love. You should take a look at it." When I sat down I did feel that these essays somehow belonged together. So those are more or less the ones that are now in Maps and Legends.


The Los Angeles Times reports that 48% of US teenagers didn't buy a single CD last year.

Two years ago, teenagers accounted for 15% of CD sales. In 2007, the figure was 10%. The digital music world has yet to completely capture the attentions of Isaac Kahn and his friend Charlie Williams, both 14. They buy music online but prefer to go to the Amoeba store on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood and thumb through the CDs. "I like to look at CDs and see if there's anything else I might want to buy," Isaac said.


Aryn Kyle talks to Minnesota Public Radio about her bestselling novel, The God of Animals.


Now you can drink from your "Reading Is Sexy" mug while wearing your "Reading Is Sexy" t-shirt.


Bruce Springsteen talks to NPR's Morning Edition about the connection between music and politics.


SXSW Baby! offers a checklist of items to take to the Austin film/interactive/music conference.



also at Largehearted Boy:

2007 online music lists
Daily Downloads
Try It Before You Buy It (mp3s and full album streams from this week's CD releases)
this week's CD releases


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