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April 13, 2008


The New York Times profiles Portishead.

What the three members of Portishead share is a methodology: building each song around what Mr. Barrow calls “a sonic world,” often just a texture. “We are very much magpies,” he said. “We really like to hear stuff that blows us away, and then we like to do our own version of it, but I think we put it together in a weird way and it sounds like us.”

Newsday lists female singers who have turned to acting.

Billy Bragg talks to the New York Daily News.

"In the old days, I was dealing with the ridiculous nature of romance," Bragg explains. "It was the first exclamatory excitement of love in [songs such as] 'Greetings for the New Brunette.' Now I'm looking for the longer term and dealing with those issues."

Joan Didion talks to the Times Online about the stage adaptation of her book, The Year of Magical Thinking, set to open soon in London.

“Writers choose a way of living that allows them to run their own show,” she says. “In all truth I had no idea how much I valued control until I was working on the play.” Originally she was asked if she wanted to play herself: “Unthinkable,” she says, shuddering. Her place has been filled by Vanessa Redgrave, a friend from the days when Didion and her husband were working in Hollywood.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reviews Keith Gessen's novel, All the Sad Young Literary Men.

All the Sad Young Literary Men, a novel of linked short stories by Gessen, confirms the suspicions many of us had reading Kunkel's Indecision. These n+1 fellows simply don't have anything essential to say -- unless your idea of essential is a book that chronicles the ennui of overeducated white guys whose biggest problem tends to be whether to pursue a Master of Fine Arts in fiction or go to law school instead.

Martha Wainwright talks to the Times Online about her new album, I Know You're Married But I Have Feelings (out June 10th).

My first album was me navel-gazing,” she admits. “A lot of the songs were about my family because that was a big issue for me. Now I’m more interested in people with real problems.” I Know You’re Married . . . tackles war on Tower, a stripped-down song on which Wainwright’s emotive vocals flutter through scenes of soldiers on fire and lovers shot dead in the street. Death closer to home stalks The George Song, about a friend who committed suicide, and In the Middle of the Night, a spellbinding, country-tinged number inspired by her mother’s recent battle with cancer. “When my mother heard it, she was upset because it is so sad. Then I felt bad for making her upset because I really didn’t want to do that.”

Scotland on Sunday also profiles Wainwright.

The Chicago Tribune glowingly reviews

In the early going — it debuted Monday — the site is a small gem, expertly cut and showing only minor flaws. You don't have to like, or even have heard of, the Portland, Ore., band The Thermals to appreciate the immediacy of its New York City rooftop set, played for a Pitchfork TV feature, "Don't Look Down." You might well like them afterward, though.

NPR's Weekend Edition excerpts from Donald Ray Pollock's novel, Knockemstiff, and profiles the author.

He tells Scott Simon that the people he grew up with in Knockemstiff, Ohio, weren't nearly as colorful as the pitiful characters that come to life on his pages. It was his experience as a blue-collar worker, Pollock says, that inspired and shaped his narratives. He spent time in a meatpacking plant and then worked at a paper mill for 32 years, married three times, was in rehab four times and finally left his job at the mill to become a writer.

/Film points out some cool Star Wars steampunk action figures.

NPR is streaming last night's Washington performance by Nada Surf.

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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