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June 6, 2008

Shorties

The Times Online interviews Bob Dylan, who gives his endorsement of Barack Obama for the US presidency.

"Well, you know right now America is in a state of upheaval,” he says. “Poverty is demoralising. You can't expect people to have the virtue of purity when they are poor. But we've got this guy out there now who is redefining the nature of politics from the ground up...Barack Obama. He's redefining what a politician is, so we'll have to see how things play out. Am I hopeful? Yes, I'm hopeful that things might change. Some things are going to have to.” He offers a parting handshake. “You should always take the best from the past, leave the worst back there and go forward into the future,” he notes as the door closes between us.


The Montreal Gazette calls Ravens & Chimes "the next next Arcade Fire."


Joanna Kavenna talks to the Guardian about the importance of the Orange prize for fiction.

The struggles of the would-be novelist explain why the Orange new writers award matters so much to her. "It's wonderful to have your early work supported, because no one's asking you to be a writer and there isn't a career stall set up when you're 18 with lots of people saying, 'Come and be a writer, there are great pension opportunities and loads of cash.' I'm sure it's lovely to get a big prize when you're an established writer, but you feel much more at this stage that you can just fall off the planet completely." The £10,000 bursary will come in handy, too.


The A.V. Club interviews author Harlan Ellison.


The Lexington Herald-Leader examines the city's possible future transformation into a live music mecca like Austin.

But what the 275 Lexington leaders on the Commerce Lexington trip to Austin, Texas, are learning this week is that music and entertainment can develop into a significant industry itself, with the right planning and encouragement from local government, banks and other business interests.


In the Guardian, author Tom Perotta profiles the Hold Steady and the band's lead singer, Craig Finn.

Finn's lurid, novelistic songs about midwestern lowlife characters stuck somewhere between oblivion and redemption have earned him frequent comparisons to Bruce Springsteen - not the pumped-up Boss of Born in the USA, but the young greaser Bruce of Greetings from Asbury Park, only with a harder, less romantic edge. On the strength of four remarkable and increasingly sophisticated albums, Finn has established himself as America's reigning poet of drug-addled losers, the unflinching chronicler of their hard-luck adventures, nightmare visions, and occasional moments of grace. He's a sort of rock'n'roll Bukowski with a little Dylan thrown in for good measure, the kind of lyricist who can pull off an ambitious three-narrator song like Chillout Tent (from the Hold Steady's breakout 2006 record, Boys and Girls in America), in which two strangers who've overdosed at a rock festival end up getting it on in the medical tent: "They started kissing when the nurses took off their IVs/... they had the privacy of bedsheets/ The other kids were mostly in comas."


Tattoo of the day: this homage to Haruki Murakami's novel A Wild Sheep Chase


BookStove lists "obscure, thought provoking reads."


LP Cover Lover is a blog devoted to album (and single) artwork.


Meemix is a personalized internet radio option to Pandora.


Musicradar.com lists the best musician-actors of all time.


Scott Devedorf, bassist for the National, explains indie rock economics to the National Post.

"We're doing a little better, but I think there's a lot of misconceptions," he says. "Like, ‘Oh, you're in a band and touring, you must make so much money,' but the costs of doing it are insane as well. And we also have a lot of people in our operation. So that statement in the movie is true - it took us a while to pay that money back, and then we took any money we did have, that we'd saved from earlier records, and put it into the recording of Boxer. It's working out better now."


Fog City Journal interviews Swervedriver frontman Adam Franklin.


Metromix Orlando interviews Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig.

Do you have more in common with Simon or Garfunkel?

You know, Garfunkel went to Columbia, which is where we went. He lived in the same dorm I lived in my freshman year. So I feel a connection to him that way. I like his song “Bright Eyes.” It was like his one solo hit that was on the soundtrack to this movie and recently I got pretty into it. But obviously I think when you look at the whole career Paul Simon is a pretty interesting person. They each bring something to the table. Garfunkel has cooler hair. Definitely.

The Miami Herald also interviews Koenig.


TIME, Philadelphia Weekly, and Entertainment Weekly interview David Sedaris, whose new essay collection When You Are Engulfed in Flames is out this week.


The Economist profiles Amazon.com and its place in the modern publishing industry.


The Georgia Straight profiles Billy Bragg.


Sebastian Faulks, author of Devil May Care: The New James Bond Novel, talks to Vanity Fair about taking up the Ina Fleming series.

Which is the best of the Fleming novels? “In lit-crit terms,” says Faulks, “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service—the plotting is flawless.” But for creepiness, he goes on, you’d have to say Moonraker. For sheer drive, it would be Live and Let Die. And if you’re looking for the most realized portrait, it’s without question the assassin Grant in From Russia with Love—“He’s a psychopath, and the best characterization Fleming ever did.”


Minnesota Public Radio's The Current features the Old 97s with an interview and in-studio performance.


NPR's All Songs Considered shares a soundtrack for Generation Y.


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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