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September 25, 2008

Shorties (Wilco, Dash Shaw, and more)

Reggie Youngblood of the Black Kids talks to the Baltimore Sun about the hype surrounding the band.

The album has been out for about a month, and the scruffy band from Jacksonville, Fla., is already tired of hearing about itself.

"I think we're dealing with it just fine for the most part," says Black Kids' lead singer and chief songwriter, Reggie Youngblood. He and his bandmates - his sister Ali Youngblood on keyboards, Dawn Watley on keyboards, Owen Holmes on bass and Kevin Snow on drums - headline the Ottobar on Saturday night. "I'd like to bring [the buzz] down a notch or so. But at the same time, you gotta take what you can get. Without this crazy machine, we wouldn't have been able to leave Jacksonville. But is it insane? Does it take its toll? Definitely."

Leigh Watson of the Watson Twins puts her iPod on shuffle for the A.V. Club.

In the Wall Street Journal, Margaret Atwood eloquently examines the idea of debt.

A story is a string of actions occurring over time -- one damn thing after another, as we glibly say in creative writing classes -- and debt happens as a result of actions occurring over time. Therefore, any debt involves a plot line: how you got into debt, what you did, said and thought while you were in there, and then -- depending on whether the ending is to be happy or sad -- how you got out of debt, or else how you got further and further into it until you became overwhelmed by it, and sank from view.

The New Yorker features short new fiction by Andrea Lee, "Three."

The New York Times reviews Alissa Torres' graphic novel, American Widow.

The graphic novel “American Widow,” written by Alissa Torres and illustrated by Sungyoon Choi, is a memoir about the author; her husband, Luis Eduardo Torres; and his death on Sept. 11, 2001. That day is fraught with so many emotional and political landmines for countless people that a critic might hesitate to review such an account, especially if the work is less than stellar. Fortunately, “American Widow” is very good — largely because of the author’s willingness to address difficult issues, including her anger at her husband and her frustration in dealing with relief agencies that at times alternated between being overeager and counterproductive.

Dash Shaw talks comics and webcomics with the Duke Chronicle.

IGN lists 10 atists who should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame but aren't.

Percy Carey (MF Grimm) and GZA talk comics at the Complex blog.

Percy Carey: Are fellow Wu-Tang Clan members like RZA and Method Man into comics as well?

GZA: Oh yeah. We used to sit around on tour buses discussing characters from Marvel, trying to remember how much people could lift, how far people could stretch their powers, and that was before they set up those power rating systems, put out those numbers. We were comparing what they wrote in the comics, and would get into arguments about what the real number was. Like how much weight Hulk could lift and stuff like that.

LA Weekly profiles McCabe's Guitar Shop as the Santa Monica musical landmark turns 50 this year.

The Oregonian interviews Chuck Palahniuk.

Q. You had a background in actual physical labor before you became a writer. Did that give you an advantage somehow over someone who takes a purely academic path to writing?

A. In American culture, writers come from one of two schools: They either come from academia, where they have a fairly limited amount of personal experience and exceptional writing skills -- they can write beautiful prose about very little -- or they come from journalism, where they have an enormous wealth of experience and exposure to people and events, but their writing tends to be kind of pedestrian, very plain. So they tend to write very plain-language stories about very important events. So it's either fancy writing about nothing or it's plain writing about huge things.

Xtra has a video interview with author Michelle Tea.

Actress Amber Tamblyn talks to the San Francisco Chronicle about her poetry.

"I understand people saying, 'Oh God, it's another celebrity trying to write poetry. What is she going to talk about - how fat her bank account is?' But if that guy (who called her "a sitcom actress") learned one thing about me, he would know that I grew up like that. I grew up in that family atmosphere, and I was a writer before I was an actress."

Robert Pollard talks to the Cleveland Free Times about his old band, Guided By Voices, and his new band, Boston Spaceships.

"I think I pulled the plug too late," he says via phone from his Dayton home, as he tries to keep his two cats from leaving his backyard. "I like the records we did, but it got to be kind of stale. The whole process got to be kind of formulaic. It was like, 'Here's the song, let's do the record and the three-week tour.' It was about time to wrap it up. At the time, I was saying I was too old to be the leader of a gang. I kind of want to revert to a juvenile state of mind. The Spaceship songs are silly and filled with sexual innuendos and things a 50-year-old man shouldn't be doing. I guess it's a middle-age crisis."

LA Weekly examines coupledom in indie rock.

As in real life, each public indie-rock couple has its own character. Brooklyn’s Matt and Kim are dance-party co-captains; their relationship and music both capture the happy mania of prepubes discovery-world adolescence. The couple in Low, Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker, are mysteriously Mormon. Ex-Luna, now-duo Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips are enduringly lovely and more sophisticated than everyone else (Wareham even wrote a well-received book about it). Mates of State are accessibly weird, and, as such, are tremendously engaging (but this is likely due in part to the coupledom subtext).

Eye Weekly finds commonality between Trekkies and indie music fans.

He thinks there are definite parallels between the culture of hardcore Trekkers and the cultish indie-rock community. “At a convention, you see a lot of people who are enjoying the fact that they’re not being judged for something they love, which I also find in indie-rock. There’s a lot of overlap between the two.”

Tucson Weekly interviews Ben Kweller.

Musically speaking, what do you love that your friends don't know about? What's your favorite guilty pleasure?

I suppose indie kids or music snobs would make fun of my slick Top 40 country CDs and my Color Me Badd, Shai and Erasure cassettes.

At the Washington Post, Neil Gaiman fields reader questions.

T-shirt of the day: "Analog Retirement"

The Baltimore Citypaper examines the importance of the books we read as children.

It's not that children's books are pure entertainment, innocent of any didactic goal--what grownups enviously call "Reading for Fun." On the contrary, the reading we do as children may be more serious than any reading we'll ever do again. Books for children and young people are unashamedly prescriptive: They're written, at least in part, to teach us what the world is like, how people are, and how we should behave--as my colleague Megan Kelso (The Squirrel Mother) puts it, "How to be a human being."

Spike lists the 10 worst songs that hit #1.

GQ's Material Interest blog reviews Jonathan Ames & Dean Haspiel's graphic novel, The Alcoholic.

IGN lists 7 songs for the end of the world.

Wilco is giving away a free cover of Bob Dylan's "I Shall Be Released" (performed with Fleet Foxes) on their website in return for a pledge to vote.

also at Largehearted Boy:

daily mp3 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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