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October 17, 2008

Shorties (Mark Everett, Daniel Johnston's Visual Art, and more)

Billboard reviews EELS frontman Mark Everett's biography, Things That the Grandchildren Should Know.

This could have been just another self-indulgent musician's attempt to commit to prose some autobiographical songs. Instead, it's a harrowing mantra of loss and solitude, as depression and death dispose of one family member after another until Everett has nobody left but himself and the occasional crazy girlfriend. He delivers the bad news in exemplary prose, a calmly assured march of simple declarative sentences, scrubbed nearly clean of any artifice. This is entirely on purpose: "Out of respect for you, gentle reader," he writes, "I'm going to stick with the direct approach."

The Belfast Telegraph interviews Martha Wainwright.

You’re sometimes referred to as a ‘folk’ artist, but on the evidence of your own recordings, I would say you are not remotely folk. You can be quite rocky and raunchy, kind of like Marianne Faithful crossed with Maria McKee. How would you describe your music?

That’s a tough one. If I’m travelling through an airport, like at passport control, and I’m asked what I do, I usually say a folk singer, ‘cause I can mimic picking a guitar without any foreign language ... I suppose people think of me as folkie because that’s where I started out, that’s where I came from [Wainwright’s mother Kate McGarrigle has been a legend in Canadian/American folk circles since the Sixties]. When people see a woman on a stage, alone with a guitar, they think ‘folk’. examines the visual art of Daniel Johnston.

'Daniel is most famous for his music,' Tennant concedes, 'but after the documentary and his recent exhibitions, particularly the 2006 Whitney Biennial in New York, his art is becoming increasingly popular. We purposely selected a large sample to reflect the sheer volume of his output. Each work acts as a piece in the jigsaw of Daniel's life and, while fans will be able piece together evidence of his loves, losses and personal struggles, the amount of stuff we're showing here makes any prior knowledge of him less crucial.'

Wired's Game Life lists the licensed songs in the Wii Music videogame (out October 20th in the US).

The Morning Oil features mp3s of Flannery O'Connor, including her reading the classic short story, "A Good Man Is Hard to Find."

The Summer Mix Series may be over (and it is fall), but many of the mix CDs are still available for download.

Design for Obama solicits poster designs from graphic artists in favor of Barack Obama's US presidential campaign.

Plenty notes recent green efforts by popular musicians.

The Guardian examines songs composed and remixed for both Barack Obama and Sarah Palin.

With the US elections 18 days away, the number of songs about Barack Obama uploaded to YouTube and added to a playlist at recently pipped the 900 mark. It would take 49 hours to listen to all of them - a bad idea unless you're a sucker for dodgy rhymes and well-meaning over-sincerity. Instead, satisfy your curiosity with a breezy reworking of the Strangeloves' I Want Candy featuring the chorus "Go O-ba-ma!" ( and a velcro-catchy, Spanish-language reggaeton number hoping to mobilise the Latin American vote (

The A.V. Club interviews David Byrne.

Scene-Stealers lists the top 10 uses of pop songs in movies.

PETA Europe's blog, Fish & Chimps, reports that Pixies frontman Frank Black is boycotting Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Guardian readers recommend songs about cartoons.

The New Yorker features new short fiction by Roddy Doyle, "Sleep."

Minnesota Public Radio's The Current has Minus the Bear in the studio for an interview and performance.

NPR lists five unusual and inspired James Brown covers.

The Futurist features mp3s from Daniel Martin Moore's recent WOXY Lounge Act in-studio session.

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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