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October 24, 2008

Shorties (Smiths Reunion?, Paul Westerberg, and more)

Tabloids are reporting that the Smiths are close to reuniting.

Author Tom Perrotta puts his iPod on shuffle for the Boston Globe.

The Guardian's books blog debates the worst name in fiction.

The Washington Post's Short Stack blog interviews professional co-author Davin Seay.

AC: As a perennial co-author, always getting second billing, which vice president do you most identify with: the secretly powerful Dick Cheney, the honorable loser Al Gore, or the get-no-respect Dan Quayle?

Seay: I would have to say Cheney, the power behind the throne. These books would not be possible without me. What I do is not rocket science, but it's very specialized. It takes a particular kind of writer to step out of the way and make it work.

The Daily Vanguard profiles singer-songwriter-cartoonist Jeffrey Lewis.

But whether Lewis sings about the trials of being an artist, or time travel (in one song, he screams out dates, progressively going back in time), he is primarily a storyteller in the vein of Neutral Milk Hotel's Jeff Mangum or John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats. Although his music ranges from straightforward pop songs to stream-of-consciousness poetry recitations, Lewis channels his influences in a fresh and engaging way.

IGN interviews Brian Azzarello, author of the recently published graphic novel, The Joker.

Drowned in Sound offers a primer to the music of Jason Molina (Songs:Ohia, Magnolia Electric Co.).

The Harvard Crimson interviews cartoonist Art Spiegelman about his new book, Breakdowns: Portrait of the Artist as a Young %@&*!.

THC: Do you think there’s a language for comics that’s different from prose or poetry?

AS: Absolutely. The real subject of “Breakdowns” ultimately is entering you into the thought process that only comics make available, because I think comics echo the way the brain works.

Classics turns your iPhone of iPod Touch into an e-book reader.

Yeti Six is shipping, and includes the usual fantastic artwork, interviews, and features as well as a compilation CD of rare and unreleased tracks.

David Bazan's new DVD, Alone at the Microphone is now available through Barsuk Records.

1st Books is a blog featuring the stories of authors publishing their debut books.

Paul Westerberg relives the career of the Replacements in the Guardian.

"Like any good, young, stupid idiot of a band, we had no idea when we were at our peak," says Westerberg. "A serious amount of money was thrown at us later on, but we were really drunk. Ten thousand people would show up to hear [the song] Alex Chilton and could not believe the kind of monstrosity we were on stage. The label didn't know what they had, but sadly I don't think we did either until it was too late. When we started to slide downhill we thought, 'Oh my God, is that it? How come there's less people this time? How come we have to play a club instead of an arena?' I'm totally fine with it now. I can laugh at it. We just weren't cut out to be pop stars. We got to the party and we saw it wasn't for us."

The Washington Times lists the top 5 unsung backing bands.

The Los Angeles Times ponders the future of publishing in a declining economy.

What's more likely, I think, is that publishers will scale back some of their higher-end advances, especially in regard to certain risky properties: books blown out of magazine stories, over-hyped first novels, multi-platform "synergies." At least, I hope that's what happens, because one of the worst trends in publishing -- in culture in general -- over the last decade or so has been its air of desperate frenzy, which far more than falling numbers tells you that an industry is in decline.

John Updike talks to the Telegraph about his writing career.

And how, I ask, does he cope with his own declining physical powers?

'I complain a lot. That's one way of coping. But I'm in a profession where nobody tells you to quit. No board of other partners tells you it's time to get your gold watch, and no physical claim is made on you like an athlete or an actress. So I try to plug along on the theory that I can still do it. I still keep trying to produce prose, and some poetry, in the hope that I can find something to say about being alive, this country, but generally the human condition.'

The Los Angeles Times examines the US presidential candidates' plans for arts funding.

Democrat Obama has spoken about the importance of the arts often on the campaign trail, and his official party platform includes a two-page arts policy statement that calls for increased government funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. Republican McCain has been practically mum on the issue, although two weeks ago his campaign released a four-sentence statement that calls for funding for arts education to be left to local entities, where "local priorities allow."

Bassist Wanted is a webcomic about indie musicians.

Topless Robot lists the 10 greatest zombie films.

At Drowned in Sound, Nick Hodgson of the Kaiser Chiefs weighs in on album leaks.

About three weeks prior to its release, our album got leaked. A gloom came over me when I saw it available on blogs all across the globe. It has nothing to do with money, that doesn't come into it, but it felt like someone had come into my house and nicked stuff (then put it on the internet for everyone to have a look at).

Audiotuts lists the 25 greatest movie soundtracks of all time.

NPR's Tell Me More excerpts from Halimi Bashir's memoir, Tears of the Desert: A Memoir of Survival in Darfur.

Minnesota Public Radio's The Current has the Rumble Strips in the studio for an interview and in-studio session.

NPR lists songs for the "angry and underpaid."

IGN lists the 10 best death metal pictures.

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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