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November 13, 2008


The list of online "best books of 2008" lists has been updated with the following lists:

Booklist (top arts books)
Moonbeam Awards (independently published children's books)
New Statesman (books of the year)
The Spectator (books of the year)

Hooves on the Turf has musicians explain where they were when Obama won the U.S. presidential election.

Cory Chisel

“I had a bottle of wine for the stress… and then I either got pretty drunk or the news station I was watching was beaming in holographic correspondents to tell me my prayers had been answered…”

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette interviews Robyn Hitchcock about future musical projects.

Do you have any new music in the works?

Constantly. There is a new record with the Venus 3 (Peter Buck, Scott McCaughey and Bill Rieflin) due out in February on YepRoc, "Goodnight Oslo." Plus an unreleased record, "Figaro Plinth," recorded in my house in 2006 with the V3 and a few guests. One day that, too, will appear. Andy Partridge and I are still gestating material, additionally.

The Santa Barbara independent profiles Port O'Brien.

Given the energetic nautical tendencies of the band’s last album, one has to wonder what months on the road will do to POB’s seafaring sound. “We’ve been writing a lot, and we sort of have a full album of material ready—everything’s written anyway,” laughed Pierszalowski en route to Salt Lake City. “It’s a lot less about fishing in Alaska and all that kind of stuff. But being on the road is just as inspiring in a different way. Seeing all kinds of country and being over to Europe a bunch, it’s kind of a different angle but a lot of the same types of themes.”

The Minneapolis City Pages interviews singer-songwriter A.A. Bondy.

The Guardian's books blog examines the tragedy of hip-hop lyrics, and even matches some rappers to authors.

The New York Times excerpts the first chapter of Stefan Fatsis' new book, A Few Seconds of Panic: A 5-Foot-8, 170-Pound, 43-Year-Old Sportswriter Plays in the NFL.

The Washington Post's Short Stack blog lists 5 "doorstoppers" (thick literary novels) you "just gotta have."

The Leaf Chronicle profiles author Louise Erdrich.

The Santa Barbara Independent interviews singer-songwriter Jason Isbell.

In terms of your own music, how much of an impact has the Muscle Shoals tradition made?

It’s a great deal for me. I grew up around a lot of those people and knew David Hood and Spooner Oldham and those folks since I was a teenager and just getting started musically. I was lucky enough to have them in my life at that point encouraging me, and through that I had become a lot more knowledgeable about the music they had made, the projects they had worked on. I think I play that into every aspect of the music that I make now.

RIP, Mitch Mitchell (Jimi Hendrix Experience drummer)

Daytrotter features mp3s from the Dutchess & the Duke's in-studio sessions.

NPR's Morning Edition excerpts from Stieg Larson's posthumous bestseller, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Fleet Foxes' self-titled album has won Uncut's album of the year honors.

No Depression offers options for finding roots music online.

Joey Burns of Calexico explains the band's unique approach to making music to the Montreal Gazette.

"At the core is a honed-in aesthetic," he said, "built on an appreciation for things that have character - that are not overly polished, using instruments that speak dynamically, rather than predictably or repetitively. We're always trying different instruments, constantly searching for a unique voice. Whether it's an instrumental voice, or a lead lyric, it's got to say something unique."

Creative Loafing interviews John Hodgman about his new book, More Information Than You Require.

At MSN's Inside Music, Robert Christgau grades recent releases.

The New York Times reviews Roberto Bolaño’s novel, 2666.

Mates of State talk to the Nashville Scene about being a touring musician with small children.

"When you have kids, you kind of have to approach songwriting more like it's a vacation," Gardner says, referring to the couple's two little girls, Magnolia and June. "When Jason and I get time to write, it's like the best feeling in the world, because we value that time so much. It used to be, we'd just empty out all our ideas, since we'd have all this time on our hands and we were forcing ourselves to write. And now it's like, if we get five minutes to write a song, we love it. That's probably the biggest change that's happened. Otherwise, you know, I'm sure it's influenced our songwriting in the details of the lyrics and melody. But for us, it's really hard to notice those things, because this is just what we are now."

ChartAttack interviews Deerhunter's Bradford Cox.

Rolling Stone profiles the band.

The Guardian interviews Eileen Gittins, the CEO of on-demand book publisher Blurb.

But it's not the software or the printing that makes Blurb different. It's how it gets it to people. "The public has no idea how many books are printed," she says. The ones you see in shops are only the tip of the iceberg; hundreds or thousands more are printed and then pulped. With Blurb, books are only printed when someone clicks to buy them on the company's site: zero waste. And authors can keep updating the book by updating the file: "We have a woman in the US, an environmental architect, and we asked her why she used us for her book, and she said that it's because it's environmentally aware - we only print when there's a buyer; the turnaround time means she can update the book three or four times a month rather than having to wait 18 months for it to be printed; and the creative control it gives her. Plus there's zero financial risk." Gittins beams.

Fight Bite discusses the importance of blog love for bands in the Dallas Observer.

"When Stereogum first wrote about us, I didn't know what Stereogum was, so I'm just thinking, 'Oh, OK, cool. Another blog mentioned us,'" Macomber now says, about six months removed from the days when Fight Bite first started earning love in the blogosphere—a love that still continues quite frequently around the Internet today. "But we learned about it pretty quickly."

Rolling Stone lists the top 100 singers of all time. lists the favorite CDs of 2008 by both its editors and customers.

Amazon's Omnivoracious blog is having a writer from each of the 50 states create a reading list for that state (one book per electoral vote).

Minnesota Public Radio's The Current has Rage Against the Machine frontman Tom Morello in the studio for a performance and an interview.

The Hollywood Reporter notes that a Jerry Garcia biopic is in the works.

Producers have acquired rights to Robert Greenfield's book "Dark Star," an oral history of Garcia from dozens of people who knew him, including musicians, relatives and artist friends like Ken Kesey. The project will feature music from the early part of Garcia's career, primarily bluegrass titles that are in the public domain.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reviews The Best American Comics 2008, edited by Lynda Barry (and worthwhile for her autobiographical comic introducing the volume).

Barry's insight informs her selections. Last year's edgy edition was engaging, but burdened by the angst and indulgence of autobiographical and experimental pieces. Maybe because Barry is not part of the Angry Boys Club, her choices open rich worlds built more on narrative and the complexity of relationships and observation.

also at Largehearted Boy:

Online "best of 2008" book lists
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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