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November 29, 2008

Shorties (Airborne Toxic Event, Nam Le, and more)

The Montreal Gazette looks back on the career of Neil Young.

BBC 6 Music's Steve Lamacq has declared December 4th "Wear Your Old Band T-shirt to Work Day."

Bookride lists bands with literary names.

Boing Boing recommends comics and graphic novels for holiday gift giving.

Jbooks features an audio interview of Harvey Pekar by cultural historian Paul Buhle. previews the top ten films of 2009.

In the Washington Post, Diane Johnson shares her life as a writer.

The Times Online interviews author Nam Le.

What is it about the short story that you like as opposed to poetry and novels?

Of course poetry can be narrative, and novels poetic, but generally the two forms move language through different elements. Short stories, to my mind, are suited to transition between these elements. A short story can do everything a novel can do – except be long. Conversely, a short story is arguably better suited than a novel to adopt poetic logics such as compression, ellipticism, associativeness, metaphorical charge, etc. In this way, even though short stories are shorter than novels, I like their capaciousness. They can tell a story whilst simultaneously claiming poetry’s prerogative to communicate before it means. I like that everything – including mistakes – is accentuated in short stories; that readers need to be persuaded to fall deeper, even though they know the end is near; all this makes the stakes higher.

ChartAttack interviews Carl Newman about songwriting.

You must be constantly writing songs. What is your process like? Do you write a new song everyday?

There're a lot of songs that nobody gets to hear. For me, it's not a compact thing. I don't sit down and write a song and then six hours later or a day later the song is done. A lot of the time, they just evolve over months and months. So over a period of a year, I might have written 16 songs or whatever, but I don't know how long each of them took or when I finished them or when I started them. There are songs I just don't know where they came from. Like, I honestly can't remember them at all. It's like I didn't even write them.

Contactmusic interviews Mikel Jollett of Airborne Toxic Event.

You've been compared to various high profile artists along the way; U2, Bruce Springsteen and The Arcade Fire are three that spring to mind. Do you see this as a compliment or a hindrance?

Mikel: Personally I see it as being very premature. All of those are amazing artists who we admire and respect so of course it is extremely flattering. It's quite funny too though. I mean, there's a website that's actually been compiling all of our comparisons! They're up to 50 bands so far and most of them even we're at a loss to explain.

HTMLGIANT is hosting the first annual Secret Santa Gift Exchange to support independent literature. (via)

The Times Online recommends the best Christmas gifts for music lovers.

The Guardian shares a literary crawl of New York featuring books from the 1930s to the present.

Cartoonist Art Spiegelman talks about his career with the Financial Times.

Spiegelman’s breakthrough from lewd, taboo-breaking comics to something more challenging came in 1972 with a three-page comic-strip Maus, out of which the book eventually grew. It was the idea of cats and mice that made it possible to tell the tragic story, he explains. “On the one hand, it makes it more intimate, and, on the other hand, it makes it more distant.” Which would be a good way to sum up Spiegelman himself, too – a man whose suffering is the subject of his work but who protests in person that, “I’m doing just fine, thanks.”

Drowned in Sound interviews Cassie Ramone of Vivian Girls.

Musically your sound seems to owe a lot to British bands like Talulah Gosh, The Shop Assistants and The Rosehips. How did you first discover those artists and would you say they've had a major influence on the Vivian Girls' sound?

Actually, hardly any. It was more of an accident. I liked Talulah Gosh a lot when I was a teenager but I'd never even heard the Shop Assistants until people started comparing us to them and I still don't think I've ever heard the Rosehips. Our primary influences were the Wipers, Dead Moon, punk bands like the Ramones and Descendents, and girl groups - but with a definite Wall Of Sound/shoegaze aesthetic in mind.

also at Largehearted Boy:

Online "best of 2008" music lists
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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