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January 3, 2009

Shorties (Sonic Youth Short Stories, Wilco, and more)

Pop & Hiss reviews Noise, a collection of short fiction inspired by Sonic Youth songs.

The task of capturing in fiction Sonic Youth's obliqueness leaves lots of room for obtuse experiments. The Fall and the Smiths offer plenty of easy entry points for writers as both of those bands have notoriously high per-song word counts and conversational syntax, but Sonic Youth's feedback calisthenics and tossed-off teenage cynicism is less readily evoked on the page.

NME reports that Wilco will release a live DVD this March.

The Idaho Statesman interviews Michael Bunnell, independent record store owner and executive director of the Coalition of Independent Music Stores.

Q: A couple of years ago, you told me you envisioned future record stores as boutique stores. Do you still see that? Or do you think pure diversification is the way to stay alive?

A: Well, I think to a degree, both. I still think the independent record store has cultural importance in a lot of these towns. I think that's crucial that there are meeting places for diverse culture that can feel at home and feel like you're sharing an art, if you will, and ideas.

The New York Times reviews Chuck Klosterman's debut novel, Downtown Owl.

It feels so Chuck Klosterman to say so, but the problem with Klosterman’s first novel, “Downtown Owl,” is that the author’s voice — which many readers will know from his magazine writing or his four books of reportage and cultural criticism — intrudes on an otherwise engaging story about the fictional Everytown of Owl, N.D.

At The Improper, David Fagin of the Rosenbergs discusses MySpace's new ad network and its effects on musicians.

MySpace apparently now wants to bleed the indie artist out of his/her weekly paycheck with the promise that their band will appear on thousands of their users' home pages, just like all the movie/music ads you see every day. In theory, this might be true, but you will need a marketing budget like Miramax to accomplish it.

Pearl Jam Bootlegs offers streams and downloads of many of the band's live performances.

To Die By Your Side is an mp3 blog featuring live versions of indie songs.

NPR's Weekend Edition profiles Blitzen Trapper.

In the last few years, Blitzen Trapper has picked up an enthusiastic following for its explosive live performances and infectious roots-rock swagger. With a genre-bending indie-rock sound — infused with the bluesy twang of The Band and the country-fried psychedelic riffs of The Allman Brothers — the group from Portland, Ore., clearly wears its influences proudly.

Daytrotter's Saturday session features in-studio mp3s from Stars Like Fleas.

The Hampton Roads Pilot interviews Johnny Van Zant of Lynyrd Skynyrd.

MV: You have inspired a lot of artists – some of the newer guys include Drive by Truckers and Kings of Leon. Wondering what you thought of those bands and their music.

JVZ: They’re cool. Kings of Leon are actually on our management company. Those guys have done really good. Their new record is tearing it up. Drive by Truckers – I don’t know a whole lot about those guys but I know they did like an opera thing about Skynyrd music. ("Southern Rock Opera.") But heck we go further than that with our buddy Kid Rock – we inspired his butt. He had a nice summer with Sweet Home Alabama. (Rock’s song “All Summer Long” samples SHA.) And shine down – heck even Metallica did “Tuesdays Gone.” It’s a cool thing. You can’t ask for nothing no better than that when another artist appreciates what you do. And we appreciate their music.

The Independent examines the lucrative financial windfalls of major music tours.

The Guardian profiles Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons.

A beacon of intelligence and imagination in a drab music scene, it's tempting to conclude that Antony may well be the last of the great pop stars who rose from the subculture to weird out the mainstream. Yet the man himself is having none of it: "People aren't that different from generation to generation. We're basically the same old sludge reincarnated over and over again. Every generation has all the colours – it never stops." It's just that Antony's colours are that bit bolder than everyone else's, now with a welcome preponderance of green.

PopMatters' Re:Print blog lists the books it anticipates most in 2009.

The Scotsman interviews author Jay McInerney.

In 1993 he published his novel Brightness Falls, which fulfilled the promise shown in Bright Lights, which had been disastrously filmed with a miscast Michael J Fox. "That book was my claim to fame, but it almost wrecked my life," he says. "This stuff comes back to haunt you. Of course, I've had to tell my kids about their father's colourful past, that I was a bit of a poster boy for coke."

FemaleFirst lists pop bands to watch in 2009.

The Los Angeles Times and Tor's blog remember author Donald E. Westlake.

Toxel lists "modern and creative" bookshelf designs.

nyctaper offers an mp3 download of a December performance by the wonderful singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten.

Yesterday's additions to the "best of 2008" online book lists include the Daily Sound's books of the year.

Yesterday's additions to the "best of 2008" online music lists include Pretty Much Amazing!'s best albums and IGN's worst albums of the year.

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)
weekly music & DVD release lists


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