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January 9, 2009

Shorties (Vivian Girls, Larkin Grimm, and more)

LaundroMatinee features in-studio mp3s and video by the Vivian Girls, whose self-titled debut album appeared on many "best of 2008" music lists, including my own.


With Steven Spielberg starting a film about Tintin, BBC News examines the cult surrounding this comic book character.


CNN interviews Nina Persson about fronting the Cardigans and her solo project, A Camp.

CNN: How is A Camp different from The Cardigans?

Nina Persson: It's hard to say what makes it different because I'm still doing the same thing -- I'm still writing songs and singing them -- but it feels like it's a bigger freedom because I am in charge in A Camp. I like both. Both serve good purposes. I like to be in the collective, being part of the machinery, but I also really enjoy being dictator.


BBC News offers an A to Z profile of Motown Records.


The Telegraph visits the Los Angeles of legendary writer Raymond Chandler.


The Wall Street Journal interviews Janice Y.K. Lee about her debut novel, The Piano Teacher.


The Telegraph lists "the next small things" in music for 2009.


The Boston Globe profiles singer-songwriter Larkin Grimm.

Grimm's music gets saddled with all sorts of labels - most often freak-folk or, as she has described it, "experimental old-time Southern music" - but essentially it's the soundtrack to the circus in her head. She writes what she knows: spirituality, a deep commitment to mysticism, and the healing powers of art.


SXSW has started listing participating bands for 2008's edition.


The New York Daily News profiles Bettye Lavette.

Lavette may headline The Blender Theater Sunday, but she took the longest possible route to get there. While the singer recorded her first album 37 years ago, she didn't start getting the attention she deserves until only three years back, at the seasoned age of 60, making her soul's answer to Grandma Moses.


The Biblio Files lists its favorite Canadian authors.


The Guardian's music blog examines the actual effect of the "long tail" on the music industry.

BBC News' Sound of 2009 lists 15 musical artists to watch this year.


Daytrotter's Friday session features in-studio mp3s by Half-Handed Cloud.


IGN lists 9 videogame soundtracks that are available as free and legal mp3 downloads.


At the Mobtown Shank I list my favorite graphic novels of the year.


Metro Santa Cruz ponders how the Obama presidency will affect hip-hop music.


The Washington Times lists the top 5 musicians influenced by the late Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton.


The Independent reviews Roberto Bolano's 2666.

Roberto Bolaño's 2666 is a difficult experience to shake off; it lingers in the unconscious like a sizzling psychotropic for days or weeks after reading. It is a novel both prodigious in scope and profound in implication, but a book ablaze with the furious passion of its own composition. At times, it reads like a race against death. At others, you can only wonder at the reach and raw intelligence of the writing.


The Walrus interviews Shaun Tan about his latest book, Tales from Outer Suburbia.

THE WALRUS: It seems like you’re creating a new genre. Where is all of this heading?

Shaun Tan: Not really anywhere in particular. I don’t have that kind of manifesto. I don’t have a vision. I’m following my nose and dealing with one project at a time. I have some sense of the culture around me but it’s not very developed or informed. It’s kind of scattered. I draw a little bit of knowledge from what’s happening in literary fiction, what’s happening in science fiction, what’s happening in children’s books, what’s happening in the fine art world, what’s happening in mainstream illustration. Also, what’s happening in Australia, which is, you know, my immediate neighbourhood, is an influence. I wouldn’t really have much of a clue about illustration trends in the United States.


Guardian readers recommend songs about myths and legends.


PopMatters offers its "best music scribing" awards for 2008.


Pop Tarts Suck Toasted lists the top 10 music blogs to read in 2009.


io9 lists ten of the "kinkiest science fiction books you'll ever read."


The A.V. Club interviews Jay Reatard.


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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