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January 15, 2009

Shorties (Christopher Monks, Radiohead, and more)

The Phoenix interviews McSweeney's Internet Tendency editor Christopher Monks, who has a new book out, The Ultimate Game Guide to Your Life: Or, the Video Game As Existential Metaphor.

Has your voice become the McSweeney's voice?

The McSweeney's tone is thought of as very intellectual-slash-hipsterish and wry. I don't think that's always fair. It's gotten a lot sillier in the past few years, not just since I came on.

New York Magazine profiles author Tao Lin.

Lin, in other words, seems to have planted his aesthetic flag on the treacherous Miranda July fault line between art and cutesiness. (July has prominently blurbed his books.) He writes in a showy outsider style—deadpan realism garnished casually with absurdity—that seems designed to make you think, These thoughts are more interesting than my thoughts. It’s tempting, from a distance, to dismiss him.

The Jackson Clarion-Ledger interviews Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls about the current state of the music industry.

Q: You've had your own record label for almost 20 years now. From that perspective, how has the industry changed?

A: Oh wow, it's so different. When digital came out it really shifted access to resources. It opened a lot of doors. With media (companies) like radio and print media and TV in '96, there was a lot of deregulation so it really hurt the artists' chances to get exposure because the record labels all merged together.

When the Internet came busting through with all the DIY and social networking, it kind of helped the situation.

The Philadelphia Inquirer profiles Get the Led Out, a Led Zeppelin cover band.

The man had mistaken the band for Led Zeppelin, whose songs GTLO has made a fruitful career playing over the last five years. The distinction grows blurrier every day as the Philadelphia-area band Get the Led Out sells out bigger venues and now embarks for the first time on recording Zeppelin's mythic songbook.

The Wall Street Journal contemplates the literary future of Edgar Allen Poe's works.

The New Statesman examines the New Deal's positive effects on the arts.

Billboard has news of Capitol's expanded reissues of Radiohead's first three albums.

Daytrotter's Thursday session features in-studio mp3s from Ohtis.

The Los Angeles Times' Pop & Hiss blog profiles Heartless Bastards' Erika Wennerstrom.

Onstage, partially hidden by a Les Paul Gold Top re-issue or a Gibson ES-125 hollow body (writers frequently mention her small stature as if amazed that a voice that big could come out of a body that small), Wennerstrom seems like a natural, simultaneously swaggering and at ease.

Rolling Stone's weekly "new breaking artist" is the Vivian Girls.

The National Post interviews Land of Talk's Elizabeth Powell.

Q Is it difficult to be a woman in this kind of industry?

Sometimes it's so subtle but in terms of media exposure and your sexuality, I definitely feel like I have to make a concerted effort. This is why I only work now with Joe Yarmush, who's our bass player who is also our photographer. I love working with him. Otherwise, you're struggling with these people who keep trying to sexualize you, even when you're like "no, no, no, no, wait. Jeans, t-shirt, that's actually what I think is cool."

Billboard profiles Lily Allen.

Indeed, the changes in Allen's life and profile should really make interviewing her now about as straightforward as trying to interrogate Britney Spears using only Amy Winehouse as an interpreter. But somehow, the bright, sparky talent with the filthy laugh and the disarmingly relaxed manner seems to have survived. She sashays in from the bedroom in denim hot pants and a pink top and snuggles up on the sofa under an old blanket to discuss everyone from Perez Hilton ("An irritating wasp in the beautiful rose garden that is my life") to Guy Hands, whose every mention is accompanied by an affectionate "jazz hands"-style finger waggling.

The New Haven Advocate profiles two of my favorite songwriters, Don Chambers and Larkin Grimm.

KCRW's Bookworm today features Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum, author of Ms. Hempel Chronicles (one of my favorite novels of 2008).

Newsarama lists the top 5 comic book/real-world crossovers.

NPR's All Things Considered profiles Bruce Springsteen's song, "Born to Run," and offers videos of how its live performance has evolved over the years.

NPR's Book Tour features an excerpt from Dave Zirin's book, A People's History of Sports in the United States.

Vampire Weekend's Chris Thomson talks to Drowned in Sound about the band's next album.

Publishers Weekly's Genreville blog asks publicists their opinions of book trailers.

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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