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March 7, 2009

Shorties (Dean and Britta, Josh Bazell, and more)

Time Out Chicago interviews Dean Wareham of Dean and Britta about 13 Most Beautiful…Songs for Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests.

Time Out Chicago: Did you know much about Warhol or the Factory?

Dean Wareham: I read his book POPism, and I had seen some movies. I definitely know a lot more now and have a new respect for what a monumental thing he achieved. The Factory in that period is one giant, giant collaborative work of art. The fact that he shot hundreds of these, he nearly documented the entire ’60s avant-garde.

The St. Petersburg Times reviews Josh Bazell's debut novel, Beat the Reaper.

Bazell's debut novel is about what might have happened if Tony Soprano had studied martial arts, philosophy and standup comedy, then gone to medical school. Peter came to medicine by way of the Witness Protection Program; his code name, for those of us who like literary jokes, is Ishmael.

Read Bazell's Largehearted Boy Book Notes music playlist for the book.

in The Age, Thornton McCamish recounts his U2 fandom.

I'd become a fan just as U2 entered its mid-'80s heyday, a period crowned by their fifth album and mature masterwork, The Joshua Tree (1987). The success of that album led with a kind of Gibbonian inevitability into the self-indulgent decadence of Rattle and Hum (1988). A sheepish pause followed; then a reboot with the Weimar-kitsch of Achtung Baby (1991) and then Zooropa (1993). Achtung, said frontman Bono, was the sound of four men chopping down The Joshua Tree. To me it sounded like an electro-fuzz bonfire: thrilling, but terminal. The end, which I both dreaded and longed for, was evidently nigh.

The Telegraph reports that tough economic times are boosting sales at secondhand book shops.

The Boston Globe profiles Charlie Louvin of the Louvin Brothers.

Love. Faith. Death. For more than 60 years, those themes have run wild in Louvin’s music. Now he is 81 and in the midst of a remarkable career renaissance, and those notions have never seemed so complementary to each other.

Achtung Bootlegs is an online source for information about U2 live audio and video recordings.

Daytrotter's Saturday session features in-studio mp3s from singer-songwriter Kate Walsh.

In The Week, actress and author Melissa Gilbert chooses the best books.

The New York Times reviews Yiyun Yi's new novel, The Vagrants.

Li’s novel is not easy or enjoyable to read, but what it has to do and say is serious business, not unlike the business of counting the dead and burying the bodies. “The Vagrants” reminds us of all the uncounted, unnamed bodies that lie in the soil only a few feet beneath the latest flood of bright and celebratory billboards (these days done up in neon) proclaiming the achievements of the latest, 21st-­century Chinese revolution, which shrewdly chooses to dress up its predations in Armani and Calvin Klein.

Pop & Hiss profiles Will Oldham.

Oldham's influence is somewhat mystical. He has inspired Smog's Bill Callahan, as well as legions of younger followers such as Bon Iver and Phosphorescent. He was the first to champion Joanna Newsom, who opened for him for several shows before her debut album. A fan website, the Royal Stable, does yeoman's work of cataloging Oldham's sprawling discography and set lists from hundreds of live performances. In addition to the rambling country he carved out with Palace, Oldham won fans with the plucked-clean Americana of his second album as Bonnie "Prince" Billy, "I See a Darkness" in 1999. Since then, his music has expanded: Both "Beware" and "Lie Down in the Light" include sloppy, happy songs, the kind that feel written for singalongs in crowded dive bars.

FLURB is an online literary quarterly dedicated to science fiction, fantasy, and speculative fiction.

On sale at Amazon MP3 for $1.99: the Beastie Boys' 13-track Licensed to Ill album.

Minnesota Public Radio's The Current has Anni Rossi in the studio for an interview and streaming performance.

The Futurist features mp3s from Beny Ferree's recent WOXY in-studio appearance.

Follow me on Twitter for links that don't make it into the daily "shorties" posts.

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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