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March 21, 2009

Shorties (Josh Ritter, Michael Chabon, and more)

Singer-songwriter Josh Ritter talks to the Charlotte Observer about his songwriting influences.

“Flannery O'Connor is a big influence on me right now. A lot of these songs are about people who are on the edge of something, a huge realization, or (something) hugely physical. It's about to happen, but hasn't happened yet,” he says. “I really love that about her. There's a tension in those stories that is just so frightening and cool. I love how mean she is to her characters.

“She's like a little girl in charge of this dollhouse and she's just burning it down.”

The New York Times reviews Tracy Daugherty's new book, Hiding Man: A Biography of Donald Barthelme.

The Allentown Morning Call interviews author Michael Chabon.

Q: Someone once described your writing as ''like Updike, but without the condescension.'' Could you comment on that?

A: Well, I'll gladly accept that criticism. It's very flattering to be compared with Updike. When I first discovered him -- I guess it was in my late teens -- it was his seemingly effortless command of metaphor that really blew me away, and made me want to write. I was just overwhelmed with the desire to use language that way. There's no doubt he's been absolutely crucial to me.

Coup de Main interviews Tegan Quin of Tegan and Sara. shares a primer on writing sentences like David Foster Wallace.

The San Francisco Chronicle interviews Rhett Miller of the Old 97's.

Q: The Old 97's had a cameo in the Jennifer Aniston/Vince Vaughn romantic comedy "The Break-Up." When people recognize you at the airport, how often is it because of that movie?

A: I was so grateful for that only because it validated the Old 97's. We had been going for so long, and even though I feel so young and vital we had just put a best-of album out, and there was this big infusion of kids in the audience after that came out. Also, it sort of validates you to the random people, like the people cutting your hair and stuff.

The San Francisco Chronicle reviews Harvey Pekar's new graphic novel, The Beats; A Graphic History.

Reuters covers a SXSW Music panel about blogging.

Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder is urging fans to write their newspapers, particularly the Village Voice syndicate, to reinstate syndicated cartoons.

The Millions charts a walking tour of New York's independent bookstores.

Buy Daniel Johnston videos and mp3s directly from him at Daniel Johnston at Home LIVE.

GQ Blog interviews Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy.

What keeps you writing songs?

It doesn’t hurt anybody. It’s something I love to do, and it doesn’t hurt anybody. And the world probably doesn’t need any more songs, but I need more songs. It’s satisfying and lovely to do. I feel better, and as a band—I think I can speak for everyone—we feel better making something that wasn’t there ten minutes ago. Whatever spirit there is in the universe, I think that puts you closer to it. The act of creation, you know, it’s a very powerful thing, and very gratifying. I wish it on everyone. I wish everyone could enjoy making something that wasn’t there before.

nyctaper shares an mp3 recording of The Physics of Meaning's NYC show earlier this month.

Lullabyes shares mp3s of one of Other Lives' 2009 SXSW performances.

The Oxford American's new issue focuses on race in the South.

Oregon Public Radio features Lambchop's Kurt Wagner with an interview and in-studio performance.

NPR's SXSW coverage continues with a variety of live audio and video streams.

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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