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May 12, 2009

Shorties (Netherland, Conor Oberst, and more)

At the Huffington Post, Ariel Gonzalez explains why President Obama is reading Joseph O'Neill's novel Netherland (and why you should too).

After having finished Netherland, I can see why President Obama added it to his reading list. Aside from being extraordinarily well-written, it's a paean to multiculturalism, something that might interest a biracial liberal Democrat with a foreign-sounding name. A literary tonic for the juvenile chauvinism of the Bush years, Netherland embraces the cultural consequences of globalization while honoring the uniqueness of the American experience.

Download the 60-minute Conor Oberst documentary, One Of My Kind - The Story of The Mystic Valley Band free and legally at Causecast.

At Seattle Weekly, Krist Novoselic explains how he became a fan of the Vaselines.

Nirvana loved to play Vaselines tunes. It was always fun just to bust out a pop tune, and the songs written by the Scottish duo Eugene Kelly and Frances McKee fit our sensibilities a lot. So much, in fact, that we played them every chance we got.

This Recording lists the 50 best songs of 2009 (so far).

At Drowned in Sound, Alessi's Ark lists her favorite albums produced by Mike Mogis.

BriTunes is NBC News anchor Brian Williams' new online music series.

In the Guardian, Alida Brill remembers author Marilyn French.

Marilyn French died just over a week ago. She was a writer, a thinker, a scholar, a visionary and a feminist. I put the word feminist last because it was a given in her life on and off the page. She didn't need to come into a room announcing her identity – it was inside her every thought and phrase. I came to know Marilyn first as a reader, and later was privileged to know the person.

Metromix Connecticut interviews singer-songwriter Thao Nguyen.

The National Post interviews Chuck Palahniuk about his new novel, Pygmy.

Q. You've said of the book: “ It's a comedy. And a romance.” The characters are very extreme representations of American culture. Would you say it is also a parody?

A. Oh yeah. I'm always aware that people are going to try to interpret things on a political level, but for me, Pygmy is really a coming of age novel. When you're little, younger than Pygmy, say less than eleven, you really think your parents are terrific. You think they know everything, that they can do anything, and you want to do everything right for them: that's who Pygmy is in the flashbacks. He's trying to do everything perfect, but then as you enter adolescence, your parents become demons; they're oppressors and devils. They become the enemy, the way Americans are perceived by Pygmy, and it's only after adolescence that you can perceive of your parents as something other than heroic gods or devils. You recognize them as human beings for the first time, and you have empathy and understanding for what their lives have been like. So in a way Pygmy is moving from a subservient child to a reactive teenager, and by the end of the book he's finally gaining sympathy and empathy for other human beings.

Steve Earle's new album, Townes, is on sale for $2.99 at Amazon MP3.

Robot 6 interviews cartoonist Bob Fingerman.

NPR is streaming last night's Animal Collective performance.

Daytrotter shares mp3s from its Meat Puppets SXSW session.

This week's Largehearted Boy giveaway: three music biographies.

Follow me on Twitter for links that don't make the daily "Shorties" columns.

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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