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June 4, 2009

Shorties (Dirty Projectors, Bjork, and more)

The New York Times profiles David Longstreth of the Dirty Projectors.

Since he began releasing music under the name Dirty Projectors in 2003, Mr. Longstreth has gradually established himself as indie-rock’s workaholic mad genius, churning out album after high-concept album with an uncommon drive. Two years ago he won over critics and bloggers with “Rise Above,” a song-by-song reworking of Black Flag’s “Damaged,” the bilious punk classic, which broke down the emotional and musical rigidity of the original with razor-sharp harmonies and sinuous West African-influenced guitar lines.


Interview talks to Bjork.


Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney talks to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


The Quietus profiles singer-songwriter Patrick Wolf.

If there's a hint of 80s revival with Wolf, it's one that goes way beyond the standard-issue headband and synth riff to pick up the immense creative challenges thrown down by the heavy-hitters: Kate Bush, Associates, Prince. So far, landfill indie-fan naysayers have, you sense, bristled with a casual homophobia that thankfully no longer dares speak its name; but, what with him being equally adept with the laptop and the viola, he's also been damned, at times, with misguided praise for his innovative tendencies. Truth is, Wolf has never been an avant gardist; Wolfmusic is more akin to Björkmusic – heartfelt, mythopeoic pop with a sonic richness more often associated with film soundtracks.


The Guardian offers an Orange Prize for fiction quiz.


The National Post profiles Amadou & Mariam.

Amadou & Mariam call their music "Afro-Blues;" the term best describes the independent cassettes they recorded in the late '80s and early '90s as an unaccompanied duo, with Amadou's earthy electric guitar providing a lilting, skeletal background for their singing in French and Bambara. Since then, they've embraced an ever-increasing range of influences and instrumentation; the panoramic sound on Welcome to Mali takes in everything from all-out Afro-funk to Sabali's streamlined, Damon Albarn-produced electro-pop.


Literary Minded interviews poet Sarah Manguso, author of the memoir, The Two Kinds of Decay.

The Two Kinds of Decay is so literary, and was so absorbing to me. At times it felt like a series of strange, imagined moments. Then I remembered it was real. How does it feel to you now, holding the book in your hands, signing copies, having people read it?

I feel as if I transferred the data to an external storage facility and don’t need to remember as much. I wonder if people felt relieved when their oral cultures became literate cultures, when their history and literature no longer had to depend on human recall.

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


The Guardian's music blog eulogizes Plan B magazine.


io9 lists the best and the worst of music video virtual worlds.


RIP, Koko Taylor, queen of the blues.


Will Oldham discusses his film and music careers with the Dallas Observer.


Kyp Malone of TV on the Radio talks musical genres with the National Post.

"Are we a rock band?" Malone said. "I think we're a rock band. I don't know. Delineations are really stifling. We're playing inside rock's context all the time. But there are also (samplers) and different keyboards. It's music. You can categorize it all you want, but it's all the same.


Jonathan Demme's Robyn Hitchcock concert film, Storefront Hitchcock, is streaming at Hulu.


The New Yorker features new short fiction by Craig Raine.


On sale for $1.99 at Amazon MP3: James Morrison's 12-track album Songs for You, Truths for Me.


XO's Middle Eight lists Wikio's June rankings of the top 100 music blogs.


NPR's All Things Considered examines YouTube's growing importance to the music industry.


Enter this week's Largehearted Boy contest for a chance to win Osamu Tezuka's 8-volume Buddha graphic novel series.


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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