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June 12, 2009

Shorties (Blur, The Thermals, and more)

The Guardian profiles Blur.

"The problem with our band," Dave Rowntree told me recently, "has always been founded on the fact that all four of us have got one sister and no brothers. We've become each other's surrogate brothers, and that brings with it an ability to understand each other very deeply – and an ability to push each other's buttons at will. That was always going to boil over at some point. But in the time we spent apart, we all grew up an awful lot."

Thermals bassist Kathy Foster talks to the Scotsman about the band's career.

The Wall Street Journal recommends books to read this summer.

PopMatters examines the Manchester music scene, past and present.

Although too eclectic in styles and genres to be defined by a singular sound or defining principle, Manchester music, over time, has exhibited some recurring features that suggest certain commonalities and regional distinctions. The city’s emergence as the world’s premier industrial city in the early part of the 19th century has molded much of what has subsequently become Manchester’s culture and character. Its spirit of dissent and defiance is rooted in the rise of organized labor during these times; indeed, Manchester was home to Friedrich Engels while he wrote The Conditions of the Working Class in England in 1844.

The Independent profiles former Cranberries singer Dolores O'Riordan.

She is now a tanned, relaxed, mother of four (a stepson aged 18, Taylor Baxter, aged 12, Molly Leigh, eight, and Dakota Rain, four) who has swapped her love of running for country-walking with her husband Don Burton, her former tour manager whom she married in 1994. She is also on the brink of releasing her second solo album in August, No Baggage, which still bears her inimitably lyrical, Limerick-accented voice, but with softer and brighter lilts than with The Cranberries.

PopMatters interviews singer-songwriter Patrick Wolf.

Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche talks to the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Drowned in Sound interviews Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo.

San Francisco Weekly examines the used mp3 resale business.

Singer-songwriter Steve Earle is Sound Opinions' guest today.

Listen to KCRW on your iPhone with one of the station's three iPhone apps.

Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley talks to The Japan Times about the band's new album, The Eternal.

"We were on Geffen for a long time," reflects Shelley. "The business plan at the major labels is not the way to go (in the current climate). Independent labels are much better suited to deal with issues such as downloading and pricing. The independent labels are geared to survive."

On sale for $1.99 at Amazon MP3: Loudon Wainwright III's 14-track album, Strange Weirdos: Music From And Inspired By The Film Knocked Up.

NPR's Morning Edition gets summer reading suggestions from independent bookstore owners.

Help me clean out some room on my bookshelves and CD cases with this week's Largehearted Boy contest, where I am giving away 25 books and 25 CDs.

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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