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July 31, 2009

Shorties (Zombie Beatles, Joe Pernice, and more)

The Guardian points out Paul Is Undead: The British Zombie Invasion, a zombie Beatles novel.

Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison are starring as zombies and Ringo Starr as a ninja in the latest addition to the publishing's hottest, and oddest, new craze: the monster mash-up.

Wicked Local interviews Joe Pernice about his new novel, It Feels So Good When I Stop.

Q: Let’s talk about your upcoming tour, which is a balance of both music and reading so you could do something with the book and the companion album all at once. Something a little different, yes?

A: That’s kind of why I did it, yeah, because you don’t see too much of it. I just thought it was a refreshing and cool way to combine the two and promote the two things at once. I think I’ve chosen three passages from the book, which might total about 20 to 25 minutes of reading. I’ll read a passage and then play a handful of songs from the album and the book, then read, play some tunes, read, play some tunes. I’ll open it up a little bit – I only recorded 10 or 11 songs mentioned in the book because I didn’t have a chance to do them all, and I might do some that never made it to the soundtrack. Depending on how the time goes and if people are into it, I might pull out some older tunes or finish the show with ’em.

The Boston Globe profiles the Avett Brothers.

Over the last seven years, the trio has perfected a blend of folk, country, bluegrass, and rock that is more Cash and Kristofferson than Commodores. But that early, top-40 influence (Avett was also a Hall & Oates man) is clear on the band’s splendid major-label debut, “I and Love and You,’’ out Sept. 29. It’s audible in the easy-like-a-Sunday-morning melodies of the soaring “And It Spread’’ and the dark romanticism of “January Wedding.’’ Harder-edged inspirations like Nirvana and the Pixies creep into the margins of rockers like “The Perfect Space.’’

At Salon, Laura Miller reviews the new Thomas Pynchon novel, Inherent Vice.

Hard-boiled detective fiction may not seem like the ideal vehicle for the often cryptic style and subject matter of Thomas Pynchon, but his newest novel proves otherwise. An account of the adventures of a hippie private eye pursuing assorted nonlucrative commissions in a Southern California beach town around 1970, "Inherent Vice" is a sun-struck, pot-addled shaggy dog story that fuses the sulky skepticism of Raymond Chandler with the good-natured scrappiness of "The Big Lebowski." It's an inspired formula; the mystery plot supplies the novel with a minimum of structure (as well as confidence that there's some point to the enterprise) and the genre provides ample cover for Pynchon's literary weaknesses.

The A.V. Club lists gateway points to the Guided By Voices discography.

The New York Times notes the challenges facing modern music festivals. interviews Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers.

Patterson, you are currently working on a number of different projects, both on your own and with the Drive-By Truckers. Can you start by giving us a little State of the Union on all that you have going on?

PH: We finished mixing the Drive-By Truckers collection of outtakes and oddities and rarities that we’re putting out in September. We’re gonna master it on Thursday and then Monday we’re back to work for two weeks on the next official Drive By-Truckers record, which will be coming out at the beginning of the year. Plus, I [just did] a few dates with my solo album and played with Booker T. So it’s all kind of in one direction and I can sleep in my own bed. Multi-tasking kills me. I’m a one thing at a time kind of guy. It was a brutal month. It was all cool, great stuff, but the whiplash effect from it all was kind of overwhelming for me. I’m glad that this month all that I really have to think about it just a few things and they’re all in the same direction. Plus, I taught a class at Princeton, did the Seeger birthday party at Madison Square Garden and covered a Collins song for some crazy benefit in Atlanta.

Comic Book Resources continues its year of cool comic book moments.

Members of the Something Awful community list their favorite albums of 209 (so far).

NPR examines the 50 year history of the Newport Folk Festiuval.

Deckfight interviews John Wray, author of Lowboy.

Read Wray's Largehearted Boy Book Notes music playlist for the novel.

The Telegraph interviews author George Pelecanos.

He thinks he is getting better as a novelist and writing for The Wire has improved his work. “I’d never been to writing school before, but I went to writing school on that show, you know. You sit around with David Simon, Dennis Lehane, Richard Price, Ed Burns and you can’t help but get better.” He especially liked writing the scenes that “are not really about anything, just Bunk and McNulty in bars drinking beer and talking about women.”

The Independent also interviews Pelecanos.

The Times Literary Supplement examines the controversy surrounding the unedited works of Raymond Carver.

The Austin American-Statesman profiles M. Ward.

Clash Music interviews Matt Pryor of the Get Up Kids.

The Rumpus interviews author Jonathan Ames.

The Rumpus: You’ve had a busy year—a graphic novel, an upcoming HBO show, and a new collection of stories and essays. It seems you’ve reached a kind of mid-point in your career. I’d love to hear how you’d assess the ways your work, and your objectives for your work, have grown and changed over the years.

Jonathan Ames: I think at one time, I hoped to be seen as a fine writer. With my novel, The Extra Man, I made a real effort to write a beautiful novel, and I think it was judged as such, to a certain degree, by reviewers. But then because I started writing a column about my adventures (for New York Press from 1997-2000) and performing a great deal, it seemed to me that my personality and my subject matter (at times a bit sexually outré), somehow took precedence over the writing, the prose.

Drowned in Sound lists the shortlist for its Neptune Prize (an alternative to Britain's Mercury Prize).

Mashable lists what social networks could learn from the jam band Phish.

NPR offers an excerpt from the new Fahrenheit 451 graphic novel.

Win two of the year's best short story collections in this week's Largehearted Boy contest.

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

also at Largehearted Boy:

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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