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August 28, 2009

Shorties (Noah and the Whale, Sub Pop Nikes, and more)

The Guardian reviews Noah and the Whale's sophomore album, The First Days of Spring.

Some lovelorn songwriters make you wince at the acuity of their observations and the keenness of their pain; others wrap their misery around themselves like a feather duvet. Noah and the Whale, with producer Emery Dobyns, have crafted perhaps the most luxurious-sounding break-up album since Beck's Sea Change, a quantum leap from the DIY feel of their debut.


Shoes for the indie rocker: Sub Pop Nikes.


The Guardian's books blog explains why chess is a perfect game for fiction.


The Washington Post's Post-Rock blog interviews Gregg Gillis of Girl Talk.


The Irish Independent interviews composer Nico Muhly.

Back in the day, classical music was in one corner, indie pop in the other. You must feel blessed to be working in an era when the two are allowed mingle.

I was born in 1981 and a lot of the big style battles of the '60s in classic music had ended. I think the borders are more permeable now. There's always been this thing where you had The Beatles for instance working with [sitar maestro] Ravi Shankar. The difference now, I think, is that with iTunes you can navigate horizontally across albums. You know, this same young composer working on a solo project has this other thing you might like. Ten years ago you'd never have been able to do that...


CMJ Relay interviews singer-songwriter Cory Chisel.


KCRW's Bookworm interviews author Glen David Gold about his latest novel, Sunnyside.


The Nation profiles Wallace Stevens and his poetry.


Facing South reviews recently published books about Hurricane Katrina survivors.


IGN lists Nirvana's albums from worst to best.


The New York Times reviews Lorrie Moore's new novel, A Gate at the Stairs.

Never mind the corny lyrics. And never mind the narrative stumbles this novel takes along the way to its searing conclusion: Ms. Moore has written her most powerful book yet, a book that gives us an indelible portrait of a young woman coming of age in the Midwest in the year after 9/11 and her initiation into the adult world of loss and grief. It is a novel that illustrates just how far Ms. Moore has come in the last two and half decades from her keenly observed but jokey 1985 collection of stories, “Self-Help,” which showcased her gifts as a writer but also underscored her — and her characters’ — emotional reticence, their reluctance to open themselves to deeply felt experiences.


The longlist for the Guardian First Book Award has been announced.


Pitchfork recaps the 2000s in pop music.


FACT Magazine lists the 20 best post-rock albums.


There's Nothing Quite Like the Blinding Light lists its top 20 songs of the 2000s.


Win the book Our Noise: The Story of Merge Records, the Indie Label That Got Big and Stayed Small plus three Superchunk and Portastatic albums 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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