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August 14, 2009

Shorties (Steve Earle, The Godfather, and more)

Steve Earle talks to the Aspen Times about his current artistic pursuits.

Earle sees himself not simply as a songwriter, but as an artist. His creativity has overflowed into acting — he had a recurring role as a recovered drug addict in the HBO series “The Wire” — and fiction — he is finishing a novel, “I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive,” and has published a play and a collection of short stories.

The Wall Street Journal examines Mario Puzo's novel. The Godfather, 40 years after it was first published.

Gay Talese, whose "Honor Thy Father" is perhaps the classic nonfiction book about the Italian mob, thinks it can be summed up in four syllables: "La famiglia." A friend of Puzo until his death in 1999, Mr. Talese says: "Mario didn't know much about organized crime, but he certainly knew how to depict an Italian family. Take away the gambling and the murder, and it's pretty much a straightforward story about how Italian-American families were assimilated into American culture." George De Stefano's "An Offer We Can't Refuse: The Mafia in the Mind of America" examines, among other things, the impact of "The Godfather" and how it reflects Italian-Americans. He says that "we saw our families in that book, and, for the first time, a great many Americans saw us. It wasn't a pretty image, or a tranquil one, but it was never dull, and it was new to most people."

The Guardian reviews The Beatles Rock Band videogame.

Visually, The Beatles Rock Band absolutely marmalises previous versions of Rock Band and Guitar Hero: it looks lush. There are visual evocations of the Cavern Club, the US tour which took in the Ed Sullivan Show and Shea Stadium and the rooftop gig, and then things take a more psychedelic bent with Yellow Submarine, Sgt Pepper and so on. The game is split into two distinct parts: the early touring years, then the sessions in Abbey Road's Studio 2 which changed the face of pop music irrevocably.

Publishers Weekly interviews author Jane Smiley.

The Golden Bloom's Shawn Fogel talks to the Bangor Daily News about releasing his new album Fan the Flames for free online through music sites and blogs.

“I wish I could say it was my idea. It was my manager, Janelle’s,” said Fogel. “Music blogs and music magazine sites are the way I get my music news, and I know a lot of people are the same way. They do so much for getting my music out there, as well as countless other unknown bands, so I figured I could give back to them and promote my record both by doing that.”

A.V. Twin Cities interviews Colin Johnson of Vampire Hands.

Colin Meloy of the Decemberists talks to the Philadelphia Inquirer about the band playing a folk festival.

"At first blush, with a casual listen to the record without knowing anything about it, you would maybe view it as a strange thing for a folk festival," says Meloy from a tour stop in Louisville, Ky. "Even though it has these loud guitars on it, I think it's the folkiest record we have made to date. It owes everything to the 'folk' tradition. The entire premise, the entire narrative is built of common motifs from old folk songs.

At 3:AM, Michael Kimball lists 5 novels that you may not have heard of.

The Guardian's Music Weekly podcast chats with David Byrne.

Print lists book cover designs that were never printed.

Den of Geek lists the 10 worst comic book film and television adaptations of all time.

RIP, guitar legend Les Paul.

Sound Affects profiles Alison Moyet.

IGN lists 10 classic novels that have been turned into video games.

The Guardian reports that revenues for UK music magazines are down 10% in 2009.

Zee Avi visits The Current studio for an interview and live performance.

NPR's Monkey See blog gauges the effect of the recession on women's fiction.

Paste reports that Ben Gibbard and Jay Farrar are working on a Jackerouac album together.

Guardian readers recommend unlikely cover songs.

Win two of the year's best graphic novels (Johnny Hiro by Fred Chao and George Sprott by Seth) 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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