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September 19, 2009

Shorties (Pearl Jam, Jonathan Ames, and more)

Members of Pearl Jam talk to NPR's All Things Considered about their new album, Backspacer, and the band's innovative deal with target.

Stream the album in its entirety at MySpace.

The Huffington Post interviews Jonathan Ames about his new HBO series, Bored to Death (which premieres Sunday evening).

How have you found the transition from writing to TV? Writing is a very solitary existence, yet making a show you had to deal with dozens, if not hundreds, of people. Was it challenging having to rely on others?

It wasn't too much of a challenge because I really liked everyone I worked with. I don't know if they liked me, but I liked them. So I guess it was easy for me, but maybe it was hard for them. Anyway, a film or TV crew is like this benign military unit -- everyone has a certain skill or responsibility, and so you let each division of your unit do its thing, whether it be lighting or costumes or set-design. I do wish all military units across the world were actually making movies or TV shows. They could even stage fake wars if they felt like it, just not real wars. Well, that's about as politically savvy as I get, but I thought I'd give it a shot since this is the Huffington Post.

Ames also talks to the Los Angeles Times.

"The only thing going against the show is me, since my work has never been very commercial or wildly popular," he added. "But these guys are so charming that hopefully they'll overcome whatever non-popular aspect there is to me that could shadow or wreck it."

The New York Times profiles Vivian Girls.

As with most divisive young bands, Vivian Girls were damned with comparisons. “A lot of people said we took our whole style from the C86 cassette,” Ms. Ramone complained, citing an early indie-rock compilation from the British music magazine NME. Previously, she said, she had never listened to the tape all the way through, but now she has: “I think with the exception of five songs, the tape’s not very good.” Nor had she paid much attention to the Shop Assistants or Black Tambourine, bands frequently invoked by her band’s acolytes and detractors. But still the linking continued: were Vivian Girls being faithful or just dismissible?

The New York Times reviews David Byrne's new book, Bicycle Diaries.

The Washington Post reviews Stephen Elliott's memoir, The Adderall Diaries.

The intensity of Elliott's often beautiful prose evokes the effects of Adderall, the attention deficit medication. Yet the book shows a concern for order: Each chapter begins with a summary of what's to follow, reminiscent of the headings in Victorian novels, and there are even several footnotes. Nonetheless, beneath these devices throbs an all-pervasive sense of the elusiveness of truth. Memories deceive, and almost everyone in this book -- including the author -- is a fantasist.

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

The Telegraph lists author Dan Brown's 20 clumsiest sentences.

Pitchfork reviews Big Star's Keep an Eye on the Sky box set, giving the b-sides and rarities compilation a 9.3.

These four discs ultimately do what any good box set should do: In tracing the band's trajectory from power-pop progenitors to post-pop tinkerers, Keep an Eye on the Sky presents a history of the band that could not be gleaned from the albums themselves, using finished studio tracks along with demos and rarities to give a fuller picture of the musicians, their dynamic, and their songs. This type of repetition can be fatal in some reissues, either offering distinctions only a true diehard could love or valiantly covering up a deficit of unreleased material. But here, the approach goes a long way toward humanizing a band that has been largely mythologized even into the Internet age.

The Rawking Refuses to Stop lists its top 20 albums of the 2000s.

Pitchfork wraps up the decade in indie rock.

IGN reports that Iggy Pop will be featured in the videogame LEGO Rock Band.

The San Francisco Appeal interviews Kip Berman of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart.

You guys are signed to the relatively small Slumberland Records. What is it like working with a smaller label at a time when the distribution of music is evolving so rapidly? Does piracy affect an up-and-coming band like yourselves?.

Kip: We love Slumberland, partly because they have a pretty incredible history (Rocketship, Aislers Set, Henry's Dress, Velocity Girl, Black Tambourine), partly because we love the other current bands they're working with (Crystal Stilts, caUSE co-MOTION, Pants Yell!) and partly because Mike Slumberland is about the nicest, most supportive guy ever.

As for "piracy," we don't really mind at all. We'd rather have people get to hear us, and if they like us they're usually going to support us by coming to a show or buying a shirt or our records on vinyl.

The Telegraph lists the 25 best book to film adaptations.

Pretty Much Amazing lists its favorite albums of the decade (2000-2009).

The Telegraph lists 100 songs that "defined the Noughties."

In the Guardian, author Kim Stanley Robinson accuses the Booker prize judges of ignorance for excluding science fiction works from contention.

Paste is still soliciting lists of your favorite albums of the 2000s.

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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