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September 28, 2009

Shorties (Margaret Atwood, Roman Candle, and more)

In Macleans, the winner of an auction to have her name mentioned in the latest Margaret Atwood novel, The Year of the Flood, discusses the experience.

When the book arrives, I quickly skim, looking for my name. I find it on page 30. Rebecca Eckler is working for a cruel, malicious manager at a chain called SecretBurgers (“the secret of SecretBurgers was that no one knew what sort of animal protein was actually in them,” Atwood writes). One of my character’s first quotes is, “Praise the Lord and spit. I’m too black and ugly for him . . .” There you have it. Rebecca Eckler is no longer skinny, neurotic and Jewish. Two pages later I read the line, “Worse, Rebecca had gone away, no one knew exactly where. Off with some religious group, said the street rumour.”


American Songwriter interviews Skip Matheny of Roman Candle.

Who are some of the songwriters you most admire?

Man –short list? Cole Porter, Tom T. Hall, Morrissey, Joni Mitchell, Tom Waits, John Hartford, Bill Withers, Richards /Jagger, Bacharach/David, John Prine, Bryan Cates.

Mostly anybody who knows how to structure and craft a song and also push or test those structures. The idea of crafting a song at all is getting harder to come by, to my ears anyway. Other big obvious ones are Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young. Don’t trust anybody who says they don’t like at least two of these three as writers. Actually three out of three.


Prefix reviews the oral history, Our Noise: The Story of Merge Records, the Indie Label That Got Big and Stayed Small.

Our Noise is an essential item for the library of anyone who cares about indie rock.


Drowned in Sound reviews former Stone Roses frontman Ian Brown's new album, My Way.


The Telegraph reports that the woman who inspired the Beatles' "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" has passed away.


The Memphis Flyer is counting down the top 50 singles and albums of 2000-2009.


PopMatters finds hipsters "merely a symptom of a fractured, niched, and disjointed culture."


The Guardian collects essays from authors, poets, and artists (including Margaret Atwood, Jeanette Winterson, and others) in favor of the newspaper's 10:10 climate change campaign to reduce carbon emissions.


Drowned in Sound interviews musician Thomas Dolby.


Help fund Clare and the Reasons upcoming tour at Kickstarter.


Pitchfork is counting down the top 200 albums of the 2000s.


This week Five Chapters is serializing a new short story by James P. Othmer.


The New York Times reviews Nick Hornby's new novel, Juliet, Naked.


RIP, William Safire.


NPR Music profiles Fanfarlo, noting the band's literary influences.


BLK JKS visit The Current studio for an interview and live performance.


Win 5 books from Snare Books 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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