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October 2, 2009

Shorties (Charles Dickens, Greatest Live Albums, and more)

The Guardian's books blog explains why we still read the novels of Charles Dickens.


ChordStrike lists the 100 greatest live albums of all time.


Amazon MP3 has 50 albums on sale for $5 apiece for the month of October, including:

The Avett Brothers: Emotionalism
Big Star: Nobody Can Dance
Blackalicious: Nia
Brendan Benson: My Old, Familiar Friend
The Builders and the Butchers: Salvation Is A Deep Dark Well
HEALTH: Get Color
Ingrid Michaelson: Everybody
Noisettes: Wild Young Hearts
North Mississippi Allstars: Shake Hands with Shorty
Owen: New Leaves
Phish: Joy Silent War
Pulp: Masters Of The Universe: Pulp On Fire 1985-86
The Raveonettes: Lust Lust Lust
Rodrigo Y Gabriela: 11:11
Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings: Dap-Dippin' With...
Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers: The Bear
Those Darlins: Those Darlins
Various Artists: All Blues'd Up: Songs of Bob Dylan
White Rabbits: It's Frightening


Festival Crashers critiques Rolling Stone's coverage of the Austin City Limits Music Festival.


PopMatters reviews Kaya Oakes' book, Slanted and Enchanted: The Evolution of Indie Culture.

As its most visibly identifiable hallmarks move more and more into the mainstream (becoming a style, a uniform, a popular television show soundtrack, a reflexive cliché... ), one might suppose that indie culture is fast, and finally, disappearing in the similitude of our modern, media-driven society. But this isn’t the case at all, as Oakes points out. The popular conception of indie is undergoing assimilation, sure, but that doesn’t mean indie is dead. Just as indie evolved from the Beats to the Diggers and from a DIY punk ethos to the current corporate co-opting of the hipster aesthetic, it continues to change—often in reaction to itself—as it always has. For every indie band featured in a car commercial, there is an artistic community creating purely from passion, sharing scarce resources and inspiring other individuals. For every pair of skinny jeans sold at American Apparel, there is some kid operating outside the system, doing something different and inventing something new. And, as Oakes has postulated and so convincingly supported in Slanted and Enchanted: The Evolution of Indie Culture, “That is what it means to be indie.”

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


The Bowdoin Orient examines the career trajectory of Grizzly Bear.


BBC News interviews Screaming Lights frontman Jay Treadell.

Is it difficult to get attention as a guitar band, given that guitars are out of fashion?

It is. We do use keyboards but we're definitely a band. We're not a drum machine with six keyboards and a woman with a painted face at the front.

I do find it frustrating because this is what people are getting given, and they will take what they're given. People don't look for music much any more. Things turn around, they always do. In a couple of years it will be guitar bands again.


The List examines music options in the digital age.


The A.V. Club asks authors (including Largehearted Boy Book Notes contributor Claire Zulkey) about their workout music.


The Bend Bulletin profiles Samantha Crain & the Midnight Shivers.

Crain and her Shivers play a spine-tingling brand of dusky roots-rock, the kind that could soundtrack the deadbeat drama that plays out each night in small-town dive bars across this country. Crain’s songs are hauntingly gorgeous, and her band plays them expertly.


FACT lists the best songs released in September.


Pitchfork interviews St. Vincent's Annie Clark about her appearance on the Twilight: New Moon soundtrack (with a song co-written by Bon Iver's Justin Vernon).

Pitchfork: How do you feel knowing that this is going to be in this gigantic teenage vampire movie?

AC: Well, to be entirely honest, I hadn't thought about the impact of that. My main thought was that I really wanted to do something with Justin because he's so great. Then, once it was announced, I started getting floods of calls and emails from family and extended family, who were thrilled. Apparently, every woman in my family, unlike me, has read the entire series, so they're really just beside themselves about it. I have a sister who's nine who called me screaming, and I have a sister who's 39, and she called me screaming. Only then did I realize the impact of it.

A to Z also interviews Clark.


Pitchfork lists the top 20 albums of the 2000s.


The A.V. Club offers entry points to the music of Steve Albini.


NPR is streaming Noah and the Whale's new album, The First Days of Spring in its entirety.


Hulu is streaming performances starting today from the Austin City Limits Music Festival.


Westender interviews cartoonist Jeff Lemire.


The Stranger reviews the three highest profile books of 2009: Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol, Ted Kennedy's The True Compass, and Jon Krakauer's Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman.


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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