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October 30, 2009

Shorties (Mike Doughty, Vampire Novels, and more)

The Village Voice interviews singer-songwriter Mike Doughty.

About Twitter--you've said that writing in that 140-character format has changed your writing process. How would you compare writing Tweets to lyric writing?

I just dig having those constraints--I'm all about parameters. When I work, I try and set up parameters to work within just as a game to play with myself. A friend of mine says that Twitter is the CB radio of our time, and I totally agree. I don't know if it's gonna survive, because most people aren't that good at it.

At the Guardian, Kevin Jackson lists his 10 top vampire novels. reviews John Ortved's new Simpsons oral biography, The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History.

In some ways, this may be a more candid history of the show because we don’t hear from Brooks, Groening and their supporters. Ortved thinks Brooks “decided to cancel all co-operation when he found out I was asking questions about Sam Simon,” who ran The Simpsons originally and hired most of the staff. Many people feel that Simon, who left in 1993 after feuding with Brooks and Groening, is not given enough credit for shaping the franchise; Brian Roberts (now a director of such shows as Little Mosque on the Prairie) says in the book that Brooks “fell in love with the myth and the legend” that Groening was the sole creator. Ortved compares them to Walt Disney, who wanted us to think that “he created everything that was Disney.” breaks down the 2009 Guardian First Book award shortlist.

The Louisville Courier-Journal profiles the Avett Brothers.

Describing the band is still something of a game, with fans and writers throwing darts at a list of cobbled-together styles: “indie-folk,” “alt-country,” “punk-folk” and the wholly unfortunate “grungegrass.” At the end of the day, the Avetts are simply very good songwriters with moments of brilliance that have the unmistakable clarity and stubbornness of truth.

The Common Reader recommends literary Halloween costumes.

The Measure explains how indie rock killed the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

We've all known the day would come when things would get dicey for the Hall, and it's finally here. Right around the mid-80s, or 25 years ago, or the exact amount of time that needs to have passed since a band's debut in order for them to be eligible for induction, when hair-metal came along and ruined everything, it simply became cooler for rock bands to exist below the radar of the mainstream. With the exceptions of a period of a few years in the early 90s, with Pearl Jam and Nirvana, and then again a decade later with the White Stripes and Radiohead, all the best rock bands have been, for lack of a better term, indie rock bands.

Vanity Fair features audio of Augusten Burroughs reading from his new book, You Better Not Cry: Stories for Christmas.

Drowned in Sound interviews Gary Numan.

DCist interviews Trevor Anderson of the High Dials.

The War of the Wakening Phantoms seemed like the kind of psych-pop stuff that rock critics just eat up, but it somehow still seemed to fly below the radar, at least in the States. How do you think your last couple releases have been received?

Actually, that album got us quite a lot of attention from critics! I guess 4 years is an eternity in indie rock so it's understandable if it's obscure at the moment.The reality is, the world is just glutted with music. Everyone and their canary has a Myspace page. It's just hard to keep anyone's attention for long. But we do have pockets of loyal supporters. I'm not sure what would break us to a wider audience, as we are still very DIY. The world's softest sounding punk rock band! I have very modest goals, which is to continue to put these albums out and pay my rent.

Heeb interviews Yoni Wolf of Why?.

At The Skinny, Said the Gramophone's Sean Michaels talks about the Scottish music scene.

The Rumpus interviews author Lydia Millet.

Listorious++++ lists books and Twitter music lists.

The Wall Street Journal's Speakeasy blog profiles MTVu's new poet laureate, Simin Behbahani.

What the designation means is that starting on Nov. 2, and continuing on for one year, mtvU will air 19 short-films with verses from Behbahani’s decades-long career including unpublished works and poems dealing with the current turmoil. The videos will also feature interviews with American-Iranian college students reacting to the poems. In addition, mtvU will tweet Behbahni’s poems in their original Farsi as well as English translations. MtvU is MTV Networks’ 24-hour college network.

The Beatles' "Hey Jude" flowcharted.

NPR's Morning Edition interviews singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens.

Win a copy of They Might be Giants' new children's book, Kids Go!, 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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