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January 28, 2010

Shorties (Charlotte Gainsbourg, Howard Zinn, and more)

Time interviews Charlotte Gainsbourg about her new album IRM, a collaboration with Beck.

A lot of the songs on IRM are tinted with sadness and longing. Did filming Lars von Trier's graphic thriller Antichrist in between sessions with Beck influence your music?

I was in quite a desperate mood after the shoot. I had been isolated in Germany filming for two months. To suddenly go from a place where I had the right to be hysterical and in a full crisis to being normal again was a weird change. It was fun for me to be able to talk to Beck about the shoot and how extreme it had been. At the same time I felt very lonely. Los Angeles is a weird city to be in when you're not in a perfect state. I spent nearly three weeks there without my children and my children's father. That's very heavy.

RIP, Howard Zinn.

The Austin American-Statesman profiles Girls' Christopher Owens.

It's to Owens' credit that you don't need to know one iota of that backstory — nor anything about the band's drug use, the other centerpiece of their public image — to appreciate 'Album,' which is loaded with simple, relatable stories of heartbreak, summertime antics and the redemptive power of music. For all of Owens' cachet in the world of indie music, he views his work as simple, accessible pop music.

Flavorwire lists 5 ways the Apple iPad could change e-books.

Magnetic Fields frontman Stephin Merritt talks to Metro Weekly about his new album, Realism.

The band has just released Realism, its latest concept album – Merritt prefers working around themes – this time exploring folk music. ''There are thousands of definitions of folk,'' says Merritt. ''I was trying to go with more or less all of them, a Whitman Sampler of what peoples' ideas of folk are – with an actual concentration of what I thought folk was when I was 3.'' Specifically, the music of Judy Collins and Bob Dylan.

The Chicago Reader reviews two new documentaries about indie rock show poster artists, Died Young, Stayed Pretty and American Artifact: the Rise of American Rock Poster Art.

The Philadelphia Citypaper interviews Ozzy Osbourne about his new book, I Am Ozzy.

CP: There’s plenty going on in the book besides just the drug use. What I was surprised to see was when you talk about recording [Sabbath Blood Sabbath] and being frightened of working in Clearwell Castle. You mention seeing The Exorcist and being scared shitless. How do you feel about showing that part of yourself that isn’t this totally fearless, badass rock god that we’re so used to seeing?

OO: [Unintelligible] Well with the [band mates] you always play tricks on each other. I implore anybody to spend the night in an old haunted castle — you wouldn’t do it unless you had to. Things that you don’t understand, they scare you I suppose. I mean, I’m not going to go, “I’ll save you, darling, give me the sword.” I’m not the guy to climb up the f**king ladder to rescue the chick — the damsel from the burning castle. She’s up there, she burns.

SEE discusses the future of album art with artists.

The National Post examines the revival of the ukulele in popular music.

The Guardian's Environment Blog lists its top green books.

PopMatters gives its best music scribing awards for 2009.

The San Jose Mercury News examines the growing popularity of graphic novels, and offers 10 jumping off points to the genre.

Seattle Weekly interviews Hey Marseilles frontman Matt Bishop about being signed to Starbucks' record label.

Michael Chabon talks to the Marin Independent Journal about his novel, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.

"When I was working on ("Kavalier and Clay"), many times I had the disheartening experience of trying to tell people about it," he said. "And just as I would begin to describe it to them, I could see their eyes glaze over. Or there would be this extended silence and then the conversation would continue on a different topic. People had this reaction of, 'Well that doesn't sound like anything I'd want to read. Good luck with that.'"

The Santa Barbara Independent profiles Bowerbirds.

It sounds like a hippie’s idea for a short story: boy meets girl (at a Whole Foods, of course), they fall in love, and eventually they shack up in an Airstream trailer in the woods of North Carolina. They do everything together—even design Web sites, oddly enough—as they build a cabin in the wilderness with nothing but hand tools. Meanwhile, the boy crafts eco-friendly folk songs and the girl learns accordion to accompany him. Now meet Phil Moore and Beth Tacular of Bowerbirds. With an indie-folk sound as organic as the produce among which they met, the duo has won the admiration of everyone from the Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle to their friend and fellow Midwesterner Justin Vernon of Bon Iver—praise that does not come cheap.

Today KCRW's Bookworm interviews author Jonathan Lethem.

CWG Magazine is counting down the top 50 indie rock albums of all time.

View the video trailer for Joshua Ferris's new novel, The Unnamed.

Impose previews the best new music of 2010.

The Ultimate Graphic Novel (In Six Panels)

The Guardian lists the top 10 rock'n'roll novels.

The Village Voice profiles Dan Lynch, the man behind one of my favorite music blogs nyctaper (and one of my bloggers to read in 2009).

Win a Threadless + Griffin iPhone case and a $50 Threadless gift certificate 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
Atomic Books Comics Preview (highlights of the week's comics & graphic novel releases)
Largehearted Word (highlights of the week's book releases)

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