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February 25, 2010

Shorties (Those Darlins, Joanna Newsom, and more)

Flagpole profiles Those Darlins.

Informed by Nashville and intersecting indie, pop and country scenes—and aware of the twisted tradition of Appalachian roots music that stretch back beyond the Carter Family, Those Darlins aren’t of Nashville. In fact, they’re of Murfreesboro, 90 miles south and a million clicks up on the hick-o-meter. Yet couldn’t seem to be more not. The trio of Kelly Darlin (bass, vocals), Jesse Darlin (guitar, vocals) and Nikki Darlin (baritone ukulele, vocals) write their own songs and speak convincingly of female empowerment, music history and egalitarian ideals of performance and business: codes and ethics fostered in the Rock and Roll Camp movement that led the three women to meet and form a band.

Today's reviews of Joanna Newsom's new album, Have One on Me:

Consequence of Sound:

So grades like 5/5 or A+ are not something that come easily from me (this is the first time ever), but I think records like Have One On Me are why perfect scores exist.

The Montreal Gazette:

Actually, one wishes she would write more everything: when the final fadeout is reached, three discs doesn't seem like enough.

Chicago Tribune:

Newsom’s unwillingness to play by anyone’s rules except her own makes her worthy of attention. But history tells us that most triple albums could’ve benefited from some pruning, and “Have One on Me” is no exception.

Seattlest interviews author Mark Doty.

How is writing poetry different for you than writing nonfiction? Is there a different satisfaction that comes from writing poetry that you don't receive in nonfiction, or vice versa?

Doty: Poetry is profoundly concentrated; it aims to bring feeling, thinking and perception together, in an attempt to catch something of the nature of subjectivity, something of what it's like to be human. It does this by trying to embody perception in sound - that is, to do what language doesn't usually do, which is to approximate the way living actually feels. Writing nonfiction allows one a lot of space to expand, walk around a subject, build context, open many doors. A poem can do some of that too, but there's a different, intense sort of pressure on each word and line in a poem that makes it a different experience for the writer --- both difficult and strangely resonant.

Composer Elena Ruehr talks to the San Jose Mercury News about her string quartet inspired by Ann Patchett's novel Bel Canto.

The San Diego Reader profiles the Mother Hips.

The Mother Hips can sound a bit like the Eagles or the Byrds or even as psych-rock as Wilco. There are these nice, occasional arena-rock riffs, scaled way down to club size, and now and then some Beach Boys seep through the everyman’s bedrock of the Mother Hips’ sound.

The Guardian Music Blog wonders if the internet has killed the myth of the rock star.

No, the reason the internet may kill off rock-star mystique is that the blogosphere, by its own limitation and design, is not in thrall to image. Traditional music media requires cover stars to be the complete package, looking as good as they sound and producing snappy, controversial pull-quotes at the drop of a Dictaphone. To earn the status of rock legend, the old-school star needs to lure in the browsing commuter with the secret Strokes shirt on under his office clobber.

The Guardian Books Blog notes that book dust jackets are out of fashion.

PopMatters offers two interviews with Hidden Cameras frontman Joel Gibb.

Flavorwire lists 1- musical artists more deserving of a fashion line than Pete Wentz.

The Guardian Books Blog examines why walking has inspired great writing.

At Drowned in Sound, Efterklang offers a track-by-track analysis of the band's new album, Magic Chairs.

The Guardian examines the proliferation of death in young adult fiction.

Free at Amazon MP3: the 9-track IODA SXSW Opening Day Bash Sampler 2010.

Global Times compares U.S. bookstores to their Chinese counterparts.

In the US, however, my experiences at bookstores are very different. At first glance, they are quite similar to those in China, only more comfortable and inviting. The bookstores are usually very spacious, with nice leather sofas, bright reading lights, free wi-fi, and of course, a comprehensive collection of books. They have everything that a book lover could dream of, except that they have also become hangouts for people who don't read books.

On his blog, Daniel Nester collects 27 versions of Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust."

Nester is the author of two books of poetry and prose about the band, God Save My Queen: A Tribute and God Save My Queen II: The Show Must Go On.

Win Seth Grahame-Smith's new novel, Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter, 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:

Atomic Books Comics Preview (highlights of the week's comics & graphic novel releases)
daily mp3 downloads
Largehearted Word (highlights of the week's book releases)
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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