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February 5, 2010

Shorties (Midlake, Nick Flynn, and more)

Midlake's Tim Smith talks to the Independent about the band's new album, The Courage of Others.

Blake isn't the only poetic influence feeding into the new album, as "Core of Nature" is built around a pertinent couplet from Goethe, "Into the core of nature/No earthly mind can enter." "I don't know much about Goethe, I just had a book of his poems from the library," Smith admits. "A lot of times, I'll use poetry to start coming up with a melody, because I don't write the lyrics first, I always start with the music and then see what sounds right coming out of my mouth. Certain words suit my voice better than others, and those words can then create the germ of an idea for a song. But I can't come up with it out of thin air, so a lot of times, to come up with an idea for a melody, I'll sit at the piano or guitar with a book of poetry and start singing the words, then I'll go back and replace them with my own lines. But that line was just so great, I realised I was never going to top that."

The Millions profiles author Nick Flynn.

The Guardian's TV & Radio Blog asks what books would you have your favorite TV character read?

The Moscow Times lists the top 5 books on totalitarianism.

The Advocate interviews Magnetic Fields frontman Stephin Merritt.

In the Guardian, AL Kennedy offers an update on writing her new novel.

On her Guardian blog, Charlotte Higgins asks her readers for the best British novel since the war.

Paste interviews Rilo Kiley drummer Jason Boesel about his solo album, Hustler's Son.

Billboard interviews Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers.

Do you have trouble with DBT being labeled as a Southern rock band, even though you often write from a southern perspective?

Oh, yeah. I've always kind of winced at the term. At least in America, it carries a certain baggage with it that I'm not all that comfortable with, and I've never felt like that term defined us, even though it's used to define us a lot. We did the record that was about that ["Southern Rock Opera"], and I'm really proud that the record came off as authentic enough to where people assumed that's what we do. But that record's almost 10 years old. Since then, our music has moved in all kinds of different directions. We did an R&B record with Bettye Lavette, we did the instrumental R&B record with Booker, and "Brighter than Creations Dark" was all over the map.

The A.V. Club Washington interviews Hood about the Drive-By Truckers documentary film, The Secret to a Happy Ending.

The A.V. Club: How did the documentary come about, and how did Barr Weissman get involved?

Patterson Hood: He actually approached me at the 9:30 Club one night in '04 and pitched the idea to me. His pitch was like, "I'm not interested in doing a typical band documentary. I don't want to do a Behind The Music kind of thing—the band fighting, or the rigors of the road, or the band vs. their label. I really want to get into where the songs come from and why people are drawn to them." He told me in his initial pitch that rock-and-roll saved [his] life as a teenager. Which, of course, is something I talk about a lot in my songs and in our show and in my life. He's like, "I'm another one of those people, and I want to make a movie that's my love letter to that aspect of rock-and-roll—and it happens to star your band.

Web in Front is offering a free download of Radiohead's January Los Angeles performance to support Hait relief efforts.

School Library Journal discusses its 2010 great graphic novels for teens list.

NPR Music lists (and streams) songs inspired by the New Orleans Saints football team.

NPR excerpts from Joshua Ferris's new novel, The Unnamed.

Former NFL head coach Brian Billick talks to WHYY's Fresh Air about his book, More Than a Game.

Pitchfork has announced the first wave of acts for this summer's Pitchfork Music Festival, including Pavement, Modest Mouse, and St. Vincent.

Protect your Kindle of iPad with a book-like case.

Win four Ox-Tales short story collections (that benefit Oxfam) 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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