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February 12, 2010

Shorties (The Antlers, Spoon, and more)

The Boston Globe profiles the Antlers.

But you can’t blame fans for feeling close enough to the heartbroken narrator of the band’s breakout record, "Hospice," to ask for details. The lo-fi concept album, centered on a terminally ill patient and her caregiver, is intimate and haunting. The 10 tracks deal with loss, death, guilt, and even Sylvia Plath (“Sylvia, get your head out of the oven / Go back to screaming and cursing, remind me again how everyone betrayed you.’’) The stuff of nightmares, really.

The Scotsman profiles Spoon.

Spoon's ascent owes a lot to the slow growth of indie rock in the 1990s, before the online world made music easier both to distribute and to dismiss. "You had a lot more time to develop sort of unnoticed," Weiss says. "It wasn't like you were shoved into the spotlight immediately. Your ideas could simmer, and you could bounce your ideas off the other bands that were in your scene before everyone else knew about it."

Reading Local Portland interviews Jedediah Berry about his debut novel, The Manual of Detection.

Singer-songwriter Nellie McKay puts her iPod on shuffle for the Boston Globe.

Vanity Fair examines the secret fiction-writing career of director John Hughes.

Singer-songwriter Gil Scott-Heron talks to the Guardian about his new album, I'm New Here.

JamBase interviews John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats.

Who do you credit with originally inspiring you to create music and lyrical poetry?

My own path into writing songs comes directly through literature. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a capital-A author, and I wrote short stories on an old Royal typewriter all the time. That was how I spent pretty much every summer night when I was 12 and 13 years old, sitting at my desk in front of the typewriter writing stories and then sending them off to science fiction and fantasy magazines; getting rejection slips but feeling like I was getting somewhere.

Patterson Hood talks to the Raleigh News & Observer about the forthcoming Drive-By Truckers album, The Big To-Do.

ELLE magazine has launched a new litblog, Lit Life.

NPR reviews and excerpts from Adam Haslett's new novel, Union Atlantic.

Slate interviews Marisa Meltzer about her book, Girl Power: The Nineties Revolution in Music.

Heartless Doll lists 10 graphic novels for fans of the Twilight series.

The Rumpus lists things not to do in your debut novel.

Drowned in Sound interviews Alan Sparhawk of Low and Retribution Gospel Choir.

Tiny Mix Tapes has finished counting down its albums of the decade.

The Wall Street Journal profiles literary NBA players.

Rolling Stone lists rock's best drummers.

Brightest Young Things and USA Today recommend book gifts for Valentine's Day.

Las Vegas Weekly lists three music websites you really should be frequenting.

io9 lists the 5 types of erotic dystopia in science fiction.

SXSW is streaming tracks from 2010 featured artists via a Shoutcast music stream.

The Guardian Books Blog examines Bret Easton Ellis's influence on the new generation of writers.

Less than Zero, Ellis's debut, is 25 years old this year; and give or take a few references to Betamax and the occasional tendency for gnomic stupidity, has worn its years incredibly well. It's no wonder, I think, that it's influencing a new generation of writers. The simplicity of the prose, the precision of his imagery, and the atmosphere of menace and cultural oblivion are invigorating even at this remove.

The XX have won the Guardian's First Album award for their 2009 self-titled release.

Win a $100 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:

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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