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March 16, 2010

Shorties (Wolf Hall vs. Logicomix, Free SXSW Sampler, and more)

At The Morning News Tournament of Books I reviewed Hilary Mantel's novel Wolf Hall and the graphic novel Logicomix.

TPM (The Philosophers' Magazine) also reviews Logicomix.

Amie Street is offering a free 21-track SXSW sampler album (registration required).

BlackBook interviews Sam Lipsyte about his new novel, The Ask.

Do you feel that literary fiction is afraid to make people laugh these days?

I think there's a worry that if it's funny then perhaps there’s something slight about it. That it's not as important as a deeply researched, earnest, historical novel, or a kind of humorless tale of contemporary life. I think there possibly was a moment in the '60s and '70s when the serious books tended to be pretty funny. I don’t know if that's as true these days.

Drowned in Sound interviews Christopher Owen of Girls.

DiS: Your album is actually very eclectic, from the folky 'Lauren Marie' through to the feedback-drenched 'Morning Light', which reminds of English bands from the early nineties like the Boo Radleys.

CO: Well we like the Boo Radleys a lot. The specific band that I wanted the sound of 'Morning Light' to reproduce was undoubtedly My Bloody Valentine. There's all kinds of good music around though, and we did have a conscious conversation that we didn't want this album to be pigeonholed against one individual scene. I write the songs on a little six-string guitar so they all sound the same at the beginning - it's a bit like country music - but the cool thing about producing your own recordings is that you can take that and pretty much add whatever you want to the mix afterwards.

The Minneapolis City Pages interviews Ted Leo.

You've always been one to wear your politics on your sleeve, and The Brutalist Bricks isn't any exception. Did the current political climate have much influence on these songs?

It didn't really affect the album all that much. Most the songs were written before the election, and the ones that came after aren't that political. But, I mean, it's almost hilarious how the different sides in this country demonize each other, like they're diametrically opposed, even though it's an incredibly centrist government and everyone is completely beholden to the money system that flows in D.C. I'm not saying there's no difference, but it's a small one.

The Guardian profiles one of my favorite music blog features, the Music Alliance Pact.

Responsibility for the duo's globalisation lies with the Music Alliance Pact (MAP) – 34 music bloggers from 34 different countries who, on the 15th day of each month (which means today), cross post an identical list of every member's local band of the moment, accompanied by a description and sample MP3. With contributions by bloggers from Argentina (Zonaindie) to New Zealand (Counting The Beat), Singapore (I'm Waking Up To) to Sweden (Swedes Please), MAP is a monthly global compilation tape from a not-for-profit musical cartel, one that exposes the bands (most untouched by A&R or PR people) to new audiences and the blogs to more readers.

Voto Latino offers 25 free mp3s for pledging to participate in the U.S. census.

NME ponders the idea of posthumous album releases.

The Hook interviews Chris Ward of Pattern Is Movement.

Spinner interviews singer-songwriter Alina Simone.

PopMatters remembers author Barry Hannah.

Autostraddle lists 10 fashion icons in music.

Blogging for a Good Book has gathered 140 "best books of 2010" lists and aggregated the results (and even includes a downloadable spreadsheet of the results).

see also: My aggregated list of "best books of 2009" lists.

IGN offers a summer music festival preview.

NPR's All Things Considered profiles singer-songwriter Meaghan Smith.

Smith has named her style "modern vintage," and a Canadian newspaper once wrote that the record sounded as if Bjork worked with k.d. lang and Doris Day. With influences from the '20s, '30s and '40s, Smith says she geared her approach toward preserving the "humanness" of the sound.

Bibliokept interviews Dennis Johnson about his publishing house, Melville House Publishing.

At NPR Music, The Antlers play a Tiny Desk Concert.

HTMLGIANT interviews author Kyle Minor.

NPR is streaming the new Archie Bronson Outfit album, Coconut (out March 23rd in the U.S.).

The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize longlist has been announced.

Win a $100 Threadless gift certificate (plus assorted books & CDs) 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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