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December 27, 2010

Shorties (Marnie Stern, Roxy Music, and more)

In the New Yorker, Sasha Frere-Jones profiles singer-songwriter Marnie Stern, whose self-titled release is one of my favorite albums of 2010.

The three main elements of Stern's songs are typically her rippling, quick guitar lines, her barking vocals, and the overwhelming thrum of Hill's drums. The combination produces a racket. Like Stern, who is prone to bouts of insomnia, the music seems anxious, as if it contains an urgent message that will expire before a certain date. That nervy quality makes her technically accomplished music seem unusually accessible. If Stern's songs are frantic, it rarely seems to be in order to dazzle her listeners with tricks, or even to entertain them. Her music pulses with the energy of a mind and a soul that won’t leave well enough alone. "The idea of potential and possibility is the only thing that drives me to keep going with music," she told me.

The A.V. Club recommends entry points into the music of Roxy Music and Bryan Ferry.

Yesterday's updates to the online "best books of 2010" lists included the Chicago Tribune's favorite books, the Miami Herald's books, and more.

Yesterday's updates to the list of 2010 year-end online music lists included Ann Powers' list of songs you may not have heard at Pop & Hiss, the Yellowbird Project's top albums, and much more.

The Telegraph explores the renaissance of classic literature through the rise of e-book readers.

Pitchfork recaps the year in music news.

New West explores the difference between Eastern and Western American novels.

The Los Angeles Times examines the trend of ultra-deluxe, pricey box sets.

Despite so much news revolving around the record industry's struggles to sell 99-cent singles and $9.99 album downloads, several labels have recently cooked up ultra-deluxe box sets for Miles Davis, Elvis Presley, Hank Williams and others priced at $200 up to $1,200.

Music Dump lists the top 20 music articles of 2010.

The A.V. Club lists 23 songs that almost derail great albums.

The Record recaps the year in music.

The official Plants vs. Zombies game soundtrack is available online.

NPR is streaming Abigail Washburn's new album, City of Refuge (out January 11th)

My own "best of 2010" book & music lists:

favorite albums of 2010
favorite graphic novels
favorite nonfiction books
favorite novels of 2010
favorite short story collections

Coming later this month: my favorite free and legal mp3 downloads and favorite debut novels of the year.

Follow me on Twitter and Stumbleupon for links (updated throughout the day) that don't make the daily "Shorties" columns.

also at Largehearted Boy:

previous Shorties posts (daily links from the worlds of music, literature, and pop culture)

Online "Best Books of 2010" lists
Online "Best Music of 2010" lists

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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