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February 17, 2011

Shorties (The Decemberists, Benjamin Hale, and more)

Crave interviews Chris Funk of the Decemberists about the band's new album, The King Is Dead, Portlandia, and more.


Vol. 1 Brooklyn interviews Benjamin Hale about his new novel, The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore.


The Colorado Springs Independent profiles the Smith Westerns.

Beautifully produced by Chris Coady (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Beach House, TV on the Radio), the album finds the group going for what Omori describes as "dreamy guitar pop." It's all pretty sophisticated, but also hugely accessible: Omori, who grew up on Oasis, Bowie and Top 40 (though he also succumbed to his father's insistence that he listen to "real" rock bands like Led Zeppelin), delivers hook-laden vocal harmonies that perfectly fit guitar parts that earn bandmate Max Kakacek frequent comparisons to George Harrison. Keep listening and you may also hear echoes of bands like Teenage Fanclub, especially on "Still New" (which actually does sound new, despite its similarities to Fanclub's early song, "The Concept").


Yo La Tengo bassist James McNew talks to the Vancouver Sun about the band's innovative current tour.


The National Book Foundation has launched a poetry blog.


LAist lists the best literary journals of Los Angeles.


The Guardian reports that Electrelane is reforming to play summer festivals this year.


At McNally Jackson Bookmongers, author Emma Straub shares her love for the children's book George and Martha.

I have always liked to laugh. Some people seem content to plow their faces deep into dense, humorless books, perhaps with the promise of furthering their education, and some people just want to laugh. For good or ill, I tend to fall into the latter category. My love of humor on the page began as a very small child, and it is one of those early books that came to mind most immediately when I was asked to select a funny book for the month of Funbruary. If George Saunders’ giddy surrealism and Ann Beattie’s love of the quotidian were to somehow get together and make a paper baby, that paper baby would be James Marshall’s George and Martha.


Author Michael Gray talks to the Stockton Record about his obsession with the works of Bob Dylan.


At The Chronicle for Higher Education, Elise Blackwell explores the importance of geographic diversity in creative writing M.F.A. programs.


All Things Considered interviews singer-songwriter Adele about her new album, 21.


Pop & Hiss profiles Dum Dum Girls.


Non-Stop Sound interviews Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers about the band's new album, Go-Go Boots, and documentary, The Secret to a Happy Ending.


Business Insider's chart of the day is titled "The Death of the Music Industry."


NPR reviews (and excerpts from) Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts's new book, Harlem is Nowhere: A Journey to the Mecca of Black America.


The Guardian profiles XL Recordings.

According to insiders, XL refuses to gamble on stuff it thinks could be successful but doesn't like. It encourages staff to continue projects they were working on before they joined the company – writing, promoting, DJing, whatever. And it cedes an incredible amount of control to its artists, the theory being that artists know how to make and market their own music better than anyone else.


Fresh Air interviews Allison Pearson about her new comic novel, I Think I Love You. Read an excerpt from the book.


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)

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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