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May 18, 2011

Shorties (Neko Case, Philip Roth, and more)

The Charleston City Paper profiles singer-songwriter Neko Case.

There's something about songwriter Neko Case that makes people use a lot of F-words to describe her. Among the most frequent: fiery-haired, funny, fierce, fabulous, foxy, and foul-mouthed. On some level, all of these adjectives are accurate, but they don't provide a complete picture, or even scrape the surface of Case's complexity and influence. At 40, she's hitting her stride, both as a solo artist and as one of the most called-upon collaborators in indie-pop, alt-country, and rock.


Philip Roth has won the 2011 Man Booker Prize.


The Miami New Times lists five key moments in "hipster-hop."


The Hollywood Reporter notes that Susan Sarandon and Jim Broadbent have been cast in the upcoming film adaptation of David Mitchell's novel Cloud Atlas.


PopMatters profiles singer-songwriter Yael Naim.

For fans of Yael's previous work, She Was a Boy continues her tradition of intelligent songwriting and angular arrangements, which carefully revolve around her revealing and introspective lyricism. For Yael, the new album is just a part of the lifelong creative journey that began even from her days as a young girl growing up in Israel.


CarolineLeavittville interviews author Emma Straub.


The Minneapolis City Pages interviews singer-songwriter Kimya Dawson.

City Pages: Having your songs featured prominently in Juno increased your audience. How has your life changed since that movie came out?

Kimya Dawson: I was able to buy a house and a car that isn't falling apart, and get health insurance. Besides that, things are pretty similar. Well, I mean, things have changed, but not related to Juno. Things were crazy for a while right after the movie came out but luckily it didn't take too long to get back to normal.


At the Algonquin Books Blog, Jonathan Evison is interviewed by his editor.


DIY interviews Van Dyke Parks.

Did it amuse you at all, the legendary status 'Smile' attained in the years afterwards? It became the holy grail, the great lost album...

(Laughs) I know! I think that’s a good thing and I take no possession of that. I do 'Heroes and Villains' in the show, of course – I do it entirely differently from the way that the Beach Boys would do it. It's a good song, but all that music that they're finally releasing – it takes up three LPs, that's a lot of music – enjoys its status, I think, because it's born of a certain innocence and exuberance. I think it's empowering. And it's total technicolour, widescreen technicolour and cartoon consciousness. Maybe there's a brand of courage there, a derring-do. So yes, I learned from whatever mistakes I made. They have an expression in Japan that “the nail that sticks out gets hammered down," and 'Smile' was like that. It was like a rusty nail sticking out. That’s the inconvenient truth, as Al Gore would've called it. I think its status is a product of public imagination more than anything else and I'm delighted to share that moment.


NPR is streaming Joseph Arthur's new album, The Graduation Ceremony (out May 23rd).


GeekDad shares an online comic by Gene Yuen Lang that explains the genesis of his new graphic novel, Level Up.


Stereogum shares Bon Iver's 10 best cover songs.


At NPR, Karen Russell shares her love for Kelly Link's short story collection Stranger Things Happen.

To paraphrase what these stories are "about" feels in some ways like a betrayal of Link's sorcery, a bogus misrepresentation of their real magic. As Flannery O'Connor said, "A story is a way to say something that can't be said any other way, and it takes every word of the story to say what the meaning is." And every word in these 11 stories is perfectly placed to make meaning out of the mysteries that bedevil our "ordinary" lives, and to make the impossible true.


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 new comics & graphic novels)
daily mp3 downloads
Largehearted Word (highlights of the week's new books)
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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