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June 1, 2011

Shorties (Alela Diane, Gil Scott-Heron, and more)

Willamette Week profiles singer-songwriter Alela Diane.

While she hasn’t stopped walking on the weird side where her lyrics are concerned, Alela Diane & Wild Divine finds the outgoing 28-year-old changing things up musically. Diane's first two records, The Pirate's Gospel and To Be Still, had her lumped in with the freak-folk flock, and not just because she was raised in the same small California town as Joanna Newsom, whom she counts as a friend. Where those outings had no shortage of quirks and tics, Alela Diane & Wild Divine is a more accessible affair, with the singer and her newly acquired band leaning heavily toward dusty alt-country and sun-bleached '70s MOR.

At The Rumpus, Steve Almond remembers Gil Scott-Heron.

The Guardian lists the top 10 childhood memoirs.

At, stream the new Seapony album, Go With Me.

Songwriters on Process interviews David Kilgour.

One True Thing interviews Amy Stewart about her book, Wicked Bugs.

CarolineLeavittville interviews author Sloane Crosley.

PopMatters interviews Matt & Kim's Mat Johnson.

The Matt & Kim songs are full of great hooks, I was wondering if you've always been a fan of sing-alongs? The songs are so much fun to sing along to plus you use lots of handclaps and shout outs to add to the audience participation.

Well I remember this time Kim was upset with me at this comment I had said once in this interview, where I said how we don't write songs anymore: we write anthems. She was very disappointed—she thought it was a very cocky-sounding line. But I said it more in the sense that there is something I think that exists within our songs. I've always been into that kind of stuff. I grew up with punk rock music, things like that. A lot of that stuff that I’ve liked has that gang vocals with of everyone singing these chants. You could be at a show and everyone can scream it along together or you could have your windows rolled down I your car as you’re driving and shout it. That sort of thing we have wanted to keep in the music. I mean we think very much in a beat and melody composition sense and we put that forward. As in there’s a beat that's a hook and a melody that's a hook, which sometimes results in singing along.

AE Monthly examines Bernie Madoff's books that will be auctioned this week.

The fifth lot includes a whole mess of books and catalogues, all of modern vintage. Six are inscribed to Mr. Madoff, an embarrassment to authors such as Herman Wouk, George Kennan, and Saul Bellow, that probably gives them an ironic sort of collecting value. Even more ironic is The New York Mets, A Photographic History. Mr. Madoff's bankruptcy trustee is threatening the owner of the New York Mets with a billion (yes, billion) dollar lawsuit for withdrawals and profits made with Madoff on the grounds he either knew or should have known that Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme. Other titles in this lot suggest Madoff liked fishing, boats, cigars, art, wine, and Rolex watches (the latter confirmed by watches available in this sale).

On sale for $3.99 at Amazon MP3: Explosions in the Sky's Take Care, Take Care, Take Care album.

One Story lists the top 10 short stories.

On sale for $5 at Amazon MP3: the new Death Cab for Cutie album, Codes and Keys.

The Atlantic recommends 10 essential books for thought-provoking summer reading.

Drowned in Sound interviews Patrick Wolf about his new album, Lupercalia.

All Things Considered examines Kurt Vonnegut's themes of war in his fiction.

John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats talks songwriting with Drop-d.

NPR previews summer's promising new literary books.

The Cave Singers visit World Cafe for an interview and live performance.

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 (news and 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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