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July 20, 2011

Shorties (Bjork, Pat Benatar's Novel, and more)

The Guardian Music Blog reviews Bjork's new iPad/iPhone app.

Billboard reports that Pat Benatar is writing a novel about the second coming of Christ, to be published by Harper Collins.

Singer-songwriter Chris Bathgate visits World Cafe for a performance and interview.

The Guardian explores the intersection of science fiction and belief.

Aquarium Drunkard reviews the new Roadside Graves album, We Can Take Care of Ourselves.

There are two broad views you can take of Roadside Graves latest, We Can’t Take Care of Ourselves: As the concept album that it is, inspired by the S.E. Hinton classic The Outsiders, or as a mark of maturation in the band’s work, musical styling distinct of thematic impulses. Though The Outsiders concept will certainly receive the most attention from listeners and reviews (probably even this one), inspiration is just that—a feeling, an idea, a mental state elevated to a different consciousness by some external force. Inspiration is hugely significant. But at the end of it all, it only offers ideas, it doesn’t execute on them. That’s why this latest piece from the Graves displays their maturity as much as, or even more than, their inspiration. But seeing as how this is one review, and both elements need to be discussed, we’ll take the broadest view: This is one hell of a concept album, precisely because it also isn’t a concept album, and it takes a fairly mature band to be able to expand their sound and pull a logical impossibility like that.

Racked NY lists 10 indie bookstores that make up for the demise of Borders.

The Minnesota Daily gets opinions on Pitchfork from musicians who played the website's music festival this year.

At Pop & Hiss, rockabilly singer-songwriter Imelda May lists her top five guitar influences.

On sale for $3.99 at Amazon MP3: The Horrors' Primary Colours album.

Brain Pickings lists seven obscure children's books by authors of adult literature.

All Songs Considered shares a playlist of songs that make you cry.

Variety reports that filmmaker Guillermo del Toro will executive produce a comic book series based on the sci-fi vampire trilogy The Strain.

The A.V. Club interviews singer-songwriter Emmylou Harris.

The Paris Review interviews Paul Hornschemeier on his new graphic novel, Life with Mr. Dangerous.

Your style and tone is frequently compared with those of Chris Ware. From your point of view, is that an apt comparison?

When the very first color comic I had was coming out, I remember saying to Jeffrey Brown, who I've been friends with for a long time, Get ready for the Chris Ware comparison. And sure enough, that started happening immediately. It makes sense to me on an aesthetic level, in terms of our color palettes—we both have muted Midwestern palettes in general, and I think we're concerned with some of the same subjects. I don't feel like our storytelling techniques or our line quality or the page layout or a lot of other things that are significant have anything to do with one another. But it's fine, because then nobody talks about how much I feel like I'm ripping off Charles Burns and Dan Clowes. Let’s just throw up that smoke screen and we'll all move on.

PWxyz lists the five most frequently stolen books from bookstores.

Jay Bahadur talks to Talk of the Nation about his new book The Pirates of Somalia: Inside Their Hidden World.

NPR reviews and excerpts from Sapphire's new novel The Kid.

FACT lists the 20 best ambient albums of all time.

Monkey See examines how Borders' closing will affect other bookstores, authors, and consumers.

Morning Edition profiles Washed Out's Ernest Greene.

Greene's lyrics can be hard to make out. He buries his vocals under layers of electronics, and the words themselves are often a surprise, even to him.

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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