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July 21, 2011

Shorties (Gillian Welch, Marshall McLuhan, and more)

At BOMB Magazine, Joanna Newsom and Roy Harper interview each other.

RH Do you think your lyrics would be different if you played a different instrument? They seem to be a little different when you play the piano, for instance.

JN I do. Because the lyrical forms are governed by the swing and weight of the instrumental arrangement, and that varies depending on whether I’m playing harp or piano. A song’s structure builds outward, for me, from the idea of tension rising up between the syllabic emphases in the lyrical line, and the rhythmic and melodic emphases in the metric line.

The Toronto Star profiles Marshall McLuhan on what would have been his 100th birthday.

The list of online 2011 summer reading lists has been updated with NPR's sports book recommendations and much more.

Kele Okereke talks to the Sydney Morning Herald about Bloc Party's future as well as his literary works in progress.

PopMatters lists 10 essential dance-rock albums.

The Bat Segundo Show interviews Megan Abbott about her new novel, The End of Everything.

Gillian Welch talks to NOW about her new album, The Harrow and the Harvest.

"We kept writing songs but we didn't like them enough to put them out. Songs that we like are a really funny balance of something modern, traditional, rock and roll, country, folk, confessional, fictitious. It has to have all these things in it for us to go, 'Oh yeah, I like that.' And, for a while, we just weren't able to do the magic trick."

The Christian Science Monitor explores Spotify's value to musicians whose songs are streamed on the service.

Monterey County Weekly profiles singer-songwriter Langhorne Slim.

Like the Avett Brothers, the Pennsylvania native brings a gritty punk sensibility to alt-country sounds that weaves in and out of honkytonk, ragtime and Americana roots. (Not coincidentally, Slim has toured with the Avetts, Drive-By Truckers and The Low Anthem.) His self-titled debut is a masterpiece that glows with love songs, tales of broken hearts and traveling-man ballads. It’s difficult to skip past any of the 13 tracks. Each song breathes its own special life.

ArtVoice interviews John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats.

AV: Poetry is the focus of the Mountain Goats. How do you think the sound of your music complements the lyrical content?

Darnielle: I try to add in contrast. I think contrast brings out color, so I’ll often try and set a darker lyric in a more up-tempo setting. Like "The Autopsy of Garland," one of the newer ones, it has a kind of clip-poppy western feel to it but the lyrics are really mournful about Judy Garland’s life. I think when you have those contrasts—where the music is up-tempo but the lyrics are desperate—it brings both aspects into sharper focus.

On sale for $3.99 at Amazon MP3: Times New Viking's album Dancer Equired.

The Bay Bridged shares a mixtape of the new wave of Bay Area shoegazers.

At The Faster Times, Kyle Minor reviews Donald Ray Pollock's debut novel The Devil All the Time.

At Pitchfork, Marissa Nadler lists her favorite things.

MakeUseOf lists five websites that alert book lovers about new book releases.

Flavorpill has created an online street art guide to New York, Los Angeles, and Miami.

Vulture finds similarities between a character in Jeffrey Eugenides' new novel The Marriage Plot and David Foster Wallace.

Leonard Bankhead is a philosophy double major who chews tobacco, wears a bandanna, disdains ironic detachment, and has a history of mental illness that has led to multiple hospitalizations — just like David Foster Wallace. (Also, like Infinite Jest's Hal Incandenza, Bankhead self-medicates through out high school with marijuana.) Certainly, Leonard is distinct from DFW in a number of ways as well — the particularities of his family situation, his being a total stud, that he's a manic-depressive, not just a depressive, that he's not a writer, and all the vagaries of the plot — but the similarities are so iconically David Foster Wallace (a bandanna and chew are not common accoutrements) that Eugenides, who did not have a well-known or documented friendship with Foster Wallace, must intentionally be calling him to mind.

Cover Me points out two videos of Ryan Adams covering Vampire Weekend's "Oxford Comma" and "Mansard Roof."

The A.V. Club interviews Jeff Lemire about his comic series Sweet Tooth.

The Rosebuds visit The Current studio for an interview and live performance.

NPR recommends three books that share triumphant tales of survival.

Deceptive Cadence examines the effect of Borders' closing on classical music sales.

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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