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September 30, 2011

Shorties (Jeffrey Eugenides, Deerhoof, and more)

The Independent reviews Jeffrey Eugenides' new novel, The Marriage Plot.

Salon profiles Merge Records.

These are grim times in the music industry, which has been steadily dwindling away for the past decade. Against that backdrop, Merge is a shining beacon -- and one of the music industry's last, best models for survival. And all they've ever done is stick to their guns -- great taste, rigorous curation, the right balance of up-and-comers and veteran acts. Talk to Merge co-founders McCaughan and Ballance about that, and they find it both amusing and bemusing.

The Guardian lists the five greatest death scenes in literature.

Sound of the City interviews Deerhoof drummer Greg Saunier.

The Nashville Cream interviews Nick Lowe about his song "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding."

NC: I feel like "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding" is really a much different song when you sing it than when Elvis (Costello) sings it. Your version is almost like a requiem mass or something, it's a kind of somber, mournful kind of song in a way. Then it's this total anthem when Elvis delivers it.

NL: Yes, most people do do it [that style], and actually Brinsley's version is much more like that as well, the original version. But that song's been covered by so many people — I've heard it so many different ways. I've heard it by African school kids singing it, Tahitian fisherman, let alone all the actual pop people. And all different styles, even reggae versions. So I just thought, "Well I have to figure out a way of doing it myself," and I just thought that slightly more contemplative style suited me to get it across. But even then I find I do it differently. You know I hear versions of it that have been recorded since I think I've been doing it the way I do it, I mean it's quite different from how I'm doing it currently.

The A.V. Club lists five successful covers of Bruce Springsteen songs.

GOOD magazine shares a fictional map of L.A.

Paste lists 10 pop musicians who have become composers.

Audrey Niffenegger talks art, writing, and comics with the Independent.

Does Niffenegger see herself foremost as a writer or an artist? "Well, I do have to admit I definitely went to art school. It is perfectly possible to train as a writer by reading. Jane Austen did not get an MFA [Masters of Fine Art]. On the other hand, with art there are a lot of skills that you have to actually study; somebody has to show you. So it made sense to me to go and get the training, which isn’t to say there aren't people doing brilliant things teaching writers. What I required is a lot of big equipment and chemicals, so art school seemed to me to be the right way to go."

Feist is streaming her new album Metals (out October 4th) on her website.

Kate Beaton talks to Morning Edition about her new comics collection, Hark a Vagrant.

Peter Gabriel visits World Cafe for an interview and live performance.

NPR reviews Susan Orleans new book, Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend.

In stunning prose that is both compassionate and perceptive, Orlean proposes that dogs aren't merely the furry friends we keep around and toss tennis balls to — they represent the best things we are, and the best things we can be. Rin Tin Tin, Orlean writes, exemplified not just "solace and friendship," but "valor and loyalty and strength and truth." And his owner "believed that those qualities would always matter and always prevail."

Win Chad Harbach's debut novel The Art of Fielding and a $100 Threadless gift certificate in this week's Largehearted Boy contest.

Amazon MP3 has 100 digital albums on sale for $5.

Follow me on Twitter, Google+, 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, books, and pop culture)

Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics & graphic novels)
daily mp3 downloads
Largehearted Word (the week's best 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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