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September 22, 2011

Shorties (R.E.M., Neal Stephenson, and more)

R.E.M. has officially broken up.


Harper Voyager Books interviews Neal Stephenson about his new novel, REAMDE.

Q: One of the interesting backstories in the book is how T’Rain was developed and the unique talents behind it—especially the writers who devised its bible. What connections do you see between an MMORPG like T’Rain and literature—storytelling? Would you consider that kind of game to be a kind of participatory literature?

NEAL STEPHENSON: The two writers are a kind of self-parody; I've taken two literary tendencies that are always competing for control of my keyboard, and made them flesh.

All role-playing games are a kind of improvisatory literature. It's easy to make fun of RPG dorks. But those games wouldn't be interesting unless the people playing them were coming up with interesting characters and spinning tales with legitimate narrative qualities--some of which are at least as good as what gets published as officially sanctioned literature.


Aquarium Drunkard interviews singer-songwriter A.A. Bondy.


The Independent Weekly profiles Megafaun.

As I watched, Megafaun continued to calibrate the dusky rainbows of harmony that anchor their unique Americana. Phil kept to his feet, cradling Ellis in his arms. Brad strummed open chords on an acoustic guitar. "Start real fast ..." they all sang, lightly stomping, letting the beat pull them along rather than pushing it forward. "Gonna end real slow." The vocal harmonies were a constant negotiation, with each member using his strengths to bolster the others' weaknesses.


At pattinase, Frank Brill explains the genesis of his new short story collection, Crimes in Southern Indiana.


Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy talks to Pop & Hiss about the band's new album, The Whole Love.


The Guardian Children's Books Blog lists the top 10 author/illustrator pairings.


On sale for $3.99 at Amazon MP3:

Black Sabbath's Heaven and Hell album
Deftones' Saturday Night Wrist album
Mastodon's Blood Mountain album


The Guardian profiles author William Gibson.


Flavorwire lists 10 things that are killing indie music in 2011.


NPR reviews David B.'s new graphic novel, The Armed Garden and Other Stories.

The Armed Garden and Other Stories is the witty, finely executed work of an artist uniquely capable of capturing both the fervid ecstasy of belief and the dull, heartsick ache left behind once it cools.


RFTmusic lists where the bands featured in the 1991 documentary The Year Punk Broke are today.


Fresh Air interviews Ken Jennings about his new book, Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks.


At NPR Music, Beirut plays a Tiny Desk Concert.


Watch the book trailer for Art Spiegelman's Metamaus: A Look Inside a Modern Classic, Maus.


FACT lists the 20 best albums released in the third quarter of 2011.


Mother Jones interviews Craig Thompson about his impressive new graphic novel Habibi and religion.

The Millions reviews the book.


Viva Voce visits The Current studio for an interview and live performance.


Amazon MP3 has 100 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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