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November 22, 2011

Shorties (Gillian Welch, Friday Night Lights Fan Fiction, and more)

Scotland on Sunday interviews singer-songwriter Gillian Welch.

Welch's music has always been peopled by drifters, down-and-outs and lost souls but new songs such as Hard Times are directly informed by what she witnessed on the road. "It's really hard times in this country right now. You wouldn't believe it driving around. I’m seeing stuff that looks like 1930s WPA [Works Progress Administration] photographs. Whole towns boarded up, people out of work, parking a car on the corner with a sign that says they'll give you haircuts out of their car for $5. It's so scrappy. People are trying to do anything to make some money."

Friday Night Lights fan fiction. (via)

My annual List of Online Year-End 2011 Music Lists launched yesterday, and will be updated as new lists emerge online.

The List of Online "Best Books of 2011" Lists was updated yesterday with 13 lists, including best children's books lists from Kirkus Reviews & Brain Pickings, and the Telegraph's history books of the year.

The L Magazine interviews Will Hermes about his new book Love Goes to Buildings On Fire: Five Years in New York That Changed Music Forever.

The L: Another theme—The Ramones came from Queens, Springsteen and Patti Smith came from Jersey, and you yourself grew up in Queens. The fringes. What do you think it is about that process, coming into the city, that can define an artist?

WH: From my own experience, and I think this is probably true of anyone who lives in suburban, exurban, rural areas. You ultimately have these opposite poles. You have the spaciousness of areas that are not so heavily populated, that are not so heavily urban, and they have their own beauty and their own draw. And then you have the white-hot epicenter of cities, New York in particular. It’s dirty, it's noisy, it's crowded, it's very often dangerous, but that energy comes to bear on art in a very kind of concentrated, community-oriented sort of way. And growing up in Queens, the easternmost edge of Queens, the last stop on the E and the F train at that time, and then I had to walk 20 minutes from there, I had to take a bus. The kids from high school decided to go in one of two directions. Either they got their learner's permit and their license and they got a car and they'd drive out to Long Island. And they'd get into Long Island bars and hang out on the beach in the car and that was the direction that they went. Or, conversely, you walked to the subway, got on the train and took it into Manhattan. And literally, if half of my classmates in one direction, the other half went in the other direction. Obviously, I got on the train. And I think that's an eternal narrative in any culture. Anybody who's writing stories, it’s the city mouse versus country mouse sort of thing. Certainly both sides have their pluses and minuses, but for art making, densely packed communities really create something special.

All Shook Down interviews Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs.

People talk about African elements in your music but I want to hear it from you.

Any music that inspires movement/dance is particularly influential: dub reggae, hip-hop, West African dance and drumming, Nigerian and Ethiopian and Congolese pop music. There's obviously yodeling of various cultures, "pygmy" groups and European. Then there's the modal old-timey music of Appalachia, lately the Korean p'ansori singing style, Brazilian Tropicalia. I listen and listen and there's not a lot that's not somehow influential. I enjoy listening to music of my friends, and music that moves my butt.

Jane Friedman lists the best literary fiction blogs and websites.

Inspired by Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's new album, The Takeaway profiles musical politicians.

Love it or hate it, it's hard to avoid one question when listening to Berlosconi's album: why do so many politicians insist on performing music? And are any of them actually good enough that you would buy their album?

Salon explores the literary connections between writers Jonathan Franzen and Tennessee Williams.

Click Track has unearthed an unheard Elliott Smith song recorded in 1997.

Bookworm interviews poet W.S. Merwin.

Spoonfed interviews singer-songwriter Olof Arnalds.

Charles J. Shields talks to All Things Considered about his new book, And So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut: A Life.

"I don't mean to persuade anybody that Kurt was a cynic," Shields says. "Just the opposite." But Vonnegut was more of a reactionary than a radical, someone who showed up for a meeting with the band Jefferson Airplane dressed in a Brooks Brothers suit and wingtip shoes. Someone who was deeply scarred by his experiences, and longed for the older, gentler America of his pre-war childhood."

Singer-songwriter Joe Henry plays a Tiny Desk Concert at NPR Music.

Fast Forward interviews Neal Stephenson about his new novel Reamde.

Mates of State visit The Current studio for an interview and live performance.

At Granta, Naomi Alderman explores the meaning behind the zombie phenomenon.

On sale today for $4.99 at Amazon MP3:

Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks album
Tom Waits' Bad as Me album
Washed Out's Within and Without album

Midtown Comics Blog lists five sci-fi comics you should be reading. (via)

One Ring Zero's Michael Hearst and cookbook author Isa Chandra Moskowitz talk to Soundcheck about putting recipes to music for the book The Recipe Project.

Tablet interviews author Umberto Eco.

Stream a song, "Slashed Wrists This Christmas," from Gruff Rhys's forthcoming holiday EP Atheist Xmas (out December 19th).

Pop Sandbox has launched an interactive web version of its graphic novel The Next Day. (via)

Win mental_floss: The Book: The Greatest Lists in the History of Listory and a $100 Threadless gift certificate in this week's Largehearted Boy contest.

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

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)

List of Online "Best Books of 2011" Lists
List of Online Year-End 2011 Music Lists

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
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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