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February 21, 2012

Shorties (Grimes, Jennifer Egan, and more)

The Montreal Gazette profiles Grimes' Claire Boucher, whose album Visions is out today.

Visions finds Grimes at her most expansive yet, putting her upper-range vocal prowess to the test on pristine keyboard-driven pop that alternates broadly between quasi-hypnotic church trance and twitchy, glitchy dance floor crashers. All with a focused eye on free-ranging melody and harmony. Comparisons to Björk (in the unselfconscious eccentricity of it all), Enya (in the breadth and depth of the vocal looping and layering, though not nearly so overboard) and Cocteau Twins (in her new world, old soul sensibilities) are apt to a degree, but there's still more than a bit of bite, and she brings a dentist's attention to the teeth of the tunes. As was the case with so many of her 4AD peers and predecessors.

PopMatters interviews author Jennifer Egan.

Up on the Sun interviews Cursive's Ted Stevens about the band's lineup changes and new album, I Am Gemini (out today).

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America have announced the 2011 Nebula Award nominees.

SFist offers a day-by0day guide to this week's Noise Pop Festival in San Francisco.

At All Things Considered, author Patrick deWitt recommends Harry Mathews' novel The Journalist.

I've been reading Harry Mathews for years now, but of all his novels, I tackled The Journalist last. It's his least discussed work, and in my experience there's usually a reason for that. Mathews himself, in an interview, called it a "terrible flop", and complained that "nobody got it." So I started the book expecting something sub-par, thinking that even lesser Mathews would still offer a worthwhile and instructive read. And so I was surprised to find that not only was The Journalist good, but that it was every bit as great as Mathews' more celebrated novels.

Flaviorwire creates a literary mixtape for Harriet the Spy.

ArtsBeat notes author Cormac McCarthy's previously hidden talent, copyediting.

Weekend Edition interviews the duo Sleigh Bells about their new album, Reign of Terror.

The Guardian Books Blog offers tips on naming a publishing imprint.

Warren Ellis talks to The Line of Best Fit about his band, Dirty Three, and playing instrumental music.

"With all of us having played all of us in groups with singers, we realised that they took up a lot of room. But what we were doing was something really wild and free. Each of us could now do what we wanted and nobody was saying, 'OK it's the chorus, could you shut up now?' It instantly gave us this great freedom. When you get lyrics thrown in to a song, it takes the pressure off the music and becomes a very different thing.'

Tansy Rayner Roberts lists women in science fiction and fantasy who are great at their jobs.

Win two graphic novels (Keshni Kashyap's Tina's Mouth: An Existential Diary and Matthew Forsythe's Jingalo) 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+, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Stumbleupon for links (updated throughout the day) that don't make the daily "Shorties" columns.

also at Largehearted Boy:

previous Shorties posts (daily 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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