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February 16, 2012

Shorties (The Shins, Bobbie Ann Mason, and more)

James Mercer of The Shins talks to Exclaim! about the band's forthcoming album, Port of Morrow (out March 20th).

Fictionaut interviews author Bobbie Ann Mason.

At The Week, author Dan Chaon lists his six favorite scary books.

The New York Times recommends e-reader accessories.

February's Music Alliance Pact has been posted, and features 36 songs from 36 countries curated by 36 bloggers.

The Leonard Lopate Show interviews Christopher Bram about his new book, Eminent Outlaws: The Gay Writers Who Changed America.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reviews the book.

Arts Beat has news of the Museum of Modern Art's upcoming Kraftwerk retrospective.

A Dutch artist has started a collaborative project to design alternative covers for the Observer's 100 greatest novels of all time.

PopMatters lists the 10 best progressive rock albums of the 2000s.

see also: my aggregation of the online "best of the decade (2000-2009)" music lists

Drowned in Sound interviews Mike Hadreas of Perfume Genius.

DiS: There's a tradition of musicians writing introspective, personal first records, then opening up into big choruses etc. on their second. Recent examples being Bon Iver emerging from the woods, and Antlers following up a record about terminal illness with the occasionally groovy Burst Apart. Were you aware that you were following a path a lot of artists seem to take after intense debuts, or did it still feel totally personal?

PG: Honestly, I just kind of did it. I didn't really know that historically there's a pattern of weird basement people coming out of the basement and making like, "check it out, I'm here!" I knew I wanted to be more clear, and have the vocals be higher up, even though I still wanted to bury them. That's why I liked having someone else there, because they like kept turning them up – the producer I mean.

The L Magazine interviews author Kate Zambreno.

Singer-songwriter Kathleen Edwards visits World Cafe for a live performance.

Fresh Air interviews Nathan Englander about his new story collection, What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank.

The Record examines how dance music is bringing the diva back.

Electronic dance music's spotlight swings back and forth between vocal-heavy and vocal-less tracks like a pendulum, so in that sense it isn't much of a surprise that the industry's most-played lists have been inundated with sung hooks over the past year or so. But the trend appears to have real legs this time, and the depth of female voices on the tracks and behind the scenes is striking.

Talk of the Nation interviews Rebecca Walker about the essay collection she edited, Black Cool: One Thousand Streams of Blackness.

Walker stresses that though there are a lot of objects that have become symbols of cool, there's an aspect of "black cool" that should be internalized. "The moment at which we think as a people or as a community that we have to look outside of ourselves for this cosmology that expresses itself through this aesthetic, we're lost," says Walker.

Read an excerpt from the book.

Win Tupelo Hassman's debut novel Girlchild 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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