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March 2, 2012

Shorties (Music Blogs and Lana Del Rey, Dr. Seuss Characters Ranked from Best to Worst, and more)

Prospero examines the influence of music blogs on Lana Del Rey's emergence.

Nothing illustrates the conflict between the power and influence of the blogs and their romantic notions of an indie music work ethic better than the Lana Del Rey affair. In short, indie music blogs initially championed her “Video Games” single/video via YouTube and covered her as a rising star in the tradition of Cat Power, an underground darling. But then they outed Del Rey as an ambitious pop-star wannabe, who had already released an album to little fanfare under her given name. She had management, a label and the business savvy to reboot as Del Rey with a signature look (a retro brunette bombshell that rarely smiles) and the blogs felt duped. Del Rey wasn’t the undiscovered organically grown rare orchid they had hoped. Rather, she was nurtured in the corporate hothouse.

Flavorwire ranks Dr. Seuss characters from best to worst.

The San Francisco Chronicle profiles the indie pop trio fun.

Rolling Stone reviews the band's new album, Some Nights.

The New York Times reviews one of the finest debut novels of the year, Tupelo Hassman's Girlchild.

Flavorwire lists 10 albums you need to hear in March.

Jacqueline Hudson talks to Studio 360 about her new YA novel, Beneath a Meth Moon.

Nic Offer of !!! talks to Pop & Hiss about the band's new music.

How do you determine on stage what new songs you really want to keep? Does it just depend on the audience reaction?

I'm looking for applause. You can tell right at the end of a song whether or not the audience got that one. You can see the songs take over. People may not respond to it at first, but then as the build happens or a chord change happens, you can see the change in the crowd as well. That's what I’ve always really liked about dance music. Everything else can be kind of fishy in terms of what blogs or websites get behind a band. But on a dance floor, if it ain't happening, it ain't happening. People will just walk off the floor if they don't like it. If you can see they're not dancing, you've just have to make that beat funkier.

Hari Kunzru talks to the Wall Street Journal about his magnificent new novel, Gods Without Men.

"Gaps are very important to the book, and the deliberately unanswered questions are important to the book," Mr. Kunzru said. "That's clearly frustrating for some readers, but I've become more and more interested in what it does in a piece of fiction for the writer to break the implicit contract with the reader."

PopMatters lists the best film scores of the 21st century so far.

Kirkus Reviews recommends 10 science fiction and fantasy books being published in March.

The Line of Best Fit profiles electronic artist Karin Park.

Quite often when speaking to artists about their journey through music, the subject in question will have a few tales to tell about previous projects. Be that as a member of an embarrassing ska-punk band while in Sixth Form, or an acoustic performance of a heart wrenching indie song designed to win the heart of the guy or girl they’d set there sights on, more often than not, musicians will have been involved in other projects before their current one. It’s not that often however, that the artist in question started out as a bona fide pop star in her native region, with MTV awards to prove it. But that’s exactly the case with Karin Park, better known nowadays for her dark and brooding synth led compositions than her pop tinged beginnings.

The London Review of Books podcast shares an unpublished short story by Charlotte Bronte, read by Gillian Anderson.

Drowned in Sound ponders who is pop music's biggest sellout.

At All Things Considered, author Adam Levin heartily recommends James Ellroy's novel American Tabloid.

And I'd like to tell you that well before the end of the book, you'll find yourself admiring J. Edgar Hoover's sleazy connivances, cheering for the violent downfall of the Kennedys, wishing you were mobbed up in the 1960s more than you have since the first time you saw Goodfellas, and being convinced that our history has been driven by nothing more complicated — and nothing less simple — than the greed, revenge fantasies and sexual appetites of lonely men. But that all sounds like too much, right? And it should be too much. It's really a whole lot. Yet Ellroy nails it.

Win two of 2012's best books, Amelia Gray's debut novel Threats and Sarah Manguso's memoir The Guardians: An Elegy, 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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