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May 4, 2012

Shorties (Punch Brothers, Alison Bechdel, and more)

PopMatters interviews Chris Thile of Punch Brothers.

You were recently out on the road with Paul Simon, contributed a song to The Hunger Games soundtrack, and then the documentary will be released soon. Considering that trajectory of success, is it impossible to think of the Punch Brothers playing an arena—what scale is the cap for a group with your style and instrumentation?

I'll tell you what, man. I certainly wouldn't turn it down. [laughs] If that all wanted to happen I'd say, "Bring it on." I am certainly not expecting it. I'm thrilled that we’re seemingly on the up and up after really kind of just maintaining for a couple years there as we struggled to find our identity as a quintet and struggled how to find out how to communicate with the people that were interested in listening. I feel like all of the sudden it's getting a lot easier. I think that that's both that we have a much have a much clearer picture of what we're about now and I think we're getting better at communicating that to the people that are interested—and there's more people that are interested now. It all feels really, really good. I can't really see us selling out arenas but if it happens, it'd really be lovely.

Speakeasy interviews Alison Bechdel about her new graphic memoir Are You My Mother?.

Bechdel also talks to the National Post about the book.

Slate reviews the book.

In response to Umphrey McGee's new tourist anthem for the city, the A.V. Club Chicago lists songs about Chicago that are actually good by Chicago bands.

The Age profiles John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats.

At TIME, Benjamin Percy profiles author John Irving.

At Rocks Off, Zahira Guiterrez of Wild Moccasins lists her 10 favorite New Wave songs.

Y.A. for Grownups is a weekly feature at The Atlantic Wire that discusses young adult books.

American Songwriter examines the legacy of Gram Parsons.

At the Guardian, Cory Doctorow explains why e-books with no DRM are good for readers, writers, and publishers.

The Atlantic reconsiders Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot album, which was released 10 years ago.

A big part of the band's genius here was in translating Tweedy's lyrical conceit into sound. Wilco's first three albums had proven that its members could write catchy, complicated folk-pop songs—the same kind of songs that make up Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. But as the documentary I Am Trying to Break Your Heart showed, the band took those unvarnished tracks and reverse-engineered them to be weird: to float along uneasily on "Radio Cures," to sputter maniacally as in "I'm the Man Who Loves You," to disintegrate and rebuild as on "Pot Kettle Black." The fuzziness of how people relate to one another was in that weirdness; the reasons people bother trying to relate in the first place was in the pop.

Chris Ware lists his favorite "old school" New Yorker covers.

Drowned in Sound interviews singer-songwriter FOE.

The Tulsa World profiles an Oklahoma University professor using a graphic novel in lieu of a textbook for his business course.

Billboard lists 20 famous music feuds.

SF Signal lists five science fiction stories that push the envelope of storytelling.

Win a DVD of James Franco's Hart Crane biopic The Broken Tower 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)

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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