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August 19, 2012

Shorties (Bill Fay, Martin Amis, and more)

Weekend Edition interviews singer-songwriter Bill Fay.

LINDA WERTHEIMER: Could you tell us the genesis of this CD? I gather that an American record producer named Joshua Henry found your music in his father's record collection and listened to it as a kid.

BILL FAY: That's right; he's dead. He had them before the reissues that you mentioned. I mean, I'd been deleted for 27 years up to that point. You get used to home recording when you've been deleted for 27 years. Like I said to a recent music magazine — I think it's been referred to as a comeback album — you can't make a comeback album unless you arrive in the first place. I'm getting a little bit worried that I'm coming close to arriving.

The Guardian reviews Fay's new album, Life Is People (out August 21st).

Unsurprisingly it feels like a period piece; swirls of Hammond organ, bluesy guitars and Fay's tremulous vocals contribute to the impression of something discovered and dusted off rather than newly created. But these songs work a gentle charm, reflecting on life and mortality with an unhurried grace

Martin Amis talks to Weekend Edition about his new novel Lionel Asbo: State of England.

As for the subtitle, State of England, Amis says his 12-year-old daughter begged him to leave it out. "Enough with the subtitles, Daddy, for crying out loud," she told him. But Amis says there used to be a sort of literary genre called "state of England" novels, which were "very boring, monotonous. Now, my novel is very much not that kind of novel, so it's an ironic subtitle."

The Fort-Worth Star-Telegram interviews Old 97s frontman Rhett Miller.

A Boston Globe op-ed piece examines fan fiction's place in literature.

The Telegraph profiles Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan.

For a magical few years, the Pogues carried the torch for hell-raising rock  'n' roll values, reaching their peak with 1988's If I Should Fall From Grace With God, which included Fairytale of New York – a dewy-eyed but foul-mouthed duet between MacGowan and the late Kirsty MacColl, as an immigrant couple slugging it out in an NYPD drunk tank.

"It was the perfect time, and the perfect female singer," MacGowan says about the success of that song. "But it was kept off the top of the charts in England by the worst record the Pet Shop Boys ever made". Back then, MacGowan was praised from all quarters; his fans included Hollywood heavyweights Matt Dillon and Faye Dunaway, and top-flight singers such as Bob Dylan and Tom Waits, who once simply gushed, "Shane has the gift. I believe him."

The Guardian and Daily Mail profile author Ian McEwan.

The Independent declares that prog rock is officially back.

Weekend Edition interviews Kati Marton about her new memoir, Paris: A Love Story.

Digital Music News reports that Frank Zappa's extensive discography will soon be available on streaming music services.

Singer-songwriter Mankwe visits The Current studio for an interview and live performance.

The Guardian lists 20 irrefutable theories of book cover design.

The Guardian profiles Chan Marshall of Cat Power.

Tonight, she's the life and soul, but the more common image of her is as tortured singer-songwriter Cat Power, an emotionally intense, psychologically fragile artist who for the past 17 years has bewitched fans with a voice that prompted the New Yorker, in 2007, to deem her "a conjurer" worthy of comparison with Patti Smith and Nina Simone.

The Los Angeles Times lists political books the U.S. presidential candidates should be reading.

Usher tells Weekend Edition what he's reading.

Win all six books featured in this week's Book Notes feature and a $100 Threadless gift certificate in this week's Largehearted Boy contest.

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

Amazon MP3 offers over 400 albums for sale for $2.99.

Also on sale at Amazon MP3 for $3.99: 37 children's music albums.

Follow me on Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, Pinterest, Facebook, 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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