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October 17, 2012

Shorties (John Darnielle on Songwriting, Mark Z. Danielewski on His New Book, and more)

John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats talks songwriting with the Ithaca Times.

Asked about other lyricists, Darnielle admitted to not being current in hip hop, but praised "Ghostface [who] does something for poetry nerds like me." He praised Mary Chapin Carpenter, who recently stopped by Ithaca as well, but noted that with lyrics "I had this [negative] image of '70s acoustic guitar music – [and actually] it is a lot better. This image of guy sharing his feelings, but if you think of James Taylor for instance, doesn't sound like you think it does."

The A.V. Club interviews Mark Z. Danielewski about his newly reprinted book, The Fifty Year Sword.

AVC: The process of going into the design at the same time as your writing is an unusual one. Have you always written that way?

MD: Maybe what’s unusual is that I pursued it, because I think we’ve all done it. On a certain level, when we were just drawing with crayons, we liked that certain words were in certain colors. The way education works these days, and certainly in the days when I was being educated, teachers told you that you had to use this font, and you had to write between the lines, and this is what was important. Things had to be regimented; they had to be routinized. They had to acquire a uniformity, and there’s some value in that. But I had always loved the way certain texts could evoke certain meanings. Part of that was that I grew up on films. I saw films all the time. My father was a filmmaker. We screened movies downstairs. We talked about them. We talked about the politics of image, the politics of angles and colors, how stories are shaped, all of that. For me, I was always aware of the vitality of the image of the page, and I’ve always loved illuminated text and graphic novels and comics. But I also loved the way newspapers looked, with advertising. Then, of course, web pages began to have a certain sense, and why certain things in advertising worked and were appealing, and why they didn’t. I think I was, like many people, infected by that visual profundity in our culture, but I just pursued it.

The Guardian lists the top 10 literary parodies.

PopMatters interviews singer-songwriter Martha Wainwright about her new album, Come Home to Mama.

Musically, this album is also more diverse than your past two albums. You even have a saw in there for one song, I think. Did working with Yuka Honda inspire that?

She’s responsible for the general soundscape of the record. I knew I wanted to work with a woman producer, there are hardly any. But I also wanted to work with Yuka because I wanted to make a more keyboard based album, more representative of my musical sensibility and taste in a way. I'd say the guitar is fundamentally more focused for singer-songwriter music, and when you add limitation to that, it can sound Americana, or alt-country, or something like that, you know what I mean?

Mark Bowden talks to Morning Edition about his new book, The Finish: The Killing of Osama Bin Laden.

Peter Gabriel plays guest DJ at All Songs Considered.

Lane Smith talks to All Things Considered about his new children's book, Abe Lincoln's Dream.

On the dark, angular style of his illustrations

"I've never subscribed to that theory ... that all children's books should be for all kids. When I was a kid, I liked odd and weird things, and I think I would've been insulted if someone gave me a book with, you know, happy little bunnies and a book on feelings or whatever. So throughout my career, I've always tried to, I guess, challenge the kid and do modern-looking artwork, to use a hackneyed term, I guess."

SPIN is streaming the new Black Moth Super Rainbow album, Cobra Juicy (out October 23rd).

Letters of Note shares Eudora Welty's 1933 letter of application for employment at the New Yorker.

Calexico visits The Current studio for an interview and live performance.

The Posen Foundation is offering eight $40,000 fellowships to unpublished authors writing Jewish-themed novels or short story collections.

Win four of my favorite books of 2012 and a $100 Threadless gift certificate in this week's Largehearted Boy contest.

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

Amazon MP3 offers over 500 albums for sale for $2.99.

Amazon MP3 offers over 300 jazz albums on sale for $1.78.

Follow me on Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google+, 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)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
daily mp3 downloads
Largehearted Word (the week's best new books)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
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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