Shorties (Zadie Smith’s New Novel, New Music from Purling Hiss, and more)

Daily book & music news & links.

Zadie Smith’s next novel, The Fraud, will be published in September.

Stream a new Purling Hiss song.

Today’s eBook deals

March’s eBook deals

Nelson George remembered saxophonist Wayne Shorter.

BuzzFeed recommended the week’s best new books.

Forty Feet Tall covered Tears for Fears “Shout.”

Rebecca Makkai talked to Electric Literature about her new novel.

I feel like when we hit a wall in our writing, it’s never a sign that it’s a faulty project. There’s really no such thing, unless it’s offensive. Hitting a wall is just a sign that the writer needs to step back and do some analytical thinking. Often when writers get stuck, it’s because they need to stop and outline. But also, you could think your way through the problem by getting more creative. Come up with something weirder, a strange narrative move, something you didn’t plan.

Pitchfork examined Elliott Smith’s high school band.

Back in 1985, Elliott Smith was just Steven Paul Smith, a shy new kid entering his sophomore year at Portland’s Lincoln High School. He soon befriended a small group of fellow music obsessives, and over the next four years, this tight-knit crew recorded six albums of original material. The songs on these records have a lot of… everything: sections, lyrics, time signatures, guitar solos, era-appropriate keyboard sounds.

TIME recommended March’s best books.

Stream Dilly Dally’s last two songs.

All Things Considered host Ari Shapiro talked books and reading with the New York Times.

King Tuff took Bandcamp Daily on a tour of his hometown of Brattleboro, Vermont.

Carolyn Forché remembered poet Charles Simic at Literary Hub.

UPROXX interviewed the duo LANNDS.

What are four words you would use to describe your music?

Drippy plant psych pop

Document profiled poet Maggie Millner.

“If someone assumes that my poetry is autobiographical, I tend to say, Of course it’s not… I’m straight and a virgin,” jokes the poet Maggie Millner. She’s referring to her literary debut Couplets: A Love Story—a searing portrait of queer intimacy and the modern urban experience, told in a structure that “hasn’t been cool since the 1850s.” “I’m interested in bringing the rhythms and textures of a certain kind of marginal queer life into this form that was never meant to accommodate it,” she says from the kitchen of her Brooklyn apartment.

Stream a new song by Bonny Doon.

Juan Martinez discussed his new novel Extended Stay with Vol. 1 Brooklyn.

I had initially imagined the novel as fully cosmic horror, with the monstrous hotel at its core and with a multitude of story lines. Alvaro was always at the center, but the human-scale horror he experiences at the beginning? All that stuff was part of a long flashback that originally popped up in the middle. Everything clicked into place when I moved it to the front, and when I realized that Alvaro had to have something to lose — that I needed one person in his family to survive that initial scene. I didn’t quite plot it out initially. I had some ideas, and I knew where I wanted to end up, but those first two drafts were all over the place.

Stream a new song by Miss Grit.

Stereogum reconsidered Cursive’s The Ugly Organ album on its 20th anniversary.

Released 20 years ago this Saturday, The Ugly Organ still stands as Cursive’s most popular and critically acclaimed album, one that Kasher has spent the past two decades trying to both live up to and live down. In the time since, reappraisal of The Ugly Organ has mostly centered around how much any emotionally healthy human being should publicly admit to enjoying it. Or, whether liking this album is akin to relating to it and tantamount to endorsing its — problematic feels too easy, let’s just say deeply cynical — worldview on art, religion and especially relationships.

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