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November 14, 2008

Shorties (Junot Diaz, Haley Bonar, and more)

eMusic is asking for your participation in its year-end "best of 2008" poll.

see also: the constantly updated list of online "best of 2008"music lists

The Boston Globe profiles Little Joy, the new band featuring Strokes drummer Fabrizio Moretti.

The Somerville News interviews author Junot Diaz about living in New England.

Amanda Palmer talks to the Asheville Citizen-Times about her current solo tour.

“I'm bringing a crazy theater circus with me. It's been hard to try to describe to people what exactly it is. It's like a weird Madonna show meets 'The Wall' in three dimensions. There are definitely moments of solo piano in the show, but interspersed between every other song there are four actors on stage doing beautiful choreographed theater. It feels like a live music video. Some of it is very slow and reflective, and some is fast and furious. Every show feels like we're really putting something on.”

Palmer also talks to the Raleigh News & Observer about Ben Folds producing her debut solo album.

"Ben had all the ingredients of a good producer," Palmer says. "He really respected my stuff, we got along famously, and we made each other laugh nonstop. He added what needed adding to every song and didn't overdo anything. I really just trusted him. When he asked to produce it, I made a blind-faith decision, having no idea what would happen and no sense of what he'd do. I was blown away by his arrangements and production. It was all beyond what I imagined any of it could possibly be."

PopMatters profiles Hamburg, Germany's "port of rock 'n' roll."

The Las Vegas Review-Journal examines "Generation O."

When I stepped up to the table where Chabon was signing books, I mentioned that he and I are roughly the same age and that his comments about childhood had resonated with me. Chabon then said something that struck a chord: "Isn't it interesting," he said, "that the new president is our age?"

A new trailer for the Watchmen film is online.

Daytrotter has a 4-song in-studio session from The Envy Corps up today.

The Duluth Budgeteer News interviews singer-songwriter Haley Bonar.

Paste interviews Of Montreal's Kevin Barnes.

The Boston Globe wonders if Barack Obama will be the coolest head of state once he is in office.

Unlike Bush, who labors on the exercise machines for a desultory hour each day, Obama plays basketball. His brother-in-law coached basketball at modish Brown University. Too cool! Obama dines at cool restaurants with names like Spiaggia and Topolobampo, and during a particularly boring moment in the campaign he sampled a rap song, Jay-Z's foul-mouthed "Dirt Off Your Shoulder." Writing in the New Republic, novelist Paul Beatty opined that "I bet dude knows how many chambers there are in the Wu-Tang."

The 2008 Man Asian Literary Prize went to Miguel Syjuco for his novel, Ilustrado.

The Santa Barbara Independent interviews Leisha Hailey about her acting (The L Word) and Music (Uh Huh Her) careers.

How would you describe your own music?

We used to call it “indie electric pop” because it has qualities of all those things. I kind of feel like it’s dark pop. There are elements about it that seem darker than your average pop music. But we definitely have those pop-driven melodies that we really want to have.

In the Chicago Sun-Times, Jim DeRogatis examines what happened to the indie rock class of 1993 (Urge Overkill, Liz Phair, Veruca Salt, and the Smashing Pumpkins).

The Complex blog offers the history of gay comic book superheroes.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune interviews both the Drive-By Truckers' Patterson Hood and the Hold Steady's Craig Finn about touring together.

In the Seattle Times, Finn explains the key to his lyrical prowess.

And as for the brilliant flourish of personal detail that renders his lyrics the rock 'n' roll equivalent of Raymond Carver prose: "If I do have one talent in my life, it is my memory. I have not met anyone with a better memory than me."

Vice lists 9 new comics that are good.

AfterElton lists the 50 best gay books. (via)

NPR reviews (and posts an excerpt from) Stephen King's new short fiction collection, Just After Sunset.

After years of advocacy from fans and critics, several appearances in the New Yorker, and the 2000 publication of his marvelous On Writing, it is now generally agreed that Stephen King is as "literary" as any moody Whiting-award nominee. If King's new short-story collection, Just After Sunset, is any indication, he too seems to consider the matter settled. Like a character in one of his own novels who has vanquished the bogeyman and emerged into daylight unharmed, the author has deemed it safe to put down his highfalutin pen and return unapologetically to his lurid, gore-spattered roots.

nyctaper is sharing a live mp3 of Kaki King covering the Smiths' "Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want."

IGN lists the top 10 James Bond theme songs, and Hollywire recaps all 22 Bond films.

also at Largehearted Boy:

Online "best of 2008" music lists
Online "best of 2008" book lists
daily mp3 downloads
Try It Before You Buy It (mp3s and full album streams from this week's CD releases)
this week's CD releases