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April 6, 2009

Shorties (Bruce Springsteen, U2, and more)

PopMatters revisits Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska album.

Nebraska is a wired, exasperated, but exuberant missive, a time capsule from America’s last major recession, recorded without the veneer or bluster of the E Street Band. Springsteen sounds not like a cornball evangelist (as he did at this past Super Bowl), but rather a man haunted by the dashed and forestalled dreams all around him.

The Irish Independent interviews U2 frontman Bono.

Interviewing Bono is like taking an Alaskan husky for a walk -- you can only suggest a general direction, and then hold on for dear life. Over an 80-minute lunch at Eden, one of his favourite Dublin restaurants, he repeatedly goes off on wild, entertaining tangents, which tend to include names such as Bill Clinton, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, genomic researcher Craig Venter and Archbishop Desmond Tutu -- Bono calls him "the Arch". He tosses out one killer soundbite after another, blue eyes moving like tropical fish behind today's pinkish-purple shades. "I was never much good at throwing a television out a window of a hotel," he says, musing on his failings as a rock star. "Now, I look at a television, and I want to buy the company."

Author Lynn Freed answers PopMatters' "20 Questions."

The fictional character most like you?

Ah, the aria of I: iPod, iPhone, and do, please, Mobileme.

If the best writing is a sort of shape-shifting—the writer disappearing into the story—then so, by extension, is the best sort of reading. That, at least, is what I look for in a book—the chance to lose myself. Villains, wimps, heroes, cowards, male and female, old and young—as long as they’re alive and breathing on the page, there I am, with them, or in them. But that’s rare, at least for me.

The San Francisco Examiner interviews poet August Kleinzahler.

What do you think of university writing programs?

There's no excuse for them — at least vis-à-vis poetry. Some very fine prose writers have come out of the Stanford program, but poetry is something that's really hardwired. It also requires an emotional pressure that comes with one's background and one's temperament. You can't teach someone to be a poet.

Eric Segalstad, author of The 27s: The Greatest Myth of Rock & Roll, talks to NPR's All Things Considered about the subjects of his book, rockers who died at the age of 27.

Some album bargains at Amazon MP3:

Bat For Lashes' 12-track Fur and Gold: $0.99
KT Tunstall's 11-track Drastic Fantastic: $5.00
M. Ward's 14-track Hold Time: $5.00
Neko Case's 13-track Fox Confessor Brings The Flood: $2.99
The Roots' 14-track Game Theory: $2.99

Dan Deacon talks to NPR's All Things Considered about his new album, Bromst.

"I just wanted to make a record that wasn't escapism," he says. "Like, I didn't want to write another record that was devoid of meaningful content. I feel like there's a lot of that going around, especially within dance music — a lot of it is just, you know, music that's written exclusively for abandoning reality in an altered state of mind. And I think an altered state of mind is very important, but in a responsible sense."

The Philadelphia Inquirer also profiles Deacon.

GottaBook is celebrating National Poetry Month with 30 previously unpublished children's poems by noted poets in its "30 Poets/30 Days!" project.

Five Chapters is serializing new short fiction by Arthur Phillips, whose new novel The Song Is You is out tomorrow (as is his Largehearted Boy Book Notes music playlist for the book).

The Irish Times interviews author Alain de Botton.

Billboard gathers online reactions to Google's Chinese music search engine.

Bookslut's April issue is online, and includes interviews with Jules Feiffer, Leanne Shapton, Jedediah Berry, and Wells Tower.

Enter the latest Largehearted Boy giveaway and win three zombie novels., including Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, by Matthew Stearns & Jane Austen.

Follow me on Twitter for links that don't make the daily "shorties" posts.

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)
weekly music & DVD release lists