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April 25, 2009

Shorties (Jay McInerney, Booker T. Jones, and more)

The New York Times reviews Jay McInerney's latest story collection, How It Ended.

“How It Ended” reminds us how impressively broad McInerney’s scope has been and how confidently he has ranged across wide swaths of our national experience. It reminds us too that for all the many literary influences he has absorbed, McInerney’s contribution — and it is a major one — is to have revitalized the Irish Catholic expiatory tradition of F. Scott Fitzgerald and John O’Hara, with its emphasis not only on guilt but also on shame: on sins committed and never quite expunged, always in open view of the sorrowing punitive clan.

The Boston Globe profiles Booker T. Jones and his collaboration with the Drive-By Truckers, Potato Hole.

The New York Times profiles singer-songwriter Gabriel Kahane.

At 27, Mr. Kahane is part of a musically omnivorous generation. Young classical composers like Nico Muhly and Caleb Burhans are not crossing over to pop idioms so much as they are ignoring stylistic boundaries outright. Meeting them midway are adventurous musicians like Sufjan Stevens, an ambitious singer-songwriter, and Chris Thile, originally a bluegrass mandolin wunderkind. Both appear on Mr. Kahane’s CD.

In the Guardian, Martin Amis remembers J.G. Ballard.

Wired's Epicenter blog lists the best ways to discover music through Twitter.

Catch up on music news at the aggregator

Steve Earle talks to Billboard about his new album, Townes, a collection of Townes Van Zandt covers.

"Townes was, literally, my mentor," says Earle, who picked up Van Zandt's talent for songwriting and his propensity for hard living. "This may be the best record I've ever done," he adds. "And that hurts my feelings because I'm a singer-songwriter."

In Chicago magazine, Elizabeth Crane interviews Joe Meno about his new novel, The Great Perhaps.

Q: I thought it was really lovely that all the characters had their different obsession with clouds. Where did this playful twist come from?

A: The first thing was the White Album by the Beatles. It’s incredibly complex. The other two things were Slaughterhouse-Five by Vonnegut and the early films of Godard. All were making this work at the height of the Vietnam War, and had this incredible inventiveness and humor and playfulness even though they were dealing with incredible issues. For a book to have meaning doesn’t mean it can’t have a sense of humor or absurdity or imagination.

Gibson lists 10 songs inspired by baseball.

Drowned in Sound lists 50 essential shoegaze albums.

Daytrotter features in-studio mp3s from Bear Hands.

NPR's Books We Like reviews and excerpts from Yoshihiro Tatsumi's manga memoir, A Drifting Life.

also at Largehearted Boy:

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