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May 30, 2009

Shorties (Jeff Mangum, Marilynne Robinson, and more)

Pitchfork is streaming video of Neutral Milk Hotel frontman Jeff Mangum's legendary 1997 Jittery Joe's performance.

The Guardian profiles author Marilynne Robinson.

Robinson's brilliance is in seeing the gaps between words as forcefully as the words themselves; all those rapid calculations as people test an exchange for hidden content, condescension, disingenuousness beyond polite necessity. So few are the external references that it's a while before you realise when the novels are set - in the mid-1950s - and larger themes slowly emerge: civil rights, women's rights, faith and its failure. Gilead won the Pulitzer prize and Home is the favourite for the Orange, announced on Wednesday. "She is one of the most intellectually ambitious novelists in English," says Sarah Churchwell, a lecturer in American literature at the University of East Anglia and one of the Orange judges. "She trusts her readers to be able to think, to appreciate language for its own sake; and while she is morally serious, she is never humourless."

On sale at Amazon MP3 for 99 cents: Death Cab for Cutie's 5-track Open Door EP.

Also on sale for $2.99: U2's 15-track The Best of 1980-1990.

Mashable lists 10 ways to share music on Twitter.

Critic Alan Cheuse shares summer fiction and poetry suggestions at NPR.

The Cleveland Plain-Dealer lists paperback suggestions for summer.

The A.V. Club lists 21 "unjustly unheralded sidemen."

At NPR Music, Benjy Ferree plays a Tiny Desk Concert.

Singer-songwriter Kevin Devine visits The Current studio for an interview and live performance.

Follow me on Twitter for links that don't make the daily "Shorties" columns.

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