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May 26, 2012

Shorties (Alabama Shakes, Martin Amis, and more)

ChartATTACK interviews Alabama Shakes drummer Steve Johnson.

It seems like the Shakes' success come as a big surprise. Is that the case, and has it been difficult?

It has come as a big surprise. It has its moments, you know. There's times when you might be on the road and all of us being very grounded and never having the anticipation of this going anywhere, we're all pretty rooted in our surroundings and never expected to be outside of North Alabama playing music. So to be gone for long periods of time can be difficult, because we're so used to having our family and friends so close… It can be a little overwhelming and difficult, but our dreams are coming true so there's not much I can complain about!

The Telegraph profiles author Martin Amis.

Amis is – and there is no other word for it – a wonderful talker. His burnished, smoky voice conveys erudition, irony and world-weary sagacity in equal measure. And it seems fitting for Hitchens to appear so early in the conversation, because one is immediately struck by their similarities – the cadences in their speech, the fondness for the skewering put-down (Mitt Romney looks like a man who has 'gone to the dentist one afternoon and come out with his head capped'); the frequent invocation of Nabokov, Conrad, Larkin (Hitchens' favourite poet, Amis's godfather). In an essay on the writer Joan Didion, Amis once described her as at no point giving the sense of being someone 'who uses literature as a constant model or ideal'. It has the ring of a moral judgment. For Amis, literature is that model, that ideal.

The Omaha World-Herald shares music playlists for every summer occasion.

Reverb creates the hippest playlist for summer 2012.

The Constant Traveler recommends great books and movies to read and watch before visiting India. (via)

The Chicago Sun-Times profiles singer-songwriter Kelly Hogan.

"I'm drawn to lyrics that create what I call 'flashbulb visuals' in my head," Hogan says, citing the work she has done with Lynda Barry. "Lyrics that almost make me hear flashbulbs going off as the words are sung: 'Easter dresses, choir robes.' 'When the sun is high shining on the olive trees.' Powerful."

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel recommends 99 books for summer reading.

The Record profiles the reunited Afghan Whigs.

At io9, author Greg Rucka explains why he writes strong female characters.

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros visit The Current studio for a live performance and interview.

Public Spectacle interviews Laura Dave about her novel The First Husband.

Your background includes an MFA from UVA, a program known for its highly literary bent. Your aesthetic definitely tends toward a voicier, more candid, funnier style. Did you catch any friction for that back in school, or when you were first starting out?

You know, as a woman writer writing about relationships and marriage and truth in family and that kind of thing -- let's just say the umbrella you and your work fall under is always going to be different than if you were a man writing about those things. I've always been interested in looking at domesticity and the battles that rage there. I made the decision to write about what I want to write about, to make it funny, to make it open instead of sentimental or tragic, and that puts my books in a more lighthearted category, and that's OK.

The A.V. Club reconsiders the band Codeine.

Gameological interviews author Dennis Cooper about videogames.

PS Mag reports that pop music is getting more complex, and sadder.

"As the lyrics of popular music became more self-focused and negative over time, the music itself became sadder-sounding and more emotionally ambiguous," according to psychologist E. Glenn Schellenberg and sociologist Christian von Scheve.

The Guardian lists 10 of the best plays within plays.

Amazon MP3 has 100 digital albums on sale for $5.

Follow me on Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Stumbleupon for links (updated throughout the day) that don't make the daily "Shorties" columns.

also at Largehearted Boy:

previous Shorties posts (daily news and links from the worlds of music, books, and pop culture)

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics & graphic novels)
daily mp3 downloads
Largehearted Word (the week's best new books)
Try It Before You Buy It (mp3s and full album streams from this week's CD releases)
weekly music & DVD release lists