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August 23, 2012

Shorties (Lucinda Williams on Flannery O'Connor, Sharon Van Etten Describes Her Music, and more)

The Believer interviews singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams.

BLVR: You met Flannery O'Connor when you were little, right?

LW: I vaguely remember it. I was only four years old. She was one of my dad's mentors. We were living in Atlanta. She was in Milledgeville, Georgia. She invited my dad over, and he brought me. She lived in this big old house. She was so disciplined with her writing. She would write from eight in the morning until three in the afternoon. She would draw her shades, and if her shades were drawn that meant she wasn't finished writing and we had to sit out on the porch and wait for her to finish. Then her housekeeper came out and let us in. She raised peacocks, and they were running all over the yard. My dad says I was chasing the peacocks.

Rock Hall interviews singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten.

Rock Hall: How would you describe your music to somebody who has never heard it before?

Sharon Van Etten: My style of writing is a musical diary of sorts. Whether it be about myself or my friends or my family, it's always personal. I try to write on a universal level so everyone can relate to my experiences. I focus on melodies…. When people want me to describe it, I just say: "kind of rock, kind of folk... can be loud, can be quiet."

The Voice of Russia interviews singer-songwriter and author Alina Simone.

Blues musician Robert Cray lists his 10 favorite guitarists at

RFTmusic makes a case for Radiohead's "Paranoid Android" as the greatest song of all time.

At the Guardian, Ian Rankin shares his favorite moments from the Inspector Rebus novels.

Steve Berlin of Los Lobos talks to Earache! about the band's newly remastered Kiko album.

"I just think the culture, the way things are now, make it impossible to make a record like Kiko now. Now with lo-fi, there's a whole genre of records that sound like Kiko. But in 1991, there wasn't much in terms of mixing hi-fi and lo-fi stuff. I'm not saying we were the first ever. But it's certainly the first time we explored the idea of combining something damaged beyond words with something as beautiful as we could make it."

Bookworm interviews legendary poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

SPIN examines the modern evolution of R&B music.

The Guardian shares China Mieville's keynote speech on the future of the novel at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

At The Record, author Teju Cole shares his love for Black Star's debut album.

Black Star is an eloquently moody confection more for listening than for parties. The self-titled first album by the Brooklyn hip-hop duo, formed by Mos Def and Talib Kweli in the late 1990s and named for the 1920s shipping line Marcus Garvey dedicated to the global African economy, has as its main theme black identity in a time of hip-hop's paradoxical success. It is also about the pleasures of words, friendship, creative achievement and love. Several of the songs on Black Star, which was released in 1999 in the wake of the violent deaths of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls, have a cautionary tone, but there is nothing dry about the album. The production, done by various musicians but primarily by DJ Hi-Tek, manages to be both minimalist and lush, with hints of soul, funk and acid jazz.

The finalists for the 2012 Dayton Literary Peace Prize have been named. Congratulations to Largehearted Boy Book Notes contributor Ismet Prcic.

Win all six books featured in this week's Book Notes feature and a $100 Threadless gift certificate in this week's Largehearted Boy contest.

Amazon MP3 has over 1,000 digital albums on sale for $5.

Amazon MP3 offers over 400 albums for sale for $2.99.

Also on sale at Amazon MP3 for $3.99: 37 children's music albums.

Follow me on Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, Pinterest, Facebook, 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