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August 2, 2015

Largehearted Boy Weekly Wrap-Up - August 2, 2015

A list of the past week's Largehearted Boy features:


Book Notes: (authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates to their book)

Christy Wampole for her essay collection The Other Serious
Deborah Reed for her novel Olivay
Emily Mitchell for her short story collection Viral
Jordan Harper for his short story collection Love and Other Wounds
Kent Wascom for his novel Secessia
Sophie McManus for her novel The Unfortunates


Interviews: (authors interview musicians and vice versa)

Author Kate Christensen interviewed musician/author Nathaniel Bellows


Weekly New Book Recommendations:

Atomic Books Comics Preview (recommended new comics and graphic novels)
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (recommended new books)


New Music Recommendations:

The Week's Interesting Music Releases


And of course, the daily music and news posts:

Daily Downloads (10 free and legal mp3 downloads every day, plus links to free live recordings online)
Shorties (news & links from the worlds of music, books, and pop culture)


also at Largehearted Boy:

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Antiheroines
Atomic Books Comics Preview
Book Notes
Contests / Giveaways
Cover Song Collections
Daily Downloads
Lists
weekly music release lists
musician/author Interviews
Note Books
Soundtracked
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week


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August 2, 2015

Daily Downloads (The Week's Best Free and Legal Music Including Blitzen Trapper, Lauryn Peacock, Her Name Is Calla, and more)

Every day, Daily Downloads offers free and legal music and/or stream.


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Bad Braids: Folkadelphia session [mp3]

Ben Rogers: The Bloodred Yonder EP [mp3]

Blitzen Trapper: "Lonesome Angel" [mp3] from All Across This Land (out October 2nd)

The Brightest Hour: "By the Sea (demo)" [mp3]

Her Name Is Calla: I Never Planned To Stay This Long EP [mp3]

Lauryn Peacock: "All My Mind" [mp3] from Euphonia

Mekons: 2015-07-21, New York [mp3]

My Morning Jacket: 2015-07-26, Brooklyn [mp3]

Various Artists: SideOneDummy: Summer Mix album [mp3]

Various Artists: Tee Pee 2015 Summer Sampler album [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

My Morning Jacket: 2015-07-26, Brooklyn [mp3]


search for more free and legal music downloads at Largehearted Boy


also at Largehearted Boy:

other Daily Downloads

covers collections
100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads

Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, books, and pop culture news and links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtrack)
weekly new album lists


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

July 31, 2015

Book Notes - Deborah Reed "Olivay"

Olivay

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Bret Easton Ellis, Kate Christensen, Kevin Brockmeier, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Deborah Reed's Olivay is an unsettling and compelling literary thriller.

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In her own words, here is Deborah Reed's Book Notes music playlist for her novel Olivay:


The idea for my novel, Olivay, began during the Boston Marathon bombing when a man who thought he was having a one night stand with a woman wound up being stuck in her apartment while the city went on lockdown. He started live-tweeting this situation from the woman’s apartment, and I believe these tweets were picked up by the Huffington Post, which is where I first read about it. Long after the lockdown was over, I couldn’t stop imagining two strangers, meant to be lovers for only one night, forced to remain in each other’s company while a terrorist was on the loose and the city under siege. I thought about who they were, what kind of pasts they were bringing into that closed space. In an already precarious situation, I knew they would have to be fractured and frail souls, each in their own way, and beautiful too, given the chance. So I tried to give the people who became Olivay and Henry, a chance—each deserving of the other, each with terrible secrets they didn’t want to reveal. Like the line from the poem by Juan Felipe Herrera, “I want to write about love in the face of disaster,” I began thinking about terror and terrorism in all its forms—World Wars, the Holocaust, terrorist attacks, homicide, the endless ways human beings inflict pain on one another, all the way down to the 24 hour news cycle accosting the senses with its constant pin pricks of bad news, and finally to the tiny terrors two people in a relationship inflict on one another. I wondered about the place where we find one another in harmony, how we ever manage to get there, what a miracle it seems to be, given all the terror, to offer another person grace and peace. I wondered what would happen if Olivay began to fall in love with Henry at the same rate she suspected he had something to do with the terrorist attack. I wondered if he were actually capable of doing that kind of harm, and if so, what had brought him to that point? It took me less than a year to write the manuscript.

As for the act of writing itself, I always listen to music when I work, which many writers find insane. But I’m comforted and inspired by the storied songs and rhythms rather than distracted, and I always end up including music in my novels in one way or another. In Olivay, several songs are mentioned, and there is even a crucial line her mother tells her about the whole of life being contained in a song: “listen to the rise and fall of it, the violence and forgiveness, the suspense in tension, not knowing how it could end, and therein lies the beauty.”

"Warm Love" by Van Morrison

Van Morrison was a favorite of Olivay’s and her late husband, Will. I listened to this song a lot while writing her character, sitting with her and her grief, which had hit her so unexpectedly and devastatingly hard, not least of which was due to the media hounding her after Will’s death, which was captured on cell phones and turned into viral videos. My hope for Olivay all along was that she would come to find love in the midst of so much madness—warm love. And, as Van Morrison sings, that it would be “everpresent everywhere.”

"Ooh Child" by Richie Havens

Another song favored by Olivay and Will, and when it appears in the novel she is listening to it for the first time since his death, finding inspiration instead of pain. “She [Olivay] had forgotten that music hadn’t always stirred a gloomy, forlorn ache in her chest.” This is the morning after she has slept with Henry and she begins to wake up to the possibility of a new life. She’s an architect who hasn’t worked in a year, but it is while this song is playing that she begins to sketch again, imagining a room spilling with light—“Someday when the world is much brighter,” Richie Havens sings.

"Broken Fingers" by Sam Baker

Singer/songwriter Sam Baker was himself a victim of a terrorist attack in Peru in 1986. The song, "Broken Fingers," is so achingly beautiful; a tribute to the young boy who was sitting across from him when the bomb went off on the luggage rack above their heads. The boy and his parents died in the blast. Sam Baker survived but his recovery was long and painful and the fingers on his right hand are permanently twisted. He plays guitar nonetheless, with his left. Like Olivay in my novel, Sam Baker was forever changed by violence and cruelty, and yet hope is never too far away, hovering right there along the edges.

"Just Breathe (Live from Austin City Limits)" by Pearl Jam

I didn’t realize until after I had finished the novel that I was listening to several different songs on repeat that included something about breathing. It can’t be a coincidence since a good part of the novel plays out in the smoky haze of a bomb explosion on the west side of Los Angeles, and fires set in the dry canyons on the east. Of course there is also Olivay trying to catch her breath, as well, from the rush of so many feelings overcoming her during the three-day lockdown with Henry. The claustrophobic feel of breathlessness runs throughout Olivay.

"Breathe Me" by Sia

A haunting melody I could listen to on repeat for all of eternity. It so perfectly contains the nuance and pain of Olivay. The first word in the song is “help”, followed by, “be my friend, hold me, wrap me up, unfold me, I am small, and needy, warm me up, and breathe me. Ouch. I have lost myself again.” I mean it hurts me just to lay those lines down here. Olivay confesses to Henry within minutes of meeting him that she never “wants to feel helpless again.” Of course, for the better part of the novel she will be rendered nearly powerless. It was excruciating to write those scenes.

"Avant Gardner" by Courtney Barnett

This song is about having a life-threatening asthma attack while gardening. The woman’s breath is lost and an ambulance is called, and in the midst of keeping the life in her, she is keenly aware of the person saving her, which is also what is happening to Olivay as Henry makes sure she is all right after the bomb explosion blows her windows out and her body is full of glass shards and debris, her knee deeply in need of stitches.

And then the lyric, “Should’ve stayed in bed today, I much prefer the mundane.” There is a line in Olivay about people leading mundane lives, and to top it off Olivay has spent the better part of six months in her bed after Will’s death. “My hands are shaky. My knees are weak. I can’t seem to stand. On my own two feet,” Courtney Barnett sings, and this is exactly what happens to Olivay in the blast, literally and figuratively. Her leg is injured so badly that she can barely stand, hands shaking from the shock. She begins to lose her emotional grip over time as well, making it harder to stand on her metaphorical two feet, too.

"Something So Strong" by Crowded House

Another example of the subconscious at work? Has to be. Both the title of the song and the name of the band. Olivay and Henry are thrown together for three days in her small apartment with no real escape, which makes for a crowded house, while the tensions, both sexual and life-threatening, grow stronger and stronger.

"My Silver Lining" by First Aid Kit

Well, now it just sounds like I’m making this up. First Aid Kit? True, though. I listened to this song constantly while writing Olivay.

“… my worries as big as the moon, having no idea who or what or where I am. Something good comes with the bad. A song's never just sad. There's hope, there's a silver lining. Show me my silver lining.”

I think those lyrics speak for themselves.

"This Is The Last Time" by The National

These opening lines so define what happens as Olivay and Henry’s pasts slowly unfold. “Oh, when I lift you up you feel like a hundred times yourself. I wish everybody knew what's so great about you.”

Olivay and Henry recognize one another’s worth in spite of what they see outwardly and obviously in one another, but it is especially Olivay who is taking a chance here as it looks more and more like Henry had something to do with the terrorist attack. It is she who must look past a crime beyond comprehension and into the core of Henry’s soul toward something of forgiveness. These chapters were the most difficult to write, posing the question of whether redemption in the face of atrocity is ever a true possibility. And when Olivay begins to take matters into her own hands Henry must also decide who Olivay truly is beyond her actions as the novel takes an even darker turn.

"Give Me Love" by George Harrison

By the novel’s end the ultimate question becomes who is worthy of love? Who is worthy of grace and absolution? All of us? None of us? Only a chosen few?

The story circles back to all the ways human beings terrorize each other, and questions if or how one can ever truly find the sweet spot of love and light with another human being before it’s too late.

“Please take hold of my hand, that I might understand you,” George Harrison sings. “Help me cope, with this heavy load. Trying to touch and reach you, with heart and soul.”


Deborah Reed and Olivay links:

the author's website

Detroit Free-Press profile of the author
Pacific Magazine interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Book Notes (2015 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2012 - 2014) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 - 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
guest book reviews
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
weekly music release lists
Word Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)


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This Week's Interesting Music Releases - July 31, 2015

Titus Andronicus

Titus Andronicus's The Most Lamentable Tragedy is yet another epic release from the indie rockers.

I can also recommend Lianne La Havas's album Blood.

Reissues include three remastered and expanded Led Zeppelin albums, Coda, In Through the Out Door, and Presence.


This week's interesting music releases:

Alessandro Cortini: Risveglio
Alice Cooper: The Studio Albums 1969-1983 (15-CD box set)
CFCF: Radiance and Submission
Fatboy Slim: You've Come a Long Way Baby (reissue) [vinyl]
Insane Clown Posse: Marvelous Missing Link
Joss Stone: Water for Your Soul
Led Zeppelin: Coda (remastered with bonus disc)
Led Zeppelin: In Through the Out Door (remastered with bonus disc)
Led Zeppelin: Presence (remastered with bonus disc)
Lianne La Havas: Blood
The Maccabees: Marks To Prove It
Melissa Ferrick: Melissa Ferrick
Migos: Yung Rich Nation
Ratatat: Magnifique [vinyl]
Sturgill Simpson: High Top Mountain [vinyl]
Teenage Time Killers: Greatest Hits Vol. 1
Titus Andronicus: The Most Lamentable Tragedy
Warren Haynes: Ashes & Dust


also at Largehearted Boy:

weekly music release lists

100 online sources for free and legal music downloads
Book Notes (authors create music playlists for their book)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)


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Atomic Books Comics Preview - July 31, 2015

In the weekly Atomic Books Comics Preview, Benn Ray highlights notable new comics and graphic novels.

Benn Ray is the owner of Atomic Books, an independent bookstore in Baltimore. The Mobtown Shank is his blog, and his comic Said What? is syndicated weekly in the Baltimore Sun's B-Paper.

Atomic Books has been named one of BuzzFeed's Great American Bookstores, as well as one of Flavorwire's 10 greatest comic and graphic novel stores in America.


7 And 7 Is #1

7 And 7 Is #1
by Hidden Volume Records

Depending on how you look at it, this is a flexi-disc 7-inch with a zine or a zine with a 7-inch. Either way, it's total garage rock fun. The hot, red record features tracks by Jake Starr & The Delicious Fullness. The exquisitely designed zine, loaded with gorgeous vintage ads, also features pieces on Starr, Quitty & The Dont's and The Insomniacs. All in the size/format of your average record single (so it fits in your singles case!).


The Bell Tolls For No One

The Bell Tolls For No One
by Charles Bukowski

Despite the defiant title of this book, the bell tolled for beloved American low-life chronicler Charles Bukowski in 1994. Regardless, this week saw the release of 2 new books by the writer, this one and On Writing. Not bad for a someone who's been dead for 22 years. This book collects a long and wide range of Bukowski's previously uncollected short stories - from his pulp genre writing to his post-modern writing. This City Lights book really captures the spirit of a great writer.


Conditions On The Ground

Conditions On The Ground
by Kevin Hooyman

Whoa... I did not see this book coming. I mean I did, but I didn't realize it would be this... Ugh. What I mean to say is, I love it when I pick something up that looks cool and it turns out to be even cooler than it looks. Kevin Hooyman has a lot of crazy-awesome line work mixed with a lot of stream-of-consciousness storytelling that is relatable, fun, engaging and interesting. Conditions collects over 350 pages of stories, and instead of having a numbing effect, you'll find yourself tearing through one story to get to the next in excitement.


Not Ha Ha Funny

Not Ha Ha Funny
by Leah Hayes

Leah Hayes' book is simply astounding! This abortion handbook should be a staple in every sex ed class throughout the country. But what's most remarkable is Hayes' non-political, commonsense, and compassionate approach to abortion. By removing the politics from her book, some will most certainly interpret this book as political (yeah, go figure). Regardless, it's human, humane, and full of information that every person should have and many try to deny people from having. This is the rare book that is bigger than the sum of its parts.


Questions, concerns, comments or gripes – e-mail benn@atomicbooks.com. If there’s a comic I should know about, send it my way at Atomic, c/o Atomic Books 3620 Falls Rd., Baltimore, MD 21211.


Atomic Books & Benn Ray links:

Atomic Books website
Atomic Books on Twitter
Atomic Books on Facebook
Benn Ray's blog (The Mobtown Shank)
Benn Ray's comic, Mutant Funnies


also at Largehearted Boy:

other Atomic Books Comics Preview lists (weekly new comics & graphic novel highlights)

Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Book Notes (authors create music playlists for their book)
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)


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Shorties (A New Joan Didion Biography, An Interview with Kim Gordon, and more)

i-D interviewed Tracy Daugherty, author of the forthcoming The Last Love Song: A Biography of Joan Didion.


Drowned in Sound interviewed Kim Gordon.


Sun Kil Moon and Jesu are collaborating on an album.


Authors Kirstin Valdez Quade and Mira Jacob interviewed each other at the Barnes and Noble Review.


The Quietus interviewed Mike Skinner of the Streets.


Portland Monthly profiled author Ursula K. Le Guin.


Live stream Lollapalooza sets today through Sunday.


Stream two tracks from the forthcoming !!! album As If.


Read an excerpt of the book Folk City: New York and the American Folk Music Revival.


PopMatters interviewed Elizabeth Harper of Class Actress about her new EP Movies.


All Things Considered and Vulture interviewed singer-songwriter Jason Isbell.


The A.V. Club interviewed Jason Segel about portraying David Foster Wallace on film.


Intravenous Magazine recapped albums released in 1985.


Los Angeles Magazine interviewed J. Ryan Stradal about his new novel Kitchens of the Great Midwest.


The A.V. Club shared an essential LCD Soundsystem playlist.


Fresh Air interviewed Sarah Hepola about her memoir Blackout.

Read an excerpt from the book.


Paste listed July's best new books.


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


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 and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
daily mp3 downloads
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
weekly music release lists
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (recommended new books)


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

Daily Downloads (Joanna Sternberg, Bad Braids, and more)

Every day, Daily Downloads offers free and legal music and/or stream.


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Bad Braids: Folkadelphia session [mp3]

Ben Rogers: The Bloodred Yonder EP [mp3]

Joanna Sternberg: Live on WFMU [mp3]

Lady Pills: Limerence EP [mp3]

Various Artists: Ice Cream Man Power Pop And More - Got It Licked album [mp3]

Various Artists: SideOneDummy: Summer Mix album [mp3]

Various Artists: Summer Jams 2015: A TuneCore Artist Compilation album [mp3]

Various Artists: Tee Pee 2015 Summer Sampler album [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Noseeum: 2015-07-11, Athens [mp3]


search for more free and legal music downloads at Largehearted Boy


also at Largehearted Boy:

other Daily Downloads

covers collections
100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads

Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, books, and pop culture news and links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtrack)
weekly new album lists


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

July 30, 2015

Book Notes - Jordan Harper "Love and Other Wounds"

Love and Other Wounds

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Bret Easton Ellis, Kate Christensen, Kevin Brockmeier, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Jordan Harper's collection Love and Other Wounds is filled with dark and intelligent stories, truly modern literary noir.

Booklist wrote of the book:

"What sets Harper apart is his ability to deliver genuine literary epiphanies...Harper delivers tension, action, black humor, sex, and violence-but, above all, characters we quickly know, understand, and still remember even after their brains have painted the walls."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.

In his own words, here is Jordan Harper's Book Notes music playlist for his short story collection Love and Other Wounds:


I used to be a music journalist, back in a different, drunker life. So maybe I shouldn't have been surprised when I sat down to write this and I realized how much of my fiction is heavily, and sometimes explicitly, rooted in music. But going through the stories that make up Love and Other Wounds, it was easy to tie songs to each story. What follows is a sampler of songs that influenced the book. It was hard not to keep going.

"Gardenia" by Kyuss

"John ran through the high desert, away from his grave." That's the first line of "Agua Dulce," the first story in Love and Other Wounds. The story involves skinhead killers, wildfires in the desert, gunfights and stampeding cattle. The only possible soundtrack for the story is Kyuss, the great California high desert stoner rock band. It's all fuzzy guitars and gritty growling vocals and pounding drums. It's the music the high desert would make itself if it had access to Marshall Stacks.

"Prove It All Night" by Bruce Springsteen

I'm a sucker for armed robbery love stories. For Bonnie and Clyde. For Brad Pitt in Thelma & Louise. For the whole concept of ride or die lovers. My story "Prove it All Night" was written for Trouble in the Heartland, an anthology of short stories based on Bruce Springsteen songs. The song isn't explicitly about armed robbery, but it sure sounds like two lovers planning an all-night armed robbery spree. Or sex. But why not both? That's the route I decided to go with.

If you're going to listen to the song, find the black and white footage of Bruce and the E Street Band playing it in Passaic in 1978. There might be a better band in the world than the E Street Band, but not that night.

(Honorable mention to "Free Money" by Patti Smith, a song more clearly about love and armed robbery, and one I want to use as a title for a future project).

"If You Want to Get To Heaven" by The Ozark Mountain Daredevils

I grew up in Springfield, Missouri, Queen City of the Ozarks, and home of The Ozark Mountain Daredevils. They had a couple of hits in the 70s (their biggest, "Jackie Blue," is the inspiration for both a character and a bar in Love and Other Wounds). Most of the world has forgotten their brand of Southern rock. But walk into any lowdown drinker's bar in the Ozarks hills and there's a good chance you'll still find "If You Want to Get to Heaven," on the jukebox. "If you want to get to heaven/you've got to raise a little hell" is a good enough criminal's slogan as any, which is why I name-drop it in "I Wish They Never Named Him Mad Dog."

"Shakey Dog" by Ghostface Killah

Ghostface Killah is one of the best crime-fiction writers in America today, and "Shakey Dog" is his masterpiece. It's a compact tale of a drug-spot robbery gone wrong, but it's the language and imagery that makes the story shine. Ghost does action scenes with a directness that James Ellroy would envy. My short story "Playing Dead," inspired by a true story of a crack-house bathtub massacre, takes place in the same New York City drug circles as "Shakey Dog."

(Honorable mention to Despot's "House Made of Bricks," dizzying drug-game wordplay from one of the best rappers out there.)

"Down in a Willow Garden" by the Kossoy Sisters

There are two threads of crime story-telling that are deeply their way through American culture. The first is the bandit tale, the stories of outlaws who live outside the law, the ones we secretly (or not so secretly) envy for their freedom and strength. You see this in everything from tales of Billy the Kid to The Godfather to Scarface and "Trap Queen." The second thread is the murder ballad, songs of tragic violent death. The dead are often young women. We see this thread in folk music, in Silence of the Lambs and Twin Peaks, in our cable-news obsession with murdered dead (white) girls. And you'll never hear a murder ballad more beautiful than ones sung by The Kossoy Sisters, a pair of identical twins who sang in eerie soprano close harmony, lending an almost supernatural tone to their covers of traditional American death songs. As if the ghosts were singing.

My stories tend more towards bandit tales than murder ballads, but when I delve into the topic, as I do in "Beautiful Trash," I listen to a lot of music like the Kossoy Sisters.

(Honorable mention to "Deep Red Bells" by Neko Case, a gorgeous modern murder ballad told from the point of view of women murdered by a The Green River Killer.)

"I Don't Care About You" by Fear

Sometimes I try my best to use crime fiction to explore something dark inside us and all that good stuff. But sometimes, like with my bank-robbery-gone-wrong story "Plan C," I want my crime fiction like I like my punk rock: Nasty, brutish and short. Fear songs are equal parts sugar and gasoline, catchy hooks and misanthropic sludge. Good stuff.

"Doom-Mantia" by Electric Wizard

When I write, I like to listen to music as loud as common decency allows. I've got a four-thousand-song playlist on Spotify (link on request) made up of post rock and drones and electronic music. But when I really want to get work done, I turn to Electric Wizard. It's the only writing music I use that has lyrics, but the lyrics are so fuzzed out and laid into the avalanche of guitar noise that it never gets in the way of my thinking. Electric Wizard is a band out of England who likes Black Sabbath and drugs and cheap horror movies. They put all three things in a blender then tried to make their guitars sound like the blender. They are awesome. "Doom-Mantia" is heavy like a spoonful of black hole. It's the perfect soundtrack for the prison-yard nastiness of "Heart Check."

"Hurt" by Johnny Cash

Oh great, here come the waterworks.

The final story in the collection, "Johnny Cash is Dead," is also the oldest. I wrote it after the death of my grandfather Kenneth Crosswhite, and not too long after the Man in Black died himself. Johnny Cash and my grandpa were always tied up in my head, even before they died. Grandpa was an old Ozark badass, a prison guard and knifemaker. He taught me how to play poker and fed me brains and eggs and taught me to like Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash. The last time he saw me, on his deathbed, he told me a dirty joke. When he died, I wanted to freeze him in my mind, and "Johnny Cash is Dead" is the result. Johnny Cash's cover of Nine Inch Nail's "Hurt," which he turned brilliantly into a meditation about lost time and death, guts me every time. It's so beautiful.


Jordan Harper and Love and Other Wounds links:

Kirkus review
LitReactor review
New York Journal of Books review
Shelf Awareness review

Paste interview with the author
Publishers Weekly interview with the author
Writer's Bone interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Book Notes (2015 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2012 - 2014) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 - 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
guest book reviews
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
weekly music release lists
Word Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)


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Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week - July 30, 2015

In the weekly Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week, the Montreal bookstore recommends several new works of fiction, art books, periodicals, and comics.

Librairie Drawn & Quarterly is one of Montreal's premiere independent bookstores.


What Pet Should I Get?

What Pet Should I Get?
by Dr. Seuss

More than two decades after the passing of the famous author, another soon-to-be classic is added to his bibliography. Found in a box by his widow and former secretary, What Pet Should I Get? is the story of siblings who cannot make up their minds when offered a pet. Would a dog who shakes hands suffice? A cat you can pat? A monkey, a fish, a bunny? There's too much choice, which makes sense given the end notes of the book, that detail Dr. Seuss's legendary love of animals.


On Writing

On Writing
by Charles Bukowski

People who won't concede that Bukowski has some serious writing chops are few and far between, and that's what makes this text, full of ruminations, analysis, and insights on the process and craft of writing, so powerful. Between the letters to editors, cartoons, doodles, and correspondence with friends and other writers, the "laureate of American lowlife" (at least according to Time) explores the complexity and artistry of writing with signature pathos and poignant wit.


Sweet Paul No. 21

Sweet Paul No. 21

Here in Montreal we're gearing up for an excruciatingly hot week, and it's times like these when magazines like Sweet Paul become invaluable. Jam-packed with crafts, design, and all the summer-themed recipes you could want, there'll be no lack of smoothies, ice cream, and fruity salads to cool down with.


The Economics of Inequality

The Economics of Inequality
by Thomas Piketty

Fresh from last year's Capital, Piketty is back with a new volume set to bring economic inequality even more to the forefront. The book, used as classroom reading material in France, has been translated into English for the first time, and is a succinct, authoritative look at concepts as varied as income, ownership of capital, economic policy, taxation, and the impact of technological change.


Anthology No. 20

Anthology No. 20

Design and lifestyle magazine Anthology is back with a beautiful summer issue, focused this time on prints and patterns. Whether you like plaids, polka dots, or leopard print, you'll find inspiration between these pages, as well as design advice, profiles of beautiful homes, and seasonal recipes.


Librairie Drawn & Quarterly links:

Librairie Drawn & Quarterly's blog
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Facebook page
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Tumblr
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly on Twitter


also at Largehearted Boy:

other Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week

52 Books, 52 Weeks
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly new comics and graphic novel highlights)
Largehearted Word (weekly new book highlights)
Book Notes (authors create music playlists for their book)
guest book reviews
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)


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Shorties (A Previously Unpublished Clarice Lispector Story, Stream the New Chelsea Wolfe Album, and more)

Tin House shared a previously unpublished Clarice Lispector story.


NPR Music is streaming Chelsea Wolfe's new album Abyss.


Brazos Bookstore interviewed author Wendy S. Walters.


The New York Times profiled Titus Andronicus frontman Patrick Stickles.


Rahawa Haile is reading a short story (not by a white man) every day.


Stereogum interviewed Chris Lynch of the band Gardens & Villa.


WWNO interviewed author Jami Attenberg.


Stream a new Teen Daze song.


The Playlist listed essential films about 20th century writers.


NPR Music is streaming the new HEALTH album, Death Magic.


Time and Novel Enthusiasts listed the best books of 2015 so far.


NPR Music is streaming La Luz's new album Weirdo Shrine.


Author Juan Gabriel Vasquez discussed his reading habits with the New York Times.


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


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 and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
daily mp3 downloads
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
weekly music release lists
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (recommended new books)


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Daily Downloads (Her Name Is Calla, Ty Segall, and more)

Every day, Daily Downloads offers free and legal music and/or stream.


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

The Brightest Hour: "By the Sea (demo)" [mp3]

Chrissy Barnacle: To Speak EP [mp3]

Her Name Is Calla: I Never Planned To Stay This Long EP [mp3]

Holly Arrowsmith: For the Weary Traveller album [mp3]

Just Lions: Great. Okay. EP [mp3]

Loners: Happy People album [mp3]

Noah Gunderson: Carry the Ghost Primer EP [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Ty Segall: 2015-06-24, Brooklyn [mp3]


search for more free and legal music downloads at Largehearted Boy


also at Largehearted Boy:

other Daily Downloads

covers collections
100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads

Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, books, and pop culture news and links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtrack)
weekly new album lists


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July 29, 2015

Book Notes - Kent Wascom "Secessia"

The Unfortunates

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Bret Easton Ellis, Kate Christensen, Kevin Brockmeier, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Ron Charles called Kent Wascom "one of the most exhilarating historical novelists in the country" in his review of Wascom's novel Secessia, and I have to agree.

The Washington Post wrote of the book:

"Wascom, who was born in New Orleans, has justly been compared to Cormac McCarthy, but the spirit of his new novel is touched by the lurid energy of Anne Rice and Joyce Carol Oates and even Edgar Allen Poe."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In his own words, here is Kent Wascom's Book Notes music playlist for his novel Secessia:


I don't generally write to music, unless of course there's noise about or the washing-machine in my office (read: laundry room) is going full-stroke, but I do take notes, read, and most of all visualize scenes set to music.

You may find it strange that the songs selected by one who writes fiction set in the distant past are almost entirely modern and synth-heavy. You may find it even stranger that, though Secessia is set in New Orleans, only one of the songs on my list features a New Orleans artist. Why the dearth? Well, it's damn hard to write if you're dancing. Which is to say that much of the music of my native city tends to put me in too good of a mood to dwell on the darkness. When I knock off for the day I switch on the greatest radio station in what we've come to accept as the civilized world: WWOZ-New Orleans. Otherwise, I'm listening to the sorts of things listed below:


1. "Nightcall" - Kavinsky
I love Kavinsky's music, love the films of Nicolas Winding Refn, love the whole aesthetic of synth-scored balletic violence. There is no song I've listened to with more frequency in the last three years. "Nightcall" was the impetus behind a ton of scenes in Secessia (any time Elise and Emile are together, really) namely the prologue in which a young Elise bites off a would-be rapist's ear.

2. "Aquarium" – Camille Saint-Saens
This piece came to mind so often in my writing of Marina, the shipwrecked Tempest-toting orphan, that I eventually wrote a scene where she visits a museum of wonders, which included, naturally, an aquarium.

3. "Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)" – Pet Shop Boys
Benjamin Butler, as I say in the book, is a generally unmusical fellow. In considering him, researching, conceptualizing his character, this was the only song that came to mind. The Boys' paean to 80s capitalism fit the acquisitive General Butler quite well.

4. "Cat People (Putting Out the Fire)" – David Bowe, Georgio Moroder
Schrader's Cat People is one of my favorite movies. I keep a small reproduction of the poster on the wall beside my desk, and I listen to the soundtrack at least once a week. Much of what I wanted to do with Elise—the undercurrent of violence, the attraction of monstrous men—is owed to that film, and to get into that mood I listened to the utterly ass-kicking credit track by Bowie and Moroder.

5. "Burn-Up" – Siouxsie and the Banshees
This one's a holdover from consistent play during the writing of The Blood of Heaven, where it was among the themes for that novel's protagonist, preacher- turned-slaver Angel Woolsack. Because Secessia features the end of Angel and the inheritance of his more unsavory characteristics by his son, Joseph, Burn-Up stayed in the rotation as a way of reminding me of Angel's haunting presence.

6. "Miranda" – Michael Nyman
Nyman's work is a constant companion. All of the many versions of and variations on this piece, composed for the Peter Greenways film Prospero's Books, were very meaningful to the conception of Marina and her fascination with Shakespeare's Tempest.

7. "Wanna Fight" – Cliff Martinez
A bad start at the desk? This track was the prescription. Another of the few to which actual scenes were written. The moment the organ kicks in makes the hair stand up on the back on my neck. I'd also add much of French composer Rob's soundtrack music, especially for Belle Epine and Maniac.

8. "Season of the Witch" – Karen Elson
I like folk-rock troubadour Donovan as much as the next guy (I know you love "Atlantis," next guy. Don't lie.) but "Season of the Witch" is a song begging for female vocals, and Karen Elson's laconic yet creepy rendition was ideal for many of Elise's scenes.

9. "Valerie" – Broadcast
While writing Joseph and Marina, the youngest of the novel's five protagonists, I kept thinking of the movie Valerie and Her Week of Wonders, which presents adolescence as a gateway to a world both dreamily beautiful and horrific. Broadcast's "Valerie" takes its cues from the melody of the film's title theme and never ceases to stir me.

10. "Eternal Source of Light Divine" – Wynton Marsalis, Kathleen Battle
Whenever I want to experience the sublime, I put on headphones and listen to this. In moments of frustration or simply wishing to slow down and meditate on an issue with the book, this astonishingly lovely recording was my go-to. Though NOTE: Now that I think of it, Wynton Marsalis's "At the Octoroon Balls" quartet was in steady rotation as well.

11. "By Your Side" – CoCoRosie
My wife turned me on to this one. An unsettling and perfect evocation of self-destructive love, and one I thought quite apt for the twisted romance of Doctor Sabatier and Elise.


Kent Wascom and Secessia links:

the author's website

Publishers Weekly review
Washington Post review

Birmingham News interview with the author
Bookmagnet Blog's interview with the author
Brazos Bookstore interview with the author
Deborah Kalb interview with the author
Houstonia interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Book Notes (2015 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2012 - 2014) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 - 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
guest book reviews
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
weekly music release lists
Word Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)


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