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March 4, 2015

Book Notes - Kevin Brockmeier "A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip"

A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip

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, George Pelecanos, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Kevin Brockmeier's memoir A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip eloquently captures the awkwardness of his seventh grade year.

Biographile wrote of the book:

"This is painful stuff—and important and beautifully written stuff, in Brockmeier’s hands—worthy of your time and attention. It’s insightful, relayed at a propulsive clip, and captures the complicated inner life of a seventh grader with more unflinching precision than anything you’ll read on the subject. This book will help you."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In his own words, here is Kevin Brockmeier's Book Notes music playlist for his memoir A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip: A Memoir of Seventh Grade:


December 6, 1985

Dear "David Gutowski," who supposedly passed me this note,

What is a Largehearted Boy? I'm guessing you made it up, since before today I'd never heard of one, or of you for that matter. 5 dollars says this is actually Thad playing some sort of trick on me. But you asked me about the songs I like and what I think of when I listen to them, so what the hey. Here are my top 10:

#1. Billy Joel: "The Longest Time"

It's been 2 years since An Innocent Man came out, and it's still my favorite tape—particularly "The Longest Time" because there aren't any instruments on it, or at least none that I can hear, just singing and snapping and clapping. I won 2nd place lip-syncing this one at Bateman's Halloween party a couple of years ago. My prize was a hat with foam lightning bolts on it.

#2. Naked Eyes: "Always Something There to Remind Me"

When I was about 10, I was at 8 Wheels one Saturday night, and this song was playing on the big-screen TV above the snack bar. Dad hadn't gotten cable yet, so it was the first music video I'd ever seen. I don't remember much about the video, just the guy standing beneath the umbrella at the beginning and how awesome it was to skate around in the darkness listening to those drums and church bells. I wish MTV was like a radio station, and I could phone the VJs and ask them to play it again.

#3. Phil Collins: "Against All Odds"

You want a secret? OK, this is a secret. In 5th grade, after I asked Jennifer if she would go with me and she said no but we could still be friends, I spent an afternoon riding my bike as fast as I could around my apartment complex singing "Against All Odds." I remember the way the wind felt rushing over my cheeks, and the sleeves of my shirt flapping against my arms. It was like I'd leapt off a building.

#4. Dexys Midnight Runners: "Come On Eileen"

Sometimes, walking around the neighborhood, I'll start singing this song for no reason at all, and during the part where it slows down and then speeds back up, my footsteps will slow down and then speed back up, too. It's irresistible. In 4th grade, Chad and I made a copy of "Come On Eileen" by holding my tape recorder up to his record player. On the same tape we copied—

#5. Paul Davis: "'65 Love Affair"

—and—

#6. Styx: "Don't Let It End"

You can hear our voices introducing the songs. "Up next is Paul Davis singing 'That Wonderful '65 Love Affair'!" We sound like mice or something. Maybe it was just the tape or maybe my voice is really that high all the time and I just don't realize it. It's hard to believe. Back in elementary school, when I used to write song parodies like Weird Al, I came up with a version of "Don't Let It End" sung by Mr. T. The whole thing was about how hard he found it to get out of bed in the morning. It made my babysitter laugh. "Sometimes I wake up and punch my alarm clock"—that's the only line I remember.

#7. A-Ha: "Take On Me"

Ever since 7th grade started, before Mom gets home from work, I'll watch MTV for half an hour or so hoping they'll play this video, and most of the time they do. It's the best music video anyone's ever made, period. Better than "Thriller." Better than "Just a Gigolo." No arguments allowed. Like a comic book with a soundtrack. I wish comic books did have soundtracks.

#8. New Edition: "Cool It Now"

This one reminds me of "Earth Angel" and "In the Still of the Night" and all those 50s songs on the tape Dad made for me a few years ago, except with modern music and that "Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky, and Mike" rap in the middle, which I know word for word. "Why you all coming down on me trying to tell me how my life is supposed to be?" I have a poster of New Edition on the wall beside my desk, even though no one else at school likes them.

#9. Wham!: "Careless Whisper"

Once, in the sticker shop over by Sturbridge, I had an argument with Bateman about whether or not the guy from Wham!—George Michael—was actually Jm J. Bullock from Too Close for Comfort. Bateman was right, and I was wrong, but I've got to tell you, on the sticker he definitely looked like Jm J. Bullock.

#10. The Blue Beetle: "I Would If I Could But I Can't So I Won't"

Except for "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" and "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" and stuff like that, this is the first song I ever memorized. It's from the kids' show The Electric Company, performed by the Blue Beetle, who was kind of like Spider-Man if Spider-Man was weak and clumsy but made up for it by trying really hard. When I was a kid I used to wear a cape and pretend I was fighting crime with Spider-Man, the Blue Beetle, and Batman. Sometimes it scares me how much time has passed.

Sincerely,

Kevin Brockmeier, officially 13 years old as of 4:30 this morning, so wish me happy birthday


Kevin Brockmeier and A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip: A Memoir of Seventh Grade links:

the author's Wikipedia entry

Adult Books 4 Teens review
Biographile review
Boston Globe review
Christian Science Monitor review
Entertainment Weekly review
Kirkus review
Publishers Weekly review
The Rumpus review

Arkansas Times interview with the author
CarolineLeavittville interview with the author
Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for The Brief History of the Dead
Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for The Illumination
Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for The View from the Seventh Layer
Salon 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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March 4, 2015

WORD Bookstores Books of the Week - March 4, 2015

In the Largehearted Word series, the staff of Brooklyn's WORD bookstore highlights several new books released this week.

WORD Bookstores are independent neighborhood bookstores in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and Jersey City, New Jersey. Our primary goal is to be whatever our communities needs us to be, which currently means carrying everything from fiction to nonfiction to absurdly cute cards and stationery. In addition, we're fiends for a good event, from the classic author reading and Q&A to potlucks and a basketball league (and anything set in a bar). If a weekly dose of WORD here isn't enough for you, follow us on Twitter: @wordbookstores.


Children of the Days

Children of the Days
by Eduardo Galeano


A daybook of history and fantasy merged in a baffling, riveting portrait of the day-by-day world.


Our Endless Numbered Days

Our Endless Numbered Days
by Claire Fuller

A mysterious pair of boots leads a humble, hardworking family away from the sanctity of their homestead.


Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven

Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven
by John Eliot Gardiner

A loving, exhaustive study of J.S. Bach by John Eliot Gardiner, one of his most erudite listeners and performers.


The Buried Giant

The Buried Giant
by Kazuo Ishiguro

The Booker-winning narrative master returns with novel that's fit to be a saga.


WORD Brooklyn links:

WORD website
WORD Facebook page
WORD on Instagram
WORD Tumblr
WORD Twitter


also at Largehearted Boy:

other Word Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)

List of Online "Best of 2014" Book Lists

Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics & graphic novel highlights)
Book Notes (authors create music playlists for their book)
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)


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

Shorties (The Stage Adaptation of A Confederacy of Dunces, Songs Inspired by Literature, and more)

Nick Offerman will star as Ignatius J. Reilly in a stage adaptation of John Kennedy Toole's novel A Confederacy of Dunces.


Up on the Sun listed songs inspired by literature.


Numero Cinq interviewed author Diane Williams.


Stereogum interviewed the members of Purity Ring about their new album


Adult interviewed author Juliet Escoria.


Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders will publish a memoir in September.


PopMatters interviewed musician Dan Deacon.


Bookslut interviewed author Kerry Howley.


Salon interviewed Noel Gallagher.


Brooklyn Magazine interviewed Robert Christgau about his memoir Going into the City: Portrait of a Critic as a Young Man.


Morning Edition profiled Lady Lamb's Aly Spatro.



Flavorwire previewed March's music releases.


CarolineLeavittville interviewed author Jessica Treadway.


The A.V. Club looked back on Prince's 1978 album Dirty Mind.


Stream an audio excerpt from Kazuo Ishiguro's novel The Buried Giant.


The Lone Bellow visited The Current studio for an interview and live performance.


Street Roots News interviewed author Mitchell S. Jackson.


Stream a new Helio Sequence song.


The Christian Science Monitor and Book Riot listed March's best new books.


Resident Advisor listed the top April music festivals.


Here and Now interviewed Helen Macdonald about her new book H Is for Hawk.


Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, 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 (Tidelands, Grooms, and more)

Every day, Daily Downloads offers 10 free and legal mp3 downloads.


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Boon: Rome EP [mp3]

Josh Garrels: Jacaranda album [mp3]

Lunic: "Moving On" [mp3]
Lunic: "Don't Look Now" [mp3]

Patrick Joseph: Foot in the Door EP [mp3]

Petrojvic Blasting Company: A History of Public Relations Dilemmae album [mp3]

Spencer Burton: Some That Were, Some That Are, and Some That Will Be EP [mp3]

Tidelands: "Dog Named Bart" [mp3] from Old Mill Park EP

Various Artists: Grand Jury: Vol. 1 album [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Grooms: 2015-02-17, Brooklyn [mp3]


search for more free and legal music downloads at Largehearted Boy


also at Largehearted Boy:

other daily free and legal mp3 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)

March 3, 2015

Book Notes - David Joy "Where All Light Tends to Go"

Where All Light Tends to Go

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, George Pelecanos, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

David Joy's novel Where All Light Tends to Go has brought him numerous comparisons to Daniel Woodrell and Harry Crews, and is an impressively dark and lyrical debut.

Library Journal wrote of the book:

"Readers of Southern grit lit in the tradition of Daniel Woodrell and Harry Crews will enjoy this fast-paced debut thriller. Fans of Ron Rash's novels will appreciate the intricate plot and Joy's establishment of a strong sense of place in his depiction of rural Appalachia."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In his own words, here is David Joy's Book Notes music playlist for his debut novel Where All Light Tends to Go:


Where All Light Tends to Go is a novel that in a lot of ways was born out of music. I saw the narrator, Jacob McNeely, before I heard him. He was eighteen in the story, but when I first saw him he was younger. His daddy had taken him hog hunting. A pack of walker hounds bayed the pig in a dried creek bed, and only a child, Jacob stabbed that pig just like he was told. I saw his reflection in the fading light of the pig's eyes. I recognized what he discovered: that one animal is not that different from another. But when I heard Jacob McNeely, when his voice woke me up out of a dream, there was a song that accompanied him. There was music and, more specifically, a musician that defined him. The musician was Townes Van Zandt. The song was "Rex's Blues." Looking back, I think it's the circumstance of that song, the inevitability of ruin, the hope of whom it's happening to, and the futility of that hope that envelops Jacob McNeely.  He was born into and of that song. What I've tried to do here is come up with a soundtrack that I think follows both the narrative and the mood of the book. I'm absolutely honored to be able to share it with you, and I hope you enjoy (or rather that you're left emotionally spent).

The opening image of Where All Light Tends to Go is of the protagonist and narrator, Jacob McNeely, sitting on the edge of a water tower staring down at the kids he grew up with as they graduate from high school. It's this very introspective scene where Jacob is looking at all the dreams those kids have and all the potential in their lives and all the places they might be headed and how the world is just sitting in the palms of their hands, but at the same time he's recognizing that those are things he'll never have. The song I hear playing is Sturgill Simpson's "Time After All," but not the studio cut from the album High Top Mountain. Rather it's the slower, solo, acoustic version he performed "live in the morgue" for Nashville Scene. It's the opening verse that encapsulates that image: "They say that life can decide in the blink of eye / If our silly little dreams will ever come true / But the dreams in my mind all go by so slow / What the hell else can I do?"



One of the things that bears down on Jacob most is losing the one girl he's ever loved, Maggie Jennings, and early in the novel we see him begin to come to terms with what he's done to her and we witness this kind of acceptance of the life he was born into. When I think about Jacob looking back on what he's done and on him trying to numb those feelings with drugs and alcohol, I hear the opening lines of Townes Van Zandt's "Rake:" "I used to wake and run with the moon / 
I lived like a rake and a young man / 
I covered my lovers with flowers and wounds / My laughter, the Devil would frighten // The sun, she would come and beat me back down
 / But every cruel day had its nightfall
 / I'd welcome the stars with wine and guitars
 / Full of fire and forgetful."




Jacob coming to terms with the life he was born into is very much coming to terms with the father who has raised him. His mother was absent most of his life and his father is an extremely violent man who has brought his son up in an environment fueled by drugs and brutality. What we see is an eighteen-year-old kid trying desperately to follow in his father's footsteps because that is how he's been raised, but as this darkness builds around him and he tries to go through with those expectations, it becomes evident that despite how much he tries, he doesn't carry that same meanness in his blood. I can't pinpoint a line or a verse from the song because every single word of Justin Townes Earle's "Mama's Eyes" is Jacob McNeely. Every single word. And while the album cut on Midnight At The Movies is incredible, I really enjoy the live version he did on KEXP in Seattle.




When Jacob tries to do the things that he's asked to do and fails, there's this hopelessness that comes out of that failure. He seems to recognize then that it is not only circumstance and what he's been born into that governs his life, but it's his own inabilities. He can blame the world for the cards he was dealt, but he can't blame the world for how he's played the game. I think Lucero's "I'll Just Fall" from the album Tennessee captures that idea, specifically the opening lines: "I think I'll stay right down here on this floor / Cause if I get back up I'll only fall down more / It ain't the liquor and it ain't the beer that keeps me down / It ain't the sad songs or heartache it ain't even this town."




Jacob's answer for loneliness is drugs. What's true for him is also where I think a lot of addiction comes from, this overwhelming sense of a world turned against you and just this immense feeling of being completely alone. With Jacob, I think the drugs are a way to feel different, any kind of different, and the Drive-By Truckers "Goddamn Lonely Love" from The Dirty South album does that feeling justice more than any other song I know: "And I could find another dream, / One that keeps me warm and clean / But I ain't dreaming anymore, I'm waking up. / So I'll take two of what you're having and I'll take everything you got / To kill this goddamn lonely, goddamn lonely love."




When Jacob's mother commits suicide and he realizes the role that his father played in her death, he hits a low that he hasn't felt before, and the song I always heard was Townes' "Nothin,'" especially the first verse and the last three: "Hey mama, when you leave / Don't leave a thing behind / I don't want nothin' / I can't use nothin'…Your back ain't strong enough / For burdens double-fold / They'd crush you down / Down into nothin' // Being born is going blind / And buying down a thousand times / To echoes strung / On pure temptation // Sorrow and solitude / These are the precious things / And the only words / That are worth remembering."




Following the death of Jacob's mother, there is this disintegration of his entire world and as he watches everything he's ever known crumble around him, the only thing he can see that will make things right is to kill his father. There is this slow unraveling and this gradual build up toward disaster, and that progression is something captured in the Doors' "The End" from their self-titled 1967 debut. This song's a little different and out of place compared to the rest of what I hear with the novel, but I think why it fits is the momentum built musically and the build up to climactic violence: "The killer awoke before dawn, he put his boots on / He took a face from the ancient gallery / And he walked on down the hall…He walked on down the hall, and / And he came to a door / And he looked inside / ‘Father.' ‘Yes, son.' ‘I want to kill you.'"




After Jacob fails to kill his father, there's this numbness to the world. His mother is dead, his father would just as soon stick a knife in his own son as take him back into his home, and Maggie is headed off for better things. The song that seems most fitting is Johnny Cash's rendition of that Nine Inch Nails' song "Hurt:" "What have I become? / My sweetest friend / Everyone I know / Goes away in the end / You could have it all / My empire of dirt / I will let you down / I will make you hurt // I wear this crown of shit / Upon my liar's chair / Full of broken thoughts / I cannot repair / Beneath the stains of time / The feelings disappear / You are someone else / I am still right here."




Despite how depressing this soundtrack and story has to seem by now, one thing I've been leaving out is the rebuilding of Jacob's relationship with Maggie Jennings, which is ultimately Jacob's one source of hope. This narrative is very much a balance of hope and fate, a sort of dreaming for possibility met by a constant reminder of inevitable circumstance. At this point in the novel, though, Maggie offers to let Jacob come with her, they'll leave the place they grew up together, and while he is beyond skeptical of opening himself up to that type of possibility, believing wholeheartedly that opening yourself up only leads to more disappointment, Maggie becomes this idealized notion of something better. Jason Isbell's "Cover Me Up" from Southeastern is undoubtedly the song that represents that love. Everything about that song, from the "heart on the run / Keeps a hand on a gun / It can't trust anyone," to the, "home was a dream / One that I'd never seen / Till you came along."




With the hope that Maggie brings into Jacob's life, I think he comes to believe that if he can find a way off the mountain, he will be all right. Despite all of his skepticism and his unwillingness to trust, Jacob sets his eyes on escaping the life he's been born into with the girl he loves. But even though he believes he can get away, there is still this overshadowing doubt, and that's what I think Blaze Foley's "If I Could Only Fly" represents (a song made famous by Merle Haggard, but one sung better by The Duct Tape Messiah himself): "If I could only fly, if I could only fly / I'd bid this place goodbye, to come and be with you / But I can hardly stand, and I got no where to run / Another sinking sun, and one more lonely night // The wind keeps blowing somewhere everyday / Tell me things get better, somewhere, up the way / Just dismal thinking on a dismal day / And sad songs for us to bare."




I think I knew Jacob's fate before I knew his story, and I think that's why when he finally spoke to me, he was accompanied by a song. More specifically, he was accompanied by the saddest song I've ever known. Townes Van Zandt's "Rex's Blues" is the definition of a life treading the line between hope and fate. It is a song about people who where dealt a shitty hand, a song about lives decided from the start. For some people, no matter how hard they try, things fall apart. That was the life of Jacob McNeely. From that opening verse of, "Ride the blue wind, high and free / She'll lead you down through misery / Leave you low, come time to go / Alone and low, as low can be," to that final revelation that, "There ain't no dark till something shines / I'm bound to leave the dark behind," this song is Jacob's. And the way he chooses to leave the dark behind is what I hope hangs with readers after that final page. I want readers to feel empty inside.




The haunting I'm left with in how this novel ends is something only matched by the voice of Gillian Welch, by her song "I'm Not Afraid To Die" from the album Hell Among The Yearlings. I always heard this when my mind panned away from the final scene.




David Joy and Where All Light Tends to Go links:

the author's website

Minneapolis Star Tribune review

Asheville Citizen-Times profile of the author
Entropy interview with the author
Revolution John interview with the author
Speaking of Mysteries interview with the author
Watauga Democrat 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)


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

This Week's Interesting Music Releases - March 3, 2015

Lady Lamb

Lady Lamb's After and Purity Ring's Another Eternity are the two new music releases I can wholeheartedly recommend this week.

Other albums of note include Brandi Carlile's The Firewatcher’s Daughter, Of Montreal's Aureate Gloom, and Swervedriver's I Wasn't Born To Lose You.

What new releases are you picking up this week? What can you recommend? Have I left anything noteworthy off the list?


This week's interesting music releases:

AJR: Living Room
Andrew Combs: All These Dreams
Asleep at the Wheel: Still the King: Celebrating the Music of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys
Ata Kak: Obaa Sima
Au.Ra: Jane's Lament
The Bitter Roots: Noise Vibrations and Fumes
Brandi Carlile: The Firewatcher’s Daughter
Cannibal Ox: Blade Of The Ronin
Clarence Clarity: No Now
Coastal: Beneath the Snow and Streetlights
Eskmo: SOL
Eula: Wool Sucking
Gateway Drugs: Magick Spells
Gemma Hayes: Bones + Longing
Ghostpoet: Shedding Skin
Jeff Rosenstock: We Cool?
Kelly Clarkson: Piece By Piece
La Batteria: La Batteria
Lady Lamb: After
Mark Lanegan Band: Thousand Miles of Midnight - Phantom Radio Remixes
Mastodon: Blood Mountain (reissue) [vinyl]
Miles Davis: Fillmore West 15-10-70
Moon Duo: Shadow Of The Sun
Never Shout Never: Recycled Youth (Volume One)
No Age: Weirdo Rippers (reissue) [vinyl]
Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds: Chasing Yesterday
Of Montreal: Aureate Gloom
Oren Ambarchi and Jim O'Rourke: Behold
Parquet Courts: Live at Third Man Records [vinyl]
Purity Ring: Another Eternity
Ryan Culwell: Flatlands
Soko: My Dreams Dictate My Reality
Steve Wilson: Hand. Cannot. Erase.
Swervedriver: I Wasn't Born To Lose You
Tom Brousseau: Perfect Abandon
Various Artists: The Magical Mystery Psych-Out - A Tribute To The Beatles
Vessels: Dilate


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)


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

Shorties (March New Book Previews, Leonard Nimoy's Music Career, and more)

Bustle, BuzzFeed, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, and Flavorwire recommended March's best new books.


Stereogum looked back on Leonard Nimoy's music career.


Stream a new Courtney Barnett song.


In the New Yorker's fiction podcast Etgar Keret read and discussed short fiction by Donald Barthelme.


Phox played a Tiny Desk Concert.


The Barnes and Noble Review interviewed Kim Gordon about her memoir Girl in a Band


NPR Music shared a playlist of artists playing SXSW this year.


The Nervous Breakdown interviewed author Stewart O'Nan.


PopMatters interviewed singer-songwriter Jenn Ghetto about her new music project S.


Guernica interviewed literary agent Chris Parris-Lamb.


Stream "Superhero," a new Faith No More song from their forthcoming album Sol Invictus (out May 19th)


Ignition profiled Tokyo's "Haruki Murakami cafe."


The Punch Brothers visited The Current studio for an interview and live performance.


Stream the new album by Will Butler of Arcade Fire.


Fresh Air interviewed Chris Offutt about his new memoir, My Father, the Pornographer.


Drowned in Sound interviewed Anathema frontman Vincent Cavanagh.


BuzzFeed recommended books (that aren't cookbooks) for food lovers.


Paste interviewed Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond.



Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, 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 (Rose Windows, A Chicken Ranch SXSW Sampler, and more)

Every day, Daily Downloads offers 10 free and legal mp3 downloads.


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Black Molly: Song Splinters (The Woodyard) album [mp3]

Delicate Steve: Live in Las Vegas album [mp3]

The Fin.: The Fin. Sampler EP [mp3]

Las Snowbirds: Las Snowbirds EP [mp3]

JB Moonshiner: Shallow Graves EP [mp3]

Kerosene Stars: Kerosene Stars album [mp3]

Lunic: "Living a Lie" [mp3]

Rose Windows: Folkadelphia Session EP [mp3]

Various Artists: Chicken Ranch SXSW 2015 Sampler album [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Blue Blood: 2015-02-26, Athens [mp3]


search for more free and legal music downloads at Largehearted Boy


also at Largehearted Boy:

other daily free and legal mp3 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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March 2, 2015

Book Notes - Elliot Ackerman "Green on Blue"

Green on Blue

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, George Pelecanos, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Elliot Ackerman's novel Green on Blue is a remarkable debut, one that brings to life one young Afghan soldier from boyhood to adult in spare, precise prose.

Publishers Weekly wrote of the book:

"Ackerman’s novel is bleak and uncompromising, a powerful war story that borders on the noir."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In his own words, here is Elliot Ackerman's Book Notes music playlist for his novel Green on Blue:


When I was just a few weeks away from completing the last major edits for Green on Blue, a good friend of mine was killed fighting in Afghanistan, leaving behind a young family and becoming one of the last Marines to die in that long war. I don't know if Green on Blue, a story told from the perspective of a young Afghan soldier, has a western soundtrack, but the time when I fought in Afghanistan certainly does. Here's a few:

"Dead Flowers" – Townes Van Zandt
This cover of the classic Rolling Stones song about heroin addiction is better than the original. Townes Van Zandt sings it slow, transforming the tune into a ballad of sorts, one lamenting that particular type of loss which is self-destruction. It reminds me of pulling out the driveway each time I left for a deployment. "Send me dead flowers every morning / Send me dead flowers by the mail / Send me dead flowers to my wedding / And I won't forget to put roses on your grave"

"Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" – Michael Jackson
When I was in special operations, I spent one deployment at a particularly remote outpost in western Afghanistan. The dozen of us in my team lived fifty miles from the nearest adjacent American unit. Charged with advising nearly 700 Afghan Commandos whose mission was to capture or kill senior Taliban leadership, it made for an intense eight months. Against regulations, we built a small Tiki bar on our firebase out of wooden ammunition crates. Every couple of weeks, when operations were slow, we'd open the bar and have a small party, letting off some steam. Usually it started as just us Americans, but often times, as the night went on, a few of the Afghans would come over. On several occasions, I found myself in the middle of an impromptu disco replete with blinking Christmas lights as "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" boomed out the little iPod speakers. I defy anyone of any nationality, religious, or political conviction not to dance to this song. Mullah Mohammad Omar, that means you.

"Mercenary Song" – Steve Earle
"And we're bound for the border / We're soldiers of fortune / We'll fight for no country but we'll die for good pay / Under the flag of a green back dollar / Or a peso down Mexico way"
On long late night patrols, as the Afghans and us drove through the countryside with the Pakistani border in view, we'd often play this song in the cab of my Toyota HiLux. The amorality of a mercenary's war was something we could all identify with as our war stretched into its second decade.

"Love Vigilantes" – New Order
This is a dark yet up-tempo song about Vietnam. Complete with electric keyboards and Ska-like syncopation, we're on 1960s territory with a distinctly 1990s style. It's what makes this song so unforgettable, so damn good. The openings is one of my favorites: "Oh I just come from the land of the sun / For the war that must be won in the name of truth / With our soldiers so brave your freedom we will save / With our rifles and grenades and some help from God."
Would it were true.

"End of the Night" – The Doors
Much of my time in Afghanistan was spent at remote outposts—end of the line places. Living in sandbagged forts, spending days crisscrossing the high desert, leap frogging from village to village, there's just something about it that lends itself to The Doors. Of course it does. I could've picked one of many songs off their eponymous debut album but these lyrics always did it for me: "Some are born to sweet delight / Some are born to the endless night"

"Bye Bye Blackbird" – Joe Cocker
This song reminds me of my daughter. I'd listen to it when I missed her most, usually at night before bed, when I would otherwise have been reading to her. I'm still not sure if I'm the blackbird or if she is.


Elliot Ackerman and Green on Blue links:

the author's website
the author's Wikipedia entry

The Daily Beast review
Kirkus review
New York Times review
New York Times review
Omnivoracious review
Publishers Weekly review
Washington Post review

Boston Public Radio interview with the author
Dallas Morning News profile of the author
Huffington Post interview with the author
Vogue interview with the author
Wall Street Journal review
Weekend Edition 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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Book Notes - Megan Kruse "Call Me Home"

Call Me Home

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, George Pelecanos, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Megan Kruse's debut novel Call Me Home is a poignant and impressive book of violence and survival, family and love.

Publishers Weekly wrote of the book:

"A powerful story told with ferocity and grace."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In her own words, here is Megan Kruse's Book Notes music playlist for her debut novel Call Me Home:


There's a standing joke in my family about how I've ruined Tom Waits for everyone, because of my insistence of playing The Early Years Volume II through a decade of Thanksgivings. "You always do things to death," my brother says. "I can't even listen to Ol' 55 anymore without thinking of turkey." Music is one of my only concessions to ritual and superstition in writing. I have a sense of what the book "sounds" like, and then that music becomes what I listen to while I write. I started writing Call Me Home in 2010, and four years later, I was still listening to the same tracks, to the chagrin of anyone I lived with during that time. It's a dark collection for a dark book, but in all of these songs I see glimpses of radiance, of our need to forge beauty from the hard materials of our lives.

"Snakebit," Mary Gauthier

Call Me Home began as a short story; I think I called it "The Lake." It was the story of a young man, Jackson, who ends up homeless after leaving his abusive father's home, and then gets work on a construction crew, where he falls in love with his married boss. As I started to develop the story into a novel, this song kept ringing in my mind--Mary Gauthier's powerful, forbidding voice, and the question of how we escape the lives we've been born into, the things that we carry in our blood:

The chair that I sit in belonged to my daddy
Carved from the hard wood of a bitter tree
When he was alive he used tell me
Kid I knew when you was born
You'd end up snake bit like me

As the novel developed, it became the story of not only Jackson, but of his sister, Lydia, and his mother, Amy, as they all three fight to make lives outside of the shadow of violence cast by the children's father, Gary. Lydia, thirteen and displaced, becomes tormented by the idea that she may become like her father. This is a theme I've always been interested in--the question of how much control we have over ourselves, how we are shaped by the world and the people around us, and what choices are our own.

"You Are My Sister," Anthony and the Johnsons

Before I expanded the novel to include the voices of Jackson's mother and sister, I would take long walks and listen to this song. In the first draft, Jackson was separated from his sister, and the pull of their connection was fierce and unrelenting. I eventually realized that I needed to create a voice for Lydia--that I needed to make this her story, too. I still think of this song as a love letter from Jackson to Lydia; even as he seems to protect her, she is doing the same for him:

Each night I'd ask for you to watch me as I sleep
I was so afraid of the night
You seemed to move through the places that I feared
You lived inside my world so softly
Protected only by the kindness of your nature

When I wrote this book I wanted to show the dominion of siblings, the way that a brother and sister can create a world between them that keeps alive, and this song is a haunting reminder of that.

"Don't Waste Time," Emily Herring

I co-wrote this song with Texas country singer Emily Herring. The narrative in the song isn't true to the novel's plot, but it is about the experience of domestic violence, the push and pull of wanting to redeem what once felt like love. There's a line, too, Why don't you bring back all you have that's mine, that is one of the simplest ways I can think of to describe the plaintive feeling of being at the end of a long and painful relationship, realizing how much has been taken from you. Besides her skill as a songwriter and player, Herring is also a queer woman playing Texas country, and her experience in a world where she doesn't easily fit the mold feels similar to Jackson's experience as a queer man in the rural West.

"The Biggest Lie," Elliott Smith

Is there any artist who resonates as much with the gritty and dark parts of the Pacific Northwest? His voice conjures the character of Jackson in my novel, and it reminds me of wandering through the rain in Portland, of the fear and ecstasy of being young and in trouble and foolish and brave. There's a line in this song: Oh we're so very precious, you and I/And everything that you do makes me want to die. To me that is the distillation of that time of life, when everything is uncertain, conflicting, and overwhelming.

"The Pharaohs," Neko Case

When I moved back to Seattle after a decade of bouncing between cities and plans, I worried about what it meant, to have returned to the part of the world where I'd begun, as though that meant failure, as though it meant defeat. To comfort myself I would think of the deep woods, the factories, the pitted roads that led up north, scenery that felt like it belonged to me. There was comfort to me in the way Neko Case sang about this part of the country, the "dusty old jewel" of Tacoma where the persona in "Thrive All American" invented her history. Still, it's "The Pharaohs" that I think of most in connection with Call Me Home. I see Amy, the mother in my story who has been swept off of her feet by someone she barely knows, in some of the first lines: You spoke the words, "I love girls in white leather jackets"/That was good enough for love, it was good enough for me. Later in the song I can feel the ache of wanting, the wanting that Amy feels for the man she never really knew, and that Jackson feels for the married man he's trying so desperately not to need.

"Passenger," Emily Wells

Emily Wells is a classical violinist who layers other instruments and sounds to create a kind of otherwordly experience--loops of gorgeous classical sound, hip-hop beats, an almost elegiac voice. So much of my novel is about movement, about searching for home, searching for the path. I think of the mother and daughter weaving their way across the country, and the simultaneous passiveness and action in their move. To be displaced by violence is to be both adrift and driven, to be a passenger at the same time that you are fighting for control.

"Help Me Make it Through the Night," Willie Nelson

There is no song that better describes the conflation of loneliness and desire, intimacy and need that I think so characterizes the human condition, and the way my characters are trying to hold tight to the world and to each other.

"Flowered Dresses," Slaid Cleaves

Slaid Cleaves is another Texas Hill Country musician. I wrote half of this book in Texas, working at a hole-in-the-wall bar called Andy's Lounge in Luling, which is the model for the town of Fannin in my book. Amy, the mother in my novel, is born in Fannin, and swept away by a charismatic man who then brings her out to the Northwest, where she endures years of horrific abuse. There's a line in the chorus of this song: She wore flowered dresses for him. This is Amy to me, so young and hopeful. I can't look at that line and not want to cry.

"Going to a Town," by Rufus Wainwright

Through the character of Jackson, I wanted to tell a story about being queer in rural America, in places where there is no space for queerness, no examples for how to lead your life. In "Going to a Town," Rufus Wainwright sings, Tell me, do you really think you go to hell for having loved?...I'm so tired of America. I remember first hearing Rufus Wainwright when I was sixteen, desperately unhappy, trying to imagine the kind of life I might build one day. In this 2007 song, Wainwright speaks of a bigger disillusionment with our country, and it resonates with me in my own novel--the exhaustion of living in places where there is no place for your identity, and the weary desolation of endured violence.

"You Were Born to Be Loved," Lucinda Williams

There's a nod to this song in the novel, as Jackson and his mother tell Lydia, the younger of the two children, that she was born so they could love her. I want to live in a world where everyone can believe those lines: You weren't born to suffer/And you weren't born for nothing/You were born to be loved.

"Killing the Blues," Alison Krauss & Robert Plant

People often ask me why I write about such sad things, about fracture. It doesn't feel that way to me. I think it's our whole task on earth, to bridge our separateness, and to consider how we choose our lives. Risks of intimacy, bonds of family, and the notion of what is right and wrong—I'm interested in when the "moral" choice, the "right" choice, isn't the choice that's right in your heart: The idea that you can love someone who pays you for sex. The idea that abandoning your child might be a gift. The idea that the people you love may be horrible to you, and sometimes that won't stop you from loving them.

And so this book, too, is about making who we are beautiful, about the liberation and beauty that come from being exactly who you are, flawed and full of sorrows and regrets and triumphs that come together to make your story. It's about, to come the long way round to this song, killing the blues by acknowledging their power.

"I Dream a Highway Back to You," Gillian Welch

In some ways, this song is the one that I think of as the most resonant to the novel. Amy is casting her mind back through time and trying to understand the path that brought her to where she is; Lydia and Jackson are dreaming toward each other. This is a fifteen minute lullaby, a tribute to longing, and I think of that dreamed highway holding this family together across distance and decisions, dreaming the world ahead of them.


Megan Kruse and Call Me Home links:

the author's website

Publishers Weekly review
Seattle Times review


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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Shorties (Kazuo Ishiguro Interviewed, Stream the New Purity Ring Album, and more)

Weekend Edition and the Telegraph interviewed author Kazuo Ishiguro.

The Telegraph shared an excerpt from his new novel The Buried Giant.

The Observer reviewed the book.


NPR Music is streaming Purity Ring's new album Another Eternity.


The Guardian profiled author Jenny Offill.


Noisey interviewed Mike Hadreas of Perfume Genius.


The Rumpus poetry book club interviewed author Kathleen Ossip.


Kim Gordon talked books with the New York Times.

Pitchfork interviewed Gordon.

The Observer reviewed her memoir Girl in a Band.


The New Yorker interviewed Stephen King about his short story in this week's issue.


Fast Company interviewed Bjork about her new album Vulnicura.


Publishers Weekly profiled Unnamed Press.

"Though Unnamed Press works with a lot of international authors, the duo notes that what's most important is that the writers are contemporary. 'We want writers who are exciting and alive that belong to this generation, or belong to the now, to contemporary life,' said Heiser. It's a strategy, Smith noted, that has resulted in Unnamed publishing debut authors. Heiser added that to balance the debuts, they make sure also to acquire works by established writers. 'As a business, we also need writers with a larger audience.'"


Stream a new Mountain Goats song.


Longreads shared a primer to the works of Kelly Link.


All Things Considered interviewed Dan Deacon.


Weekend Edition interviewed Mohsin Hamid about his new essay collection Discontent and Its Civilizations.


The Observer interviewed author Karl Ove Knausgaard.


PopMatters previewed March's new music releases.


All Things Considered interviewed Robert Christgau about his new memoir Going into the City: Portrait of a Critic as a Young Man.


The Guardian recommended the week's best new music.


Tatjana Soli discussed her favorite books that conjure exotic locales at The Week.


Flavorwire listed the most fashionable fictional bands in film.


The Telegraph profiled author Eula Biss.


Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, 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 (Moonbabies, They Might Be Giants, and more)

Every day, Daily Downloads offers 10 free and legal mp3 downloads.


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Andy Ketch: Scamperhouse album [mp3]

Euing: Cold Water EP [mp3]

Kramies: "The Fate That Never Favored Us" [mp3]

Kristina Murray: Unravelin' EP [mp3]

Moonbabies: "Chorus" [mp3] from Wizards on the Beach (out April 28th)

Morningsiders: Unfocus EP [mp3]

The Silent Sessions: The Silent Sessions album [mp3]

Sur Une Plage: "Minimum" [mp3] from

They Might Be Giants: Flood Live in Australia album [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

This Will Destroy You: 2015-02-27, Brooklyn [mp3]


search for more free and legal music downloads at Largehearted Boy


also at Largehearted Boy:

other daily free and legal mp3 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)

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