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April 24, 2014

Book Notes - Elizabeth McCracken "Thunderstruck"

Thunderstruck

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, Myla Goldberg, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Elizabeth McCracken's new short fiction collection Thunderstruck is the work of a storyteller at the top of her game, the stories both poignant and resonant.

Nick Hornby wrote of the collection in The Believer:

"'Thunderstruck' showcases all the things this remarkable writer is so good at: the eccentric but illuminating metaphors, the deft characterization, the heart-lurching narrative development, the tenderness, the fantastic aphorisms."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.

In her own words, here is Elizabeth McCracken's Book Notes music playlist for her short story collection, Thunderstruck:


Something Amazing - "Can't Stop the Beat" by Junior Senior

In 1993, when I was working on what turned into this story, I lived in Paris with the fellow I eventually married, Edward Carey. After a few months of happiness he went off on a book tour and I was left alone in our apartment with my fear of speaking French to French people. I stayed in a lot. After a few days I developed the bad habit of putting on a music video channel to hear other human voices. Justin Timberlake's big hit "Cry Me A River" was in heavy rotation, and some Jennifer Lopez song I have since happily forgotten, and a strange vaguely upsetting 8-bit old-school computer animated video for a dance song that I loved without ever paying attention to it. Years passed. We left Paris. I forgot who recorded the dance song, or anything about it other than it was full of joy and featured a squirrel and I wanted to see it again but shouldn't shake it out of the internet. Finally I saw it on a Mashable list of great 8-bit videos: "Move Your Feet" by a Danish group called Junior Senior. I have since bought several of their albums. They are so much fun.

Property - "Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone" by Billie Holiday

The first time I ever heard this song was undoubtedly in the all-musical Warner Brothers' cartoon "One Froggy Evening," in which a man discovers a singing frog and believes his fortune is made, until it turns out the frog only sings when nobody else is around. The frog delivers "Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone" at the end of the cartoon, when he and his discoverer have been thrown in jail for vagrancy. Later I heard Leon Redbone's version (I wore out my copy of Champagne Charlie), and finally Billie Holiday's jauntily heartbroken rendition. I've always loved the strange lyrics, in which the singer demands to be remembered and forgotten at the same time. It seems like the perfect song for the main character of this story, an archivist who specializes in ephemera who himself feels ephemeral.

Some Terpsichore - "My Dreams Are Getting Better All the Time" by Tiny Tim

Tiny Tim was one of my first full-blown musical obsessions in high scool. I still love him. I saw him perform at the Middle East in Cambridge, MA, at the end of his career, on a bill with Rosie Flores—he was enjoying some little renaissance, as he did from time to time. The club was packed with people who had come—I think—ironically, since Tiny Tim's success was built on irony. The odd thing is: though his success was irony-driven, Tiny Tim himself was powered by pure earnestness and love and brilliance: he loved the music that he played. I think of all those oddball people who have become famous over the years only because they're weird, vaguely monstrous—Larry "Bud" Melman, Brother Theodore, Clara Peller—and perhaps that's how Tiny Tim's career began, but not how it ended: because of his love for music that turned his strangeness into beauty. That night at the Middle East, it was Flag Day, and he played "It's A Grand Old Flag," and won the crowd over: he drained the irony right out of them. I wanted my lady who sounded like a musical saw to be like that: monstrous, and then beautiful, and then both at the same time.

Juliet - "When Things Go Wrong"- Robin Lane & the Chartbusters

Though there's nothing of me in any of the characters in "Juliet," the heart of the story is absolutely based on fact: when I was the Circulation Desk Chief at the Somerville Public Library, a teenage patron was arrested, and later convicted, of the murder of his best friend's mother. None of the library staff in this story are based on my former colleagues, but a lot of the patrons are. So my song for this story is "When Things Go Wrong," by Robin Lane & the Chartbusters, because one of my favorite patrons, Tim Jackson, was the drummer for the band, and also because it's a great song.

The House of Two Three-Legged Dogs – "Boum!" by Charles Trenet

Some of the happiest and saddest moments of my life took place in France, with the music of Charles Trenet as the soundtrack. My first week in Paris I bought a CD of his greatest hits at a store near the Pompidou Centre, & I walked around the Marais with my Discman (this was 2003, O my children) listening to his songs, which at the time seemed like pure joy, particularly "Boum!" Trenet wrote thousands of songs, including "La Mer" which was translated into "Beyond the Sea." In 1954 while in New York he announced that he was going to marry Doris Duke, who then asserted that she'd never met him; in 1963 he spent 28 days in prison, on charges that he'd corrupted the morals of four 19-year-old men. Rumor has it that Maurice Chevalier ratted on him to the police, jealous of Trenet's success. Now when I listen to "Boum!" (the sound you heart makes, according the song) I heard not only the possibility of disastrous explosion, but the strange sadness of Trenet's own life.

Hungry: "Afternoon Delight" by the Starland Vocal Group

I grew up in the 1970s, the heyday of steak houses where you pushed your tray along a track and augmented your dinner with baked potatoes and rolls and cubed jello in cut glass bowls. It was also the first age of frozen yogurt: in my memory, the yogurt was nearly always peach-flavored and the color of the "flesh" crayon in the Crayola box. At one steak house not too far from my childhood home, there was a frozen yogurt stand called Afternoon Delight, which now strikes me as the kind of period detail I'll tell my grandchildren about. So I didn't go to the Stork Club or the Hungry I: I ate peach yogurt at Afternoon Delight. Off-color humor that I didn't quite get flavors a lot of my 1970s memories: peach yogurt the color of skin, sweet but not delicious; dirty t-shirts whose jokes I couldn't parse. I still had my innocence, but I knew it was being threatened: skyrockets in flight.

The Lost & Found Department of Greater Boston

This story was once a piece of something larger (something larger! What a euphemism: a novel that didn't make it). In it the main character, Asher Blackbird, was a music obsessive, who lived in the basement of his house with an enormous cabinet stereo player, the kind that opens like a hopechest, of the exact sort I bought myself at a yardsale as a teenager. I didn't listen to popular music in those days, because I was afraid of doing it wrong: I once bought tickets to a concert that I remember as being a double bill of Journey and The Cars, though now that I type that, it sounds impossible. At any rate, the idea of going—of being in public while enjoying music—filled me with panic, and in the end I gave the ticket to my friend Donny Gallagher. For the failed novel—I really should have a T-shirt printed up that says, DON'T ASK ME ABOUT MY FAILED NOVELS—I invented all kinds of fake bands and albums, but for some reason when I think about this kid listening to music, I imagine him in the basement listening to Marvin Gaye sing "Sexual Healing," a song that was a big hit when I was a teenager, and one I loathed, largely because I was a prude. Later I was ashamed I'd hated that song so much—it's so lovable—but now that I am a middle-aged lady, I once again have great sympathy for my prudish young self. Let's face it: "sexual" is one of the least sexy words in the English language, and the phrase "Sexual Healing" sounds like a something you'd see on a sign above the aisle at CVS that houses the K-Y jelly. The song is great. The lyrics are pretty bad. It happens sometimes.

Peter Elroy: A Documentary by Ian Casey- "Let Me Play With Your Poodle" by Tampa Red

I love old dirty music—filthy, really, not of the "Afternoon Delight" variety, not even of the very grown up "Sexual Healing" sort. I want my music not suggestive but ludicrously bawdy. When I think about the two characters in this story driving across country in the 1980s, they're listening to Tampa Red's "Let Me Play With Your Poodle" on a retrofitted tape deck, which they would pull out when they parked in New York at the end of the trip. One of them would leave a sign in the car window that said NO RADIO. One of them would have made the joke, "No soap, either."

Thunderstruck

"Carrickfergus" is one of the saddest, most stirring songs I know: pure melancholy and yet deeply pleasurable. Music can do that. Can fiction? I want the answer to be yes. It's about being separated by an ocean from someone you love, as the characters in this story are, and also about the loss of childhood innocence ("My childhood days bring back sad reflections/of happy times spent so long ago/My childhood friends and my own relations/have all passed on now like melting snow"). I love the version that Van Morrison, one of the singers of my heart, recorded with the Chieftains.

BONUS TRACK: "Slip Away" by David Bowie

I don't know why I'm including "Slip Away," other than I unearthed it while writing this list. The Uncle Floyd Show was a cable television program out of New Jersey, hosted by the piano-playing Floyd Vivino—it was sort of a parody of a children's show, with a lot of bad jokes and raucous laughter and a puppet named Oogie. A lot of the Uncle Floyd Show was a vaguely monstrous, in a way that interested me just as Tiny Tim interested me. They had a lot of musical guests, including The Ramones; I saw Lena Lovich on an episode. I have just found out to my absolute amazement that David Bowie, a fan, wrote a tribute song. Apparently John Lennon introduced him to the show. Life is wondrous strange.


Elizabeth McCracken and Thunderstruck links:

the author's website
the author's Wikipedia entry

Kirkus review
Minneapolis Star Tribune review
Portland Press Herald review
Publishers Weekly review

Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination
Wall Street Journal interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Book Notes (2012 - ) (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
Largehearted Word (weekly new book highlights)
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


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)





April 24, 2014

Book Notes - Ben Peek "Dead Americans"

Dead Americans

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, Myla Goldberg, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Ben Peek's Dead Americans contains masterfully told works of speculative fiction, alternative histories that amaze and enrapture.

Publishers Weekly wrote of the book:

"Although Peek's appropriation of other people's lives for his own purposes can be disquieting, readers will be seduced by the outrage that drives much of his fiction and Peek's undeniable skills as a writer."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.

In his own words, here is Ben Peek's Book Notes music playlist for his short story collection, Dead Americans:


Dead Americans and Other Stories is ten stories long and, at one point during the publication of it, I realised that I had begun to organise it much like an album. I wasn't terribly surprised.

For a long time, I harboured the desire to be in a band, to scream into a microphone, and grind out noise with a guitar and distort it. It never worked out because, as the description makes adequately clear, I had no musical talent whatsoever. Like most writers, I suppose you could claim that I came to it through a system of failure – music, painting, merchant banking, warlord, all of it, by the time I turned eighteen, had come and gone, and I'd take up writing, instead. I wrote short fiction (and the occasional novel) for fifteen years before the publication of Dead Americans, and it always struck me how much short fiction was much like music. You release tracks of individual narrators, forming tone, style, and subtext for it, but you do it not to create a singular tone such as with a novel, but to create a variety of styles and subtexts. For me, by the time Dead Americans was closing in on being published, I found myself veering between organising a landscape of short and tight pieces that were like short sharp shocks, and the longer pieces that created landscapes of distorted sound and darkness, much like the albums that I love.

This, then, is the soundtrack for Dead Americans and Other Stories.

'People Ain't No Good' – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Dead Americans opens with 'There is Something So Quiet and Empty Inside of You That it Must be Precious'. The story focuses on a small town cop, Williams, who finds the body of a young teenage white girl in the remains of a burned down mosque. The simple piano notes that start the song are the perfect companion to the scene of Williams standing outside the mosque with the corpse. The song itself contains the story of a marriage that has ended and it mirrors Williams' own marriage. His wife has left him, he hasn't seen child his seen for years, and he feels that his life has been lived.

'Gurrumul History (I Was Born Blind)' - Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu

The British settlement of Australia and the search for a national identity has been the cause of much sorrow. From Terra Nullis, the cultural and educational whitewashing of indigenous history – there was no one, history books once claimed, here before the British – to the stolen generation, a horrific government sponsored program of forcibly removing indigenous children from their parents, awful damage has been done to the identity of Australia. It is in such a landscape that 'The Dreaming City', the second story in Dead Americans, sits. 'Gurrumul History (I Was Born Blind)' by Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, a blind indigenous musician whose beautiful voice contains the heartbreak of past, but also the hope for the future, sings both in his native language and in English, and captures the struggle of two cultures that must co-exist if a healthy future for either is to be achieved.

'Man in Black' - Johnny Cash

'Johnny Cash', the third story, is filled with Cash's music, but the one song that is the companion to it is 'Man in Black', Cash's autobiographical piece about his clothing. In my childhood, my parents would take us out into the country for holidays. We would get up in the dark (you had to make good time and we could not afford a night in a hotel) and we would pile into the car, two adults, two kids, and a dog. They would take us out into big, dry empty pieces of land along roads that had no gutters and ended in ragged bits of tar on the side of the road. The trips would take anywhere between eight to twelve hours and my parents had a collection of cassettes that would rotate through the tape deck of the car, and it is here that I learned about American country music, and where I first encountered Johnny Cash.

Cash followed me through the years. He was one of the two male figures I associated with America strongly and, when I wrote the first of what would be called 'Dead American' stories, it was not a surprise that he ended up in there. He was a figure to juxtapose the image the States was presenting to the world under the Bush administration at the time (outside America, it wasn't pretty). Cash was an interesting figure, and the words of 'Man in Black' applied well then, and sadly, still apply, as the horror of war, the divide of wealth, and the struggle of so many men and women to be equal continues.

'It Don't Come Easy' - Bettye LaVette

Bettye LaVette's cover of, yes, Ringo Starr's original is, like much of LaVette's excellent covers, vastly superior to the original. LaVette has a beautiful, amazing, soulful voice, and in her voice, you can hear the lives of the two characters in 'Possession'. One, an enslaved prostitute, relates her story to a middle aged, solitary woman who has lived in the ruins of the earth. As LaVette sings, 'You have to pay your dues/if you want to sing the blues,' and both woman feel as if they have done that, one through her body, and one through her isolation. 'Possession' is the first of four stories set in a world where a red sun hangs high in the sky, and the environment has been destroyed, and LaVette's cover captures all you need to understand of the world from the first note.

'God Bless Our Dead Marines' - Thee Silver Mount Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-la

'The Souls of Dead Soldiers are for Blackbirds, Not Little Boys' is a war story inspired by my own awareness of the huge imbalance that exists between the West and other countries when it came to the West's capabilities, especially in war. I find it deeply offensive to read an article that laments the loss of one or two white soldiers while casually listing the number of non-white combatants in the thousands, each a nameless villain to be thrown in a mass grave.

My disgust finds a familiar voice in the work of A Silver Mt. Zion, the shortened version of Thee Silver Mount Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-la. A Silver Mt. Zion is how they called themselves on their first release, He Has Left Us Alone but Shafts of Light Sometimes Grace the Corner of Our Rooms... but 'God Bless Our Dead Marines' comes from the album, Horses in the Sky. The title of the story is my homage to many of their own long, brilliant, twisting titles, and the line, 'God bless this century', sung in such cynicism is one that I find strongly resonates with the story's meditation on war, the technological imbalances that devastate one side and leave the other with minimal casualties.

'Love Will Tear Us Apart' - Joy Division

'The Funeral, Ruined', is a companion piece to 'The Souls of Dead Soldiers are for Blackbirds, Not Little Boys'. It focuses on a soldier, Linette, who had been on the 'winning' side of the war – the imbalance that I talked about previously has left its scars on her, just as it does on the real men and women who fight in the West's wars.

Linette has returned home to live in a city beneath giant crematoriums after an injury. The trauma of what she has experienced is something that she can not let go, and it haunts her and her relationship. The lines from 'Love Will Tear Us Apart', where Ian Curtis sings 'You cry out in your sleep/all my failings exposed' speaks particularly to her lover's letters, sent to her before he performs an act that deeply offends her. The song, released on Joy Division's album Closer after Curtis' death, echoes all the darkness of his personal life, including failing of his marriage, and it finds an easy perch here in Linette's life.

'A Little God in My Hands' - Swans

Swans latest single, 'A Little God in My Hands', is from their upcoming album, To Be Kind, and the moment I heard it, I knew that it settled into the Red Sun world just perfectly. The story, 'Under the Red Sun', which is the first Red Sun story I wrote, is set in a world where the ash falls from the sky, where bodies are dug out of the ground and reused in weird science fueled horror that mirror Mary Shelley's creature from Frankenstein. To hear the loud, drawn out screams of the instruments in the Swans' song is to feel the narrator's internal frustration, and to hear the cry of 'What's my name?' in the final parts is to feel his conflicted identity, his loyalty to his family and to his love.

'Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)' – Nancy Sinatra

Reportedly, Nancy Sinatra's dark, haunting version of 'Bang Bang' (originally recorded by Cher) was mostly unknown until Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill, but I had grown up with it to the exclusion of Cher's original. Perhaps it is unsurprising since, in 1966, when Cher released her version (written by her partner at the time, Sonny Bono), at least four other artists, five if you include Nancy Sinatra, released the song on an album that year.

It is the Sinatra version that I will always remember, though. To me, Nancy Sinatra and her smokey voice are a part of American royalty, sitting beside Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack, the Kennedy Family and their various deaths, poor, sad Marilyn Monroe and, of course, John Wayne. I don't believe that a collection called Dead Americans could be called that without a story about John Wayne and so I have a story entitled just that.

My story is not truly about the person that Marion Morrison – Wayne's real name – was, but rather about the persona that John Wayne the actor had. It is a story that draws itself from the honest, rough, figure he cut. The unapologetic but still politically incorrect opinions of women he gave, the pride, the masculinity, all that went into forming the model for a type of American male. Sinatra's song plays in my story when, through a strange moment, Wayne ends up in a Walmart, and buys himself a gun – because at that moment, no other song could play.

'Hells Bells' – Sunny Hodge

'Octavia E. Butler' is a story based on Octavia E. Butler's work. An African American science fiction writer, she produced her work in a male dominated field, and took the traditionally white, masculine genre forms and made it her own. What better song, then, to sit beside a story that is drawn out of her body of work, than a cover of AC/DC's 'Hells Bells'? Sung by Sunny Hodge, a largely unknown musician whose piece opened the album, Backed in Black, a female only tribute album to AC/DC, it is simply amazing. Hodge takes the masculine driven piece of guitars and drums of rock and strips it back. It is entirely her own, which is exactly how it should be when one talks about Octavia E. Butler.

'Jezebel' – The Drones

The final piece in Dead Americans is 'theleeharveyoswaldband', the story of a meeting between a blogger, Zarina Salim Malik, and a musician, Lee Brown, who she has helped make famous. At its heart is a story about emptiness, about the cruelty and kindness people do to one another, and it is very much the companion piece to 'There is Something so Quiet and Empty Inside of You That it Must be Precious'. However, whereas the elegant, dark notes of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds defined that first song, the rough, wild notes and violent imagery of the Drones' 'Jezebel' drives 'theleeharveyoswaldband', providing the emotional insight into the life of Lee Brown, who is at the centre of the piece. It would play, not in the final moments, not as we leave the strong, but from the moment Lee opens the door and lets Zarina into his trailer, and would not stop until the final words of the piece are said.

'Jesus Never Lived on Mars' - Lee Harvey Oswald Band

'Jesus Never Lived on Mars' is the bonus track of Dead Americans, the hidden piece of a band that I never knew existed, but which my girlfriend told me (she is American herself, and thus knows of many terrible, obscure bands that I don't). The Lee Harvey Oswald Band is exactly how I imagine theleeharveyoswaldband of the final story to sound, before Lee Brown was abandoned by his band mates and he became a solo sensation. A distorted bit of punk rock, it isn't terribly surprising that Lee Harvey Oswald Band never took off in huge ways, but you have to admire any band that would name their songs 'Jesus Never Lived on Mars' and 'Getting Wasted with the Vampires'. It would be 'Jesus Never Lived on Mars' that would play after a long silence at the end of the album. The kind of long, album silence that you'd only reach by accident, and which would cause you, once again, to wonder why bands put bonus tracks on their albums.

It mirrors my experience with bonus tracks, at any rate.


Ben Peek and Dead Americans links:

the author's website
the author's blog
the author's Wikipedia entry

Publishers Weekly review


also at Largehearted Boy:

Book Notes (2012 - ) (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
Largehearted Word (weekly new book highlights)
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


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Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week - April 24, 2014

Librairie Drawn & Quarterly


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

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

Every week, Montreal's Librairie Drawn & Quarterly bookstore recommends a selection of new books, including fiction, art books, magazines, and comics.


The Worn Archive

The Worn Archive
edited by Serah-Marie McMahon

Drawn & Quarterly is very proud to be the publisher of The Worn Archive, which compiles the first 14 issues of the beloved publication into one beautifully, chubby little book. For those of you who don't know, the WORN Fashion Journal is a bi-annual, Toronto-based publication that delivers opinion and intelligent commentary, untainted by the demands of advertisers. Publisher's Weekly called it a "deliciously designed, intelligent, quirky, entertaining, and provocative archive" and Design Week praised its exploration, "not just of fashion and its frivolities, but how clothes, design, art and pop culture are all inextricably linked."


Neurocomic

Neurocomic
by Dr. Hana Roš and Matteo Farinella

New from our pals at Nobrow press is this groundbreaking graphic novel that unravels the mysteries of the human brain. The authors are both neuroscientists: Dr. Hana Roš is a professor at Oxford and Matteo Farinella is an illustrator specializing in graphic journalism and scientific illustration who also received a PhD in neuroscience from University College London. Throughout Neurocomic, the two of them take the reader on a journey through the human brain: a place of neuron forests, memory caves, and castles of deception. Along the way, you'll encounter Boschean beasts, giant squid, guitar-playing sea slugs, and the great pioneers of neuroscience.


Lumberjanes

Lumberjanes
by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis and Brooke Allen

Lumberjanes continues Boom! Studio's strategy of taking creators who have had success on Adventure Time, Regular Show and Bravest Warriors and giving them their own projects, to great effect! Lumberjanes is a Buffy-esque story about five teenage girls at scout camp beating up monsters (yetis, three-eyed wolves, and giant falcons!) and solving a mystery with the whole world at stake. And with the talent of acclaimed cartoonist Noelle Stevenson, talented newcomer Grace Ellis writing, and Brooke Allen on art, this is going to be a spectacular series that you won’t want to miss.


The Circle

The Circle
by Dave Eggers

New in paperback this week is Dave Eggers' hit novel from last year. From the Pulitzer-nominated man behind McSweeney’s comes a cautionary tale about the threats posed by our society’s overzealous embracing of technology. Allegorical and satirical, with plenty of overt nods to Orwell, the book’s message is also an earnest warning about the hazards of corporate culture and social media obsession run amok.


The Panopticon

The Panopticon
by Jenni Fagan

Also new in paperback is Jenni Fagan's page-turning thriller starring 15-year-old unreliable narrator Anais Hendricks, who we first encounter in the back of a police car on her way to the sinister Panopticon, a home for chronic young offenders. Drawing comparisons to Heather O’Neill’s Lullabies for Little Criminals, A Clockwork Orange, Trainspotting, The Hunger Games, and even to Tao Lin, Fagan has crafted a story of youth in revolt that's poised to become a future classic.


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 (Lorrie Moore Interviewed, A New Veruca Salt Song, and more)

Bookworm interviewed Lorrie Moore about her short story collection, Bark.


Stream video of a new Veruca Salt song.

Stereogum interviewed the band.


Flavorwire listed 20 great southern short stories.


Fleet Foxes frontman Robin Pecknold explained the reasons behind the band's hiatus.


L Magazine recommended 8 NYC bands you need to hear.


Robert Coover discussed his writing routines at the Boston Globe.


Rolling Stone listed the coolest musician cameos on television shows.


The new issue of Music and Literature is a tribute to author Clarice Lispector.


Microphone Check interviewed Nas about the 20th anniversary of his classic Illmatic album.


The shortlist has been named for the 2014 Orwell prize for political writing.


The Atlantic is streaming the new Old 97's album.


The A.V. Club interviews Aimee Mann and Ted Leo about their new music project, The Both.


The New Yorker features a previously unpublished Shirley Jackson short story.


Drowned in Sound interviewed singer-songwriter Angel Olsen.


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


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics 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)s


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Daily Downloads (Dva, Andrew St. James, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Andrew St. James: Live in NYC album [mp3]

Daphne Lee Martin: Frost album [mp3]

Emma Harvey: "Leading Me Now (Tallest Man on Earth cover)" [mp3]

The Furrs: "Get on Your Horse" [mp3]

Less Is More: "Maybe We'll Die" [mp3]

Record/Start: "Electric Minds" [mp3] from EP1 (out May 26th)

Reservations: Reservations EP [mp3]

Rig 1: "Duality" [mp3] from North Of Maple

Savannah Jaine: Savannah Jaine EP [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Dva: 2014-03-14, Austin [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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April 23, 2014

Book Notes - Holly George-Warren "A Man Called Destruction: The Life and Music of Alex Chilton, From Box Tops to Big Star to Backdoor Man"

A Man Called Destruction: The Life and Music of Alex Chilton, From Box Tops to Big Star to Backdoor Man

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, Myla Goldberg, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Holly George-Warren's A Man Called Destruction is an impressively researched and definitive biography of Alex Chilton, both the man and his work.

Kirkus wrote of the book:

"A thoroughly reported biography illuminating the life and work of one of the more mystifying and influential cult figures in rock.... Chilton receives the biography he deserves."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.

In her own words, here is Holly George-Warren's Book Notes music playlist for her book, A Man Called Destruction: The Life and Music of Alex Chilton, From Box Tops to Big Star to Backdoor Man:


Probably the best part of writing A Man Called Destruction, my biography of Alex Chilton, was filling my days and nights with his music: on the computer, on the stereo (CD player, boombox, and turntable), and in the car. I had so much music to listen to, including his albums and singles with the Box Tops, his work with Big Star, his solo recordings dating back to 1969, and lots of one-off things, albums he produced, and recordings where he played guitar. Much of it I'd been collecting since the late 1970s, including 45s, EPs, LPs, audiocassettes, and CDs. Collectors sent me lots of fantastic bootlegs of live performances, outtakes, and never-before-released songs. Not to mention all the stuff I found on YouTube…

So it's impossible to list and discuss all the songs I listened to while researching and writing the book. But I can point out a few treasures that kept me company along the way:

Box Tops Coca-Cola commercials – These three ditties were such a great find and lots of fun: Alex is using his "Letter" voice and the lyrics describe a band of teens on the road, on the prowl for cute girls and a certain refreshing beverage.


"I Shall Be Released" : Alex does a great interpretation of the Dylan song on this Box Tops single (inspired by the version by the Band). It was one of the first songs that Alex got to choose to record; usually his producer Dan Penn called the shots. By the time of the fourth album, Dimensions, which included this track, the Box Tops were produced by Chips Moman, who gave them more leeway.

"All We Ever Got From Them Was Pain" : This is Alex at his most vulnerable; the track was never released during his lifetime, but came out on Free Again: The 1970 Sessions (Omnivore) in 2011; after what I'd learned about the tragedies in Alex's young life, the song brought me to tears.

"Thirteen" : From Big Star's #1 Record, this is another sensitive Alex song, which I discovered my son and his friends playing on guitar and singing at his sixteenth birthday party - proving what a timeless classic it is.

"The Ballad of El Goodo" : I never knew what this song – a longtime favorite from #1 Record – was about until researching the book and discovering that Alex's brother Howard was charged with resisting the draft. "El Goodo," honed during Alex's early-seventies NYC troubadour days, alludes to that. Big Star shot a little music video for the song, with Alex at the Draft Board building in Memphis.

"September Gurls" : Another timeless song that's a highlight of Big Star's Radio City. It's a crime this song wasn't a hit in 1974!

"Motel Blues" : Alex started covering this Loudon Wainwright III song when he lived in New York in 1970, playing open mic nights at Village coffeehouses. I first heard him do it on the 1992 CD, Big Star Live, a document of a 1974 radio performance at WLIR in New York. He really makes the song his own.

"Nighttime" is a portrait of love and pain on Big Star Third, also known as Sister Lovers. When that album was reissued with more tracks, another one that really got to me is Alex's haunted version of "Nature Boy." The whole album takes me to a dark but beautiful place – perfect for 3 a.m. alone at my computer.

"Can't Seem to Make You Mine" : The flip side to his 1978 single, "Bangkok," is Alex's uber-angsty version of the great Sky Saxon's Seeds classic. I can play this one over and over about a dozen times.

"Alligator Man" : Likes Flies on Sherbert, maligned by many, is the Alex Chilton album that turned me on to all kinds of roots music and honky-tonk, from the Carter Family to Ernest Tubb. I love Alex's version of this Cajun tune, originally a hit for Jimmy C. Newman.

"Thing for You": Alex used to say that this pretty song (from High Priest) was the best one he ever wrote; I wouldn't go that far, but its melody does stay with you.

"Dark End of the Street" : This collaboration with Scottish band Teenage Fanclub is an amazing cover of the Dan Penn/Chips Moman song that Alex started singing back in his Memphis days; here, Alex and his pals performed it on the BBC in the ‘90s.

"Rubber Room" : The Porter Wagoner psycho classic… as only Alex could have interpreted it; he started doing this song live right before he quit drinking in the early 80s.

"You Can Bet Your Heart on Me" – Alex recorded this Johnny Lee country song for a cool, extremely hard-to-find compilation LP called Love Is My Only Crime. For years, I only had an audiocassette dub of it from a friend's record. It came out last year as a bonus track on Electricity by Candlelight.

"Devil Girl" : A song that really shows Alex's sense of humor and fun on his '95 album, A Man Called Destruction – his last solo LP including several of his originals (half of the tracks).

"Look for the Silver Lining" : This was one of Alex's favorite Chet Baker songs (written by Jerome Kern and B.G. Desylva) and he does a beautiful version of it on a Chet Baker tribute LP called Imagination. The NYC session is where he met his future longtime drummer Richard Dworkin.

"Step Right This Way" : An obscure Glen Sherley song that Alex sang live at the Knitting Factory in February 1997, the night the power went out, and he kept playing when someone handed him an acoustic guitar. I was there and can hear myself in the audience calling out for "Alligator Man." The recording was a bootleg for years and finally came out on CD – as Electricity by Candlelight – just as I was finishing the book. It was quite cathartic to hear it again, right then at the point where exhaustion meets exhilaration.


Holly George-Warren and A Man Called Destruction: The Life and Music of Alex Chilton, From Box Tops to Big Star to Backdoor Man links:

Bookforum review
BookPage review
Flavorwire review
Kirkus review
New York Times review
NPR Books review
Paste review
Philadelphia City Paper review

Memphis Flyer interview with the author
Rolling Stone interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Book Notes (2012 - ) (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
Largehearted Word (weekly new book highlights)
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


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WORD Bookstores Books of the Week - April 23, 2014

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.


The Color Master

The Color Master
by Aimee Bender

Molly says, "If I had my way, there would be a new Aimee Bender book every year (if not even more often). The details of her gorgeously written stories are often surreal -- in one, a girl travels with her sister to learn how to mend a wounded tiger; in the title story, an apprentice works to dye cloth the precise color of the moon -- but the feelings they evoke are bittersweet and familiar."


Assholes: A Theory

Assholes: A Theory
by Aaron James

Like the saying goes, everyone's got one, or has to deal with one at least, in the various checkout lines, expressways, and dinner parties of life. But there is more to the morose than meets the eye, and ethicist/philosopher/professor Aaron James applies his Harvard PhD to the subject.


Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932

Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932
by Francine Prose

Francine Prose's exploration of Europe between the wars recalls the Leonard Cohen song, "Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye," with its intimation that, while love is old, we are always new to it: "There are many loves before us / I know that we are not new / in city and forests / they smile like me and you." This novel renders Cohen's sentiment in the past tense, and adds the pathos and intense uncertainty of the days of Hitler's initial ascent to power.


Over Easy

Over Easy
by Mimi Pond

Illustrator and cartoonist Mimi Pond uses muted colors to tell a decisively unquiet tale about life in California in the 1970s, on the cusps of hippie and punk cultures and youth and adulthood.


WORD Brooklyn links:

WORD website
WORD Tumblr
WORD on Twitter
WORD's Facebook page
WORD's Flickr photos


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

Online "Best of 2013" Book Lists

52 Books, 52 Weeks (my yearly reading project)
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)


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Shorties (Essential Biographies of Literary Women, A New Courtney Love Song, and more)

Elle listed the best biographies of literary women.


Stream Courtney Love's new single, "Know My Name."


Tor.com shared a new short story by Nicola Griffith.


Bookish recommended 2014 small press poetry books.


The Arizona Republic interviewed Mike Cooley of the Drive-By Truckers.


Stereogum shared an excerpt from Alex Niven's 33 1/3 book on Oasis's album Definitely Maybe.


The Quietus interviewed the legendary New Orleans musician Allen Toussaint.


Three Guys One Book shared an excerpt of Maxwell Neely-Cohen's novel Echo of the Boom.


Stereogum interviewed musician Owen Pallett.


B.J. Novak talked to Mashable about social media's effects on writing.


Bookforum interviewed Carl Wilson about the new edition of his book Let's Talk About Love.


Off-Ramp profiles a manufacturer that still produces music on cassette tapes.


Author Sloane Crosley listed five underrated books at Entertainment Weekly.


Flavorwire pointed out pop star profiles written by famous literary authors.


Bookish lists classic rock songs inspired by works of literature.


The Telegraph listed the 15 best North American novels of all time.


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


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics 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)s


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

Daily Downloads (Astrid Swan, William Tyler, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Astrid Swan: "Black Bear and a Hoofer" [mp3] from Astrid 4

Bastard Mountain: "Meadow Ghosts" [mp3] from Farewell, Bastard Mountain (out May 12th)

Grace Joyner: "Be Good" [mp3] from Young Fools (out May 13th)

Mock Suns: "Last Time" [mp3] from Here Nor There EP

Pamina: "Blue Mountain" [mp3]

The Penelopes: "Time to Shine" [mp3]

Ryan Hobler: "Got a Ways to Go" [mp3]

Thrift: In Transit EP [mp3]

Trophy Scars: "Gutted" [mp3] from Holy Vacants

Various Artists: The Boondocks Mixtape album [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

William Tyler: 2014-04-16, 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)

April 22, 2014

Book Notes - Mimi Pond "Over Easy"

Over Easy

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, Myla Goldberg, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Mimi Pond's graphic novel Over Easy is an impressive semi-autobiographical coming of age story set in the late 1970s. Pond impressively paints the era with her pen and ink drawings and an unforgettable cast of characters.

Publishers Weekly wrote of the book:

"Her detailed portrait of thee Imperial Cafe's small community, as it remains unaware of its own directionlessness, offers a warm take on universal themes of seeking and belonging."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.

In his own words, here is Mimi Pond's Book Notes music playlist for his novel, Over Easy:


My graphic novel, Over Easy, is a fictionalized memoir of my post-art school waitressing career in Oakland, Ca in the late 1970s in a restaurant that was an anarchic opera of sex, drugs, and eggs in the time of punk rock. From a musical perspective, the burgeoning punk music scene was a welcome relief to what had become the dregs of draggy, druggy 70s pop and rock. This was the pre-AIDS, pre-"Just Say No" era. This was the "Just Say Yes" era. To everything. Until, eventually, the consequences caught up with us.

When I worked at Mama's Royal Cafe - 1978-1982 - there were no playlists, no ipods, no spotify. The radio's nonstop blare was the scratch track to the movie unspooling before our eyes. Sometimes, depending on which speed-fried line cook was feeling especially aggressive, it could either be arena rock like Queen, Journey, Foreigner, Styx, and Toto, or the moldy bong-water of leftover 60's rock like Pink Floyd, the Moody Blues, and Jefferson Starship. A waitress in a bad mood after a breakup might dial the station that played the cocaine-fueled country rock of the Eagles, Lynda Ronstadt, and the Rolling Stones at their most dystopian, or the R&B one that played funk like Hot Chocolate, Donna Summer, Chic, Michael Jackson and the Manhattans. Yes, as much as the collision of punk and hippie had resulted in the collusion that disco really did suck, it had that undeniable beat. It could creep in when you least expected and if you liked it, back then you certainly couldn't admit it to anyone because disco was mainstream and middle class and the enemy and extremely qiana and although that seems amusing and ironic now, then, it was NOT ironic, and it was almost 100% not a good thing. This is not to say that 70s funk was bad. 70s funk was awesome.

Because FM radio in the 70s still had a renegade edge, stations like KSAN would play Jonathan RIchman and the Modern Lovers, the Ramones, Chrissy Hynde and the Pretenders, Nick Lowe, Iggy Pop,the Tubes, Ian Dury and the Blockheads, X-Ray Specs, Richard Hell and the Voidoids, the B-52s, Blondie,Talking Heads, even our local boys the Dead Kennedys. All of this was cool water in the 8-year desert of music like Seals and Crofts, the Captain and Tenille, Peaches and Herb. Can I make you understand how much we had suffered in a decade of orange, brown, and harvest gold? Now we were stepping into a world of black and white and red!

More and more, Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Costello were getting lots of airtime, which was a good thing because both of them saved me from waitressing. Elvis was my imaginary Bad Boyfriend, Bruce my imaginary Good one. Elvis' brilliant wordplay was that of a nihilistic Noel Coward: I don't want to touch you, how come everybody wants to be your friend, everything means less than zero. To me, somehow, this was catnip. Bruce's call to arms was: this town is a deathtrap, strap your hands ‘cross my engines, we can MAKE IT TO THE PROMISED LAND! ( Plus my name ended in a "y" sound so potentially I COULD have a song written about me.)I wanted to be dark and negative but underneath it all I really was my own Pollyanna. No one can ever make me embarrassed to love the Boss.

At home it was a different story. Already a seasoned thrift store shopper, I trolled the record bins there to discover things I was never going to hear on the radio. For a dime or a quarter you could take chances on old records with funny album covers. I was a jazz fan, and by that I do NOT mean 70s fusion jazz. I loved jazz vocalists like Bob Dorough, June Christy, Blossom Dearie. Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue" filled me with a profound melancholy I didn't know was even in me. Ditto Coltrane and Stan Getz. Also my friend and customer, musical savant/record store clerk Gary Lambert, would steal records for me so that I could discover for the first time, Ella Fitzgerald's Gershwin Songbook, all of Frank Sinatra's Capitol stuff, and everything Aretha. Aretha, I decided, was the Patron Saint of Single Girls. I had already been Tom Waits fan #1 since 1974, having discovered him while still a teenager in San Diego, our shared hometown. His observational and storytelling style of songwriting made him the antithesis of the bland pablum of mid-70s pop. He was just what I was looking for, the Harriet the Spy of the music world! The fact that he, like I, was from San Diego, a blank slate of a place, gave me hope. I cannot overstate his influence on my life.

Over Easy

"Beast of Burden" - Rolling Stones
This is the song that you would hear cranked up as loud as it would go the minute the restaurant closed at 3 pm and the "open" sign got turned around. For me it was less about bad relationships and more about being more than just a waitress. I've walked for miles! My feet are hurting!

"Thunder Road" - Bruce Springsteen
If ever there was a heralding cry to get the fuck out of Dodge, it's this song. I spent my entire waitressing career knowing that it was going to take a lot of effort and discipline force of will to save my money and quit and move to New York. Plus the opening lines "The screen door slams/Mary's dress waves/like a vision she dances across the porch as the radio plays" sound like this painting by a personal hero, Edward Hopper.

"Half a Boy and Half a Man" - Nick Lowe
I spent about 18 years knowing that I had to craft my waitress experience in Oakland into a cohesive story and trying to figure out exactly what that story was. After my first child was born, I finally realized that the main character in the story, Lazlo, was who Nick Lowe was singing about, a boy-man caught up in a carnival ride of lowlifes and bars and riding around in cars.

"Surrender" - Cheap Trick
I have the most vivid memory of our restaurant manager ( named Lazlo in my story) singing along with this song. Cheap Trick was an anomaly, identifying neither as hippie or punk or glam or anything else. Like Lazlo, they were just delightfully subversive, making reference to the band Kiss, lesbians in the military, mom and dad smoking pot. And the message seemed to me to be that you can work (at least for a time) for THE MAN and still keep the best part of yourself whole.

"You Sexy Thing" - Hot Chocolate
Every time I try to express what this song means I wind up sounding like Miss Jane Hathaway from The Beverly Hillbillies. It's funk, dammit!

"Love and Happiness" - Al Green
This is a great song about the miseries of love, about those 3 a.m. naked lightbulb moments of complete despair and abandonment and panic, where think if you are betrayed now it means you are betrayed forever.

"I Wanna Be Sedated" - Ramones
You haven't lived until you've been asked by the doctor attending your abortion what kind of music you'd prefer to listen to and you say, "I Wanna Be Sedated" and he says, "Huh. I don't know them. How about classical?"

"Brass in Pocket" - Pretenders
I never saw the video for this song while I was a waitress. It featured Chrissie Hynde as a waitress flirting with her male customers, but all I knew was it was about trying to get someone's attention. Except I misheard the lyric, "Gonna make you notice." I thought it was "gonna make you more tense," which I actually liked better, because when flirting with male customers, I really did enjoy making them nervous. Before I worked in the restaurant I was a nerdy lump. The other waitresses were my feminine role models. The restaurant was where I learned how to be a woman.

"What's So Funny ‘Bout Peace Love and Understanding" - Elvis Costello
Written by Nick Lowe but really put over the top by Elvis Costello, is one of the great rock anthems of all time, if for no other reason, because he betrays the soft, humanist core hidden inside his hard nihilist shell. If a hard-bitten cynic like him is forced to beg hippies and punks to just get along, for god's sake, listen to the man.

"Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll" - Ian Dury
If ever there was a rallying cry for what was going on in the restaurant I was working in, it's this cheeky ditty.

"Roadrunner" - the Modern Lovers
This is another great rock anthem of all time. Jonathan Richman was the boy every female art student in the country wanted to sleep with in 1975 when this album came out. And why not? You heard this song and suddenly you understood what was wrong with every other song on the radio. It's just a song about driving, but in a way it's like waking up in the back seat of a car in the middle of the night and not knowing where you're going, and that's a good thing.

"Deadbeat Club" - B-52s
Although the earliest B-52 songs were a part of the aural tapestry of my waitressing career, this song, when it came out in 1990, inspired the writing of Over Easy because it really did express that languid ennui of youth. Although I was no deadbeat, working to support myself as I did, it conveyed that sense that we would always have all the time in the world to hang around in diners and drink too much coffee, and dance in the garden in torn sheets in the rain. In the rain!

"Eggs and Sausage" - Tom Waits
As an art student, I kept constant sketchbooks while drawing in diners, in buses, on bus benches and in bus depots. Imagine my thrill upon stumbling upon this aural sketchbook, the perfect version of what I was trying to do visually. Of course his version had a far more expert, noir/30s B movie, Reginald Marsh overlay.

"Young Americans" - David Bowie
This song is seared in my memory because a young gay dishwasher, jacked up on speed was busy singing and dancing along with this song one particularly difficult shift when he was supposed to be busing tables. When I asked him to get to get me some more coffee cups, he snapped, "Get ‘em yourself, bitch." I hurled a cup at him. Allllllll right!


Mimi Pond and Over Easy links:

the author's website

NPR Books review
PopMatters review
Publishers Weekly review
San Francisco Chronicle review

Comics Reporter interview with the author
Flavorwire interview with the author
Hollywood Reporter profile of the author
Los Angeles Times profile of the author
Paris Review essay by the author
Paste interview with the author
Pop Candy interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Book Notes (2012 - ) (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
Largehearted Word (weekly new book highlights)
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


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This Week's Interesting Music Releases - April 22, 2014

Black Prairie

Fortune by Black Prairie (the Decemberists minus Colin M, Clint Mansell's soundtrack for the film Filth, and especially TEEN's The Way and Color are the new albums I can recommend this week.

Farewell Transmission (Music of Jason Molina) is a tribute album to the Songs: Ohia and Magnolia Electric Co. frontman which includes contributions from My Morning Jacket, Sarah Jaffe, and others.

Reissues include XTC's Skylarking: Corrected Polarity Edition, a remastered and expanded edition of the band's 1986 album.

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:

The Apache Relay: Apache Relay
Army Of The Pharaohs: In Death Reborn
Augustana: Life Imitating Life
Bastille: All This Bad Blood
Black Bananas: Physical Emotions
Black Prairie: Fortune
Clint Mansell: Filth (soundtrack)
Death: Death III
DJ Diamond: Flight Muzik Reloaded
Dust Moth: Dragon Mouth
Ed Schrader's Music Beat: Party Jail
Eels: The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett</a>
Future: Honest
G. Love and Special Sauce: Sugar
Herbie Hancock: Maiden Voyage (reissue) [vinyl]
Heterotic: Weird Drift
Iggy Azalea: The New Classic
Illum Sphere: Spectre Vex [vinyl]
Jeff McIlwain and David Wingo: Joe (soundtrack)
Keb Mo: Bluesamerica
Keir Neuringer: Ceremonies Out of the Air
Kelis: Food
Luxembourg Signal: Distant Drive
Magic Drum Orchestra: MDO
Margot and the Nuclear So and So's: Sling Shot to Heaven
The Menzingers: Rented World
Microwaves: Regurgitant Phenomena
Neon Trees: Pop Psychology
Origamibiro: Odham's Standard
Peter Stampfel: Better Than Expected
Pulse Emitter: Planetary Scale Synth Hypnosis
Purling Hiss: Dizzy Polizzy
Ramases: Complete Discography (6-CD box set)
Semi Precious Weapons: Aviation
The Shackeltons: Records
TEEN: The Way and Color
Thought Forms / Ebsen and the Witch: Split [vinyl]
To Kill A King: Cannibals with Cutlery
Various Artists: Farewell Transmission (Music of Jason Molina)
Various Artists: Soul Jazz Records Presents: Gipsy Rhumba
Various Artists: The Amazing Spiderman 2 (soundtrack)
The Whigs: Modern Creation
Wood Ear: Electric Alone
XTC: Skylarking: Corrected Polarity Edition (remastered and expanded)


also at Largehearted Boy:

weekly music release lists

2013 Year-End Online Music 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 (The Best Books of the Summer, An Interview with Stephen Malkmus, and more)

Publishers Weekly previewed the best books of the summer.


The Rumpus interviewed musician Stephen Malkmus.


NPR shared an excerpt from Colson Whitehead's new novel The Noble Hustle.


The Quietus reconsidered Pulp's His 'N' Hers album 20 years after its release.


NPR Music is streaming the new Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger album Midnight Sun.


Author Craig Nova recommended three coming of age novels.


Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn talked to Speakeasy about the band's latest album.


Huffington Post recommended essential books on writing.


NPR Music is streaming the new Brody Dalle album Diploid Love.


The Independent interviewed author Jhumpa Lahiri.


The 2014 Austin City Limits Music Festival lineup has been released.


Salman Rushdie remembered Gabriel Garcia Marquez in the New York Times.


NPR Music is streaming the new Pixies album Indie Cindy.


Flavorwire listed books every writer should read.


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


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics 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)s


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

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