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September 2, 2015

Book Notes - Sara Jaffe "Dryland"

Dryland

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

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

Sara Jaffe's Dryland is a poignant coming of age novel set in the Portland of the early '90s, a fascinating debut.

Publishers Weekly wrote of the book:

"Jaffe's exceptional debut, a heartfelt coming-of-age story set in Portland, Ore., in 1992, exquisitely captures the nostalgia and heartbreak of youth."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In her own words, here is Sara Jaffe's Book Notes music playlist for her debut novel Dryland:


Music is and has been an important part of my life, but it wasn't immediately easy for me to come up with a playlist for Dryland. One reason for that, I think, is that my 15-year-old main character, Julie, is just on the cusp of having music become super important to her, but it hasn't happened yet. So the music I listened to while writing the book could inflect the style and the tone of the book, but I needed to keep it out of earshot from Julie. It was interesting, though, to go back to what I was listening to and think about how it might have found its way in. Here's a list of songs that hovered around the creation of Dryland, some directly, some more oblique.

Arthur Russell, "Let's Go Swimming": About halfway through the writing of the book, I hosted a pool party/reading (there's lots of swimming in the book), and I came up with an all swimming/pools playlist. Lots of the songs are very upbeat ("Do the Swim," etc.) but the one's that most match the book are more melancholy, meditative, ambivalent about whether or not to jump on in. Arthur Russell's "Let's Go Swimming," is all whisper and space, a wistful, loose song more about a remembered desire to swim than the moment of swimming itself.

Loudon Wainwright, "The Swimming Song": Super catchy and seemingly upbeat, but upfront about the relationship between swimming and mortality: "This summer I went swimming/ this summer I might have drowned." The possibility of sinking is there in every stroke.

Frank Ocean, "Swim Good": So emo!! So dramatic!! The speaker in the song wants to "swim good," and believes that doing so will allow him to escape whatever he's trying to flee from, but it's not going to happen, no way. Sometimes failure at swimming isn't sinking, or drowning, but simply being dragged back to the shore.

Sonic Youth, "100%": This song appears near the very end of Dryland—Ben plays it for Julie after asking her if she prefers to listen to sad music or angry music when she's depressed. She's drawn to the loud guitars and discord in a way she hasn't been before, and she lets herself recognize those sounds as analogous to what's going on inside her head. I see this as her "gateway song" into more loud music (it was mine). It's also a great example of what I call an "all hook no chorus" structure—it's catchy, and the melody line is repetitive, but there's no lyric refrain. It builds subtly and arrives only at its completion.

Kurt Vile, "Peeping Tomboy": Shambly and repetitive, a song that starts with refusals ("I don't wanna change, but I don't wanna stay the same") and moves suddenly into unselfconsciously earnest affirmation of a crush on the titular "tomboy." Julie moves similarly between refusal and crushed-out self-indulgence. In the song, Vile's affirmations form a chorus of sorts, but the two refrains are oddly placed, there more for emotional resonance than structural cohesion.

Yellow Fever, "Culver City": As if someone boiled a pop song down to its bones and put it back together with nothing but string. I don't know here what's hook and what's chorus, but each section of the song is distinct, surprising, and almost unconscionably catchy. There's something about songs like these—songs that indulge in the pleasures of pop songs without following an overly determined structure—that also gets at how I think about plot. I'm invested in narrative, and in things "happening" in my fiction, but I do my best to avoid expected highs and lows, laborious attention to well-connected causes and effects. My hope is that my readers can stay close to the grain of language and experience and fill in those causal relationships, determine the shape of the story, themselves.

Aislers Set, "I've Been Mistreated": One of my favorite crush songs. The lyrical content makes it seem as if the tone should be despairing—"I don't want to be the girl that's driving you home/ just to see you in and turn and go back alone"—but the pop-gem-ness of the melodies and the somehow bold waver in vocalist Linton's voice make it clear that the "mistreatment" is itself part of the thrill of the crush. I could see Julie five years from the end of the book choosing this song to characterize her crush on Alexis.

Liz Phair, "Don't Have Time": I've been asked whether Dryland is a coming-out story. I'm undecided. But if its version of coming-out had an anthem, I'd choose this song—it's the song that accompanied the girl-on-girl kiss in the 1995 John Singleton movie Higher Learning (if memory serves—it's impossible to find any online video documentation of the scene). The song is gay only because of that association, but the pure ambivalence encapsulates my then-thinking about my sexuality. Phair, singing, as usual, in a key too low for her voice, is cynical, and self-consciously so: "If I could solve your problems/ what do you think I would be/ one stupid seagull picking Styrofoam up out of the sea." The guitars shimmer in the refrain but her voice is pissed-off, boredly, "Don't have time" for your (or her own?) problems. The song ends with nearly a minute of layered sound: crooned, dreamy melody low in the mix, guitar chord continually resolving and unresolving itself, shards of distortion that begin as an accent but sharpen, come forward. There's a vision of something easier and an impatient itching to get there. By the end of the song the static has shaped itself into the cry of seagulls, taunting the people stuck on the ground who are taunting themselves for needing them.

Rich Homie Quan, "Type of Way": I love the vague precision of the title phrase, the idea that a nondescriptive phrase, if repeated and contextualized enough, can begin to crystallize and take on meaning. It's simultaneously wholly inarticulate and completely expressive. Exciting for me at the level of language, and also a pretty sweet analogue to the way Julie expresses herself.

Dog Faced Hermans, "How We Connect": My favorite song from one of my favorite bands. Amidst the tricky-steady drums, the jagged, insistent guitar, and the dizzingly triumphant trumpet, Marion Coutts sings about the impossible possibility of two bodies ever connecting. "Poverty lies in the space between us/ mystery lies in the space between us." Because Julie has little frame of reference to understand her physical encounters in the book, she experiences both the poverty and mystery viscerally, with little mediation.

John Cale, "Paris 1919": Honestly, I'm at a loss to describe how this song is reflected in the novel, but it's probably the song I listened to most during its writing, so it must be in there somewhere. One of my most productive stints writing the book was when I had a residency at Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and I was lucky enough to wind up in a composer's studio, with a white grand piano in the middle of the room. I'd play whenever I was stuck writing, and I ended up downloading the sheet music to this one. Like so many songs I'm drawn to, the poppy structure belies some darkness to the lyrics: "You're a ghost, la la la la la la la la la."

R.E.M., "Country Feedback": This is the most prominent song in the book, the most important to Julie. Out of Time was R.E.M.'s breakthrough album, but committed listeners fast-forwarded past "Losing My Religion" to land on "Country Feedback." The song's buried under the weight of its own scrawl and the impermeability of its lyrics; finding it always feels like a discovery. Julie leafs through R.E.M. features looking for a mention of the song, which of course she never finds. She's convinced it only exists on her copy of the cassette. When Michael Stipe repeats "It's crazy what you could've had" his voice is all longing, and because the listener has no clue what, specifically, he's singing about, she gets to stand beside him and feel her own longing, rather than spill over into easy identification. Absolutely a gateway song for an indie-rock-kid in the making.


Sara Jaffe and Dryland links:

the author's website

Kirkus review
Library Journal review
Publishers Weekly review

Late Night Library interview with the author
Publishers Weekly profile of the author
Tin House 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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September 2, 2015

WORD Bookstores Books of the Week - September 2, 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.


F*ck Feelings

F*ck Feelings
by Michael Bennett and Sarah Bennett

Is something wrong or do you just feel that way? The answer is yes, and yes.


33 Artists in 3 Acts

33 Artists in 3 Acts
by Sarah Thornton

A brilliant cross-section of the many, many possible approaches to merging livelihood and art.


Prison Island

Prison Island
by Colleen Frakes

Illustrator/librarian Colleen Frakes reflects on her childhood on McNeil Island in Washington State, which she shared with the last U.S. prison accessible only by air or sea (or swimming, if it's urgent).


The Language of Houses

The Language of Houses
by Alison Lurie

Pulitzer-winner Alison Lurie examines the how we shape the environments we inhabit, and how those environments in turn shape us.


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)

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 (September's Best Books, Stream Brittany Howard's Solo Album, and more)

Men's Journal, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, and PopSugar recommended September's best new books.


Stream the solo album of Alabama Shakes frontwoman Brittany Howard, Thunderbitch.


The Other People podcast interviewed author Joshua Mohr.


Stream two Stephin Merritt songs based on poems from his 101 Two Letter Words books.


Narrative shared an excerpt from Joyce Carol Oates' memoir The Lost Sister.


The Guardian listed 10 of Lou Reed's best songs.


BookPage interviewed Margaret Eby about her new book South Toward Home: Travels in Southern Literature.


SPIN interviewed Beirut's Zach Condon about his musical inspirations.


Mask interviewed poet Tommy Pico.


ToneDeaf interviewed the founder of Saddle Creek Records.


Biographile recommended books by the late Oliver Sacks.


Pitch Weekly interviewed singer-songwriter and author John Darnielle.


Literary critic Harold Bloom on The Band's song "The Weight."


Wilco's Jeff Tweedy and Nels Cline answered questions from the Reddit community.


Elle recommended an essential book from each of the last 30 years.


Paste recommended metal albums for people who don't like heavy metal.


Vanity Fair interviewed Bill Clegg about his debut novel Did You Ever Have A Family.


The Tallest Man on Earth, aka Kristian Matsson, visited The Current studio for a performance and interview.


Fresh Air interviewed Jonathan Franzen about his new novel Purity.


Paste profiled Destroyer frontman Dan Bejar.



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 (Kandia Crazy Horse, Molly Pinto Madigan, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Ancient Mariner: Ancient Mariner EP [mp3]

Animal Pharma: An Hero EP [mp3]

Car Seat Headrest: Nervous Young Man album [mp3]

Dawn and Hawkes: Yours and Mine single [mp3]
Dawn and Hawkes: Golden Heart EP [mp3]

Hikes: Hikes album [mp3]

Kandia Crazy Horse: Live on WFMU [mp3]

Molly Pinto Madigan: Wildwood Bride (Album Sampler) EP [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

75 Dollar Bill: 2014-08-21, New York [mp3]


search for more free and legal music downloads at Largehearted Boy


also at Largehearted Boy:

other Daily Downloads

covers collections
100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads

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


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

September 1, 2015

Book Notes - Colin Channer "Providential"

Providential

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

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

Colin Channer's poetry collection Providential is a stunning debut.

Booklist wrote of the book:

"Jamaican-born Channer draws on the rich cultural heritage of the Caribbean and his own unique experience for this energetic, linguistically inventive first collection of poetry....Channer's lyrics pop and reel in sheer musicality, reveling in the colorful, conflicting crowd, from passive Rastas to seemingly countless acts of police violence....A dextrous, ambitious collection that delivers enough acoustic acrobatics to keep readers transfixed 'till the starlings sing out."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In his own words, here is Colin Channer's Book Notes music playlist for his poetry collection Providential:


Providential is my first collection of poems. In it I look hard at difficult stuff — policing, family, violence, loss. Somehow in the writing, my gaze remained tender and my hearing stayed receptive to the joke. On a basic level, Providential is a book about Jamaican police, a literary figure last tackled in 1912 when Claude McKay released his Constab Ballads.

In making these poems over 100 years after McKay published his, I drew on my own grounding in Jamaican culture and my complicated relationship with my dead father (a Jamaican cop). I also drew on the sounds of Jamaican English and American dialects, especially the ones in New York, where I moved to at 19, and lived for more than twenty years.

I write mostly in silence. But because reggae is a vital part of my literary esthetic it directs and guides this book. I admire this music that came into its own in the early 1970s and created a space for itself in the pop domain. I admire it for finding expression beyond the comedic in Jamaican patwa and English. I admire the soul force it took on after absorbing the communitarian philosophies and people-centered politics of Rastafari. This was the music's great transgression—taking the acoustic drummed, resistance of the hill-dwelling Rasta hermits electric. By putting the people's honest claim to equal rights and justice on the jukebox, by pointing to plantation boundaries as proof of structural violence, by simply loving Africa, reggae was set on by state agents—police. If this seems strange to you then you have no idea how colonialism works.

The word "babylon" in the reggae lyric refers to more than just "the system." It's a nickname for police. I can't think of a single pro-cop reggae lyric. I can't think of a single lyric that is even nuanced when it comes to (another nickname) "the beasts." But I am descended from cops on both sides and in this book I'm operating as a poet. And nothing undermines a poem more than righteousness, even if that righteousness is elsewhere, off-page, earned.

In reading through Providential now, I recognize its songs. Some had been there always, drying. Some have come to roost.


"Police and Thieves" by Junior Murvin
Providential's working title was "Police and Thieves" — the reggae original; not the punk do-over. It’s a track I’ve always liked. Deep and dubby. Fat-bottomed with some sketchy wah-wah and spacey phasing on the guitars. Junior Murvin is pure Curtis Mayfield cool here. Mentholated. Breezy. The great Lee "Scratch" Perry knew how to get the best out of singers, musicians and songs.

"The Harder They Come" by Jimmy Cliff
Film director Perry Henzell figures in the opening poem "Revolutionary to Rass." The name is taken from a line delivered by Jimmy Cliff 's character Perry's movie "The Harder They Come." This film is a deeply idiosyncratic depiction of structural violence in Jamaica. On screen we have the cops against the poor and the Christian's fighting down the Rastamen. Still, this title is pure feel-good, upstroked pop. If you're feeling underdoggish, put it on. Get yourself revved up.

"Ethiopian Serenade" by The Mystic Revelations of Rastafari
The second poem is a meditation on the emotions of the first men who signed up for the force in 1867. It couldn't have been easy for them. They were black men forming a squad only two years after white and near-white militias slaughtered a thousand or more black peasants after a revolt. "Ethiopian Serenade" is a masterful elegy of classic Rasta drumming overlaid by jazz-inflected saxes and flutes. The recording is let's say artisanal, which adds to its tone.

"1865" by Third World
This mellow-vibe tribute to the leader of the peasant uprising was in my head as I wrote the poem "Lea" — which is about a survivor of a massacre that followed the revolt. He is both a boy and an elder in the poem. A version of my mother appears as his great-grandchild. The need and capacity to have beauty in tribulation is one of reggae’s great thrusts.

"Leggo Me Hand Gate Man" by Josey Wales
This is a pulse-raising toast to outlaws. Policing in Jamaica shares many of the patterns of clan violence. The poem "Clan" gives Kingston’s gangsters their due. Josey Wales, self-named for a character played by Clint Eastwood in a western, is let’s say a man of influence on the mike and off. His narrative of badding up a bouncer outside a dancehall is detail flecked and strangely comic. The bass line is one of the first ones I learned when I bought my Fender.

"Freedom Sounds" by the Skatalites
The poem "Occupation" is a portrait of a neocolonial old ex-policeman and his nostalgia for the days of ska. In his mind ska means order and reggae its opposite. I kept a soft spot for the anxious lower middle class while making the poems in this book. This is pretty much as far as a cop could rise. The ska men with their suits and music sheets embodied decency. My mother loved ska. Eventually, I did too.

"Theme From Shaft" by The Chosen Few
This reggae cover is accidentally comical in so many ways. The good news is the groove is undisturbed. It's in many ways just a laid-back version of the original with local dudes doing their best to Yank it. The Roundtree film is referenced in the poem "Funeral" — an elegy for a charismatic vigilante cop named Porter: "Mimic of seventies westerns and gang epics …" Riiiiide awwwn ...

"Good Morning Jah" by Rita Marley
There is so much soulful sweetness and gratitude for life in this direct address to the Rastafarian god. In listening to it I can't help thinking of how it makes a strange complement to the scatological poem "Porter's Prayer" in which a vigilante cop prays for protection, beginning with: "Whoever whater/the fuck you are ..."

"Four Women" by Nina Simone
The elliptical female voice at the center of the poem "Intermezzo" tries to contain itself as it addresses a policeman sent to take a statement after a rape. I hear a similar struggle for dignity and rage-control in Simone's moving song. Whereas my speaker doesn't feel she can talk directly about the crimes against her, Simone's speakers do, especially the last one, Peaches, who growls why she's "... awfully bitter these days ..." This is a hard song to listen to. This was a hard poem to write.

"Rapture" by Blondie
I used to dance to this cut at the Paradise Garage back in the day. It makes me think of bodies free styling. New York was outlandish in those days—the early eighties. The poem "On a Dry Field in Nowhere" is my gun salute to bodies making magic moves on fields and courts.

"Shank I Shek" by Bobby Ellis
"Shank I Shek" is the people's "Taps" or "Last Post" in Jamaica. When this dirty horn classic comes on people get deep into themselves, remember their dead. They also rub up on each other and otherwise get on bad when a selector drops this classic in a party or dance. The poem "Balls" is based on a memory of seeing a teenage gunman's corpse outside the national stadium. It wasn't chalked or covered. The cops and soldiers were casual in attitude, just hanging out, standing round. When I think of the poem or the moment that inspired it something opens in my head and this song comes on.

"Drive Her Home" by U Roy and Hopeton Lewis
This risqué call-and-response number was a hit before my time. I used to hear it in rum bars with my dad. He’d have a white rum chased with milk and I’d have a copper-colored Kola Champagne. Although I didn’t understand the lyrics I felt something happen in the room every time someone punched it on the and it came on. "Corporal Teego Brown Tells Us What Every Bartender In Jamaica Knows" is partly inspired by remembered smells and feelings on early seventies bar life and this song.

Ascenseur pour l’échafaud by Miles Davis (the album)
The middle of book is anchored by a longish suite: "Fugue In Ten Movements" — to my mind a filmic poem. Listening to this album gave me the sense that I was in touch with a reference note for lonely. Listening to it over and over again, taught me something about how to keep loss as a current in a varied whole that sometimes swings upbeat. Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers are genius here.

"Stalag 17" by The Techniques All Stars
The poem "General Echo Is Dead" is a tribute to one of many Jamaican music figures killed by police. "Stalag 17" arbitrarily named for a 1950s war film is the dub track under Echo’s monster hit "Arleen". It's also under Muma Nancy’s "Bam Bam" and Tenor Saw’s "Ring the Alarm". The bass is stiff. The organ churchy. So much blues in the guitar.

"Michael Talbot Affair" by Keith Hudson
I heard strains of this dub track in my head while writing "Knowing We'll Be Mostly Wrong" -- the second to last poem in the book. Sometimes a poem begins with just a tone. It's as if the tone creates the white you write on in your head. This poem is addressed to my father, and it's about how tough it is to raise kids. There's more than a hint of "House of the Rising Sun" here, but this track is its own thing, a path that shadows a main.

"Turiya And Ramakrishna" by Alice Coltrane
The final poem gives the collection its title. It's 13 pages long, looping but clear. It begins in Rhode in the present then roams across time and location, shifts into dream logic then returns with a strong commitment to the world of gravity pulling on nouns. Like the song, the poem tends toward the lush and melancholy. Is unconsciously a blues. This poem and this song make me weep.


Colin Channer and Providential links:

New York Journal of Books review
Publishers Weekly review
Read in Colour review
Tallawah 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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Book Notes - Amy Stewart "Girl Waits with Gun"

Girl Waits with Gun

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

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

Amy Stewart's debut novel Girl Waits with Gun is a compelling historical mystery filled with unforgettable characters.

The New York Times wrote of the book:

"Stewart has spun a fine, historically astute novel... The sisters' personalities flower under Stewart’s pen, contributing happy notes of comedy to a terrifying situation... And then there is Constance: Sequestered for years in the country and cowed by life, she develops believably into a woman who comes into herself, discovering powers long smothered under shame and resignation. I, for one, would like to see her return to wield them again in further installments."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In her own words, here is Amy Stewart's Book Notes music playlist for her debut novel Girl Waits with Gun:


I'm lucky that the Kopp sisters' story began in 1914, a year that I can at least recognize from here. (I don't know how Hilary Mantel manages to write authentically about 1500, but I would love to hear her playlist.) To get Constance's voice right, I felt the need to immerse myself in pop culture of the 1910s, which meant reading that era's trashy fiction, women's magazines, and newspapers. I read play scripts to get an idea of what people were seeing--and laughing at-- on stage. And, of course, I listened to music from the era.

The youngest Kopp, Fleurette, was sixteen when the book began, and already in love with music and dance. She was always singing around the house, or putting on records to dance to. This is just one of many details taken from their real lives: Fleurette actually was a soprano, and would go on to enter signing competitions around Paterson and Hackensack.

So this is actually Fleurette's playlist. They're sweet and silly songs that a girl of her age would have been drawn to. And they're all quite fun to sing, which is important when you remember how popular songs circulated in those days. Fleurette would have gone into a music shop to look at new sheet music releases, and a store employee would have been sitting at the piano, belting out the latest songs in the hopes of selling a few. In those days, songs were meant to be sung, preferably at a party, with plenty of audience participation.

"When Father Papered the Parlor" was a big hit in 1910. Fleurette would have been about thirteen when it came out, and it probably struck her as hilarious. Silly Dad, making such a mess with the wallpaper paste that the whole family gets stuck!

Mother was stuck to the ceiling
And the kids were stuck to the floor
You never saw such a bloomin' family
So stuck up before

Billy Williams went all over the country performing this song. I just love his big, jolly, fake laugh. And although songs from that era have not a trace of irony, you do find some awfully dark and weird lyrics, such as:

And when he trimmed the edging
Off the paper with the shears
The cat got underneath it
And Dad cut off both its ears

"You Made Me Love You" came out in 1913 and was first made popular by Al Jolson, but I've always loved Bing Crosby's 1940 version. I can sing it by myself for hours in the car. I like to think of Fleurette singing it, too, although she wouldn't have benefited from Bing's bouncy version. (She also missed Cookie Monster's rendition, which is a real shame.)

Girl Waits with Gun begins with a car accident, and really, that's an appropriate way to begin any book set in 1914. The automobile was on the rise, but it hadn't totally taken over yet. Roads were bad, people still relied on horses and buggies in many parts of the country, and cars were notoriously unreliable. As evidence I submit the 1913 "He'd Have to Get Under – Get Out and Get Under (to Fix Up His Automobile)," recorded by Al Jolson and also by Billy Murray. It's all about a poor fellow who can barely manage to woo his girl, he's having to spend so much time hopping out to work on that new-fangled machine of his.

A dozen times they'd start to hug and kiss
And then the darned old engine, it would miss
And then he'd have to get under—get out and get under—and fix up his automobile.

As long as we're doing car songs, Irving Berlin wrote one in 1912 that's even more appropriate: "Keep Away From The Fellow Who Owns An Automobile."

The man I mean owns a machine, the kind you have to crank;
His great delight is to invite a girlie for a whirl
In his machine, and I just mean to kind o' warn each girl!

Yes. Men in cars were not to be trusted.

Finally, I must include at least one union song, even if Fleurette would have only heard it on the street in passing. My novel is set against the backdrop of the 1913 Paterson Silk Strikes, one of the most famous moments in the history of the American labor movement. It was organized by the Wobblies--the Industrial Workers of the World--with the idea that there should only be one union, worldwide, so that if workers anywhere were mistreated, all other workers would go out on strike in solidarity. In Paterson, most of the workers spoke very little English, so the strike organizers had to come up with simple songs and chants that everyone could understand.

I admire Joe Hill's lyrics for "The Rebel Girl" (written for Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, who organized the Paterson Silk Strikes and even gets name-checked in the novel):

We’ve had girls before, but we need some more
In the Industrial Workers of the World.
For it’s great to fight for freedom
With a Rebel Girl

But a much catchier tune is "There Is Power In a Union," which includes this memorable line:

Would you have mansions of gold in the sky,
And live in a shack, way in the back?

Sound familiar? Yeah. Like I said, I can recognize 1914 from here.


Amy Stewart and Girl Waits with Gun links:

the author's website
excerpt from the book

Guardian review
Kirkus review
New York Times review
NPR Books review
Publishers Weekly review
Washington Post review

Bergen Record profile of the author
Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for Wicked Bugs
Los Angeles Times profile of the author
Morning Edition interview with the author
Publishers Weekly profile of 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)

Shorties (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Zadie Smith in Conversation, Stream the New Widowspeak Album, and more)

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Zadie Smith's recent discussion on race, writing, and relationships.


KCRW is streaming the new Widowspeak album All Yours.


Lit Hub features an excerpt from Matt Bell's new novel Scrapper.


Music critic Jessica Hopper shared her media diet with Inverse.


Cosmopolitan recommended political books every woman should read.


The Quietus interviewed singer-songwriter Ane Brun.


Entropy wrapped up August's independent publisher releases.


Mitski played a Tiny Desk Concert.


Read an excerpt from Rachel Cantor's new novel Good on Paper.


Carrie Brownstein announced book tour dates for her memoir Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl.


Authors Annie McGreevy and Claire Vaye Watkins interviewed each other at Lit Hub.


Morning Edition profiled singer-songwriter Gin Wigmore.


Vulture profiled independent publisher Graywolf.


The Guardian is streaming Low's new album Ones and Sixes.


Bustle listed September's best new books.


ArtsBeat interviewed Miley Cyrus.


The Guardian previewed fall's best novels by Latin American writers.


Pitchfork profiled musical icon Grace Jones.


The Artery and Flavorwire previewed fall's must-read books.


VICE interviewed singer-songwriter John Darnielle about his novel Wolf in White Van.


Paste listed August's best books.


Weekend Edition interviewed FKA Twigs.



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 (Blood Sound, Amelie McCandless, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Amelie McCandless: The Curse EP [mp3]

Aryn Mitchell: DEPTH Sampler EP [mp3]

Blood Sound: Too Much Sun and Not Enough Gloom at the Beach album [mp3]

The Bloom: How It Starts EP [mp3]

Darlingside: The Ancestor EP [mp3]

Dream Chief: "Vice" [mp3]

O'Hanlons Horsebox: Songs and Stories of the Border album [mp3]

Pelicans and Their Allies: "Just Like July" [mp3] from Pelicans and Their Allies EP


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Josh Ritter: 2014-01-16, Lafayette [mp3]


search for more free and legal music downloads at Largehearted Boy


also at Largehearted Boy:

other Daily Downloads

covers collections
100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads

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


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

August 31, 2015

Book Notes - Joe Meno "Chicago Noir: The Classics"

Chicago Noir: The Classics

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

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

Chicago Noir: The Classics is yet another impressive anthology from Akashic books, edited by Joe Meno.

Booklist wrote of the book:

"Richard Wright, Nelson Algren, and Sandra Cisneros are not crime-fiction writers, and yet their Chicago certainly embodies the individual-crushing ethos endemic to noir. Meno also includes stories from writers who could easily have been overlooked (Percy Spurlark Parker, Hugh Holton) to ensure that diverse voices, and neighborhoods, are represented. Add in smart and essential choices from Fredric Brown, Sara Paretsky, and Stuart Kaminsky, and you have not an anthology not for crime-fiction purists, perhaps, but a thought-provoking document all the same."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In his own words, here is Joe Meno's Book Notes music playlist for the anthology Chicago Noir: The Classics:


Noir is the language of shadows, of the world in between. First coined by French academics to describe the gusty, urban black and white crime films produced by Hollywood in the 1940's and 50's, it's since been applied to both music and literature. Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, and James M. Cain penned gritty sagas about the shadowy underworld of American life, depicting a sense of uncertainty, desperation, and alienation. Jazz composers and musicians of that era seemed to take notice; beginning in the late '30s a gradual shift began to develop away from the harmless big band dance standards of the prewar years to songs that were increasingly melancholy, describing in music a similar sense of mystery and emotional ambiguity. The birth of bebop seems to bear this out; nervy, erratic, nearly impossible to dance to, compositions by Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, and Thelonious Monk remain as explosive and elusive as any other art from that era. A cultural shift was afoot; leaving behind the false optimism of a fictional America defined in mass-produced films, music, and books, giving way to a literature and music that presented the unfamiliar, the lurid, the uncertain, a world of shadows—of people and places reckoning with the darkness and the light—which still exists in American today.


Artie Shaw, "Nightmare." In 1938, the same year Shaw's recording of Cole Porter's "Begin the Beguine" launched him from obscurity to fame, he also composed this minor-laden melody, his clarinet screeching high like a police siren at first, then becoming languorous and cool, like a criminal on the run, trying to keep his wits, dodging police, searching for a way out. Like Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, Shaw's tone and vision led the way for other musicians and composers to explore darker, more complex themes and pointed toward the moral uncertainty of the post-war years. Few other big bands before or after attempted anything like "Nightmare."

Charlie Parker, "Laura." One of Bird's best-known tracks. Here he is able to transform the relatively tame theme from the 1945 film starring Gene Tierney into something immutable, unforgettable, full of a kind of longing that transcends the confines of the noir genre. Aided by orchestra strings, his alto gathers and soars, presenting a haunting, conflict perspective on the trappings of love.

Miles Davis, Ascenseur Pour L'Echafaud, film score. Davis improvised much of his trumpet playing on this 1958 French crime film. There's a lovely, distant quality to the way he uses the mute throughout, which make the events of the film seem faraway, mythical, and fantastic. That distance, that sense of moral ambiguity perfectly matches the tone of the film.

Stan Getz, "These Foolish Things." For someone so restrained, so subdued as to help invent bossanova, there's something amazingly urgent and overtly sexual about the playing on this downbeat ballad. It always reminds me of two lovers on the run, enjoying the last few hours of pleasure before the law comes down. The sax rides over a solitary xylophone and by the end, becomes a kind of insistent plea, delving into the all-out abandon of what one day would be called rock n' roll.

Sam Butera, "The Boulevard of Broken Dreams/Fever." Louis Prima's sideman Butera presents a crime story entirely through music, his sax taking the listener on a tour of dive bars, abandoned jewelry stores, and riverside cliffs. The song crescendos with Butera's restless sax and then slips into "Fever," an entirely stripped-down version, heavy on bass and piano. Butera's voice is non-nonsense, accentuated by handclaps, and a male chorus, driving toward another Butera sax solo, though this one is more desperate, unconstrained, sporadic. There's something about the shift from an instrumental to a vocal popular tune that feels uniquely cinematic, like a long tracking shot establishing the larger world, then giving over to the specific, intimacy of two desperate characters.

Johnny Mandel, I Want to Live! film score. Best jazz film score ever. Gerry Mulligan's take on Mandel's themes are a classic in their own right. These songs capture the fear and hopped-up electricity of Hollywood's vision of youth and criminality, basically positing that jazz and booze will always lead to murder.

Ken Vandermark, "Encino." This is the soundtrack to a film that does not exist, or not yet anyway; it's impossible to sit and listen to this long-playing number and not be inspired to conceive all manner of dastardly plots; the rhythmic lines are long and constant, the reeds subtle, an irresistible and gradual seduction, like the proposal from a former starlet to please murder her millionaire movie producer husband.


Joe Meno and Chicago Noir: The Classics links:

the author's website

Publishers Weekly review

Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for Office Girl
Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for The Great Perhaps


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)

Book Notes - Rosie Forrest "Ghost Box Evolution in Cadillac, Michigan"

Ghost Box Evolution in Cadillac, Michigan

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

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

Rosie Forrest's Ghost Box Evolution in Cadillac, Michigan won the ninth annual Rose Metal Press short short chapbook contest. This collection is as much prose poems as short stories, and is filled with haunting flash fiction built with surgically precise language.

Pamela Painter wrote of the book:

"Each flash story in Rosie Forrest's Ghost Box Evolution in Cadillac, Michigan evokes a startling, often dark, self-contained world. And each intriguing title sets a new tale into motion, unspooling with a mysterious, languid intensity."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In her own words, here is Rosie Forrest's Book Notes music playlist for her short story collection Ghost Box Evolution in Cadillac, Michigan:


Words and music are cousins in my brain; I don't even know if they actually exist in the same hemisphere, language and melody, left brain/right brain and all that, but the song of the story is where I begin—not a specific song, but a tone or a rhythm or a chord. To make a playlist has become this intricate task because in this case, it's both exactly what I love to do (developing story from song) and the complete reverse (matching song to story). I never avoid an opportunity to work backwards. Tracking backwards can open windows and clear the brush. In all my theatre years, I learned how easily I'm sucked in by a well-crafted sound design. That's how I went at this process. Not a soundtrack, necessarily, but an answer to a question: what could take us out of each story when the lights fade? This is different—let me say—than what plays when the credits roll in the movie theatre, which is usually a song that whips you back to reality. Instead, this is what happens when standing inside the story you see a door made of glass, it's locked, but the view outside is unmistakable.

So, in my mind, this playlist is what each story calls out from the last line forwards. Sometimes it's in tune with the tone or mood, and sometimes it rides the opposite wave to look down on something other. There's a hint of hope inside this ghost box, don't get me wrong, but I've learned that the dissonant chords are what interest me most. I like to hang out in the swamp and muddy my feet.

"Across the Bridge," The Tiny
Bless This Home

Without a doubt, the lead singer's startling, childlike voice is what made my ears perk up, but it's what happens musically when she sings the word, "Still" that gives me shivers. I like to think that this is the heart of Bless This Home and its precocious narrator. A kind of hunger for stillness coasts through the story. There's a yearning for something intimate and small, and maybe that's what she finds lying in the road with the strange man, a shared quiet that shifts the universe to the left. "When colors seem to fade when I'm around," she sings, and that's okay. Preferred, even.

"Halfway Home," TV on the Radio
Ghost Box Evolution in Cadillac, Michigan

Here's one that digs hard into opposites. I love the military rhythm that kicks the whole thing off, but what's entirely unexpected is the sing-song tune that emerges from the percussion. It even has a nursery rhyme quality. Nothing to be sung to a baby, but it runs counterpoint to the drum hits. It's the contrast of these two elements that gets at the weird meeting point of scaffolding and young skin, cavernous box stores and kid wonder. The song feels both urban and immediate, confident and naive. It's all happening at once, and though there's no real chaos, these voices and instruments threaten to let go and let the wild take over.

"Star," Luluc
Moonbone

I'd guess that Moonbone is the most optimistic piece in this chapbook. That is, despite their circumstances, the brother and sister are doing everything right to carry on. Their one moment in the woods isn't perfect but it is a way towards dawn, and this song offers up a simple appreciation for the night sky. About halfway through, the song slows to half its speed, and everything that blew right by before, now has shape. Just as the sister does in the final lines of the story, wondering whether her bother is repeating what she said, whether her brother heard her first. Regardless of who said what and when, there is the moss, the trees, the stars, the moon, and time.

"The Dirt," Mirel Wagner
Where We Off To, Lulu Bee?

The grit is what gets me, the behind-the-beat blue notes that sink low before they sucker punch you in the gut. This song relies on all that's not said, and isn't that the truth? On top of that, in Lulu Bee, we've got a narrator who doesn't say much at all, but years later, what if there were a moment to speak and have it cascade backwards to those early years? For Lulu Bee her moment would arrive, I think, without apology, filled with aches and dirty toenails. When Mirel Wagner sings in her weighty register, "You can't drink the dirt, even if you wanna," it's Lulu's thirst.

"The Velvet Voices," Townes Van Zandt
We'll Go No More A-Roving

Ok, I'll say it: I could have chosen Leonard Cohen's "Go No More A-Roving," that's for sure. It would have worked just fine, and usually Leonard Cohen wins any contest. But I wanted something to almost counter the mystery of the story. Like it's saying, "No, no. Nothing wrong over here." So the odd juxtaposition sounds like this: a seemingly buoyant melody that lifts you up, up, up as you wonder if these two girls will ever, ever be able to leave. In a playlist of mostly contemporary music, this oldie stands out as one of two or three from a different era. It's an odd turn even for Townes Van Zandt, with this choir that sounds more Lawrence Welk than Woody Guthrie, but here's the thing: this basically harmless tune turns eerie and strange when it calls out from the walls of an abandoned church, when the "velvet voices" descend and take over, lulling two girls into apathy. In the story, we don't see what they see, and we don't hear what they hear, though it might sound a little like a chorus dripping with sweetness.

"Sirens," Jana Hunter
Unmoored

A soft snare drum mimics the smallest waves lapping the sand, and the time signature rocks the literal houseboat. Back and forth. Back and forth. While King struggles to make sense of his time with Uncle Bart, there's the lake, the loon, the chill in the air, and sure, it's not the ocean, but the sirens' call can come from anywhere, right? From a longing to be cared for, to be rocked to sleep by something warmer than northern lake water?

"One Of Mine," Holly Golightly
Paper/Boy

She sings about "long distance," and I had to laugh because a few blocks away can feel like long distance to a new love, a whole nighttime can be a year. Her voice is playful and teenage-dreamy, although there's a touch of doubt in her lyrics when she says, "I gotta get the message to you to make you see." The whole song sounds like it's sung through a tin can, and the story, too, has that tactile feel of trying to get something right, and the editing we do before we present our most casual and unaffected selves.

"My Body's a Zombie For You," Dead Man's Bones
What Happened on Wednesdays (As Told By Someone Who Probably Wasn't There)

Ha. Yeah, that's what it's called, and boy do I love the light laugh that starts it all off. Even though the story has a morbid veil, I wanted to bring out the playful quality. It is, after all, just a game, and these teenagers are coming together to play at danger, all the while hurling fake gusto and bravado into that basement. There's no hurtful intention at first; where it goes is not where any one person takes it, and the lasting hook into Eve is no one person's fault.

"Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," Nina Simone (Zeds Dead Remix)
Gun Moll

A classic song all dolled up in a techno costume, perfect for an off-the-wall Halloween party. Also playing dress-up is the connection between this young couple, and while I'm not sure these two would have made it for the long haul, their immersion into their pretend world is what cuts an already tenuous thread. "Don't you know no one in life can always be an angel, when everything goes wrong you see some bad," Nina says, and while Georgia would struggle to come out and say this, I can see it running through her mind as her boyfriend splits, the techno beats clouding the whole thing, distracting her from any real culpability.

"Ghost Train," Typhoon
The Field, A Religion

I'll be honest, I tried to avoid songs with "Ghost" in the title. I didn't want the connection between story and song to rely on an obvious word. This little riff gets stuck in my head like crazy. I'm drawn to the multiple voices, and how it moves forward while staying in place. That might sound loony, but give it a listen, and I think you'll agree. It captures the seesaw affect of the two families—how they travel through the same brushing past each other, touching lightly until the touch is more, and finally, too much.

"Josie," Donovan
Taps

Another oldie, and maybe I cheated a little here. Eli sings this song throughout Taps, sings it for Josie until "I won't fail ya, I won't fail you, have no fear" becomes a promise or a bargain. A sweet tune, "Josie" is about a bigger love than the singer wants to admit. He loves her from afar even when she's in his bed. Doubtful that Eli sees that connection, but he wants to impress her, and maybe hopes that one day when two of them tromp through the winter woods instead of three, she might relent. If they ever get another chance.

"River Of No Return," Scout Niblett
Possum Kingdom

It's the half-sung, slightly out of tune voices on top of a lovely string melody that unsettles a person, disconnected but all dancing on the same dance floor. What I wanted to capture here was the basement staircase, the need to climb those stairs at the very end of the story, but knowing deep down that there's a certain kind of sadness up there. Younger voices singing about "no return" as if they know, but likely they don't, they can only guess at it, while the real thing is in the kitchen, a husband calling out for help as he watches his wife slip away.

"Had To Go," Heartless Bastards
He Showed Us a Road

In an unusual twist, this was the first song I found for the playlist. Unusual because endings and final notes can consume me—can consume most writers I know—but this Heartless Bastards number rolled right into view, and there was no better place for it than the very end. "I come to you open, organs on my sleeve, won't you help me now, help me find peace," her voice comes from the gut, which I love. There's strength there but also resignation. And like the Jana Hunter song above with a boat rocking rhythm, here the rhythm walks or trudges down a long dirt road with purpose and a kind of Hades-don't-look-back sensibility, and when the strings storm the barricade, they don't ask permission. You step aside and let them run free.


Rosie Forrest and Ghost Box Evolution in Cadillac, Michigan links:

the author's website
video trailer for the book

Flash Fiction Chronicles 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)


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

Shorties (An Interview with Ursula K. Le Guin, An Iron Maiden Videogame, and more)

Weekend Edition interviewed author Ursula K. Le Guin.


Play an Iron Maiden video game.


Electric Literature interviewed author Austin Grossman.


Craig Finn discussed his favorite Hold Steady, Lifter Puller, and solo songs at SPIN.


Entropy interviewed author Sean H. Doyle.


Live Nation TV interviewed singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett.


Bookforum interviewed author Ottessa Moshfegh.


Stereogum reconsidered Death Cab for Cutie's album Plans 10 years after its release.


Author Michele Faber discussed his love of comics with the Sunday Herald.


Aquarium Drunkard interviewed the members of Yo la Tengo about the band's new covers album Stuff Like That There.


Amy Stewart discussed her debut novel Girl Waits With Gun with Morning Edition.


ArtInfo interviewed singer-songwriter and author John Darnielle.

Would you want anything to do with a film version of "Wolf in White Van"? Or would you rather keep your distance?

There's been some talk of it — I wonder how exactly it’d play out, but I'm a little interested in the idea. I think the mood of the book is pretty cinematic, but the actual action: how much action is there? It's largely about a person reflecting: the quality of reflection is central to the stories he tells, it's not linear. But I have some interest in the idea of it, especially as a way of emphasizing that it's not just a story about a person but a chronicle of place & time.


Chefs recommended their favorite cookbooks at the Guardian.


All Things Considered interviewed singer-songwriter Nathaniel Rateliff.


Flavorwire interviewed Mary Shelley biographer Charlotte Gordon.


Stream the first new song by Siouxsie Sioux in over eight years


Edward St. Aubyn talked to Weekend Edition about his novel A Clue to the Exit.


The A.V. Club reconsidered Kanye West's Late Registration album.




All Things Considered
interviewed Carl Phillips about his new poetry collection Reconnaissance.


Stream Miley Cyrus's new album, which features the Flaming Lips, Ariel Pink, and Phantogram.


R.I.P., author and neurologist Oliver Sacks.

The Atlantic recommended a selection of his essays and interviewed readable online.



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 (Earth, The 42nd Parallel, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

The 42nd Parallel: Michigan Winter EP [mp3]

Better On Paper : Boom Chop Demo EP [mp3]

Coyote Talk: Sister album [mp3]

Golden Records: After Dancing EP [mp3]

Run Like a Deer: Dry Bones EP [mp3]

Submarine Lights: The Dangerous Pleasures of Uncommon Curiosity album [mp3]

Various Artists: The 2015 LA Bluegrass Situation Festival Mixtape EP [mp3]

Various Artists: Friend Records Compilation Vol. I album [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Earth: 2015-08-27, Brooklyn [mp3]


search for more free and legal music downloads at Largehearted Boy


also at Largehearted Boy:

other Daily Downloads

covers collections
100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads

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


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

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