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March 26, 2015

Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week - March 26, 2015

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

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


Preservation Society Home Preserves: 100 Modern Recipes

Preservation Society Home Preserves: 100 Modern Recipes
by Camilla Wynne

Montreal-based preserves maven Camilla Wynne is a former indie rock musician who has experience in some of the top restaurant kitchens in North America. Here she shares 100 of her unique and surprising recipes for delicious jams, jellies and marmalades—including Peach Jam with Bourbon and Honey, Cream Pop Marmalade and Maple Ginger Pickled Beets!


Remedy Quarterly #17: Taste

Remedy Quarterly #17: Taste

The new issue of the San Francisco-based independent food journal focuses on taste. We meet an 11-year old girl whose tastes are unusually adventurous. We learn about how to taste with other people’s palettes, how to overcome aversions to certain foods, how to make Pozole Blanco and a Floral Strawberry Float, and more!


New Lovers erotic fiction series

New Lovers erotic fiction series

The first three titles of the anticipated new erotic literature series New Lovers have been released, successfully telling—to hear the Paris Review tell it—stories "for a new generation’s sexual imagination." The novels, all written by women, range in topic (one chronicling a menage relationship between best friends, another a queen's re-seduction of her king) but all offer a new twist on smut.


Rebel Rebel

Rebel Rebel
by Chris O’Leary

Both David Bowie's persona and discography are lovingly catalogued in Rebel Rebel, a look at the artist's output from 1964 to 1976. Exploring his huge oeuvre and his literary, film, and musical influences, music blogger O'Leary uncovers the singer/songwriter who, for all his cultural impact, remains a mystery.


Angry Youth Comix

Angry Youth Comix
by Johnny Ryan

Fans of Johnny Ryan’s famously offensive cartoons will rejoice at this new hardcover collection of all his Angry Youth Comix (2000-2008), replete with juvenilia, semen jokes, and other forms of alarming humour.


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

List of Online "Best of 2014" Book Lists

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)

Posted by david | permalink | post to del.icio.us





March 26, 2015

Shorties (An Interview with Rachel Kushner, The New Mekons Documentary, and more)

Bookworm interviewed author Rachel Kushner.


Rolling Stone went behind the scenes of the Revenge of the Mekons documentary.


Kickstarter interviewed Emily Books founders Emily Gould and Ruth Curry.


Author Antonio Ruiz-Camacho interviewed himself at The Nervous Breakdown.

Read an excerpt from his short story collection Barefoot Dogs.


Aquarium Drunkard shared a new mixtape, "a tranquil blend of global folk, gospel, soul and psych."


Author James Meek reviewed Mad Men at the London Review of Books.


Stereogum interviewed musician Chilly Gonzales.


The Los Angeles Review of Books interviewed author James Hannaham.


SPIN interviewed Lightning Bolt singer-drummer Brian Chippendale.


The Lifted Brow interviewed author Jesse Ball.


Salon interviewed Scott McCaughey of The Minus 5 and Young Fresh Fellows.


Mental Floss separated fact from fiction in Jack Kerouac's book On the Road.


Berfrois examined "the chaos of music genres."


A new collection of Charles Bukowski's writing about cats will be published this fall.


The Decemberists visited The Current studio for an interview and live performance.


The publisher at Penguin Random House India discussed the process of acquiring and publishing Akhil Sharma's Folio Prize-winning novel Family Life at Scroll.in.

The Telegraph profiled Sharma.


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


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
daily mp3 downloads
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
weekly music release lists
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (recommended new books)

Posted by david | permalink | post to del.icio.us

Daily Downloads (The Last Spectacular, The Damnwells, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

The Buffalo Kid: "Kept Walking (Demo)" [mp3]

The Damnwells: Let Us Eat Cake EP [mp3]

Grace Cooke: Waiting EP [mp3]

The Last Spectacular: The Last Spectacular album [mp3]

Mae: The Everglow 10th Anniversary Tour Sampler EP [mp3]

Nancy Wallace: Live in Southend - Ship Full of Bombs Session EP [mp3]

The Query: Of Winds and Waves album [mp3]

Safia Nolin: Igloo single [mp3]

Young America: Pain, Rain, and the Mundane EP [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Ryan Adams: 2011-06-11, Oslo [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 | post to del.icio.us

March 25, 2015

Book Notes - John Renehan "The Valley"

The Valley

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

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

John Renehan's novel The Valley is a propulsive debut, a smart mystery set among Army forces in Afghanistan.

Foreign Policy wrote of the book:

"Renehan has a fine eye for the etiquette of the Army, as delicate and complex as the rural aristocracy depicted in Jane Austen's novels."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In his own words, here is John Renehan's Book Notes music playlist for his debut novel The Valley:


When I was a kid I played piano, and then drums and the whole family of percussion instruments. As a teenager I fell in love with the "mallet keyboards" – vibraphone, marimba, etc. Something about the layout of the keyboard being the same as the piano so you could make the same music, except you hit the keys instead of pressing them, which I liked. (That probably makes me sound like an angry person. I'm not an angry person.) It seemed like this acrobatic accomplishment, two or four mallets in your hands at once, limbs flying across this six-foot-long keyboard like some crazed maestro, full of all your boyish self-serious intensity and concentration. For my college audition I didn't know what you were supposed to play and didn't know any of the standard orchestral literature, so I transcribed the middle movement of Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" and the entirety of Rimsky-Korsakov's Capriccio Espagnol, on vibraphone. It must have been the weirdest audition the professor had ever seen, this gangly self-taught kid with bad four-mallet technique coming in with this mad-scientist selection of pieces. I squeaked by and was a music major for a of couple years and had ridiculous ideas about writing film scores or leading some modern revival of Romantic composers until I realized that I didn't have the ear to compose music. I quit and decided to compose words instead, and a mere 22 years later I actually finished a novel.

So I guess music, or musical failure, is sort of responsible for The Valley. And I guess I still think of myself as "a musician," even though with kids and jobs and the rest of it I almost never play anymore and haven't done a proper gig in about ten years. My oldest and dearest friends are all musicians, so in my head I'm sort of grandfathered in. In any event, I'm sure all this is why music had such a prominent role in the book's plot.

'Friar Park,' 'Village Dance,' 'Sandhya Raga' – Ravi Shankar

I discovered Shankar, the world-ambassador of Indian classical music, during a slow period of our Iraq deployment when my unit was back living on the Forward Operating Base ("fob"), so I've always associated his music with the surreal life of those sprawling patchwork cities we built in the desert. There's a scene where Black, the book's protagonist, walks through the back alleys and shanty world of the FOB at night, catching glimpses of the little deployment worlds people have made for themselves. There's always someone in the Army who's got Vietnam on the brain and rigs up his "hootch" (whatever makeshift little living space you sleep in) with tapestries and incense and all that. Shankar is the kind of thing you'd hear coming from one of those hootches. To me, something about his music just captures that odd parallel nightworld of the FOBs, especially some of his other more atmospheric and cross-genre pieces like "Chappaqua," "Vaishna Janato," or "Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram." I listened to Shankar endlessly while writing Part One of the book, before Black leaves the FOB for the Nuristan mountains.

Brad Mehldau – Highway Rider, Live in Marciac, Jazz a Vienne, Largo

There's no Brad Mehldau music in the book, but if there's a single musician or type of music I associate with the story the most, he's it. I recognize that probably makes me sound crazy, hearing a jazz pianist behind a mountain-war-mystery story, but there it is. I listened to his music more than any other while writing the second half of the book.

I'm one of those people who only works with music playing, whether I'm writing or at my day job. This probably isn't good for my mildly obsessive nature. When I'm tired especially, I'll find myself writing a scene listening to a particular track and then putting it on loop, over and over, trying to keep that feeling or inspiration it gave me until my head hurts and I have to stop and walk away. On the other hand I can't imagine what the process of writing would look like – especially all the "think work" when you're not actually sitting in front of the computer – without everything music brings to it. I'll get whole scenes or characters or plotlines from the feeling a piece of music gives me. So I guess I'm stuck with music.

The plot of The Valley is driven by Black's steadily building obsession. At the outset he can't believe he got stuck with this trivial, undignified assignment and has no intention of doing anything more than the bare minimum. As he comes to realize that there is more to the outpost than meets the eye, that nearly everyone there is lying to him or playing him somehow, he becomes fixated, bit-by-bit, on discovering what the hell is going on. He's come to the outpost with a giant chip on his shoulder, fed up with the Army that has wronged him and has told him he's a disgrace, and now all that is redirected at the soldiers and sergeants in this lonely place who won't deal with him straight. It all fuels his obsession. It's a last-straw moment for him personally, and it just makes him mad – literally maddens him.

I got turned on to Brad Mehldau by a professional sax-player friend who noticed I'd been listening to some other jazz pianists who had some tracks with really strong ostinato motifs (Josh Nelson's Discoveries album; Jason Lindner's "Information Kiss" and "Meditation on Two Chords," or his amazing Ab Aeterno collaboration with bassist Omer Avital). He sent me to listen to Mehldau, who is just a master at constructing these long, intense solos, frequently over ostinato sequences. The motif repeats over and over, and the solo just builds and builds. Tracks like "Old West" or "Highway Rider" from his sprawling jazz-symphonic Highway Rider album, "Teardrop" from Jazz a Vienne, or "Lilac Wine" from Live in Marciac. Something about the dynamics of that, the motif circling around and around while the intensity builds, was exactly the kind of long structure and experience I was trying to build for the reader through the second half of The Valley, as Black's own obsession builds on itself and his thoughts become more circular and fixated and the danger to him increases, until he hits the stress wall and experiences a kind of psychological break, and more or less loses it for a little bit.

Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis – Ralph Vaughan Williams

There's an old classical music anecdote in which a famous British conductor disparages Vaughan Williams' music, to which a Vaughan Williams supporter says, Well, what about the Tallis fantasia? Surely that's a worthy work? To which the critic replies something to the effect of: True; it's just a pity he didn't include a theme by Thomas Tallis in all his works. Yuk yuk.

Well, fine. He is not Beethoven, but he is something. I heard this short, amazing piece for the first time on a classical radio station in college and have been mildly obsessed with it ever since. Black hasn't heard a lot of classical music before, and as the violinmaker-slash-soldier who gives him a copy tells him, there's no other symphonic piece like it; it's its own type. Like a good fantasia it is not bound by strict form, though it's not without structure. It's a musical picture above all – the sort of thing people call "ethereal" because they don't know what else to call it. Black listens to it as the convoy carrying him to the Valley climbs into the looming mountain range beneath brooding thunderheads. He sees deep orange otherworldly sunsets over dark hilltop horizons and black seas. It seemed like the perfect representation of the dark ocean of Black's own troubled thoughts at that moment.


'Kashmir' – Led Zeppelin

The soldiers taking Black to the Valley play 'Kashmir' at top volume in their Humvee, beating back anxiety as the convoy climbs through a treacherous stretch of pitch-black mountain "road" barely wide enough to contain the big military vehicles. The part of Afghanistan where the story takes place abuts Pakistan and the Kashmir region, so I more or less had to pick this song for that scene. In addition to classical music, Black is also weirdly unaware of most popular music (for reasons that aren't really explained in this book), and when the soldiers play the track they're flabbergasted that he doesn't recognize it. But he likes it.

'Xanadu' – Rush, Exit . . . Stage Left (live)

You weren't allowed to be a drum nerd in the '80s without going through a period when you believed that the Canadian art-rock trio Rush was the best band in history and Neil Peart was the best drummer who ever held sticks. I did my time. I admit it.

Rush's take on Samuel Taylor Coleridge's opium-fueled poem "Kubla Khan," reimagined as a tragic tale of an adventurer who gets more than he bargains for when he sets out to find Coleridge's mythical paradise, is straight prog-rock awesomeness: all wind chimes and gongs and complex instrumental mastery and intellectual bombast. I didn't go looking for a way to incorporate their music into the story; it just sort of fell into my lap by accident – opium poppies are grown in the Valley, for one thing – and I was happy to go with it, happy that my old friends would get a kick out that. (There's something of an underground cottage industry among fans in the creative arts of sneaking Rush references into otherwise mainstream entertainments. Greatest single victory: in a foldout magazine advertisement introducing the iTunes Store to the world in 2003, the screenshot of the iTunes interface shows not the Beatles, Stones, Elvis, U2, Ella, Frank, or Louis Armstrong . . . but a Rush album from 1976. High-five, dorks.)

There's a scene in the book where Black is interviewing a young, nervous soldier as part of his investigation, and the kid has "Xanadu" playing on a tinny boom box in his little deployment hovel. Black thinks it's awful, just unlistenable (which is a pretty common reaction to the genre), even though he figures out it's another little clue to what's going on in the Valley. When I wrote that scene I figured if Rush themselves ever somehow came across it they'd get that it was a tribute – they poke a lot of fun at themselves these days – but of course I was secretly terrified that they'd see it and wouldn't get it, and I'd be some tragic, aging superfan that the band hates.

'Xanadu' – Olivia Newton-John and Electric Light Orchestra

I loved the movie Boogie Nights. There was so much to it. Paul Thomas Anderson could turn on a dime from laughing at these people in one moment, mocking their tacky lives and ridiculous porn dreams, to sucker-punching you with their wrenching desperation in the next. One of my favorite aspects of the film was the way the movie used '70s period music not just to "dress the set" but to create these great ironies and juxtapositions within the scene. ELO's exuberant "Livin' Thing" was fantastic carrying the final scene of the film (the Raging Bull homage with Mark Wahlberg in front of the mirror), which is this tragicomic, just pathetic tableau, into the closing credits. Night Ranger's "Sister Christian" was even better in the outrageous set-piece at drug dealer Rahad Jackson's '70s-spectacular suburban castle, this gaudy power ballad providing the soundtrack to one of the most unbearably, hilariously tense scenes in film.

I didn't have any of this in mind when I wrote the chapter in which Black confronts Brydon, the platoon's tormented outsider, but I realized afterwards that I was going for something like the same effect in putting Olivia Newton-John behind this really unhappy scene. (Trying to avoid spoilers here.) It was another obvious choice since Coleridge's Xanadu was already a key theme in the plot, but I enjoyed the way the music here is just tormenting Black. He's beset by all these clues throughout his time at the outpost – mysterious graffiti written for his benefit, a book of Coleridge poems, bizarre notes in an old high school yearbook, music with oddly significant lyrics. So many voices are talking to him; it's as though the Valley itself, the evil within it, is speaking. In the Brydon scene this bright disco-pop confection almost serves as the tragic chorus speaking from the side of the stage, and it is almost mocking him as he flees, even as the music itself is dropping another clue on the reader. I liked how that fell together.

'Angels We Have Heard on High' – Sixpence None the Richer

This was one of those instances where a particular track directly influenced a particular scene. Without saying too much more, this is Private Corelli's tune. There's no way to tell from the text, but this is the version of the Christmas song he's thinking of, that he is singing to himself when he's all alone. (Again, spoilers.) In my head it's the soundtrack to that moment of the book, where the narrative cuts from Corelli to the tumultuous events occurring at the outpost right then. I recognize that anyone who's read the book will think I'm certifiable for saying this, but when the wounded, concussed Black stumbles across the outpost grounds, more or less unable to hear what's happening anyway, and looks up to see everything coming down around him, Leigh Nash's gentle voice is what I hear over that scene. (In fact, the guitar work in the song was also the source for some of the particular "atmospherics" described in that scene). Several of the characters, American and Afghan, see deeply religious implications in everything that's happening in the Valley. There's an irony and clash of meanings in that cacophonous chapter that I was attracted to.


John Renehan and The Valley links:

the author's website

Foreign Policy review
Kirkus review
Los Angeles Review of Books review
Providence Journal review
Wall Street Journal review

Bookselling This Week interview with the author
Huffington Post interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

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

Posted by david | permalink | post to del.icio.us

WORD Bookstores Books of the Week - March 25, 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.


Octavia's Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements

Octavia's Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements
by Walidah Imarisha (Editor) and Adrienne Maree Brown

Octavia's Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements by Walidah Imarisha (Editor) and Adrienne Maree Brown
http://www.wordbookstores.com/book/9781849352093
A unique collection of stories highlighting the intersection of fantasy and activism.


My Documents

My Documents
by Alejandro Zambra

A collection of short stories from the modern Chilean juggernaut.


Notes from a Dead House

Notes from a Dead House
by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Dostoevsky's unsparing account of life in a Siberian prison camp in a new translation by the celebrated duo Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky.


Families, Families, Families!

Families, Families, Families!
by Suzanne Lang

A who's who of who's in the family!


WORD Brooklyn links:

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


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

List of Online "Best of 2014" Book Lists

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

Posted by david | permalink | post to del.icio.us

Shorties (China's Poetry Scene, Jana Hunter on the New Lower Dens Album, and more)

At The World in Words, Alina Simone profiled China's thriving poetry scene.


At All Songs Considered, Jana Hunter discussed the new Lower Dens album Escape From Evil track by track.


VICE shared an excerpt from My Struggle: Book Four by Karl Ove Knausgaard.


Red Bull Music Academy interviewed music critic Robert Christgau.


The Nervous Breakdown shared an excerpt from Jacob Rubin's new novel The Poser.

Rubin also interviewed himself.


LA Music Blog listed the best covers of David Bowie songs.


The Rumpus interviewed author Sarah Manguso.


Consequence of Sound reconsidered Depeche Mode's Violator album 25 years after its release.


A new Toni Morrison essay.


CMJ interviewed Gretchen Grimm of the band Chastity Belt.


The Atlantic reconsidered the film adaptation of Margaret Atwood's novel The Handmaid's Tale 25 years after the movie's release.


Flavorwire interviewed singer-songwriter Torres.


Bustle recommended books to read while on spring break.


A list of live songs that are better than their studio versions.


The 2015 Man Booker Prize shortlist has been named.


Paste recommended European summer music festivals.


Meghan Daum talked to Flavorwire about the anthology she edited, Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids.


Drowned in Sound interviewed Dan Lucas of the band the Dutch Uncles.


Sqirl.co is a new app that links novels to the physical locations mentioned in them.


The band Alvvays visited The Current studio for an interview and live performance.


Eater shared a list of New York City's literary bars.


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


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
daily mp3 downloads
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
weekly music release lists
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (recommended new books)

Posted by david | permalink | post to del.icio.us

Daily Downloads (The Local Strangers, This Is the Kit, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Carousel Rogues: Carousel Rogues Sampler EP [mp3]

Early Riser: Demo EP [mp3]

Girl Cancer: Bingo Shrimp Tape album [mp3]
Girl Cancer: 2014 A.D. album [mp3]

Jon Lawless: Shot in the Dark (NoiseTrade Sampler) EP [mp3]

The Local Strangers: Take What You Can Carry sampler album [mp3]

This Is the Kit: "Misunderstanding" [mp3]

Various Artists: Unheard Music for the Masses album [mp3]

Wave & Rome: Across the Map EP [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Tom Carter / Barry Weisblat Duo: 2015-02-24, 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 | post to del.icio.us

March 24, 2015

Book Notes - Nicole Haroutunian "Speed Dreaming"

Speed Dreaming

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

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

Nicole Haroutunian's debut collection Speed Dreaming is filled with captivating stories of everyday lives.

Saïd Sayrafiezadeh wrote of the collection:

"From troubled relationships to burned-down apartments to wild animals on the loose, Nicole Haroutunian has created an unforgettable portrait of what it's like to be a young woman in contemporary America. This is a beautiful, funny, poignant, unflinching collection."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In her own words, here is Nicole Haroutunian's Book Notes music playlist for her novel Speed Dreaming:


"Buffalo Ballet" by John Cale
Like many writers, I have a complicated relationship with writing. As in, I kind of hate it. Trying to start a new story fills me with anxiety every time—what if I never have another good idea? What if I've written everything I'm ever going to write? Once I start revising, I can relax, occasionally even enjoy myself, but until I get there, I listen to songs like "Buffalo Ballet." Atmospheric, sad, lyrical and—most importantly—repetitive, "Buffalo Ballet" kept me calm as I faced down the many blank pages that came before Speed Dreaming filled them.

"Dig Me Out" by Sleater-Kinney
But sometimes, when I'm writing a first draft, rather than a peaceful and reassuring song like "Buffalo Ballet," I crave something energetic and relentless like "Dig Me Out." This record has helped me be brave since I was a teenager—I remember blasting it in the car the first time I drove into NYC by myself, seventeen and jittery, but motivated. Carrie, Corin and Janet are a great cheering squad.

"Gloria: In Excelsis Deo" by Patti Smith
There is this crazy multilane mini-highway that loops through downtown Poughkeepsie; in college, especially during my first year, I used to get stuck on it sometimes. Either I'd miss my turn off, circling endlessly, or I would exit in an unintended spot and wind up crossing the terrifying, miles-high Mid-Hudson Bridge. At one point along the loop, taking a left on red was rumored to be legal. One day, desperate to add at least one more story to my manuscript, I started writing about two young women driving this loop. Who were they? Why would they be in Poughkeepsie? Well, because they were artists and, a few years ago, Patti Smith decreed it: "New York has closed itself off to the young and the struggling. But there are other cities. Detroit. Poughkeepsie. New York City has been taken away from you. So my advice is: Find a new city." In the end, the story "Poughkeepsie" was almost entitled "What Would Patti Smith Do?"

"I'm on Fire" by Bruce Springsteen / Electrelane
This may be my favorite Bruce Springsteen song, and that's saying a lot. I'm from New Jersey. It is quiet, sexy, and simple, yet hints at greater depths. While I was in the process of editing Speed Dreaming, I discovered that the British band Electrelane covered it. I played their version of "I'm on Fire" a thousand times on YouTube, then bought it and played it a thousand more times. Was it even better than Bruce's? It's faster and more incessant, with Verity Susman's vocals escalating from soft, slightly slurred, to wild, expansive and urgent. There's a hint of subversiveness: these women appropriating—and fully inhabiting—a song written by a masculine icon, and singing about desire incited by another woman. Structurally, tonally, and emotionally, it is everything I strive for in my stories. I can't stop listening to it now as I write this.

"Favorite" by Neko Case
Many years ago, a friend and I stumbled into an intimate Neko Case concert at the now-shuttered Park Slope venue Southpaw. We both really love Neko Case, so it's possible we had planned ahead, bought tickets and marked our calendars, but in my memory, it was pure luck that we wound up there, squeezed up next to the stage, in awe at the way Case's voice just soared. She can draw out a word, break it in the middle and resurrect it at the end, as she does with the most brief of words—"I"—in her song "Favorite." I listened to this song obsessively as I edited Speed Dreaming, trying to replicate this effect. How could I take a simple word and make it into something transcendent?

"Pine Needles to Palms" by Lindsay Sullivan
When my editor, Ed Park, suggested I write some song lyrics to include in the story "Cassiopeia," which is about a thirty-something indie rocker on an ill-fated camping trip with her much younger boyfriend, I balked. I'd feel more equipped to do just about anything: perform surgery, land a helicopter. (Anything but sing a song). So I texted my good friend Lindsay Sullivan (actually, the same friend I went to that Neko Case concert with), a real songwriter, who was at JFK after an all-too-brief NYC-visit, waiting to board her plane back to LA. I gave her the particulars of the story—mountain lions, pine trees, panic—and she texted back these lyrics just before her flight departed:

Pine needles to palms, sticky and sweet
I lick the blood and brush back my hair
If I fell from the hill would you turn back for me
Or leave me in the mountain lion's care?
One day, she swears she'll finish the song!

"Scale Those Heights" by New York Endless
In 2014, I found out my story collection was going to be published, my husband, Dan Selzer, aka New York Endless, released his first record, Strategies, and after ten years together, we got married. Dan's beautiful, warm electronic music will always be the inextricable soundtrack of this book.


Nicole Haroutunian and Speed Dreaming links:

the author's website

Bustle 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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This Week's Interesting Music Releases - March 24, 2015

Courtney Barnett

Courtney Barnett's Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit is by far my favorite new album this week.

Hayden's Hey Love, Laura Marling's Short Movie, Lightning Bolt's Fantasy Empire, and Vetiver's Complete Strangers are other new releases I can recommend.

Reissues include a 7-LP box set of Johnny Cash's American Recordings, volumes I through VI.

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:

Action Bronson: Mr. Wonderful
Bananarama: Megarama
Bee Gees: 1974-1979 (5-CD box set)
Ben Goldberg: Orphic Machine
Big Data: 2.0
Bjork: Vulnicura
Buena Vista Social Club: Lost and Found
Chilly Gonzales: Chambers
Clark: Flame Rave
Courtney Barnett: Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit
The Cribs: For All My Sisters
Eminem: The Vinyl LPs (10-LP box set) [vinyl]
Errors: Lease of Life
Etiquette: Reminisce
Geographer: Ghost Modern
The Go! Team: The Scene Between
Hayden: Hey Love
Hit the Lights: Summer Bone
Humming House: Revelries
Jam City: Dream A Garden
James: Laid/Wah Wah ( 4 Disc - Super Deluxe Edition)
James Bay: Chaos And The Calm
Jeff the Brotherhood: Wasted on the Dream
Jimmy Whispers: Summer in Pain
Johnny Cash: American Recordings I-VI [vinyl] (7-LP box set)
Jon Spencer Blues Explosion: Freedom Tower – No Wave Dance Party 2015
Julian Moon: Good Girl
Laura Marling: Short Movie
Lightning Bolt: Fantasy Empire
Liturgy: The Ark Work
LoneLady: Hinterland
Nellie McKay: My Weekly Reader
People of the North: Era of Manifestations
Portico: Living Fields
Scuba: Claustrophobia
Seasick Steve: Sonic Soul Surfer
Smallpools: Lovetap!
Steve Grand: All American Boy
Strung Out: Transmission.Alpha.Delta
Them Are Us Too: Remain
Van Morrison: Duets: Re-working The Catalogue
Vetiver: Complete Strangers
The Who: Who's Next (remastered) [vinyl]
The Who: The Who Hits 50 (remastered) [vinyl]


also at Largehearted Boy:

weekly music release lists

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

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Shorties (Elvis Costello's Forthcoming Memoir, Stream the New Godspeed You! Black Emperor Album, and more)

Elvis Costello's memoir Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink will be published in October.


The Guardian is streaming the new Godspeed You! Black Emperor album Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress.


The Guardian profiled author Erik Larson.


Decoder interviewed author Blake Butler on music and writing.


Vintage bartending books.


Katy Goodman of La Sera (and formerly Vivian Girls) talked to Fast Company about going back to school for computer programming.


John Darnielle talked to ABC Online about his debut novel, Wolf in White Van.

"Songwriting is kind of like picking something off of a plant, and writing a book is like seeding and tending a garden through to harvest."


The 405 interviewed Jana Hunter of the band The Lower Dens.


Neil Gaiman and Michael Chabon discussed the influence of Terry Pratchett on their writing and the literary community.


NPR Music is streaming the new album by The Soft Moon, Deeper.


Akhil Sharma has been awarded the Folio Prize for his novel Family Life.


The economics of busking.


Flavorwire interviewed Nina MacLaughlin about her memoir Hammer Head.


Seth Avett and Jessica Lea Mayfield visited The Current studio to play Elliott Smith songs.


Comics Should Be Good is counting down the top female comic book artists.


Drowned in Sound listed the best new musical acts of 2015 so far.


BuzzFeed recommended novels with strong female protagonists.


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


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
daily mp3 downloads
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
weekly music release lists
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (recommended new books)

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Daily Downloads (Erin Rae, Needtobreathe, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Autopilot: "Battles" [mp3] from Desert Dreams

Carl Anderson: Carl Anderson Spring Sampler 2015 EP [mp3]

Edward and Jane: Live single [mp3]

Eleanor: The Canyon Sampler EP [mo3]

Erin Rae: Crazy Talk EP [mp3]

Madelyniris: "Ghost" [mp3]

Moon Dial: Moon Dial EP [mp3]

Needtobreathe: Tour De Compadres Sampler EP [mp3]

Sea at Last: Atlas album [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Hardy and the Hardknocks: 2015-03-11, Athens [mp3]


search for more free and legal music downloads at Largehearted Boy


also at Largehearted Boy:

other daily free and legal mp3 downloads

covers collections
100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads

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

Posted by david | permalink | post to del.icio.us

March 23, 2015

Book Notes - William Boyle "Death Don't Have No Mercy"

Death Don't Have No Mercy

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

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

William Boyle's short fiction collection Death Don't Have No Mercy offers impressive character-driven literary crime stories.

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In his own words, here is William Boyle's Book Notes music playlist for his novel Death Don't Have No Mercy:


Songs fill Death Don't Have No Mercy. I need to know what characters are listening to. It's really important to me. Is it an old scratched-up CD? A godforsaken cassette kept in a shoebox in the backseat of the car? A record tugged out of a battered sleeve where someone has scrawled their name in blue ink across the front? Who's playing what on the last lonely jukebox in the neighborhood?

This collection, if it plays right, plays like a mixtape full of brawlers and bawlers. These stories are dark comedies about broken men making bad decisions, and the song choices reflect that. This playlist could be a hundred songs long, but I've held myself to thirteen—some appear in the stories, some influenced me, some just match the tone of what I'm trying to do.

Rev. Gary Davis, "Death Don't Have No Mercy"

"Death Don't Have No Mercy" is an early story, written in 2007. I pretty often take a title of a song I love and play off of it. I was listening to this obsessively back then. I knew I wanted to write about bad luck and trouble and the meanness of the world. The lyrics hit so hard. No matter what you think, there's death waiting at the end of everything. Shut up and put your ear to the floor. Here comes big bad death. It doesn't care what you know or don't know. It'll cut you down blindly.

Johnny Cash, "Flesh and Blood"

There's a lot of Johnny Cash in this book. I was deep into loving his American records when I was writing the earliest of these stories. I go back to the Unearthed boxset often. I love the weariness of this late version of "Flesh and Blood." Like the best of Cash, it's haunted and haunting. You can hear a whole life. You can hear fear and love, all of it. It stings down to the bone because it's so goddamn true.

Junior Kimbrough, "You're Gonna Find Your Mistake"

Somewhere in the middle of writing these eight stories, I moved to Oxford, Mississippi. I came here as much because of Junior Kimbrough and R.L. Burnside and T-Model Ford, as I did Larry Brown and Barry Hannah. I was after that rolling sound. I was after that raw brutal sound. "You're Gonna Find Your Mistake" could be the title of this collection, too.

Hank Williams, "Lost Highway"

I'll tell you the truth: the first version I ever heard of "Lost Highway" was Townes Van Zandt doing it on The Highway Kind—a CD I got out and renewed endlessly from the library in Austin when I lived there. I was in my early twenties before I heard Hank singing it. I mean, songs don't get much better than this. It's all about being a fucking terrible person, alone and lost in the world, and yet it's delivered with lightness in the lonesomest voice of all time.

Simon Joyner, "One for the Catholic Girls"

I go back to this song so much. It's here because I lifted a line from it for the title "Zero at the Bone": "I was jamming my hands in my pockets / I swear I was zero at the bone / If I felt my courage making a comeback / I was drunk, I didn't let on." There's a poignancy and loneliness here that approximates my Catholic school kid wanderings. I was living in the Throggs Neck section of The Bronx when I wrote "Zero at the Bone," doing a lot of grown-up city rambling, headphones on, probably listening to Simon Joyner. It's about a washed-up boxer turned patsy. I wrote deep under the sway of a strange nostalgia for a city that didn't really exist anymore. The Bronx of the story is mythical and stylized. It's a black-and-white story with a black-and-white heart.

Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young, "Teach Your Children"

Worst song to die singing.

R.L. Burnside, "Bad Luck City—Friend of Mine"

I've been to Bad Luck City. I like it. The best stories come from there. R.L. singing something as simple as "I love you, baby" has the force of a train launching off the tracks. This is the kind of song that makes you want to live just long enough to leave. My characters dream of leaving, but they're stuck. Shit luck levels the dumbest dreamers. You can keep Good Luck City.

Tom Waits, "In the Neighborhood"

One time, I was in Limerick, Ireland and "In the Neighborhood" came on the radio. I'd been a big Tom Waits fan for a few years at that point, but I'd never heard the song that way. I was lonely, freshly broken-hearted, and I was drunk. I had a carton of cigarettes and a bottle of whiskey from the Duty Free. The song ended, and I wanted to rewind it. I couldn't. I was drunk, and it was the radio. Something terrible came on next. I wanted "In the Neighborhood" back so bad. This was 1999. I didn't have any music with me. I had to live with the ghost of wanting the song. That feeling has informed who I am, the feeling of yearning for a radio moment you can't duplicate, like being homesick for a place you've never lived. The story "In the Neighborhood" started with this song and grew from it like weeds cracking a sidewalk.

Paul Westerberg, "Everything Goes Wrong"

Make songs in your basement. Sing about fucking up. Do it because you can't not do it.

Tyler Keith, "Crooked Road"

Take one part Jim Thompson, throw in a little Jerry Lee Lewis and some Dead Moon, that's Tyler Keith. I hope this is what's playing when we all go down in flames. This song is from Alias Kid Twist, his newest record, which I listened to nonstop as I revised and shaped the book. ("Crooked Road" starts around 3:25 in the video below but watch the whole thing. Tyler Keith rules.)

Jim Mize, "Empty Rooms"

I hope I can write a story half as good as this song one day. Another record that came out last year that I listened to over the summer as I punched these stories bloody and then cleaned them up. Haven't stopped listening to it since. Could've and probably should've also included "I Won't Come Back Again."

Magnolia Electric Co., "I Can Not Have Seen the Light"

I'm crying now. This song kills me. Jason Molina knew about death not having any mercy. You can hear that ache in his voice. He was always running from it. It caught him. I hate that. He died alone in a hospital from booze, a cell phone with his grandmother's number as the only contact in his pocket. "Every now and then, it happens again / I can't remember what comes first: Is it the hurt or knowing that it hurts?" That's one of those lines where Molina perfectly captures a question I have about being alive and being sad and not knowing what to do. I always thought of it as an answer song to Hank's "I Saw the Light," about being unable to open yourself up to the light or being fooled by the light. It's like that Joe Bolton poem, "Lines for Hank Williams": "There ain't no light, Minnie. There ain't no light." And there ain't.

Lou Reed, "The Bells"
The Bells is one of those underappreciated Lou Reed records that slipped by me for a long time. I finally dug into it a couple of years ago, as I was working on "Here Come the Bells" (and simultaneously reading Mike Tyson's Undisputed Truth), and this song came to be a soundtrack for what I was doing. I love its descent into New York City strangeness. Smell that strangeness. Feel it. That's the cold swirl of the cold city. You wanted out but this goddamn place is sucking you in. Let a nightmare be your best prayer.


William Boyle and Death Don't Have No Mercy links:

the author's website

Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for Gravesend
Nerve interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

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

Posted by david | permalink | post to del.icio.us

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