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February 25, 2015

Shorties (Windham Campbell Prize Winners, New Godspeed You! Black Emperor Music, and more)

Congratulations to the winners of the 2015 Windham Campbell Prizes, including Largehearted Book Notes contributors Teju Cole and Ivan Vladislavic.


Stream new music from Godspeed You! Black Emperor's forthcoming album Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress.


The Atlantic pondered why author Jim Harrison is "the Rodney Dangerfield of literature."


Stream a new solo song from Mac McCaughan of Superchunk.


Paste interviewed Stephanie Kegan about her new novel Golden State.


The Quietus interviewed Duncan Wallis of the band the Dutch Uncles.


The Rumpus interviewed author Benjamin Parzybok.


Stream Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds' new album, Chasing Yesterday (out March 3rd).


The Nervous Breakdown shared an excerpt from Halle Butler's debut novel Jillian.


Stream a new Tallest Man on Earth song.


io9 listed 10 books that will change how you see history.


Economist Paul Krugman on the changing (or not changing) economics of being a musician.

"What all this suggests to me, at least, is that the economics of being a financially successful musician aren't that different from success in other walks of life, and haven't changed that much over the long run despite huge changes in technology and tastes. Basically, musicians are just like bankers, except for the business about saving our souls versus destroying them. "


Paste shared a drinker's guide to the books of Hunter S. Thompson.


They Might Be Giants is offering a free download of a live performance of the band's Flood album.


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


Stream Ghostpoet's new album, Shedding Skin (out March 3rd).


Junkee interviewed singer-songwriter and author John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats.


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


Fresh Air interviewed Philip Connors about his memoir All the Wrong Places.

Read an excerpt from the book.


NPR Music is streaming Sleater-Kinney's recent Washington show.


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


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

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

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





February 25, 2015

Daily Downloads (The Show Ponies, Josh Garrels, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

The American Spirit: Season of Violence or Mourning, Protest, and The Birth of Bishop Killborne EP [mp3]

Avid Dancer: An Introduction EP [mp3]

Blackfoot Daisy: Jubilee EP [mp3]

Cameron Matthew Ray: CMR EP [mp3]

Cara Louise Band: To Be Dead Is To Be Known EP [mp3]

Clairovoyance: Lost Near the Darkness EP [mp3]

Josh Garrels: Over Oceans album [mp3]

Midnight Pilot: Let Go EP [mp3]

The Show Ponies: The Indiegrass EP [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Mind Over Mirrors: 2015-02-05, 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

February 24, 2015

Book Notes - Reif Larsen "I Am Radar"

I Am Radar

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.

Reif Larsen's novel I Am Radar is beautifully written and ambitiously told.

Kirkus wrote of the collection:

"Strange things happen when Radar Radmanovic is around… If Larsen's story makes demands of its readers, it also offers plenty of rewards. Imaginative, original, nicely surreal."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In his own words, here is Reif Larsen's Book Notes music playlist for his novel I Am Radar:


I have a confession to make. In the five plus years it took me to write I Am Radar I actually thought a lot about assembling this playlist for this blog. Most of the time I couldn't even really fathom finishing the book or whether the mass of text before me would ever actually become a real book, but somehow my Largehearted Boy Book Notes entry was this tiny carrot dangling in the distance, a seemingly attainable finish line and the only coherent manifestation that real life could also exist in the future. In a weird way this blog thusly affected the writing process—strange how creative material and media about that creative material have become inextricably bound together...

I Am Radar takes place in a wide array of places, none of which I'm from. This was at first a bit daunting, as I knew I lacked the local's knowledge of the minute contradictions that add up to a sense of belonging. I couldn't comment on the subtle history of pastries in this little Bosnian hamlet, or the intense Norwegian vocabulary around the quality of light. But what I did have was my outsiderness, which actually liberated me to some extent. And songs became my way in. I would listen to a song from a particular region and sonically inhabit its core. I would then try to recreate the emotional ecology of the song on the page. These tunes became like little wormholes into the soul of the story. Like little crib notes for me. Almost all of these songs are actually referenced directly in the novel, so I give the corresponding page numbers here.


(These songs are meant to be cued and all played at the same time.)


"Halfway Down The Stairs"—Robin the Frog (From the A.A. Milne poem)

(from p. 92) The Muppets are very close to the source for me. Much of my narrative sensibility comes from the zany brilliance of that show, which even as a child you could tell was resonant for both adults and children alike, and thus the show secretly introduced you to what being an adult was like, and not just any adult but an empathetic adult with a sense of humor. Obviously since I Am Radar concerns puppetry, the book owes a good deal to Henson's legacy, as one of the characters in the novel, Leif Christian-Holtsmark, openly admits. But beyond this apparent modal connection, Milne's poem itself is oddly quantum ("Halfway up the stairs/Isn't up/And isn't down.") and the beautiful certain/uncertainty posed by its young narrator was a tone I was trying to strike throughout the book. On a slightly unrelated note, I always imagined Robin growing up to be this very screwed up frog, with lots of emotional problems as a direct result of being ignored by his manic extended family, despite the best efforts of uncle Kermit.


"I Want You Back"—Jackson 5

(p. 102) "Trying to live without your love is one long sleepless night/Let me show you, girl, that I know wrong from right." I actually had these lines in a late stage draft of the novel before realizing they would probably charge me an arm and a leg for the pleasure. But I like how in the book Michael Jackson's voice appears out of the great spectrum of radio static at the north pole, as if the song is just constantly playing up there; it has become as elemental as the molecules of the thinning ozone. And Kermin grabs onto the signal for a second, gets that beautiful MJ medicine before the frequency quickly evaporates. A fleeting moment of perfection in the northern territories. MJ himself is a brother (and I mean this in the cosmic sense) of Radar as each undergoes their journey towards a paler shade of black.


"Vostani Serbije" ("Arise Serbia") and "Marš na Drinu" (March of the River Drina")

(p. 184) Two old songs—one from a battle with the Ottomans in 1804 and the other from WWI—which were both reappropriated to take on new nationalist significance during the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s. This region and that conflict is incredibly complex, but in order to make any headway you must understand the necessary repetition/reuse/requisition of history by its various players. A battle fought 600 years ago can become such a powerful signifier that people will take up arms in its name and slaughter their neighbor. It is a horrific aspect of humanity, but it is also the reason I have a job—our undying belief in stories, particularly stories told in the right way. And if anything, the Yugoslav War was a masterclass in nationalistic storytelling. I get chills listening to both of these songs thinking they were written at one point in history and then rekindled for a very different purpose much later.


"Zajdi, Zajdi, Janso Sonce" and "Ajde Slušaj, Slušaj Kaleš Bre Andjo"

(p. 218 & 244) Two beautiful Macedonian folk tunes played by the busboy Eder in Belgrade. Balkan folk music is a vast genre that is so rich and beguiling and these two songs break my heart with their thousand-yard melancholy and irreducible wisdom. I listened to them a lot trying to conjure inheritance, perseverance, loss, love.


"Stani, Stani Ibar Vodo"

(p.243 & 274) Another old folk song, "Stani, Stani" was a critical genesis for the book. I first heard it when watching Emir Kusturica's Underground, a bonkers film that blew me away with its seductive cocktail of black humor, frenetic glee, and constant brass. What kind of culture could produce such a document that was on the one hand totally dismissive of history and yet also so clearly damaged by it? In particular, the scene where Lazar Ristovski's Blacky mourns the death of his wife during childbirth by singing this song, serenaded by the ever-present horns behind him as glasses shatter and people weep and violence is always just brewing beneath the surface—this wonderful moment of inter-possibility was something I wanted to constantly strive for in the book. It is not an accurate depiction of life; it is a kind of Balkan commedia dell'arte, but it strikes me at the same time as very true. Someone from Belgrade once said to me about something else entirely but it seems applicable here: "This is not how it is, but this is how it should be."


"Uz Maršala Tita"

(p. 240) Oh Tito, Tito, we hardly knew you.


"Symphony #7 (Leningrad)" by Dmitri Shostakovich

(p. 291) One of the more aggressive symphonies I've ever heard. The music feels suspended in taught equilibrium, even if it also flirts with the vagaries of chaos. Whether it is indeed about a city under siege, poised on the brink of collapse or the tyranny of Stalin or the impossibility of art, the entwined complexity, the brashness, and also the weird undercurrent of vulnerability is enthralling and also inspiring. I would love to see a goldfish swimming on the big screen in Times Square to this. Worth also watching is Dmitri himself playing a fragment of Leningrad on the piano. Wowzers, that dude can play (also his hair is awesome): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOKL_q-Ribs


"Una Furtiva Lagrima" by Enrico Caruso

(p. 333) Just a stunning piece of music-as-mourning. First heard this at a friend's house one unreasonably hot summer night. The frission of humidity and the crackle of the record are forever fused into my sense memory of this song. I begin sweating every time I hear it, although not in a bad way. But that voice! Since that moment I've become a bit obsessed with Caruso. He is one of those talents that is transcendent beyond his or her genre, like Miles Davis or Susan Sontag. On a side note, there was a lovely piece on Studio 360 about how Caruso connected a father and son together: http://www.studio360.org/story/216418-aha-moment-enrico-caruso/


"The River (live)" by Bruce Springsteen

(p. 352) The Boss is, of course, essential reading for any New Jersey tale. I think his storytelling is actually underrated. Growing up, we had the Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band Live/1975-85 on vinyl and I think the extended intro of "The River" was one of my first encounters with a story that went nowhere but also went everywhere. It's a perfect song for this novel…the image of the river is central to the novel and the notion of all rivers being the same river and also a river never being the same river draws together the three main strands of the narrative.


"Symphony #7 (Unfinished)" by Franz Schubert

(p. 413) "Eugenia bristled but said nothing. Leila, aware that she was being sheltered, resorted to her nervous habit of turning her wedding ring in circles. Jean-Baptise rose from the table and switched on the Zenith. A symphony from Schubert came on, full blast. The strings pulled and churned. The radio had become an instrument of retaliation, a playground beyond his mother's perception."


"Au Clair de la Lune" by André Claveau and Mathé Altéry

(p. 426) Is there a more perfect song? I find this scene one of the most heartbreaking in the book.


"Les Illumination OP. 18" by Benjamin Britten

(p. 476) I listened to a bunch of Britten over the course of manifesting the narrative, particularly the Cambodian section. His music feels perfectly balanced between modern and classic, with an occasional light touch swerve into the experimental. I love the idea of a young Cambodian physicist listening to this recording at CERN, in the middle of the Alps, in 1974. If you haven't, check out Night Mail, a brilliant 1936 short film collaboration between Auden and Britten, produced by the GPO about the UK's mail train: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FkLoDg7e_ns


"Freeman Etude #18" by John Cage

(p. 492) I think I am not alone in saying that Cage is a huge artistic hero of mine. Where others have a picture of Chekov above their writing desk, I have a picture of Cage. He is the reminder to never settle, to always go for the more difficult choice, to trust the randomness on the page, to plum the depths of what's possible. His silence is our silence but we will never touch his silence.


"Robam Reamker: Rama Battles Ravana" by Cambodia Royal Classical Ballet

(p. 492) While this song is not explicitly mentioned in the text, it's a good example of the Khmer pinpeat band playing along to the Reamker epic, which is the departure point for Kirkenesferda's Cambodian performance in 1979. Should give a good sense of the lulling atonal lilt of the pinpeat. Makes me kind of dizzy upon intense listening.


"Beds Are Burning" by Midnight Oil

(p. 537) I went through a slightly obsessive Midnight Oil phase in the 1990s. Apparently so too did Ivan. I kind of miss the quasi-pretentious affected accent that certain lead singers used to take on, à la Morrissey. Feels like it doesn't happen much anymore (Future Islands?). I imagine Leif Christian-Holtsmark (from the book) looks a bit like lead singer Peter Garrett. I imagine if you combined all humans together he/she would look like a slightly darker-skinned Peter Garrett.


"Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" by Crash Test Dummies

(p.537) Did I mention that I Am Radar is simply a retelling of this song?


"Mea Culpa" by Papa Wemba

(p. 567) Papa Wemba's many iterations over the years reflect the DR Congo's own tumultuous shapeshifting. He has fallen and risen and fallen again, been jailed for human smuggling, underwent a religious conversion in prison, spawned dozens of dance styles, adapted to the times and is currently a legend on the world music circuit. "Mea Culpa" was from his early Viva La Musica days in the late 1970s, following in the disastrous wake of Mobutu's Zairianization of the country. This is the song I imagine playing on the speakers at Chez Mamam in Matadi as the troupe zip by on Horeb's motorbike.


"Adieu Mon Coeur" by Edith Piaf

(p. 584) "She fished a record from the shelf and put it on. The vinyl was in bad shape. The dust and scratches could be heard, but the singer was French and sang so beautifully that the three of them sat there in stunned silence, listening to the little miracles of heartbreak."


"Talking Drums of the Upper Congo" by Hugh Tracey

(p. 618) For a wonderful primer on the Congo drum language, read the first chapter of James Gleick's amazing The Information: A History, a Theory, A Flood. Freeman Dyson has a nice piece on the book in the NYRB: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2011/mar/10/how-we-know/ But what struck me as so poetic about the drum language and indeed most of coded information was that to get more specific you need to actually talk around your message—you need to create this cushion of filler information that protects those couple of fragile truth morsels. This is a perfect analogue to the novel. We create the whole trappings of this invented world—the sets, the characters, the dialogue, the stakes, the climax, the denouement—all so that we might convey one or two little precious moments that could've just as easily been expressed in a poem. What to make of the ratio between abundant context (99%) and these fleeting glimpses of the sublime (1%)? I don't know, but the disparate percentages inherent in novels, the soft pacing between the everyday and the ecstatic, has always felt more akin to real life to me than any other form of meaning-making.


Reif Larsen and I Am Radar links:

the book's website
video trailer for the book

A.V. Club review
Bookmarks review
Harvard Crimson review
Los Angeles Times review
Publishers Weekly review

Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet


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 - February 24, 2015

Lead Belly

A remastered and expanded edition of Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti (remastered and expanded) and the 5-disc box set Lead Belly: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection are the week's archival release highlights.

Among new albums, I can recommend Dan Deacon's Gliss Riffer, Dutch Uncles' O Shudder, Elvis Perkins' I Aubade, and Screaming Females' Rose Mountain.

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:

Aidan Baker: The Confessional Tapes
The Airborne Toxic Event: Dope Machines
Alcoa: Parlour Tricks
All That Remains: The Order Of Things
Big Sean: Dark Sky Paradise
The Black Ryder: The Door Behind The Door
Black Star Riders: The Killer Instinct
Colleen Green: I Want To Grow Up
Dan Deacon: Gliss Riffer
Dave Matthews Band: Under The Table And Dreaming (remastered) [vinyl]
Dengue Fever: The Deepest Lake [vinyl]
Drug Cabin: Yard Work
Dutch Uncles: O Shudder
Eilen Jewell: Live at the Narrows
Elvis Perkins: I Aubade
Emile Haynie: We Fall
Falling in Reverse: Just Like You
Fleetwood Mac: Then Play On (reissue) [vinyl]
Future Brown: Future Brown
Gang of Four: What Happens Next
Idlewild: Everything Ever Written
Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders: Playmates
James McMurtry: Complicated Game
JJ Grey: Ol' Glory
Johnny Marr: Dynamo [vinyl]
Keath Mead: Sunday Dinner
Kid Rock: First Kiss
Lead Belly: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection
Led Zeppelin: Physical Graffiti (remastered and expanded)
Make Do and Mend: Don't Be Long
Mat Kearney: Just Kids
MisterWives: Our Own House
Oceans Ate Alaska: Lost Isles
Of Mice & Men: Restoring Force: Full Circle
The Pop Group: Citizen Zombie
Public Service Broadcasting: The Race for Space
Punch Brothers: The Phosphorescent Blues [vinyl]
Revolution Saints: Revolution Saints
Rush: Caress of Steel (remastered) [vinyl]
Sam Prekop: The Republic
Santiparro: True Prayer
Scout Paré Phillips: Heed The Call
Screaming Females: Rose Mountain
THEESatisfaction: EarthEE
Torche: Restarter
Various Artists: Songs of Anarchy: Volume 4
Wind In Sails: Morning Light


also at Largehearted Boy:

weekly music release lists

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

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

Shorties (An Interview with Catherine Lacey, A New Suede Song, and more)

Tin House interviewed author Catherine Lacey.

Lacey and Will Chancellor chatted at 0s&1s Reads.


Stream a new Suede song.


Father John Misty covered Leonard Cohen's "Bird on the Wire."


Bookforum profiled author Atticus Lish.


Stream an audio excerpt from Kim Gordon's new memoir Girl in a Band.


Hazlitt interviewed author Alexandra Fuller.


Stereogum interviewed musician Noel Gallagher.


Read an excerpt from Chuck Palahniuk's graphic novel sequel to Fight Club.


Arcade Fire's Will Butler is streaming songs based on Guardian headlines this week.


Flavorwire listed female Harlem Renaissance writers you should know.


John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats discussed his debut novel Wolf in White Van with the Sydney Morning Herald.


The Paris Review interviewed author and playwright Yasmina Reza.


Death Cab for Cutie shared another song from their forthcoming album Kintsugi.


All Things Considered interviewed Elisa Albert about her new novel After Birth.


Sea Change's Ellen W. Sundes broke down her album Breakage track-by-track at The Line of Best Fit.


Paste listed chefs whose books are worth reading.


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


Stephen Burt explained why "snow makes American poetry American" at Poetry.


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


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

Essential and Interesting 2014 Year-End Music Lists
List of Online "Best of 2014" Book Lists

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 (Hurray for the Riff Raff, The Felice Brothers, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Featherfin: Butterfly Girl EP [mp3]

Hurray for the Riff Raff: The Body Electric Tour EP [mp3]

Ian David: Ian David Sampler album [mp3]

Ivan and Alyosha: All These Wandering Times album [mp3]

Kid Trails: This State EP [mp3]

Sam Pinkerton: An Introduction album [mp3]

Stacey Randol: Fables: Noisetrade Sampler EP [mp3]

Stranger Things: Where You Go EP [mp3]

Various Artists: Marfa Myths Compilation album [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Felice Brothers: 2015-02-07, Rockville Centre [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

February 23, 2015

Book Notes - Jynne Dilling Martin "We Mammals in Hospitable Times"

We Mammals in Hospitable Times

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.

Jynne Dilling Martin's poetry collection We Mammals in Hospitable Times dazzles with every line, and connects the reader to the world in ways only a talented poet can.

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In her own words, here is Jynne Dilling Martin's Book Notes music playlist for her poetry collection We Mammals in Hospitable Times:


The great, cantankerous Vladimir Nabokov once described the ideal writer-reader experience in surprisingly romantic terms: "Up a trackless slope climbs the master artist, and at the top, on a windy ridge, whom do you think he meets? The panting and happy reader, and there they spontaneously embrace and are linked forever."

The writer writes alone, for years at time. The reader reads alone, often many years or centuries later. But something mystical happens in the space of a great book: two people brush up, connect, a transmission arcs across space and time. Nabokov may be dead, but he and I have hugged it out a dozen or more occasions. And I experience this ecstatic embrace with all art that stirs me deeply, no matter how vastly different the shape, time period, or form (Issa's death haiku, or the performances of the remarkable Miguel Gutierrez; Rebecca Horn's sculptures, or Caspar David Friedrich's Monk by the Sea).

Certain songs are like this for me too. And when I love a song in this way, I can listen to it easily over a thousand times, for months and even years on end. So this won't be a long list: only a few songs do this for me. Here they are paired with a poem from We Mammals that has some secret private history with each of them. With or without my poems, I still wish you ecstatic embrace listening with any of these!


"Poor in Love" - Destroyer
ALWAYS THROW THE FIRST FISH BACK

"When I Get Home" - Elizabeth Cotten
HOW LONG IS THE COAST OF BRITAIN?

"You Could Get Lost Out Here" - AC Newman
AM GOING SOUTH, AMUNDSEN

"Perfect Day" - Lou Reed
AUTOPSIES WERE MADE WITH THE FOLLOWING RESULTS

"Ooh Child" - Nina Simone
REPERCUSSIONS OF THE CURRENT IMPORT/EXPORT RATIO

"Rooks" - Shearwater
DROPPED THINGS ARE BOUND TO SINK

"This Will Be Our Year" - The Zombies
LUMINESCENCE


Jynne Dilling Martin and We Mammals in Hospitable Times links:

the author's Tumblr

Kirkus review
Oprah review
Publishers Weekly review
Washington Post review

All Things Considered interview with the author
The Barnes and Noble Review interview with the author
Slice 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

Book Notes - Alexandra Fuller "Leaving Before the Rains Come"

Leaving Before the Rains Come

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.

Alexandra Fuller's Leaving Before the Rains Come is a powerful memoir on marriage, family, and divorce set on two continents.

The New York Times wrote of the book:

"Ms. Fuller writes with ferocity and precision, and she turns the story of her marriage and its disintegration into a resonant parable about a couple's mismatched views of the world."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In her own words, here is Alexandra Fuller's Book Notes music playlist for her memoir Leaving Before the Rains Come:


My latest memoir (Leaving Before the Rains Come) started out to be a story about my father but ended up being a story about me, and about the slow possession of self that anyone must come to in order to be an authentic person. In the process of this self-possession, I explored what it meant to be the daughter of colorful, complicated parents (British, but who have spent the vast majority of their lives in southern Africa); the increasingly silent stalemate of my twenty-year marriage; the role of mother and women in the US (where ‘you can have it all' actually seems to be code for ‘you can DO it all'); and my eventually realization that all of us can only truly hope to be ourselves. Not "good" daughters, wives or mothers, but women (or sons, husbands, fathers, but men). I mean, it is inevitable that we will disappoint most of the people in our lives, but if we can figure out our bedrock, we at least won't end up being a disappointment to the person to whom we are most accountable – ourselves.

In every way, this book is noticeably more silent than anything I have written before (my other books are so full of music I included playlists in the back of two of them). Maybe this is because my father – who ends up being a major character in this memoir - is taciturn and often complains about all the noisy women in his life (my mother, my sister, me). And the man I married – who is less a major character than a cypher in the book, but nonetheless has much to do with the book's trajectory - was always turning down the music and begging me to find middle ground.

I never could find the middle ground of anything. From as soon as I knew that margins and edges existed, that was what I wanted to be exploring. This short playlist celebrates that truth.

ABBA "Angel Eyes"

In the first chapter of the book, I write about how, if my parents had a soundtrack, it would be Artie Shaw, or Doris Day (all crooning nostalgia) but that my sister, Vanessa, and I were raised on the music of the Swedish pop group ABBA. I think there is a generation or two of white southern Africans who can't listen to these songs without being cast back the weddings and house parties of their childhoods.

When I was writing the book, I was inspired to buy a copy of ABBA's greatest hits and was mortified to find myself sitting by the CD player with tears streaming down my cheeks. We were raised with so few clues about social justice (the white Rhodesian government wasn't big on such things), we had no idea that a world beyond our very closed borders existed, and we were listening to ABBA! We hardly stood a chance. Revolutions and grand ideas don't happen when kids are listening to the world's most addictive pop. Which may have been the point.

IPI NTOMBI "The Warrior"

On the other hand, as I confess in the book, Vanessa and I learned to dance to Ipi Ntombi's "The Warrior" - a South African musical about a young man who must leave his village to find work in the mines of Johannesburg.

Don't get me started on the contradictions: On the one had we were being raised in an overtly racist culture by an overtly racist government and our parents and the parents of everyone we knew, and every white male over the age of 18 and under the age of 60 had been conscripted into the Rhodesian army, and there we were waggling our hips to pastiches of South African indigenous music. But something about those rhythms must have broken ABBA's spell, because it wasn't long before I was starting to listen to Shona artists, without really listening, by which I mean it just seeped into my consciousness and one day I found myself able to hum along to the music.

THOMAS MAPFUMO – "Tombi Wachena"

Just to admit that you listened to Shona music as a white Rhodesian was an act of rebellion, but Shona music was the weather system of my rural Rhodesian childhood. It was played all around me, in the villages, compounds and in the small stores where women would come to do their marketing; salt, oil, dried fish. I so remember those little establishments, always with a busy tailor whirring cloth through his fingers on those old treadle sewing machines which have a rhythm all their own.

I especially love this 1977 single by Mapfumo – a simple love song that has nothing subversive about it - because it reminds me that our first acts of rebellion often happen unintentionally and internally, in our heads, when we are too young to even know that they are acts of rebellion. And that so often, rebellion isn't inspired by something overly political, but by something catchy and uplifting such as this song.

Mapfumo, also known as "The Lion of Zimbabwe" is truly one of the heroes of Zimbabwe. He is a year younger than my mother, which I find astonishing because he feels restlessly and perpetually current and to be pressing against the conditions of whatever injustices present themselves. In the 1970s, he resisted the Rhodesian government – creating so-called Chimurenga Music (Chimurenga, meaning "Outcry" is the name given for the liberation war which eventually saw the end of white minority rule) - and in time he has become a courageously outspoken critic of the tyrannical rule of Zimbabwe's longstanding dictator Robert Mugabe.

PÉPÉ KALLÉ AND THE EMPIRE BAKUBA – "Pres du Coeur"

After I married my American husband, and we were living in Lusaka Zambia in the early 1990s, you could not move without hearing Pépé Kallé, or hearing about him. I spent long days at home while my husband tired to negotiate getting permits for the safari company he was working for. My closest companion in those long months was the man we had hired to take care of the horses. During the rainy season, when it was too wet to do anything with the horses, and the electricity spluttered off, we sat gossiping in the kitchen and listening to the radio.

Known as "Africa's Elephant" because he was over six foot tall and weighed over three hundred pounds, I would say Pepe Kelle was Zaire's equivalent to ABBA. All you have to do is listen to this song to know why. I remember the big story about Pepe Kelle around this time was that the band's dancing dwarf, Emoro died while on tour in Botswana.

That story alone reminds me how surreal everything felt in Zambian in those years. It was as if we were all coming out of decades of socialism to this bigger, brighter, newer world where a carnival atmosphere was the norm.

ANNETTE BRISETTE – "Nah Nah Nah"

When my husband and I left Zambia with our baby daughter and moved to the States, I was so incredibly homesick, I experienced it as a physical longing. I remember being baffled by my adopted country. Everyone seemed in such a terrible rush, and although there was so much abundance, there seemed to be very little in the way of the kind of accidental, spontaneous joy that I was used to in Zambia.

I found this song quite by accident. And I played it over and over to my little daughter, Sarah in our Idaho kitchen when it was too cold and snowy for me to take her outside for long. I was still living as if we were in Zambia – I'd buy twenty-five pound bags of rice and beans and flour and cook everything from scratch (modern conveniences common in most American kitchens terrified or stymied me). So my memory is setting the bread to rise, and dancing Sarah around and around and I think this song perfectly captured the enormous love I had for my daughter, and the great sorrow I had at leaving Zambia.

KOKO TAYLOR – "I'm a Woman"

And finally, here is the song that epitomizes a woman coming into her own. I think Koko Taylor is such an exuberant, unapologetic voice for women everywhere (or for unafraid men!). When I finally went home to see my family in Zambia – after all the dust of the end of my 20-year had settled, and I embraced the full wonderful contradiction of being less alone than I had in all my life, I think this could easily have been the song that carried me there. Dad said, "I should probably have warned you from the start. Living your own life can be bloody frightening, and you will be lost half the time. But if I had told you that, you might not have set out in the first place, and that would have been a terrible waste."


Alexandra Fuller and Leaving Before the Rains Come links:

Bookforum review
Chicago Tribune review
Economist review
Guardian review
Kirkus review
New York Times review
Publishers Weekly review
Telegraph review
Washington Post review

The Daily Beast profile of the author
Expat interview with the author
Globe and Mail interview with the author
NewsHour interview with the author
Weekend Edition interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

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

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Atomic Books Comics Preview - February 23, 2015

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

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

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


A Little History: Photographs of Nick Cave and Cohorts, 1981-2013

A Little History: Photographs of Nick Cave and Cohorts, 1981-2013
by Bleddyn Butcher

This new hardcover art book collects over 30 years of Nick Cave (and friends) - based photography by Butcher. If you love Nick Cave, you'll love A Little History.


Highway #1

Highway #1
by Vicente Gutierrez (editor)

Awesome things can come in compact packages and Highway is one of them. This debut issue features sound ecologist and artist Hildegard Westerkamp, legendary photographer Glen E. Friedman, experimental musician Oren Ambarchi, KCHUNG Radio collective and so much more. And it fits right in the palm of your hand.


Members Only: Secret Societies, Sects, and Cults Exposed

Members Only: Secret Societies, Sects, and Cults Exposed
by Julie Tibbott

Tibbott presents a fun and accessible overview of secret societies and cults. And as a conspiracy enthusiast myself, I was thrilled to discover some things that were new to me.


Saturday Night Live: The Book

Saturday Night Live: The Book
by Alison Castle (Editor)

Coming off the SNL 40 Year Anniversary Special, if you find your love of the comedy show suddenly rekindled, this gorgeous, hardcover art book by Taschen will keep the magic going. Tons of behind the scenes and unpublished photos, plus cast, host and musical guest reference guides, and more. Live from New York, it's...


Silk #1

Silk #1
by Robbie Thompson / Stacey Lee

Fans demanded it, and Marvel delivered - Silk - part of the Spider-Man family. This debut issue has all personality and humor you want with the right blend of angst. It's written by Robbie Thompson, of CW's Supernatural. Plus artist newcomer Stacey Lee is already generating a ton of buzz. Silk has the making of an immediate hit.


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


Atomic Books & Benn Ray links:

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


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

List of Online "Best of 2014" Book Lists

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

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Shorties (Michael Chabon's Songwriting Tips, Stream the New Swervedriver Album, and more)

Author Michael Chabon shared songwriting tips with The Daily Beast.


NPR Music is streaming the new Swervedriver album, I Wasn't Born To Lose You.


The Rumpus interviewed author Laura van den Berg.


NPR Music is streaming Moon Duo's new album Shadow of the Sun.


Financial Times profiled author Ha Jin.


SPIN interviewed the current members of Gang of Four.


Weekend Edition interviewed Matt Sumell about his new novel Making Nice.


NPR Music is streaming the new Of Montreal album, Aureate Gloom.


Actor David Duchovny talked to the Guardian about his debut novel Holy Cow.


i-d examined music fandom in the 21st century.


All Things Considered interviewed Kim Gordon about her new memoir Girl in a Band.


Hypebot listed alternative online sources to discover new music.


Author Kelly Link listed her favorite books that warp reality at The Week.


The Independent remembered the heyday of British music magazine NME.


G. Willow Wilson talked to All Things Considered about creating an all-female Avengers cast for Marvel's new comics series.


Consequence of Sound listed 2015's most anticipated metal albums.


Langston Hughes's letter to Ezra Pound, from Selected Letters of Langston Hughes.


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


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

Essential and Interesting 2014 Year-End Music Lists
List of Online "Best of 2014" Book Lists

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 (Sleepy Holler, Zach Pietrini, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Floor Plan: Synesthesia single [mp3]

Hadley Kennary: With Love, From Chicago album [mp3]

The Lay Awakes: "Great Divide" [mp3]

Revolution, I Love You: We Choose to Go to the Moon album [mp3]

Sarah McGowan: Indian Summer EP [mp3]

Sleepy Holler: Sleepy Holler EP [mp3]

Tangled Memories: Ancient Sorrows EP [mp3]

Various Artists: Split Level Vol. 1 compilation album [mp3]

Zach Pietrini: Noisetrade Sampler (Spring 2015) EP [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Nathan Bowles: 2015-02-15, 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

February 21, 2015

Daily Downloads (The Week's Best Free and Legal Music Including Colleen Green, Strand of Oaks, Geographer, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Claws: Feel It All Sampler EP [mp3]

Colleen Green: "TV" [mp3] from I Want To Grow Up (out February 24th)

Deering and Down: "You're the One" [mp3]

Geographer: Live from the El Rey Theatre album [mp3]

I Am Snow Angel: Crocodile Sampler EP [mp3]

Post Modern Authors: Post Modern Authors EP [mp3]

Those Willows: Three Books EP [mp3]

Various Artists: HGTV and NoiseTrade Modern Love Sampler album [mp3]

Various Artists: New West / Normaltown Records 2015 Spring Sampler album [mp3]

Various Artists: Paste Valentine's Day Sampler album [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Strand of Oaks: 2015-02-07, Rockville Centre [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

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