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April 20, 2014

Largehearted Boy Weekly Wrap-Up - April 20, 2014

A list of the past week's Largehearted Boy features:


Book Notes: (authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates to their book)

Alena Graedon for her novel The Word Exchange
Cara Hoffman for her novel Be Safe I Love You
Christopher Brookmyre for his novel Bred in the Bone
Damian Barr for his memoir Maggie & Me
Isla Morley for her novel Above
Jaime Clarke for his novel Vernon Downs
Liel Leibovitz for his book A Broken Hallelujah: Rock and Roll, Redemption, and the Life of Leonard Cohen
Sean Madigan Hoen for his memoir Songs Only You Know


Weekly New Book Recommendations:

Atomic Books Comics Preview (recommended new comics and graphic novels)
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (recommended new books)


New Music Recommendations:

The Week's Interesting Music Releases


And of course, the daily music and news posts:

Daily Downloads (10 free and legal mp3 downloads every day, plus links to free live recordings online)
Shorties (news & links from the worlds of music, books, and pop culture)


also at Largehearted Boy:

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Antiheroines
Atomic Books Comics Preview
Book Notes
Contests / Giveaways
Cover Song Collections
Daily Downloads
Lists
weekly music release lists
musician/author Interviews
Note Books
Soundtracked
Try It Before You Buy It
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week

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April 20, 2014

Shorties (An Excerpt from Barbara Ehrenreich's New Book, A Libertines Reunion, and more)

The Guardian shared an excerpt from Barbara Ehrenreich's new book Living With A Wild God.


Gigwise reported that Pete Doherty is reuniting the Libertines.


Forbes detailed how earbuds have changed the sound and business of pop music.


The Rumpus interviewed author Ashley Farmer.


Rufus Wainwright visited Weekend Edition for an interview and live performance.


Douglas Coupland talked to All Things Considered about his new novel Worst. Person. Ever.


One father's Tumblr is placing his son in classic album covers.


The finalists for science fiction's 2014 Hugo Awards have been named.


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


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

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

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

Daily Downloads (The Week's Best Free and Legal Music Downloads, Including Erin McKeown, Dean Wareham, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

The Belle Brigade: http://www.noisetrade.com/thebellebrigade/when-everything-was-what-it-was [mp3]

Dean Wareham: 2014-04-05, New York [mp3]

Erin McKeown: Civics album [mp3]

Frances Cone: "Better Man" [mp3] from Frances Cone EP (out April 29th)

La Sera: "Running Wild" [mp3] from Hour of the Dawn (out May 7th)

LEAGUES: You Belong Here album [mp3]

Morning Parade: The WFUZ Acoustic Session EP [mp3]

Needtobreathe: Live from Austin City Limits EP [mp3]

Pet Friends: Live for BBC Introducing EP [mp3]

Various Artists: Crazed MP3 Fans Vol. 1 Kill Rock Stars album [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

The Grawks: 2014-04-11, 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

April 19, 2014

Book Notes - Sean Madigan Hoen "Songs Only You Know"

Songs Only You Know

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

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

Sean Madigan Hoen's Songs Only You Know is a candid and skillfully told memoir of dysfunctional family, addiction, and the power of music, one of the most moving books I have read in years.

Kirkus wrote of the book:

"Perceptive, sprawling memoir of a young man’s escape from cascading family tragedies into the noise-punk underground ... A dark, knowing look at addiction, rock 'n' roll, and the ties that bind."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.

In his own words, here is Sean Madigan Hoen's Book Notes music playlist for his memoir, Songs Only You Know:


When I started writing Songs Only You Know, I had the idea that I'd forgo direct mention of records or bands, including the bands I played in, whose adventures form a significant portion of my book. I was hesitant to clutter the story with subcultural references, and feared that revealing too much of my spotted musical past might compromise the gravity of the events. By being elusive and drafting the music-related scenes in a way that avoided proper nouns, I thought I might achieve a kind of everyman or everyband quality when it came to the characterization of my music life.

Much to my disappointment, that strategy didn't work out. As I sharpened the details, trying to render them as honestly as I could, it became clear to me that I'd have to reveal some specifics about the music that scored so many moments of the lives I was portraying. So, tucked into this memoir is a ragtag playlist of the songs and albums that were in rotation during those years. They range from items as obscure as the Baltimore hardcore band Universal Order of Armageddon to something as ubiquitous as Fleetwood Mac's 1977 single "Dreams." For Book Notes, I've listed a couple songs that show up in my book, a few that didn't make it into those pages, and a few more that had some effect on my writing process.


Stars of the Lid "Don't Bother They're Here"

According to certain digital intelligences inside my computer, I spun this song close to two thousand times while working on Songs. It was usually played at low volume, yet it's such a resonant, harmonically powerful piece of music that it succeeded in deterring most of the city noises that arose outside my apartment's windows. To begin and end each writing session, I tried meditating on these tones and found them to grow more otherworldly with each listen. It strikes me that there's a yearning for resolution in everything Stars of the Lid does, yet their tongue-in-cheek song titles seem designed to counter that intention (how is it that one of this century's most beautiful pieces of music is stuck with the name "Dungtitled"?). Though my book features more onstage bloodletting and punk rock antics than most, I believe it's told from a place more suited to the wonderfully sad swells presented in "Don't Bother They're Here." And, as with so many good books, one's experience of this track deepens if you're willing to enter its chamber and surrender to the melody of its language.

David S. Ware "Ananda Rotation"

David S. Ware passed away while I was at work on my book. He'd driven a cab in New York throughout the ‘70s while apprenticing with the heaviest of the heavy jazzmen like Sonny Rollins and Cecil Taylor, tapping in to the most vital lineages of what some call free jazz. Legend has it Ware would come home after his shifts behind the taxi wheel and ceremoniously play Albert Ayler's Bells album, the aural equivalent of escaping one's human form in a cloud of black and gold smoke. Essentially, Ware was the most vital modern purveyor of experimental jazz in the ‘80s and ‘90s, devoted the work as a form of meditation, prayer, ecstatic surrender. By the time of his 2003 album Threads, on which this track appears, he'd brought keyboards and electronic atmospheres (as well as a violin and viola) into his orchestrations, and I've never heard a more powerful combination of tones. Compositionally, the material is staggering. Perhaps "Ananda Rotation" isn't jazz at all, but some brand of alien music from an alternate world where sentient beings are more deeply connected to their gods within. I played this close to two thousand times during the early phases of my book, when I was learning to write and seeking the highest levels of inspiration I could achieve. To close your eyes and take this rotational journey is to bring oneself closer to something like redemption—I truly believe that. Ware just might be my second favorite saxophonist, trumped only by Saint Coltrane.

Black Flag "My War" 1984 Radio Tokyo Sessions (bootleg)

The term "punk" is mentioned on occasion in my book. A tricky distinction, freighted with some unpleasant cultural baggage also a word that means different things to different weirdos. The glossed over version of punk that hit the malls sometime in the '90s is as underwhelming as just about anything in mainstream media; the notion of punk that's germane to my book, however, is excellently articulated during this 1984 live performance by the mercurial Black Flag. Purists argue that their earliest work—the blueprint for "American hardcore"—is the only Flag that matters. As a teenager, I was immediately attracted to their middle period: longhaired, psycho-fusion explorations, fueled, as the story goes, by LSD and postal communication with Charles Manson. The art-damaged "My War," the lead track from their '83 album of the same name, is a grating, deranged number that was the dividing line for many fans of the group. Stretching toward the four minute mark and devoid of a proper chorus, the song rejects the hardcore punk standards the band helped institute, and, in essence, defines the genre's ethos for me: defying conventions the minute they're established. What it lacks in poetry is redeemed by the lunatic conviction of Henry's vocal—from 2:34 mark to the tune's end, especially. That it's a twenty-two year old woman holding down the finger-pumping bassline here is but another indication of how completely against the grain Black Flag were during this era of slam dance tribalism. The only thing missing is a Greg Ginn guitar solo, but you can still hear his Dan Armstrong sizzling. He was the first guitarist I truly loved and these sounds were very dear to the eighteen-year old kid characterized in my book.

The Beatles "Helter Skelter"

My sister liked to rewind certain moments of this song in order to isolate the occasional absurdities in Paul McCartney's vocal delivery. My dad always kept a few cassettes in his car and for some reason The White Album was the only one that remained always on hand, for years on end. All this time later, I'll hear a section of "Happiness is a Warm Gun" and find myself transported to a Sunday drive, scenes of Dearborn, Michigan whipping past the windows as my sister and I mime to each other in accordance with the song's stylistic and rhythmic transitions. A record with so many moods, sounds and voices—Didion's choice to repurpose its title for her collection of ‘60s/'70s reminiscences couldn't have been more perfect. "Helter Skelter" is the White Album's central mindmelter, a triumph of discordance and wily, psychedelic fun that carries with it a unique bag of cultural associations, namely blood on the door of Polanski's ranch; yet the secret messages I hear whispering beneath these fuzzy guitars have to do with a simple time when Paul's best screams brought huge smiles to my sister's young face.

Red House Painters "Have You Forgotten"

I can tell an uncomfortably true story about a time when Mark Kozelek slept in my mother's basement, an incident that almost made it impossible for me to enjoy to his music again. Prior to that, though, the Red House Painters' albums had nourished me throughout what might have been the worst year of my life. That year is detailed in my book, yet, despite having listened almost exclusively to the Red House Painters during that time, both the band and this great song go unmentioned in the text. Legend has it that Kozelek wrote and recorded this version (the better version, leading off the album Songs For A Blue Guitar) in a single day. It's one of those songs that's so nakedly sentimental as to, at first listen, bring one dangerously near to gagging, but then you hear the honesty of the voice. The heart of this tune feels so genuinely swollen with sublime longing, as vulnerable as the clean, dry vocal so up front in the mix, raw notes and all (he recorded it to analog tape, no computers). It's a song that reminds you of anyone whose ever joined you in listening to it, whether driving down the highway or leaning back into a couch, letting the music have its moment—I'm not ashamed to admit that I've wept to this on two occasions. Kozelek sings lines like "When we were kids, we hated things our sisters did" and succeeds in making the language, its child-like simplicity, mean something uniquely emotional. "Have You Forgotten" has all the melancholy sentimentality and obsessive long-windedness of the band's finest work. I'd spent my adolescence searching out the heaviest music I could find but this simple acoustic tune conveyed to me an emotional purity that made the crazy-eyed screamers seem like angry boys afraid of the deepest resonances. This song is as Midwestern as it gets—play it as you travel from Detroit to Kalamazoo.

The Stooges "Down on the Street"

People from Detroit often claim a by-proxy ownership of the Stooges, but they were actually barely-legal burnouts from late ‘60s Ypsilanti, a place void of flower power in the summer of love. Instead you get black leather and shirtless stage-crawls and really great sounding fuzz guitar. In their early days, they were less like a city band than a gang of feral dog-boys who made some of rock's gnarliest records at a point when their musical proficiency was just awesome enough to hold down the dirty grooves—and it's that crazy spirit and about-to-break delivery that makes this song so violent and enchanting and sexual. The snare hit/sliding chord intro slams me instantly into a time now passed: my friend Will, a significant presence in my book, often played this when the sun was going down and the night ahead seemed full of unspeakable possibilities. The Funhouse album inspires a certain kind of person to get busy commencing with any manner of bad behavior and "Down on the Street" is mentioned in my book because it was always spinning. Thinking twice about it, there probably isn't a better soundtrack for rolling down the Detroit stretch of Michigan Avenue circa 1998, past the topless bars and burned out storefronts, as the nightcrawlers emerged and daylight was the last thing imaginable.

Slowdive "Blue Skied and Clear"

The city of Kalamazoo appears late in my book and, though I didn't include this detail, my fondest memories of that place are often accompanied by this 1995 voyage into sublime Spirit of Eden atmospherics. From what you can make out of the echo chamber whispers, it sounds like a love lyric, and I knew true love in that weird tiny, funny-named city. Once, I played "Blue Skied and Clear" on repeat as I tried to sleep a night in my Ford Escort, parked outside K-Zoo's historic Mountain Home Cemetery; when, in the morning, I found the car battery dead, I concluded the inconvenience was worth the alone time I'd spent with this piece. Maybe it's my weakness for nostalgia, but this song seems designed to float through your life, coloring beautifully moments now passed.

Bruce Springsteen "Darkness on the Edge of Town"

I'm not a Boss devotee. You can get into trouble with some people by inquiring into the artistic validity of tunes like "Jungleland," but I don't connect with the larger part of his catalog and I was, perhaps childishly, offended when "the working man's songwriter" went momentarily exclusive with Wal-Mart, effectively patronizing big, ugly anti-union business while also cutting out what he might call "ma and pa" record stores. Impressive, then, that the melodramatic ferocity of his 1978 album (Darkness of the Edge of Town) coverts even a skeptic. On this song I hear a guy working overtime to prove whatever he's trying to prove, "lives on the line" and "paying the cost" and all that. It's with slight insecurity that I list this track, particularly because it's to admit that I played it repeatedly during a phase—somewhere around the three-year mark of writing Songs—when I was struggling to believe I had the talent to do justice to the story I wanted to tell—or to write at all, for that matter. I suppose Bruce's music is a reliable prescription for times like that, because I'd fire up "Darkness" song and wait for the line:

Everybody's got a secret/something that they just can't face
Some folks spend their whole lives trying to keep it/they carry it with them every step of the way
Till one day, the just cut it loose/cut it loose or let it drag them down

The words grind out of his throat, the syllables convey something physical, the wear and tear it takes to make them sound that way. When it came down to the unglamorous labor of hammering away my umpteenth draft—in the face of what felt like certain failure—I leaned heavily on this track and, once or twice, it kept me upright. I decided why not lay it all out there, rip out the guts and see what it looked like. That, at least, I could do.

Easy Action "Kool Aide"

A number of the scenes in Songs take place in late ‘90s/early 2000s Detroit, before the current boom of interest in the quiet, largely evacuated metropolis that is the city at large. A special place. Growing up, I could ride my bike down Michigan Avenue to the Dearborn/Detroit border, and to cross that line was a scary thing for a kid on a BMX. People who haven't lived in proximity to Motown can't really grasp how it felt to consider Detroit "the city." "Detroit rock" as a descriptor means something and I'm pretty sure it has to do with electric guitar grit and a rawness worthy of accompanying the unglamorous nature of the place. If you buy that, then you might agree that one of the most supremely underrated Detroit rock bands is Easy Action, named after Detroit-native Alice Cooper's 1970 album. The MC5 and The Stooges blazed the trail, but neither sustained careers based in Detroit, not like Easy Action's John Brannon, who's been a line cook in Cass Corridor for most of my adult life.

Brannon's first band Negative Approach was Detroit's most significant contemporary of Black Flag and his next, The Laughing Hyenas, was the nastiest blues damage on Touch and Go Records. The Hyenas, opening for Fugazi, were the first live band I ever saw and the experience was not forgettable. Three decades in, John Brannon is the longest-lasting screamer in all of rock n' roll and "Kool Aide" (by Brannon's third and longest-lasting band) is testament to this fact. It would be a mistake to dismiss the track for its garage brutality, because there's a truly human performance unfolding within—a pure moment, sound and screams resulting in a beautifully horrible gestalt. You could argue that the blues has long since been relegated to bar band orthodoxy, but the spirit of the bluesman lives in John Brannon: Fifty-something and you can hear the years in his howls (listen to him take over this bridge-into-chorus from 1:45-2:16). The kind of screaming characterized in my book has its roots in Brannon. I mention this track—taken from the Friends of Rock n' Roll album—because it's my favorite example of contemporary Detroit Rock and because I played it often while joy riding through the city.

Fugazi "Smallpox Champion"

Speaking of Fugazi, I'd have had a lot less ammunition to face the modern world if not for this band. They channeled the social, personal and aesthetic, doing things with their guitars that, for me, epitomize a perfect balance between melody and discordance. It surprises me that Fugazi's business model hasn't inspired more of us to realize that smart people can effectively step off the corporate carousel and succeed, ethics in tact. Their philosophy was so uncompromising: artistic and moral integrity comes first, everything else can meet those terms. It wasn't a pose. They remain the best live band I've ever seen (1993). There's a section in my book that portrays what was, in my estimation, an attempt on my part to sell out in the interest of becoming a "career musician." My concessions were mild, as far as those things go, but once that plan crashed and burned, I gave myself a hard time for eating of the poisoned apple. Bob Dylan's gonna sell women's underwear and Henry Rollins is gonna act in children's movies, but you can always count on the Fugazi men to keep the art at odds with the machine. Their purity extended to every aspect of their existence, and their influence played a part in guiding many toward honest expression, myself included. Why "Smallpox Champion"? Because I played it this morning for the ten millionth time and it never fails.

John Coltrane "Ascension"

There's a version of this piece that is forty minutes long, and that is the version that accompanies a rather kaleidoscopic scene in Songs. It's one of those works of art that, at mere mention of its name, I'll actually taste its substance, feel it beneath my skin. A sound storm that whorls with every accessible feeling there is, as though conjured by forces light years beyond the present incarnation of our species—I don't think we've caught up Coltrane yet, or else we need him to lead us back toward our truest nature. Late in his career, he'd so thoroughly mastered the art of improvisation, in-the-moment expressions of whatever was channeling through his being. He was interested in a phenomenon so totally extrapolated from linear composition. "Ascension," as I understand it, was born out of Coltrane's need to "hear more sound moving around him." He wanted to be in the middle of it, touched from every angle—imagine what a man of his musical genius was experiencing while divining these "sheets of sound." We can't truly understand—that's the beauty. The track features two trumpet players and five saxophonists, all responding to J.C.'s telepathy. That I was tripping very intensely on special drugs when I first heard this might have allowed my young, feeble mind to better absorb "Ascension's" miracles, but I can also attest to feeling it even more deeply all these years later. People call Coltrane's "free" period challenging, yet its spiritual benefits are undeniable to those who feel with their ears. Some days this particular piece of music is as mysterious to me as the sun.

Roy Orbison "Pretty Woman"

When my sister was in intensive care, I sang this song in a whisper and hoped she could hear me. It was an inside joke between she and I, the last one I ever told her. Roy always struck me as a kind soul, the truest troubadour, a man with his feet in country music and his head way out in the cosmos, and my appreciation for his classy ways had deepened as I've grown older. "Do they make ‘em like Roy anymore?" Despite the personal connotations "Pretty Woman" has for me, it lightens my spirit whenever I hear that gracious voice crooning over the waves. My sister could groove to this, sweetly and kindly.


Sean Madigan Hoen and Songs Only You Know links:

the author's website
excerpt from the book
excerpt from the book
video trailer for the book

BookPeople's Blog review
Detroit Metro Times review
Kirkus review
Paste review


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

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

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

Shorties (Music Inspired by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Aimee Mann and Billy Collins Interviewed About Each Other, and more)

Music Times lists musical compositions inspired by the writings of Gabriel Garcia Marquez.


Musician Aimee Mann and poet Billy Collins are interviewed about each other.


Pitchfork explored the past, present, and future of streaming music.


Tin House interviewed author Ted Thompson.


The Guardian Books podcast interviewed author Emma Donoghue.


Metallica's bassist discussed his Jaco Pastorius documentary with A Blog Supreme.


Actor Chris O'Dowd discussed his new theater production of Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men with Weekend Edition.


Paste recommends Record Store day releases to pick up today.


Flavorwire lists essential graphic novels.


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


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

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

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

Daily Downloads (Thee Silver Mt. Zion, Mogwai, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Alejandro Escovedo: 2014-01-18, New York [mp3,ogg,flac]
Alejandro Escovedo: "Pale Blue Eyes (Velvet Underground cover)" [mp3]
Alejandro Escovedo: 2006-06-21, Annapolis [mp3,ogg,flac]
Alejandro Escovedo: "Arizona" [mp3]

Blitzen Trapper: 2014-03-27, Minneapolis [mp3,ogg,flac]
Blitzen Trapper: "Love the Way You Walk Away" [mp3]

Charlotte Martin: 2014-02-22, Los Angeles [mp3,ogg,flac]
Charlotte Martin: "Galaxies" [mp3]

Jon Langford: 2014-04-04, Brooklyn [mp3,ogg,flac]
Jon Langford: "Streets of Your Town (Go-Betweens cover)" [mp3]

Mogwai: 2014-04-17, Los Angeles [mp3,ogg,flac]
Mogwai: "How to Be a Cowboy" [mp3]
Mogwai: 2014-04-15, Solana Beach [mp3,ogg,flac]
Mogwai: "Deesh" [mp3]

Thee Silver Mt. Zion: 2014-04-15, Athens [mp3,ogg,flac]
Thee Silver Mt. Zion: "Take Away These Early Grave Blues" [mp3]

The War on Drugs: 2011-10-26, Seattle [mp3,ogg,flac]
The War on Drugs: "Come to the City" [mp3]
The War on Drugs: 2009-04-18, Seattle [mp3,ogg,flac]
The War on Drugs: "Show Me The Coast" [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

The Grawks: 2014-04-11, 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

April 18, 2014

Book Notes - Cara Hoffman "Be Safe I Love You"

Be Safe I Love You

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

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

Cara Hoffman's Be Safe I Love You is a provocative novel of war, family, and class, thoughtfully told from the perspective of a female soldier returning from Iraq.

Library Journal wrote of the book:

"A searing, unforgettable, and beautifully written tale about the corrosive effects of war on the psyche, a contemporary version of Tim O’Brien's The Things They Carried with a female protagonist."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.

In her own words, here is Cara Hoffman's Book Notes music playlist for her novel, Be Safe I Love You:


Generation X Love Songs

In the two years that I was writing Be Safe I Love You I listened almost entirely to Estonian Composer Arvo Part. Particularly Odes III and IV in the Kanon Pokajanen, and also Fur Alina, and Variations for the Healing of Arinushka. All transcendent. I also listened to a lot of Ethiopian music from the 1960s, which my son gave me. And to his compositions which were in various states of completion, and to the album he put out this year with the band Chapter Books. All of these things are excellent listening. And I highly recommend them.

But the songs I came back to again and again in the last months of working on Be Safe were, appropriately, love songs—or at least what I consider love songs. This began while I was at a residency in the South of France. A friend of mine and I emailed music back and forth regularly. I was alone there for two months in a big strange house and waking up every morning to find Youtube clips he'd sent of Yacht or old tunes by Ricky Nelson was a lot of fun, and also constituted 100 percent of my social contact for the day.

So here for your reading pleasure is a little playlist of Gen X love songs. I think all playlists we make for people are in some way love songs, so I hope these make you as happy as they make me.

"Dystopia" - Yacht
I periodically get the chorus to Dystopia stuck in my head “The earth-the earth-the-earth is on fire, we don't have a daughter let the motherfucker burn.” Yacht is a lot of fun to dance to. My friend got this album and didn't realize at first he was listening to it on the wrong speed. “It sounded kind of like the Human League,” he said.

"I Found a Reason" – The Velvet Underground
This song is an anthem. And the Velvet Underground is cause for a whole separate essay. I can't put into words the debt of gratitude modern music owes this band. Or how much they influenced my thinking and aesthetics. This little piece might scratch the surface though: “I do believe if you don't like things you leave, for some place you never been before…” Words of wisdom for sure.

"Hey" – The Pixies
My god do I love this song and love Frank Black. I never get tired of hearing it. There are some punk songs that seem to have the secrets of the universe curled inside them. (Like Iggy Pop screaming 'every little baby knows just what I mean' in "Funhouse.") This one seems to carry a perfect sonic code a lovely distillation of animal being, all about sex and death and love. So simple and deep.

"This is Love" – PJ Harvey
PJ Harvey has a gorgeous vicious voice. When I've written about the timber of a voice being drinkable, I am not just thinking of Joan Sutherland or Maria Calais, I'm also thinking of her. What a badass she is, and the way she sings falsetto, like kind of macho stadium rocker from the 70s just blows me away. And this line is just perfect: "! can't believe that the axis turns on suffering when you taste so good."

"My Death" – David Bowie (written by Jacques Brel)
There's a lot of David Bowie listening going on in Be Safe. And god knows there was a lot of David Bowie listening going on in my house when my brothers and I were growing up. His voice, his range, his elegance are inimitable. It's hard to pick one David Bowie song and this one is the least representative of his actual style, but it is very appropriate for the novel and musing about beauty.

"Some Kind of Love" – Lou Reed
Lou Reed's death last October was maybe the only time I wept over the loss of someone I didn't know personally. This is one of my favorite songs ever. The lines "between thought and expression lies a lifetime" so apt and so romantic.

"Joan of Arc" – Leonard Cohen
Leonard Cohen is a writer's musican (and Joan of Arc is the ghost that haunts this novel.) I love his quiet wit and all the pretty lines he writes. Like this one: "Deep into his fiery heart he took the dust of Joan of Arc and high above the wedding guests he hung the ashes of her wedding dress." Lovely.

"Barrier of Bodies" - Angel Olsen
This song blew me away when I first heard it. Her voice is crushingly beautiful, rich and resonant. It's often hard to hear sopranos sing popular music. I'm not a Kate Bush fan and I find Bjork's growling and high pitched, twee, baby voice ridiculous. (Bjork actually did an interview with Arvo Part which is painful to watch but it is instructive on the graciousness of real genius, when confronted with questions about Jiminy Cricket.) Angel Olsen's singing has a kind of maturity, warmth, vulnerability and command that's very rare. The way she sings “If you should take me, I'll let you break my heart,” showcases these wonderful qualities.

"I am Stretched on Your Grave" – Sinead O'connor
I love her voice, again an example of rich powerful resonance. She has an amazing range, the high soprano just as controlled and lovely as the lower end of her reach. I love the rill that concludes this song, which reminds me of nights out at the Horrigan's pub with my family when I was a child. It would be wrong not to include some Irish music on this list given the novel.

"And no More Shall we Part" – Nick Cave
Of course Nick Cave is on this list. Like Leonard Cohen he's a literary song writer. His voice is simply lovely and powerful. I love the aching way he sings "All the hatchets have been buried now, and all the birds will sing to your beautiful heart upon the bough." He brings a visceral depth of feeling to song like Celine bring to fiction. I was lucky enough to see Nick Cave in concert last year. I think he's getting better with age. The intelligence and compassion and love and rage and darkness he commands is amazing. And he's self aware and funny as hell. He recently said he was going to erect a statue of himself, riding a horse and holding a sword, in the center of the terrible little farming town he grew up in. That still makes me laugh every time I think about it. It's hard not to love someone who's dead serious and funny at the same time.


Cara Hoffman and Be Safe I Love You links:

the author's website
the author's Wikipedia entry

BookPage review
The List review
Miami Herald review

Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for So Much Pretty
New York Times essay by the author
The Quivering Pen essay by the author
Read Her Like and Open Book interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

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

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Atomic Books Comics Preview - April 18, 2014

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 Bizarre Magazine's 51 geekiest places on the planet, as well as one of Flavorwire's 10 greatest comic and graphic novel stores in America.


Bohemians: A Graphic History

Bohemians: A Graphic History
by Paul Buhle / David Berger / various

One of the most enjoyable ways to read about the past is via these sorts of graphic histories that Buhle (The Beats, A People's History of American Empire) does. Here a variety of artists (Lance Tooks, Peter Kuper, Spain Rodriguez, Sabrina Jones) illustrate the histories of key figures in the counter-cultural bohemian "movement" of the 19th and 20th centuries.


Mineshaft #30

Mineshaft #30
by Everett Rand / Gioia Palmieri (editors)

Mineshaft is one of the finest comics and illustrative arts publications out there. This issue features contributions from Robert Crumb, Bill Griffith, Mary Fleener, Jay Lynch and many more. It's one of those publications that, if you can manage to put it down, you can't stop looking at it and wanting to pick it back up again.


Operation Margarine

Operation Margarine
by Katie Skelly

Two girls on a motorcycle roadtrip facing down the elements, biker gangs and each other. All told with Skelly's impossible-to-not-adore art style.


Real Good Stuff #1 / #2

Real Good Stuff #1 / #2
by Dennis P. Eichhorn / various

One of my all-time favorite underground/anthology comics from the 1990s was Dennis Eichhorn's Real Stuff. Like a Harvey Pekar meets Hunter S. Thompson/Charles Bukowski, Eichhorn would write out his stories and enlist a who's who of great comic artists to illustrate them. It's been a few years, but he's returned with Real Good Stuff, and he brings in a mix of those great artists he used to work with (Jim Blanchard, Mary Fleener, Pat Moriarity) with a number of great younger artists (Max Clotfelter, Noah Van Sciver). This first issue is a 2-issue flipbook too.


Tenderness #1

Tenderness #1
by Matt Crabe, Heaven's Favorite Man

Crabe's artwork is psychedelic and pornographic - it's great and disturbing at the same time - which makes it super great! This first issue of Crabe's ongoing comics magazine is strictly ADULTS ONLY.


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, Said What?


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

Online "Best of 2013" Book Lists

52 Books, 52 Weeks
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
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)
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)

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Shorties (Gary Shteyngart on Book Blurbing, The Top Five Hip Hop References in Poetry, and more)

Gary Shteyngart on book blurbing at the New Yorker.


The Tottenville Review interviewed author Alena Graedon.


OUPblog listed the top five hip hop references in poetry.


Angus Andrew of the band Liars listed his favorite albums at The Quietus.


What is the plural of the word "vinyl"?


The Quietus interviewed author Willy Vlautin.


Black Francis talked graphic novels with Newsweek.


The Asylum interviewed author Jenny Offill.


Dazed shared a five-part video documentary of the Balearic sound.


Paste recommended short story collections for people who only read novels.


All Songs Considered evaluates the modern need for music on cassettes.


R.I.P., author Gabriel Garcia Marquez.


The A.V. Club interviewed the co-writer of Charlie Louvin's memoir, Satan Is Real: The Ballad Of The Louvin Brothers.


Flavorwire listed the best novels under 200 pages in length.


The A.V. Club interviewed singer-songwriter Dan Wilson.


Bookish shared a list of the best books that feature cannibalism.


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


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

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

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Daily Downloads (La Sera, Needtobreathe, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Boogarins: Live on WFMU's Three Chord Monte with Joe Belock: March 25, 2014 [mp3]

Carsick Cars: Live on WFMU's 100% Whatever with Mary Wing - April 6, 2014 [mp3]

Jowe Head and the Celestial Choir: Live on WFMU with Gaylord Fields - April 13, 2014 [mp3]

La Sera: "Running Wild" [mp3] from Hour of the Dawn (out May 7th)

Midnite on Pearl Beach: "No Mystery in That" [mp3] from Bermuda

MOSSENEK: live at St. Vitus 1/16/14 [mp3]

Nandas: Live on Distort Jersey City with Reed Dunlea - April 1, 2014 [mp3]

Needtobreathe: Live from Austin City Limits EP [mp3]

Wall Matthews: Live on WFMU with Irene Trudel: April 14, 2014 [mp3]

Whitney McCombs: Home EP [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Slothtrust: 2014-03-14, Austin [mp3]


search for more free and legal music downloads at Largehearted Boy


also at Largehearted Boy:

other daily free and legal mp3 downloads
covers collections
100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads

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

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April 17, 2014

Book Notes - Christopher Brookmyre "Bred in the Bone"

Bred in the Bone

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

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

Christopher Brookmyre's novel Bred in the Bone impresses with its depiction of Glasgow as well as its well-drawn characters on both sides of the law.

Publishers Weekly wrote of the book:

"Peppered with choice Glaswegian slang and oozing with just the right combination of black humor and sobering commentary on the city’s dark underbelly, this entry should cement Brookmyre’s reputation as one of today’s top Scottish crime writers."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.

In his own words, here is Christopher Brookmyre's Book Notes music playlist for his novel, Bred in the Bone:


The advance posters for John Singleton's landmark 1991 debut Boyz n the Hood memorably featured the tag line: "It ain't no fairytale." This was a subtle barb aimed at the Steve Martin-penned comedy LA Story, released earlier the same year, which had offered viewers a pastel-shaded (and all-white) fantasy version of Los Angeles as a dream factory, pretending that neighbourhoods and communities such as Singleton's didn't exist. Singleton's exasperation was not the result of one movie, but rather with the fact that whenever Hollywood turned its attention to LA, it tended to trade in love letters rather than home truths, and always offered the same fairytale version to the world.

I have long harboured a similar frustration with regard to depictions of my native Glasgow, but my complaint is essentially the opposite. The Glasgow of film, TV and literature is always one of violence, poverty, deprivation, drugs and alcohol, and while the city's problems with all of the above are chronic and undeniable, there must be few cities subject to such a consistently one-sided portrayal. To my mind, this gangland theme-park Glasgow of mainstream popular culture is as idealised and unrealistic as Steve Martin's LA, and I have long made it a mission of my writing to show the world all of my city's many faces.

When I conceived of the novels that ultimately comprised the Jasmine Sharp trilogy, I was extremely wary of adding to the negative stereotype. Where the Bodies are Buried, When the Devil Drives and Bred in the Bone are about thirty years of secrets buried amidst the complex relationships between the police and the city's crime lords, where neither law nor morality is denoted by a clear border, but rather a mist-shrouded hinterland.

I was determined to reflect the fact that Glasgow is also a thriving, energetic and culturally vibrant city. To me, one of the most rewarding ways of doing this was to showcase the songs emerging from the city's enduringly fertile and ceaselessly surprising music scene. I wanted not merely to create a silent soundtrack to the books, but to depict the role this music has in my characters' lives, as well as to acknowledge the debt of inspiration I owed to these songs in conceiving of and writing this trilogy.

Some of these are songs I refer to specifically in my novels, others are songs I was listening to at the time, but the bottom line is that Jasmine Sharp, Catherine McLeod and Glen Fallan would not have been the same without them.

Frightened Rabbit – The Loneliness and the Scream
This is kind of where it all began with these novels. Late Summer 2009, my family dealing with the sudden death of my wife's father. Around about this time I fell in love with Frightened Rabbit's music, and was awe-struck by Scott Hutchison's candour and unflinching honesty in analysing his own life. It was much more than that, though: what truly grabbed me was his gift for making the personal universal. Here was music about vulnerability, self-doubt, melancholy and the precipice of despair, but ultimately celebrating our enduring hope and the unlikely places we find redemption. By way of acknowledgment, I chose to open Where the Bodies are Buried by naming its first chapter after this song, whose title particularly chimed with the mood and the events that begin the story.

The Twilight Sad – Cold Days from the Birdhouse
I named a chapter in Where the Bodies are Buried after a more appropriately titled Twilight Sad track (And She Would Darken the Memory), but it was the opening song from the album Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters that really haunted my mind in the months before I sat down to write the book. It is sparse, admitting of no self-pity, and yet remains strangely comforting: a soundtrack for contemplating the hardest things we must face. As mentioned above, I was dealing with bereavement and channelled my feelings into the process by which Jasmine must cope with the loss of her mother, and no song better reminds me of that mood. Once you've heard it a couple of times, it will stay with you always.

Glasvegas – Go Square Go
Glasvegas' debut album was one of the most emotionally raw and draining collections of songs I had ever heard, so much so that I had to ration my exposure to it at first, as certain of the tracks were frequently causing me to fill up: not ideal if you're listening in the car and driving on the motorway. In common with both of the bands mentioned above, James Allan eschewed the mid-Atlantic register often preferred by Scottish vocalists, choosing instead to sing in his own Glasgow accent: something that adds to the immediacy and frankness of the songs. One of the most toxic sources of misery in the west of Scotland is its enduring cult of the hard man, a theme I sought to explore through the character of Glen Fallan: a former gangland hitman and enforcer searching for redemption. This song cuts open the issue at the root, exposing how a corrupt and yet seductive code equating masculinity with violence is irrevocably inculcated in childhood.

Biffy Clyro – A Whole Child Ago
Biffy Clyro are a hard act to pigeonhole: constantly evolving their sound, beguiling the listener with strange and shifting time signatures, and generally hitting the accelerator whenever they are approaching any kind of comfort zone. Simon Neil's lyrics tend to be just as perplexing, though even when their meaning remains elusive, their use of language can be arresting. I chose A Whole Child Ago as the name for a chapter describing Jasmine Sharp's recollection of the first time she lost her mother – just for a while, in a supermarket, as a little girl – and how that feeling returned permanently when her mother died.

Balaam & the Angel - Day and Night
In When the Devil Drives, the latest West End stage hit (and best-selling soundtrack album) for theatre impresario Hamish Queen is a musical based on Grange Hill, an Eighties TV show about an ordinary British school. Hamish reflects that the songs in his show evoke nostalgia precisely because he chooses largely forgotten numbers that weren't quite hits. His reasoning is that the classic Eighties standards don't specifically remind anyone of that decade, because we've been hearing them throughout every decade since. Among the tracks Hamish used was this goth-pop gem by one of my favourite bands of the era, Balaam & the Angel: probably best known in the US for I'll Show You Something Special, which was the song playing in the demonic late-night cab ride taken by Steve Martin and John Candy in Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

Twin Atlantic – Yes I Was Drunk
In making reference to an emerging new band in a book, you can be hostage to fortune in that they might soon disappear without trace, or evolve into something you really didn't anticipate. If you're lucky, though, they can go from strength to strength, and your character's relationship with their music can seem more authentic for that. In Where the Bodies are Buried, I referred to Jasmine as having seen Twin Atlantic play just before her mother became ill, which set things up nicely for two books later with Bred in the Bone, in which I describe Jasmine's first time seeing them since. It is a painful but ultimately cathartic and galvanising experience for her, and provided me with an excuse to re-live an exhilarating show at the Dunfermline Alhambra. In the book and in reality, Twin Atlantic opened their set with this song.

Admiral Fallow – Tree Bursts
There can be few bands boasting as lushly textured a sound as Admiral Fallow's orchestral folk arrangements, and consequently the emotional impact of their music can be both soaring and desolate. In Bred in the Bone, I wanted to convey a character's recurring torment and self-recrimination over the moment a relationship went wrong due to an innocent misstep between two emotionally vulnerable people. This poor guy can no longer listen to the album that was playing at the time because it brings him right back into that moment. I chose this song (and this album) for that moment because I loved it so much that it would be all the more painful to have to go without hearing it.

Chvrches – The Mother We Share
When it comes to music, TV, books, pretty much all of popular culture, I am usually so far behind the curve that I couldn't even see the curve with a telescope and Google maps. This was the one time I snuck in front. I heard this track in Autumn 2012, around the time I was writing Bred in the Bone, and found it utterly joyous: sweeping synth-pop reminiscent of the early Eighties, except good this time. It struck me as the kind of thing Jasmine would listen to (and singer Lauren Mayberry looked rather unnervingly like my mental picture of Jasmine) so I described her singing along to this song in her kitchen. I am laying down a claim for it to be the first reference to the band in a published work of fiction, and any cool points that may consequently accrue (believe me: I need them).

The Big Dish – Swimmer
This trilogy has its roots in the Eighties: deeds done and secrets not quite buried that continue to haunt their victims and perpetrators alike. The music of that time continues to resonate for these characters, bringing back memories of things lost and things they wish they could forget. At the heart of all this is Detective Superintendent Catherine McLeod, whose bittersweet recollections of the decade are key to the interlinking stories. In When the Devil Drives, one of her happier moments is getting to see the reformed Big Dish play for the first time since she was a teenager. This was the title track of their debut album, which still sounds pretty fresh to me almost three decades on.

Mogwai – Mogwai Fear Satan
Although I've only made specific mention of them twice, Mogwai are lurking somewhere within every novel I've written this century. The reason is that they have become an indispensable part of my creative process. When I'm trying to work out where a story is going, I go out running and listen to Mogwai on my mp3 player, and this gives me access to a place in my mind devoid of distraction. Their music is both meditative and inspirational, playing in the background of my thoughts as I construct narrative and dialogue. If I ever can't get past an obstacle in the plot after 10 kilometres' worth of Mogwai, I'll know I'm in trouble.

Frightened Rabbit – Backyard Skulls
Here's where it all comes full circle. Having acknowledged the contribution Frightened Rabbit made to Where the Bodies are Buried, in February 2013 Scott Hutchison gave me an advance copy of the new album, Pedestrian Verse, and thanked me for my novel having in turn inspired the second track: Backyard Skulls. This story of deadly secrets emerging from the past prompted him to imagine the sins and betrayals that lie concealed within everyday relationships, just waiting to arise at the worst possible juncture. There's a wee bit of me glows inside every time I listen to it.

Foreign ambassadors or honorary Glaswegians: In the interests of full disclosure, I need to throw in a couple of tracks by two artists who hail from quite some distance outside the city limits, but whose shadows hang over the trilogy.

The Twilight Singers – Bonnie Brae
I dedicated When the Devil Drives to Greg Dulli, whose music in first the Afghan Whigs and then the Twilight Singers has been intriguing, bewitching and inspiring me for twenty years. Few artists can speak to the dark side of human nature like Greg does, and fewer still can do it while remaining sympathetic and compassionate. In his songs, as in my novels, there are temptations, there are demons, even devils, but there are no monsters: only human beings. Bonnie Brae should have been number one in twenty-five countries. It is utter fucking genius.

Jimmy Eat World – Heart is Hard to Find
It's a good thing I have a wife and son to keep me anchored and responsible, or I'd end up following these guys around on tour so I could watch them night after night. In an act of both acknowledgment and self-indulgence, I refer to Jasmine Sharp as being a Jimmy Eat World fan, and I have name-checked their songs in several other novels before and since this trilogy. I'm rounding off my playlist with Heart is Hard to Find, as it was released the day after I finished the first draft of Where the Bodies are Buried, and I just kept playing it throughout the writing of my next four novels.


Christopher Brookmyre and Bred in the Bone links:

the author's website
the author's Wikipedia entry
excerpt from the book

Kirkus review
Publishers Weekly review

Clash interview with the author
Daily Record profile of the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

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

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Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week - April 17, 2014

Librairie Drawn & Quarterly


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

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

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


Over Easy

Over Easy
by Mimi Pond

Lovers of the graphic memoir rejoice! Mimi Pond has described Over Easy as her magnum opus, and it's easy to see why; Over Easy is a sprawling, jaunty fictionalized memoir about the fast-paced, diner-working life of art student turned dishwasher turned waitress Madge Pond in 1970s California. Mimi Pond has been around forever, and is responsible for writing the very first episode of The Simpsons, among other beloved pop-culture institutions. She's a legend, and it's about time she gets her very own epic memoir. Pick it up. You will love it. That's the D&Q guarantee.


This One Summer

This One Summer
by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki

Cousins Jillian and Mariko Tamaki are beloved for their prize-winning, collaborative 2008 young-adult graphic novel Skim. Jillian has beeen active as an illustrator and comic artist since then, as has Mariko as a writer, but This One Summer is their first collaborative graphic novel since Skim. It tells the story of Rose and Windy, summer friends whose families have visited Awago Beach for as long as they can remember. But this year is different, and they soon find themselves tangled in teen love and family crisis. The two Tamakis are particularly adept at capturing the tumultuousness of teenhood, full of secrets and scary new knowledge.


Bourbon and Eventide

Bourbon and Eventide
by Mike Spry

The rest of this week's picks are all Montreal authors who are launching their new books at our store over the next week. First up is Mike Spry, whose new book of poetry, Bourbon and Eventide, confronts the history and mythology of a failed couple with biting humour and raw honesty. Spry's verse is relatable and refreshingly straightforward as it deals in some of literature's most timeless tropes: booze and heartbreak. Spry has written for The Toronto Star, The National Post, and Maisonneuve and is also the author of JACK and Distillery Songs, which were nominated for the AM Klein Poetry Prize and shortlisted for the Journey Prize, respectively.


Sweet Affliction

Sweet Affliction
by Anna Leventhal

Anna Leventhal has been an important figure in Montreal's literary-punk scene for years, having worked on the local Bookmobile project and co-founded the Bibliograph/e Zine Library, among other things. Leventhal has also performed experimental collaborative theatre pieces in New York, San Francisco, Toronto and Montreal. She also served as editor of the hit short fiction anthology The Art of Trespassing (2008). Sweet Affliction is her first solo book, and it's a collection of fifteen short stories that are by turns caustic, tender, and darkly funny. In it, A pregnancy test is taken at a wedding, a bad diagnosis leads a patient to a surprising outlook, and a civic holiday becomes a dystopian nightmare. It's a book suffused with frailty and perversion, but also resistance and resilience. Praise from lauded Canadian authors like Tamara Faith Berger and Lee Henderson marks Leventhal as a name to watch!


New Tab

New Tab
by Guillaume Morissette

Having appeared on HTMLGIANT and Thought Catalog ("Liveblog of Getting My Cat Spayed," "Breakdown of Montreal's Personal Brand"), Guillaume Morissette's credentials as an Alt Lit author are in good order. In 2012's I Am My Own Betrayal, his first collection of short stories and poems, he explored anxiety, email relationships, owl people, awkwardness, social networks, humiliations, shortcomings, and other such depressing topics and happy/sad moods. New Tab is his first novel, it's set in Montreal, and it spans a year in the life of a twenty-six year old videogame designer as he attempts to reset his life, with all the sordid details that entails: Facebook chats, Concordia University, bilingualism, good parties, bad parties, a backyard cinema, social anxiety and running a possibly illegal DIY venue. He'd probably prefer we not mention it, but it can't really be avoided: if you like Tao Lin, you'll probably like Guillaume.


Librairie Drawn & Quarterly links:

Librairie Drawn & Quarterly's blog
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Facebook page
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Tumblr
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly on Twitter


also at Largehearted Boy:

other Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week

52 Books, 52 Weeks
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly new comics and graphic novel highlights)
Largehearted Word (weekly new book highlights)
Book Notes (authors create music playlists for their book)
guest book reviews
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)

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

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