August 12, 2016

This Week's Interesting Music Releases - August 12, 2016

Blind Pilot

Blind Pilot's And Then Like Lions, Brendan Canning's Home Wrecking Years, and Thee Oh Sees' A Weird Exits are new albums I can recommend this week.

Of Montreal's Innocence Reaches and Young the Giant's Home of the Strange are also available today.

Reissues include vinyl editions of Sunny Day Real Estate's How It Feels To Be Something On, Oasis' Heathen Chemistry, and two Madonna albums (Bedtime Stories and Erotica).

What new music are you looking forward to or enjoying this week?


This week's interesting music releases:

AC/DC: San Francisco '77
Atmosphere: Fishing Blues
Beach Boys: Independence Day Party 1981
Black Tape for a Blue Girl: These Fleeting Moments
Blind Pilot: And Then Like Lions
Bob Dylan: Legendary Broadcasts: 1969-1984
Brendan Canning: Home Wrecking Years
Bright Light Bright Light: Choreography
DJ Khaled: Major Key
Emerson Lake and Palmer: The Anthology (3-CD box set)
Frank Zappa: Dutch Courage
Grifters: Crappin' You Negative
Grifters: One Sock Missing (reissue)
Hall and Oates: The Very Best of Daryl Hall John Oates (reissue) [vinyl]
The Highwaymen: Highwayman 2 (reissue) [vinyl]
Horseback: Dead Ringers
JEFF the Brotherhood: Zone
Jerry Garcia: Lonesome Prison Blues
Justin Moore: Kinda Don't Care
Madonna: Bedtime Stories (reissue) [vinyl]
Madonna: Erotica (reissue) [vinyl]
Michael Jackson: Japan Broadcast 1987
The Moles: Tonight's Music
The Monkees: Good Times! (reissue) [vinyl]
Neil Young: Earth (3-LP edition) [vinyl]
Nine Inch Nails: Mudstock!
Oasis: Heathen Chemistry (reissue) [vinyl]
Oasis: The Masterplan (reissue)
Of Montreal: Innocence Reaches
PartyNextDoor: Partynextdoor 3
Pfarmers: Our Puram
Prince: Naked in the Summertime
Prince: Purple Rain (reissue) [cassette]
Prince: Rock in Rio 2
Rae Sremmurd: Sremmlife 2
Savoir Adore: The Love That Remains
The Smiths - 30 Years Of The Queen Is Dead (3-DVD box set)
Sunny Day Real Estate: How It Feels To Be Something On (reissue) [vinyl]
Thee Oh Sees: A Weird Exits
Vetiver/Wolf People: Live at Pickathon [vinyl]
Willie Nelson: New Year's Eve In Houston 1984
Woods/The Men: Live at Pickathon [vinyl]
Young the Giant: Home of the Strange


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support Largehearted Boy

weekly music release lists

Essential and Interesting 2015 Year-End Music Lists

100 online sources for free and legal music downloads
Book Notes (authors create music playlists for their book)
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





August 12, 2016

Shorties (Art Spiegelman on Maus, Angel Olsen Profiled, and more)

Art Speiegman discussed his Maus graphic novel series with the Washington Post.


Pitchfork profiled singer-songwriter Angel Olsen.


eBooks on sale for $1.99 today:

Lighthousekeeping by Jeanette Winterson
The Year She Left Us by Kathryn Ma

eBooks on sale for $2.99 today:

The River and Enoch O'Reilly by Peter Murphy
The Welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies


Stream a new M.I.A. song.


The Otherppl podcast interviewed author Jonathan Franzen.


Noisey is streaming Horseback's new album Dead Ringers.


The New Yorker profiled author China Mieville.


Katy Goodman & Greta Morgan covered the Misfits' "Where Eagles Dare."


Electric Literature interviewed author Drew Nellins Smith.


Stream a new Regina Spektor song.


CarolineLeavittville interviewed author Anne Korkeakivi.


Stream an unreleased White Stripes song.


The Rumpus interviewed author Stuart Dybek.


Salon reviewed Barack Obama's summer playlist.


Vol. 1 Brooklyn interviewed author Janice Lee.


The Colorado Springs Independent profiled singer-songwriter Julien Baker.


TIME interviewed author Colson Whitehead.


The Washington City Paper shared a flowchart guide to the music from Dischord Records.


The 100 essential novels scratch-off chart.


NPR Music is streaming Chris Staples' new album Golden Age.


Guernica interviewed author Annie DeWitt.


Drowned in Sound profiled singer-songwriter Shura.


Tethered By Letters interviewed poet Molly Rose Quinn.


Paste listed the best Radiohead songs.



also at Largehearted Boy:

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

Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create 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)
weekly music release lists
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (recommended new books)
weekly music release lists

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

August 11, 2016

Atomic Books Comics Preview - August 12, 2016

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

Benn Ray is the owner of Atomic Books, an independent bookstore in Baltimore. He also runs the Mutant Funnies Tumblr.

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.


Baltimore Graffiti: The Definitive Charm City Style Collection

Baltimore Graffiti: The Definitive Charm City Style Collection
by Michael Sachse

Sachse redefines the meaning of the word "comprehensive" with his massive and beautiful survey of the Baltimore graffiti scene.


Cosplayers

Cosplayers
by Dash Shaw

This book came in just in time for the final year of Otakon here in Baltimore. This book humanizes cosplayers who are frequently looked at in the same way one might watch that insult of a tv show, Big Bang Theory.


Cousin Joseph

Cousin Joseph
by Jules Feiffer

Feiffer revisit his noir style that yielded glowing reviews for his last graphic novel, Kill My Mother. In Cousin Joseph, Feiffer looks at the fear mongering of Hollywood's past to reveal the fear mongering of today.


Growing Up In Public

Growing Up In Public
by Ezequiel Garcia

This is the American debut of the Argentine cartoonist. In Growing Up In Public, Garcia uses autobiographical comics to discuss anxiety of aging while looking at Buenos Aires uncertain future.


Kann And The Heavy Metal Lords Of War

Kann And The Heavy Metal Lords Of War
by Victor Puchalski

This full color, fold out comic will perfectly scratch your Johnny Ryan/Prison Pit itch, assuming you have such an itch. But you probably do.


King-Cat Comix And Stories #76

King-Cat Comix And Stories #76
by John Porcellino

Any time there's a new issue of Porcellino's long-running, self-published, minimal and meditative comic, it's cause for celebration. A perfect read for a Saturday morning at the cafe, with a cup of coffee and reflecting on life.


March Book 3

March Book 3
by John Lewis / Andrew Aydin / Nate Powell

The final installment of John Lewis' acclaimed autobiography as a leader in the Civil Rights movement couldn't have come at a more necessary time.


Meat Cake Bible

Meat Cake Bible
by Dame Darcy

This definitive collection includes all 17 issues of her comic (running from 1993-2008). It's a blend of gothic, horror, punk, Victorian, and a little witchy. And, more importantly, it includes her famed collaboration with Alan Moore.


Pitchfork Review #10

Pitchfork Review #10

This beautiful new issue of Pitchfork's quarterly focuses on festivals. It includes an article on Beach House's tour, and a look at 50 years of Brian Wilson's Pet Sounds to name just a couple of things. Want more? How about a look at the Newport Jazz Festival and insider tips on DIY festivals?


Spanish Fever: Stories By The New Spanish Cartoonists

Spanish Fever: Stories By The New Spanish Cartoonists
by Paco Roca (editor)

This satisfying brick of an anthology offers a survey of the Spanish cartoon scene, and as Spanish Fever reveals, it is a rich and vibrant scene.


Virus Tropical

Virus Tropical
by Powerpaola

Another North American debut, this time by the Colombian artist who goes by the name Powerpaola. Virus Tropical looks at the lives of a family of women in 1980s/90s Colombia. And their stories are told by some of the more interesting linework I've seen an quite a while.


Wrinkles

Wrinkles
by Paco Roca

Mischievous elderly residents plot tricks and a nighttime breakout of an assisted living facility. It's like Duplex Planet meets that one plotline from David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas.


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:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

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

Online "Best of 2015" 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)

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

Book Notes - Magnus Mills "The Field of the Cloth of Gold"

The Field of the Cloth of Gold

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, Lauren Groff, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

The Field of the Cloth of Gold is another pitch-perfect deadpan comedy from Magnus Mills, a brilliant and allegorical work.

Literary Review wrote of the book:

"[Mills] has created another mythic, mercurial world, a utopia that increasingly reveals its own fragility . . . Mills's devoted fans will revel in his bone-dry comic prose."


In his own words, here is Magnus Mills's Book Notes music playlist for his novel The Field of the Cloth of Gold:



The Field of the Cloth of Gold is about a bunch of tent-dwellers spending a halcyon summer in a field by a river.

My own tent-dwelling days began in 1964 when I received a pocket tent for my birthday. After that I spent as many nights as possible sleeping in the garden. A couple of years previously my parents took my brother and I camping to a place called World's End in north Wales. Over that weekend, an entire corner of the site was dominated by a large encampment of Boy Scouts. On the Sunday morning their leader sent round a message saying they had a surplus of rice pudding which they were prepared to share with all the other children on the site. I remember going over to their field tent and been given a dollop of pudding from a huge cauldron. Meanwhile, all the boy scouts stood rigidly to attention. The image stuck in my mind for decades, and I eventually used it as the introduction to the new book.

Musically at that time I only listened to British beat groups, but later in 1964 my mother brought home a record by an American artist. Reluctantly my brother and I listened to "Keep Searchin' (we'll follow the sun)" by Del Shannon, and we were soon convinced of its merits. Lovely simple introduction and classic sixties fade-out at the end.

The following year my horizons were further broadened when I heard "Mr Tambourine Man" by The Byrds. Although I was only eleven, I knew the song was about something more than just sailing ships and tambourines. It's my all-time favourite record.

The summer of 1966 was a long one, starting with "Sloop John B" by The Beachboys; then "Sunny Afternoon" by The Kinks. I remember the weather was sweltering hot when I bought Yellow Submarine by The Beatles. In the meantime, I continued to pass night after night in my tent.

In 1968 I went on my first hitch-hiking expedition to Tenby on the Welsh coast. The vehicle that stopped for my friend as I was a 1000cc (yes!) Morris pick-up truck.

In the nearby sand dunes that summer I heard (on a transistor radio) "The Universal" by the Small Faces (apparently recorded out-of-doors) and On The Road by Canned Heat.

In June 1970 I attended the Bath Festival of Blues and Progressive Music. The event was headlined by Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Jefferson Airplane, so I eagerly bought a ticket. Several of my friends said they would be coming too, but one by one they dropped out so eventually I went on my own (I was sixteen.)

I had planned to sit in the doorway of my tent and watch Led Zeppelin performing a few yards away. As it turned out, however, there was barely room to stand let alone erect a tent, and I ended up in the middle of the crowd next to a huge orange India Tyres flag (the only landmark amidst 200,000 people.) The first night I spent in the open, waiting for Pink Floyd to come on stage. It was past midnight when they finally appeared, and I fell asleep sometime during "A Saucerful of Secrets." When I awoke it was dawn and the whole gigantic field was shrouded in mist. As the day progressed the sun returned. More bands played, and by late afternoon the sunshine had got too much for me so I went to a neighbouring field and erected my tent. An hour later I was awoken by the distant sound of a pulsing harmonica over the PA and I realized Robert Plant was playing the intro to "Bring it on Home." Quickly I left my tent and dashed back to the India Tyres flag, arriving just as jimmy Page played the crashing guitar break.

Later that evening it rained and rained, and I vaguely remember Grace Slick shouting insults at the soaking wet crowd. I finally went home on the Monday morning.

In 1972 four of us left school and hitchhiked to St Ives in Cornwall. We all had our own separate tent, the plan being to each find an accommodating girl to share the space with. As it turned out we didn't meet any girls and were forced to drink beer instead. Meanwhile, Alice Cooper serenaded us with "School's Out."

Later that summer, Hawkwind released "Silver Machine," a song about an ElectraGlide motorcycle. My own bike was a blue and grey Greeves 250cc twin, and I rode it up to Ullswater in the north of England.

Slowly I graduated from a tent to a small caravan, then a stone cottage, and the song for that period was "Cool Meditation" by Third World, about making a break for the countryside. (The record was actually released in January 1979 in the UK when it was snowing, but you probably get the picture.)

By 1980 I was living in vans and caravans in Scotland, and my only link with civilization was the late night radio. One night I heard "Caimanera" by Robert Wyatt (the legendary drummer from Soft Machine). The song originated in the southern hemisphere, but somehow it drifted through to my northern outpost.

Still in Scotland, I was parked in my van inside an immense corrugated iron shed when I heard "Ganja Smuggling" by Eek-a-Mouse. As the shed creaked in the wind it was odd to hear this lilting reggae song all the way from Jamaica.

Sometime in the mid-nineties I stood in a large tent at the Reading Rock Festival in Berkshire and watched Ash perform "Girl from Mars."

Since then the only tents have been at Book Festivals (Edinburgh, Hay-on-Wye etc), so that's the end of my tent-related playlist.


Magnus Mills and The Field of the Cloth of Gold links:

the author's Wikipedia entry

Financial Times review
Guardian review
Independent review
Spectator review
Telegraph review

BOMB interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

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)
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

Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week - August 11, 2016

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

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


Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World

Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World
by Rachel Ignotofsky

Aimed at younger readers, this graphic novel paying tribute to the often overlooked contributions of women to the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is a delightful and enlightening read for adults as well. While giving due attention to the more celebrated historical figures, Ignotofsky also delves deeper to shed light on the less celebrated, but equally deserving women who are often absent from the canon. The lively illustrations and infographics highlight the groundbreaking achievements of female engineers, biologists, mathematicians, doctors, astronauts, physicists, as well as providing insight and statistical data on women working in STEM fields today.


Mould Map 5: Black Box

Mould Map 5: Black Box

The theme of the fifth edition of underground comics collection Mould Map from Landfill editions is is "black box" - read big data, behind the scenes, hidden agendas, invisible tech and black magick. The package, in a limited edition of 500, contains 16 super nice postcard sized prints, 1 poster and a mini comic. With a long list of contributors to boast, artists include Lala Albert, Julien Ceccaldi, Noel Freibert, Parker Ito, Lando, Brenna Murphy and Johnny Negron. They may not reveal the secret of their success but the art speaks for itself!


Hip Hop Family Tree Book 4: 1984-1985

Hip Hop Family Tree Book 4: 1984-1985
by Ed Piskor

Ed Piskor’s ongoing graphic history of hip-hop continues. In volume 4, we move into the mid 1980s, introducing artists Dr. Dre (and with him the seminal label Def Jam Records), Will Smith, Salt-N-Peppa, Rakim, Biz Markie, and many more. Piskor also gives a nod to the hip-hop themed films of the era, such as Breakin’, Breakin’ 2 Electric Boogaloo, Beat Street, Krush Groove and more.


Known and Strange Things: Essays

Known and Strange Things: Essays
by Teju Cole

Teju Cole, the award-winning author of novels Open City and Every Day Is for the Thief moves into non-fiction in his debut collection of essays. Exploring a wide range of topics including history, politics, race, contemporary pop cultural phenomena, travel, literature, and photography, each piece is imbued with Cole’s thoughtful, original insights and written in the beautiful prose characteristic of his fiction writing.


Bad Dads: Art Inspired by the Films of Wes Anderson

Bad Dads: Art Inspired by the Films of Wes Anderson
by Spoke Art Gallery

Bad Dads: Art Inspired by the Films of Wes Anderson (Spoke Art Gallery)
Since 2011, the Spoke Art Gallery in San Francisco has curated an annual group show entitled “Bad Dads” featuring work by artists inspired by the films of Wes Anderson. Since then, the exhibition has grown yearly, collecting pieces from over 400 international artists. Though the styles and mediums are diverse, the overarching theme of Anderson’s iconic characters provides a strong cohesiveness. This book showcases the best of the bunch, as well as contributions from Anderson aficionados Max Dalton (who created the cover), Matt Zoller Seitz (who wrote the intro), as well as a foreword by Wes Anderson himself.


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:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

other Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week

Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly new comics and graphic novel 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

Shorties (An Interview with Ocean Vuong, Stream Lydia Loveless's New Album, and more)

The Poetry Foundation interviewed poet Ocean Vuong.


NPR Music is streaming Lydia Loveless's new album Real.


eBooks on sale for $1.99 today:

Lighthousekeeping by Jeanette Winterson
The Year She Left Us by Kathryn Ma

eBooks on sale for $2.99 today:

The River and Enoch O'Reilly by Peter Murphy
The Welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies


NPR Music is streaming Exploded View's self-titled album.


Nancy Pearl recommended books for summer reading at Wisconsin Public Radio.


Stream a new Lambchop song.


Bethanne Patrick recommended August's best books at Literary Hub.


The Smiths and PETA launched a Meat Is Murder videogame.


Full Stop interviewed cartoonist Lisa Hanawalt.


NPR Music is streaming Lisa Hannigan's new album At Swim.


Electric Literature interviewed author Megan Abbott.


Stream a new Psychic TV song.


Entropy interviewed author Gabriel Blackwell.


NPR Music is streaming Tobacco's new album Sweatbox Dynasty.

Tobacco discussed the album with PopMatters.


Electric Literature interviewed author Annie DeWitt.


Salon previewed fall's prominent music memoirs.


Bookworm interviewed author Tom Lutz.


Westword interviewed singer-songwriter Julien Baker.


Jacqueline Woodson discussed her new novel Another Brooklyn with Fresh Air.


The Irish Times profiled the band White Denim.


Amy Schumer talked books and reading with the New York Times.


The A.V. Club reconsidered the 1996 soundtrack to the film Romeo + Juliet.


GQ recommended August's best new books.


Flavorwire interviewed filmmaker John Waters.


NHPR discussed overlooked summer books.


Drowned in Sound interviewed the members of Saint Etienne.


Prelude shared an excerpt from Tommy Pico's new poetry collection IRL.


The Quietus explored the back catalog of Justin Broadrick.


The Rumpus interviewed author Annie DeWitt.



also at Largehearted Boy:

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

Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create 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)
weekly music release lists
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (recommended new books)
weekly music release lists

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

August 10, 2016

Book Notes - Annie DeWitt "White Nights in Split Town City"

White Nights in Split Town City

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, Lauren Groff, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Annie DeWitt's debut White Nights in Split Town City is one of the year's finest novels.

Publishers Weekly wrote of the book:

"DeWitt's novel is a powerful and haunting debut from an author who has an ear for lyricism and an eye on what is hidden just beneath the surface."


In her own words, here is Annie DeWitt's Book Notes music playlist for her debut novel White Nights in Split Town City:


The first album I ever memorized in its entirety and could sing before I could read was Kenny Rogers. In his voice there was the sound of voices on the margins - those similarly obsessed with story and the countryside. Exploring what it meant it to have family. What it meant to be lonely. What it meant to take off your ring in a bar in Toledo across from the depot. But I digress. And yet ~ have you ever stood in a college beer hall listening to classic rock and pictured your Mother's silver Honda Civic barreling down country roads in early 1991? The voice of Hall and Oates "Out of Touch" or Juice Newton's "Angel Of The Morning" booming out of your lungs like an anthem. Remember what it was to be twelve in the age before the internet started. It was summer. The slip n' slide outside lined the yard and the sprinkler was ready for running. You wore your best two piece and shimmied to "Billie Jean" on the brown grosgrain carpet of your living room, not really understanding it entirely but hearing the funk and the beat and feeling like your limbs moved unconsciously. As an adult, have you ever run down the West Side highway at night - watching the boats come in to the harbor - and belted out "I Want To Know What Love Is" and really, truly, meant it? I have. Jean has too. We hope you'll enjoy the nostalgia.



Out of Touch – Hall & Oates
Hungry Eyes – Eric Carmen
Billie Jean – Michael Jackson
Eternal Flame - The Bangles
Angel of The Morning – Juice Newton
She's a Maniac - Flashdance
Fields of Gold – Sting
Hard Habit To Break- Chicago
I Want to Know What Love Is - Foreigner
What A Feeling – Flashdance
Rush, Rush - Paula Abdul
I Don’t Want To Cry – Mariah Carey
Justify My Love - Madonna
Listen To Your Heart – Roxette
Greatest Love of All – Whitney Houston
I Heard It Through the Grapevine – Marvin Gaye
Wherever You Go Whatever You Do – Richard Marks
The Gambler - Kenny Rogers
Blue Bayou - Linda Ronstadt
Don’t Stop Believin - Journey
Leather and Lace – Stevie Nicks
For Free - Joni Mitchell
Another Day In Paradise- Phil Collins
Better Not Tell Her - Carly Simon
Every Breath You Take – The Police
Poison - Bel Biv Divoe
San Francisco – Scott McKensie
Little Brown Jug – Glenn Miller
Rhythm Nation – Janet Jackson
We Didn't Start The Fire – Bill Joel
Hold On – Wilson Phillips
The End of The World - Skeeter Davis
Song Without Words, “Confidence,” Op. 19, No. 4 – Mendelssohn
Sonatina, Op. 55, No. 1 – Fr. Kulau


Annie DeWitt and White Nights in Split Town City links:

the author's website
excerpt from the book

Bookforum review
Electric Literature review
Publishers Weekly review

Interview magazine interview with the author
Los Angeles Review of Books interview with the author
The Rumpus interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

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)
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

August 9, 2016

Book Notes - Scott Stambach "The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko"

The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko

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, Lauren Groff, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Scott Stambach's impressive debut novel The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko is smart, moving and humorous.

Publishers Weekly wrote of the book:

"Stambach’s surprising, empathetic novel takes on heavy themes of illness, suffering, religion, patience, and purpose, with a balanced mix of humor and heart."


In his own words, here is Scott Stambach's Book Notes music playlist for his debut novel The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko:


This thing you're about to read? The first thing you should know is that it may have been the most fun I've had all year.

It all began with the phone-a-friend option. As soon as I was invited to contribute this playlist, I texted my friends who'd already read the book and asked if any songs came up for them throughout the story. I expected a slow, reluctant trickle of ideas. But what really happened is that my phone blew up with a whitewater rush of songs, all of which could've been culled together to create the world's best and most annoyingly long soundtrack.

And so I was forced to whittle it down (which, incidentally, was where the real fun began). This monumental task turned into late nights like John Cusack movies, sitting on my couch with friends, drinking whiskey and asking each other questions like Is this one too obvious? How about this one?—too sentimental? And when all was said and done, what remained was so perfect that I'd fight like hell to include every one of these songs on the major motion picture soundtrack if Ivan should ever be so lucky.

But before I hand over the list, I'd like to share another (more subtle) reason why this project was so much fun: Ivan's world is a vacuum in which the music you're about to hear shouldn't exist. He lives within the walls of the Mazyr Hospital for Gravely Ill Children in Belarus where the only dependable soundtrack is squabbling nurses and howling patients. Occasionally, some music sneaks in through the TV in the Main Room, or gets smuggled via old 7" records, but aside from that nada. A pure musical void. And so this playlist became a white canvas for me. It was an entirely new and unique artistic challenge. It left me free to be playful. I could toy with irony. I could build in emotive undertones in a way that you just can't do for a standard summer blockbuster. And in the end it almost felt like I was adding the final emotional touches to the story. Like somehow without these songs the book wasn't yet complete, and only by sorting through Ivan's proper musical companions could the story be finished.



"The Wheel" By SOHN

I died a week ago.
There's nothing left.
It's caught on film.
The very last breath.

Not only are these words the perfect mantra to kick off Ivan's story (who's writing in a despondent state in an attempt to cope with Polina's death three days earlier) but there's something else that makes this song irresistible. It is perfectly un-analog, totally polished, and everything the setting of this story is not. There's something powerful about putting a digital, modern, and flawless recording up against the gritty Eastern Bloc world in which Ivan lives. It breathes life into it, makes it timeless, connects it to this time and place.

"It's a Man's, Man's, Man's World" by James Brown

"I'm seventeen years old, and approximately male," says Ivan when he first introduces himself to the Reader. At which point he goes on to describe his body, a deprived corpus consisting of one arm connected to a hand with only two fingers and a thumb, two nubs for legs, and skin so pale it's almost transparent.

Ivan is often preoccupied by the masculine insecurity that comes along with his limitations. He reaches bitterly for the standard roles and expectations that society gives to an able man. Simple things like taking care of another human being, being charming, and having competent sex. But his condition mostly forbids himself from these roles, and because of that he doesn't feel appropriate to his gender. All of this makes James Brown's over-the-top ode to male machismo an ironic and whimsical choice.

Confession: I've a had a longstanding secret fantasy about the first scene of an Ivan movie. Right when we see Ivan for the first time, with his frail incomplete body scooting around in his wheelchair, his body embodying the exact opposite of self-assured masculinity, those first brass and snare hits of his anthem will start blasting, followed by James Brown confidently declaring This is a man's world...

"Skinny Love" by Bon Iver

Come on, skinny love,
just last the year.

As soon as I started this list I knew Bon Iver had to make a cameo. And as classic as it may be, I can't imagine any Justin Vernon song more fitting than "Skinny Love." It's hard not to think of it as Ivan's very own hymn as he pleads with the universe to keep his beloved alive just a little longer. Not to mention that the term ‘skinny love' is a poignant reference to Polina's emaciated post-chemo body.

"Overgrown" by James Blake

In a vivid montage early in the book, Ivan outlines in brutal detail the monotony of his life and world. He shares how every day feels exactly the same. How he adds some spice by dreaming up games and prankery. How he feigns comas just so he can fall into his head and live out the lives he'd rather have lived.

So naturally whenever I hear James Blake sing these lines in "Overgrown," I can't help but think of our boy:

Time passes in the constant state
So if that is how it is
I don't wanna be a star

"Breath (in the Air)" by Pink Floyd

While Ivan's books have helped him become the most learned patient in the history of Eastern Bloc hospitals, his pop culture knowledge remains at the level of, say, a sweet 90-year-old Mississippi grandmother. So when Polina walked into the hospital for the first time with a Dark Side of the Moon t-shirt he explained to the Reader that it was from a band named "Floyd Pink." Later in the book Polina catches Ivan saying Floyd Pink and schools him in a way that cuts deep.

Given all this Pink Floyd chatter, I knew a Dark Side song needed to make an appearance. But choosing the right track from such an epic album wasn't easy. After more internal debate than I care to admit, I chose "Breath (in the Air)" because it has a double purpose. It also serves as a subtle reference to the time Polina lured Ivan into the hospital's courtyard for the first time in order face his agoraphobia and see that the world is bigger than the hospital walls.

"Kettering" By The Antlers

Many Largehearted Boy readers will know that "Kettering" is a song from Hospice, a concept album portraying the toxic relationship between a hospice worker and a patient dying of bone cancer. The patient becomes emotionally abusive as often happens when a terminal patient has lost control over his or her reality (abuse is sadly a last ditch expression of control). It is something I experienced myself during a relationship with a terminally ill woman. There are moments in this book when Polina slips into an abusive tongue as a result of being unable escape her pain and discomfort and her growing fear of death. Consequently, there are many lines in this song that hit close to home. Especially these ones:

you said you hated my tone
it made you feel so alone
so you told me
I had to be leaving

but something kept me
standing by that hospital bed
I should've quit but instead
I took care of you

"More than a Feeling" by Boston

While Polina patiently endures her long rounds of chemo, Ivan watches her scrawling away in a worn journal (one of the few objects she brought in from the outside world). His imagination runs wild with the lascivious things she might be writing in there, and especially with whether any of those things have to do with him. So he embarks on a campaign of patiently waiting for her to get sloppy and leave the journal unattended long enough for him to dive in and read it.

Eventually, his moment comes—Polina forgets the journal in a bathroom next to the toilet. As he sits there on his throne reading away, he learns many things about this enigmatic new patient. One of which is that she seems to love bands named after geographic locations like Kansas, Asia, and Boston. "More than a Feeling" is my tribute to Ivan's discovery and Polina's soft spot for classic rock. And if I were to choose just one '70s power ballad, none could be more spot-on than this track. Brad Delp's lyrics embody all the rebellious teenage love that Ivan naturally feels as a human being but believes is not appropriate to his life and condition.

And isn't this really what we all secretly or not so secretly love about these songs?

"Piece of my Heart" by Janis Joplin

Most of Ivan and Polina's relationship is built around mischief. This includes sneaking into each other's rooms late at night after the hospital has finally fallen asleep. In one of these shenanigan-filled sessions, Ivan and Polina are listening to records that the maternal Nurse Natalya smuggled in for her. Ivan is on edge because the music's too loud and if they're caught they'll likely be quarantined from each other. Polina insists that the night nurse, Lyudmila, can't hear anything because she's in carnal throes with the hospital director. Ivan insists it's not worth it. All the while "Piece of my Heart" is playing on the turntable in the background.

"Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" by Elton John

Near the end of the book, Polina goes missing from the hospital. Ivan, of course, knows she only has days left (if that) and so he frantically searches for her in all their dependable spots. When all of those come up nill, he looks outside despite his crippling agoraphobia. After his search reveals nothing, he eventually stumbles onto a broken piece of vinyl, which leads him to another piece, and then another, until he's assembled a record-shaped puzzle of vinyl shards in his lap. Once the pieces come together he sees that he's holding a demolished copy of Elton John's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," which ignites in his head a frenzy of theories as to its meaning.

"Wait" by M83

Every love story needs a token sentimental song featuring acoustic guitar and poignant lyrics. Only problem is I can't stand most of these songs because all to often they shamelessly pander to sentimentality. So thank you M83! Leave it to you to write a song that is both sort of sweet, somewhat sentimental, and yet weird enough to fit Ivan's story.

PS - Listen up for the Roger-Waters-esque screams towards the end of the song. They easily could've been sampled from the halls of the Mazyr Hospital for Gravely Ill Children.

"It Could be Sweet" by Portishead

Despite being a mangled kid living in a strange place, Ivan is still subject to all the urges and instincts that make us human. This is my polite way of saying that Ivan is hopelessly obsessed with sex and often laments the cold truth that he will probably never express his physical urges outside the realm of spirited masturbatory episodes.

"It Could be Sweet" is a fitting choice to represent the sexual side of Ivan's story. The song is not only highly sexual in and of itself, but it's also eerie and quirky and dark, which fits authentically with Ivan's world.

But there's another argument for this song which easily ecclipses the others. After Ivan experiences his first orgasm not resulting from his own hands, he realizes that there is an inevitable and catastrophic connection that comes with it. A connection so strong, he describes, that you might "die if that person went away, which was inconvenient because Polina was going away." Beth Gibbons' chilling refrain you don't get something for nothing, is hauntingly reminiscent of Ivan's finding.

"Give up the Ghost" by Radiohead

Radiohead needed to make an appearance for several reasons:

• They are Radiohead.
• Find me another band whose entire catalog sounds like one big epic soundtrack.
• It's entirely possible that Ivan is Thom Yorke's inner child.

And if it's a given that Radiohead is essential, what possible better choice for this book than a song called "Give up the Ghost"?

"How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?" by Al Green

Listen to this song. Just listen. Can you hear how there's something so universal to Al Green's heartache? So universal, indeed, that a boy sitting in a hospital in Eastern Europe, who's never heard a second of Soul music in his whole life, could listen to this song and know exactly what Al Green was feeling when he wrote it. This, I believe, is what makes great art great.

And besides, Ivan could use the advice. And from who better than the Reverend himself?


Scott Stambach and The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko links:

the author's website

BookPage review
Kirkus review
Open Letters review
Publishers Weekly review


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

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)
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 - Laura McHugh "Arrowood"

Arrowood

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, Lauren Groff, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Laura McHugh's Arrowood is a compelling and resonant literary thriller.

Publishers Weekly wrote of the book:

"Lyrical prose and in-depth character studies examine the reliability of memory, punctuated by believable suspense and aided by a careful look at a small town."


In her own words, here is Laura McHugh's Book Notes music playlist for her novel Arrowood:


Arrowood is set in the nostalgic landscape of my childhood on the banks of the Mississippi River, in a small Iowa town filled with crumbling nineteenth-century mansions and surrounded by cornfields. The protagonist, Arden Arrowood, is obsessed with the past and haunted by the disappearance of her sisters. While writing the first draft of the novel, in attempt to capture the mood and setting, I would listen to the music that took me back to my own childhood in southeastern Iowa.

I was the youngest of eight children, and my musical exposure in the late 70s and early 80s reflected the tastes of my older siblings. We lived in a two-story clapboard house on the river. It was built as a duplex in the late 1800s, but we punched through a wall to make one big house with a separate upstairs on each side, one for the boys and one for the girls. I slept on a foldout couch by the woodstove downstairs, and felt incredibly cool when I was allowed upstairs to hang out with the big kids, where music was always playing. My sisters listened to new wave and top 40 on the radio. My oldest brothers were fourteen, fifteen, and sixteen years older than me, and they collected rock and heavy metal on vinyl.



Blue Öyster Cult – "(Don't Fear) the Reaper"

This was one of my favorites from my brothers' records, and one of the earliest songs I remember. (It's also playing on the radio in one of my favorite horror movies, Halloween.) Every time I hear it, I'm drawn back to our old house and my brothers' room, which was papered with Blue Öyster Cult, Black Sabbath, and Pink Floyd posters (as well as the iconic image of Farrah Fawcett in a red swimsuit). I remember watching from the upstairs window as the river rose and brown floodwater swirled down the street, inching up our front steps. I wasn't scared.

Come on baby

(Don't fear the reaper)

Baby take my hand

(Don't fear the reaper)

We'll be able to fly

(Don't fear the reaper)

Baby I'm your man

Pink Floyd – "Another Brick in the Wall, Part II"

In 1979, I was the world's shyest, quietest, most obedient kindergartner, but as I went about my job as paste monitor, scooping out lumps of white paste for my classmates, I would be humming "Another Brick in the Wall" and feeling like a total badass. I didn't know all the words, but I knew these:

We don't need no education

We don't need no thought control
Hey teacher, leave them kids alone

Blondie – "The Tide Is High"

This song conjures up my older sisters as they were in junior high and high school: feathered hair, deep tans, flared jeans. They shared a room, their beds covered in faded Holly Hobbie sheets, though my sisters had long outgrown their infatuation with Holly. We would sit on the beds, listening to Casey Kasem count down the top 40 on the radio, and we cheered when Casey told us that "The Tide Is High" was number one in the nation.

The tide is high but I'm holdin' on

I'm gonna be your number one

I'm not the kind-a girl who gives up just like that, oh no

Jason Isbell – "24 Frames"

As I moved on from the first draft, I moved away from my nostalgic playlist and gravitated toward songs of regret, loss, grief, and ghosts. In the novel, Arden returns to her childhood home nearly twenty years after witnessing the kidnapping of her younger sisters, Violet and Tabitha, from their front yard. The Arrowood family fell apart in the intervening years, a long, proud legacy dwindling down to one young woman and the ghosts she can't let go.

Isbell's song made me think about how quickly and irrevocably Arden's life changed when her sisters disappeared on her watch. This one tragic event hastens her family's downfall, and everything Arden was sure of begins to crash down around her. This part of the song hits me every time I hear it:

You thought God was an architect, now you know

He's something like a pipe bomb ready to blow

And everything you built that's all for show goes up in flames

In twenty- four frames

Brandi Carlile – "The Things I Regret"

Arden blames herself for what happened to her sisters, and can't help wondering why she wasn't taken instead; maybe her family would have been better off had she been the one to disappear. So much guilt and regret has kept her from truly living her life.

I walk through my days like a ghost in a dream,

But the field carries on and my past follows me

It's hard moving on from the things you done wrong,

When they play in your head like an old fashioned song
But when you're wearing on your sleeve,

All the things you regret,

You can only remember what you want to forget

Bing Crosby - "I'll Be Home for Christmas"

Arden listens to a Bing Crosby Christmas album, one her father used to play over and over during the holidays at Arrowood. The nostalgic music brings back memories of the grand Christmas parties her parents would host before everything fell apart—and one party in particular, where Arden saw something she wasn't meant to see.

"I'll Be Home for Christmas" always makes me tear up. The lyrics are minimal—only two repeating verses—but the song carries emotional weight. Old-fashioned holiday music makes me think of my grandparents, and Christmases at their house before we moved away and my grandpa died. "I'll Be Home for Christmas" stirs up the feeling that I don't have a true home to return to—it's there in the past, a tiny white house in a dying town that is no longer mine, a place that lives only in memory. I passed some of this grief on to Arden.

Christmas Eve will find me

Where the love light gleams

I'll be home for Christmas

If only in my dreams

Shakey Graves (featuring Esmé Patterson) – "Dearly Departed"

I love this song, which makes me think of the ways we haunt each other, even while we're still alive. Arden is engaged in a bit of mutual haunting with her mother, who wants to leave the past behind; her first love, Ben, whom she has never forgotten; and Harold Singer, the man long suspected of taking the Arrowood twins.

You and I both know that the house is haunted

And you and I both know that the ghost is me

The Mountain Goats – "Up the Wolves"

I first heard this song on an episode of The Walking Dead, and it resonated. We all have ghosts that we carry with us. Arden is haunted by her own history, from the generations of Arrowoods who preceded her to her missing sisters, but if she can unravel the mystery of Violet and Tabitha's disappearance after all these years, she might have a chance to start over. There is hope that she can learn how to live with her ghosts and move forward after a lifetime mired in the dead space of the past.

There's bound to be a ghost at the back of your closet

No matter where you live

There'll always be a few things, maybe several things

That you're going to find really difficult to forgive



There's going to come a day when you feel better

You'll rise up free and easy on that day

And float from branch to branch, lighter than the air

Just when that day is coming, who can say, who can say?


Laura McHugh and Arrowood links:

the author's website

Library Journal review
Publishers Weekly review

Columbia Daily Tribune profile of the author
Nineteenquestions interview with the author
St. Louis Post-Dispatch profile of the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

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)
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

Shorties (Women Authors Breaking New Nonfiction Territory, Mitski on World Cafe, and more)

Bustle listed women writers who are breaking new nonfiction territory.


Mitski visited World Cafe for an interview and live performance.


eBooks on sale for $1.99 today:

Lighthousekeeping by Jeanette Winterson
The Year She Left Us by Kathryn Ma

eBooks on sale for $2.99 today:

The River and Enoch O'Reilly by Peter Murphy
The Welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies


Andy Shauf shared the influences behind his new album The Party at Aquarium Drunkard.


The Rumpus interviewed author Ann Packer.


Stream a new Joyce Manor song.


The Rumpus interviewed poet Jesse Lee Kercheval.


American Songwriter interviewed Jenn Wasner of Wye Oak.


Literary Hub shared an excerpt from Joe McGinniss Jr.'s novel Carousel Court.


Stereogum is streaming Katie Dey's new album Flood Network.


Outside Magazine profiled author Terry McDonnnell.


Drowned in Sound profiled the band Wild Beasts.


The Collagist interviewed author Kristine Ong Muslim.


The Shaggs album Philosophy of the World is being reissued.


Ebook on sale for $1.99 today: Wally Lamb's novel The Hour I First Believed.


The A.V. Club looked back on the state of alternative rock in 1996.


Tor.com interviewed author Warren Ellis.


The Jayhawks played a Tiny Desk Concert.


0s & 1s Reads interviewed author Kathleen Alcott.


Paste listed the best Leonard Cohen songs.


Fresh Air and the Wall Street Journal interviewed Colson Whitehead about his new novel The Underground Railroad.

NPR Books reviewed the book.



also at Largehearted Boy:

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

Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create 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)
weekly music release lists
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (recommended new books)
weekly music release lists

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

August 8, 2016

Book Notes - Brad Watson "Miss Jane"

Miss Jane

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, Lauren Groff, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Brad Watson's novel Miss Jane is a sensitive and haunting exploration of one woman's life.

The New York Times wrote of the book:

"[The] complexity and drama of Watson’s gorgeous work here is life's as well: Sometimes physical realities expand us, sometimes trap; sometimes heroism lies in combating our helplessness, sometimes in accepting it. A writer of profound emotional depths, Watson does not lie to his reader, so neither does his Jane. She never stops longing for a wholeness she may never know, but she is determined that her citizenship in the world, however onerous, be dragged into the light and there be lived without apology or perfection or pity."


In his own words, here is Brad Watson's Book Notes music playlist for his novel Miss Jane:



In April and May of 2006 I lived in a house on a hill above the town, above the railroad tracks, in Marfa, Texas. Marfa was getting hot, already was, culturally, I mean. It was already hot, of course, but not as hot as it is now. It was a good time because there was one good restaurant with a good bar and another good bar, older, on the outskirts of town, where you could play pool and more likely run into locals. I wrote all day and took long walks every afternoon around 5:00 and came back to have a couple of martinis and listen to music loud on the stereo while the wind blew the white curtains into the room like enormous, enchanted scarves. Even back then, I had been working on Miss Jane. I'd just shown my editor at Norton a draft let's call "inadequate." And I listened to Beck's Sea Change over and over, over and over, over and over. I was going through a long divorce. I was separated, for a while, from everyone I knew. I made a couple of friends in town, one of them close even though new, but I spent most of my time alone. There were two movies in production in Marfa at the time, No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood. I went into the restaurant one evening and the Coen brothers were at the table in the rear with a large party of folks, and one of the brothers looked up at me and for a moment seemed to think I was someone he knew, and then he realized he didn't, and he went back to the conversation at the table. I wanted to go over and say, You know once I wanted to be in the movies, I was only 17 but I went out to Hollywood, I took my wife and 6-months-old son out there with me, and I ended up being a garbage man there, one of the best jobs I ever had in some ways, and I lost interest in being in the movies, and my brother died, and we went back home to Mississippi and I ran my dad's dive bar Crazy Horse for a while and then the family talked me into going to the junior college and I started reading great novels and decided I wanted to become a fiction writer and eventually I did and that's why I'm here now, working on a book. But I just ordered my drink, chatted with some non-movie folks, and walked home in the dark and went to bed.

Actually I had decided not to work on Miss Jane for a while, to work on other things. Sea Change filled up the house and helped to empty some of the bad things out of my heart, a little bit, anyway. Beck's grief helped me live with mine.

When I finally did settle down to work on Miss Jane, really settled down to it after years, I'd moved twice, put away my CDs and albums, and didn't have much music on my computer and was busy, always busy with writing, teaching, everything else, and was lousy at finding music on the net, still am, but I got ahold of Dylan's great song "Things Have Changed" and I listened to it, over and over and over and over, when I was trying to get into the mood to work on the book, and I listened to Mozart's Concerto #21 in C Major and I listened to it over and over and over.

And somewhere in there, somehow, I came upon Dae Dae Mo Mo, who it turns out is a guy who lives in I a little town in the Mississippi Delta and makes his own ingenious percussion instruments that percuss tunes, one instrument of which also folds up and makes itself into a little table where David (that's his real name) says you can set down your can of beer. David's music is like nothing I've ever heard, because it comes from his instruments. A musicologist, which I am far from being, could probably tell you the lineage of Dae Dae Mo Mo's instruments and sound, but I cannot and as far as I'm concerned he is an original. There's a YouTube video of him showing his instruments, playing some of his tunes, and telling a funny story about how his sister, who apparently lives a more conventional life than David, scolded him, saying, "David, one day you have got to conform," or something like that. And this set David to cackling and shaking his head. I recommend. Album: Umburkus Returns. "My Mind Is Empty," "Grocery Store Girl."

When I was 17 and newly married and living in the basement of my wife's two older, unmarried aunts, their big old crumbling Victorian house in what was once a grand neighborhood near downtown Meridian, I'd sit out in the yard with a friend and we'd smoke dope and play Neil Young songs, almost exclusively Neil Young songs, and there are some that still I just love going back to, like "Harvest," "Harvest Moon," "Needle And the Damage Done," maybe "I Am A Child," and just wish we'd had access then to later work like the songs on Prairie Wind like "This Old Guitar" (with Emmy Lou on vocals) – hell, just about anything from Neil. I listen to Neil whenever I've got it.

I got John Prine favorites, of course. "Sam Stone." "Sabu Visits the Twin Cities Alone." Other classic JP.

I listened to the soundtrack of the movie made from my friend the late Larry Brown's Big Bad Love, and have to say I love R.L Burnside's cover of "Everything Is Broken" more than I do Dylan's version. And Waits doing "Long Way Home," one of Larry's favorite songs.

I love hearing Townes van Zandt, "If I Needed You," "I'll Be Here in the Morning." Gram Parsons, "She" and "Return of the Grievous Angel."

I like some new stuff, like my Boston buddy Jen Trynin's work. I'd like to see a comeback, maybe it's happening, man, I wouldn't know, I'm clueless, didn't even know who Jen was when she showed up in my night class at Harvard Extension 15 years ago and modestly said, "I was in entertainment," which of course could have meant anything, and then I heard about her music, and I have to say, go check out her two albums/CDs, Cockamamie, with one of the rockingest opening songs since the height of the best Brits way back, singing full-out, "Aren't you the fuck who tried to jimmy my door?" ("I'm Feelin' Good (Better Than Nothing)")and Gun Shy, Trigger Happy. Jen's still playing around Boston. I can't wait to see her again. That'll be the end of my playlist for now.


Brad Watson and Miss Jane links:

the author's website
the author's Wikipedia entry

Denver Post review
Kirkus review
New York Times review
Publishers Weekly review

Boston Globe profile of the author
Clarion Ledger interview with the author
Electric Literature interview with the author
Largehearted Boy Book Notes playlist by the author for Aliens in the Prime of Their Lives
Salon interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

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)
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 - Rae Meadows "I Will Send Rain"

I Will Send Rain

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, Lauren Groff, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Rae Meadows' I Will Send Rain is a lyrical and powerful novel of Dust Bowl life.

Booklist wrote of the book:

"An exceptional talent for creating vivid imagery and a tender regard for her characters mark Meadows' new novel. . .Similar to John Steinbeck's haunting portrait of tenant farmers in The Grapes of Wrath, but also with the gritty, bittersweet elements in Rilla Askew’s Harpsong (2007) and the poignant lyricism of Karen Hesse’s Out of the Dust (1997)."


In her own words, here is Rae Meadows' Book Notes music playlist for her novel I Will Send Rain:


There is not much music in I Will Send Rain. Instead there is a lot of wind in the hot, dry, dusty, and desperate Oklahoma Panhandle of the 1930s. The novel is about a family who begins to fall apart when the dust storms arrive, but it is also very much about longing, in all its forms.

A visual complement to the novel would be the photographs taken by Dorothea Lange for the Farm Security Administration. All those weathered and weary faces. The drama of desiccated landscapes. A glimpse into the broken heart of the country. The novel, not surprisingly, has its share of sadness to it, and the playlist reflects yearning and circumspection, anchored in a strong folk/country sensibility. Nothing too fancy. It’s a soundtrack to the struggles of the Bell family. Music that’s understated but emotionally rich, for the plaintive optimism of a people who keep hoping next year will be better.



1) "Look at What the Light Did Now"/Little Wings (Light Green Leaves)

Like a dead tree that's dry and leaving/Look at what the light did now/Play it on me with grief and grieving/Look at what the light did now/I would finally fall to pieces/Look at what the light did now

As a novelist, I might say the refrain of this song is what I do. Look, and look again. This stripped down song is melancholic without being maudlin and I like its repetition, its insistence on noticing the beauty of the natural world and its necessary decay. In the novel, a connection to place ties the characters to Mulehead, and the memories of the one-time life and beauty of the land haunts them.


2) "Orphan Girl"/Gillian Welch (Revival)

I am an orphan on God's highway/But I'll share my troubles if you go my way

This song is has a more literal link my last novel (Mercy Train) but it carries through to I Will Send Rain in the character of Birdie, who, by the end of the book, becomes her own kind of orphan. Folk music is a natural accompaniment to the time and region I wrote about. I love Welch’s modern folk style, the clarity of her voice, the rural evocativeness, the religious overtones. Simple, but never simplistic. It makes me think about Birdie leaving her family at the end of the novel.


3) "Dry Lightning"/Bruce Springsteen (The Ghost of Tom Joad)

Well the piss yellow sun/Comes bringin' up the day/She said "ain't nobody gonna give nobody/What they really need anyway.”

I’m an unabashed Bruce Springsteen lover. This song comes from the The Ghost of Tom Joad album, which, of course, is a reference to Steinbeck, appropriate given the novel’s subject. When I made a book trailer I imagined it to this song—it just feels tonally so right—even though I sadly can’t use it publicly. The mesquite plain, the quiet guitar beneath Springsteen’s pained voice, the disillusionment, the memories of a better time. Yes.


4) "This Land Is Your Land"/Woody Guthrie (The Asch Recordings)

In the squares of the city, In the shadow of a steeple/By the relief office, I'd seen my people/As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking/Is this land made for you and me?

Guthrie, from Oklahoma, spent time with migrant farmers and sings about the dust clouds rolling in verse two of this most famous song. The anger and defiance of “This Land Is Your Land”—written in response to Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America”—is mixed with beauty and heartache, hammered home with the devastating final verse that he wrote but didn’t record. Guthrie’s telltale voice and guitar perfectly evoke Dust Bowl Oklahoma. I sing this song to my younger daughter every night before she falls asleep.


5) "Railroad Wings"/Patti Griffin (Children Running Through)

This emptiness has followed me like a cold blue sky/And it has not been easy for you/There's things I'll never tell you till the day I die/Things I've done I can never undo


This is an intimate song seeped in regret. It almost sounds like a lullaby if not for the lyrics. I hear it as being about loneliness in a marriage, and things unspoken between two people together a long time. When the dust storms arrive in the novel, they wreak havoc, both outside and in. The Bell family comes unraveled. Each of them has secrets, and I like this song’s quiet confession that there are things never told. Listening to it takes me right into the mindset of Annie.


6) "Hands on the Wheel"/Willie Nelson (Red Headed Stranger)

I looked to the stars/Tried all of the bars/And I've nearly gone up in smoke/Now my hands on the wheel/Of something that's real/And I feel like I'm goin' home

Of course Willie Nelson is on the playlist. He sings of home and landscape and about how livin' is just something I do—all of which resonate for the characters in the book. Nelson’s unshowy guitar and swooping country harmonica and truth-telling voice come together in this old-fashioned song that was part of the 1975 Red Headed Stranger western concept album. Even though it’s from forty years later, “Hands on the Wheel” would seem perfectly at home on the radio at Ruth’s, the town bar in Mulehead.


7) "Give a Man a Home"/Ben Harper (Fight for Your Mind)

Have you ever lost your belief/Watching your faith turn to grief

Samuel, the father in the book, was a difficult character to write because he wrestles with his faith in a way that leads him down an extreme path. I wanted him to be believable for this specific story, even if on the surface building a boat in a veritable desert seems unhinged. He asks a lot of questions of God, and this spare, dark song felt like it could have come from Samuel himself.


8) "Little Wing"/Neil Young (Hawks and Doves)

All her friends call her Little Wing/But she flies rings around them all/She comes to town when the children sing/And leaves them feathers as if they fall/She leaves them feathers as if they fall

This Neil Young song is slight at just two minutes long. The barest of instrumentals, a fragile melody, whimsical lyrics. It captures young Fred’s innocence and imagination, as well as his sister Birdie’s desire for freedom. And it breaks my heart a little bit.


9) "Good Woman"/Cat Power (You Are Free)

I want to be a good woman/And I want, for you to be a good man/This is why I will be leaving/And this is why, I can't see you no more.

Who better to sing about a divided heart than Chan Marshall? Annie is caught between wanting to be a good wife, a good woman, and her desire for Jack Lily and the different kind of life that he offers. This song is drenched in sadness. Marshall’s haunting, velvety voice gets down deep to Annie’s turmoil.


10) "Yellow Ledbetter"/Pearl Jam (Lost Dogs)

And I know and I know/I don't want to stay/I don't want to stay/I don't want to stay

I have no idea what this song is about. Reading the lyrics doesn’t help at all. But the emotion of the song is barely contained. There is wistfulness and anguish to Eddie Vedder’s voice, and a poignant soul to the Jimi Hendrix-inspired guitar. I think of this song in relation to the Bells’ grief, a wailing lament. A winter interlude after tragedy.


11) "The Wind"/Cat Stevens (Teaser and the Firecat)

I listen to the wind, to the wind of my soul/Where I'll end up, well I think only God really knows

I Will Send Rain has moments of real darkness. But underneath is a thrumming human spirit. “The Wind” is a lovely wisp of a song. The vengeful wind of the novel is reclaimed as something soft and giving. I hope for a gentle space for these characters. A little uplift as we send them on their way.


12) "Only in the Past"/The Be Good Tanyas (Blue Horse)

Colors streak the sky we laugh and we cry/And we dance in the cool grass with the
fireflies/And we dance in the cool grass sunset birds/Sweet sweet music swallow our words/You set sail and you left this town/Run away, run away, you're so far from me now/So far from me now

This bluesy/bluegrass/folk song is the roll credits song. When I visited Boise City, Oklahoma, the Panhandle town I fictionalized in the novel, I found a stark and beautiful windswept landscape where flat grassland extends indefinitely in every direction. I found an isolated, dying town, whose residents have fierce love for where they live, and carry the weight of nostalgia for what once was and what will never be again. “Only in the Past” has an elegiac quality, but its energetic rhythm and hooky chorus give it hope. The End.


Rae Meadows and I Will Send Rain links:

the author's website

Kirkus review
Publishers Weekly review


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

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)
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

Google
  Web largeheartedboy.com