August 27, 2015

Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week - August 27, 2015

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

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


The Last Love Song: A Biography of Joan Didion

The Last Love Song: A Biography of Joan Didion
by Tracy Daugherty

Joan Didion's literary and journalistic work has both chronicled and contributed to American culture for over fifty years. Now in her 80s, Didion is as revered as ever, so a well-crafted biography of this influential living legend is very timely indeed. Tracing her life and work from her origins through the various stages of her career and personal trajectory, Daugherty has clearly done his homework, and paints a vivid, insightful portrait of one of the finest writers of our time.


A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories

A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories
by Lucia Berlin

Any fan of Raymond Carver will find purchase in these stories. Berlin (who passed away in 2004) mines the same sort of dark, sad domestic underbelly that he tended to. She was also similar in that she supposedly wrote short stories because they took less time (any writer of fiction knows this is both true and patently not at the same time: less words means more time poring over each sentence.) Her fanbase, up to this point, has been mostly made up of peers and other writers in the know, here's to hoping this wonderful collection changes that!


Here Kitty Kitty

Here Kitty Kitty
by Mallory Mcinnis

This one's for the cat lovers. Curated by writer and internet blogger Mallory McInnis it amasses a delightful selection of kitty illustrations and cartoons plus your favourite writers weigh in on these cuddly creatures from Twain to Montaigne. Where else can you find sailor cats, skateboard cats, cupcake cats, cats playing accordions and that perennial classic, cats in berets, all in one place?


Chickpea Quarterly (Summer 2015)

Chickpea Quarterly (Summer 2015)

Chickpea is a vegan food and writing quarterly dedicated to promoting a plant based whole foods lifestyle. Besides the fact that their print issues are made from high quality recycled material and completely ad-free they are also full of mouth-watering recipes, articles, interviews and book reviews. This issue features a report from the frontlines of the hot sauce movement, marinades, summer salads, sauerkraut, no-bake cakes and an interview with five feminist food writers!


L'Arabe du Futur 2

L'Arabe du Futur 2
by Riad Sattouf

This is the second of a three part series following the first, critically acclaimed volume L'Arabe du Futur. In a darkly comic account cartoonist Riad Sattouf depicts his childhood spent divided between France and Syria and Libya under grim political regimes. Volume 2 recounts 1984-1985 as his family moves back to Hafez al-Assad's Syria. The first book will be released in English this October!


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





August 27, 2015

Shorties (Ann Beattie on Books & Reading, Stream the New Lou Barlow Album, and more)

Ann Beattie talked books and reading with the New York Times.



NPR Music is streaming Lou Barlow's new album Brace the Wave.



Booksellers recommended fall reading at Lit Hub.


NPR Music is streaming The Arcs' new album Yours, Dreamily.


Electric Literature interviewed author Tanwi Nandini Islam.


SPIN profiled the band Metric.


Biographile interviewed Tracy Daugherty about her new book The Last Love Song: A Biography of Joan Didion.


NPR Music is streaming Diane Coffee's new album Everybody's A Good Dog.


Jill Bialosky discusss the benefits of being both a writer and editor at Lit Hub.


Members of Yo La Tengo discussed their favorite cover songs with SPIN.


Author Susan Barker interviewed herself at The Nervous Breakdown.


NPR Music is streaming Joan Shelley's new album Over and Even.


Bustle profiled the world's smallest bookstore, and recommended books it should sell.


Stream a new Julia Holter song from her forthcoming album Have You in my Wilderness (out September 25th).


The New Statesman, Vulture, and the Guardian reviewed the new Jonathan Franzen novel Purity.


The Guardian interviewed Naomi Klein about her new book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate.


The A.V. Club shared an essential Mountain Goats playlist.


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


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

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

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

Daily Downloads (TV Girl, Vic Chesnutt, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

The Boy Jones: The Boy Jones EP [mp3]

Daniel J. Townsend: "Musselroe Bay" [mp3]

Ed Patrick: "Mexico" [mp3]

Skies Speak: Skies Speak EP [mp3]

Son of Dov: Ulysses EP [mp3]

Ted Drozdowski's Scissormen: Stink Eye EP [mp3]

TV Girl: French Exit album [mp3]

The Wax Girl: "Onwards" [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Vic Chesnutt: 2008-03-01, Athens [mp3]


search for more free and legal music downloads at Largehearted Boy


also at Largehearted Boy:

other Daily Downloads

covers collections
100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads

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

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

August 26, 2015

Book Notes - Robert Goolrick "The Fall of Princes"

The Fall of Princes

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

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

Robert Goolrick's novel The Fall of Princes is a pitch-perfect account of one Wall Street trader's rise and fall in the New York of the 1980s.

Booklist wrote of the book:

"Goolrick’s stellar prose infuses this redemption story with a good deal of depth and despair, making it read like the literary version of The Wolf of Wall Street."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In his own words, here is Robert Goolrick's Book Notes music playlist for his novel The Fall of Princes:


I really only like rock and roll for its power to break your heart. To put together a retro soundtrack for The Fall of Princes, which takes place in the '80s, would have left me with an endless list of dance remixes, played to the sound of crunching amyl ampules under steel-toed boots, or the greatest hits of Anita Baker, played to the sound of cocaine being chopped on the surface of a mirror. I couldn't have written a word to it, and, more importantly, as much as I was burying myself in nostalgia for the time, I couldn't have listened to it. It was my youth, which is over, and I couldn't bear to raise that particular corpse again.

Instead, I listened to music that broke my heart in a regular, bearable way. I wear sadness like an old sweater, and sad music is my eternal heartbeat, except for every now and then a big, booming song that knocks me in the head and shakes me into what resembles a fury of excitement. These songs are often by the Kings of Leon, but there are occasional surprises.

The Decemberists – "This is Why We Fight" – How can a band I dislike so much produce a song that is a piece of fierce, tenacious and unforgettable perfection? Revolutions have been started on less passion. "When we die/We will die/ With our arms unbound/ This is why/This is why/Why we fight/Come hell." From first note to last, it is exquisite, and in their canon there is nothing else like it and I don't expect there ever will be. But, if it is never to be repeated, it is enough.

The National – "Sweetie you don't look so good/ Your bottom lip is bleeding/ I cut it on your collarbone/ Go on, go back to sleep." If I could be anybody in rock, I would be Matt Berninger, so I could stand in front of thousands of people and sing those lyrics, from "Bitters and Absolut"; both concerned and cruel, mysterious and masochistic, they comprise one of the most intriguing openings to a rock song I've ever heard, since "Impossible Germany/ Unlikely Japan." In the wistful and bitter department, The National never disappoints. The people in my book are the people these lyrics describe, so damaged, and so often damaged that the wound is taken for granted, sweetie. Go back to sleep.

Olafur Arnalds – "For Now I Am Winter" – If you want to wallow in romantic self-pity and regret, Arnalds is your man. He's made a lot of music, all of it haunting and soft and lovely, but this is his first album on which he has included songs with lyrics, and they wrench the deepest feelings out of your hip-hardened heart. The music is like a wisp of smoke from a cigarette late at night, after the party's over, visible but not tangible, the taste of ice-cold vodka still on your tongue. The people are gone. You are ultimately and finally alone. Possibly forever. The eternal winter begins.

Francoise Hardy – "Message Personelle"- The It girl of a generation you don't remember, she was an international pop star and fashion darling, wearing, one evening, the most expensive dress ever made – Paco Rabanne's chain mail mini dress made of gold encrusted with diamonds. In 1970, she walked away from everything. Just in time for the writing of Princes, she returns, older, sadder, still an icon of fierce lost sadness, with the message of lost love. God, she's beautiful, a muse to Damon Albarn and the novelist Michel Houellebecq, and you know, you just know, looking at the video, a triumph of sadness and brutal honesty, or listening to the song as you write songs about your own lost youth, that she knows, she just knows everything you've been through, and holds you in her broken heart. She may be writing to say goodbye, but she knows that nothing is ever really gone, every love is always a new hurt and every wound is fresh.

Tired Pony – "That Silver Necklace" – I don't understand why Snow Patrol never made it in the US. They're a great, literate, extremely moving band that fills stadiums all over Europe. Gary Lightbody, took some time off and created Tired Pony, a sort of superstar band that first appeared with a brilliant video of a song called "Dead American Writers." I could watch the video a thousand times. In two albums, they have given us a tremendously moving palette of music, recently backed by, oddly, Minnie Driver. In "That Silver Necklace" the singer speaks to his girlfriend of a piece of jewelry he once gave her, and wonders if it hurts her to wear that thing, as he puts it. The band has a grace and a poetry that is hypnotic, the poetry is real, not the fatuous schoolboy scratchings of most rock bands. In the middle of a song of yearning love comes this: "We are not the lions of the daylight, daylight/ We are more like wolves in dead of night/We are more the ravens in the schoolyard, schoolyard/ And all the larks about to sing." It's amazing. I don't care what it means.

Frank Ocean – "Sierra Leone" – Love's yearning heart. Love's lost opportunities, and the striving for love's ideal (Sierra Leone, in this case), who is not moved, who has not been there on that uncertain stairway. Frank Ocean approaches loss and sorrow with the gentlest touch, like a doctor who is telling you you're going to die, or a priest who is placing his hands on your head and pronouncing absolution. There is something uniquely sad and lovely in his work, and, in this song in particular he reaches straight or the heart and makes every attempt to make a hopeless situation better by the sheer force of his own loveliness.

Ane Brun – Start anywhere. Listen to Songs 2000-2013. Listen to the whole thing without stopping, all thirty-two songs. "I'm just too romantic, Hey Ho My lover will go/ Without any sense of strategies/ Hey Ho/ My lover will go." This is romantic sadness at a very high peak of sophistication, the words of a woman to whom it has all happened before, and who looks at romantic loss not for the first or last time. She also sings of the most wonderful endearing love – "Don't ever leave, that is what you asked of me, do you know, what it means, when you plead?' It won't do us no good, she sings, knowing that such foreverness doesn't even happen in romantic songs. This on was, unfortunately, used in a mawkish television commercial. She deserves a better listen.

Emeli Sande – "Heaven" – When Ane has left you near death on the floor, let Emeli lift you up. OK, so it's a disco song. She's the Donna Summer for the new millennium. But I'll take it. When she slams into her first song – "Do you recognize me?" – the delight just floats through the room like pot smoke in 1969. "Oh heaven, oh heaven, I wait with good intentions, but the day it always lasts too long." A song of lost love, again, but such by an extraordinarily beautiful woman who, you can tell, has and will, pull herself up by her bootstraps one more time. Knock her down, Emeli gets up.

Carl and the Passions – "Cuddle Up" – One of the most beautiful rock songs ever written. I heard four bars of this song in a Twyla Tharp ballet based on The Beach Boys work, and I remembered it with such clarity twenty-five years later, that I had to dig and dig and consult my friend Margot Ravis, who knows everything, until I found it again. It did not disappoint. Monumental beauty of such gentleness and kindness that your heart cannot help but be moved.

Bat for Lashes – If Florence Welch would just calm down, she'd be Bat for Lashes and sing "Laura." It's a song about the comfort that one friend can give another when everyone else has left. Simple, lovely. "You can't cry/ put your glad rags on and let's sing along/ to that lonely song/ You're the train that crashed my heart/ You're the glitter in the dark/ Laura, you're more than a superstar."

When I write, I am never without music. It helps me concentrate. It connects me to a world of wonders. I sit and make a list, shocked to find that Sam Herring and Future Islands, so much a part of the last several years' playlist, is not on it. Shocked to find Jason Isbell missing, gone also London Grammar, whose Nightcall starts with a line that is pure dread, sung by the beautiful Hannah Reid who makes you feel that she knows you, has always known you? How can you make a list and not start with Dusty in Memphis, surely one of the best albums ever made. How can I not say that anybody who hasn't heard The Tallest Man on Earth has missed a magical experience and that, when it comes to sorrow, nothing matches his song "There's No Leaving Now?" I live alone. I have always lived alone. Music is not just my soundtrack, it is the fabric of my life. The empty room, me, the computer out of which the story pours, on a good day by itself, on a tough one only with the use of a sledgehammer and brute force, and music, my friend, my lover, my sorrow, my memory, my exultation. My forever.


Robert Goolrick and The Fall of Princes links:

the author's website

Kirkus review
Publishers Weekly review
Washington Post review

Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for A Reliable Wife


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

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

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

WORD Bookstores Books of the Week - August 26, 2015

In the Largehearted Word series, the staff of Brooklyn's WORD bookstore highlights several new books released this week.

WORD Bookstores are independent neighborhood bookstores in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and Jersey City, New Jersey. Our primary goal is to be whatever our communities needs us to be, which currently means carrying everything from fiction to nonfiction to absurdly cute cards and stationery. In addition, we're fiends for a good event, from the classic author reading and Q&A to potlucks and a basketball league (and anything set in a bar). If a weekly dose of WORD here isn't enough for you, follow us on Twitter: @wordbookstores.


The Last Love Song

The Last Love Song
by Tracy Daugherty

Seasoned essayist Tracy Daugherty brings out the first biography of the great Joan Didion.


Out on the Wire

Out on the Wire
by Jessica Abel

A fantastically illustrated examination of the contemporary personages of storytelling-based programs on public radio, from This American Life to Radiolab.


Lair of Dreams

Lair of Dreams
by Libba Bray

An epic-scale story of divination, secrecy, dreams, and the fight for life.


Flings

Flings
by Justin Taylor

WORD favorite Justin Taylor's story collection gets the paperback treatment.


WORD Brooklyn links:

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


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

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

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

Shorties (Interviews with Alexandra Kleeman, Superchunk's Cover of "Born to Run," and more)

VICE and Late Night Library interviewed Alexandra Kleeman about her debut novel You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine.


Stream Superchunk's cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run."


Stream a new solo song from Kathryn Calder of the New Pornographers.


Stream a new Sylvan Esso song.


Tin House shared an excerpt from Sara Jaffe's novel Dryland.


The Guardian listed 10 of the best Lemonheads songs.


PopMatters profiled singer-songwriter John Moreland.


Paste profiled the band Wand.

Wand embody a bridge between the delicate and the dissonant. Their songs can start off like day-dreamy/paisley folk trips that suddenly veer off into ominous purple clouds of a doom-laden metal storm.


Ted Rall's graphic novel biography of Edward Snowden is in stores this week.


Pitchfork recommended 10 albums from the Balearic revival.


Justin Taylor discussed book tours at Lit Hub.


The Quietus offered a track-by-track review of the new New Order album Music Complete.

Stereogum interviewed Bernard Sumner about the release.


LitReactor recommended female short story writers.


An interactive chart of the most played '90s songs on Spotify.


The Guardian listed the top conservative novels.


The A.V. Club listed 10 of the most sampled drum beats in history.


Minnesota Public Radio interviewed Cara Nicoletti about her new book Voracious: A Hungry Reader Cooks Her Way through Great Books.


Paste interviewed Victoria Legrande of Beach House about the band's new album Depression Cherry.


The Guardian listed the best dog stories in literature.


Vulture previewed fall's music releases.


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


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

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

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

Daily Downloads (Protomartyr, Candelaria Varela, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Aryl Barkley: Archie's EP [mp3]

Candelaria Varela: Confesiones de un sábado a la noche EP [mp3]

David Ramirez: FABLES - Eastside Manor Sessions EP [mp3]

Electrician: What I Don't Want EP [mp3]

Jaggery: Jaggery Sampler EP [mp3]

McDougall: Diversion EP [mp3]

Protomartyr: "Dope Cloud" [mp3] from The Agent Intellect (out October 9th)

Sunwatchers: Live Transmissions album [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Sunwatchers: 2015-08-23, New York [mp3]


search for more free and legal music downloads at Largehearted Boy


also at Largehearted Boy:

other Daily Downloads

covers collections
100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads

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

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

August 25, 2015

Book Notes - Brandon Hobson "Desolation of Avenues Untold"

Desolation of Avenues Untold

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

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

Brandon Hobson's Desolation of Avenues Untold is a fiercely intelligent comic novel.

Gabriel Blackwell wrote of the book:

"Brandon Hobson's Desolation of Avenues Untold is at once both a wise commentary on loss and nostalgia and a very funny—and very paranoid—farce. Thomas Pynchon, David Lynch, and Philip K. Dick would all be perfectly at home in Desolate City, TX. A beautifully lunatic book."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In his own words, here is Brandon Hobson's Book Notes music playlist for his novel Desolation of Avenues Untold:


There are several music references in this book. Caspar Fixx is a fictional rock star who's formed a cult in L.A. and is rumored to have the Chaplin films. D.C. has Thom Yorke University. Random conversations from unknown avenues often include specific albums and bands. Born Chaplin finds himself listening to the hard rock station to try to connect on a deeper level with his son. All that, I suppose, leads to this.

"Hyperventilation" – Brian Jonestown Massacre
Breathing and paranoia.

"Marijuana" – Reverend Horton Heat
Because B. Chaplin loves to smoke.

"Down on the Street" – The Stooges
Bleaker Street.

"Suicide Demo for Kara Walker" – Destroyer
In drag.

"Insensatez" – Antonio Carlos Jobim
Desolate highway.

"Things that Scare Me" – Neko Case
Scary people.

"Paranoid Android" – Radiohead
Thom Yorke College.

"Bella Lugosi's Dead" – Bauhaus
Warehouse party, film flickering on the wall.

"This is Hardcore" – Pulp
Hardcore.

"Monday Night" – The Golden Palominos
Strange film.

"Bron-Y-Aur Stomp" – Led Zeppelin
"Bron-Y-Aur Avenue."

"Bodysighs" – Shellyan Orphan
Humroot, Humroot.

"Nevertheless" – Brian Jonestown Massacre
If I knew my way out.


Brandon Hobson and Desolation of Avenues Untold links:

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

Deep South Magazine interview with the author
Vol. 1 Brooklyn interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

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

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

Book Notes - Jamie Iredell "Last Mass"

Last Mass

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

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

Jamie Iredell's memoir Last Mass brilliantly recollects the author's Catholic childhood along with the history of Father Junípero Serra, forging an unforgettable reading experience in the process.

D. Foy wrote of the book:

"How do you reconcile your love for the California you call home, for your deeply pious Californian family, with the history—protracted and hellish—that is the father of both? Iredell navigates his world with deftness, beauty, brutality, and light. In the face of so much, it's a feat next to holy."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In his own words, here is Jamie Iredell's Book Notes music playlist for his book Last Mass:


I don't listen to music when I write, unless I happen to be in public at a bar or restaurant where I'm writing (this happens more often than is healthy). When you work from home a lot it's tempting to lie in bed with your reading and before you know it you wake up and it's 3 PM and, oh god, do I need to justify it? I work in bars a lot, so I guess I inadvertently listen to a lot of music while I'm writing, although it's almost always simply background noise and I'm not really paying attention to it at all. Although, one time, I was working and some jerk at the bar had typed "Adelle" into Pandora or whatever and I suffered through that bullshit for about an hour before I gave up and went home.

Despite music not being a central part of my process, in the composition of Last Mass music and other forms of popular culture regularly invade the text, interweave with it, fold into it. So what I've done here is provide a more or less chronologic (that is, while one's reading) progression of the kinds of music you encounter in the book itself. There's everything from traditional Spanish Catholic songs to Iron Maiden. It is, at least, an eclectic collection, not unlike Last Mass itself is an eclectic collection of thoughts and ideas that add up to something that is its own. I've put together a Youtube playlist of these, in case you'd like to listen.

The Fandango: Any kind of flamenco guitar will do. The period of California history I write about in Last Mass would likely not have included much, if any, of this kind of music. Though the period of Spanish colonial California only lasted for about fifty-two years (from 1769-1821), the first twenty or so years of that was a slow process of establishing missions and presidios and eventually the first pueblos (Yerba Buena—what became San Francisco—San Jose, and Los Angeles), and these were hardscrabble times of survival. It would only be in the later years of Spanish control (and, later still, that of Mexico), that the romantic ideal our culture has claimed for early California was established. This would be the period of the Ranchos, pueblos, and missions and with that the colorful fiestas complete with the Fandango and other dances, and the time that would birth legends that live on today, like Zorro. Still, this kind of music I think puts one in the mood of early California and is therefore fitting for a read of Last Mass.

"Don't Stop Believin'"—Journey: I actually hate this song. But it was/is on this CD that my wife burned for me when we were dating, and I was listening to that CD when I drove to this artist colony in north Georgia, which was where I wrote the first draft of Last Mass. That isn't what made me hate this song. It was being on that show Glee, which my wife used to watch, and I would sit in another room writing or goofing off on the Internet while she watched her stories. And I could hear that show bastardizing this already horrible song. That show of course boosted the already-popular tune to levels untold, and now should you listen to any radio station that plays rock and roll you're bound to hear this Journey classic. Yes, some were born to sing the blues, indeed. I'm currently writing in a bar and this goddamn song just came on—not kidding.

"Sing a New Song": This popular religious hymn is popular for obvious reasons: it's catchy. It's the Taylor Swift of Christian hymns. I always liked this song when we sang it in church. Seemed like they planned it in such a way that this song, when sung, was the processional upon the end of mass. Therefore the reasons for my liking it might very well have to do with the knowledge that it meant mass was finally over.

"Like a Rolling Stone"—covered by Jimi Hendrix, live at Winterland (but for added Last Mass effect, watch video of his performance of this song live at the Monterey Pop Festival: "After I'd quit drinking I again ran up the mountain, and at its rounded top I found a Toyota. Inside sat a bear, and in the passenger seat Zorro gripped the end of the lasso with which he'd lassoed his bear to the steering wheel. Jimi Hendrix's cover of Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" blared from the dash. They passed a joint, Zorro and his bear. I jogged back down the mountain, wanting to 1) not sweat in the Toyota's back seat; and 2) have nothing to do with any of that scene."

"Junipero Serra"—The Ziggens. I'm trying to remember who told me about this song, but I think it might have been Kevin Sampsell. This is like instrumental surf punk rock. Driving beat, steel guitars, a Les Paul sound, but with distortion, but still with the requisite whammy bar pulls. God knows why it's called "Junipero Serra." Other than that title, this song has nothing to do with this book.

"Wishing Well"—Terence Trent D'Arby. Mostly, I don't really care for Terence Trent D'Arby, or Sananda Francesco Maitreya, as he calls himself these days. And I didn't care for him in the 80s either. But his music was like a soundtrack that played anywhere public, especially in places like malls, and when I got caught stealing the Michael Jordan T-shirt (I tell this story in Last Mass) I imagine that one of his songs—with "Wishing Well" being, in my opinion, the catchiest—might have very well been playing over the JC Penney sound system.

"My Michelle"—Guns n' Roses
"Peace Sells"—Megadeth
"Children of the Damned"—Iron Maiden
:

". . . we wandered the mall, scoped out the high school chicks, tooled around Hot Topic, goggle-eyed over the knives and Megadeth T-shirts. We spent our shitty allowances on stickers and the Guns n Roses T-shirt with the band's crossed guns and roses logo, because that was a shirt Dad would let me wear, unlike the Iron Maiden T's I really wanted, with a ghoulish Eddie screaming and stretching a bony clawed hand out for my soul. It wasn't that my father thought of heavy metal as Satan's music, or anything. He just thought it was tacky and ugly and, looking back, it was, even if that ugly tackiness is badass. Thus, we had with us shopping bags and these bags factor importantly into this narrative."

The Kyrie from the Catholic Mass: While the masses that I attended as a boy were not recited in Latin (thanks, Vatican II!), vestiges of the old rite remain, though recited in the common tongue, including this portion of the mass wherein the priest asks for God's mercy three times (symbolic of the Holy Trinity) and the congregants repeat after the priest: "Lord Have Mercy, Lord Have Mercy, Christ Have Mercy, Christ Have Mercy, Lord Have Mercy, Lord Have Mercy." Have mercy on me for this longwinded series of notes. Forgive my transgressions.

"I Left My Heart in San Francisco"—Tony Bennett: "My grandfather sometimes sang ‘I Left My Heart in San Francisco' while he fixed his Datsun pickup or tilled his petite syrah. In the early summer of 1776 Father Francisco Palou, along with an escalta and Father Pedro Font and Juan Bautista de Anza, set out for the peninsula of the great bay of San Francisco, and there, on the Friday of Sorrows, they found the creek and lagoon that they named appropriately for La Nuestra Señora de Los Dolores. Palou founded Mission San Francisco de Asís, and to this day the mission is nicknamed Dolores."

"If You're Going to San Francisco"— "Whenever I hear Scott McKenzie's ‘San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)' I think of my grandparents. The song was released in 1967, when my mom was nineteen years old and living in Los Altos, where she had moved with my grandparents from New York in 1951."

"Damn it Feels Good to Be a Gangsta"—Geto Boys: I'm just gonna let this song stand in for this paragraph: "Freshman year Randy got into rap and guns. We carried an unloaded .25 caliber semiautomatic to school a couple times. We were that stupid. We exploded terra cotta in the strawberry fields with another gun we'd ‘borrowed': his neighbor's .32, lifted from the house while Randy was pet sitting. When rap evolved into Randy's love for Nirvana and Pearl Jam, it came with the weed he started smoking. Anyone can see the pattern here. It was still a year or two before Dre's The Chronic, and pot wasn't much of a subject for N.W.A. But being stoned fit the Ozzy, Metallica, and Jane's Addiction we rocked. I followed Randy in my own flannel and Baja hoodies. Randy stopped going to his parents' church while we were still in high school, but it wasn't until I left home for college that I stopped going to church regularly, and it wasn't until after my grandmother's death that I stopped going for good."

"Stayin' Alive"—The Bee Gees: My favorite line from Saturday Night Fever is when Tony tells a cop "There are ways of killing yourself without killing yourself," one of which is by listening to the Bee Gees.

Theme Music for The Exorcist: This is just appropriate mood music for when you're reading about Native Americans being inadvertently, but systematically, conquered, raped, murdered, and completely decimated.

"Canto el Alabado": This song just kind of goes on and on forever, with the same progression, same melody. But it's hauntingly melancholy and beautiful despite the repetition. It feels like the perfect ending, something bittersweet, something so sad you can barely stand to listen to it, but you can't help yourself.


Jamie Iredell and Last Mass links:

excerpt from the book

The Lit Pub review
Los Angeles Magazine review
The Rumpus review

Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for The Book of Freaks
Vol. 1 Brooklyn interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

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

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

Shorties (An Interview with Alejandro Zambra, Stream the New Frog Eyes Album, and more)

Author Alejandro Zambra was interviewed by his editor at McSweeneys.


Stream the new Frog Eyes album Pickpockets' Locket.


Publishers Weekly interviewed author Warren Ellis.


Jason Isbell covered "Desperadoes Waiting For A Train."


Vol. 1 Brooklyn interviewed author Wendy S. Walters.


The BBC reexamined Queen's epic song "Bohemian Rhapsody."


The Los Angeles Review of Books interviewed poet Dorothea Laskey.


Morning Edition interviewed members of Morning Edition.


The Nation interviewed author Samuel R. Delany.


LA Music Blog listed the top covers of Bob Dylan songs.


Tin House interviewed author Susan Shapiro.


Crave listed movie soundtracks better than the film.


Emma Donoghue discusses the film adaptation of her novel Room at Lit Hub.


All Things Considered profiled the band Twin Shadow.


Flavorwire recommended essential women writers to read in translation.


Singer-songwriter Caroline Rose played a Tiny Desk Concert.


The New York Times reviewed Jonathan Franzen's new novel Purity.


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


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

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

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

Daily Downloads (Mekons, A Pilgrimage Music Festival Compilation, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Ethan Hardin: Cartography EP [mp3]

The Gray Havens: Where Eyes Don't Go EP [mp3]

Mekons: Live on WFMU [mp3]

Paper Compass: Sing Me to Sleep album [mp3]

Teen Girl Scientist Monthly: Hyper Trophy album [mp3]

Tempers: Live on WFMU [mp3]

Various Artists: The Basement East's New Faces Nite Curated by NoiseTrade / Mixtape / Sept 2nd EP [mp3]

Various Artists: Pilgrimage Music Festival Mixtape 2015 album [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Eleventh Dream Day: 2015-08-21, New York [mp3]


search for more free and legal music downloads at Largehearted Boy


also at Largehearted Boy:

other Daily Downloads

covers collections
100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads

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

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

August 24, 2015

Book Notes - Anna Badkhen "Walking with Abel"

Walking with Abel

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

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

In precise and arresting prose, Anna Badkhen lyrically recounts her time embedded with nomadic cattle herders in southern Mali in her book Walking with Abel.

The Christian Science Monitor wrote of the book:

"Badkhen's rich and lucid prose illustrates her journey as vividly as might a series of photographs… By the time readers put the book down, they will have done something remarkable: visited a mostly inhospitable but eminently seductive locale alongside a storyteller able to render the strange and different both familiar and engrossing. Walking With Abel not only takes us somewhere new, it viscerally reminds us that such places still exist in the world."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In her own words, here is Anna Badkhen's Book Notes music playlist for her memoir Walking with Abel: Journeys with the Nomads of the African Savannah:


My Fulani cowboy friends drive their cattle on foot, in tinny bubbles of bootleg music. Music rasps from the cellphones they dangle on lanyards from their necks. It has the same iambic beat as the songs of the Tamashek-speaking camel riders of the Sahara, the Turkoman goatherds of the Khorasan, the horsemen of the Kazakh steppes. Music made for walking and cowbells. Music made out of walking and cowbells.


1. Wilima Metatama (Dicko Oumarou)

My friends buy their music from itinerant bootleggers who set up makeshift stalls at the Djenné market every Monday and get away with charging the Fulani double the price: the cowboys, it is known, bargain poorly for everything except cattle. The music is downloaded onto cellphone memory cards. The cowboys don't bother with SIM cards—why spend money on calling people by phone when you will eventually run into them in the bush?—and use their cellphones to listen to music and store photographs of cows. A particular favorite is a Fulani griot named Dicko Oumarou. In the wilderness of the Sahel I heard his music almost nightly—this song, "Wilima Metatama," especially.

2. Mustt Mustt (Kiran Ahluwalia and Tinariwen)

My previous book, The World Is a Carpet, is set in a tiny village in the desert of northern Afghanistan, where my hosts were Turkomen shepherds who had abandoned their nomadic lifestyle. And what, I wondered, is the world when you live on the hoof? Human feet evolved to measure out steady steps on hot, dry, flat land, and the human brain evolved to absorb boundless geology at the speed of three miles an hour. Walking for a living must give an altogether different method to life's meaning. I wanted to tap into a slower knowledge that could come only from taking a very, very long walk with a people who have been walking always. I went to Mali to join a family of nomadic Fulani cowboys on their annual migration through the Sahel.

This song, in a serendipitous and odd way, bridges the two books. It is a hit by the legendary Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan—a qawwali master from Pakistan whose music is tremendously popular in Afghanistan—performed by the Indian-Canadian singer Kiran Ahluwalia and Tinariwen, a Tuareg band from Mali. (The band's founding member Ibrahim Ag Alhabib, who grew up in the Sahara, built his first guitar from a bicycle wire, a stick, and a tin can.)

Tinariwen was formed in the military camps of Libya's dictator Muammar Qaddafi, who recruited Tuareg men to be his mercenaries, dangling before them the hope that one day he would endorse the fight for their own independence. In 2012, after Qaddafi's death, some such mercenaries—though not Tinariwen's members—careened across the Sahara in looted pickup trucks chockfull of weapons they had plundered from the abandoned caches of their slain former padrone; swept into the major cities of Mali's north; and proclaimed the creation of an independent state they called Azawad: the Land of Transhumance. But within weeks, Islamist fundamentalists hijacked the rebellion and flew the black flags of al Qaeda over Timbuktu. They axed down centuries-old shrines and they flogged, amputated, jailed, stoned, beheaded, raped. And they transformed, too, the age-old routes of Fulani transhumance into the latest frontline of the global war on terror.

3. Folon (Salif Keïta)

The Malians rightly call Salif Keïta the Golden Voice of Africa. Perhaps it is the grief. Keïta was ostracized by his family twice: for being born an albino, a sign of bad luck in the Mandinka culture; and for choosing to become a singer—a low-caste profession unbecoming the descendant of Sundiata, the Lion of Songolon, the great Malian king.

Today Salif Keïta is truly the king of Mali. You hear his music outside shops, on buses, in people's homes. I once heard "Folon" in a fetish market in Bamako. The song flowed magically from a stall laden with crocodile heads and snakeskins and birdwings and herbs and lichen and cowries. I looked closer. Perched among those mottled awful oddities was a tiny transistor radio.

4. Mélancolie (Rokia Traoré)

Because, while I was researching the book, I was missing someone very much.

5. Gambari Go'o (Ali Farka Touré)

Growing up, Ali Ibrahim "Farka" Touré spent much time with his grandmother, a Songhai sorceress. In his beautiful slim gem of a book, Genii of the River Niger, the French anthropologist Jean-Marie Gibbal suggests that the great guitarist's "inspiration was a gift from God—and from the genii, who helped him when, as he was looking for something new to add to his music, he happened to use the djerkélé, the single-stringed instrument that particularly moves them."

Ali Farka sang in many languages, and this song he sings in Fulfulde. Gambari tells the story of a great man who spoke Hausa—an arrival, most likely, from the north of modern-day Nigeria. Another wanderer.

6. Iniagige (Salif Keïta)

"Wipe your tears," the song goes. And we do.

7. Bambugu Blues (Bassekou Koyaté and Ngoni Ba)

The blues arrived in the Americas in the cargo holds of slave ships: trussed, violated, mauled. Yet in the New World it unwound, relearning its own words, from mouth to mouth of millions of women and men who spoke mutually unintelligible African tongues—and then journeyed back to Africa via Europe in bales of cotton and peanut vines, to be retuned, resung, shipped back again. The triangle of slavery became, too, the triangle of sound. And on and on the blues ambles, adding modern guitars here, ngoni lute there. Bassekou Koyaté sings this blues for Bambougou, a town on the Niger River in cenral Mali, near Ségou.

Bassekou Koyate is Bambara, but the record on which this song appears is called "I Speak Fula."

8. Sowa (Fatoumata Diawara)

I got to hear the opening bars of this tune many times: my friend and translator Amadou Gano used this song as his cellphone ringtone.

"Do not give your children to be raised by others," the song goes. "Do not give your boys to be raised by others/Do not give your daughters to be raised by others/It only brings suffering and sadness." But when you don't have enough to feed your children in Mali you usually farm them out to someone who does. One of the translators I worked with, a Djennénke entrepreneur of means, was raising his own four children and also two nephews and a niece whose parents could not afford to provide for them. And my nomadic hosts in the bush were raising their two young grandchildren because their mother was divorced and perpetually ill and herself bounced from relative to relative, from clinic to clinic.

9. La Llorona (Sones de México Ensemble)

When I squatted by the hearth to feed to the fire long knotty sticks of kindling, Bomel came over and smiled at me.
"Are you missing someone, Anna Bâ?"
I started.
"Why do you ask?"
"You're singing."
I was? I was. I hadn't even noticed.
"They say when a woman sings, she is missing someone." She squinted at me. "You sing to yourself a lot, Anna Bâ."

This was the song: a ranchera about a village beauty spurned by a rich ranchero and driven to murder and madness. Or maybe about a weeping ghost tormented by betrayal and seeking revenge. In the Spanish-speaking America, La Llorona is ubiquitous. She is a deranged specter who kidnaps living children and drowns them in some stories; a mistress of Cortez in others. In every story, she is a madwoman who drowned her own children after her lover left her, a phantom dressed in white who weeps and weeps. This was the cheerful ditty I hummed all year on the road.

I don't know why. It's catchy?

10. Farafina (Boubacar Traoré)

After his beloved wife Pierrette died at childbirth, this popular guitarist from the northern Malian city of Kayes gave up music and moved to France to do construction work to support his children. It took, typically for our lopsided planet, a Western record producer to "rediscover" Boubacar "Kar Kar" Traoré in 1990 to bring him back to music—and bring his astonishing music back to the world. Traoré was almost fifty then. There is a great understatement in his songs, I think—a silence almost, a vastness of a kind that beautifully reflects the sparse immensity of Sahelian horizons.

11. Torin Torin (Bassekou Koyaté and Ngoni Ba)

More by Bassekou Koyaté, a master of the ngoni—a fretless lute made typically of hollowed-out elongated piece of wood or calabash, goatskin, and three or five strings. Koyaté's band, Ngoni Ba, is named after the instrument.

Today, ngoni strings are typically made with nylon fishing line—as are the strings on the ngoni's close relative, ganberi. In the past, strings were made with animal guts. From which beast, I wonder, came the strings circa 1352, when Ibn Battuta, the Moroccan traveler, journeyed through what today is Mali and who wrote that whenever the emperor Mansa Musa held court that "the singers go out before him carrying gold and silver qanābir?"

12. Talliyatidagh (Toumast)

The title means "That girl." Of course.

This band, like Tinariwen, is Tuareg; its leader, Moussa Ag Keyna, at one point fought in the neverending rebellion against the governments of Mali and Niger, was severely wounded in battle, and had to recuperate in France. His band's name means "Identity." Of course.

13. Gambari Didi (Ali Farka Touré)

Part two—"didi" in Fulfulde—of the saga of the great Gambari, the Hausa-speaking man, the traveler from far away.

Walking and cowbells, walking and cowbells, here we go again.


Anna Badkhen and Walking with Abel links:

the author's website
video trailer for the book

Biographile review
BookPage review
Christian Science Monitor review
Dallas Morning News review
Kirkus review
Minneapolis Star Tribune review
Publishers Weekly review


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

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

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

Google
  Web largeheartedboy.com