June 21, 2018

Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week - June 21, 2018

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.


Convenience Store Woman

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

A thirty-six-year-old woman in Tokyo lives alone and works at a convenience store. She is totally content and at peace with her life and this confuses everyone around her. Comical, cute, and haunting.


Ayiti

Ayiti by Roxane Gay

Ayiti was Roxane Gay's debut collection of stories, the book that launched her career as a fearless writer and essayist. Now reissued with two previously uncollected stories, these wise, fanciful, and daring stories of the Haitian diaspora confirm Gay's singular vision and brilliance as a prose stylist.


Room to Dream

Room to Dream by David Lynch

In this unique hybrid of biography and memoir, David Lynch’s lyrical and unfiltered personal reflections riff off biographical sections written by close collaborator Kristine McKenna, based on more than one hundred new (and surprisingly canddid) interviews with intimates and colleagues of one of our most enigmatic and utterly original living artists.


Something Bright, Then Holes

Something Bright, Then Holes by Maggie Nelson

This re-issue of Nelson's 2007 collection of poems shows the celebrated author in her most incisive and economic form -- a record of a protean talent in the making. Whether writing from the debris-strewn shores of a polluted canal or from the hospital room of a friend, Nelson charts each emotional landscape she encounters with unparalleled precision and empathy.


Apartamento #21

Apartamento #21

New Apartamento! Everybody's favourite magazine on unconventional domestic spaces. In this issue, you will find interviews with painter Henry Taylor, gay icon Peter Berlin, Italian designer Lapo Binazzi, photographer Lina Scheynius, and much much more.


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





June 20, 2018

Hannah Pittard's Playlist for Her Novel "Visible Empire"

Visible Empire

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

Hannah Pittard's novel Visible Empire is an enthralling and well-researched fictional account of the 1962 plane crash that killed over 100 of Atlanta's biggest art patrons and its aftermath.

The New York Times wrote of the book:

"Pittard’s novel combines a sense of personal loss and turmoil with greater societal change as the civil rights movement arrives at its peak."


In her own words, here is Hannah Pittard's Book Notes music playlist for her novel Visible Empire:



I was woefully uncool as a youngster when it came to music. I grew up listening to songs of the '50s and '60s. With my mother, on our drives to and from school in Atlanta, we kept the station tuned only to the Oldies. I’ve tried to be faithful to the year Visible Empire takes place (1962) and also to its temperament, which means certain favorites—Mary Wells’ “Two Lovers”, Lesley Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me,” or The Shangri-Las’ “Remember” and “Leader of the Pack”—didn’t make the cut. But here, as best as I can, I’ve constructed a playlist that follows the mood swings and movements of the book:

Crying – Roy Orbison
Your Cheatin’ Heart – Hank Williams
The Other Woman – Nina Simone
I Want to Be Evil – Eartha Kitt
Money Honey – Elvis Presley
That’ll Be the Day – Buddy Holly & The Crickets
Bye Bye Love – Everly Lovers
These Arms of Mine – Otis Redding
The Great Pretender – The Platters
Honest I Do – Jimmy Reed
You Send Me – Sam Cooke
Water Boy – Don Shirley
When I Fall In Love – Nat King Cole
Crazy – Willie Nelson
Stand By Me – Ben E. King
My Way – Frank Sinatra


Hannah Pittard and Visible Empire links:

the author's website
excerpt from the book

Atlanta Journal-Constitution review
New York Times review

Largehearted Boy playlist by the author for Listen To Me
Largehearted Boy Book Notes playlist by the author for Reunion


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

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

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

June 19, 2018

Peter Coviello's Playlist for His Memoir "Long Players"

Long Players

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

Peter Coviello's Long Players: A Love Story in Eighteen Songs is a bold and poignant memoir innovatively held together by its music.

Kirkus wrote of the book:

"A heartfelt and hyperliterate take on love as a mixtape…. [Coviello] is a true believer in the power of love and in the magic of certain pop songs to encapsulate, transform, infect, and heal.… Coviello's style imitates his heroes Henry James and George Eliot, and reading his book feels a bit like finding a cache of letters from one close friend to another, with the writer casually unraveling on the page…. While some other High Fidelity-inspired memoirs undoubtedly 'do' the music better, few outpace the grim vivacity of Coviello's writing or match the depth of feeling he summons from the soundtrack of his own neuroses. A diary of devastation too good not to share."


In his own words, here is Peter Coviello's Book Notes music playlist for his memoir Long Players:



It’s unsetting to consider how long I’ve been making mixes, not only for roomates and partners and heartsick friends, but for children. Since they were little, and in part as a way to help us figure out how to devise together a way of being a family, I’ve made mixes for my two stepdaughters – who then became, much to my sorrow, my ex-stepdaughters.

What this means, I’ve come to realize, is that how I make mixes has been shaped, indefinably but certainly, by the somewhat weird practice of giving songs to young people. Like all exchanges with kids, it’s delicate: you do well not to be preachy or prescriptive, and never to insist on the coolness of this or that, even as you labor to make available to them some things you think just might, at some unsuspected juncture in the future, be of lasting value to them. And, in the middle of all that, you also want to tell them you love them.

It seems to me now that the book I wrote about loving those girls, and losing our little improvised family, and then figuring out how to make a new world together, might fairly be described as basically a mashing-up of the heartbreak mixes I made for myself, in those first bad years, and the many playlists I made (and continue to make) for the girls. In that spirit…

Starfish and Coffee – Prince

There are the losses you get over, and the losses you never dig out of. Prince, for me and probably for you, is one of the latter, and to hear that undernote of sorrow even in this, a song so kaleidoscopically joyful and griefless, is startling. I hear it, and I think, Still not over it. This, I suppose, is what doing without Prince is going to be like.

Also, that there are some griefs that, since they aren’t likely to dissipate, you need to try to set a place for, there at the table of your life: that’s one of the strange, sad little discoveries at the heart of the book I wrote, Long Players. Another is that songs – and falling in love with them, and falling in love with the friends and the lovers who fall in love with them with you – can help you in this. A lot.

We’ve Got Your Back – Los Campesinos!

I hope you’ll believe me when I say I spend a lot of time thinking Los Campesinos! is the world’s greatest rock band. It’s not just the hyperkinesis, the sense of a band of something like seven making themselves sound like a travelling punk rock carnival. Really it’s just the fine alchemy that’s forever turning these songs about lovelorn misery into, oh, songs about misery taking form as joy: the spazzy joyousness of making songs, and shouting them out with your friends. This track comes with not one but two serviceable mottos for your whole life: “I’m sweating off the cheat notes on my thighs” and “SO FUCKING ON / AND SO FUCKING FORTH.”

Hex (Live in Austin) – Neko Case

Somewhere in my middle twenties, back when the insurgent country scene around Bloodshot Records was coming into its first full flowering, I saw Neko Case at some Chicago summer street festival, and thought, Holy shit. Years later (and this comes up in the book) I watched in head-clutching ecstasy as she and Kelly Hogan and the Sadies performed “Magic Man” as a Halloween-show encore… dressed as Ann and Nancy Wilson from Heart. In a life of going to shows, this was and is a high-water mark.

“Star Witness” may be her most haunting song, “Magpie to the Morning” her most virtuosic, and “Man” may rock more than all of these. Still, I’ll take this live performance of “Hex,” if only because nothing I know better captures the shivery magic of those two voices, Neko’s and Kelly’s, carving out lines around each other.

Super Rich Kids – Frank Ocean, with Earl Sweatshirt

In the midst of a fully astounding era of black pop genius, there isn’t much point in picking an origin-point or centerpiece. D’Angelo, Beyoncé, Janelle Monae, Anderson Paak, Kendrick, SZA, Chance… and this is just the narrowest of slices. Still, I think of Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange is the signature masterpiece of the post-crash moment. Standing on a ledge, singing The market’s down like 60 stories… over that woozy “Bennie and the Jets” riff: it’s fucking indelible.

I sent it to my oldest stepdaughter, then probably around 18, and she wrote back, “Dude, I can’t believe you’ve never heard of Earl Sweatshirt.”

The Glow – Sylvan Esso
Lucifer – Jay-Z
Teenaged Wasteland – Wussy

And now, a three-song interlude of one of my most cherished subgenres: songs about songs that save you. Each of these tracks kills me, though they’re nothing alike. There’s the sweetness of the recollected adolescent scene in “The Glow”; there’s the homegrown miracle of pop rescue in “Teenage Wasteland,” where a Midwestern kid sings out to Pete Townsend, your misery sounds so much like ours; and then there’s “Lucifer,” where the nearest Jay-Z can come to a steadied clarity, as the imperatives of sorrow and anger and forgiveness clash and contend with one another, is pumping “Brown Sugar” by D’Angelo.

Weekend in Western Illinois – The Mountain Goats
Decatur – Sufjan Stevens

Next up: the Illinois sequence.

In the fall of 1996 I saw a young man named John Darnielle sing some songs while sitting on a counter at a record store in San Francisco. About a year later this record came out. Yeah we love these dogs, he sang, that loll in the rain here in Galesburg / as the new season rocks them in its terrible arms. By then I knew I wanted to write. And this – this refusal of any opposition between fluent articulacy and emotional immediacy – taught me a lot of what to want from that writing.

And then, years and years later, this Sufjian song found me. I don’t know that I ever had the temerity to include it on any of the million mixes I made for my stepdaughters; there are some things you do better not to give to your kids, however much you imagine they’d love them. I do know that, in the first years of our separation from one another, I prompted myself to great quantities of tears by placing myself inside the sweet and wonderful arc of this song, which begins Our stepmom we did everything to hate her only to wind toward something a good deal more tender and, on all sides, forgiving.

Lush Life – Ella Fitzgerald, with Oscar Peterson

For some time after the swift, startling dissolution of my marriage, I mooned around a variety of cities in a state of bewildered wretchedness – what Thomas Pynchon somewhere calls a “fog of postmarital misjudgment” – which I then tried, by one dumb method or another, to intoxicate myself out of. This, along with “Whose Sorry Now?” made for excellent theme music.

Hell and High Water – Rainer Maria

But why pretend? Those interregnum years, however overfilled with stupefied misery, were not without their own weird exhilarations. Rainer Maria sounds to me now like the '90s turning, just slightly, into the '00s. When I listened to it in those rougher post-divorce times, and when my mind snared on a phrase like devising a better mouth to kiss you, it sounded like something else: like, let’s say, a brief on behalf survival, and some of its pleasures.

Hear You – Waxahatchee
No Scrubs – TLC
Silver Springs (Live) – Fleetwood Mac

There’s no knowing the future, but one near-sure bet about the young people you love is that they will, at some point, find themselves partnered with somebody shitty and ill-advised. This may be another way of saying: they will be young. It’s good to seed them with tracks like these, field-guides to the world of assholes.

Also, there are arguments to be made that the brokenhearted should, maybe, for a while, avoid the works of Stevie Nicks. All of them are wrong.

Interlude (That’s Love) – Chance the Rapper (from Acid Rap)
Loving Cup – The Rolling Stones

Still, there’s no need to be cynical.

And what could be less so than Chance, closing out this gospel number from the midst of Acid Rap – a record not available on Spotify – by crooning again and again, I love you!

And the Stones! It’s weird, how swiftly that opening piano interlude rearranges my viscera. It, too, is like church music, though all it really sanctifies is the moment I first started to fall in plummeting hopeless love with, oh, rock and roll. Swagger and humiliation, exaltation and abjection, the man on the mountain and the bad guitar: this was, for the teenaged me, a little promised foretaste of what falling in love for real, with people, was actually going to be like. Mick and Keith were not wrong.

Sister Cities – Hop Along

It’s no surprise, given how '90s-tuned I am, that I’d fall again and again for new bands who sound like they were raised on a steady diet of Superchunk and Belly and Helium. (This is perhaps literally true: they grew up listening to their parents records from 1995.) Frances Quinlan’s voice, cracked and soaring, keeps sounding to me like that of a young person throwing herself at the exhilarating, fucked up world, and refusing to be broken by it.

If the playlists you make for young people are also wishes – prayers, of a funny sort, for their hearts’ futures – you could do worse than wish for them exactly this.

Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks – The National

Can even the middle-aged be heartbroken? Here, for the record, is one of the best testaments in the affirmative that I know

Sing a Song – Earth, Wind, & Fire

Whenever you can, go out dancing. Maurice White 4EVAH.

Peter Coviello and Long Players links:

the author's website

Kirkus review
Publishers Weekly review

KMUW 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

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

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

Philip Hoare's Playlist for His Book "RISINGTIDEFALLINGSTAR"

RISINGTIDEFALLINGSTAR

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

Philip Hoare's moving and eloquent meditation on the sea, RISINGTIDEFALLINGSTAR, defies literary categorization.

The Guardian wrote of the book:

"This is a book that is at once nature writing, memoir, literary criticism, travelogue and elegy. Like Sebald, the glue that binds it together is the narrative voice, a lonely, antique, erudite voice that speaks in long sentences studded with semi-colons; something liquid, tidal about the surge and flow of the words."


In his own words, here is Philip Hoare's Book Notes music playlist for his book RISINGTIDEFALLINGSTAR:




RISINGTIDEFALLINGSTAR


What seest thou else / In the dark backward and abysm of time?

Prospero, The Tempest


"Heroes"

January 11, 2016. A terrific storm blew over the Cape yesterday. This beach house rocked with the wind. The sea surged under its bulkhead. The timbers shook fit to spring their nails. But I still dove in the water, as I do every day of the year. It's the only earthly power to which I yield.

Disturbed by the hangover of the storm, I wake at 2 am. For some reason, I check my email, not something I usually do at that ungodly hour. My sister, back in England, told me the news. He's gone. I came here, to the end of America, to write about him. Now he's deserted me.

I go out to walk, under the black sky. I feel homesick. For him. Then I realise he's lying just down there, along this same coast, awaiting his transfer. I take a photograph of an Exit sign through the window of the church that looks onto the beach. In the slow shutter release, the red light smears off into the night.

At daylight, I walk with Dennis and Dory the dog, out to the icy dunes. I break away. Dory follows me down to the shore. She stands there as I write his name in the sand. The waves wash it away. I sing a couple of lines. Then I take off all my clothes and swim like a dolphin. Just for one day.

"John I'm Only Dancing"

January 12, 2016. At the beginning of that month, I'd come back to Cape Cod to finish my book. Dennis and I drove down to New Bedford, to read at the Moby-Dick Marathon. On the way I told Dennis why the starman was responsible for the way I am. The book was going to be another love letter to him. Pulling some strings, I'd managed to have my previous book delivered to his home. This time I hoped to deliver the new one in person. I'd waited a long time.

I realise, after 18 years of coming to the Cape, of being with its whales and its birds, its water and its otherness, all held out into the Atlantic like a sacrifice, that this was where I was meant to end up. Where it all ran out. It's taken me this long to work it out.

For years I'd stopped listening to music.

One: because I lived through punk, worked at Rough Trade, ran my own label and managed bands. I used to know what was hip before it was hip because we were making it hip. Now I couldn't bear not having that sense of premonition.

Two: because a punishing Morrissey gig (aren't they all? he once came to a talk I gave and sat at the back laughing inappropriately loudly at my jokes), left me with tinnitus: the sea, permanently in my ear, like the sound you hear in a shell. It never leaves me. It's why I swim in the ocean; it's the only place I can't hear it.

But in my Cape loft that week, after the news, I wake up every morning, weep, then dance. I watch Mick Rock's video on repeat. It seems more like a séance. The blackness around him. The anchor on his cheek. The way he talks to me.

"Life on Mars"

May 12, 1974. The picture on my bedroom wall, pulled from a girls' magazine, the staple holes still ragged in it. He pirouettes in sky blue, eyes shaded the same heavenly colour. He's bleached white out of nothingness. His tie is silver foil and spun gold. He's screen-printed onto celluloid, an analogue angel in platform boots. He mimes the piano with his fingers, then laughs as he walks away.

June 25, 2000. In a muddy field in England, I watch him ripple his fingers from Ibiza to the Norfolk Broads. It's a godawful small affair. His hair is long and mousey-blond. He looks like a self-portrait by Albrecht Dürer. I didn't know I was saying goodbye. The whole thing was one long brilliant joke.

"Ashes to Ashes"

27 April, 2012. I'm working on a catalogue essay for an exhibition of his work at the V&A Museum in London. The curator takes me down into the basement where the conservation work was going on, and opens a long plywood container with a domed lid. It looks like a casket. Inside is the pierrot costume he wore. Rigid yet fragile, stuck over with beads and sequins, it almost trembles as I look at it. The white stockings lie in one corner, still grubby with the nuclear beach he'd walked on. The costume is stiff on his legend, hollow, like the shell that a butterfly leaves behind. I reach out to touch it, but I can't make that connection. He'd already gone. I was still waiting. Too soon, too late.

"Station to Station"

May 6, 1976. My last year at school. We wait for the suburban train. I get out the other end and walk into a yawning black cavern. I didn't know it had been a swimming pool in the 1930s. It aches with another darkness: initiate, intimate, violently beautiful. The razored-eye screen lifts and there he is, standing on the stage, just me and him. Sleek, monochrome, anchored by banks of fluorescent strips. A relentless engine of arrogance. He quotes from The Tempest, this Prospero, overlooking the ocean, dredging sound. I'm lost in his circle.

January 12, 1977. The Roxy Club in Covent Garden. (The building is now a Speedo store). The streets still look like bombsites. In the queue outside, a boy in a biker jacket with bleached blond hair asks me for a light. I enter the cellar, knowing I'm doing wrong. There are his children, on stage. No going back now.

"Starman"

July 6, 1972. Power cuts, miners' strikes. The dead go unburied. The world's dark and bright. I walk the secure, empty streets of suburbia, knowing I'll never escape. By day I wear a brown school blazer. At night I stand in front of my bedroom mirror. He points through the screen and picks on me. A glittering panther, pawing at a guitar, scary and shock-headed. It all begins, back then, just now. The storm, the transformation, the sea that raged no more.

May 16, 2018. This morning, before dawn, the beach at Provincetown is empty. The tide is out. But it will return.



RISINGTIDEFALLINGSTAR


Philip Hoare and RISINGTIDEFALLINGSTAR links:

the author's website
the author's Wikipedia entry

Financial Times review
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

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

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

June 18, 2018

Scott Samuelson's Playlist for His Book "Seven Ways of Looking at Pointless Suffering"

Seven Ways of Looking at Pointless Suffering

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

Scott Samuelson's readable and poignant Seven Ways of Looking at Pointless Suffering tackles undeserved suffering from a philosophical angle.

Times Higher Education wrote of the book:

"Excellent. . . . The challenge that Samuelson locates in the philosophical tradition, and which he passes on to the reader, is to reflect deeply on what it means to live with pointless suffering while resisting the temptation to transmute it into meaningful pain, which is something else entirely. . . One of the many virtues of Samuelson's book is that the reader often feels as though she were his student. His wry, self-deprecating and confessional style is both serious and playful--and seriously playful. The exposition of different philosophers and traditions is careful and scholarly without being pedantic. . . . Another great merit of Samuelson's insightful, informative and deeply humane book is that it is a genuine pleasure to read. Herein lies a final challenge to the reader: after luxuriating in his reflections, we must close the book and return to daily life with renewed determination and courage to apply its lessons."


In his own words, here is Scott Samuelson's Book Notes music playlist for his book Seven Ways of Looking at Pointless Suffering: What Philosophy Can Tell Us about the Hardest Mystery of All:



Philosophy—the kind I love and aspire to—dreams of becoming music. Realizing that music insinuates itself into our souls and surreptitiously instructs us, Plato spent big chunks of his dialogues on rhythm and harmony. Confucius, the Alan Lomax of his day, traveled around China to collect its folk tunes, because they sound "the tones given off by the heart." Nietzsche looked to opera as the source of spiritual renewal, claiming that Bizet's Carmen turns you into a masterpiece.

As I was working on Seven Ways of Looking at Pointless Suffering, I found myself ordering my thoughts with music rooted in the blues. The main point of the book—itself a mixtape of philosophies—is that to be fully human involves embodying a paradox. We must simultaneously embrace and oppose suffering. Even when we find a meaningful relationship to this mean old world, there's still a lot of suffering that blows our minds. As I was working out these ideas, I kept feeling like the paradox of suffering is expressed better by blues musicians than philosophers. So, I devoted my last chapter to the jazz master Sidney Bechet and tried to unpack the philosophical implications of an art that becomes more alive the closer it gets to misery, an art that doesn't redeem the legacy of slavery or the agonies of the heart but somehow redeems the humanity who inflicts and suffers them.

The following is a playlist of the blues that my philosophy aspires to become.

"Don't Play That Song" by Aretha Franklin (Spirit in the Dark)

There's a scene in Homer where Odysseus washes up on an island and is taken to its king, who feeds and entertains the hero before he asks him his name. A bard starts in on his recent crowd-pleaser, the song of the Trojan War. Hearing about the suffering of his friends hits too close to home for Odysseus, and he begins to weep. The king rebukes his unfamiliar guest: "Don't you know that the gods send us our misfortunes so that we might have something to sing about?" What I love about the scene is that it contains the king's justification of suffering as well as the hero's recognition that the suffering at the story's core is too much to bear. That whole Homeric scene is contained in Aretha's voice, which mixes gospel hope, blues anguish, and soul power: "Don't play that song for me/ ‘Cause it brings back memories."

"It Serves You Right to Suffer" by John Lee Hooker (It Serves You Right to Suffer)

We can never quite reconcile justice and suffering. Sometimes we try by saying that it serves us right to suffer. I don't know what doctor advised Prince to "try to have fun no matter what you do," but it was probably the same one who put John Lee Hooker on a diet of "milk, cream, and alcohol."

"The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" by Richie Havens (Live at the Cellar Door and the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium)

In my chapter on Bechet I coin the idea of "blues-understanding." Something like compassion, it's the art of seeing into humanity beyond the categories of perpetrator and victim, without losing the ability to condemn injustice—as when Richie Havens, in his cover of The Band's classic, inhabits the persona of a white Southerner trying to cope with the downfall of the Confederacy.

"Alabama" by John Coltrane (Live at Birdland)

On Sunday, September 15th, 1963, members of the KKK set off dynamite in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, injuring many parishioners and killing four girls between the ages of eleven and fourteen. What possibly can respond to terrorism against children? Dealing with the tragic death of his favorite student, Confucius offers no solace; he just cries out, "Heaven has abandoned us!" Trane's song, composed in response to the white-supremacist terrorism, transports us to cries and silences of blues-understanding where we're not sure if heaven has abandoned us or found us.

"Sophisticated Lady" by Charles Mingus (Cornell 1964)

In 1972, Yale University, trying to raise money for a department of African-American music, hosted a group of jazz musicians. Someone called in a bomb threat. Everyone was cleared from the building except the recalcitrant Charles Mingus, who began to play a dreamy Duke Ellington tune. When the police begged him to leave, he replied, "If I'm going to die, I'm ready. But I'm going out playing ‘Sophisticated Lady.'"

"Down to Zero" by Joan Armatrading (Joan Armatrading)

Not only does honestly facing suffering evoke compassion in a normally-constituted heart, it marks time with a groove—for instance, the rhythm of Joan Armatrading's lyricism.

"Out of the Cradle (Endlessly Rocking)" by David Zollo (For Hire)

I listened repeatedly to this song about a failing marriage as I wrote my book about suffering, and my own marriage failed. The husband in the song boasts that "this is my heart of hearts talking," admitting that he's a "fucked-up true believer/ In that perfect moment, nameless, hanging in the ether." His wife snaps back, "Great, you sing another love song./ Tell me, what does that prove?"

"Fool's Blues" by Funny Papa Smith (Complete Recorded Works 1930-31)

Does anyone express what philosophers call "the problem of evil" more succinctly than the great forgotten bluesman Funny Papa Smith? "Some people say/ God takes care of old folks and fools./ Since I've been born,/ He must've changed the rules." The English judge Baron Bowen gives him a run for his money: "The rain it raineth on the just/ And also on the unjust fella;/ But chiefly on the just, because/ The unjust hath the just's umbrella."

"Don't Explain" by Billie Holiday (The Complete Decca Recordings)

Recognizing this song as a classic head-in-the-sand relationship to an abusive situation, I want to put my arm around Billie and say, "Let's get you out of this mess." But Lady Day expands the music into something approaching the Book of Job. After God's magnificent refusal to explain unjust suffering, Job falls silent "in dust and ashes." The way Billie Holiday puts it is, "Hush now, don't explain."

"His Eye Is on the Sparrow" by Mahalia Jackson (In My Home Over There)

When I first heard Mahalia Jackson on the car radio, I had to pull over. I was overwhelmed not just by the power of her singing but by the idea that a voice like hers couldn't be wrong about the divine source of its inspiration. Nobody sings the words "love" or "hunger" like Billie Holiday. Nobody sings the words "free" or "happy" like Mahalia Jackson.

"Someday You'll Be Sorry" by Louis Armstrong (Live at Wintergarden, New York and Blue Note, Chicago)

When I was sixteen, I checked out from the library Louis Armstrong and His All Stars: Live at Wintergarden, New York and Blue Note, Chicago. One moment on the album particularly floored me. As the sorrowful "Someday You'll Be Sorry" eases into its final bar, Armstrong lets loose a life-affirming chuckle. What is this magnanimity that can embody grief and still laugh at itself with abandon? Here, I felt, is something real at last. When later I read Plato's Symposium, in which Socrates argues that the true poet should be able to compose both tragedy and comedy, I immediately thought of Pops's booming "huzzah!"

"Blue Horizon" by Sidney Bechet (The Best of Sidney Bechet)

"Blue Horizon" teaches fundamental lessons about suffering. Thou shalt not admire force. Thou shalt not hate thy enemy. Thou shalt not scorn the unfortunate. Thou shalt face thy suffering with style. There is no refuge from the human condition. In his autobiography, Bechet says, "What it is that takes you out of being just a kid and thinking it's all adventure, and you find there's a lesson underneath all that adventure—that lesson, it's the music. You come into life alone and you go out of it alone, and you're going to be alone a lot of time when you're on this earth—and what tells it all, it's the music. You tell it to the music and the music tells it to you. And then you know about it. You know what it was happened to you."


Scott Samuelson and Seven Ways of Looking at Pointless Suffering links:

the author's website

Times Higher Education review

Daily Iowan profile of the author
WKNO 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

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

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

June 15, 2018

Carla Guelfenbein's Playlist for Her Novel "In the Distance with You"

In the Distance with You

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

Previous contributors include Jesmyn Ward, Lauren Groff, Bret Easton Ellis, Celeste Ng, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Chilean author Carla Guelfenbein's novel In the Distance with You is a nuanced and poignant literary mystery.

Garth Greenwell wrote of the book:

"The subject of this profound and intricate novel is the irreducible mystery at the core of every person, the buried lines of history and desire that render us inscrutable even to ourselves. Carla Guelfenbein is an important and powerful writer, and this translation is a gift to English-language readers."


In her own words, here is Carla Guelfenbein's Book Notes music playlist for her novel In the Distance with You:



Contigo en la distancia (In the Distance With You) by Cesar Portillo de la Cruz
Everybody in Latin America has heard the Cuban bolero Contigo en la distancia. The song came back to me one morning when I was walking through the streets of Habana with a friend. Suddenly I heard a man singing this song while cleaning the windows of a house. My friend started to follow him, singing with him, and soon a woman next door joined too. It became clear to me that this song should be the title of the novel. It accurately portrays the character's relationships: The two couples of the novel, Emilia and Daniel, Vera and Horacio, are bound by strong affections, love, longing, desire, and their past history, but at the same time, they are condemned to distance, both emotional and geographic. In a way, this song conveys the main theme in all my novels: the difficulties, and sometimes the impossibility, of really connecting with each other.

Sposa son disprezzata (“I am a Scorned Wife”): by Vivaldi, Cecilia Bartoli version
This aria accompanied me through the writing of this novel. Bartoli's voice sounds alone, far away, as if she’s talking to herself but longing to be heard by someone. That was the feeling I wanted to convey in my characters.

Je veux (“I Want”) by Isabelle Geffroy
I always relate each character of my novels with a particular harmony, a rhythm, a musician, an author, or a song. This relationship can work in different levels and ways, but the most important one is the one that cannot be seen on the surface. It works from the inside. The sound of Je veux is the soul of Emilia. The daring and hopeful spirit of the singer, the freshness of her voice, and her earthy jazz sound, are all inside Emilia's character. However, Emilia doesn’t know she has all these qualities. She travels from France to Chile, searching for the mysterious cult writer Vera Sigall. Emilia is fragile and alone. Little does she know that everything is there for her to find: wisdom, love, and answers to her own tormenting mysteries. She just has to find her sound.

Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right by Bob Dylan
Vera Sigall, the main character, is inspired by many different women, including Clarice Lispector, the Brazilian writer. But above all, she is inspired by my mother, who died when I was 17. She was a philosopher, and like Vera, she was very much ahead of her time. She could listen to Dylan's songs over and over again. Many times I heard her say he was the best poet of his generation, and that he should get the Nobel Prize. This song in particular relates profoundly to the novel, as it portrays, among other things, how lives can grow apart by words unsaid.

Stabat Mater by Pergolesi
I imagined Horacio, Vera's eternal lover, listening to the Stabat Mater in his living room, at dawn, all alone, smoking his pipe, and looking through the window at the movements of the river. Horacio is a famous poet surrounded by tradition, by the celestial voices of the singers, but at the same time, he’s a small man who desperately holds to his certainties to scare away his phantoms and his dreadful fear of failure.

Der Lindenbaum by Schubert
I could see Vera listening to this Lieder, which is the song that Hans Castrop sings in the Magic Mountain while knowing he is going to die very soon. It is the same tragic destiny that Vera feels when she edits Horacio's poems, giving them an invisible blow, creating works that Horacio can't ever reproduce because he lacks the talent to do it. In doing so, Vera knows she is killing his worship for her and opening the door for resentment. But she does it anyway, because her love for him is greater than her fear of losing him.

Ne me quitte pas (‘Don’t Leave Me’) by Jacques Brel
One of the most perfect love songs of all times is actually the song that Jacques Brel wrote when he failed to commit to his lover, the actress Zizou. She was alone and pregnant with his baby, he was married, and he left her. The song turns around reality perfectly. Don’t leave me/You have to forget/ Everything can be forgotten/ Forget the time/The misunderstandings/ /I will offer you/ Pearls made of rain / Coming from countries / Where it never rains/ I will work the earth / Until I die/ To cover your body / With gold and light. Brel, like Horacio in In the Distance with You, changes reality to make it fit with his needs. They are both cowards in life, and heroes in words.

Just Like Heaven by The Cure
This song, which I listened to over and over when I was younger, has a spirit that I try to put into my writing: That strangeness, and at the same time that transparency. You, soft and only, /you lost and lonely/ You, strange as angels /Dancing in the deepest oceans. These are the kind of feelings I wanted to convey in Emilia and Daniel. They know that reality is not just made up of what they can see. So they look for that other dimension, sometimes naively but other times deliberately and consciously.

One of Us Cannot Be Wrong by Leonard Cohen
One of the things I love about this song is the multiple interpretations that it has received over the years. Most people think that Cohen was talking about a woman, but I always believed that his subjects were power, splendor, and wealth. He mocks them. This song perfectly portrays what Daniel, the fourth character of the novel, is feeling. Daniel was condemned to possess a strange and powerful physical beauty, which he despises. His real self has become elusive, even to himself. His marriage to Gracia, a very powerful woman, increasingly separates him from himself. But when Emilia appears in his life, he realizes that he might be able to find his way back.

Gracias a la vida (“Thanks to Life”) by Violeta Parra
This song, by one of the most important authors in Latin America, is at once an homage to life, and a goodbye. In the song Violeta Parra names all the things life gave her that she’s thankful for. But at same time, there is a tragic tone in the song, which makes you feel like she is leaving life. Vera, the protagonist, is in a coma. We don't know whether she is going to come back. Life has been generous and mean to her. One wonders what is behind those closed eyes, behind her peaceful and old traits. Many times, when I looked at her in my writing, I could hear this song in my mind.


Carla Guelfenbein and In the Distance with You links:


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

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

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

Peter Mishler's Playlist for His Poetry Collection "Fludde"

Fludde

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

Awarded the 2016 Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry, Peter Mishler's collection Fludde is inventive and expansive, an impressive debut.

The Rumpus wrote of the book:

"Mishler’s deft grasp of image as well as his unique voice keep these poems immediate and engaging."


In his own words, here is Peter Mishler's Book Notes music playlist for his poetry collection Fludde:



When I’m writing poems, I get so preoccupied that I find it difficult to enjoy listening to music. And I know I’m in a period of rest from my writing because I’m able to return to it. When I’m listening, I get to feel like a middle schooler again, protecting—hoarding—an identity made up solely from the music. This is what writing poems does for me, too, and it’s when I feel most at home in the world (minus the whole actual horror of adolescence of course). Below is an attempt to understand how my periods of listening have influenced the writing of Fludde.

“Noye, Heare I Behette Thee a Heste” Noye’s Fludde Op.59, Benjamin Britten

Here’s a small part of the libretto for Benjamin Britten’s opera Noye’s Fludde, the namesake for my book. In this piece, God makes his covenant with Noah, and promises that he will not destroy the world twice.

I performed in Noye’s Fludde at my parent’s church as a child, and was assigned—as all the children were—the role of an animal. I was an owl. We rehearsed for months, including a long weekend away at a summer camp called Mt. Misery. During each dress rehearsal, the animals were costumed and then made to wait in the narthex of the church two-by-two in long lines. I was paired with a second owl I didn’t know. This period of waiting, while God called to Noah, and while Noah built his ark and gathered his family, all accompanied by the crash of cymbals, the wild moving of blue sheets as waves, and the singing of an opera in Middle English, left me impatient and imaginative, peering through the small windows that separated off-stage from on-. And because I didn’t know the Flood story very well—only the boat, the animals, and the rainbow—what I saw was all the stranger.

When I wrote the lines of the title poem, I decided to title it “Fludde” because I felt—assumed, really—that the poem was reflecting that time from childhood back to me: in particular, the disposition of a child in the midst of a misunderstood experience. Though I don’t see my book as being in conversation with or specifically indebted to Britten’s opera, I thought a great deal about flood stories after that, and began writing new lines that contained them. How could I not? It was and will always be my deepest and most sublime experience with literature, with poetry—not to mention I was meant to participate and perform in it with very little agency, save for my mind.

“Something in the Way” Nirvana

There are poems in Fludde in which a speaker grieves a ruined, perhaps flooded, world, and this speaker is often positioned as a surveyor of the damage, and who sometimes speaks from a position of irony about what he sees: “So romantic these midsummer days: / the jug-bearing servants embossed / on the cool sarcophagi of the CFOs.” I owe so much to Kurt (said everyone who was twelve in 1992), who does something similar on this track—I’ve always thought it was sung by knowing outsider-traveler-stranger who half-smiles upon a wrecked place that is ours and not ours.

More recently, during the first year of writing poems for this book, I was driving with my wife on a road trip through the mountains of Arkansas and we listened to the Unplugged album all the way through, and it may have been our first time listening to Nirvana together too. After we acknowledged our shared love for this song, she said to me, “This reminds me of your new poems.” That was pure encouragement.

“I Am a Small Mistake” East River Pipe

Mel by East River Pipe was the only record I wanted to listen to when I first started making poems, so I had to include it here, certain that it has resonances in the collection. Also, it’s just really good. I’ve admired F.M. Cornog’s ability to personify a kind of psychic pain available in the State of New Jersey where I grew up.

This song in particular reminds me of Fludde in the sense that its lyrics represent the internalized shame of a very small voice as well as that voice’s desire to retreat from the world. I read the song’s line “I’ve got to leave this planet sometime soon” as an imaginative escape as opposed to a physical one, or both—the kind of escape that Donald Kalsched describes in his book Trauma and the Soul, in which a suffering person uses a kind of “archetypal defense”—a means of survival through fantasy. I read this in the opening lines of the poem “Astrolabe”: “Standing atop the moon…”

“Softer, Softest” Hole

Like many of the great songs of my youth, this one is just cryptic enough to put the listener in a riddle-solving trance, and there’s just enough exposition to disturb. Courtney Love delves into the world of the fairytale with the appearance of the witch, and I find its inclusion just as uncanny as Glück’s witch tongue in “Gretel in Darkness” which “shrivels into gas.” The song reminds me of the reasons people are drawn to fairytales for their enactment of key psychological relationships and experiences. This poem is an expression of the unhealable wound and of retribution: grief and loss, power and recovery—all of which the children, and their adult selves, in Fludde can understand.

“Rockets” Cat Power

In the summer after listening to Mel on repeat, this is the song I played nearly, truly, every morning. It was habitual. My favorite thing about “Rockets” is that I hardly know any of the lyrics except for the word “rockets,” and a few other fragments and parts I’ve misheard. In spite of this, the melody and Chan Marshall’s precisely lackadaisical guitar and of course her unmistakable voice make the song, and give it its understated yet urgent emotional dimensions. Knowing the song’s title provides some color to those dimensions—which I read as having some sociopolitical meaning—but otherwise the “narrative” is lost on me. And all this, in my opinion, is the prime efficacy of any great poem or song.

“Sumer Is Icumen In” Medieval English round

This is the Medieval round sung by the “tyrant” in the poem “Mt. Airy Resort and Casino.” He parades through the valley-towns below an abandoned mountain resort riding a glacier carved in the shape of his face, throwing out tokens carved in the shape of his face. The speaker of this poem watches from the mountains, and notes that this leader—a stand-in for our President, probably—is performing this song as a headliner for “big name venues.” Like all rounds, this one is cringe-y and vexing, especially when one of the recycled words sung is the maddening “Cuckoo!” The image that’s not in the poem is the one I love to imagine most: a President who is able to sing a Medieval round on stage with only one mouth.

“The Three Ravens” English folk ballad

Another traditional English song, “The Three Ravens” tells the story of these birds who have spied a slain knight under a tree, but they observe that the knight’s hawks and hounds protect him from being eaten by them as carrion. Then a “fallow doe” comes along and takes the knight onto her back and leads him to an “earthen lake” where he is buried. Exhausted now and heartbroken, she dies beside him. Although I mention “the song of two crows” in the poem “Haruspex,” I was thinking of this English song, and not the Scottish folk ballad “Twa Corbies,” an even darker and grotesque progenitor of this song. I mixed them up in my head when writing the poem.

Because the poem “Haruspex” mentions an “I” who whistled this song, it is therefore one of the only autobiographical poems in the book. In the November that Bush II was reelected, I couldn’t stop whistling it. The melody itself is dark and deeply appealing, minor-keyed and lamenting as it is; and I found the knight’s deliverance by the doe beautiful and rich with a kind of surrealism (the exchanging of the knight’s beloved for a doe) I thought was only available to me in modern poetry. I was wrong, and this opened various new paths of reading and writing for me, searching for the best examples of surreality in early poetry I could find. There’s plenty. Other poems from the book were originally modeled after various traditional English folk songs and Medieval poetry, including, and especially, another poem “Head in the Orchard” which is glancingly inspired by the Child ballad “The Cherry-Tree Carol” as well as “The Dream of the Rood” which includes a talking Cross.

“You Still Believe in Me” Beach Boys

Fludde quotes directly from Brian Wilson when it repurposes the line “two girls for every boy,” a line that I loathe for the acquisitive paradise it claims. So, while I won’t put “Surf City” here, I’ll include another, far better Beach Boys song which was originally titled “In My Childhood,” and which includes that incredible coda that says far more than its verses ever could. And of course, you know, that bicycle horn.

“Holland, 1945” Neutral Milk Hotel

Before I’d read Rimbaud and Max Jacob, Vasko Popa and Celan, this was my introduction to a surrealism that could contain real political emotion. I think Jeff Mangum’s In the Aeroplane Over the Sea is the kind of poetry that Andre Breton hoped could widen humanity in the face of evil. The song dredges up violence, suffering, and death only to a subvert it into a wondrous reincarnation of the human form, but—unlike a less-careful surrealism, Mangum’s paradise shares itself with the darkness. This song and album is surrealism par excellence, and shows this mode’s best capabilities, of holding both horror and exuberant inventiveness at once in its circus wheel.

Gnoissienne No. 1 - Lent Erik Satie

Satie’s Gnoissiennes as well as his other early piano works are the only pieces of music I have ever listened to when writing, and I did so, mostly, to get rid of background noise. When I think about why I chose these pieces, other than the fact that they’re sans lyrics and incredibly, haunting and gorgeous, I think of their slowness and care. The vinyl recording of Satie’s works I own is called Slow Music in deference to Satie’s indication that these pieces be played lent, at a slow tempo. This version on Spotify is the slowest I could find among several unfortunate renditions that play this piece as if it were in a tightly cranked music box.

This slowness has certainly influenced how I make, and read, my lines. Tomas Tranströmer, my favorite poet as performer of his own work (and who was also, coincidentally, a pianist) could very well have indicated that his own poems be read lento. I don’t believe his careful, deliberate reading of his poems in English is simply a product of English not being his first language. The Swedish versions of his poems are read just as slowly. His attention to each line has shown me how to establish and maintain a tone that reverberates in the silence between each one.

“Eternal Sunshine (The Pledge)” Jay Electronica

Introduced to me by music writer Brandon Perkins, Jay Electronica’s epic is everything I hoped to accomplish in the final poem of my book, “Little Tom Dacre in Heaven.” I am deeply interested in two things, among others, in a poem and this song has them both: a speaker describing a waking up elsewhere that is beyond their control and usually at the hand of some unseen divine force, and any sentence that begins with “I saw” and proceeds into the visionary from John of Revelations to “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall” and onward.

Here’s Jay Electronica: “My ears start ringing, my nose get bloody/ I feel a little bit of pressure on my right brain / Intermission transmission put me in submission / Glistening trapped in the light prison whistling / The Christ told me come closer to the light man / I went blind, woke up in front of a mic stand.” Then there’s a break. An extended, perfect pause. Then: “…saw a shiny object floating out of the ocean…” Then a sample from an interview subject discussing a 2006 Chicago O’Hare UFO sighting. And that’s not to mention what proceeds all this: a dolorous clarinet and a sample from Willy Wonka. The whole song, but especially this part, is harrowing and profound. Check out the 12:09 mark.

“Sometimes I Wonder If I’m a Mistake / I Think You are Just Fine as You Are” Fred Rogers

I will end with one of my favorite songs. This song originally aired in an episode of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood in 1987. I would have been in the first grade then. Maybe a little old for Mr. Rogers? Never. These days, I watch the show regularly and eagerly with my daughter, and I’ve seen some tweets and memes and articles lauding Mr. Rogers’ gentle masculinity—as opposed to masculinity’s various toxic brands—and how true that is.

I rediscovered this song a few years ago on YouTube, and I was shocked by a weird recognition, having half-remembered it from childhood. I was also profoundly moved by it again, in no small part because of the complex counterpoint developed in the song’s two voices; Daniel Striped Tiger’s monosyllabic Blakean rhymes; and of course, the song’s affirming, compassionate message.

I put this song here, and last, because if there is one feeling I wanted to get into Fludde, it is the childlike, competing, sometimes dissonant, sometimes harmonious polyvocality of innocence and experience that Rogers demonstrates here.


Peter Mishler and Fludde links:

the author's website


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

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

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

This Week's Interesting Music Releases - June 15, 2018

Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones' Studio Albums Collection: 1971 - 2016 is a 20-LP box set that collects 15 of the band's albums.

Protomartyr's Consolation EP is the lone new release I have heard and can recommend this week.


This week's interesting music releases:


5 Seconds of Summer: Youngblood
Arthur Buck: Arthur Buck
Ben Caplan: Old Stock
Buddy Guy: The Blues Is Alive And Well
Christina Aguilera: Liberation
Chromeo: Head Over Heels
Chuck Auerbach: Remember Me
Def Leppard: Vault: Def Leppard Greatest Hits 1980-1995 [vinyl]
The English Beat: Here We Go Love
Gaslight Anthem: The '59 Sound Sessions
Gin Blossoms: Mixed Reality
Jay Rock: Redemption
Johnny Marr: Call The Comet
John Parish: Bird Dog Dante
The Killers: Career Box (10-LP box set) [vinyl]
Leon Vynehall: Nothing Is Still
Lizzy Borden: My Midnight Things
Matthew Sweet: Tomorrow's Daughter
Mayday Parade: Sunnyland
Melody's Echo Chamber: Bon Voyage
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones: While We're At It
Mike Shinoda: Post Traumatic
Nick Lowe: Tokyo Bay / Crying Inside [vinyl]
Orange Goblin: The Wolf Fights Back
Petal: Magic Gone
Phil Collins: Singles [vinyl]
Protomartyr: Consolation EP
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever: Hope Downs
Rolling Stones: Studio Albums Collection 1971 - 2016 (20-LP box set) [vinyl]
SOPHIE: Oil Of Every Pearl's Un-Insides
Stuart A. Staples: Arrhythmia
Tom Waits: Bawlers (remastered) [vinyl]
Trentemøller: The Last Resort (reissue) [vinyl]
Various Artists: African Scream Contest 2 [vinyl]


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support Largehearted Boy

weekly music release lists

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)
Shorties (daily book and music news and links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)

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

June 14, 2018

James Campion's Playlist for His Book "Accidentally Like a Martyr: The Tortured Art of Warren Zevon"

Accidentally Like a Martyr

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

James Campion's biography of Warren Zevon, Accidentally Like a Martyr, innovatively consists of essays about particular songs and albums by the singer-songwriter.

Publishers Weekly wrote of the book:

"Campion's adoring book will speak mostly to Zevon's fans, and will encourage them to listen to his music anew."


In his own words, here is James Campion's Book Notes music playlist for his book Accidentally Like a Martyr:



I decided to write a series of essays based on the music and lyrics of Warren Zevon because it needed to be done and funnily enough when I looked around I was the only one standing there and…well…thanks to Backbeat Books, the rest is history, as the result, Accidentally Like A Martyr – The Tortured Art of Warren Zevon was published on June 5.

It would be easy to merely list the songs in which I dedicate essays. (I also chose to write about three seminal albums in Zevon's catalog as a whole – Excitable Boy, [1978] which made him a star for a short but spectacularly insane period, Sentimental Hygiene, [1987] because it saved his life and brought him back from the professionally dead, and mainly because it is his most kick-ass rock record, tracked with a young, rough-and-tumble R.E.M. as his backing band, and finally The Wind, [2003] which is an album about dying from a dying man.)

However, when writing any book – especially ones about music – my listening palate goes beyond the subject in which I am deeply committed. I find listening to the artist's contemporaries – in this case many of the singers, musicians and fellow songwriters who joined him in making his music and still others often covered his songs – or the type of music that inspired their work.

And so, here is what filled my head during the writing of Accidentally Like a Martyr, above and beyond the brilliantly provocative songs of the late, great Warren Zevon – and, okay, a few of his that did not make it to full essays in my work are included here as well.


"The Pretender" – Jackson Browne

The title track to Browne's second-most popular album, it precedes Running on Empty by a year, is a true paean to disillusionment, a subject the young songwriter rarely broached in his normally glass-half-full style. According to Jackson himself, he was wholly influenced by Warren Zevon's elegies of the dark underbelly of Los Angeles filled with damaged souls looking for redemption. After all, Browne dragged Zevon back from Europe, where he was playing Irish folk songs in a small fishing village near Barcelona, Spain to return to the City of Angels and record an album – an album he would produce. The lines "I'll be a happy idiot and struggle for the legal tender" were a direct result of listening in awe as Zevon sang in his rock and roll gospel masterwork, "Mohammed's Radio"; "In walks the village idiot and his face is all aglow / He'd been up all night listening to Mohammed's Radio". Before this, Jackson Browne was everything Zevon was not in the pantheon of the L.A. Sound – sensitive and unerringly positive. Suddenly Browne was bemoaning the banalities of life and filling it with the distractions needed to keep from blowing one's head off.


"Hotel California" – The Eagles

Another song and another band inspired directly from the density and clarity of Warren Zevon's songs that fill his debut for Asylum Records, (a label where the Eagles and Jackson Browne also plied their trade). "Hotel California", a song about a lost generation of naïve dreamers felled by expensively dangerous drugs, empty sex and a clawing need for status symbols, uses a transient stopover as a metaphor of being trapped in a scenic landscape, what my friend and songwriter Adam Duritz of Counting Crows calls "the beautiful exhaustion of L.A.", was captured three months before its recording on Zevon's "Desperadoes Under the Eaves" (I dedicate my first essay in the book on it). With its short-story reflections of the weird dichotomy of the haves and have-nots hobnobbing along the palm-tree lined streets of Hollywood, it is a stunning glimpse of what the morning-after feels like.

Zevon sings, "If California slides into the ocean / Like the mystics and statistics say it will / I predict this motel will be standing / Until I pay my bill". Don Henley, who sang on the song, along with his partner the late, Glenn Frey, eventually frame it in their "Hotel California as "You check in any time you like, but you can never leave."

One more postscript, if I may; although this song is a fine example of 1970s "What the hell happened to the dream?" exposition, Zevon nails the Eagles' six-and-a-half minute fever dream in a single line in the aforementioned "Desperadoes Under the Eaves" with "Accept in dreams you're never really free". Bingo!


"Holiday in Spain" – Counting Crows

Keeping the "Trapped in paradise by my own vices" theme going, I have always been in love with Counting Crows' fourth studio album, Hard Candy, especially its final track, "Holiday in Spain", which reeks of the kind of imagery Warren Zevon made his living on; "We got airplane rides / We got California drowning out the window side / We've got big black cars / And we got stories how we slept with all the movie stars". When playing Zevon songs in a recent podcast (we co-host a pretty cool music-rich, conversation-meandering thing we like to call Underwater Sunshine weekly – check it out!) Adam referenced "California drowning out the window side" as specifically a Zevonesque lyric. Interestingly, in the introduction to my book I compare the Zevon effect as both a window and a mirror, a passage into another world that you can glimpse from the comforts of your home or a reflection of your own demons dancing along with your hopes and dreams. "Holiday in Spain" is the finest example of someone in one place wishing they were somewhere else.


"My Shit's Fucked Up" – Warren Zevon

Warren Zevon wrote an alarming number of songs about death and dying. On a record he titled "Life'll Kill Ya", he goes there with relentless brutality. He was infamously afraid of doctors, and this phobia, which he would later sardonically tell David Letterman was one that did not pay off, cost him any chance to survive, as he was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer less than two years after this 2000 release. Ironically, his body having been invaded by cancer cells already, along with his abject fears of most things – which he wrote about as romantically as one can with crippling OCD issues – comes out loud and clear here. An acoustic ballad reminiscent of the best 16th century troubadour, Zevon uses his celebrated acerbic wit mixed with wincing bravery. To wit:

Well, I went to the doctor

I said, "I'm feeling kind of rough"
He said, "I'll break it to you, son"

"Let me break it to you, son"

"Your shit's fucked up."

I said, "my shit's fucked up?
"
Well, I don't see how-
"
He said, "The shit that used to work-
It won't work now."


"The Rite of Spring" – Igor Stravinsky

In May of 1913, the 30-year-old Russian composer, Igor Stravinsky debuted "The Rite of Spring" at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and caused a near riot among the unsuspecting literati and classical traditionalists. As avant-garde piece of music as could have been conjured by a true revolutionary, it would cement Stravinsky's image as one of contrarian audaciousness, something reflective in much of Warren Zevon's music. This, along with "Perséphone" from later in his career, would titillate the songwriter's classical sensibilities and also harken back to his middle-school days when he spent afternoons with the then elderly Stravinsky, sharing musical asides and vodka.

Zevon came to classical music first; and as many interviews from the early days, confirmed by several interviews I did with his contemporaries and colleagues, Zevon was obsessed with the craft and form. The chording of his songs along with the musical changes in his haunting ballads were always chock full of classical motifs. In my essay for "Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School" I delve into the "symphony" Zevon carried around during his halcyon days and beyond, one he sadly would never to finish. His son Jordan, who was a great friend and supporter of my book, leant me the pages of it and believes that perhaps one day it will be realized.


"Hula Hula Boys" – Warren Zevon

The one thing I sort of regret, but let's face it, I could have done two-dozen of these essays, is not dedicating one to "Hula Hula Boys". It would seem it was a throwaway track from his 1982 The Envoy album, except there really weren't any of those in Zevon's canon. So filled as it is with pathos and longing and hilarious sighs from a whining chuckhole, it was one of Zevon's favorite writers (and mine), Hunter S. Thompson's most cherished songs. The Gonzo journalist included it in his own collected mix-CD from 1999, Where Were You When the Fun Stopped? Taylor Goldsmith, lead singer and guitarist for the L.A. folk/rock outfit, Dawes, who often covers the song, (there is a great version on YouTube with the band playing it on a cruise ship) referenced it again and again in my interview with him for the book. He loves, as I do, the laidback nature of its arrangement and airy chorus, as it recounts this vacation gone wrong in such a sadly comedic way. It is that sense of dire hilarity that made Warren so great as he jammed the subversive and the sublime together to create something new every time. Also, the chorus is in Hawaiian, "Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana", which translated simply means, "And so the story is told" or more loosely translated as "That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!" Or, "This Is My Story". Delicious stuff.


"Time Spent in Los Angeles" - Dawes

Speaking of Taylor, I became a fan of Dawes because they rightfully worship Warren Zevon, but also because of their 2011 masterpiece, Nothing is Wrong, a wonderfully musical mini-novel of road weariness and broken young characters mixed with defiant observations on disjointed lives and eerie romances. It is soooo Zevon. Especially "Time Spent in Los Angeles", which both reflects and continues the aforementioned "Desperadoes Under the Eaves"/ "Hotel California" paradise-as-prison mise-en-scène beautifully. Goldsmith sings with the kind of detached beseeching that makes the best of Zevon's music resonate for me: "But you got that special kind of sadness / You got that tragic set of charms / That only comes from time spent in Los Angeles / Makes me wanna wrap you in my arms". Yeah!


"Raspberry Beret" – Hindu Love Gods

Man, this kicks ass. When Warren was recording Sentimental Hygiene down in Georgia with R.E.M. the boys kicked up some dust on blues and old rock and roll standards when keeping warm. Some enterprising engineers rolled tape and it was later released in 1990 as a compilation under the name Hindu Love Gods, a side outfit for the instrumentalists in R.E.M., Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Bill Berry that involved a "recovering from pills and alcohol" Zevon in the mid-1980s. Among the raunchy distortion is the Prince classic (which had just been a hit single, as the songs were recorded in early 1987) that rocks out no end. Zevon, who was an underrated vocalist (his baritone is likely one of the reasons he was not more popular in his time) in the sense that he captures immediately the fun-loving seduction of the song with the undercurrent of dread that Prince only hints at while he was busy trying to bury the looming monstrosity of Purple Rain and cut a new path for his best work in the later '80s.


"Too Late To Be Saved" – Jordan Zevon

Warren's son is a damned good singer/songwriter in his own right. His 2006 Insides Out album is loaded with several musical styles and distinctive lyrics. "Too Late To Be Saved", however, is a special one (as is his magnificent pass through his dad's unreleased "Studebaker", which I dedicate an essay to for many reasons) because it is a sequel to Warren's "Desperadoes Under the Eaves". Jordan, whose interviews were the foundation of my work, perhaps painted the truest picture of the artist as the man – his alcoholism, his mercurial personal relationships and professional ups-and-downs and his songs' redemptive qualities. All of that reverberates with this song. I loved to play it when things got dark during the writing of this book. Warren was a tough character to frame, and it must have been exponentially more difficult to be his only son, which also comes out here. "It was like hugging a hand grenade," Jordan told me. Here is the musical equivalent. Pull the pin!


"Ain't That Pretty at All" – The Pixies

I dedicate an essay to this Zevon track because it echoes much of the violence and mayhem of his life and his art, but also because it is so damned funny. The Pixies' alternative, screaming feedback relentless pass through this is a homage to all of that. It is a like a Scorsese film blaring in a tour bus careening off the road into a five-car-pile- up. And, it rocks. "I'm gonna hurl myself against the wall / ‘Cause I'd rather feel bad than not feel anything at all!" Damn right!


"Cadillac Ranch" – Bruce Springsteen

Bruce loved Warren and Warren loved Bruce. They wrote a song called "Jeannie Needs a Shooter" together in the late '70s and touted each other's work throughout their careers. When Warren was dying the Boss stopped his tour and took his Christmas vacation to record a song with him for The Wind. Warren covered a couple of Springsteen songs along the way, but none with more reverence and spastic glee than "Cadillac Ranch". Both songwriters understood the gorgeous notion of an anarchistic daydreamer messing with a vague notion that cars and death and sex and redemption are all whipped up into a fun sundae to slurp down when needed. "Tearing up the highway like a big old dinosaur!" Indeed. I absolutely love Zevon's tacking it onto the end of his rollicking "Poor Poor Pitiful Me" in live performances from the early 80s when it seemed like neither of these guys could do wrong.


"Stop Breaking Down" – The Rolling Stones

I listen to Exile on Main St. all the time when I'm writing anyway, anyone who doesn't is kind of missing a very big boat, but this song in particular was a favorite of both Warren and his writing, touring, drinking buddy Waddy Wachtel, who recorded with the Stones in the 1990s in addition to recording and touring as a member of Keith Richards' X-Pensive Winos band. The muddy, dangerous sounds of American blues, country, balladry and gospel are sifted through the Stones strainer with swampy seductiveness on this 1972 recording, which would find its way into the live sound of Zevon. Waddy told me when Excitable Boy (an album he co-produced and played on) was blasting up the charts on the rocket fuel of "Werewolves of London", Linda Ronstadt, who may or may not have been sleeping with Mick Jagger at the time, took him to meet the Stones during their Some Girls American tour, and got a rousing review on it from his heroes.

As a sidelight, Warren's favorite American film director Martin Scorsese (who loved Warren's music and used "Werewolves of London" in his 1986 film, The Color of Money) uses "Stop Breaking Down", which I should point out is originally a composition by blues godfather Robert Johnson, along with other songs from Exile on Main St. in his only Oscar-winning movie, The Departed.


"Werewolves of London" – Masha

Latvian-born singer, Masha covered "Werewolves of London" for a Three Olives Vodka campaign which was featured in a really cool 2014 video. You can see it on YouTube, but I have been unable to get an audio-only version. Nevertheless, it is fantastic! She captures, much like other great women singers (Stevie Nicks, Linda Ronstadt, Chrissie Hynde, Jill Sobule, among others), who added subtext to his songs that were lost on the men who played it laughs, the contours of its most arresting qualities. The exception being Zevon himself, who Waddy told me made sure they gave "Werewolves of London" the seriousness it deserved, thus accentuating its built-in humor. A song about the predatory nature of men, "I'd love to meet his tailor!" and "His hair was perfect!" and the feral undertones of our deeper psyches bubble to the surface here. Pretty damn cool stuff.


"Excitable Boy" – Warren Zevon

I was able to get my hands on a lot of pretty rare and interesting Zevon recordings when working on this book, one of its perks, for sure. One, which is available to check out on YouTube is a 1976 WMMS Cleveland radio performance/interview with an already lubricated Zevon tinkling on a barely-tuned piano and waxing poetic about his first Asylum album. It begins with Warren playing an intimate version of a song about an insane murderer with all the charming snark of the most accomplished commentator. I still listen to this version even now, mostly because it makes me smile every time. He ends with a little musical homage to "Little Drummer Boy" for some Zevonian reason and then says, "I left out the strange verses." But he doesn't. He never did. Thank goodness.


James Campion and Accidentally Like a Martyr links:

the author's website

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

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

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June 13, 2018

Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week - June 14, 2018

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 Strange

The Strange by Jérôme Ruillier

The story follows the strange stranger, an undocumented immigrant in his new unfamiliar surroundings. Drawn in a limited palette with colored pencil crayons, The Strange has a rough, sketchy quality that mirrors the harshness of adapting to a new environment.


Sabrina

Sabrina by Nick Drnaso

In Drnaso's first full-length graphic novel, characters grapple with the sudden disappearance of the titular Sabrina. It's a silhouetted portrayal of loss and its ever creeping reach in the suburban Midwest.


A Western World

A Western World by Michael Deforge

A compilation of 15 recent stories by Deforge circling around themes of living in a body surrounded by other bodies. His comics are beautifully chromatic, shape-shifting, and porous.


Luisa: Now and Then

Luisa: Now and Then by Carole Maurel

Adapted by the wonderful Mariko Tamaki (from Skim and This One Summer), Luisa is an upside-down time-traveling queer coming of age story in which photographer Luisa suddenly comes across her lost 15 year-old self.


XTC69

XTC69 by Jessica Campbell

Three outer-space astronauts from the planet L8DZN1T3 travel to lifeless Earth 700 years in the future. Searching for male companions to repopulate their planet, the voyagers come across the sole remaining inhabitant on earth - Jessica Campbell.


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)

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Mark Haskell Smith's Playlist for His Novel "Blown"

Blown

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

Dark and funny, Mark Haskell Smith's novel Blown is an engaging literary thriller.

Publishers Weekly wrote of the book:

"Darkly amusing...[Smith] has a fine-tuned ear for witty repartee and a skill for embroiling even his most comically conceived characters in dramas that steer his plot through unpredictable twists and into unforeseeable outcomes. This is a surprising, memorable novel.'


In his own words, here is Mark Haskell Smith's Book Notes music playlist for his novel Blown:



I don't own a yacht. In fact, I don't think I've ever been on a yacht. But that doesn't stop me from enjoying the fantasy of yachting, that dream of a rum-soaked slow-fade into alcoholism and sun-ripened melanoma that I associate with dropping anchor in a quiet cove on the backside of St. Kitt's. Call me a romantic. It's a fantasy of leaving the work-a-day world and sailing away from ever having to answer another email or sit in a cubicle. It ‘s a popular fantasy. Just ask the “Parrotheads” singing along to Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville.

The Wall Street embezzler at the heart of Blown is a young man with a similar dream and, unlike me, he has access to enough money to pull it off. When he finally gets his yacht, he learns that there's a genre of music called “yacht rock.” It's the kind of music that you listen to when the sails are filled with a soft breeze and you're steering the boat with a cocktail in your hand. That's not when you want a lot of grinding guitars and pounding drums. You want something smooth, like that Pinot Grigio you're drinking. Despite its name, Yacht Rock does not rock the boat.

Hall & Oates – Sara Smile

Hall & Oates are, with Steely Dan and Michael MacDonald, part of the Holy Trinity of Yacht Rock. That they can be both smooth and rocked out, bland and soulful, is a kind of miracle in itself. They are truly masters of the form. And their songs are incredibly catchy. You could easily find yourself swabbing the deck while singing, "Baby hair with a woman's eyes, I can feel you watching in the night" and never think about how creepy the lyrics are.

Steely Dan - Peg

Famously named after a dildo in William S. Burrough's Naked Lunch, Steely Dan is the intellectual Yachtsperson's music of choice. Steely Dan is another group that defines the genre. I could've easily picked a dozen of their songs for this playlist -- Hey, Nineteen; Deacon Blues; Black Cow, etc. -- but I chose Peg because of Michael MacDonald's amazing backing vocals.

Michael MacDonald - Sweet Freedom

Does anyone sing Yacht Rock better than this man? The smoothest of the smooth. His blue-eyed crooning can turn a squall into a zephyr. Even his hair looks smooth.

Tennis - Ladies Don't Play Guitar

Yacht Rock isn't just for old white guys. This Denver-based duo is making an effort to revitalize the genre and bring some much needed lyrical irony to life on a boat. Fun fact: They actually go sailing.

Dent May - Across the Multiverse

Remember that time you were sailing off the coast of Maui and you saw a rainbow and thought it was a sign to take that leftover MDMA you had in the fridge and you ended up talking to dolphins for hours? This is the soundtrack from that day. Psychedelic Yacht Rock from a young Los Angeles-based singer songwriter.

Destroyer - Tinseltown Swimming in Blood

A Canadian band with a kind of groovy apocalyptic tale to remind you of what you left behind without disturbing the mellow vibe. Bonus: lyrics like "Flowers on the skyline, hey how was the wine?" make this a contemporary Yacht Rock classic.

Toro y Moi - Still Sound

If I had a yacht, I would only play Toro y Moi.

Washed Out - Hard to Say Goodbye

Stoner Bossa Nova from one of Toro y Moi's compatriots. I love this new American "Chillwave" music and nothing would be more perfect for a whale watching cruise through the Gulf of California.

Christopher Cross – Sailing

I don't really think of this song as classic yacht rock -- it hits your ears like a wad of cotton balls soaked in soy milk -- but it is about being on a sailboat. Lines like “The canvas can do miracles” resonate because every sailor knows it's true.

Looking Glass - Brandy

Not Yacht Rock at all, but this song about a twisted love triangle between a sailor, a bartender, and the ocean is about as epic as a song about such things can get.


Mark Haskell Smith and Blown links:

the author's website

Kirkus review
Publishers Weekly review

Largehearted Boy playlist by the author for Baked
Largehearted Boy playlist by the author for Raw


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

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

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

Shorties (Recommended Novels and Memoirs from Female Muslim Authors, New Music from Mirah, and more)

A Place for Us

Signature recommended novels and memoirs written by female Muslim authors.


Stream a new Mirah song.


Maria Dahvana Headley dicussed her new novel The Mere Wife with Publishers Weekly.


Paste listed the best albums of 2018 (so far).


The Times Literary Supplement interviewed author Tayari Jones.


David Simon remembered Anthony Bourdain.


Lydia Millet discussed her new story collection Fight No More with All Things Considered.


Stream a new children's song by Best Coast.


The Irish Times recommended soccer books.


PopMatters profiled electronic composer Jon Hopkins.


Cosmopolitan recommended summer reading.


Stream three new songs by Low.


NYLON listed the best books of the year so far.


Pure Bathing Culture covered the Blue Niles' "Saturday Night."


Nick Drnaso talked about his new graphic novel Sabrina with the Daily Herald.


Stream a new Interpol song.


The Guardian recommended lost classics written by women.


Stream a new Cumulus song.


Joseph O'Neill talked writing with Literary Hub.


Stream a new Let's Eat Grandma song.


The Rumpus interviewed author Chris Kraus.


Stream a new Thin Lips song.


The Millions interviewed author Lillian Li.



also at Largehearted Boy:

Support 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

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

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